Full names please.......
The Regomiser seems to be missing a few tricks these days. Surely the IT guy's real name was Ben D Cable........
There was a time in IT when "brute force" meant something other than guessing at passwords while wearing a favorite hoodie. Welcome to an edition of On Call that really pulls out some memories. Today's tale comes from the era of coaxial cables and thinnet. "Ben" (most definitely not his name) was working on the campus of an …
I have you all beaten on the Richard front - my mother used to work with a bloke named Richard Head. And yes, he insisted on Richard.
There used to be a Charles Manson in my department, but his parents can't be blamed for that as he was born before the famous one became famous.
And the Ex went to school with a Gordon Bennett!
Presumably not *that* Gordon Bennett though.
Once had to work with a Richard Fidler
Was watching 'Secrets of the London Underground' about Charing Cross last night. As they panned across some fake film posters on the wall, I swear one of them had the name 'Hugh Jass' as one of the members... sorry, stars.
(the BBC had problems with the name of one of Kenny Everett's characters... Barry Cryer claims that they OK'd the change of name from Cupid Stunt to Mary Hinge)
Once had to work with a Richard Fidler
Rhymes with hide rather than hid though.
When I went into the Sixth Form, several other pupils came from various schools nearby to join us. One of them was a lad who rejoiced in the name of Warren Peace. We also had a girl student whose name was very close to Bucket, and she was often referred to as Fuckit. How cruel can kids be?
SHE knew how cruel kids could be
I think the message here is how cruel parents can be. While sometimes such things are accidental or unforeseeable, in many cases the parents deliberately choose "funny" names. Someone at school was Annette Curton, for example. No need for that.
While I wouldn't want to go down Iceland's path of a list of "approved" names, there is something appealing about New Zealand's "state veto" on children's names.
We went to great lengths to try to choose names for our children which wouldn't be easily mis-used or cause embarrassment and still we failed to notice that one of them ended up with the initials of a Personal Digital Assistant (though they weren't perhaps common back then), and another was very nearly the International Amateur Athletics Association.
"still we failed to notice that one of them ended up with the initials of a Personal Digital Assistant"
Although her forenames are unexceptional we should have spotted the significance of her initials. I think it caused a bit of an issue when a post-grad student was already a DR.
30+ years in (college) teaching but I don't feel that I can share some of the more... interesting... names chosen by parents for their offspring because, well, they are out there somewhere. I would just ask parents to stop and think a little if they are going for something out of the ordinary.
It's always amusing when you meet the parents at a parents' evening. Goth rocker mum and dad saddle plump blonde good-natured daughter with ferocious death-metal type name and all.
My family are a tad boring, we stick to names of grand parents and great-grand parents and uncles/aunts. I avoided having the initials of a notorious three letter agency in the East at the last minute apparently.
Brute force: I've had to drill out filing cabinet locks a few times when documents needed in a hurry and keys with people not working late.
In Sweden they can -- and do -- veto names that could cause distress or offence. Mostly it is moronic stuff that get stopped, like sports team names (Manchester United...), "Scrotum", single letters, "Lad", T-rex, Sexy, etc. And in at least one case an artist couple who saw their childs name as a performance art installation.
About 15 yrs ago, my sister worked with a guy with the surname of "Flay." He then married a lovely lady with the first name of Susan.
I kid you not. I didn't believe the story until I met them at the company fête.
And no, I resisted the temptation to talk about it. Just.
Ok, that's cool actually.
It *is* funny to me when someone gets a profession that rings with their names in some fashion.
* Officer Renegade. [The article I read last week-ish; Citation for being an Excellent Officer in the community.]
* Dr. Hackem (Surgeon).
* Dr. Yankum (Dentist, know personally)
* Dr. Twist (Chiropractor).
That kind of thing is actually Fun.
Find me a MicroSoft Dev named Sharpless and I'll just stroke out laughing.
There was an emergency (window) boarding company in Birmingham called Bodgit and Scarper - I *hope* they were actual names, but I doubt it, unfortunately.
I had a dentist called Pain once, and a schoolfriend whose parents saddled with the name Adrian, nothing odd there, except his surname was Pipe; poor chap went through life being called Adrain.
Related to our friends in Twickenham, Wake & Paine Funeral Directors? Yes, they do exist, I've walked past their offices.
Have a good weekend.
Both seem very common. I've met plenty of each. To the point that it's a big pain in the arse getting complaints that I've spelt one such's name wrong. Even worse in these days of email addresses. Worse still if yo work with one or more of each. But there are plenty of other names that have varied spellings.
We had a guy at work called Ronnie Sole for many years. He changed his name by deed poll when he was about 50, which we all thought was a bit late.
Also a site manager at the Lloyds building when it was being constructed was called Quentin Cumber.
Met several Richard Longs, and Richard Smalls.
Dunno if it's cruelty or just no forethought on behalf of the parents.
I worked at a marine research lab for 20 years, we also did the support for another lab about 1/2 a mile away so didn't really meet or speak to the boffins there too often. A few months after I started I took a call from a Quentin Bone, I thought it was a windup prank call!
At school in the West of Scotland there was a lad joined us in 2nd year of secondary from the South of England.
His name was Wayne Holliday - he was yapping the ears off everyone and the chemistry teacher who hadn't met him asked his name...
Poor sod got given a punishment exercise (lines essentially) for being cheeky and not answering the teacher. No apology was forthcoming till his father appeared at the school
My nephew was christened Tony. One of his teachers called my brother to the school because she thought he might be deaf/backward/insolent because he didn't respond when she called him.
My brother had to calmly explain to her that he simply wasn't responding because he wasn't called 'Anthony'
The use of unaccepted nicknames is a power-play I have seen in a few cases, including a present manager, who will use such things (thus using AB). If my name was Robert I will simply ignore if he talks about/to Bob or Bobby: it is obviously not me he is referring to, but I know what he is doing. Of course, that is not the only annoying habit of that manager.
Like a very large number of people, I am not known by my first name. I am known by my second name.
I have lived in the south of the UK for a long time now so I am wondering if it is a regional thing. I occasionally come across someone who cannot comprehend this and insists on trying to call me by the first one and then gets confused when I never even look round.
I was named after my father. He used the first name and I was always known by the second one. He is dead so that person whose name you are yelling across the road can't hear you as he has been dead for more than 30 years!
Yes, that's quite confusing at times.
