Not only two signs...
But in two languages, and the plugs still magically managed to free themselves...
Welcome once more to On-Call, The Register's weekly reader-contributed column that tells tales of IT pros being asked to fix things that should never have broken. This week, meet "Bob" who shared a story from his time as manager of first line IT support for a large retail chain. Said retailer installed a rack full of kit in …
When I was doing my apprenticeship many years ago I saw an electrical switch on a wall with a load of gaffer tape over the switch (which was turned on) and a label taped to the wall next to it which read, "This switch must be left switched on permanently all the time."
Get one with a metal surface and wire it to hot mains. Leave the crispy bodies behind as a warning to the next person considering touching it anyway.
You do this, of course, for educational reasons (and to weed out the dumb ones), because just wiring something in as a spur with a fuse as interrupter is better but at best half as entertaining.
I have been on (almost) two ends of this sort of thing.
First (Which I think I've mention before) was the time some bright spark removed my "Man On Line" tag and turned on the breaker for the roughly Austin-mini-sized Motor Generator that I was removing.
Second, while sidling down the inside of a wall (left when a rectangular space of the original building was "updated" to an irregular polygon).
I ran across a (turned on) switch on a piece of the old wall. The memory of my first experience aided the angel on one shoulder to override the devil on the other, who wanted to turn it off and see who hollered.
"Fools-proof, yes._IDIOTS_ proof no"
It's a CLEAR cover. That won't stop anyone stupid enough to mess with the cables at all.
If the socket can't be hidden under a raised floor, use a 60309-something instead.
Then use distribution rails in the rack with IEC 60320 C13 sockets. Most Rack-mount kit can work with a standard C13 - to - C14 cable.
Well, besides Cisco...
From your link:
"This makes this cover great for preventing those with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, special needs and children from tampering with dangerous plug sockets and switches."
It doesn't say they protect from the dangerously stupid though. Or those in need of a proof-reader.
It doesn't say they protect from ... those in need of a proof-reader.
Perhaps they actually do mean that "those with children" shouldn't be tampering with dangerous plug sockets and switches... I guess they might think that parents are more likely to be distracted.
Oddly enough, the copious addition of duct/gaffer tape to such a situation was my first thought as well.
And failing that, attach it copiously to the iPad (ideally sticking it somewhere unreachable), and if possible also to the idiot owner.
It really is the universal fix-it for anything...
I work in an office built in a wooden superstructure on the roof of a university, alongside a couple of telescope domes belonging to the astronomy group. The high-tech solution to stop us turning on the corridor lights (which would shine through the window and spoil their view) is that the switches are taped to the off position.
And this is why comms cabinets should (wherever possible) be located in a secure, locked room to which only limited authorised personnel have the key.
Where that isn't possible, (ie, small comms cabinets), the power socket should be located as high up as possible to discourage anyone from reaching for it to plug something else in.
This is fine until “management” decides they need some extra storage space and you come back after a holiday only to find the combi lock’s been removed and combustible non-IT stuff piled on the shelves.
That combustible stuff already indicates an easy solution to the problem, just make sure to have an alibi.
Not all buildings were designed with the idea of a computer room however, a Sainsbury's store I used to work in crammed most computer admin staff into a small sweaty room, nextdoor was where they kept all the cash (So had those vacuum tubes overhead where money was put into pill like containers). Also the fags were kept in an old meatstore room.
The ciggies in a meatroom reminds me of a part time job I had while at college. I was responsible for the tobacco stock at weekends, and one day I noticed a number of cartons were shredded. Turns out the steel wallled storage room was an attractive home for rodents, probably because it was heated to stop the tobacco getting damp in our otherwise freezing warehouse. The damage amounted to hundreds of pounds in stock, as the rodents also urinated and crapped all over the place...
"the power socket should be located as high up as possible to discourage anyone from reaching for it to plug something else in."
Back in another century I was a BOFH for a manufacturing facility. The facility was sprawled across several utilitarian metal buildings. Our network infrastructure was built in-house on a low budget as was common at the time. What we called "servers" were white box computers in tall cases, CAT5 ran in repurposed rain troughs instead of on wire ladder, and our "MDFs" were commodity storage cabinets with 19" racks mounted within.
One of the "MDFs" resided in the corner of a coat room. The cabinet contained a few 3Com hubs (later switches) and some Twinax network multiplexors. Power was fed from a socket above the cabinet (near where the CAT5 ran up above the ceiling tiles).
One summer we had an intern working in the IT dept. as a gopher/PFY. We sent him to the building with the coatroom MDF to pull some new network runs. Shortly afterwards, all the AS/400 terminals in that building dropped offline.
I grabbed the twinax toner and wandered over, grumbling about the erratic repeater in that building. When I walked into the coatroom, I saw the cabinet, with a stepladder next to it, and the PFY's feet standing on top of the cabinet. Next to the feet was a power cord, laying on top of the cabinet after having been dislodged by said PFY during his ascent to the non-OSHA approved work platform.
I just climbed the ladder, plugged the cord in, and grunted my displeasure at the PFY when he said something like "oh, so that's why I heard a beep!".
(we did add a UPS to our closets after this...eventually).
Just before Covid I was working at a site where all the IT kit was in one of those freestanding air-conditioned rack cases. One day I noticed that a cleaner had spotted that the gap between the top of this rack and the ceiling was just the right size to store their bulk packs of toilet rolls. That was also the air outflow for the cabinet. With trepidation the head of IT and I opened the cabinet to be met by a blast of tropical air and a cacophony of warning bleeps. We were amazed nothing had shut down but he suspected the previous infrastructure manager had overridden the safety thresholds.
The thread poster was detailing all the ways Twitter could go wrong with half of the staff sacked.
I pointed out the only one they missed was unplugging the one plug that MUST NEVER BE UNPLUGGED.
This actually happened to me in the early days of my career working for a specialist transaction processors. They used clusters of zOS mainframe to serve the transactions with the amount m of <3s latency world wide before ubiquitous fibre was a thing. This set up optimised speed over stability as the main thing under their control was processing time not network latency.
In those days unplugging the master terminal would bring the whole edifice crashing down…. Guess where the cleaner plugged in her hoover for the monthly ops room clean….
