Most unusual data disaster horror stories for 2007



  • [QUOTE]

     

    "...include a scientist who drilled into his hard drive in order to pour
    oil into the mechanism to stop the squeaking. It worked. Of course a
    dead drive makes no noise. And, then a guy in Thailand who, after
    discovering ants in his external hard drive, took the cover off in
    order to spray the interior with insect repellent. Both the ants and
    the drive died...."

     


    [QUOTE]

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=storage&articleId=9051298&taxonomyId=19&intsrc=kc_top 



  • Stupidity truly knows no bounds. But, to be fair to the ant guy, those were clearly bugs, not features.

     Still, ants in your external drive are clearly preferable to this (shudder).


     



  • One woman called to complain that she had "washed all her data away."
    Her USB stick had been through a cycle in her washing machine and --
    surprise! -- she couldn't retrieve any data from it.

    My girlfriend has done that TWICE! Forgotten to take her USB stick out of her pocket, and then put her trousers through the washing machine, AND the tumble drier.

    Both times the stick worked perfectly afterwards with apparently no data loss.

    I'd tell you the make of the device, but the branding washed off in the machine.
     





  • USB stick in the washer isn't a problem. Just let it dry and it will be fine.

    Now a USB stick in the dryer. Doh!



  • @SpoonMeiser said:

    One woman called to complain that she had "washed all her data away."
    Her USB stick had been through a cycle in her washing machine and --
    surprise! -- she couldn't retrieve any data from it.

    My girlfriend has done that TWICE! Forgotten to take her USB stick out of her pocket, and then put her trousers through the washing machine, AND the tumble drier.

    Both times the stick worked perfectly afterwards with apparently no data loss.

    I'd tell you the make of the device, but the branding washed off in the machine.
     

    The washer got it wet, the dryer evaporated all moisture so ur fine. If it got TOO HOT the circuits may have melted. Does she wash in cold water? 



  • I've solved many a computer issue with my trustee hammer. At this point i think the computer is too scared to make any problems!



  • Actually, I had a broken video card. My uncle and I poped it open and noticed that the fan was not turning on (the fan controller may have burned out) so we hard-wired the fan directly to the power. Well... that was fine except that one screw lifted the heatsink off the GPU... then the comp turned on and i said "Whats the burning smell"?



  • @RayS said:

    Stupidity truly knows no bounds.

    Yes, the stupidity of reporters who will parrot stories that are often made-up or exaggerated.

     



  • @seaturnip said:

    @RayS said:

    Stupidity truly knows no bounds.

    Yes, the stupidity of reporters who will parrot stories that are often made-up or exaggerated.

     

    If you've never worked as a PC tech, it probably sounds impossible, but trust those of us who've fished CDs from 5 1/4 inch floppy drives and helped users turn the 'sun knob' to make their monitors more viewable; people do unlikely things to their computers and expect miracles when it doesn't work out.
     



  • @arty said:

    @seaturnip said:
    @RayS said:

    Stupidity truly knows no bounds.

    Yes, the stupidity of reporters who will parrot stories that are often made-up or exaggerated.

     

    If you've never worked as a PC tech, it probably sounds impossible, but trust those of us who've fished CDs from 5 1/4 inch floppy drives and helped users turn the 'sun knob' to make their monitors more viewable; people do unlikely things to their computers and expect miracles when it doesn't work out.
     

     

    Reminds me of the WTF article about the guy who took a flopy disk out of it's casing... the DISK itself out of the flopy disk plastic.

    Its actually funnier when you have someone saying "Something is wrong, my computer wont start". "Is it plugged in?" "Let me check... No... is that bad?" I actually had to troubleshoot that once.



  • the "sun knob"? please explain this joke to a lowly computer scientist. I may be too well trained to understand the thought processes of a first-time-computer-user.



  • @TheRider said:

    the "sun knob"? please explain this joke to a lowly computer scientist. I may be too well trained to understand the thought processes of a first-time-computer-user.

    The control to adjust monitor brightness is often labeled with a sun symbol.



  • @dlikhten said:

    Its actually funnier when you have someone saying "Something is wrong, my computer wont start". "Is it plugged in?" "Let me check... No... is that bad?" I actually had to troubleshoot that once.

    More common version of that one is a phone call where  the caller goes "I have no network at my workplace, could you come and see whats wrong?" And when you ask them "Is your network cable plugged in?" they say at best case "Oh, do I need that?" and at worst "What is that?". Happened to me yesterday...



  • How about

    "My network won't work!"
    "Is the network cable plugged in?"
    "Yes."
    "Do you receive any error message?"
    "Yes, it says 'Network cable unplugged'"
    "Are you sure the network cable is plugged in?"
    "Yes!"
    "Check again, please."
    "Just a moment...oh, you mean the [i]network[/i] cable."

    headdesk

     



  • @SpoonMeiser said:

    One woman called to complain that she had "washed all her data away."
    Her USB stick had been through a cycle in her washing machine and --
    surprise! -- she couldn't retrieve any data from it.

    My girlfriend has done that TWICE! Forgotten to take her USB stick out of her pocket, and then put her trousers through the washing machine, AND the tumble drier.

