back to article If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

We have stepped into Friday, and the weekend is only a few short hours away. Take a break from wondering what a trip to the park might do to the "R" number and join us for another adventure of those Register readers cursed with the On Call phone. Today's story comes from "Dave" (and his now nearly 40-year-old child) and takes …

  1. jake Silver badge
    1. cosymart
      Big Brother

      Re: I'll just leave this here.

      Hands up all those who just had to look at the next definition :-)

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: I'll just leave this here.

        @Cosy. It turns out that engineers are not a fungible resource!

      2. Flip

        Re: I'll just leave this here.

        @cosymart

        I had to look up frobbed first!

      3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: I'll just leave this here.

        omg, I never knew our standard OP had a name! :D

      4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'll just leave this here.

        Yup had to look it up, but because children have seen films like top gun they often like flipping them up and pressing still (Thankfully the fire supression system that was hooked up to said button had long been disconnected)!

    2. RobbieM
      WTF?

      Re: I'll just leave this here.

      Interestingly Bull Guard blocked the page for being a bit dodgy.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: I'll just leave this here.

        Out of interest, how much coverage of, we'll, right now, any country's politics does your "Bull Guard" allow to be viewed? Since a very high proportion surely will be evaluated as Bull.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll just leave this here.

      An engineer from a well known telecomunications company was visiting the dealing room of an investment bank in London, to install some additional lines. While being shepherded through the succession of security doors that lead to the dealing room, he leaned against the wall and the big red emergency switch, cutting off power to all 40 traders in the dealing room. He was hurredly ushered out, before he could be identified as the culprit.

      Skip forward a few months and the same engineer was back, with a new colleague. On reaching the same point, he said to his colleague "When I was last here, I accidentally hit the big button there" and pointing to the big red button, he pressed it - again disconnecting power for 40 dealers. Once again, he was hurriedly ushered out but his company was promptly informed that he was never again to darken the door of the investment bank in question.

  2. macjules Silver badge

    The Z-fold nightmare

    They used to make binders that you could use to bind a large printout into a plastic folder with, which simply secured via the holes in the perforation strip on either side of the paper. A great idea until you employ an idiot who carefully spent several hours removing all the perforated strips: and that only gets worse when 1 year later security want to see access logs and you have to dig out the unbound printouts.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      To save some blushes these two people will remain anonymous. One parent in my old school had invited a small group of to go to the City (of London). He was working for a large bank and thought it might be fun for his son and a few friends to see where he worked. At lunchtime they were ushered through the security doors onto the trading floor of the bank. The children had already been told to touch nothing and most behaved. However his son who had sat down at a desk apparently decided to locate the games on the open machine.

      Unable to find any (Win 95 era I think) he was just clicking shutdown as his father turned to look at him. The boy was about to end that traders day very early or so his father thought and he grabbed the mouse. Already it was trying to shut down but had stopped on the first item it tried to do. It wanted the user to confirm the closure of the program. The father said he could see his career at the bank going up in smoke until it stopped like that. He called IT support and told them what had happened and they dealt with it. He told me this at a school reunion and said if it had have been serious he would have just died on the spot.

      The second I witnessed first hand which was at a retail store. There were two comms rooms in the building one on each floor with switches a patchbay etc. The Manager used bring your child to work day to do just that. The errant youngster had an interest in computers and it was decided that something IT related would be of most interest. He'd been shown various aspects of what we would be doing that day. This was wiring up the basement for taking 2 tills and a phone which hadn't been down there before.

      There were three of us (including this teenager) wiring up and we were short of a long enough cable to reach from a floor point to a till. The boy was asked to go up to the IT store cupboard on the on the ground floor and get one. The cable needed to be at least 1.5m and ideally red as that colour was used for tills/external comms. Red was picked because it might make you think twice before unplugging it. But we didn't have and red ones that length that were spare. So any other colour would be fine.

      Boy reappears with a nice long red one and we're stunned that he's found one. Then alarm bells start going off with myself and my colleague. We asked where did he get this from? He says a room on the ground floor just as somebody appeared at the top of the stairs and said the tills weren't working. He'd unplugged the cable that linked the ground floor tills to the back end computer in the managers office. He hadn't bothered going to the IT stock cupboard just to the comms room which was closer. We replaced the cable and the manager found a new job for her boy doing a stock check out the back

  3. aje21

    More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

    I enjoy these stories, and don't mind which day of the week they come out, but in this case it feels more like a Who Me? because it was taking his son which was the story, not really the printer...