Janitorial staff having the keys to the entire kingdom (as it were) was the norm until we in the glass room started putting our collective foot down in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It wasn't until the late 1980s that it became uncommon. By the late 1990s it was as rare as hen's teeth. The last time I witnessed a janitor coming unannounced into a data center "in the wee hours" at a place I was consulting for was 2005 ...
Back when I was doing customer support for ICL we had a huge number of calls of small mainframes getting disc controller errors recovered read and write fails to discs in regular patterns across many machines.
The Small Series 39 machines were low level cabinets (god know why) and being small mainframes had 2 channels to each controller and a manual switch on the cabinet bevel to allow operators to swap the interface if it was throwing erros and didn't route switch automatically (a fantastically rare event). The switches were beautifully designed and had little stalks poking out of the bevel of the cabinet, an enthusiastic cleaner polishing the cabinet could change controller routes several times in a few seconds causing the errors and the hardware itself to route switch again when the switches stopped moving.
The fix for persistent offenders was a perspex cover for the bevel which required either removal or the use of a bic biro to move the switch
When I left ICL and managed a tech support team one of my first purchases was a hoover for he ops team, it was stupidly expensive as it was supposed to produce no static and hoovering the ops room became late shift responsibility once a week. the improvement in reliability of a number of comms routers and small servers improved miraculously.
We were getting an expansion to the computer room, half a dozen new microVaxes were to be placed next to the older kit.
The builders were in the computer room, to expand it and put a new hole in the wall for the extra AC piping... What do you need to drill a hole in the wall? Power... How do you get power from in a computer room? You unplug one of the critical systems, that's how!
Another time, I was working late and was indexing a 300 page word document - that involves double clicking words and selecting Index from the menu... Cleaning woman strolls into the office and just unplugs my Mac! WAAH! It corrupted the latest copy, and I was 75% of the way through indexing. I had to open the backup, re-write the last section, then start with the indexing again. I wasn't impressed, to be honest.
There was a similar-but-different anecdote from back in the Usenet/NSF network days where some bright spark unplugged an unknown Ethernet cable.
Turns out the other end was... New Zealand. As in all of it.
(That's a gross oversimplification, of course -- links to Australia weren't impacted, for example -- but the vast majority of Usenet traffic just stopped...)
That happened in NZ, I remember it well. Fortunately, I wasn't the guy who got yelled at. (Hi, Mike!) Was an easy fix, and nothing was lost.
I did get yelled at in late 1977 when I managed to take down all the PDP10 kit at Stanford and Berkeley with a software upgrade. Effectively split the West coast ARPANet in half for a couple hours. Not fun having bigwigs from Moffett and NASA Ames screaming because they couldn't talk to JPL and Lockheed without going through MIT ...
An episode from Season IV begins with most of the crew on the bridge of the eponymous space ship during a red alert, frantically battling with their consoles. Suddenly all their computers go blank. Terror. Then the Cat strolls in using a hair dryer that he's just plugged in in place of all the battlestation consoles.
For critical, 'Do not unplug' equipment, we resorted to using specialised plugs and sockets, that were hard to unplug and into whose sockets, only the specialised plugs could be inserted. That defeated the cleaners and sundry hardware users. It did not stop one determined PC user who inserted his floppy, (with a month's work on it), into an off limits machine that ran processes 24 hours a day. It used the floppy drive as a sneaker-net output device. He tried to run what he wanted, the PC took over, trashed his floppy and overwrote it with the machine's process data.; lesson learned, there was no way back.
I dont know. Part b) seems like a definite BOFH action. Assuming the machine is well signposted as being completely off limits. Then trashing anything that gets inserted into it, seems more like the poor machine defending itself from an unauthrosied penetration... ;)
Reminds me of a certain Pascal compiler that suffered (well, its users did) from a mismatch of expectations when run on RT-11 (PDP-11).
RT-11 has (had?) an odd convention that opening a file with only the disk name, not a filename, would return a file structure that referenced the physical disk (imagine any random program opening / on Unix and you get the idea)
the compiler, OTOH was a bit light on input validation, so when run without specifying any file, would open the system device Read/write,
and then abort when there was no source file named. But not before writing the boilerplate of an executable header over the boot block.
Maybe programmers should be exposed to "Trust, but verify" along with Hoare's advice on complexity.
To be fair, 1973's RT-11 was a single-user system, so of course that single user would have access to the complete system. Also note that it was designed originally with no networking. Security concerns on such a system were addressed with doors, and lock and key.
In that era, the user of such a powerful computer was expected to be computer literate. These days, with a supercomputer in all pockets, people are expected to be computer illiterate.
How far we've fallen ... and still accelerating.
ISTR back in the 1990's, one of the early PC unix-like operating systems used to crash dump its RAM to the first few sectors of any disk it could find in the event of a kernel panic. Undoubtedly a very useful feature if you're the kernel developer.
All sane kernels can be compiled with various levels of debugging information turned on. These are nominally just for lab use, but sometimes one (or more) makes it out into the wild when it shouldn't. On the bright side, there are usually (always these days) boot options to turn these on or off (all at once, or individually) as needed.
I do not know of any OS that does crash dumps to "random" disks. The disk(s) to dump to is(are) always specified, somewhere (and in what order). However, it might look random to a non-aware observer.
"It relies on a diskette accidentally being present in the drive to write ouput."
Or it waits for one. I doubt it breaks before one's there, but has a thread or a check in a loop that starts the dump when a disk is inserted. Probably it's writing things to local storage and then copies the important or relevant ones to a disk because that's frequently used on a different system.
"It just trashes whatever it finds in the drive without warning?"
The operators probably don't consider that necessary if it's an off-limits machine, and having to manually start the dumping process is extra effort they don't really want. I've seen a program like this that worked with USB drives. No, it didn't erase them, but it did automatically start an operation when a disk containing a magic file was inserted. This was done because the program ran on a bunch of non-networked machines and plugging in a drive, waiting for a beep, and moving to the next one was faster than starting the operation manually each time as well. I wasn't running it, though, so I didn't get to decide.
