The weirdest computing disasters of 2008

Roasted laptops, panthers savaging memory sticks and angry fishermen throwing computers overboard top the list of the year's weirdest computing disasters.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor
Roasted laptops, panthers savaging memory sticks and angry fishermen throwing computers overboard top the list of the year's weirdest computing disasters.

The top 10 data blunders of 2008, compiled by data recovery firm Kroll Ontrack, have seen people across the world falling victim to acts of great stupidity and misfortune.

1. Roasted laptop
A man put his laptop into the kitchen oven before going on holiday to protect it from burglars.

His wife came home and used the oven to cook a roast chicken, toasting the laptop drive in the process.

2. Washed up
A laptop was stolen from a family house along with a purse, car keys and the family car. The car was found the following day by the riverside but with no sign of the laptop or handbag.

Days later, a Good Samaritan arrived at the burgled home with a dripping-wet laptop bag, and the laptop inside.

His children had found it washed up on the beach, together with the handbag containing the owner's address.

3. Gone fishing
A lawyer went fishing with her father and bought her laptop along hoping to do some business at the same time.

Furious that she had brought a laptop into the fishing boat, her father's friend threw the laptop bag, containing the PC and backup media, overboard.

4. All cooped up
When Hurricane Katrina hit the US in 2005, a newlywed couple caught in the hurricane thought both their engagement and wedding photos would never be recovered after their home was caught up in the wild weather.

Despite initially being told the drive was corroded beyond repair, they dug up the waterlogged drive from their basement more than two years later and were finally able to recover their pictures of the big day.

5. Overboard
An around-the-world sailing trip ended badly for a sailor when her boat capsized on the last day of her trip with a laptop on board, leaving her fearing she had lost the record of her once in a lifetime trip on the high seas.

6. It's a jungle out there
A wildlife research institute project came to a sudden halt when one of the flash tracking chips from a Florida panther's collar was physically damaged in the wild.

7. That's a wrap
An independent filmmaker was putting the final touches to his latest Western using his MacBook Pro when it started making odd noises and crashed.

Without a backup copy, he worried his year of hard work would go to waste but it was recovered and is now available internationally on DVD.

8. Swept away
A routine house clean went awry when a flash drive was sucked-up together with food crumbs by a vacuum cleaner.

It was so powerful that tracks from the drive were pulled from the circuit board and the connector was torn loose.

9. Baby teeth
Kroll Ontrack received an SD card from a camera with lots of teeth marks on it. The customer indicated a 'wild animal' had got hold of it and chewed it.

The wild animal he was referring to was his two-year-old son.

10. Dog gone wild
A rowdy dog knocked a portable USB drive off a coffee table, rendering it unreadable by the family's computer. At stake were five years of family photos.

Fortunately, all of those who suffered had their data restored by Ontrack Data Recovery's engineers.

Editorial standards