    However, if nobody ever noticed the message on the printer then it's really not a Who Me? in the strictest sense either.

    Anyway, happy Friday and I'm sure the HP engineers were expecting the eject button to get press for a whole variety of unexpected reasons :-)

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

      When HP engineers were actually engineers!

      1. EVP Bronze badge

        Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

        Yes they were. I also gather that engineer who designed the disk controller in question had children with quick fingers.

        Oh man I really miss the touch and feel of well designed old computer hardware*. Like HP and many others. And also the honest utilitarian looks that came with the design. Plastics were real plastics some 30+ years ago! I never got much exposure to proper mainframes, tough. Those machines must have been really something to work with.

        *Applies to other HW too, like power tools and home appliances. You only get that feel with professional tools nowadays (if you are lucky).

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

          Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

          Well-designed anything is hard to come by.

          Take my kids' water guns. The plastic isn't bad, and the pneumatic pumper is okay (only shoots when pumping; no pressure storage), but it's going to be used around water -- they couldn't pony up less than $5 more per gun for stainless screws? Probably more like $1-2 since they'd be buying in massive bulk.

          Or here's another: like any pool filter system, mine has a backwash/drain line, but a portion of it was discharge-grade "hose" in the middle of two sections of schedule 40 PVC. This stuff is thin, a little TOO flexible, and is meant for temporary drain-the-pool use only because leaving it outside year-round will make it brittle. Last summer (my first summer owning this house/pool) it had enough and split a seam during a backwash sending a gush of water all over the landscaping. I replaced it with thick UV-stabilized vinyl with embedded fiberglass braid (and new stainless clamps also) -- there's no way it will burst under such a low pressure. And yet my 2 feet of the "good stuff" probably cost less than the entire roll of the thin crap which I found in the garage attic. I can imagine the original idea was to cut a new piece of the roll and replace this "weak link" every year, but obviously no one did.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

            Well-designed anything is hard to come by

            I think it's partly a cultural thing.

            Go back a generation or two and the expectation was that you'd pay good money and things would last (and be repairable). As I say, a cultural thing - few would consider or tolerate the disposable culture we seem to have now.

            Roll forward and expectations have changed - possibly in a positive feedback loop. Mass production has lowered prices, and living standards have risen, making more "stuff" available to more people. Along with those lowering prices, the relative cost of repair vs replacement has changed - making it more economic to simply replace rather than repair. So expectations have changed, and that's fed back into the supply side - making things cheaper and less repairable.

            If you think about it, from the supply side, the question becomes : why invest more in making a more expensive but repairable product when that means selling less of them due to the higher cost ? And so you end up in a race to the bottom of the pond.

            And of course, a whole generation brought up to think about "price" rather than "value" feeding the supply side of that.

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

              And of course, a whole generation brought up to think about "price" rather than "value" feeding the supply side of that.

              I tend to look at price, because I figure the expensive stuff is just as crap as the cheap stuff. If it's at all possible to judge build quality, *then* I look at that first.

              1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

                And once again we're back to the age-old Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice.

                A glass for Sir pTerry, as ever.

            2. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

              Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

              I still remember with great fondness the Compaq Deskpro systems which were built like vaults and came with spare screws to use when adding extra discs/adaptor cards etc. My favourite version could even have the disc storage turned to be desktop or tower.

              1. Sandtitz Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

                HP has continued with the Compaq design, and spare screws are still being provided. (at least a year or two ago).

                The vertical/horizontal rotation of the 5,25" drive cage feature was discontinued after the HP Compaq Elite 8300 (introduced in 2012).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

          agreed, about 15 years ago we bought a expensive siemens washing machine, came with a 10 year warranty (it lasted about 12 years) and had proper plastic, proper good solid feel to it. When it died after 12 years we replaced it with a new equivalent model, no where near the same build quality or plastic used, feels really flimsy!

          1. JeffB
            Windows

            Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

            "When it died after 12 years we replaced it with a new equivalent model, no where near the same build quality or plastic used, feels really flimsy!"

            Sounds like HP's current range of printers...

          2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

            Same with electricity consumer units. The proper Wylex jobs you could beat off a mugger with. Modern crap warps as you try to screw the damn cover on.