To be perfectly fair, Microsoft didn't invent autorun ... autorun is a logical extension to bootable media. My old PDP 11 can be told to automatically run code loaded from paper tape or card decks ... if the correct code is at the beginning of the media. Earlier DEC kit could, too. IBM kit could do the same in the '50s, as could the rest of that era computers.
"autorun is a logical extension to bootable media."
Nope. Bootable media boots *only* when you specifially *order* whole machine to boot. Autorun runs when you insert a media, no questions asked.
It's a security nightmare and definitely not 'extension' of bootable media: Bootable media does not automatically boot the machine when you insert it.
I just hate "auto run".
Partly because I hate auto anything. I don't want stuff happening until I press a "go" button. I'm a firm believer in the power of Sod's Law so I like to check everything is right and ready first.
But also, because I was setting up people with computers and coming back to resolve problems in the era of the floppy, and saw stuff go wrong because of discs left or placed in machines far too often- it's stayed with me as a visceral sense of worry ever since. Particularly Autorun+floppy+virus once we had HDDs..
Microsoft recommendation for Servers:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer DWORD NoDriveTypeAutoRun 255
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer DWORD NoAutoplayfornonVolume 1
plugs that only a specialised plug could fit into still get unplugged to see if it will take a charger.
I even had a cable that was not only marked ``do not unplug'' but even duct-taped to the scoket being removed just because someone needed a wall socket, and this one was nearest
The soon appearing stack of steaming corpses will show you that "I better should not touch it" is not really a thought that occurs in the vacuum of the heads of a disappointing amount of people.
Worse, if it's fake it will only encourage them to touch the next one that isn't, so it's really better for humanity to use the Real Thing and just keep some tools handy for occasionally scraping the carbonised remains away.
Nah, I'm a practical man. Why?
Too true! I've just been informed of a recent incident at one of our hospitals where a visiting company rep removed a laser filter from an operating microscope to use in another device, without telling anyone, so their foul. But the situation was exacerbated by two doctors subsequently using the microscope who saw a flash from the laser where there shouldn't have been one during a case. In order to confirm there was a fault they fired the laser again whilst both continuing to look through the microscope! It's hoped that the eye damage sustained won't be permanent.
IEC 309 sockets are quite different, compared to standars sockets, and have some nice ameities, like lock out holes, and fuses, nome of them in the on position have a small hole where to put a small lead seal that has to be broken if the switch is turned of, and in on position the plug is mechanically locked.
There are also the MAGIC socket, that have an odd connector ad were designed in the '70 by BTicino. I've seen used in hospitals for the socket to be used by medical equipment. You can order plugs and sockets or even find them on stock in big hardware stores, but are quite uncommon.
For UK, you couls source the Italian 16A plug and socket, that is way cheaper and easier to find.
That is like using BS 1363 sockets in Italy. At leas my uncle wired the freezer with that and put a corresponding socket in the cellar.
More MAGIC here. I was curious, saving time for others:
Doesn't look like it is fused, and the socket/outlet appears to lack safety shutters (I couldn't find details of the mechanism). The Certification mark is from an Italian organisation: Istituto Italiano del Marchio di Qualità
Wikipedia (Italian): Istituto Italiano del Marchio di Qualità
Org Website (Italian): Istituto Italiano del Marchio di Qualità
Hmm, does that not conflict with building codes?
I have a place in Belgium, and they have these stupid French earth pin sockets as opposed to the Schuko double side earth connection you find in Germany and the Netherlands. I have been warned by various people not to change them as it would offer the insurance an argument to not pay out if there was a fire - the first thing they apparently do is see if they can find schuko sockets and extension leads in the remains..
If you examine a 'Schuko' (CEE 7/7) plug, you will see a hole in the middle, into which the French socket's (CEE 7/5) projecting 'Earth' pin will go if the 'Schuko' plug is inserted into a French standard socket, so the protective conductor has continuity.
If you insert a French plug (CEE 7/6) into a Schuko socket, the French standard plug does not have the side-mounted protective conductor connections. So a device that relies on continuity of the protective conductor will not work properly. It is a fire risk.
If you insert a French plug (CEE 7/6) into a Schuko socket
You can't - take a closer look at a Schuko socket, the pictures on the site you linked show it clearly. On the top and bottom you have the earth conductors, but left and right the socket has protrusions that wil blcok the fully round French plug from entering. You can't have an electric fire risk if you can't plug it in - a possible derivative of Sattinger's law :).
Most Schuko connectors, however, can safely work in French sockets as well because they tend to have an extra contact opening for the French earth pin. That's why every device with a power lead that can be disconnected (like kettle leads and the 3pin laptop) is always supplied with a Schuko connector on the end as it alleviates the need to stock two separate leads.
But I'm still forced to have the damnable French sockets..
So to be clear:
'Schuko' (actually hybrid CEE 7/7) plugs work in French CEE 7/5 sockets, and provide continuity on all conductors. Real Schuko plugs (CEE 7/4) can't be inserted into a French socket as they have no hole for the protective conductor. You need the hybrid plug - CEE 7/7
French CEE 7/6 plugs do NOT work in 'Schuko' (CEE 7/3) sockets for the reason you clearly state. You can't insert them.
You were right. Thank you for correcting me.
The problem with 'specialised plugs and sockets' is that unless they are really different then the power-hungry idiots are still liable to unplug them just to see if their plug fits
I remember a company that ordered a lot of UK 13A-type plugs with odd pins (rectangular pins were rotated 90 degrees) but abandoned that idea because the idiots still saw them as standard plugs until it was too late
240 degree 5-pin actually has the same pin arrangement than 6 pin plug (sans the 6th pin of course). How do I know?
I've both on desk when I'm writing this. J.G. apparently haven't seen those.
180 degree 5 pin (the more common one) won't work, as 6 pin is using 240 degree pattern + one pin in the middle.
Then there's 7 pin/240deg version B&O is using in their older equipment, that meant visit to electronics shop.
[O]nly the specialised plugs could be inserted. That defeated the cleaners and sundry hardware users.
You were blessed with unusually tame cleaners, I'd say. Not even unplugging critical equipment before discovering a Hoover/Dyson couldn't be plugged in?
