Perhaps Justin Stangel's experience will inspire a future Top Ten list titled "The Top Ten Ways to Electrocute Yourself."
The head writer for the Late Show with David Letterman recently had a mildly shocking experience with the power adapter for his PowerBook G4. While at work in Manhattan last week, Stangel starting to smell something burning after firing up his PowerBook, and noticed that the cord was frayed near the adapter, giving off smoke and occasional sparks. Sensing a potential gag for the show, he had a producer tape him playing with the cord, moving it back and forth in order to reproduce the smoke and sparks.
After about a week on YouTube, the clip had been watched almost 40,000 times, which isn't a huge number but was apparently large enough to get Apple's attention. Stangel said he received two calls from Apple's customer service department, one from an executive and the other from a senior technician inquiring about his experience, but he still had to cough up the $79 for a replacement adapter since it was out of warranty. Apple confirmed that Stangel was contacted by its customer service team.
Stangel said he often wraps the adapter's cord around the hooks built into the power adapters, which over time can lead to fraying if the cord is stored in that position for extended periods of time. Apple's support documents advise against wrapping the cord "to (sic) tightly" around the power brick, but everybody's probably got a different idea of how tight is too tight. Avoid bending the power cords as much as possible and check it often for wear and tear to avoid burning down your house or office.