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

          Plastics were real plastics some 30+ years ago!

          You mean there's fake plastics now?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

            Yup. They put the sham poo in it. I keep demanding the real stuff, but everybody looks at me funny.

        4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

          I really miss the touch and feel of well designed old computer hardware

          Didn't early PDP8's use washing machine switches? Maytag?

      2. PerlyKing Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

        In the early nineties the place I was working was a Sun shop - SPARCStations on desktops throughout (it's been downhill ever since!). We had an HP-UX workstation in for evaluation and for some reason it was running on someone's desk with the lid off, with most of the team gathered around it. One of the senior (software) engineers wandered over, said "what does this do?" and pulled something (graphics card?) out of the heart of the electrickery. The screen went black and everyone's faces went grey. Some brave soul turned the power off, reseated the card, turned the power back on and it all worked perfectly!

        At least one of these to the HP engineers of yesteryear! -->

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

          I remember the fear first time I hotplugged a pcie graphics card, long ago enough that it working was more an aspiration than expectation. Spending extra on a high end mboard paid off that day.

        2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

          Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

          Heh, group of us techs was clustered around a PC, wanting to copy data on (or off, can't quite remember). This was when coax and 10base was the rage.

          The motherboard was not installed yet, but was on the workbench along with the hard drive etc. And an Accton NE2000 compatible NIC.

          Along came somebody, hot unplugged the Accton NIC and as he was walking away, the copy process we were busy with, dieded.

          We had a good laugh on that one, most impressive was that there were no component damage or failure.

        3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Bronze badge

          Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

          > "what does this do?"

          Turn without any emotion on your face "cost you 7000 €".

          (Or whatever currency you had back in that time)

        4. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

          Many years ago I was lucky enough to get a tour of the CADAC factory in Luton where they made very high spec analogue sound desks - cost about as much as a reasonable house I seem to remember.

          All the channel circuit boards could be hot plugged and unplugged. I think if you unplugged a board the power got disconnected first, and then the signal pins. V impressive engineering.

          They're still in business (now Chinese-owned I think) and make some classy digital consoles.

  4. Hubert Cumberdale

    Many years ago...

    ...every day on my way into work at a large London museum, as I went through the tradesman's passage, I used to walk past a large grey button that had a laminated A4 sign next to it saying "DO NOT PRESS". To this day, I wish I'd tried it.

    1. Evil_Goblin

      Re: Many years ago...

      Poor tradesman, must have been rather sore... fnarr fnarr....

    2. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Many years ago...

      Probably a bell push that summoned a porter (or similar).

      Summoning a porter (or similar), without the usual protective spells in place, can be deeply unpleasant - especially when they appear holding a mug of fresh tea and half a sandwich.

      "What now? ... You wondered what it did? ... FFS I'd just finally got sat down for my sodding snap. Can't you bastards read?"

      1. Hubert Cumberdale

        Re: Many years ago...

        There was also a big red light high on the tea room wall that had a hand-scrawled A4 sign next to it that read, "WHEN RED LIGHT FLASHES REMOVE TROUSER" [sic]. I never saw it come on, which is probably for the best.

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago...

          I remember the lecture hall with the switch marked "gravity on / off".

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Many years ago...

            I like that idea - when making a *really* serious point, switch on the gravity!

          2. T. F. M. Reader

            Re: Many years ago...

            ... a friend of mine worked with an international team on a construction site for a new nuclear power station in a Northern European country (yes, it really was many years ago). He said the installation included a big red button labelled "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!"...

            1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

              Re: Many years ago...

              "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!"...

              Well, isn't that what SCRAM means to most of the public?

              My Boy Scout troop once visited the training facility of the nearest nuclear power plant, less than 20 miles from home. We got to take some turns on their control room simulator, billed as "the world's biggest Nintendo" by our tour guide (when Nintendo was already on the decline; he was too old to have a clue). We ran through it about three times and they had us SCRAM the pile each time; I didn't get to push those plungers; I did a decent job turning on the emergency cooling pumps one time, but failed with the valve controls on a different go.

              I liked running A/V or theater tech at school, but I guess high-stress operation like nukes or NASA flight controller was/is not in my DNA.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Many years ago...

              That would more properly be called the SCRAM switch.

              http://catb.org/jargon/html/S/scram-switch.html

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago...

          A wall-mounted trouser press that doesn't turn off when it overheats shouldn't be managed, but removed. And did you see a trouser press? No? Just as well!