Yes, I did notice the "hard to unplug" bit. Still, that's only an obstacle for the unusually tame, isn't it?
One wonders why there wasn't a UPS installed in the cabinet with an alert configured, given the steps they'd gone to over redundancy.
Not that a UPS is a cure-all, especially when someone (not me) manages to plug *both* power leads for the Exchange server into the same distribution panel from the single UPS and it's the plug on that panel that fails! I was leaving anyway so wasn't bothered but I did then have to explain the basics to the new staff.
Yes, yes idiots are everywhere, but so are naughty folks. I have an e-stop outside a lab to kill the power, for emergency use only. Labelled of course, but even so it kept getting pressed with no one admitting to it. It now has a very sturdy steel cover over it, painted red, screwed to the wall so hard to accidentally hit. Still gets pressed.
The way that human brains are wired, there is focus on a subject, and negation is not instinctively processed. A sign saying "Do not switch off" or "Do not unplug" simply draws the brain to the possibility that there is something that could be switched off / unplugged. In the same way, if you tell someone "don't think of a pink hippopotamus", they will immediately think of a pink hippopotamus (even if it's just to be able to comprehend what it is that that they should not be thinking about).
> A sign saying "Do not switch off" or "Do not unplug" simply draws the brain to the possibility that there is something that could be switched off / unplugged
Thank you @jmch, finally someone here with a pragmatic viewpoint.... Everyone else here is exasperated that the things they know don't work ( Don Not Touch signs, duck tape etc) don't work.
Nobody has yet suggested a different approach:
Always leave an empty 13 A socket in an obvious and convenient place for the cleaner. This could be done by plugging in a short, empty 4-way extension, one with a little orange light on it to show it is live, so the cleaner can see it on the floor.
Enquire of the cleaner if the socket is in a place convenient to them. Would it make their life easier if the 4-way was attached to the wall instead, and if so at what height? Doing so would also show the cleaner that you see their job as important, which it is since computers don't like dust and fluff.
You and the cleaner are on the same side, you're allies. The real villain is the person who didn't think of the cleaner's job when they designed the room.
Also always, always, always check for cleaners with odd habits. We had a Sun workstation at a hospital in the early '90s, on a 4-way multiplug, which was plugged into the right-hand socket of the double 13A socket near the door. Note "right-hand". This is about to become important. The left-hand socket was empty, so as to leave a socket free for the cleaner.
This worked well for a year or so. Then the machine started becoming unreliable - it'd reboot between about 5.30pm and 6.30pm many weekday evenings. Aha! Must be a new cleaner or a dodgy vacuum cleaner! So we put some tape over the plug with a nice neat "Please do not unplug" notice. The following evening... reboot. The morning after that... check the socket. The tape had been peeled back, the plug presumably removed, then at some later time the plug had been put back in and the tape replaced. The empty, inviting left-hand socket next door was unused.
This was... mysterious. Time for some overtime! Hover outside the office after hours and see what happens.
The hover revealed the cleaner coming down the corridor, cleaning each room. When they got to ours, they peeled the tape back and... were just about to pull the plug on the workstation when our spy intervened. It turned out that when the new cleaner had received their training, they'd been shown how to use a vacuum cleaner (new technology for them) and the person showing them had plugged it into the right-hand socket of a double. Therefore the cleaner had assumed that they had to do it exactly the same way, and had been unplugging anything on the right-hand side of a double in order to plug in the vacuum.
Our spy promptly shut down the workstation, moved the multiplug to use the left-hand socket, and restarted the workstation. And we never had a problem again.
And regularly inspect for people using that handy cleaner's socket and action appropriately. I published a rule that anything plugged into a "vacuum cleaners only" labelled socket would be unplugged without warning - and did so. Sometimes the BOFH is the best way...
We built one into our house when we built it 22 years ago. It's still working great, with no leaks, although somewhat superseded by lightweight cordless vacuum cleaners.
Similarly most of the cat5 and network points we also included are superseded by WiFi, which wasn't a thing back then.
> cat5 ... superseded by WiFi
That actually means: Your home network needs are rather low! If you don't need to move actual data around it is, indeed, enough. Try streaming in more than full HD, and then you will learn that you actually NEED 5 GHz Wifi in close range. Possibly connected via RJ45 to your router somewhere else in your flat, 'cause doing it the D-LAN or Bridge way is not that good.
Have you ever run a > 1 TB backup over Wifi, including 5 GHz? You'll switch to Gigabit copper, better 2.5 GBit copper if you can. Those promised speeds of the standards cannot hold up in reality...
"The real villain is the person who didn't think of the cleaner's job when they designed the room."
Open plan offices where the only power points are in the floor under hatches with little flaps to allow the cables out that are fully used such that it's almost impossible to get the cables to stay in place so you can close it without trapping at least one cable. Often only one floor panel per desk cluster, only four mains sockets and 4 network ports, so trailing extension leads under the desks which normally have even thicker cables to not fit through the hatch flaps. (aaaaaand....breath...)
I worked in such a place. The trapdoors were made of metal. With sharp edges. On two occasions I discovered power cables that had been cut through a significant part of their thickness by the edge of a trapdoor which had been rolled over repeatedly by the wheels of the office chair at the desk the trapdoor was under (I was doing network cabling, which involved furkling around under people's desks). I'm astonished that there were no unexpected power shutdowns the whole time I worked there.
There was also the problem of plugging in 'wall-wart' power supplies into the trapdoor sockets: if you did that, you couldn't close the trapdoor as there wasn't enough clearance. Didn't stop people trying, and breaking their mobile phone chargers.
The way that human brains are wired, there is focus on a subject, and negation is not instinctively processed
An interesting related phenomenon:
In streets where pedestrians cross, the words "LOOK RIGHT" are often written on the roadway next to a central reservation or pedestrian refuge, because that is the direction the traffic is coming from when you're in the middle of the road. To avoid confusion, or perhaps just to balance things out, "LOOK LEFT" is written in the roadway at the start of the crossing (i.e. next to the pavement).
When you're getting ready to cross a busy road, you don't naturally look just in front of your feet. Your gaze naturally fixes on your destination, the island or reservation in the middle of the road. So you don't see "LOOK LEFT", but you do see "┴HפIɹ ʞOO˥".
