I need a cooling hammer!
To go with the server mallet and network mace.
And the LART...
"So all I need is the data from yesterday and maybe the day before," the Boss says, handing over his pride and joy. "Ooooooh!" the PFY says. "A *ONE GIG* USB stick! Did you get it from a pound shop in a box of 10?" "I paid 85 quid for this when it first came out!" the Boss says proudly, as if owning IT antiquity was one of …
The server mallet line reminds me of the 1st place I worked.
I was looking for something in the IT room, and found a box of mallets asked my boss why we had a box of mallets laying around. His response was THOSE AREN'T MALLETS THEY ARE HIGH PRECISION COMPUTER ALIGNMENT TOOLS!
I was just like WHAT?
He proceeded to grab one walk out to one of the work benches, and proceeded to show me how they aligned the towers that were screwed down to the bench by beating the living hell out of the side of one till it was perfectly straight.
Then he said they were actually multipurpose as they doubled as a tool to increase work output from the workers as he then flung it at a metal cabinet (creating a LOUD bang) near one of my co-workers who was goofing off with his back turned to us, and said NOW GET BACK TO WORK. Guy almost pissed his pants.
Best boss I've ever had I so missed working for him when they replaced him with someone that had an IQ that rivaled the bosses in the BOFH stories :(
The idiot I used to work for decided to start an ISP, despite the fact that his experience with computers was Wordperfect and surfin the early web and usenet for PRON. We, his otherwise skilled staff, were drafted to set up the new business alongside the existing one, which involved the outdoors, dirt, government agencies and such. So, when we had nothing more pressing to complete we had to rewire the office AND build the servers - he had an actual IT guy hired to manage the system once we built the necessary ... but that guy wanted to actually BUY already built SERVERS with WARRANTIES!! Why waste money on that when you already have guys with screwdrivers to assemble parts - actual in house warranty work, come to think of it. Anyway, "cheap" was a magic word. The hammer actually did help straighten cases that were just not fully formed, but with the worst, cheapest cases, the blanks of sheet metal had not been square in the former when the case was stamped. They assumed a vaguely rhomboidal form upon assembly. Tightened up properly, these often would torque frame and thus the mother boards, creating conditions that would pop networking cards, harddrive interfaces and other cards in the extension slots right out the slots over time and multiple heating and cooling cycles. It also created a distinctive rocking effect when you bumped the house built systems. A bigger hammer was employed to scrap them so that they would never, ever, re-emerge as a problem over the help line. Third bright idea of boss was to have same screwdriver-equipped staff build cheap PCs for the hoi poloi so they would remain loyal to the ISP, AND same staff would "support" this debacle despite the non-isp related work that piled up steadily.
This principle isn't quite a joke though the physics is subtle.
Consider a spike being driven into a solid material. So much of the impact energy goes into elastic deformation, and sometimes into non-elastic deformation. A too-small hammer has insufficient percussive energy to actually drive the spike.
Or, in layman's terms, do it right and the nail doesn't bend.
At the mainframe site where I started work half a century ago, the site engineers had a claw hammer with the text "CPU REPAIR TOOL" cut into the handle.
If there was ever an intermittent fault without obvious cause, the back panel was removed from the CPU, then the hammer was run along the exposed board edges. This reseated all the boards in seconds, and all was good for another couple of months.
When I was working with laser printers the optics would get out of alignment and the tech reps were forbidden to touch the optics for safety reasons. We, in research, had no such compunctions and I regularly used what I referred to as an optical sledge hammer to knock things back into alignment.
Being one of the designers helped a lot though.
Possibly also ESD damage. I had to do a training day on ElectroStatic Discharge and how it affects semiconductors, back when I was an avionics tech. They showed us electron microscope photographs of chips with ESD damage. It looked like the substrate had been impacted by meteorites!
In some cases the craters took out half or three quarters of a track. Then you get a hot spot that slowly burns out over time. Followed by the exchange...
Me, "What did you do to it?"
Them, "Nothing! It just suddenly died!"
Me, "What did you do to it 6 months ago?"
I used to be site gardener on a big it/com's site,I got to know the in house it admin and his crew (useful for advice and freebies,their hardware skip was amazingly productive!!)