          That's my guess; what's yours?

      2. Ethangar

        Re: Many years ago...

        My friend bought a house. In the island of his kitchen, up under the counter is a light switch. Now my friend is more than a little OCD. He's pulled the cover and yep, there is wire attached to the switch and it is live. But 6 years on he still has NO clue what the hell that switch is for. He's turned everything in his house on and flipped the switch on and off to try and track it down. Nothing.

        So I take great pleasure asking him if he found out what it's for whenever we go over for a visit. Usually involves me getting called some 4 letter words. :)

        I joked the one day that all the time he's flipping the switch on and off that his neighbour is standing in his garage looking up at the light going "That damn light is going on and off again!?"

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Many years ago...

          Might have been a light over the island at one point. Look for evidence of a patch in the ceiling immediately over the top of it. If the patch exists, it'll be a piece of cake to install a new light, should he need/want one. Some stud finders can tell you if there is a live wire in the ceiling, if it toggles on and off with the switch, you're golden.

          Is there any evidence that the island once contained a sink? That switch might have controlled the disposal. Likewise, I've seen provision for a disposal where no sink was currently installed.

          On the other hand, while "spare wire" is sometimes run just in case (especially in hard-to-get-to places like kitchen islands in houses without basements/crawlspaces), it is rarely live, and usually terminates near the breaker panel, unconnected. These days, it's usually actually properly labeled!

          On the gripping hand, when we first moved in to this place, there were two overhead light fixtures in the downstairs hallway, about a foot and a half apart. One was controlled by the normal wall switches, one upstairs & one down. The other was always on, with no switch, so we removed the bulb. It wasn't until I started tearing into the attic space to create my office that I discovered that the downstairs hallway light was controlled by the attic light switches ... Seems that the prior home-owner decided that leaving a light on down three flight of stairs was a good way to remember to turn off the attic light ...

    3. MarkB
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Many years ago...

      "... as I went through the tradesman's passage ..."?

      You are Julian Clary and I claim my quintuple entendre.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Many years ago...

        You think he has a spare entendre about his person so he can give you one?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many years ago...

        "quintuple"? So, you want the whole five fingers, then...?

  5. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Stop

    "Please do not press this button again"

    Should have been programmed with the H2G2 approved message - see title.

  6. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

    The magically levitating disc pack

    If only the designers of the ICL EDS 60 had adopted this approach. More than one errant finger, elbow or buttock caused an inadvertently airborne disc pack.

    1. PM from Hell

      Re: The magically levitating disc pack

      To be fair that was a 1900 series device whose design dates back to the 70's. The later 2900 series VME mainframes did behave better.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: The magically levitating disc pack

      Airborne? As I recall the only button on an EDS would cause the heads to retract with a click and the drive to power down (or the disc to spin up and the heads to pop out in their trademark "sticking out the tongue" search for the pack directory).

      There was a big red "FAULT" light, but I never saw it lit and it wasn't a button (though it looked like one). I was told by an operator that when that lit a disc might go walkabout, but I didn't believe him. He was full of such tall tales.

      I've even seen an EDS 60 with the lid lifted from the back while it was running so the engineer (clad in the ICL trad carpet slippers) could do stuff with a scope. No disc packs left the cabinet.

      There must've been a later model, fitted with a "launch disc" button.

  7. IT's getting kinda boring

    Not work related, but my friend used to come over to play games on my PC. His son came with him one day, and decided pushing the 'off' button while his dad was in the middle of the game would be a fun thing to do. More than once.

    Fun times!

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Not only did I put tape over the needlessly bright power LED on my "current" (Trigger's Broom) PC, but after the first "shiny-must-press" incident I disabled the power button in the BIOS.

  8. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Worse then kids: the type of client (PHB?) who believes they know lots in IT but in fact are clueless monsters of destruction. They will not leave with a "simple" disk crash but can inflict truly great system borkage. They happily make use of direct database access and cleverly manipulate some field deep down without any idea of its implication or consideration for consistency.

    But what do I know - I left that life many moons ago and it _must_ have change for much better since.

    1. jake Silver badge

      But I didn't touch nuthin!

