The first entry in our Laptop Horror Stories contest.
I had an RDI laptop for doing enterprise software demos at customer sites. The laptop was a SPARC Solaris workstation (only slightly smaller) that ran on 4 rechargeable D-cell batteries taped together (lasted 20 minutes on a charge if it was new). The system was the size of today’s big media-center laptops, so not fun to travel with. Most of us left the battery at home.
So during a fabulous onsite demo, the laptop started smoking heavily and a single flame shot out of the empty battery bay. I quickly unplugged the laptop and said, “And that concludes my demo of our software, which I assure you doesn’t use very much CPU”.