We've all experienced a momentary lapse in judgment resulting in an unfortunate premature death of a tech device. How many keyboards and laptops have been ruined by spilled soda cans? Dropped phones and failed TV mounts are the stuff of excruciating
legend daily life. We describe some of our own best worst boneheaded moments involving tech, bad on the spot decision making, and clumsy fingers. Share your own tech blunders, now that enough time has passed and we can laugh it off (as opposed to crying when it first happened).
Short Circuited My Computer: Powering up my computer after installing a new video card, I was screwing the case back together with the machine still on. The tiny screw I was holding slipped out of my fingers off the tip of the screwdriver and fell onto the motherboard. A loud zapping noise and sparks jumped about in the case and I was on my way to replacing my (not cheap) motherboard.
Dropped My iPhone at 20mph: Just recently I covered the death and revival of my iPhone. In short, the phone wiggled it's way out of a cell phone bicycle mount on the bumpy streets of Baltimore, shattering the glass. Unbelievably it was still quite functional!
Dropped a 50" Big Screen TV Down a Flight of Stairs: While moving our old school rear projection TV out of the house, "a friend" slipped and lost his grip, sending the monstrous beast tumbling down the stairs. The wood enclosure splintered to several pieces and there were plastic bits everywhere. Luckily we were heading to the dumpster anyway so we just had to make a few more smaller trips for the pieces.
Dropped (and Fortunately Caught) a Mounted Flat Panel TV: My brother had a contractor build out a wall in his basement and install a flat panel TV mount above the fireplace. As we were placing the TV on the mount, it hung there for a brief second - and then fell! Slow motion Matrix-style action ensued as we actually caught the TV on its way down before hitting the ground. That would have been a costly mistake, which we rectified by actually properly hanging and locking in the TV the second go around.
Started a Fire In My Toaster: A toaster would seem a rather benign appliance in the kitchen. You put bread in and you take toast out. One unfortunate morning days ago (okay maybe it was yesterday) I was reheating leftover tacos for breakfast (I know, I know) when the shell fell apart and down onto the heater element. A not-so-small fire broke out in the toaster, filling the apartment with smoke and setting off the extremely sensitive smoke detectors. The ensuing scene was straight out of a comedy movie, as I ran back and forth between trying to put out the fire, open the front and balcony doors to let the smoke out, and fan the smoke detectors to turn them off. The draft from the balcony door kept slamming the front door shut, and I couldn't for the life of me find something to prop the door open. Only after what seemed like an eternity did I finally kill the fire and the smoke detectors, as well as notice a fire extinguisher my landlord had left under the sink for just such a situation.
To Call Or Not To Call?: I stepped away from a Skype video chat for an extended period of time once and came back to my friend fast asleep on her couch. The laptop was balanced precariously on her stomach and I could see it slowly sliding down towards the floor. I was faced with a dilemma - do I call and risk getting in trouble for causing it to fall or let it go on its own, hoping it wouldn't fall as well as not taking any of the blame? In the end I didn't call - and it fell. Oops.
Cut the Speaker Cable On An Answering Machine: My parents' answering machine was irritatingly buzzing constantly and after a too brief discussion with them I decided the best course of action was to cut the speaker cable for the base unit. They could still check their messages on their individual cordless handsets, just no longer out loud on the (broken) speaker. Of course, 3 months later when they somehow reset their outgoing message and needed to re-record it, I found out that you could only do it on the base unit. Without being able to hear the prompts and beeps made it nearly impossible to do. Fortunately I found the manual online and through 30 minutes of excruciating trial and error figured out the steps and timing. Disaster / angry mom averted.
And You?: Share your stories on tech blunders and mistakes - we'd love to hear that we're not the only ones breaking and setting things on fire.
Disaster Aversion: Check out some of these great tips and stories from the Unplggd archives on how to avoid future tech blunders.
- Have You Lost Tech in a Tragedy?
- Detect Leaks Before They Become Floods with GE's Sensor
- Monitor Humidity Levels to Save Archived Memories
- Can Shower Steam Kill Your Laptop?
- Your Complete Guide to Power Surges
- 5 Ways You're Destroying Your Appliances
- Keep Your Gadget on a Leash. No, Really
- Look! iPod Survives Being Crushed by a Truck
Baby Proof: Sometimes no matter how careful you are, it's the innocent baby or puppy that crushes your dreams and flat screen TV.
- Toddler Plays with USB Cable, Ends up in Hospital
- Kids vs Tech: Who Will Win?
- How to Babyproof Your Flat Screen TV
- Baby-Proofing An IKEA Hacked LACK TV Bench
- How To Prep Your Home Tech for a New Pet
- A Modern & Baby-Proof Home Office Computer Desk
- DIY Project: Baby Proof Remote Control
Fixing Your Mistakes: When life hands you lemons you make DIY hacked projects.
- Home Remedies For Common Electronics Mishaps
- How To Bring Your iPhone Back to Life
- Remove Screen Scratches with Toothpaste
- Missing Notifications? Fix Your iPhone's Vibrate!
- Fix a Scratched CD With a Banana
- 5 Ways To Make Your Office Chair Suck A Little Less
- 5 Ways to Save Money on Home Tech Repairs
- iFixit's Free Repair Manuals Let Everyone Try DIY
- Remove a Broken Lightbulb with a Plastic Water Bottle
- Digi-Garden Hack: Using Broken dSLRs as Plant Pots
Fixes For Your TV, Sound System, and Video Games
- How to: Fix Hot, Dead or Stuck Pixels on Your Screen
- How To Fix a Stuck or Dead Pixel
- The Easy (and Quick!) Way to Fix TV Burn-In
- How To Fix (Almost) Any Set of Audio Speakers
- How To Fix (Almost) Any Set of Audio Speakers 2
- How To Fix (Almost) Any Set of Audio Speakers 3
- Reader Tip: Jon's PS2 Quick Fix
Fixes For Your PC or Mac
- The Best Resources for Fixing Common PC Problems
- What To Check When Things Go Wrong
- Troubleshooting 101: Is Software or Hardware the Problem?
- What To Do When Your Computer Gives You The Finger?
- Good Questions: Vista - A Mysterious Black Hanging Screen of Death?
- Cheaply Replacing A Broken MacBook Screen
- The Best Resources for Fixing Common Mac Problems
- Use Binder Clips to Mend Broken Keyboard Feet
- How to Securely Back Up Your Data
- How To Fix Your Broken Airport Express
- 6 DIY Laptop Repairs for Common Mishaps