With my work hat on, we use more than one It system - one gov. dept., one major contractor. My line manager (amongst others) is known by his middle name and on the contractors IT that is his username and email address. But on the gov dept system they probably have stricter rules - so he appears as two distinctly different identities.
A number of times I've had to ask if people on the two systems with different names are in fact the same person.
yep gets confusing. When I started a new job at a lab a user came in wanting a PW reset or something doing on his account, Netware 3.1 I thought he was called Malcolm Woodwood so I'm busy trying to find his id which was generated by an automated system and normally was a number of letters from your full name, So John smith might have an ID of Josm So I'm rummaging around for something starting with M and having a W in it, couldn't find feck all. Finally gave up and asked my colleague, yep not called Malcolm that's his middle name, and it isn't Woodwood either its hyphenated actually name was Ernest Malcolm Sommerfield-woodwood so obviously the ID was EMSW! who'd of known!
Mea Madre went to school with a "Candy Cane".
Used to know a Rose Root and her mother, Ginger.
I live on the US West Coast so I know Way more than my fair shares of, Star's, Sunflower's, Sky/Skye/Skie's, I can pull a bouquet of Zoe's out of my ass (human and K-9s).
I think Commentard Central can probably keep this thread running all weekend.
Have known people with following dodgy names
I know a medical consultant whose parents decided it would be a laugh to give her the initials HRH.
In the family she is nicknamed The Queen.
The best one was just a surname: Porcelloni
In Italian it translates as Big Pigs.
Back when I worked at the local college (now University), 35 years or so ago, we were transitioning from terminals to PCs and at the time there was no common network standard.
We had rooms full of Acorn machines using their version of Cheapernet which were fine, except the little sh1ts quickly discovered that you could undo the T-piece just enough to make the network flaky without it being immediately obvious which machine was impacted. Our networking guy was forever having to go round the classrooms tightening them.
We then had one department purchase a network of IBM PS/2s, model 30 workstations and a model 60 server with minimal consultation. They then expected us to install and commission it with almost no information. We eventually worked out the network config and our ops guys installed the cabling, stapling it to the desks so tightly that any movement on the computers would rip the wires from the connectors!
We used things called "Safertaps". The thinnet cable ran into a box on the wall which had four BNCs - two inside which connected to the network segment and two poking out of the bottom. A "drop cable" - effectively a Y-cable with a single BNC at one end (for the network card) and two at the other (for the pair on the wall) - connected the computer to the Safertap.
Underneath each of the box's external BNCs was a microswitch and if either of those switches was not depressed by an inserted plug, the box shorted them both out, isolating the computer but ensuring continuity for the rest of the network segment. It also meant that unplugging a computer for any other purpose didn't disrupt the network.
Not perfect, but it solved forever the problem of broken segments due to tugging on T-pieces, and the vulnerable part (the Y-cable) was easily replaced.
Expensive, yes, but as it was a small network and us engineering types were looking after it as a sideline to our "real" jobs, it saved a lot of hassle. We also had a four-port hub centrally which could detect dodgy segments and isolate them which saved a lot of grief.
Worked in a customer service call centre as a student, with all the pcs and phone on coax... each row of desks on a spur. We worked out if the guy next to the window wiggled his foot in just the right place on a particular floor tile, it would cause just enough of a disconnect and reconnect to reset the 'time since last incoming call' counter for our row... pushing us back to the end of the next available operator queue, and telling the manager's monitoring system that we had just finished a call.
worked great until the manager decided she wanted the window seat.
As far as I am aware, Acorn used Econet, which was not coaxial cable, but normally a screened twin pair plus earth, using RS422 differential drivers, or it was when I installed Econet for BBC Micros at Newcastle Polytechnic.
The connectors were just 180o 5 pin DIN connectors, and there had to be a clock box somewhere on the cable, plus a terminator at both ends. We made up our own connection boxes (which may have been a mistake, as the exposed cables tended to break, making the network a bit flaky), but it saved a couple of hundred quid (or about the cost of one of the computers) compared with buying the official ones
Things tended to go badly wrong if the terminators were unplugged, and stopped completely if the clock was unplugged, something that certain malicious students would do to disrupt the classes.
We also had problems with one person who made the mistake of using a staple gun to secure the cable in the suspended ceiling....
The only time I was properly exposed to Econet was at university where there was a lab full of BBC Micros connected to home-brew (that is, designed and built by university staff) 6809 second processors. We ran C on them ISTR, unless it was BCPL or something similar.
The problem with these home-brew second processors was their power supplies and the fact that they had no reset switches. If the code you were writing caused a hang, the only way out of it was to power-cycle the processor (and probably the attached BBC Micro), but the PSUs were so flaky that doing so was almost guaranteed to crash most of the other 6809s and quite probably some of the BBCs too (but never the file server, fortunately).
Totally off-topic, but I was talking to a 6th-former recently, who hopes to do Computer Science at university. He's used a bit of Python, but hasn't ever had any teaching in how a computer "fits together" and hadn't heard of the 6502, Z80, 6809, even 8086, though he did know that ARM was "a CPU" and thought that maybe he had once been told what an assembler was. I'm going to have to go back and quiz him about exactly what they do teach at his college, as one of mine did GCSE computer science and at least has a vague idea of all those things.
Back in the day, I was on one of if not actually the first year of GCE (no S), "O" level course. We wheren't just taught about what a CPU was, we were taught about the internals too, such the ALU, registers etc and went on to learn about the various logic gates, how to put them together and build adders etc, all on paper. On the other hand, there was no Windows or Office to spend months playing with all the pretty colours and icons.
I was one of the last to do 'O' levels before GCSEs came in. We did all that too, and logic, binary maths etc. Also at 'A' level where we were the last year to have a module on maths!
However, things are changing. After years when 'IT' was the only subject offered at GCSE for most - a subject which really is just learning how to drive a spreadsheet and make pretty websites - GCSE Computer Science is once again 'a thing' and as I said, one of mine took it a couple of years ago. He did do HTML - in a text editor - and Python, and the course also had maths and logic modules, so maybe all is not lost.
Another of mine is now doing GCSE CS, but as with the previous child the teachers definitely tried to put people off. Their argument was that IT and CS both give you equally valid GCSEs, so why not do the 'easier' subject?
Yes, the confusion is between Computer Science and ICT.