I was given written instructions that when on morning litter pick/site inspection to keep eyes open for Ian sticks etc and if found take them to only one guy in the it crew,it turned out their idiot co-employees kept "finding" Ian sticks etc in car parks etc and then just plugging into anything but their own machines to see what or who's data they had found,the it guy showed me the box that was half full of "compromised" sticks,some of which he reckoned did not contain the kind of malware etc that you would expect to pickt up from even the most "esoteric" porn site,he had a totally UN-connected bodge pc locked in a cupboard,which was used to check the sticks etc,he reckoned it must be one of the most badly infected machines he knew of,even though they used to flash a fresh image back to it every so often,and another box of sticks an bits the crew had removed from machines or folk and the state of some that folk had tried to plug in,usually having bin driven over a few times from the look of them !!
He reckoned that folk trying things like that had made them so much extra work that they ignored orders not to and blocked every Ian port in they could find in the entire building of three big floors !!2500 + machines,they reckoned to get away with it by pointing out how much money/time would be saved not having to firefight their co-workers idiot behaviours...
Antique? I have still got an 8" floppy disk lying around, with a whole 128 kB of storage (CP/M 2.0 from Digital Research is on it, according to the label).
128MB USB stick antique! Youth these days
Erm, .... has anybody got an 8" floppy drive with USB interface lying around?
The early USB floppies, at least, were an external interface between a standard 3.5 drive and the USB. And 5.25 floppies used an edge connector on the same ribbon cable as a 3.25 used. Dunno about an 8" floppy drive, and there's a power to wonder about too, but it doesn't sound impossible to get the drive connected via USB.
If the Boss got started on it, some of the critical details could easily be insurmountable. I think USB floppies are a bit different now, for instance. But would he listen? And what does he want an 8" floppy for?
Somewhere I've still got ... not sure what to call 'em ... magnetic "cards" the size of the old computer punch cards but plastic with a mag coating on. There were fed into a slot which swallowed them. made graunching noises as it read them and if you were lucky spat 'em out again. Part of an ancient word processor built into a large desk I acquired in my youth. Probably lots of someone's ancient data on 'em, but no way to read 'em now ....
magnetic "cards" the size of the old computer punch cards but plastic with a mag coating on
What, Language Master? Can't say I've ever seen these used for computers, but I don't see why they shouldn't be.
Which calculator was it that used teeny versions of these for program storage?
An HP 65?
I still have a 16MB USB stick. It is in a plastic case, not titanium, it is not bent and it still works. I think it cost me over a £/MB at the time.
I've also still got a machine with a 5.25" drive on it that still works, having found some disks that fit it the other day and wondered what was on them.
Oh, and a TI-58 calculator, baby brother of the TI-59 but without the card reader.
I've got some 8" floppies formatted to V7 UNIX UFS standard from 1978 and 1979. We had to use them as overflow storage on a PDP11/34 when I was at university, because there was too little space on the RK07 drive packs!
Darned young whippersnappers. What's the use of having a memory device if you can't see the memory bits? So, I keep one of these things around:
For you youngsters that don't recognize it, it's the magnetic core storage plane out of an IBM System/360 model 65 processor, vintage about 1965 or so. Should still have data in it (Probably OS/360).
But, for when the electricity goes out, and you really need to do computing, I have this device to fall back to:
Who says an IBM machine needs electricity to work?
P.S. I don't live totally in the stone-age. I have a USB flash key. I think it holds 16 MB. Oh, and I also have a stack of IBM 5081 devices (Google them if you dare!).
...because there was too little space on the RK07 drive packs!
I spent two summers in Westfield, Massachusetts, aligning heads and servo systems on the RK06 production line during my grad student days.
RK07 was the double-density version of RK06. About 1977, IIRC.
Somewhere in my bits and bobs collection, I've got one of these:
I won it in a competition back when they came out and it was *amazing* at the time - but I am easily pleased... ;-)
What's all this magnetic stuff? Nothing beats the TTY & paper tape I have in the basement...
The reassuring clackety clack that thing emanates when running at its glorious 110 baud can never be matched by any floppy...
