Workplace Wonderings: USB is crashing my computer!

This one isn’t mine, exactly. It’s a coworkers. A comment on FB reminded me of this story.

I used to work for a company that has a Garmin GPS unit that they sell that runs custom firmware in order to use it for golfing. We did tech support on the units and software to load courses into the unit.

This guy calls in and says that everytime it loads, his computer crashed. He would start the process, walk away, come back to a windows dump screen.

The agent assisting him had him stay there for the whole load, and it crashed at about 50 percent the first time. rebooted the computer, tried again, crashed at 5 percent. At this point, I get called over. “Listen to this.”

He puts the earpiece on me. I hear the guy muttering, and i hear… a sound. a wet scraping sound. with an occasional.. electrical spark. “Was that sound going the whole time? the hell is he doing?”

“Oh good, you hear it too!”

He takes it back. “Sir, theres a weird sound that started right before the crash, can you tell me what it is? I think it might be the computer fan or something?”

Our headsets are loud, so I can hear the guy talking back. “Naw, naw, no way you’d hear that, my computer is on the floor and SCRUFFY GET AWAY FROM :CRACKLE: AH! SCRUFFY!”

Turns out the guy’s dog thought that something about the cable was delicious, and was licking it where it plugged in. The guy had a bank of usb ports on the front of his computer, so when the dog was licking it, it was shorting out the other usb ports and zapping itself, which it apparently didn’t mind. Ed had the guy keep the dog away, and lo and behold, it loaded just fine, no crashes. Apparently the USB ports shorting was crashing the computer.