June 14th, 2002, 05:50 AM
Ten ways to kill your laptop
This list of 10 top laptop deaths is compiled by Complete Computer Cover, which modestly describes itself as the UK's leading laptop insurer. The company analysed its claims data over the last five years, after staff ran up an unofficial league table of the weirdest or most interesting causes of laptop destruction. Here are the results:
1. Dropped off a bridge into a river
The most disastrous demise was deemed to be the claim of a Yorkshire university student who provided a highly-detailed diagram showing how he
had dropped his laptop off a bridge 20ft down into a river after being pushed from behind by a friend.
2. Dropped iron on screen
Second spot in the computer catastrophe chart went to the schoolchild whose mum managed to smash the laptop's screen by dropping an iron on it.
3. Dog chewed through cable
Third place went to a person whose dog chewed through the cable causing the machine to short out (the dog escaped without injury).
4. Reversed over by car
Fourth was awarded to the woman who forgot she had put her laptop down on her drive and then accidentally backed her car over it, and fifth to a hospital worker who managed to spill a fast-food milkshake over the keyboard Filmed reconstruction - 2.5MB MPG).
5. Spilt milkshake on keyboard
6 Left on car roof and dropped off
7. Fell down stairs
8. Water damage in hotel in Zambia
9. Book dropped on keyboard
10. Fell out of van
According to CCC's data, up to 60 per cent of laptop claims received are for accidental damange. The rest are for theft. From this it extrapolates - on the assumption that there are five million laptops in circulation in the UK (a bit high, maybe?) that 100,000 are damaged and c.67,000 are stolen every year. Most thefts apparently occur in offices and schools (12 per cent each).
Thefts from schools can only go up, considering that a: Vodafone and O2 are at last introducing technology to block calls from stolen mobile phones b: most mobile phones are probably stolen by teenagers and c: the UK government is promoting discounted laptops to teachers through a £100m scheme (Its called the National Grid for Learning Laptops for Teachers initiative if you must know).
Don't knock it
Knocking or dropping the laptop is by far the most common cause of accidental damage. Should you be insured? Of course you should - and specifically for your laptop, CCC advises. It points out that business laptops are not insured outside the office building under general cover, while personal laptops are not covered under household contents insurance, if they are used for business - in any shape or form.
The bit in the italics is our comment. Our managing director Linus Birtles found this out to his cost when his personal laptop was stolen recently at Miami airport. ®