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John Kupski received a call from a user recently about a failed laptop. The irate user complained that his laptop was dead, had not worked at home all weekend, and he had no idea what had happened to the unit even though it had stayed put on his dining room table the entire time.
Upon seeing the machine, John immediately noticed that there was significant blackening around the docking connector, and a strong smell of carbon. Opening up the laptop, the "2" key fell to the desk, and there was an unknown viscous substance on the keyboard and LCD panel that had resulted in quite a thick fuzzy build-up.
To John, this was a sure sign of some kind of spill. However, when asked, the user assured, "Nothing spilled at all! Again, it just sat on my desk the entire weekend!" When queried about the material all over the keyboard and screen. After all, how dusty can his desk be? The user simply rolled his eyes and said, "Yeah, that's just hair from my cat. He likes to help me on the weekends. I meant to clean that up before you guys picked up my computer."
After bringing the unit back to his bench, John started removing the hard drive, hoping to minimize downtime by inserting it into an identical laptop he had on-hand, but there was something funny. He noticed corrosion on the screws on the base of the unit. This was was, to say the least, extremely weird. After all, there's not much out there that corrodes an anodized screw in a regular office environment.
Removing the battery led to an absolutely awful smell, which had up until this point been masked by the carbon. John couldn't immediately place the scent and, thinking it was potentially some kind of leak, he continued with his work. Once he opened the laptop case, and the hard drive was pulled, he noticed that it showed surface corrosion on it as well along with an almost greasy texture. The hard drive exhibited the same horrible scent as the battery - something acidic and foul. After thinking that the smell was ammonia-like, it dawned on him.
The user's cat, who apparently enjoyed the warmth the unit radiated, used it as a bed, and, apparently, a litter box too.
In the end, it was an easy decision to scrap the old laptop but not without first advising the user that next time he decides to bring his laptop home to keep his cat as far away as possible.