My daughter is doing her first two IGCSEs, one of which is computer science, this summer (HE: we start early and spread them out) and she had to learn about registers and the fetch-execute cycle, logic gates etc.
The bias towards ICT/doing the easier subject comes partly from it being easier to recruit people who can teach it and league table thinking and the hope the easier subject will lead to higher grades (I am not sure - the grade boundaries in easier exams are a lot higher).
This was the problem at my school. We were the also the first year to take O level Computer Science, and our CS teacher was primarily a Religious Education bod.
Needless to say, the results were appalling. I got an "E" grade, and only two boys scraped a "C" grade pass out of 12 entrants. It was one of my favourite subjects, too.
However, I was bitten by the bug, and am still suffering the effects of long Computing...
Some years later then, I managed a "B" at O level, as did my friend Rhys. I think there were two other passes out of two classes of around 30. Not because the teacher was an RE bod, but because he was (fairly) Newly Qualified, had no-one else in the school to advise him and had a lot of children in the class who didn't really understand what Computer Studies was all about - in the 1980s it was one of those subjects that ambitious parents encouraged their children to do.
Rhys and I went on to do A level which I abjectly failed with an E. Rhys did better than that. I can't remember how much better but he went on to do CS or a related subject at university anyway while I did electronics, better matching my result in Physics.
The teacher spent a lot of time playing guitar, trying to write a MIDI sequencer for his QL (with the ROM board hanging out the back), extolling the virtues of his Atari ST and forgetting the date of our mock A-level, barging into the room ten minutes after the official start time brandishing one question for us, coming back 20 minutes later with another two. Rhys and I spent a lot of time as unofficial classroom assistants for his GCSE classes and lugging a BBC Micro up to the medical room - being the closest room with a phone extension - in order to log in to TTNS, which seemed to be full of abusive private school kids.
I did the last year of 'O' Level Computer studies before it became a GCSE so back in 1987. It had already sort of morphed in to a GCSE format so there was course work and quite a few exam papers. I got a D which I was quite pleased with as we hadn't been taught all the course so a D was the best I could actually get!
"we were taught about the internals too, such the ALU, registers etc and went on to learn about the various logic gates, how to put them together and build adders etc, all on paper"
One of my tasks at tech college as a "proper" IT tech was to write a full "graphical" simulator for a simple CPU in Pascal ... worked really well with single stepping of the op-code fetch-execute cycle and everything. Those were the heady days of teaching proper computer science ...
The first network that I had to put together was based on Arcnet. Pretty much the same coaxial T-piece and termination issues, just with different impedance. It was quite easy to get things to work with active and passive hubs, just making sure DOS had enough memory left to work with took a bit of fiddling with CONFIG.SYS and whatever TSRs we loaded up in AUTOEXEC.BAT to make it work. That 640k may have been enough for anyone, but not us..
When we were quoted silly numbers for terminators (£10 or so, and this is decades ago) I just bought a load of resistors and connectors from RS and spent a quiet afternoon soldering - in those days I actually had idle time (oh, those distant memories).
I remember Arcnet. I especially remember the hours I spent pulling up floor tiles until I eventually found the one bit of (93ohm?) Arcnet cable someone had used in the 50ohm Ethernet network and where the impedance mismatch was causing collision storms under certain load conditions.
I'm interested. Was this Archimedes and/or RiscPCs. because there's no way any model of BBC Micro was powerful enough to drive Ethernet.
I think I remember there being some form of Econet to Ethernet bridge devices, but I never came across one, nor do I know exactly how it worked. I would guess that it encapsulated Econet over Ethernet, and allowed multiple segments of Econet to be linked together (Econet allowed 254 networks of 254 machines to operate together, with a one byte network and one byte machine address), and possibly also allow fileservers to sit on an Ethernet and talk to machines on the Econets.
It's funny. There's a strong hobbyist community that uses microcontrollers to implement SD card readers, network and display devices and second processors, where the microcontrollers implementing the peripheral are much more powerful than the BBC Micro (or C64 or any of the other 8-bit era computers) they're attached to!
In the early 1990s I was a consultant working on a Xenix system expansion. The client wanted to add some more terminals (comms via RS-232C cables). Their multi-serial-port box ("CompuTone" brand) had plenty of free ports, so no problem there. The host was a Compaq 80286-based PC in an ordinary office. They ordered the cable I'd specced, and their maintence department was installing it while I soldered the endpoint connectors. For one of the terminals, instead of running the cable through the building's ceiling/attic spaces, the maintenance people ran it through a wall to the outside, under the eaves of an open courtyard, and through another exterior wall to the inside of an office. They were using some sort of industrial staple gun -- which I presumed was loaded with appropriate cable-staples (it wasn't) -- to do this.
It was a fine spring day, and I had their office door to the courtyard open while I worked. I couldn't see them, but I could hear them. Ka-PUNCH! ... Ka-PUNCH! ... Ka-PUNCH! "Uh-oh." (silence). I laid down my soldering iron, got up, walked into the courtyard to where they were standing and looking at their latest work. I said, "Excuse me. I know what I mean when I say, 'uh-oh'. I want to know what you mean when you say, 'uh-oh'." They looked at the ground, shuffled their feet, and finally admitted that their last ka-PUNCH had ran a staple through the cable. The MD saw the three of us standing in the courtyard looking at the cable, and correctly sensed trouble. He asked, I explained, and laid out out his options and their risks and costs.
He choose option "D", use the cable as-was, no additional costs, no schedule delays, but risking shorts in rainy weather. It mostly-worked, but was flaky in the winter.
Some stupid sod would pull the terminators off the end of the line, then another or same stupid sod thought they were "packing material" so would throw them away! FFS! We had drawers full of BNC terminators and ready to print notices that read...
"STOP PULLING THE COMPUTER PLUGS OUT OR I.T. WILL COME ROUND AND PULL THE PLUG ON YOU!"
Shortly after our firm had started giving people the sort of desks that can be used either whilst sitting or standing, I was visiting a colleague in another office. He had the desk standing and was pointing out some things on the screen to me, when I heard a light clunk. I looked around but couldnt see what was causing it. When a minute later I heard it again, I casually mentioned that the noise must be annoying if its happening regularly. He shrugged and said it only happened when he had the desk standing and it didnt really bother him.
