Sony Vaio explodes on journalist's lap

Why is it that laptops have a habit of exploding at or around journalists? The Inquirer got the scoop on an exploding Dell back in 2006, a wake up call to the nature of online journalism as CNN and countless other snooze outfits ran with the picture without accreditation. You can add us to that list, we guess.

Another former INQster, Charlie Demerjian now of SemiAccurate, has confirmed that his Sony Vaio laptop caught fire while he was in bed. The immediate reaction was to pull the plug and yank the malformed battery out as the thing bellowed smoke around Demerjian’s palatial bedroom quarters. 

He says, in typical Charlie fashion: “On Sunday, December 19, I was sitting in bed half awake, surfing the net instead of getting up and doing something productive. That is what weekends are for, right? My first clue was a large puff of grey-black smoke billowing up from the left side of the laptop. No, seriously, one minute lolcatz, the next OMFGfire!!!!1!!”

He took to Sony’s online live support chat where an analyst called Shanon_ quizzed him at length about the country of origin rather than apologise profusely and make right. See:

Charlie Demerjian > You seem to be more concerned with the fact that the laptop isn’t US based than the fact THAT IT JUST CAUGHT FIRE!

Charlie Demerjian > Minor point, I know, but it does concern me.

Shanon_ > Charlie, it is requried to contact the purchase country to get the issue resolved with the computer.

The model number is VGN-TZ22VN/x, apparently. When the helpful analyst had passed on a link to Sony’s support website, where Charlie had to sleuth to figure out its country of origin, Shanon_ promptly said goodbye, thanks and shut down the chat.  We’re unclear at press time whether or not this particular Vaio was the one that Kicking Pat Gelsinger – then at Intel – autographed for Charlie.

Dell’s exploding laptop in 2006 was sporting a Sony battery under the bonnet. It lead to a recall on a massive scale but our only explanation is that press departments are getting craftier – it makes more sense to bomb journalists than appease them.