      Back in the day I worked on a lot of T-carrier stuff. I can't tell you how many times an owner/client ranted about a shiny new (fractional) T1/E1 link being down, how the equipment was shit, the field guys were incompetent, and how pretty much everybody involved with the installation should be taken out behind the barn & horsewhipped. Only to become red-faced when I casually reached out[0] and toggled a loopback switch, thus fixing the link. Seems bosses in general can't resist flipping switches ... and can't read blinkenlights.

      [0] When was the last time you saw "reached out" used properly?

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

        Should give an additional thumb up for [0]!

        At least, one of my (internal) clients back then would happily confess that he did something and usually was able to point roughly in the right direction. This didn't help much to fix the issue since I would also thoroughly check if he borked something else as well which he wasn't aware of but it went a long way for having a very pleasant relationship with him.

        1. EVP Bronze badge

          Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

          “Should give an additional thumb up for [0]!“

          Absolutely. In fact, I’d make it triple. One extra for indexing and one more for contents of the footnote.

      2. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

        [0] is an excellent question.

        I believe the last time was during a heated discussion with Human Remains when an agitated colleague informed the HR droid that if they said, "reach out", once more that they would reach out and give them a "touching point" that would probably raise a weal.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

          Usually I do not condone violence. But would happily make an exception there.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

          "reach out" that's up there with "moving forward" in annoying terms people now seem to say all the fecking time!

          1. Ethangar
            Flame

            Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

            ergh!?

            Another one that I hear all the time is they will "validate" instead of VERIFY!

      3. Chris G Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

        Using 'Reached out' instead of contacted makes me boil but not as much as any text or chat that has lol in nearly every line.

        Signed; A curmudgeon.

        PS Have a beer.

        1. BenDwire Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

          Ha Ha! LOL

        2. General Purpose
          Go

          Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

          It's all part of a properly negotiated sequence

          - Reached out

          - Contacted

          - Got in touch

          - Embraced the principles

          - Enhanced the client experience

          - Committed

          - Engaged.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

            - Developed Business Synergies resulting in an Holistic Re imagining of the Relevant Verticals.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

              "As the actress said to the bishop."

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

            "committed", for sure! Usually seen in the context of "We are committed to your privacy", where there's an invisible "abusing" between "to" and "your". Grrrr!!!

          3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

            Engaged indeed. Back in the day, if you reached out and did all that then you "had" to get married. ;-)

    2. Richard_Sideways

      HA This! Had a clients IT manager come into our DC as we co-hosted DR kit for several of our clients. We were patching their kit and he was observing. As he was a bit bored and it wasn't exactly a hospitality suite he sat down on a half height IBM Sequent box and managed to flip the big, red, 1/0 power switch on the front as he did so. The only saving grace was the kit was actually another bit of theirs - their DEV backup. A selection of pints were purchased to ensure that this story remained unretold...oops.

  9. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Press the button Max ...

    I believe CERN has a big red button in their visitor centre with a notice inviting visitors to press it and "get it out of their system", before entering the rest of the complex.

    1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Press the button Max ...

      We were adding some contactors to an installation at AWRE, Aldermaston, and the site security officer detailed to babysit us said that on no account were we to touch the electrical incomer master switch. When we asked why, because we did not relish connecting our kit up to live busbars, he explained that there was a reactor on the other end of it. So? That's just a big coil of wire, with maybe an iron core, isn't it?. NO! This reactor was a Nuclear Reactor. Any interruption to its control supply could have resulted in "Goodbye Basingstoke".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        i pressed the equivalent of that switch whilst at college! I was doing a BTEC in engineering at the time late 80s. Anyway me and a few mates had to go to the colleges main intake room and sketch and label what we saw in there, what could possibly go wrong!?

        So I came across the main breaker, I knew what it was, it was an old school one with the chuffing big handle that looked like a one arm bandit, I knew not to touch. But on the side of it was a small flapper type switch which just screamed touch me, so I did. CHUNK all the power went off! It was the breakers test switch! Lecturers came flying out of lectures wondering what's happened, it took a good 5mins to get everything back on and the college bell remained 5mins late for the rest of the term! We were all good mates so said that my A4 leaver arch binder knocked the button!

      2. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        After six months in a hotel in Basingstoke on a project that started as a Death March and got worse, I'd have pressed that button.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Press the button Max ...

          With a Death March project I usually apply my definition of Dead Line:

          Here is the line, drop dead!

          1. NorthIowan
            Happy

            Re: Press the button Max ...