After a moment I stooped slightly and looked under the standing desk and saw his computer case was dangling from the monitor cable and slowly swinging around on said cable. The clunking was when it occasionally banged softly against one of the legs of the desk. I pointed out to him that the computer shouldnt be airborne like that and he was just asking for it to destroy his computer and/or his monitor, when it eventually decided to start obeying gravity.
He grumpily replied what was the point of having a standing desk if he couldnt use it that way. I simply advised him to ask IT for a longer monitor cable. Whatever the case I was extremely impressed by the strength of the Cable and the fact that its connectors hadnt ripped out of their Sockets under the weight of the whole case. Must have been some good quality cable...
In the 1980's I heard the story about someone who wanted to get some more big (6ft high 4 ft square) physical mainframe disks into the machine room, but there was not quite enough space on the floor.
If they moved those disks 6 inches they could get the new ones in. So while the disks were in use (!) they leant back against the disk, and pushed ( with their legs as they had been taught) but could not budge it.
Unfortunately, one of the guy's trouser belt caught in the Emergency Power off. So when he stood up, the EPO was pullled and the whole bank of DASD lost power.
This took down the whole banking system - whoops.
I worked for an outsourcer around 1990, I worked late night shifts and I remember the one time the mainframe stalled dead in the water. It was 5 minutes of sheer panic by the senior Ops trying to find the recovery guides, to check the DR fallback had kicked into life and then on the phone to the mainframe leads at 1am on a Saturday morning to check and restart the main beast.
I was into PCs and learning that side of things and just did a mainframe ops job to get my foot into an IT job, mainly tape monkey work. Watching it take 45 mins to kickstart a mainframe was fascinating but swore me off them for life, rock solid as they are 99.99999% of the time.
Once had an office full of nice ladies, they decided to rearrange their office due to a new colleague starting. They all had VOIP phones at their desk... and desktop computers connected to our friend RJ45... Due to the cool new building, our glass office could look into their glass office. We watched in horror as they unplugged everything, stacked it in the corner and proceeded to move desks and storage cabinets, sans help from Facilities team. This went on for a day or two while were were in the middle of a complete switch swap of the entire network. We had our work cut out for us when the plugged in their VOIP Phones and computers into the wrong VLANS... Not to mention, they needed many longer cables to accommodate their new layout, what a drama! As George T says "Oh My!"
The potted plants are Outside of the Desktop cases.
Though one school district I worked for in the early 90' (Dude(t)s, did we all work at some set of schools in our early careers? I see a trend which is why I bring it up.) Once of the nice ladies in the district office had a Lovely Cubicle with all sorts of plants...the one on top of her running desktop while she was watering caught my eye(re).
"Best case, you fry the machine, middle case you get `lectrocuted and die, worst case it it sets off a fire and burns the district build to the ground." Next maintenance week there was a rather nice safety radius of plants vs machine.
I used to do the H&S inspections at a previous employer.
One thing I had noticed was that the cables under the desks kept being rearranged out of the cable trays and onto the floor. These were 4 desk units where the employees faced into the centre and there were no privacy boards under the desks, just their drawer units and the cable trays. The thought was that someone might we using the cable tray to rest their feet on and accidentally pulling the cables - the H&S concern was entanglement, rather than trip, etc.
A plan was hatched that I should do the inspection whilst people were in the office rather than before everyone came in. And then a very fast realisation that you cannot tell four young ladies in shorts skirts that they should not move their feet while you are going to look around under their desks!
I've said this one before, but worth a repeat...
The lady that used to vigorously rub her nether regions, with the heel of her foot while giving out train timetable information.
For some reason I always changed out the PC's on her current hot desk cluster, when she was on shift.
The H&S lot were the worst at our place.
Told to move a printer into the centre of (an odd shaped desk) - did it, went back a few weeks later to find the users had moved it back as it was talking up room.
H&S wanted to move some stuff about. There was a cable stretched across the office about waist height - when I pointed out that it could be a H&S issue, told "it's fine".
Also wanted me to remove an old CRT monitor - off a high shelf on my own, yeah right!
The instructions said "the line must terminate within 2m of the router", so the guy mounted the socket on the wall opposite the cabinet... but the supplied cable didn't reach
"well I'm 6ft, so about the same fingertip-to-fingertip, and I can touch the socket with one hand and the router with the other"
OH MY, I actually dove under a desk to find some issue, and the lady across the island of desks was a bit red faced... Not sure if she was embarrassed or angry or flattered! She still thought I was the best support the company every had! I was so intent of finding the issue, I forgot to look!
Paris for the "angle"!
"We had our work cut out for us when the plugged in their VOIP Phones and computers into the wrong VLANS... "
802.1x and radius means that whatever they plug into will get autoconfigured onto the correct VLAN - and you don't have to run around like a bluearsed fly keeping track of what's plugged in where or keeping up with equipment moves
Use Packetfence if you're starting out on this stuff
The great thing about it is that you can just setup the edge switches with a "universal" port config and drop your workload by $LARGECHUNK - computers are supposed to make life _easier_
(and anything unauthorised on the network won't get a connection at all, which is.... useful)
having endured, for many years, a much less sophisticated set-up (i.e. applications by email, then phoning on the day to actually get the number switched over, making sure you were plugging into a telephony rather than a LAN socket), we were absolutely gobsmacked when we found that the new phones knew what their number was, and to keep your number when your desk was rearranged (always by TPTB), you just plugged *your* phone into a new LAN socket (any! socket!)
As it was called, was indeed a horrific protocol.
Many moons ago, our boss was adamant the whole team (10 dudes) would go to lunch together. Statistically, this is impossible as you'll always end up with one blocking all others and still "doing something quick".
How to solve this ? Easy, you have 10 base 2 network: he'd just unplug his workstation cable, causing all NFS mounted workstations to insta-freeze !
Everyone would be forced to go lunch, LOL.
Interesting that you've interpreted that anecdote as indicating the problem lies with the random colleague who had one last thing to do, and not with the control freak of a boss mandating when and with whom their underlings took their lunch break...
For me the solution would have been to find somewhere else to work where the boss wasn't a complete arsehole, but that's just me and my intense dislike of being forced into regularly occurring (perhaps even daily, by the sounds of it here) artificially constructed work-related social scenarios in MY time just because someone in the team thinks it's a jolly good idea.
Eating at different times is a quintisentially English solution.
In most cultures eating the same food at the same time is an important part of maintaining healthy relationships.