There is no well-established convention that inverted text means the opposite of what it says, and most people can easily read two short words upside down without even registering that it's inverted. So they look the wrong way.
I don't care what the signs say, I look both ways. Just because traffic is only supposed to be coming from one direction, doesn't mean it will always be the case. I speak from experience, having nearly been taken out on a one-way street by a van which had done a U-turn and come back the wrong way.
They've introduced those electric scooters for hire in my city, and there's also two universities, so not only do you have to check both ways when crossing the road, you also need to keep your wits about you just walking on the pavement.
Drunk students aren't the best road users.
"Drunk students aren't the best road users."
In the UK, you need a driving licence before being allowed to use one legally. It's classed as a motor vehicle and you can be fined, get points on your licence and even banned from driving if using one of the scooters while over the drink/drive limit. There have been a number of cases of this in both the nearby cities running these trials. It doesn't seem to deter the morons though :-(
I'm not sure how the app controlling access to use of these scooters works, but I've seen plenty of the official hire ones being used by kids too young to have a driving licence.
EU, in their great wisdom (i.e. blatant and massive bribery to Commission) classified them as pedestrians.
So: No insurance, 25km/h speed limit, be as drunk as you want, not a crime.
And of course *no-one could see any problems with that* ... of course not, no no. You don't see problems when you've your pockets stuffed full of cash.
> No insurance, 25km/h speed limit, be as drunk as you want, not a crime.
That changes in some ways, at least in Germany:
The alcohol level applied to car and cyclist is applied to scooters as well. And you better don't get caught driving the wrong lane.
When something happens you are fucked as a scooter driver, especially when drunk.
> pockets stuffed full of cash
Which EU county are you using for that example? You know, I have plans to be filthy rich and maybe move to one with a rather loose interpretation of laws.
From Viz comic's letterbocka page years ago:
'When crossing one-way streets, save time by only looking in the direction from which the traffic is coming.'
Mary Sponse, Acacia Road, Fulchester
Then on the opposite page:
'When crossing one-way streets, always look both ways in case a lorry is reversing in the other direction.'
Mary Sponse, Fulchester Hospital
My mother was once approaching a one-way street as a pedestrian, and so only looked one way before crossing. Unfortunately, a few days earlier, the road had been converted to two-way... Fortunately she walked into the side of a moving car, not in front of it. Still, it knocked her over, and she was a bit bruised. However, it transpired that she'd been knocked down by a nurse on her way to work to the local hospital, so she just got taken straight to A&E...
"So they look the wrong way."
On the other hand, learning how to cross a road is something taught at a very early age, hopefully by parents, but certainly at school. People really should NOT need instructions painted on the road telling them which way to look. I wonder if there's any research showing if those painted signs on the road have actually saved any lives or is just arse covering by highways/roads departments
On the gripping hand, there are so many people looking down at their phones while crossing the road, having a signage painted on the ground right at the point where they are about to step out might possible save a few of them from certain death. That may not be a good thing.
I consider anybody entering a zone containing active vehicles as having provided consent to being run over, and if they are wearing earphones/buds and/or staring at their hand held device - they are actively requesting to be a target.
Vehicles are less manoeuvrable than humans, so people need to pay attention and act to protect their own health.
They might not be out to get you... but I may be..
.. this is after a career working on foot amongst heavy mobile equipment..
I used to think that, but then realised that as most roads in London tourist areas are one way no one knows what direction the traffic is coming from. So they are as much for the locals as the tourists.
What is funny is the amount of absolutely no notice whatsoever that pedestrians in London pay to crossings. "Like I'm going to wait 60s for this crossing to stop the stopped traffic for me to cross this single lane road?"
"I used to think that, but then realised that as most roads in London tourist areas are one way no one knows what direction the traffic is coming from. So they are as much for the locals as the tourists."
In practice, that really ought not to matter since from a very early age we are all taught to look BOTH ways :-)
Even on a one way street, I always look both ways because it was ingrained in me at an early age. It's just "normal" to do so and I really don't understand people who can't seem to grasp that as adults when it can literally be a case of life or death.
The way that human brains are wired, there is focus on a subject, and negation is not instinctively processed.
Correct, a fact often used in hypnosis, and thanks for the reminder. This translated into making signs that state what you want people to do instead of what you do NOT want them to do, so I wonder if a sign "This must remain plugged in" or "Leave plugged in" would be more effective.
Knowing just how ingenious fools are probably not, but it's worth considering.
> The way that human brains are wired, there is focus on a subject, and negation is not instinctively processed.
I was told that about dogs.
You say "No bark" and she hears "BARK!" Say "No food" she hears "FOOD!"
What we need is a box. The offending person even begins to reach for the switch/plug and a big voice shouts "NO!" Don't even say what the NO is about, just NO!. This works poorly on my big dog, and maybe less well on lower creatures like humans, but is the best we can do.
If you are hurting for unusual power connectors, lookup "POWERCON". It is fully approved in US/CAN and probably in other markets, as a specialized technical power connector. To my eye, I see I can't plug my vacuum into it (but that is a matter of opinion for some workers).
This happened in one my the physics lessons I attended as a pupil at a 'best-of-the-best' type educational establishment in the UK (tells you something about the quality of the attendees (and the professors) at such establishments tbh)
Physics prof got the lab techs to wire up a very large electrolytic cap to a mains powered adjustable supply, the output of the supply rather low, so the cap took some time to 'charge'.
He then deliberately parked this booby trap on it's trolley near to each class's known troublemakers to see who couldn't resist the urge to flip the mains switch.....
Happened in my class and scared the crap out of all of us when it went off 4 feet from the victim. (served him right tbh, a right see-you...)
As it happened it inspired me to run my 1st year A-level project as an investigation into the behavioural characteristics of electrolytic caps... the lab had a "very" expensive signal analyser which I took full use of and had great fun blowing up several different caps. The signals generated are very odd when they get near to blowing.
Just for Info, you can buy such buttons that come with a die pack installed, that stains the hands and clothes of whoever presses the button.