            I don't know if it counted as a Death March project, but I was involved with a project that was supposed to be done in 6 months. And then another 6 month, then another 6 months... I lost count.

            At least the other group was delaying the release before we had to say we weren't done.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        I've driven through Basingstoke - if I had known about that button I would have made a detour and pressed it first!

      4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        Quote

        "Any interruption to its control supply could have resulted in "Goodbye Basingstoke"."

        So a big plus then?

      5. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        Not just Basingstoke (which is very tempting) but in the same blast radius (from memory) you would also get Newbury and Reading.

        In fact they are far more likely because Aldermaston is beside the river Kennet which is in a vey deep valley with very steep sides. As are Newbury and Reading.

        Still, very evocative image.

    2. Zarno Bronze badge

      Re: Press the button Max ...

      Reminds me of this comic...

      http://crfh.net/d/20090131.html

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        More like this Ren & Stimpy clip...

        https://vimeo.com/126720159

      2. Stevie Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        Nice Great Race reference there, Zarno. Have an e-beer.

      3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Press the button Max ...

        Ahhh, the good old CRFH... the reboot was meh for me.

    3. navidier

      Re: Press the button Max ...

      I believe CERN has a big red button in their visitor centre with a notice inviting visitors to press it and "get it out of their system", before entering the rest of the complex.

      There's a mock-up of a section of the LHC ring that tours science fairs in the UK. It includes a big emergency-stop button. I had to almost implore kids to press it when I was in charge a few years ago.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: [LHC] emergency-stop button

        If you press the emergency stop button on the LHC France and Switzerland change places.

        That's why it is labelled "Emergency Stop: NEVER USE".

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Meh

    I have one too!

    I was playing a game, and my son hit the power button on the Winbox, and poof... the game never worked right again.

  11. coconuthead

    z-fold?

    I've never heard it called "z-fold" paper. We used to call it "fan fold" paper down here in Australia. That's fan as in geisha, not fan as in hitting.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: z-fold?

      Same here (UK). Oh the memories of miles and miles of green and white striped paper...

      /shudders

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: z-fold?

        miles and miles of green and white striped paper

        Very attractive to cats, especially when you're trying to read the output.

        [Why no cat icon?]

      2. Jon_x

        Re: z-fold?

        Morrisons still use it!!!

    2. AndyMTB

      Re: z-fold?

      We always called it pyjama paper.

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: z-fold? (4 cocnuthead)

      Agree.

      Bloody 90s era grads. Not enough they make OOP confusing by using stupid names for old concepts, they are trying to subvert the proper naming conventions for continuous stationery now to make them sound more clixby.

      Horsewhipping too good, fought two wars, Mafeking, rationing, etc etc etc.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Can't remember where I saw this...

    An SF story, with the title "Beware the tiny hand".

    Hmmm. Actually I can't remember the story either - must be getting ol middle aged.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Can't remember where I saw this...

      In PC speak you are experiencing a senior moment.

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Can't remember where I saw this...

        My senior's moments seem to last days.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Can't remember where I saw this...

      Internet Speculative Fiction Database usually would know any title, but nothing that sounds right comes up. (Note that 'worlds war' does not elicit "The War of the Worlds".)

      http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi

  13. PM from Hell

    no Kids in the DC under ANY circumstances

    If one of my team was working out of hours and had childcare issues I would go in the officer ad offer a childsitting service

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: no Kids in the DC under ANY circumstances

      A tier 5 data centre belonging to a former employer of mine holds an annual families day, which does include tours of the halls, specifically targeted at the kids.

      In the years I've known of it, they've actually had no incidents. But I haven't taken the tour..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: they've actually had no incidents. But I haven't taken the tour..

        So which button would you not be able to resist pressing?

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: they've actually had no incidents. But I haven't taken the tour..

          The big red one by the door!

          Especially if it had a sign saying, "Do not press!"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no Kids in the DC under ANY circumstances

        A tier 5 data centre belonging to a former employer of mine holds an annual families day, which does include tours of the halls, specifically targeted at the kids.

        Some years back IBM had one of their "Take Your Kids to Work" days. When someone asked why I didn't bring my daughter, I said I thought that would constitute child abuse.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: no Kids in the DC under ANY circumstances

          I took my daughter to SLAC on the appropriate day. At the ripe old age of 9, she had been there many times before and knew the ropes, but I figured she deserved a day out of school.

