Another Bruce Sterling moment happened to me yesterday: I was watching TV, and it rebooted.
The Tivo that is. It went thru several screens: "Starting up. This will take a minute" and "Installing new Tivo software" and "Starting up. This will take a minute" and "Rebuilding database. This will take a long time". After about ten minutes, it came back up with a new (3.0.something) version of the Tivo software -- which is exactly like the old software, except that my shortcut for 30-seconds-forward doesn't work anymore. Dangit.