I enjoy being back in the office in Barcelona and boozy lunches between shifts, and it undoubtedly improves the teams efficiency in the long run.
So someone who might be finishing off a genuinely important bit of work is just expected to drop everything, pull themselves out of the zone and end up having to spend even longer completing the work later, and head off for lunch just because the boss says "jump" and their underlings say "yes sir, how high sir?"
There's being a team player, and then there's being a minion to the PHB who thinks they have the right to control your life. Unless there's more to this anecdote than has been written, the problem was the boss expecting everyone to go eat at the same time, not that the rest of the team were expecting it from those random team members who weren't always able to join them without being coerced. That's not a particularly pleasant sort of team environment in which to spend your working life...
No. If you had reasonable warning you organise your day accordingly. What you are outlining is simply not how work places operate. Team work does mean working as part of that team, which includes reasonable team events. It's not being a "minion". And a single event is not controlling your life. It's not even controlling your work life. Sometimes you have to do group stuff.
Further, for most employees, having such events is, or should be, part of that pleasant work life. Maybe, though, you personally don't enjoy social activities ( in the workplace), and just have to grin and bear it.
I managed a factory back in the day. When our new MRP/MPS boxes went in the installer left a huge coil of cable in the corner of the warehouse for a yet to be commissioned office on the other side of the wall.
Super, until the entire warehouse fell off the network. Seems the terminator had failed.
But that will happen if you drop a 800kg pallet of stuff on it. Took half a day to figure out where the terminator was.
Learning points from this were, one tell someone what you've done and two, don't put the coil of cable and terminator on the warehouse floor.
Years ago, a colleague and I were fitting some cables for some experimental kit on board one of the UK Royal Navy's finest. The cables contained something like 25 twisted pairs, all individually screened and armoured too for durability. The multi pole connectors were works of industrial art in themselves. All we had to do was run the cables from A to B and plug them in. They were the sort of cables that went where they wanted to rather than where you wanted, you had to work with them not against them.
After much effort we finally got the plug in the right place at the right angle to meet the socket on the big cabinet of important stuff that was on and running. We were assured by our host that that it was fine to connect them whilst the kit was on, and also it was really inconvenient to turn it off anyway because of all the downstream issues that would create.
The main power switch to the cabinet was at the top, on the front, right next to where our cables came out and right next to the socket we were aiming for. The only protection on the very unassuming toggle switch was a small guard either side and a note saying "do not turn off". At this point, my colleague says "was that on just now? Err, I think I better go and get Bob (our host)". I spent a few minutes in mild panic thinking "we're in trouble here" before Bob comes back, looks at the switch and says "yeah that should be on". He flicks it on and calmly walks off leaving us very relieved and breathing easier.
The rest of the fit went well and the kit did great service for a while until an unfortunate incident outside of our control meant that the kit was no more. But that's the deal sometimes.
I wonder how many of you are old enough to have come across the old single UTP network cables?
I lost count of the times we had to patch them up after being "extended" with random bits of mains flex after a some PHB decided it was time to move the long-suffering drones about à la Chinese Tiles. The cables would work, mostly, but everything would go to pot if someone dare use a vacuum cleaner or power tool within a half-mile radius!
And yes, I'm looking at you, "Keith." The once loathed ex-overlord of our 6 drawing offices!
I miss messing with that old Sperry mainframe.
I remember working on a project in a large hospital in Bedfordshire back in around 1987. Had a 10Base5 DECnet network connecting a MicroVax to Terminal Servers thence to VT320 terminals. Part of the network ran through a cleaning cupboard. One day the whole network was down, and we discovered the cable neatly snipped to remove about a foot and a half. Probably just enough for a new radio aerial for their car!! Data leaking all over the floor. The fun we had.
2 tales from my past come to mind:
1st is thinnet related - a company that made lorry trailers kept having weird issues. I traced the cable though the building and the yard, and over time, narrowed it down to one office. I discovered the 10base2 cable running from one side of the prefab office to the other via a step up into the end office. Also running there were the heating pipes. The system would work fine till the heating came on, and as the cables heated up, the resistance would change just enough to unbalance the entire segment.
The solution: when the heating came on, we would remove the terminator from the network, and connect it one office down the cable, cutting one office off, but keeping everything else working. The PC in there would be moved, and 5 or so months later, we would reverse it all for the months the heating was not in use.
The 2nd is from when we did some cabling in a primary school to give them their first network and internet. All the pupil's PCs (all 4) were in an alcove with the ISDN connection. One utp cable ran from this all the way to the office to give the admin computer internet access. 3 weeks after we fitted it, the admin PC stopped having access to the internet. We were told how it was all our fault, how terrible our product/install was. I was sent to the school, all seemed fine, but not connection.
I walked the corridor back to the ISDN end, and half way stopped. I pointed out to the staff I was dealing with that if you have a plumber in to work on your heated, and they blowtorch the cable running along the wall, it will take more then a lick of paint to cover up what has happened, and therefore it wasn't our work that was at fault.
Apart from the ones with dubious confectionary.....
I had a office move from one building to another at the pharma facility I was based at for one lady, I'm not in the frame of mind to do office moves first thing in the morning so I did it in the twilight hours between 5 - 6pm, tested all was well & there could be no possible complaint - Right!
Wrong - I stroll into work next morning, I'm not even at my desk logging on, colleague calls "Go sort your (A few expletives followed which embarrassed even my ears) female user out in 225, shes been onto the helpless desk & onto me every minutes since7.30am.
Naturally I was in a hungover state of some confusion at this, so duelly made my way there to discover she had dragged every heavy desk & overhead cabinet (Nooks they are called in Canadaland) to a new (Fen shui) arrangement, without the help of the relatively agile facilities guys.
Her obvious screams & howls of its about time & it's not working, were quickly nipped in the bud with it was working last night when I left, before your impromptu re-organize & plugging into a obviously dead network port, a 10 second walk to the patching closet was enough to get her operational in seconds.
Almost as bad as asked to enable some network ports & helpfully providing the port number & closing the ticket at 17.50, to find it angrily reopened on arrival the next day as the "Work wasn't completed, nor were they consulted" as well as a update they wanted completely different ports in a different room on a different floor enabled for their meeting that was 45 minutes prior to my normal start time, it wasn't my normal supported building so the angry screams in the call notes resulted in priorities downgraded to lower than whale shit, with notes to the effect of the work was completed as originally requested, not to some whim at 7.30am.