          She told me as we were walking in that it'd cost me ten bucks for her to not push any buttons. I gave her the money.

          On the way back out, I told her that it'd cost her ten bucks for me not to tell her mother she was running a protection racket. She made a face and paid up ... and promptly told her mother as soon as we got home. They both still laugh about it.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the "R" number

      Why all the downvotes? I Googled a term I hadn't heard before, and posted the meaning so others wouldn't have to. No insults, no complaints, just an explanation of the term and a mention that I hadn't heard it before. ("Flattening the curve" is the expression they use here.)

      1. Filippo

        Re: the "R" number

        I suspect some people thought that you were sarcastically pretending not to know about something, as a way of signalling a position on a controversy; in the specific case, disagreeing with the author on whether it's currently safe to go to the park. Or some other variant on that genre.

        Alternatively, some people disagree with discussing the pandemic on non-pandemic articles, regardless of merit, and will downvote anyone who does so. I'd guess it's one of these two.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: the "R" number

      Your glorious leader is probably insistent on the term being well hidden.

  15. Paul Cooper

    Not IT, but...

    I once took my daughter (now 30 with a son of her own about the age she was then) into work. My wife and I were having a drink in the work cafeteria, while various colleagues went "Oooh" and "AAh" over the cute little toddler. Anyway, she was being well-behaved (for once!) and we didn't worry when she waddled off - until she marched straight up to the Director of the Institute, and said, loud and clear, "Daddy!". Fortunately, the Director and I had known each other for a long time and had done fieldwork together so, after an initial moment of looking totally nonplussed, he took it in good heart!

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Not IT, but...

      "Fortunately, the Director and I had known each other for a long time and had done fieldwork together"

      ..and just how long had he worked with your wife?

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Not IT, but...

      I took my 18 month old in to work on the way to the Bronx Zoo (pauses for inventive comments about zoos and colleagues) and introduced her to the other guy in my small department.

      He knew she loved The Lion King and he had just returned from a safari somewhere in Africa, so he greeted her by saying "Hacuna Matata!"

      Her arm shot out, her little finger pointed at him, and she shouted in a voice that carried across the open plan, city block sized office: "PIG!"

      My colleague had not seen The Lion King and was unaware that the line he had quoted was used by the warthog. His expression at being called a pig by a very small child was classic.

  16. Diodelogic

    My solution

    When my daughter was a little bitty, she would visit me in my "computer room" at home and demand to play one of her games. Of course, this was always while I was busy writing software. One day she escalated the situation by randomly pushing buttons and pulling cables. My solution was to get her involved in my work so she would have something to do besides reboot the computer(s).

    I had a leftover from college days: A set of two large plastic buttons, one red, one green. The red button had "Total Destruct" printed on it; the green button had "Reset." Both had squeakers inside. I stuck these to the side of a heavy tower case and told my daughter that she had to be ready to press the red button at any moment to keep my work from being lost, and then press the green button so I could keep working. She accepted these instructions very solemnly, and volunteered to help me at anytime. I made sure to ask for button presses often enough to keep her happy without completely destroying my workflow, and for many months we were both content.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My solution

      When my daughter was two or three I set her up with her own account and showed her how to play games - she loved it. By the time she was five she was fixing adults phone problems and nowadays she fixes everyone's computer problems at college. Kids are smarter than adults.

  17. not.known@this.address Silver badge
    Mushroom

    In the days before practically everywhere had access controls

    We had a computer room door with a card access system from the outside, and a black button next to the door handle (cunningly labelled "push to exit") to get out.

    We had a couple of electricians in, working on one of the PDUs , and one of them wanted to go out for a cuppa or a loo break or something. Knowing they couldn't get back in without a card, one of my colleagues went with him.

    Opposite the exit button, beneath a flip-top cover and surrounded by multiple "Emergency Power Off. Emergency Use Only"-style warnings, was a big red button.

    Guess which one the electrician pressed...

    1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: In the days before practically everywhere had access controls

      ...if you said the EPO they give yourself a pat on the back.

      Not that it really mattered though - when they had installed the EPO, they forgot to actually wire the damn thing in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the days before practically everywhere had access controls

      we had that happen too. Actually two places where I have worked had the emergency power off button by the door control exit button. Another place had the Halon fire suppression release button there as well. And many a fire panel outside DC's have a fire suppression button available to be pushed,!I know its protected but if you wanted to be a total arsehole and spunk several grands worth of IG55 you could!

