Odd mishaps cause computer grief
To the print
Time: 80 minutes??
Level: Intermediate up
To give extensive & intensive reading practice
To review when direct & indirect speech is used.
To extend the stds' store of vocab connected to computers
To give freer speaking practice
That the stds will be computers-users.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult.
Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging - stage 4 will help
The article texts from the BBC News Technology
For more material on this topic:
Computer Stupidities - The following
is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless
computer users http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/
Stage 1 - Intro to the theme - discuss
attitudes to computers - if your students don't have computers
at home or work, adapt this stage to suit.
15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std
1. Set up the task - discuss in pairs their attitudes to computers
through the question sheet
2. Handout sheet - stds read to see if any problems.
3. Task - monitor.
4. Feedback - elicit answers & list the types of problems
on the board in a list - for use in the next stage!
Computers - discuss the following
with your partner:
1. How many computers have you got & how long have
you owned it/them?
2. How proficient would you say you were
with your computer?
expert - good - fair - just starting
3. Have you had problems with your computer?
What kinds of problems?
4. Have you ever lost any data? What happened?
5. Do you take any precautions so that
you don't lose data?
Stage 2 - Reading 'Odd mishaps cause computer
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std
1. Set the extensive task - quickly read to find any of the
problems mentioned in the previous stage turn up in the article.
Check & give a time limit of one minute.
2. Handout texts - stds quickly skim the article.
4. Set the more intensive task - stds individually write five
comprehension questions for their partner.
5. Stds write - go round & correct the questions in necessary.
6. Stds swap questions & answer.
7. Stds hand back questions for correction by original question
8. Verbal correction to each other if needed.
9., Feedback - anything interesting in the article? Know anyone
who these have happened to? etc..
You might have a vocabulary task after the
extensive task & before the more intensive one if you
feel they will find it too challenging, focusing on crucial
Stage 3 - Language focus - direct
& indirect speech
15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std
1. Ask stds to identify all examples of direct & indirect
speech in the text - at the start of each part they write
'I' or 'D' .
2. Individually stds find.
3. Stds compare ideas:
4. Ask stds in their pairs to discuss why certain parts are
in direct speech & others in indirect speech.
5. Feedback - the stds will probably come up with stylistic
choice - pick up on some examples & elicit why the choice
was made by the writer, possibly highlighting through a transformation
into in/direct speech to show how it sounds better in the
You could also work on some of the vocab
- the lexical field of 'computers' in the text & then
Stage 4 - Speaking - roleplay
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Handout the computer problems written
by individuals below - one to each student.
2. Stds read & consult each other about vocab.
3. Set up the mingle - stds have to talk to all explaining
their experience & decide who had the worst computer disaster
= the communicative purpose. You could briefly review the
language of giving sympathy with a few stems on the board.
4. Task - all up mingling & chatting - monitor & take
notes on problem areas, as well as the good things said!
5. Stds sit down & in pairs they decide on the worst experience
they heard - this will give them a chance to clarify any of
the stories with each other if they didn't understand it the
5. Feedback - Content feedback: which was the worst disaster
& why? Linguistic feedback: put up some errors & some
good things on the board - the stds decide which need correcting
& do so & you give them a pat on the back for the
good things said.
Stage 5 - Round off - class discussion
5-10 mins tch<>stds
1. To round off the lesson, if time, you
could then have a general class discussion on computers,
the internet, dangers, benefits etc to round off the lesson
Odd mishaps cause computer grief
A man so angry with his laptop that he shot it has
topped an annual league table of the oddest computer
Data recovery experts say although machine failure
is blamed for the majority of lost files, humans are
getting more careless too.
But while ways to rescue files are increasingly sophisticated,
people have to do more to protect and back up data.
The list of the strangest ways data was lost was compiled
by recovery experts Kroll Ontrack.
Experts say the technical breakdown of computers is
still the main cause of data loss, although human error
in the form of neglect, rage and clumsiness is fast
becoming one of the main reasons files need rescuing.
"Despite being the easiest problem to prevent,
we are seeing more cases where human error is to blame,"
said Adrian Palmer from Kroll Ontrack.
"Interestingly, we see a 15 to 20% increase in
calls to recover lost data on Mondays.
"This could be a result of the rush to complete
work and leave early for the weekend on Friday afternoons,
as well as a lack of staff concentration on Monday mornings,"
he told BBC News Online.
The top 10 shows all is not necessarily lost when the
computers become casualties of fire, wine and rage however.
Taking the number one spot is the US man who was so
frustrated with his laptop, he shot it in a fit of e-rage,
then realised there were important files he needed.
Hot on his heels is the company director whose soapy
bath time ended in disaster when his laptop slipped
in with him.
"People always think 'It will never happen to
me' when it comes to losing data," said Mr Palmer.
There is also an emerging trend in the different ways
men and women handle their loss.
More men than women are apparently more likely to try
and retrieve the data themselves before asking for help
from the experts, which sometimes causes more damage,
said Mr Palmer.
Data recovery experts are the technological doctors
and nurses of desktop or laptop hard drives.
Using increasingly sophisticated techniques, "lost"
files or information can be rescued and rebuilt into
a usable format.
This can happen in a matters of hours through remote
access, but in more serious cases computer patients
may have to be admitted to the lab.
