As the rainy season finally finishes and the real summer season starts, the probability of lightning strikes increases. With this in mind, japan.internet.com published the results of a survey by goo Research into computers and lightning. Between the 21st and 23th of July they got 1,084 successfully completed responses to their internet-based questionnaire. In the sample 53.5% were female, 22.7% in their twenties, 39.7% in their thirties, 24.9% in their forties, 10.0% in their fifties, and 2.7% in their sixties.
Note that the headline is a bit of a stretch on the truth, but I’ve got limited space and want to keep it snappy! I love lightning myself, and I have many fond memories of sitting in the evening cool on terraces in Southern France or Austria watching huge storms firing bolts into the surrounding hillsides. Conversely, wifey is extremely wary of them, and as soon as she hears a rumble of thunder, it’s off with the TV and air conditioner until the storm passes.
However, I am rather sceptical about the 20% who say they are unaware that lightning can damage electronics! Was there something odd in the wording of the question?
Q1: At home, have you ever had a computer or components damaged by a lightning strike? (Sample size=1,084)
Yes 8.1% No 91.9%
When this 8.1% was asked what part was damaged by the strike, the most common answers were modem, then hard disk, motherboard, LCD display (including video card) and printer (including ports).
When the whole sample was asked if they had taken measures to protect against lightning strikes, just 16.9% said they had; the rest either hadn’t or didn’t know. The most popular protective measure taken was a UPS, Uninterruptible Power Supply.
The next question was asked of the 83.1% who hadn’t taken, or didn’t know about, measures against lightning strikes.
Q2: Do you know what PCs and other electronic devices can be damaged by lightning stikes? (Sample size=850)
Yes 74.4% No 25.6%
Q3: If a sudden power cut, etc, hit your PC or other electronic devices, which ones would loss of data be a problem? (Sample size=1,084, multiple answer)
Votes Percentage PC 1034 95.4% DVD or HDD Recorder 329 30.4% Television 173 16.0% VCR 119 11.0% Audio equipment 85 7.8% Other 20 1.8%