Top 10 Tech Embarrassments You'll Want to Avoid

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Tech Embarrassment 4: Your Cell Phone Is Not a Flotation Device

Gaudy toilet
We don't know what it is about smart phones, but they seem magnetically attracted to bodies of water--particularly in the bathroom.

Patti Wood, a motivational speaker in Georgia brave enough to use her full name, writes:

"I was in a hotel room, talking to my sister on the cell phone while I put on makeup to give a speech. I got mascara in my eye, so I reached over the toilet to get some tissue. Sure enough, I blinked, and the cell phone dropped into the toilet. I reached in and grabbed it soaking wet, and managed to dry it off. It is still my cell phone. My sister still teases me about talking on the phone near the toilet."

Not to be outdone, Jill, a chef (and CrackBerry addict) in Chicago, says she was on a flight home and really had to use the facilities. So, she...

"...went to the lav and sat down, and heard a disheartening 'thunk.' It was my BlackBerry hitting the airplane toilet--never to return to my hands. In my confusion and rushing to make the flight, I had slipped it into my back pocket before getting on the plane, and I forgot to take it out."

Fortunately, she had both insurance and current backups of all her data. Less than a day later, she was up and cracking again.

How to avoid having this happen to you: When you really gotta go, leave the phone behind. And be sure to back up your mobile data daily, just in case.

Tech Embarrassment 5: When You Animate E-Mail, the Terrorists Win

Generally it's a bad idea to send e-mail with cute little animations embedded. But if you must send e-mail with cute little animations, don't do it the day after a national tragedy.

Neal, an executive with an Internet consulting firm in Georgia, shares a story about working for a small midwestern Web agency in 2001 that had just opened an office in New York:

"We were planning to have an open house in early October. The e-mail invitation was scheduled to go out on September 12 (yes, one day after 9/11). That morning I told the owner's secretary not to send the invitation because nobody was in the mood for a party in New York. I was overruled, and the secretary pressed the Send button. The invitation embedded a small animation: An airplane leaving Milwaukee and flying to New York City--directly toward the Twin Towers."

Within a minute the phones started ringing. Angry e-mail poured in. Neal says the company disabled the animation, but it was too late. The party never happened, and the New York office closed shortly thereafter.

How to avoid having this happen to you: Did we mention that it's a bad idea to send e-mail with animations inside?

Tech Embarrassment 6: Change Your Wiki Ways

Getting caught "sprucing up" your own Wikipedia entry is embarrassing. Getting caught doing it for your girlfriend--and then breaking up with her via Wikipedia--can only mean one thing: You're Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, founder of the online encyclopedia.

In February 2008, Wales publicly dumped former Fox News commentator Rachel Marsden after a brief fling, following accusations that he had changed Marsden's Wikipedia entry to be friendlier to her. She apparently found out by reading a statement he'd posted to his personal Wikipedia page (now since moved to his own blog).

Marsden responded via an e-mail that magically found its way to Valleywag:

"You are the sleazebag I always suspected you were, and [I] should have listened more carefully to my gut instincts--and to my friends. No, in fact, you are much, much worse than I ever expected. You are an absolute creep, and it was a colossal mistake on my part to have gotten involved with you....There is nothing good left to say whatsoever. Goodbye Jimmy, and good riddance."

After sending the e-mail, Marsden sold clothes that Wales had left at her apartment on eBay.

Rachel Marsden
For the record, Wales denies giving Marsden special treatment. We suspect she doesn't think it was all that special either.

How to avoid having this happen to you: 1. Don't date Jimmy Wales. 2. Don't date Rachel Marsden. 3. And if you must date either of these people, don't leave dirty laundry behind.

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