A Red Hot Fairy Tale


(This post originally appeared at AlliOSNews.com)

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!

The above is a traditional English nursery rhyme.

Legend in short: In 1605 a disgruntled Catholic decided to make a statement by blowing the House of Lords sky high into a bajillion smithereens. It didn’t work. They killed him. Well actually, they were supposed to kill him – but he jumped off the execution stage and broke his neck, avoiding further torture and mutilation.

I can see how Hollywood jumped at this (V for Vendetta, 2005). Perhaps a little too political and pyromanically focused for a fun children’s song? No matter, I’m about to be even more irreverent.

I recently had my own modern day technological Guy Fawkes plot attempted by my very own machine. An uprising against the Apple kingdom.

I own a 2011 Macbook Air. It’s my workhorse. Whether or not this is what it was designed to do, my lightweight companion is on call 24/7. And it’s in use a minimum of approximately 12 hours a day. Snow is hot stuff.


Lately, my flash storage fire starter has been taking such compliments literally. Computer was TOASTY.

I’d enter the room to hear it humming away. Aww, my trusty steed. Alas, I had not employed adequate foresight unto how Apple’s have traditionally treated Snow White.

Battery levels were draining faster than a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes. The casing was hot to the touch. Was my computer plotting a rebellion? Was an overthrow favoring the rise of sentient androids on the horizon?!

Querying Clinton and an engineering friend, I posed the question, “How hot should I let my computer get before I completely freak out?”

I was informed that consumer electronics are never designed to burn or blow up the parliament of your person. (Which is a positive given how often I can admit to yelling at mine.) In fact, they are designed with quite the opposite in mind – to provide a large buffer between normal use and critical failure. (Having a computer that’s so hot it’s burning you, is indeed, critical failure.)

Perhaps it was dust.

I procured a tiny screw kit and, after sending up a prayer to the technology gods, proceeded to dismantle the machine. Armed for the fight with a can of compressed air, Snow would either be dusted or I would be getting a post-mortem autopsy prior to the purchase of a new Macbook.

There wasn’t much dust. And by the end of the day I could once again roast s’mores atop the graphics board.

I downloaded the app Temperature Gauge and cringed at the bright red lines that all shot out like arrows at my precious Apple.

Clinton suggested I get thee to an Apple Store Genius Bar tribunal post haste.

I acquiesced – where the innards would be questioned by the Tower Lieutenant Genius Bar Genius, Kyle, until I had “the inwards secret of [its] thoughts and all his complices.”

Ideally they’d just assure me it was the plight of an abused Air getting on in computer age. Mostly I wanted to prevent a final farewell display of fireworks as three-score barrels of smoldering processor-chip shrapnel showered the masses with the successes of an overheated plot.

Guilty on all counts. The battery was replaced; the fan is breathing easier. Also, Kyle told me that computers prefer to be turned off every once in a while. Who knew?

Hulloa boys! God save the computer!

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