IT risks, wariness and planned obsolescence

In last week's I wrote about some pyrotechnic chemistry and said that, luckily in IT the worst thing that can happen is an occasional electrical shock or stubbed toe. I then invited you to share your stories if you had experienced anything worse.

Reader Fred Loucks-Schultz agreed that getting electric shocks and stubbed toes are routine, then followed with a grizzly example: "I once ran a 110 punchdown tool into the middle finger of my left hand, which is still technically my worst directly work-related injury." Not bad and definitely cringe worthy, but there has to be an example with more drama ….

Reader Tom Rice recalled that "in the early mainframe days, disk drives had huge platters and the units were as big as a couple refrigerators. They actually used hydraulics as part of the mechanism. One day one of the engineers came out of the computer room with his suit jacket soaked in oil. A hydraulic line had broken and doused him." Amusing, but no cigar. Hasn't anyone been crushed by a fully populated 19-inch rack or barely escaped being gassed by a Halon system? Let me know.

In I discussed trust and reader Pico Nazzaro wrote that he has learned to be wary of "people who use my name in a sentence when they are talking directly to me (usually a sales person, which right away is a reason to be suspicious)" and "people who say 'trust me' when I have no good reason to do so." Pico's last wariness is one I share.

You know what else I am wary of? High-tech devices with batteries that can't be changed.

Like many people, I first became aware of this deficiency when the battery in my first iPod started to hold less and less of a charge (being at 30,000 feet without your own groove is bad news).