Peter’s post on projector orientation myths prodded my memory on an issue I encountered while picking up my shiny new camera. While finalizing the lease paperwork the sales guy went out of his way to bring my attention to a slice of A4 treeware contained within the box. The text printed on it prophesized a dire future for anyone plugging a firewire cable into their camera while the computer is switched on.

Dan’s recent letter on the subject prompted me to post this to get some feedback from the visualist community. Has this happened to anyone? Has a manufacturer denied you warranty service because they say you plugged in your firewire cable backwards? Here’s the full text of the warning which came with my camera:

Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited
Broadcast and Professional Pacific Asia Company

Date: September 1, 2006

Precaution: i.LINK Cable Connection

– Before connecting the i.LINK cable to a computer or Sony unit, please check the direction of the jack. The i.LINK connector on the computer may be damaged or cause the unit to malfunction of you forcefully insert the jack. Please align [up arrow] mark of the i.LINK cable with [down arrow] mark on the Sony unit before insert the i.LINK cable.

– Please connect the i.LINK cable to a computer before connect it to the Sony unit. If you connect the i.LINK cable to the Sony unit first, it may cause the unit to malfunction caused by static electricity.

– When you connecting the Sony unit to any equipment with a 6-pin type i.LINK jack, always connect the cable to the 6-pin i.LINK jack first.

When you connect the Sony unit to any equipment with a 6-pin type i.LINK jack, always power off the equipment and remove the power cord from the AC outlet while inserting the i.LINK cable. Fail to do above action may result in high current flow between the cable and the equipment, which may cause damage.

… Huh? I thought that hotplugging was part of what makes Firewire so great? Do other manufacturers have issues with this, or have Sony just done something daft in their design and not fixed it? The helpful guy I bought my camera from told me that you can buy a special surge-isolating firewire cable to prevent this, at a price of several hundred dollars.