Or the manager:
Who deemed due to the number of wall mounted network ports he could cram more users in as we had plenty of capacity to spare & why would he need to pay for a new switch out of his budget (Until I showed him the state of the patching closet - He then rethought his plans).
E-mailed me about upcoming moves, but didn't actually put the project paperwork in or log a ticket & only woke up enough to ask "Just heard you are holiday next week, whose doing the moves". To which he was advised that the courtesy was nice, but he still needed to book this in as a project (As I advised him at the time). We needed 5 days notice to accommodate moves & CC'd in my boss who always backed us up with managers who should have known better, especially after she recalled (She being the one that told\asked me afterwards - "Is this guy a bit of a prat!") after being at the 3 hour meeting.........
Where he sat through a lengthy planning of inter department moves across three buildings & when all was signed & agreed, piped up with "What about my department!"
We had a hybrid network where the backbone was 10base2 (cheapernet) that connected buildings (portacabins & buildings) as well as a number of Perle terminal servers that connected to the 10base2 network and allowed ICL green screen dumb terminals to access an ICL DRS6000 over 10baseT medium. Next to the ICL DRS6000 I had an ISL MX95 (I think the model is correct) that ran Novell Netware 3.11 for file & print services, Novell was the product of choice back then and in my mind was always far superior to NT/Win SVR, it was the case that Microsoft had the larger development & marketing budget!
The issues I had with cheapernet were mainly due to some GIT (a person and not the platform) working on an early AutoCAD 12 machine in the last office on the site and his tendency to unscrew the 50 ohm terminal resistor that instantly dropped the network as well as sending the dumb terminals into a locked state resulting in our Progress RDBMS requiring manual intervention to terminate locked database sessions! One twist of the resistor resulting in hours of work! After repeated events including finding the resistor at the other end one day in an ashtray I took action, the resolve the issue I placed both the PC's (each end) into lockable steel computer safes that were bolted down to the floor - that sorted it!
The other issue around cheapernet that repeatedly happened was the movement of portacabins, given half our buildings were at the time temporary the company would constantly move them around the site for whatever reason, this usually took place on a Saturday and to combat this we booked Monday's off at the whiff of a suggestion regarding any move of the offices, added to this we inflated the cost of cheapernet cable and connectors to expensivenet which resulted in us having the latest, greatest gear in IT, the message finally got through though our eventual move to 10baseT throughout cut the "gaming" budget.
Those were the days :-)
My "smart" TV once got moved and the ethernet connector pulled out. Oddly, the cable and plug survived, but the latch on the socket broke and so any cable now has to be taped to the back panel to stay in.
Having said that, it is now a moot point as the TV is now "old" and the functionality I used (iPlayer) has now ceased due to a lack of updates.
Here is a tremendous irony. Let's say that "useful life" means "can watch Youtube/Netflix/iPlayer/Kodi at the best possible quality".
If you plug a PC into a TV, the useful life of the TV will be longer than that of the PC.
If you have a TV in one part of a room, and a PC connected to a monitor in another part of the room, the useful life of the PC will be longer than that of the TV.
What a curious state of affairs.
Yeah, I have more or less the same setup. The one big drawback with the mini-PCs is when new video codecs come along. I've had to swap such machines a few times for this reason, and I found an RPi4 to be really problematic (doesn't do VC-1 in hardware and software playback is not smooth, which made some of my blu-ray rips unwatchable).
But when that sort of situation arises, you can just replace the computer instead of the whole TV (which is particular important if you spent too much on a very nice TV >_>)
Our training director was doing an off-site training course, so he simply, without telling anyone, unplugged his PC and put it, monitor and keyboard in the boot of his car, when he left the office the night before (an old HP Vectra 286 PC with Thin Ethernet).
The next morning, there were howls from the rest of the users, the network didn't work, at all, nobody had any connectivity!
It was a small network in an old building, so the Ethernet cables just ran from desk to desk and the director's PC had left a hole in the network - he had unplugged the 2 bits of Ethernet cable from the T-connector, which he left plugged into the PC, so now the bits were "falling out the end of the cables", as it were.
Luckily, I had a spare T-connector and access was quickly restored.
should not be used to bridge the couple of meters distance between two 10b5 cable ends, even if you have used the proper barrel-to-BNC adapters. It works just enough to convince one that it's OK, until you actually get more than just a little traffic on that network segment. It's even more of a problem if there's an AUI-10b2 converter involved, and one of the cable lengths between the converter's T and the 10b2-10b5 adapter was not even half of the minimum distance between taps on a 10b2 string.
I've also come across 75ohm coax (for video applications) mixed with the proper 50Ohm for 10b2.
Those were all classed as customer errors and thus not covered by their service contracts,
I was made redundant from the company I had worked in for many years, they gave us three months' notice and offered to help us with CVs, job applications, time off for interviews, etc. I secured a job as a Technical Writer at another company, and after a brief sojourn on site work, took up my permanent position at Head Office in Hall Green, near Birmingham. The IT Manager there was a friendly sort of guy, and I soon became interested in the IT side of things. One day he was looking sort of glum, and I asked him what the problem was. He explained that the (Thin Ethernet) network was working fine, until he plugged in an extra computer, upon which the whole network hung. Disconnecting the extra computer resulted in the network coming back up again, and so on, and so on. I went home that evening and did some research on this new Internet thing, and soon discovered the problem, he was trying to add a 64th node to the already maxed out network. Next morning, I explained the problem to him, and offered a solution, break the network into two halves and install a Bridge between them. Success, and I became his sudden best friend. He asked me if I could help him reorganise the network cabling, so I went in on a Sunday (at Double Time!) to pull all the cables out and reinstall them in a more efficient and logical manner. Some time later, we, as a company, bought another company, which was actually bigger than us, and suddenly, Graeme had eight offices to worry about instead of just one. He therefor appointed a Deputy IT Manager in each office and assumed a sort of Roving IT Manager role to keep everything running and synchronised. I was made Deputy for Head Office, and settled down to my new role. A Few months later, there was a shuffling of personnel between offices, and we had a new Office manager appointed. After a couple of weeks, I was summoned to his cubicle and berated for not producing enough Technical Writing, not doing any Proof Reading or Editing, and spending too much time "interfering with other employees' computers". I asked him if he had actually read my Terms of Employment, to which he admitted that he hadn't. I went back to my lair and emailed him a copy. Ten minutes later, he phoned me and apologised, saying that he had phoned Graeme and had his ears singed. He gave me a 20% pay rise, and later, Graeme apologised for not having done so when he promoted me. Some months later, it was decided from on high that Head Office was too expensive to remain in its posh office in Birmingham, and that we were to be amalgamated with the Coventry office. This entailed moving all of out infrastructure into a three storey office block, and splitting their network into three segments, with a bridge at each end of the middle floor segment connecting the top and bottom floors to it (another Sunday at Double Time). As there was already a deputy IT Manager at Coventry office, I was therefor effectively made redundant (again), and as I didn't like the Coventry site, I had a word with a relative, who arranged for me to be Head Hunted back to the company I had originally been made redundant from.
