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Top 10 tech embarrassments you'll want to avoid

By Dan Tynan
December 18, 2008 12:00 PM ET

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 No. 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 at 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 No. 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).

Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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