My college at Uni (Halls of residence if you want), had a problem with drunken people hitting the fire alarm button, forcing a late night evacuation, the arrival of the fire brigade, and a massive bill (~$5000) for the college each time (apparently you dont get billed if it's an actual fire, which did happen once!).
They installed the die pack alarm buttons, and funnily enough the late night fire alarm presses stopped. People being aware that they will be identified, and face a $5000 bill, somehow seems to remove the "fun" factor of waking everyone up with a fire alarm.
So maybe such a device might help in your case. So long as you also advertise that the device carries the dye and they will be held responsible for unnecessary presses...
Some establishments put a gel (called a tamper dye) on the top of the fire pulls. Activating the pull gets the dye on the fingers. Attempting to wash it off spreads the dye and turns it a rather fetching shade of blue ... the myth almost always says "purple spray", but I've only seen topical blue tamper dye. There is no squirter or "dye pack" built into any fire pull that I am aware of, and I've spent a good deal of my life mucking about in the wiring of schools, hospitals and other such institurions, both new and old. I've been asked to apply the dye to new kit on several occasions, but I've always declined, citing allergies.
 'tis true, kinda ... I'm allergic to setting booby traps. Totally uncivilized, IMO.
The ones we had were not a fire pull, but a "break glass and push button" type. I assume the push button also acted as a spray release like a spray can, but I never tested it, nor saw the after effect. As I said, once they were installed, and everyone knew about them, no one was quite stupid enough to be willing to risk a $5000 bill just to see how effective the dye was...
Perhaps such a thing exists. Or perhaps just telling people it has been installed is enough.
I went looking for pull stations with a dye pack the first time I had a client request them. I could not find such a beast. So I called the local Fire Department, to ask them if they knew of any buildings that had them so I could get a manufacturer and part number. They told me that such a device would be illegal in that jurisdiction because knowing that you would get coated in dye would be enough to stop most people from pulling the alarm in a real emergency. It would also be a hazard in the mandatory yearly testing (it's an insurance thing). That was around 40 years ago. Since then, I've probably had over a dozen clients ask me to install them, I always say "Sure! Get me a manufacturer name and part number and I'll spec 'em for the build." They have never got back to me, and we always put in standard alarm pulls (and the topical dye in some cases).
However, I'm always willing to learn something new. Got a manufacturer and part number?
It's Friday ... this round's on me.
Sorry Jake, it was more than 20 years ago and I was merely a student and not involved in the installation in any way shape or form.
They definitely had people come in and replace all of the old button presses with new ones, but maybe they just spread the rumour that they had a dye spray in them and that was enough to stop people "testing" them.
A quick google hasnt found anything, but it seems to default to American style handles, and maybe we had something different in Australia back then. Sorry.
UK schools and colleges use things like this...
"The addition of a 96db integral alarm (13020FR) is even more effective"
The idea is that activating the fire alarm system also sets off a very loud local alarm and identifies the idiot or hero.
Not much use in a residence hall (idiot scarpers) but did work well in daytime buildings (lots of eyeballs).
Ventilators I've used have had power redundancy and an "are you sure" stupidity filter built in some somewhere. This includes one with an ingenious emergency power generator operated by the pressure gradient from the oxygen supply - not even batteries required!
Pushing the power button generally only activates an appropriately annoying alarm, and unless you put it into the intermediate stage of standby between keeping someone alive and powering off, they keep trying to keep someone alive. They get cunning at working out if a tube gets unplugged somewhere, too.
And if the ventilator doesn't alarm as it dies, the pulse oximeter or capnograph will, before the patient does.
Knowing how to turn it off is mandatory if you're about to withdraw active treatment. Embarrassing for someone's final moments to be accompanied by annoying electronic bleeping...
Sounds like the bed-bound assassin was observant enough to watch how the nurse / doctor did it.
With the redundancy used, I'm surprised they didn't put a bit of thought into the power distribution and connect each side to the mains with a separate plug. I appreciate that the setup may not deserve independently resilient redundant feeds but, with the design used, the fuse in the plug was a SPoF, sign or no sign.
For future reference, they make locking outlet covers that fit over an inserted plug or plugs, preventing the removal of same. The locks are trash, easier to pick than a file cabinet, but they work for this kind of thing. Under twenty bucks, and usually in stock at your favorite purveyor of sparky stuff. They make more expensive and harder to defeat versions, too. Recommended.
We had a similar issue at an ex-employer's. A network relay lived in one corner of the boiler room and connected to the next building over. Signs aplenty on the plug and socket it was plugged into. Until the spanner-monkey that came in to service the boiler decided that the sign didn't mean him and he unplugged it to plug in his drill. Next building over lost all connection to several site servers and the world at large. The IT director (whose office was in the next building over) was in there like a shot and tore the guy a new one, and he wasn't typically a shouty man :)
You keep saying this stuff. You assume that there were no sockets, which isn't at all proven. It's a room full of electrical equipment. There are probably free sockets if you look hard enough. By the way, if you're in a room that has no sockets free, the answer is not to unplug something with a bunch of warnings saying not to because how bad could it be? The answer is to find the person who hired you and tell them that you need a socket. Then you can wait while they call the person responsible for the room who will find you one or unplug the least important thing for you, and if you're charging by the hour which such people often are, they pay for their lack of foresight. Look hard first, in case they come in, point to the one a little bit over from the one you were looking at, and get grumpy that you wasted their time.
And yet people insist on pushing their wretched apps for every little thing - concert tickets, parking payments, whatever.
I hate relying on a device that has to be charged and have signal to work but it's getting hard to avoid.
NHS worker -
did hear of a case where an anaesthetic machine in the theatre was unplugged so the meat mechanic could charge up his phone.
(May have been an accident, luckily the anaesthetic machine had a battery backup, even so - what a knobhead)
First thing you do going into an operating theatre to drive an anaesthetic machine is unplug every connection one at a time, to make sure the alarm activates, then manually silence the alarm after plugging it back in, and making sure it stays silenced.
An anaesthetic machine's POST takes about 5 minutes, with all sorts of interesting noises, leaking hissy sounds and alarms as it artificially generates all of the situations that would be bad if they happened manually.
