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Sunday, December 13, 2009

[Hannah]: How I Carried an Explosive Device Around in my Backpack For a Year

Now, before I start this story I want you all to know that I am already (or was, at some point) on the TSA watch list. Let's just say it's something about a 3 and 3/4" knife that I TOTALLY meant to put in my checked luggage. And granted, this is probably more the TSA watch list of morons than the watch list of potential terrorists. But let's just say I have reasons even more than most people to not wish to be carrying minor explosives around with me in my day to day life.

Last year, excited by holiday season sales, I bought a netbook - more specifically, a Dell Inspiron Mini 9. It was super cheap, it was super lightweight, and it did NOT RUN WINDOWS VISTA. I have had the worst timing with computers - the year before last I bought a laptop in a hurry and it turned out to be running one of the earlier versions of Vista, you know, before they'd "gotten all the bugs out". The only problem with the Mini, I thought, was that the keyboard was kind of small, oh, and the processor wasn't super fast. But OK, fine.

But I was wrong. The actual problem was that this computer - its battery at least - can explode!

I was home alone 2 nights ago, just, you know,, using my computer lying on the couch like I do, you know, 14 hours of the day. And I put it down on the floor. And immediately there was a loud noise and clouds of smoke started pouring out of the computer. Also impressive hissing, sizzling noises and some more crackles. It looked like this!
When everything died down a little bit I pushed on it with my foot and it started up again. And then when it finally stopped, it looked like this:

The burn actually goes all the way through the laptop - you can see daylight through it.

When I got on the phone with tech support for the first time, the guy asked me sternly, "now did you say you PLACED the laptop on the floor, or did you DROP it on the floor?" As if dropping it would have been a good excuse for having it explode.

Seriously, though, that's the only time anyone's been mean to me about this so far. The CA and I took it to our local computer repair guys just to see the looks on their faces, which was fun, and I emailed the pix to some tech and consumer blogs ... who, as luck would have it, know some guys at Dell ... who I assume would rather not ruin their holiday retailing season with a massive battery recall.... they have been, as we say, "responsive", thus far.

Now if I can get them to pay my nice landlord for the BURNT FLOORBOARDS in our apartment, that would be a very happy ending to this story. The hard drive isnt burnt so I might even be able to get my data back!

There is a comical photo that illustrates the end of this story but the CA has it and he's still sleeping. Will post soon.


At 9:22 PM, Blogger melinama said...

so scary! this could theoretically burn your house down! so what computer are you gonna try NEXT time, with your excellent computer kung fu?


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