Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thunderstruck: iPod's unintended "feature"

Well, who hasn't found themselves with some unintended product features on their hands?

Sometimes they're good ones. Who knew that the accounting application could also be used to automate world peace?

Sometimes they're not so good ones. Who knew that it you left the accounting application running over night it would not only eat the user's hard drive, but the guy's in the next cubicle's, too.

For iPod, the unintended "feature" is decidedly on the downside.

Tuning in during a storm, it turns out, can result in severe burns, ruptured eardrums, and a broken jaw.

It's not just iPods.

Apparently using any "portable electronic device" outdoors when there's thunder and lightning can be dangerous. The devices aren't lightning rods, per se, but if lightning strikes nearby and bounces your way, the metal in the "portable electronic device" can act as a mighty fine conductor and you end up worse off than if you'd been device-less.

All this was written up in a recent AP article I saw on Comcast.

And it's no urban legend, either.

So, now that it's summertime. And since every last one of us is more or less permanently glued to some electronic device.  BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.

If you're quasi-chilling in the hammock with your laptop in your lap and you want to take a quick peak at your e-mails. If you're visiting the Lincoln Memorial and you want to use your cell phone to show everyone you're there. If you're strolling by the water's edge listening to Patti Paige croon "Old Cape Cod" on your iPod. And if it look's like there's a storm brewing:

  • Turn off your portable electronic device.
  • Get inside.

I know that it never would have occured to me that something unplugged could be dangerous during a storm, apparently that's not the case.

Sometimes what you don't know CAN hurt you.

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