      1. Giles C Bronze badge

        Re: In the days before practically everywhere had access controls

        Actually happened where I was working.

        Door entry button, with the emergency stop button below.

        Somebody hit the emergency button and then the same person did it again a month later.

        We then had a guard fitted so you had to hit it very hard to make contact.

  18. Tdkuk

    Reminds me...

    of the Saturday overtime I scored back in the 80s....

    I had the job of marking walkways through the office and workshops using striped tape on the floors so went into the empty office taking my Wife to help out.... and she brought our well behaved dog.

    All went way to smoothly, job done without the usual domestic dissagreements, dog mooched around before settling by my desk until we all left.

    When I got to work on the Monday morning I encountered a lot of giggling and back slapping from the staff which confused me until I heard about the enormous pile of stinking turd left under the MD's desk over the weekend!!!

    My old dog! Legend!!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me...

      "I had the job of marking walkways through the office and workshops using striped tape on the floors"

      So, you were pre-skilled ready for this years pandemic? I bet you were in yuuuuge demand this year as a floor taping consultant! :-)

    2. wjake

      Re: Reminds me...

      of this:

      https://youtu.be/SkP9DKnOgn0

      Tape on floors, etc.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What we really want to know is what's Dave's son's elReg handle?

  20. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge

    and the son now?

    One assumes he is a VMware admin now.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daughters

    Many moons ago when I worked as a sysadmin for a major Scottish newsagents chain, I had to go in one Saturday to fix something or other. Circumstances meant that I had to take my (then 3 or 4 y.o) daughter with me.

    Not really paying too much attention as I thought she was happily reading some comic or other, I glanced over to see her pushing the big red button on the front of the main warehouse control mini-computer.

    Oops.

    After a quick reboot everything was fine and no-one really noticed the system was down*.

    The solution, just in case anyone else was stupid enough to take their small child into a room with a red button at (their) head height, I brought in the top of one of those pump toothpaste things and sellotaped it over the button. Simple solution to a stupid design decsion.

    D

    * Well, they noticed but the system was so flakey they just took it to be a normal outage.

  22. Peter Simpson 1
    Linux

    Buttons and Lights

    I cannot tell al ie...'twas the buttons and lights wot got me into Computer Engineering, and it has been a great ride.

    Please don't stop taking your kids into work. You never know what it might lead to!

    // Tux, 'cause a Sun workstation got me wondering if there was life beyond DOS

    //...and then I found comp.sys.os.minix...

  23. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Happy

    I didn't bring my child to work..

    I *WAS* that child that would prod every button. Fun when your dad's an industrial sparky and gets called to work on North Sea fishing boats...

    Testing the sonar in the harbour was fun.

    Going into the engine room even more so... The fire suppression cord was always so tempting (but did remain un-yanked... You'd think my old man never trusted me...)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It’s not just buttons.

    I remember being told this by a retired recording engineer (from the time when they wore white coats) in a highly respected London studio.

    He told me they had a particular producer who was a bit of a pain when it came to interfering during a session.

    After a while the engineers were a bit fed up with his fiddling and decided that they should do something about this. They constructed a small remote console with various knobs (it may have been one knob - it’s a long time ago now) and marked it “producer console” or something similar.

    It was only brought out and connected up when the offending producer was due in and they found that it did cure the ‘problem’ they had been having. Said producer was happy as Larry adjusting his knob(s) throughout the sessions and let them get on with their job without hassle.

    As you’ve probably guessed, the knob(s) was connected to nothing.

  25. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Halon emergency release + curious fingers = big BOFH fun

  26. Spanners Silver badge
    Pirate

    She grew out of it

    My daughter is now 30. She has been to a couple of my places of work. On na couple of occasions, she was with my while I actually did support in users offices. I never realised how much attention she was paying me until, when she was about 8, she mentioned that she was now first-line support (my description, not hers) in her primary school.

    She had developed my habit of going into a room and looking instead of talking and then using my favourite question "what happens when you try?"

    Yes, the most common reason for teachers computers not working is that they had not plugged them in or that the batteries had gone flat. She would also help them with passwords (uncommon then but there were some) and she knew about caps and number locks.

    After all that, you might wonder if she went into IT. Not a chance! She is a nurse and now works for the police as a custody nurse. She keeps well away from police computers though...

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