October 7th, 2005


Broken Brakes

My rear brakes have been squealing for a while, so I took them in today to have them checked. Naturally, it couldn't be something as simple as just worn pads. No, the piston has gone bad and the parking brake return spring was missing, so they have to replace the entire caliper.

Just what I needed, another big expense. This is probably going to eat up my entire paycheck. Meanwhile I also have a property tax bill due in a month that's going to eat up another full paycheck.

When hinges creak in doorless chambers....

I got a call from work today. The entire office was in a panic because the mouse on the receptionist's computer seemed to have a mind of its own. It was supposedly moving around, clicking on things, opening menus and copying files. Everyone was certain it was a virus or a hacker or something. I had a pretty good idea what the problem was, and it had a very simple solution, but they wanted me to come in anyway, and since my car was in the shop, they sent a cow-orker over to pick me up.

I get into the office and find that someone had disconnected the cable to the T-1 line to prevent further 'hacking'.

Of course, I knew all along what the problem was.

The day before I'd replaced the receptionist's mouse with a wireless mouse. There was another user with the same make and model of mouse, but he was a good 25 feet away, with several walls in between. I'd hopped that was enough distance between the machines to put them out of each other's range, but apparently not. Sure enough, moving that person's mouse would cause the pointer to move on the receptionist's machine. All the activity was just coincidence. There was no hacker, no virus infection.

Still, just to be on the safe side (and justify my timecard), I ran some virus and spyware scans. Nothing, just as I suspected. Nothing unusual in Sysinternals Autoruns. Nothing in RootkitRevealer. Nothing out of the ordinary in Process Explorer. Nothing unusual in the firewall logs. If it's a hacker or a virus, it's something incredibly advanced. (Of course, if it were that advanced, why would it need to take control of the screen and use the mouse to do things like copy files?)

Not as bad as I was expecting....

It turned out the brake piston which was leaking was just seeping. I'll have to keep an eye on it and my brake fluid levels, but it is drivable for now. The entire caliper doesn't need replacement, just one portion of it. So it shouldn't be too horribly expensive, and it's not really all that hard a part to replace.

HOWEVER, my shocks were also starting to give out (I thought the back end of the car looked like it was starting to sag). I decided to go with some stronger coil-overs, which were a bit more expensive.

I was expecting to blow my entire paycheck on this, but it ended up only costing half. :P

At least I got an extra 5 hours of work today.
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