What Ways Have You Ruined A Piece Of Tech?

What Ways Have You Ruined A Piece Of Tech?
Image: Kotaku

I have a confession to make. Dad: I’m sorry I let the rooster shit in your keyboard.

OK, so let me explain. Mum and Dad had to leave the house for some reason or another. Birdie, as we used to call him, was relatively little. We knew he was a rooster by that stage – mostly a personality thing – but he was also pretty docile. His mother hen had been sadly taken by a fox a little while ago, so my brother and I looked after him on a regular basis so he had some company.

Sometimes, that meant he just chilled in the house with us. That was fairly normal at the time – the ducks, chooks and sometimes other birds would generally wander in every morning and eat all the cat’s food, which she graciously put up with on a regular basis. But occasionally, while the rest of the feathered family would wander back out the door after breakfast, we’d keep the rooster around.

So one day, I’m sitting there playing a game on the PC. It’s the mid-afternoon, and Birdie’s sitting there, chilling on my lap.

Then something changes on the screen. It’s a cutscene, although I can’t remember for what game. But for whatever reason, he took a particular interest in this one. So he hopped up on the table, and got closer to the screen.

And by getting closer to the screen, I mean walking straight onto the keyboard. Fine, I thought, he’s not going to do any damage.

Until a small, sloppy rooster shit drops straight in between the F and V keys.

In a panic, I unplugged the keyboard and rushed to a garden near the back door. I turned the keyboard over, and hurriedly kept hitting the back of the keyboard until every last … drop … had come out. I then found some paper towels and tried catch as much in between the keys as I could, because I knew what my Dad’s reaction would be.

And because I’m a dumb arse kid, obviously I plugged the keyboard in and kept using it.

And never told Dad.


I’m pretty sure the keyboard is still in his shed. And we used it for a solid few years after that.

So, technically, that keyboard isn’t “ruined”. Unless you have any small inkling towards hygiene, in which case the keyboard should probably be killed with fire and shot into space. I’m certainly not using it now. I know what happened.

But what about yourselves … what ways have you found to ruin a piece of tech?


  • I spilled Iced Coffee (an Ice Break) on a keyboard once. Actually managed to clean it out mostly after pulling it apart. I’m still not really sure I got all of it but I have a terrible sense of smell so it’s not like I’d notice a bit of off milk smell emanating from it.

  • Nothing chicken related, but I had an excess of computer mice at one point, so decided to destroy one. Took a lot more effort than I thought it would. Was an old mouseball one from memory, and was getting a little janky, so I think it had been retired anyway, but I sat there with a hammer bashing at it to no avail.

    Ended up having to jump on it, with all my 110 kgs (at the time) coming down on top a couple of times, just to crack it. It felt oddly satisfying.

  • 3 years old. My Dad bought home his Mac SE which he had bought a month or so before for something insane like $8000 in mid-80s money.

    Left me playing a game on it. He’d set up a screensaver – with a password – if the mouse was left in one hot corner. I triggered this.

    Couldn’t get out of it. 3 year old logic, maybe if it doesn’t work you should hit it. Crashed the hard drive. Cost thousands to repair.

    • That’s his fault for leaving a 3yr old alone with an $8000 computer. I let my son have a play on the computer when he was 3 but he was either sitting on my lap or I was in the same room close by…he was 3 after all so couldn’t use the thing too well.

  • Also is a car a piece of tech? Because there may have been an episode where I painted my name in bright yellow house paint primer down the side of my mother’s brand new car…

  • Cat knocked my coffee over on my new Surface Pro recently. It kept auto typing gibberish from there on in. Had to fork out nearly $200 for a new keyboard, because fuck Wendell he’s a bad cat. He literally just dropped a red belly black snake in the kitchen about 20 minutes ago, because cats are nature’s jerks.

    • apparently Cats bring their kills in cause they’re trying to teach you how to hunt. So like, it’s totally your fault you’re not spilling coffee or killing red bellies and leaving them on display. (JK)

      • So what I mistake for malicious feline activity is actually a complex series of lessons designed to prepare me for some form of death battle against a mighty serpent for which coffee will offer no assistance?
        Wow. Wendell is my Yoda!

        • Hahaha. No.
          We know cats are arseholes. It’s merely a display of “you’re shit at hunting. Git Gud”

  • Was playing with my xbox elite controller while it was charging. Forgot it was connected and got up to go to the computer behind me, yanked the usb charger out and bent the connector. Now its hard to charge loses sync with my xbox constantly. 200 buck mistake, not happy.