As there was already a deputy IT Manager at Coventry office, I was therefor effectively made redundant (again), and as I didn't like the Coventry site, I had a word with a relative, who arranged for me to be Head Hunted back to the company I had originally been made redundant from.
With a nice increase in salary I hope.
I was with a company for 13 years then left. After five years at another company was made redundant and went back to the first company - I needed the money, a wife and mortgage ain't cheap!
All the reasons I had left the first company were still there - it was like I never left (some of my stuff was still there on the shelf!), but the MD's son was also working there as well, or Dr Evil and Mini-me as they were known.
Was there for three months and managed to find another job - glad it worked out for you, but I wouldn't go back to a previous company again.
Once while visiting my mom at her place of work her AS/400 terminal with Twinax wiring went flying off her desk and proceded to smash against the ceiling tiles. I walked to the next office where I saw someone struggling to keep her terminal on her desk when she moved it about 8 feet from it's previous location. Whenever she let go gravity took over and it returned to it's position where she would then grab it and drag it back to her desk.
That's reminded me of another one.
When I took over the IT department at one company I found my predecessor had insisted on always adding new 3270s to the end of a twinax segment. The end result was cables going up, down and across the finance office (he had at least used rubber cable bridge!)
It tool less than 20 minutes one morning to disconnect them all and have nice simple cable runs down each side of the office going neatly from desk to desk.
Was waiting to hear from other twinax vets. That was some tough cable. That stuff almost killed me my first day on the job when I was a PFY. Was helping out with some cabling, and my boss decided to pull some unused twinax out from the top of some ceiling tiles. A baulin whipped past my ear when he got to the end of the cable.
See, that's Ethernet's USP - just make broadcast 'storms' into a protocol feature.
I do not have found memories of token ring, nor the place that would have networks going around a couple of floors, then up and down between floors (16 floors, two adjacent buildings), so you'd never know which network the token was "lost" from when something when down. (At least, not as a lowly desktop support peon.)
Then those crappy IBM "gender neutral" connectors that'd fall apart if there was a stiff breeze from rolling your chair forward... There was some plastic device that'd make them more difficult to kick apart, apparently, but we never got those.
Takes me back to my University Days.
The Uni Radio station was based in a small building with an office in an adjoining room. We were just over the path from computer services so we had the luxury of an RS232 link to a terminal-server in their building. Well we did until every time there was a thunderstorm, lost count of how many cards they fried and complained about replacing, but they were adamant we could only have a Terminal server link.
After a while they repurposed the adjoining room for the scanners students could use, of course they installed a link in and then put 10Base2 to all the machines, whilst still telling us we could only have a terminal server link. We pushed them after another failure and they gave us IP address etc and agreed we could sort. Didn't take long with a drill and some coax to get us online. Now there may have been a couple of minutes of downtime whist one of us plugged the cable into the last T in their room and ran round to our side with the 50ohm terminator as we didn't have a spare!
The new arrangement had the added advantage that if the geeks were being a pain in the scanner room we could cause a network outage by removing the terminator until they left. Never got any complaints from Computer Services.
I had lots of interesting experience as a student employee of the uni computer centre doing cable fixes. Got to drag a hefty TDR around campus to find the inevitable cable faults.
Two stand out more than 25y later.
1. The cable "installer" for the forestry school used metal stables to affix the RG58 to the wall. The crushing wasn't great, but the times they missed and put a staple through the coax were worse. The staple was pulled out, dragging braid onto the centre conductor. The replacement staple went over the top hiding the evidence. Fix was to chop a section out, terminate with two new BNCs and put in a barrel joiner. Don't recall why I didn't put on a cable jack on one side and skip the barrel.
2. One lab had bayonet style make/break connectors (AMP?) that avoided T pieces on each computer. Unfortunately the cover was held in place with sink plug chain. The ones with lots of little ball bearings. Some would always fall out, roll around and go into the floor mounted sockets. That shorted the coax. It was quicker to get a grunty vac and just go over each outlet than it was to use the TDR.
We moved to 10BASE-T while I was there and I was the cable factory. The pattern is burnt into my brain and it's still satisfying to whip up a cable from memory and have it pass all the tests (maintaining the twists is critical) to the amazement of graduate engineers.
I've got A spec stuck in my head.
GRW, GR, ORW, BL, BLW, OR, BRW, BR
And, everyone else seems to use the B variant with the orange/green swapped
When I did CCTV/door access cable installation, one customer had the lovely experience of the landlord's hired roofers sending 3 inch long roof screws through the sheet metal and right into the cable trunk from the DVR closet. Down the entire main hallway to/from said closet.
Was more cost effective to rip out most of the siamese CCTV cable and re-run the entire 400+ foot lengths than patch three times in one run. The Fluke Ts90 TDR meter earned it's keep that job...
Beers from a fellow former cable monkey!
One of my memorable (at least to me) screw ups was very similar.
In the early nineties I worked for a large blue logo'd computer company in Bristol. We were growing at pace then and were connecting lots of workstations to the network. I was off to Japan at the weekend (another story) and needed to get a few workstations attached. So Friday afternoon (can't remember if this was after the pub but it may have been) cut a few co-ax cables, pop on the connectors, connect everything up, check it worked (well sort of), move everything back in place and go home to pack.
If you notice the order above ... you'll see my error.
Anyway when I get to Japan there are some urgent messages... I think most of the R&D dept couldn't use their workstations for some time while a someone traced where the issue was. I still feel guilty about that....
