Thursday, June 29, 2006

Exploding laptops, oh my!

We sent out a press release at work yesterday in response to a report published in The Inquirer that some poor soul's Dell laptop exploded and burned in Japan. Battery recalls are apparently nothing new for laptop manufacturers - mine was recalled last year, coincidentally - and reports of battery-caused fires go back over 20 years.

Although my first thought on seeing the report was a dismissive, "Dude, you're getting a third-degree burn on your lap," I eventually wiped the smirk off my face and realized this is a serious issue. To wit, if one of these things goes incendiary while you're on a plane, you and your fellow winged-tube-dwellers are pretty much cooked.

I'll wager the prospect of hundreds of thousands of laptops being recalled because they could overheat and catch fire scares you as much as it scares me.

So we released this to the wires yesterday: Exploding Laptops Pose Potential Hazard for Air Travel and Personal Safety. It was initially posted to Yahoo! Finance, as well as PR Newswire. Stay tuned for more.

Your turn: Am I being the technological equivalent of Chicken Little? And even if you think I am, do you think Mr. Little would make a good pet for a child?

Update - Thursday afternoon: We're raising quite the ruckus with this one. Here's a quick view of some pickups:


Karen said...

Oh, honestly. Isn't everything eventually dangerous? I don't think you're being Chicken Little because you obviously use your laptop a LOT. But all I could think is that there's a lawsuit waiting to be filed by someone, right? Well, be careful with that laptop, Carmi.

Just stopping by to say hello. Hope you're having a great day.

Young Lady said...

I agree, everything is dangerous these days, surprised that Jello hasn't gotten sued yet for somebodys back being thrown out for trying to jiggle like the jello in a chicken little costume.

Oh and your turn to do a 100 things about yourself list!

Ontario Emperor said...

I'm wondering how the airlines would react. On the one hand, many of their customers would be pushing them to keep these "time bombs" off of planes. On the other hand, their frequent customers would demand that they be allowed to continue carrying them. Perhaps the vacation airlines will panic and ban them.

This Sunday I'm flying across country with this laptop. It doesn't feel excessively hot at the moment. (Luckily for my co-passengers, I hardly ever use my laptop on a plane; I don't enjoy the pretzel feeling.)

kenju said...

If I had a laptop, I might set it on a table/desk instead of my lap. Otherwise, I'd see if I could buy a piece of asbestos to put under it....LOL

Kara said...

Ha, ok, i know this is serious..but I can't help but chuckle...he he

Shan said...

I borrowed a laptop from school today to watch a teaser trailer. It did not explode.

~A~ said...

Honey's department uses Dell laptops for their officers in car computers and they get hot all the time. In fact Honey's laptop is in the shop because the HD went out again, but we think this is from being jostled in the car stand.

but still, that's freaky just thinking of all the equipment and ammo and crap in his car, around that computer. *eek*

I think I'll show him this tonight to freak him out. :)

jennypenny said...

Carmi! I hope you know that I am reading this all from my brand new 2 hour old laptop and you have managed to scare the crap out of me. Lol. Happy weekend buddy. Here from Michele's

Mike said...

Thumper has been having a problem with her laptop overheating. We think it just might need to be cleaned inside. Hopefully that is all it is.

Here from Michele

Unknown said...

Carmi: First of all,I wanted you to know Michele sent me. How funny! On the computer issue, I used to own a Dell Laptop. But this brought to mind the danger of exploding cell phones. I'm not kidding! I cancelled my service with a Nokkia cell phone. The battery would become very hot and I was not the least bit interested in losing an ear or worse. This is a serious issue I would have never learned about had I not stopped by. Always a pleasure, Carmi! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

When I heard about it on the news, all I could do was roll my eyes. It's always something, isn't it?

kenju said...

Imagine that! Michele sent me back after I came on my own. Have a great weekend!~

srp said...

A long time ago, probably before most of you were born, Ralph Nader went around finding all the dangerous things about different products. At the time a saying started:
Walking on your feet is dangerous to your health, according to Ralph Nader.

I'm not sure I can think of anything that is not dangerous to your health, if used in the wrong fashion or at the wrong time or as a by-product of chance.

Wouldn't the laptop start feeling a wee bit too hot to handle if it were malfunctioning? And what about digital cameras with rechargeable batteries? Sometimes they feel hot to the touch when in use. I guess we just have to be careful, read instructions, keep our items in good repair and use common sense.

Hey! An asteroid could hit at any time and Chicken Little would be right!

Here from Michele again.

Anonymous said...

I'm an airline pilot so the idea of something burning on the plane is an occupational hazard but we have thought through how to deal with these sorts of things before.

I'm certainly not trying to minimize the problem but it's incredibly remote that this would cause any sort of real problem above what it would be in your office if it happened. Other than your office wouldn't divert to Des Moines because the laptop exploded.

Michele sent me.

MsT said...

I had heard about the cell phones, but not laptops, although that makes sense. I am more concerned about the radiation emitting from these devices and how that affects us than spontaneous combustion. Michele says hi!

Anonymous said...

Hey Carmi,

This time Michele sent me.

Happy weekend to you and the family.

Sandy said...

Seriously, my laptop died about a year ago. The night it went kaput I remember sitting with it on my lap thinking how darn hot that thing got when it had been on for a while.

It never occured to me it might actually erupt one day. Yeow!

This time I'm here via Michele's.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Carmi.

Exploding laptops aren't very likely to happen but when it does happen, the results could be really severe. Laptops are often in the proximity to lots of paper and I can easily see large fires resulting. Serious shit, man!

Ontario Emperor said...

Another thought occurred to me on this subject. Since the computer manufacturers are all moving toward components that consume less power, is there a possibility that this will become less of a danger?

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