Too much effort. I'm surprised they didn't just suggest the old standard of leaving it in the freezer overnight. As in:
"Catering have a walk-in unit, just take it in there, put it on a shelf somewhere and we'll come back tomorrow."
Pub O'clock and come back tomorrow as arranged.
Had a similar experience only a couple of weeks ago. A matcbox-sized, USB-connected *harddisk* sporting a full 2.2 GB, bought at the Copenhagen equivalent of Tesco's went tits-up. Only one problem: It belonged to my SO, not the Boss ... so the usual BOFH remedies for "fixing" it could not be applied.
Thanks to Linux and ddrescue, I managed to salvage the important bits.
(Peltier elements?!? Nice ...)
no , not just the bosses.
I used to have this constantly with students toting floppy disks , and this was in an age when there was zero reason to use a floppy. There were home drives , email , even usb sticks.
When i finaly confronted one of the "teachers" responsible and asked why they had their only copies of their data on floppies the reply was "its in the syllabus to use a floppy disk".
Apparently giving all your data more than a 50% chance of survival wasnt on the syllabus.
A good learning experience for the students on the perils of data loss.
I know for my final year project I had the document on a floppy disk at home, one at work and used a third to transfer the file from one place to the other. Plus a hard copy print-out updated at intervals so I could at least type it all in again if necessary. I don't think I suffered any disk failures, presumably Murphy was too busy picking off the low-hanging fruit at that point.
I love that! It's how it will be known from now on. Now for my cable continuity tester (a.k.a. a wire cutter), and my soak testing station (aquarium).
My colleagues, after a while, in a former job knew better than to come to me with stuff they "weren't sure of if it was broken." They always came away very sure it was (where hours spent "fixing" things cost more than a damn spare).
Lovely episode. I must say the line:
"Well the only way we can cool it down quickly will be to bring it into contact with something cool with a dense thermal mass I guess,"
had me expecting the boss ending up with burn marks on his forehead. The word "dense" must have triggered that mental image, but I suppose the world "cool" would argue against it.
I do like the notion of a cooling hammer, and my 2.7 lb lump hammer I have lying around the office for demonstration purposes during certain computer vision lectures might be assigned a new role
I've got a 1Gb USB stick given to me by someone who received it as some sort of novelty promotional gimmick many years ago (it's in the shape of a miniature gold bullion bar). Still works, and is the ideal capacity for (minimalist) live Linux distros, albeit a bit slow as it's only USB 1.0 - it's got antiX 16 on it at the moment.
I lived in Leicester, once. There, sledgehammers were often referred to as "Birmingham screwdrivers."
I associate percussive maintenance most often with early 1990s Seagate hard disks. But then, I am also ancient enough to remember 8" 160k floppy disks, hard sectors and the days when you could resurrect lost files on CP/M disks with a disk sector editor called du.com.
And sometimes a razorblade.
For real precision work.
Mind you don't slip.
Oh crap. Pass me another trainee, Dave? Ta.
These little BOFH writings are obviously fantasy. Any boss worth his salt in America would simply point you to the exit not because you couldn't retrieve the data but because you have an inflated sense of your own worth. Snarky geeks are a dime a dozen, cheaper than the USB stick. This being an English site however it is probably the case that both the boss and you are government employees and so immune to the harsh realities of economic warfare amid the resurgence of the American gilded age.
It's not a very good heat conductor by metal standards. If you really needed to do this in the real world it might be better to get the case off and then submerge the innards, all except the USB port (on a cable, obviously) in a jar of isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol or if unobtainable vodka.
I'm not guaranteeing this approach but I do have one of those titanium USB sticks, it did get very hot, and it was subjected to the glycol treatment long enough to get the important file off uncorrupted. YMMV.
Somebody actually rigged a RJ45 port to feed raw 220V into the Ethernet port. There is also a version for IDE interfaces. So simple, so lethal... so beautiful. Like a sledgehammer applied to the back of one's hand caught stealing in the Blackjack table at Las Vegas.
Things of beauty. Raw, unadulterated justice to the luser that keeps demanding free repairs and maintenance.
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