10 base 2 - there was a connector called 'make before break', which allowed you to add new devices and remove them without upsetting the whole system. They looked like a T connector. I used them extensively at one company I worked for. Which was great until a directory decided to take his PC home and removed the cable by unplugging at the wrong 'T' point - taking his PC with the make before break connector still attached and leaving two cables hanging out of the skirting board.
Oh how we laughed.
A few years back, we were moving staff into a new building. A colleague and I had the honour of setting up all the equipment in the Vice Chancellor's office (the VC is, to all intents and purposes, the CEO of a Uni). We had all the equipment set up in the correct location, and most of it was plugged in and running. I plugged in one final fan, and the electrics blew. This took out everything in all the offices of all the University higher ups, and their staff.
Took a little bit of explaining, but at least FM fixed it in less that 2 hours..
In the Hong Kong job I mentioned earlier, when setting up the network we couldn't get continuity from one end to the other. We went through the whole building checking all the ports. As it was a new install the cabling had been put in floor trunking, then concreted over as part of the shopfitting, with breakout ports installed in the floor as final fix*. We checked all the ports, couldn't find any problems. Until it occured to me that two ports were in a diagonal, and the trunking followed a grid pattern.
Looking at the "missing" corner, we saw a large, heavy display table. Looking closer revealed one leg smashed straight through the floor port.
*Of course, none of the floor ports actually matched up with where the desks ended up. Cue loads of power and network extension leads taped across carpets and up legs.
A boss with a high level qualification in "proper" engineering (involving blokes with lathes and big hammers) rearranged his office when he was "issued" a personal assistant on his promotion. He decided that he would no longer actually use his IBM AT much, but he still needed it because he was the boss (His new PA had an XT with two floppy drives and no HDD). The PA was assigned the small office next to his. One evening he asked the store-man to move the AT to a brand new workstation desk by the wall. The next morning the PA reported that her XT wasn’t working - She could email and download files from the VAX server, but couldn’t print. After crawling around on the floor looking for disconnected cable everything looked OK. Eventually, it dawned on me that the XT was connected to the VAX via a twisted pair cable, and her very expensive laser printer was connected with 10-2. The only things on her network were her XT, the printer and the AT. The store-man had, of course, removed the network cable with a terminated T-connector, moved the AT, and then plugged the cable back without the T. It was probably just bad luck that the AT wasn’t terminated with the ground connector, as he might have thought that it was important. The T was in the boss’s cleaned ashtray.
I got the boss to sign for a nice CGA colour monitor; told him it would work better on the PA’s XT; swapped the PC’s around, and finished up with a very happy PA who liked her fast HDD, Hercules card and green screen. The boss always turned the XT on in the morning to show off the pretty colours on the user menu, but I don’t think he actually used it. One of the facts of life was that the power of a PC was directly proportional to the seniority of the manager, and inversely proportional to their need for a powerful computer…
Some great friends. He was a Professor of political history, his lovely wife now suitably ensconced in the House of Lords. Terribly academic types. Me a lowly telecom engineer. My friends were both Labour politicians, myself on the other bench as an Independent. Yes we crossed swords occasionally.
A call came through on the home 'phone one evening, the Councillor (also ex-MP) was in a right state. I calmed him down by telling him that Labour would eventually rule the world (or words to that effect). Mark he said, we "have a crisis on our hands" .... "We're having a dinner party for Lord and Lady (insert Regomiser here) and the bloody kettle won't work.
I enquired further, it appeared that they had swapped their trusty Russel Hobbs for a more modern version of kettle.
So the problem was that back in the day, the kettle had come with a plug but not attached to the lead.....oh dear.
As a pair of boffins, they had no clue how to safely attach plug to lead, would I be "lamb" and drive round to get them out of the jolly old cesspit?
They had donated the old kettle to their poor student son who was currently trundling down the M1 to Oxford.
Naturally, as a helpful brick I said I could pop over and fulfil their task. (all fair in love and politics)
"Wear a dinner suit when you come over and use the back kitchen door, kettle and plug awaits you." He said.
Why the dinner suit I enquired? "We have space on the dinner table for our tradesman" was the reply.....
A great night with very intelligent people, maybe.
- A Regional office I often visited had a secretary named "Dottie" (something). First time she was introduced to someone she's say "And I am". Each interaction with her proved she was correct.
- A Co-worker among the Field Engineering staff was named Ron Hiscock. He was quite proud of his name and was prone to prove it's validity.
- A Vietnamese war refugee fellow that worked where I consulted once was named (spelled phonetically) "Fah Kiew" and loved to relate tales of starting fights with GI's when they asked his name.
The fun of Tech Support has always been discovering that there was no "automatic hardware or software failure". In most cases, a computer problem can be traced to unearthing what a user did to cause it. Computers do DO things by themselves. There is no AI doing anything to anyone's computer. Usually what happens is a user screws up something, then, while attempting to perform their own troubleshooting and resolution because they're not as smart as they think they are and far less clever than they assume they are and more of a screw up than they think they are, just making the problem worse. Often , users who THINK that they are Power users, really aren't and spend more time trying to get their computers to do things that they aren't designed to do, than learning what can and should be done. Supporting Mobile Devices can be just as fun. Luckily, I was always able to pass Mobile Device/Cellular Connection issues to the Cellular Providers, as I didn't have any access to anything to resolve Cellular Service issues. I once had a high level Manager call the Support Line wondering why he wasn't able to successfully login, but at the place where I worked at that time, we used an Active Directory Utility that Provided us with documented proof of who successfully logged in, when they last successfully logged in, when they didn't, how many times they attempted to login and the reason why they didn't successfully login including when/if they successfully used their correct password, so we could prove that someone got locked out by repeatedly using the wrong password to attempt to login. Don't mess with the Tech Support guy. >:-)
i went to school with a John Thomas, I still live in the village as does his parents a couple of his brothers. I started a new job just before lock down for a small defense contractor making submarines anyway I was talking to some of my new offices mates about things and I don't known why but the subject of names came up and I said I went to school with a John Thomas, "oh we have one of them here" was the response. Anyway that afternoon I was being given a H&S tour of the workshop and I could here the dulcet tones of the very same John Thomas!
still happend, had this with copper RG45,and cards and connectors ripped out, Smashed fiber cables and the ends ripped off at the pc or even the wall sockets.
Dogs chewed the network cables or even ripped out by wheelie chairs or crushed after some one decides to move the desk around.
Just IT support issues .