  • While running in the rain to get to a bus I perfectly droppef kicked my old early 2000s Nokia indestructible phone straight across a busy 4 lane road as it aqua plained into a flooded storm water drain from over 50 metres distance… flushed all the way into Sydney Harbour.

    • Indestructible indeed.
      I was texting on the toilet, as you do, and when finished jammed my Nokia brick into the front pocket of my hoodie. As I flushed , it fell into the loo. No joke, was calling it for five minutes after and it was ringing fine that whole time.

  • I spilt coconut water on my Ducky Shine 5 keyboard. Kind of glad as I didn’t like that keyboard, paid $100 too much for it.

  • I’m pretty lucky in general, so even though I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff to my tech it usually just bounces back fine. Surface Pro 3 got knocked off my bench when it was new and you wouldn’t be able to tell unless I magnified the corner of the frame where it’s got a tiny scratch. The worst thing that’s happened is probably dropping a 120GB iPod. It was fine externally but the drive was ruined. I’d had it forever at that point and I wanted to upgrade anyway.

    Actually the biggest tech disaster might be all the pairs of jeans that were ruined by my Nokia Lumia. I loved that phone and the display size was perfect, but the large size and corner style combined to make it perfect for wearing out a small spot at the bottom of my pocket.

  • The damage wasn’t by me, but… let’s say, an acquaintance. Many, many years ago I had just moved in to a house which I was sharing with my best mate who had just recently started a new relationship. We had a house-warming celebration the first night in the place. Turns out his new girlfriend’s roided up ex hadn’t got the message that it was over. He managed to track her down to our new place very early the next morning. He didn’t know anything about me, but he knew my mate was a DJ so naturally assumed that all the gear in the house belonged to him – I personally lost several synthesisers worth a few thousand each to the mangling influence of a security baton as well as a couple hundred CDs. He also put a .22 calibre bullet through my brand new monitor which I had only brought home a few days before.

    Worst of all he abducted his ex and decided to exact some revenge on her. She survived the assault with a broken arm a fractured skull and concussion. Frankly, the loss of all that equipment was nothing compared with getting her back alive and relatively healthy.

    The perpetrator was caught, tried and sentenced to a couple of years in jail. Unfortunately, it was our first night in the house so I had not yet taken out insurance and I was never reimbursed for all my gear by him or them. My own therapy sessions are still ongoing.

    Even though I got swept up in someone else’s relationship crap I am truly thankful that she made it out alive – that’s not always how these things end.

    She and my mate ended up having 2 amazing kids together but she was so traumatised by the whole thing that even now, decades later, she is still trapped by the experience and still can’t feel safe anywhere.

  • Coffee has recently claimed another mechanical victim. Brings the total up to 4 or 5 now, embarrassingly. I’m decided to just stick to membrane keyboards until I can find a mechanical one that’s waterproof (/get my shit together and stop spilling things…).

    • My Corsair K68 is “liquid resistant” according to its box. It has drainage channels and the key mechanisms are protected by soft rubber seals to prevent liquid egress into the important bits.

      It’s also designed so that cleaning it is super easy (pull off the key caps, wipe it down, put them back on) which is nice.

      The best keyboard I ever owned for cleaning was a Microsoft Internet Keyboard from the early 2000s. You could unscrew it, and the entire top section would come away, with the keys remaining in place. You could literally just wash that part in the sink or a dishwasher and it would come up fine. I’ve never found an easier-to-clean keyboard since.

  • I unfortunately threw a $1000 iPhone (at the time) out the window and down a 9-floor drop in a rage quit. I had to go without a smart phone for two years.

  • Pint of Ribena on my iBook 12″.

    It hissed. It sizzled. It went dark. What an ignominious end after the trusty portable survived a year in a bicycle pannier as I rode round Australia…

    …except, with lightning reflexes I pulled the power and popped the battery, tipped out the purple liquid of doom, dismantled the whole thing, cleaned all the boards, let it dry for 24 hours in a warm spot…

    …and it lived! It resumed service!

    It went on to be a print/file server for a couple of years after I got a newer MacBook. Still worked last time I plugged it in about a year ago.

  • Alex, I think you mean to say “I’m sorry. I let the rooster shit in your keyboard.”

    In context, you are sorry you didn’t tell your dad, not specifically sorry that you let the rooster do it. I’m sure you’re sorry about both, but contextually you are apologising for not having told him.

    Grammar nerd out.

  • At High school we had a PDP-11. One day I was giving what is like root access to the system and killed a RTS service, I could never get the system to launch it again. The system never behaved the same again!

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