The majority of mishaps in the top 10 list involved
laptop computers, which are more susceptible to damage.
There are countless examples of people forgetting them
on public transport and in cafes or bars.
Experts recommend data be backed up daily or weekly
and regular checks are made on back up systems to endure
they are working.
In all the cases of the top 10 data loss accidents,
computer files were rescued and restored.
|TOP 10 DATA DISASTERS
Laptop shot in anger
PC thrown out the window to destroy evidence before
Laptop fell off a moped and was run over by lorry
Laptop dropped in bath while doing company accounts
Stolen PCs rescued after three weeks in a river
Red wine spilt on laptop over dinner
Server rescued after running unchecked 24/7 for
years under layers of dust and dirt
Computer thrown against a wall
Latte-covered laptop rescued
Laptop left on car roof as owner drives off
Have you accidentally lost important files through
clumsiness, rage or forgetfulness? Tell us what your
worst data disaster has been.
My mother was so infuriated that she couldn't get
something to print, she proceeded to completely rip
the keyboard and mouse out of the sockets and throw
them out the window
I carried my laptop from the back door to the car.
I had trouble finding my keys so I placed the laptop
in its carry case by the wheel. I then found my keys
and got into the car and turned on the engine. Checked
my mirrors and start to move. By the time I remember
that I had left my laptop behind it was too late. The
laptop became very flat after that!
A friend at university had completed a 10,000 word
assignment the evening before the morning it was due
to be handed in. During the night there was a thunderstorm
and his house was hit by lightning which fused the entire
house's electricity and blew up his computer. He lost
the entire assignment.
Rob Nicol, England
We had just finished a huge huge project for a customer.
The backup server was full so everytime a tape was put
in for the daily backup, it actually overwrote the tape
with gobbledegook. When the server crashed we went back
to the tapes to use the backups, every tape was empty
and full of nonsense. Shocking, 18 months work all gone
! Our company eventually told our customer that it was
a virus, we worked days and nights, thankfully got lots
of overtime and finally delivered it. Huge mess though.
I recently had a hard drive physically overheat and
burn up on me taking more than 30 gigabytes of data
with it - the solution? Dump the hard drive in a plastic
bag and then into a bucket of ice to keep it cold enough
to recover the data. This worked so well, the drive
(which I had been told was "beyond saving"
by an 'expert') provided me with all of the missing
data and allowed me to make archive copies of it too
once it was transferred to a good drive.
Darren Gillett, United States
IT were not impressed when I tried to print off 4,444
pages of information! To cap it all, the person whose
printer I had clogged up was on holiday and the problem
only came to light when they tried to print their e-mails.
Nowadays, I am very careful where I send my printing.
All I wanted was the summary
Nicola Jennings, UK
Back in the days of XT machines, I was training a group
of middle executives how to use spreadsheets. It was
only an exercise but some of them clearly were not saving
their work, so I just suddenly pulled out the power
plug they were all connected to. The air was blue for
a bit, but I think they learned the most important lesson
in computer use!
A friend of mine ran a clip art company, back in the
days of 5.25 disks. There was a problem with one of
the 5.25 disks that had been sent out to a client and
he asked for a copy to be sent back so the problem could
be resolved. When the parcel arrived, it contained two
A4 pages of a nicely photocopied disk.
I had my Toshiba laptop on the desk with internet cable
hanging. My one-year toddler pulled on the cord and
crashed the laptop on the floor. The shock discharged
the battery. Fortunately, no files or data lost, no
damage to the computer. I was so relieved. Now I am
more careful when my son is around.
Deepak Darshan, India/Switzerland
Several years ago I was walking out of the office with
a senior manager. He was trying to carry too much and
his Compaq laptop, which wasn't even in a bag fell.
It tumbled down half a dozen concrete steps going perfectly
end over end. We picked it up and the screen was cracked,
the keyboard had popped out and the case wrecked. We
feared the worst but when we plugged in an external
monitor and keyboard it booted up fine and all the data
was recovered before the machine was sent for repair.
A tribute to the build of the machine.
Steve UK, UK
Last year I went to Nairobi in Kenya. I was not aware
that Nairobi has a great problem with monkeys which
cause a lot of nuisance. I unpacked and left my laptop
on a table by the window. During the day I was in the
next room when I heard a noise coming from my bedroom
and when I went to investigate I saw a monkey hopping
out of the bedroom window with my laptop. It then sat
in the tree clutching it and watched me. When I went
outside and tried to entice it down it just continued
to stare at me. I then started shouting and as the monkey
became frightened, it promptly threw the laptop away.
The result was a cracked and bashed laptop that would
not work anymore. Moral of the story - if you leave
your laptop unattended in Nairobi - leave a banana on
top of it as a protection offering.
On one occasion I had my nine-month old daughter in
one hand, laptop in the other as I loaded the car. I
put down the laptop against the front wheel to place
her in the car seat and then got in to drive off. I
thought the local kids had put something like a brick
under my wheels (which was not uncommon) so I just powered
over the obstruction. As you can guess, it was my laptop.
Lucky I didn't put the laptop in the car first. I also
destroyed another laptop by spilling a glass of extremely
salty water into it (I'm told salt really aids the total
destruction of the laptop). It was highly salty because
I'd had a tooth extracted earlier that day.
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