    Both times the stick worked perfectly afterwards with apparently no data loss.

    I'd tell you the make of the device, but the branding washed off in the machine.
     

    I think I once put a Playstation memory card through the wash. It didn't work afterwards.

    Also, not actually data loss, but I managed to produce an unusual variant on a 'coaster' a while ago, when I accidentally burned the CD version of Knoppix to a DVD. Works fine - but not in my old laptop's CD (only) drive!

    And there was the time I hosed my system when I did rm -fr * to remove a broken copy of the root partition; only I ran it in the original by mistake! Fortunately /home was safe (I was working from a LiveCD at the time).



  • That "coaster" happened to me too... I wanted to burn a MP3 CD for my MP3 car radio... and only noticed in the car that I had used a DVD+R for it, but the car of course can't read it. This is of course not my fault, but Ubuntu's, as for some reason "cdrecord" now writes to DVDs too... (for burning to CDs, I use a script using cdrecord, and for DVDs, I use growisofs manually, and in the past cdrecord failed on CDs, so I never got that problem)

    As for rm -rf * - that command is broken anyway. Don't use it. It does not include dotfiles. rm -rf the parent folder instead, or use some file manager like mc for it. However, do not - under any circumstances - do rm -rf .* * to escape this problem (however, rm now refuses to delete . and ..; same thing however still happens with other command and can lead to surprising results, like tar and rsync).



  • @SpoonMeiser said:

    One woman called to complain that she had "washed all her data away." Her USB stick had been through a cycle in her washing machine and -- surprise! -- she couldn't retrieve any data from it.

    My girlfriend has done that TWICE! Forgotten to take her USB stick out of her pocket, and then put her trousers through the washing machine, AND the tumble drier.

    Both times the stick worked perfectly afterwards with apparently no data loss.

    I'd tell you the make of the device, but the branding washed off in the machine.
     



    ... wow. The exact same thing happened to me. Twice, too - although I think it only went through the tumble-drier once. Data was unharmed, both times. The make is just about legible, but I don't have it with me right now.



  • A few days ago, my son's cell phone went through the washing machine. After drying it on the radiator, it still works. And it's clean, too.



  • The best disaster story I have is someone trying to make a phone call while cooking dinner . . . and then dropping her cell phone in a pot of boiling water mid-call.



  • @OperatorBastardusInfernalis said:

    As for rm -rf * - that command is broken anyway. Don't use it. It does not include dotfiles. rm -rf the parent folder instead, or use some file manager like mc for it. However, do not - under any circumstances - do rm -rf .* to escape this problem 

     They say there are two kinds of sysadmins.  Those who have hosed the file system, and those who haven't -- yet.  Twas many years ago and a MINIX system away that I learned the dangers of rm -rf /tmp/.  The old MFM hard drive made more  noise than it should have so I didn't lose /too/ much.

    I still don't have a nice way of cleaning out /tmp, but "find . -exec rm -rf {} ;" seems to do the trick.   So far I haven't found a version of find that returns '.' and '..'



  • @r3jjs said:

    I still don't have a nice way of cleaning out /tmp

    On Linux, if it's a tmpfs mount like it should be, simply unmount it. 



  • @ammoQ said:

    A few days ago, my son's cell phone went through the washing machine. After drying it on the radiator, it still works. And it's clean, too.

    At a recent stag party, the grooms brother joined the fun in the hot tub fully clothed.  After a nice soak, he remembered his cell phone in his pocket.  It didn't work again.  From my experience it is pretty hit and miss with cell phones: I had another friend who dried out his phone and got it working, even though the screen had permanent drops of water in it. 



  • @Jetts said:

    @ammoQ said:

    A few days ago, my son's cell phone went through the washing machine. After drying it on the radiator, it still works. And it's clean, too.

    At a recent stag party, the grooms brother joined the fun in the hot tub fully clothed.  After a nice soak, he remembered his cell phone in his pocket.  It didn't work again.  From my experience it is pretty hit and miss with cell phones: I had another friend who dried out his phone and got it working, even though the screen had permanent drops of water in it. 

    My phone went down the loo (which had only water in at the time!). Afterwards, it still worked...sometimes . It could spend a few days at a time with the screen refusing to display anything (in fairness that happened on occasion before), and was really rubbish at getting signal. It's been replaced now, fortunately. Because having to walk round the block to make calls was bloody annoying.



  • They're definitely not hit and missed when dropped in to the sea!  Not only was my phone ruined by the salt water, it didn't take too long before the thing was half corroded as well.



  • @Nozz said:

    They're definitely not hit and missed when dropped in to the sea!  Not only was my phone ruined by the salt water, it didn't take too long before the thing was half corroded as well.
    I had (what ended up being) a similar problem with a Nokia I had.

     
    It suddenly started playing up then packed up completely. Sent it back to get fixed, and they sent back a photocopy of the innards - they'd been completely corroded.

     
    I'd been nowhere near the sea however. It was only much later I realised what caused it - it was the contact cases I was using at the time leaking slightly. I had been keeping the case in the same pocket as my phone.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.