This was exactly my thinking when I read the story, why does all this critical equipment use standard wall mounted mains sockets which are just begging for some numpty to mess about with? Surely you have two mains socket strips inside each locked cabinet to distribute the primary and secondary mains power to the units and these strips are fed from a fused system which is also behind lock and key (or maybe a numberpad lock)
In some circumstances, the use of a standard plug and socket is to meet the requirement for the ability to isolate the equipment, if needed for maintenance.
In general, isolation switches do not disconnect the protective conductor ('earth'). Unplugging a plug from a socket disconnects all conductors using that path.
In addition, hard wiring something makes it difficult if the cabinet is designed to be movable.
Obviously, the ideal place for critical equipment is in a separate access-controlled room, but even then, you have the access-all-areas cleaner hazard, as well as the occasional builder or equipment installer hazard.
Probably posted this before, but it fits here.
When I first started in Tech support, there were two of us. We only had a couple of servers, so didn't have a server room. We did have a nice, large, air conditioned office though, so the servers were in there. Basically one side of the room was a workbench, where we fixed (and occasionally built) PCs, and the servers (together with UPS, and backup tape drive (with the machine it was attached to) were set up on one end of the workbench..
One day, I was in the office on my own, and was repairing a couple of PCs. This was before the days of MP3 players, and I used to bring a CD Walkman into work. I didn't want to pay for batteries, so I plugged it in.
I didn't realise that the room had two electrical circuits, and that the one with the servers on it was overloaded. I plugged in my CD player, listened to it for a couple of hours. Then, the circuit overloaded, and the power went.
I managed to get everything back up and running (we had the consumer unit on our office wall, and I reset it), but I couldn't reset the UPS alarm, and had to explain to all the users in the large office next door why their power had gone off. Thankfully there were no real bad effects, but I had to explain to my boss who had to come in on his day off to reset the UPS because users were complaining about the noise, and one had phoned him.
In the 1990s I worked with a couple of sheet metal mechanics (really great guys!) who had been assigned a task on an Airbus A310. They had to climb into the wing through a fuel tank, move along the wing to an engine mount, drill out some large rivets and "buck" them (i.e. hold a heavy piece of metal against the rivet) while someone on the outside of the wing would use a riveting hammer to set the rivet. Then they would exit the wing tank the same way they got in.
Note they are inside a fuel tank, so they can't breathe the air and the fuel is toxic to breathe or touch skin. Even when a wing fuel tank has been "fully" drained there are heavy fumes and a several liters of fuel lying around in areas that can't drain. So, they are in full body airtight suits with breathing apparatus. They have to crawl through several baffles in the fuel tank, so no fat people are allowed and they have to connect everything by hose. They have to carry all their tools and equipment, and since there is no light inside the tank they need a special light that is designed so it can't make sparks. Needless to say, a single spark could have killed a LOT of people in the hangar so they had to prep their equipment VERY carefully. They had scheduled a full shift (IIRC, 8 hours) to do this work as directed by Airbus.
It takes them over an hour just to get from the entrance to the engine mount, since they have to drag all their equipment, breathing air hoses, tool compressed air hoses, air-powered and hand tools and the appropriate parts needed for the repair.
JUST as they are about to start drilling, the light goes out and they are in the pitch dark. After dragging themselves out of the wing, still in the dark, they find that a trainee avionics tech has unplugged their light power cord from the extension (CLEARLY labelled "do not unplug") so they could plug in a kettle to make hot water to soften a seal for some panel or light on the wing.
Strong words were used in the conversation between my two tired, sweaty and bedraggled colleagues and the idiot trainee.
"Note they are inside a fuel tank, so they can't breathe the air and the fuel is toxic to breathe or touch skin."
That's pretty claustrophobic. But years ago I visited a tunneling site where they told me:
"The picks on the head of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) were supposed to last for the whole project, but wore out halfway. It was a soft ground project, so the area in front of the is supported by drilling mud. To replace the picks, a diver had to go through an airlock, into the void in front of the TBM (slightly withdrawn to create the space) and then had to find each pick and replace it. By touch only as you can't see anything in the mud. And that was not just 40 or so metres below the surface, but also below a river."
Takes a special sort of person to do a job like that.
May our weekend be less challenging than that. -->
I don't need to remind our readers that the Work Plan, Procedure or whatever you call it, should have anticipated this event (unscheduled power failure) and included any necessary equipment or personnel. You can't help thinking a torch would cover the requirement or battery-driven light-stand. Such devices are available for Hazardous Areas.
At worst, we've had personnel positioned at plugs, switches, even public telephones (with authorisation) to prevent accidental interruption in the event of a particularly awkward procedure. Which should have been designed out at the beginning!
No-one was injured ---->
At worst, we've had personnel positioned at plugs, switches, even public telephones (with authorisation) to prevent accidental interruption in the event of a particularly awkward procedure. Which should have been designed out at the beginning!
Sometimes, you have to do that.
People working with dangerous equipment know about lockout switches, which can be locked with a padlock, so the person working on the equipment holds the one and only key. They are great: for keeping things de-energised (although beware of bright sparks with battery operated angle grinders) - but when you need to keep something on, you have the problem of needing to de-energise in an emergency. That means you need someone around with the experience and responsibility to ensure the switch can be turned off if necessary, but kept energised at all other times. So you need an experienced and responsible human being. It can seem like overkill: "Why do I need two experts to do the job when one is just sitting around babysitting the circuit breaker?".
That said, going where they did without a secondary/emergency source of light seems like a brave decision by someone. Just carrying some snap-n-shake lightsticks could have been helpful, or some El Reg Tritium keyfobs.
I am pretty sure they didn't have a pneumatic light available to them back then. At least I never saw one. They did have an electrical light and cable that were "certified" as safe to use in that environment, so that was considered sufficient for the task.
I'll fire up the TARDIS and go back and tell them.
"At worst, we've had personnel positioned at plugs, switches, even public telephones (with authorisation) to prevent accidental interruption in the event of a particularly awkward procedure. Which should have been designed out at the beginning!"
According to H&S training I've done on Working In Confined Spaces as well as a recent local court case involving a couple of guys dying while cleaning a chemical tank from the inside, there is SUPPOSED to be someone on the outside keeping a check on things and ought to be in constant communication if they are working in a hazardous environment with breathing gear, Sadly for the two guys in the chemical tank, they had neither correct equipment nor someone outside to make sure all was well. The company was seriously fined and, IIRC, there was also a criminal case and the owners convicted (not sure if jail time happened)
I've been in situations like that. Most of the time, the area is pumped full of nitrogen to prevent any sparks from generating an untimely but spectacular end of the engineering team, but that naturally meant that any leak of the breathing gear would be unhealthy too (and your "exhaust" fumes could still help an ignition, which is why the nitrogen gas was pumped in in front of us, with the exit venting behind us).
I've had one case where this was not possible, and then it gets interesting. Fixing a control valve in a pipe that's frozen because of the gas leaking out, all with brass tools to prevent sparks. On the plus side, being that close you'll be dead instantly if it goes bang - no worries about burns or broken limbs.
And yes, we managed. Weirdly, nobody went for a smoke afterwards..
The year is 1999, the scene a just-getting-started NOC, somewhere in mainland Europe. Three desktop PCs haphazardly placed on a corner desk serve the eleven people who were joining the company to work shifts, supported by a too-large number of contractors to pick up the odds and ends. I get approval from the NOC manager to run some application or other on one of them - a collector or processor of some sorts, the details escape me - which required me to commandeer one of the PCs for basically a whole night. I put a big sign on the monitor saying "DO NOT REBOOT THIS COMPUTER!! It is being used for $PURPOSE and needs to run interrupted!".
Come morning, we have the usual quick handover from the contractors that had done the night shift which ended with one of them saying "Oh, by the way, I had to reboot that PC over there.". When asked why, the only answer I got was "It said it needed a reboot.". Swearing under my breath after he'd left, I investigated the computer to see that my job had of course been aborted, and that the box had indeed been rebooted... to install fonts for a specific language used on web sites in the contractor's home country - sites which he really had no work-related reason to go to; even if the night shifts WERE slow. The next night I ran the job again, but moved the PC to a manager's desk and removed keyboard and screen.
(A few weeks later, the guy's contract ran out and wasn't renewed. Sadly his agency didn't tell him, so he showed up at the office and when his TACACS account didn't work he went to the team lead to ask for help and basically got asked "What are you doing here? and How did you get past Security?" before he was escorted out.)
”Because the last one (the third repetition in these comments) got 5 upvotes.....”
You would have gotten upvoted even more* by adding ”DO NOT under any circumstances upvote me”.
*) In fact, no one could have read your post without upvoting. First upvotes arriving before bits in your post had time to settle properly.
We had the opposite problem.....
When newbies start with us, they are given the talk "This button shuts everything off, this button starts everything.... if you have a problem hit the stop button and we'll sort it out"
So I retire to the office to do some important work (reading BoFH stories in el-reg most likely) and all is good for hour or 2.. until the noise starts..and continues....
So I'm out of the chair... down the stairs , across the unit to the offending machine and wham the stop button.... and our newbie is just standing there going "Is it suppossed to make that noise?"
Icon... for how I feel most days...
At least he wasn't this poor sap Patient allegedly turned off roommate’s ventilator because sound annoyed her
i can't understand why someone installing an always required on system uses a standard 13A plug and socket, there are plenty of alternatives but you may have to fork out for an electrician to install them. As my old boss said "You can't make things idiot proof, idiots are far too resourceful".
Sometimes, it's because a it was a good while ago and the company operating the servers and computers are not IT people. They know enough to know they need computers, some salesman sold them what they needed, possibly pre-configured and they unboxed it and plugged it all in themselves. It's more rare these days, but I saw lots of that back in the day. On the other hand, the local Vape shop seems to run their entire business on an iPad. Hopefully they accepted all the defaults so if it breaks they just need to sign in to a new one and get all their cloudy stuff back and stay in business :-)
Here in West Pondia, Twist-Lock connectors are a thing. Though I've encountered an IDF fitted with a lovely orange twist-lock receptacle, a Cisco switch with its 3-wire U-ground plug, and a yellow extension cord to reach the nearest conventional 3-wire U-ground receptacle.
Standards are great, that's why we have so many of them!
I don't know why.
Here in NY we had a guy get on stage during a broadway play to plug in his phone.
He was outraged to be told to get off stage and stay off, and had the nerve to ask "well, where can I recharge my phone, then?"
There is no bottom to human stupid.
Long, long ago, in a small university-spinoff company in Cambridge, there was a little microcomputer in a basement. It sat there for years, powered on, but as time passed, there was no-one left who remembered what it was, or why it was there, or why it stayed powered up.
Eventually, as is the way of such things, someone decided to scavenge it for parts. At this point, the firm's timesheet system stopped working ... and didn't recover. The firm, by necessity, had to start the timesheet system ab initio on a new-fangled IBM PC (when PCs were new-fangled and were made by IBM).
I worked at a place for several years, with a server with a very loud fan about 10 meters from my desk. Nobody knew what it did, nobody dared turning it off. Then suddenly one day it turned itself off. That’s when I noticed for the first time that my Mac had a fan that was sometimes running. Never heard it before.
Around 1980, our mainframes had a comms rack containing modems connecting various sites with clusters of terminals.
I was in the computer room trying to diagnose one iffy circuit. I could have done much of the task from my desk, but it was a hot day and the machine room was a LOT cooler.
As I checked the blinkenlights, the whole rack suddenly went dark.
Brown trousers time. There would be about a hundred calls from users saying "It's not working". Luckily, I knew it was NOT anything I had done.
Looking round, I saw that the cleaner had just unplugged the cable which ran the whole cabinet to allow them to plug in a vacuum cleaner.
The wall socket involved had a double faceplate.
The left-hand receptacle of the pair was empty,
Knowing that no amount of labelling would prevent reoccurrence, we moved the disk racking three inches to the left, wedging in the correct plug.
One time a client's office had an electric lock fitted to their main door (from the shared stairwell) operated by RFID fobs. When they called everyone together to demonstrate it and hand out the fobs I asked if there was a key override. They said there was and the key was in the reception desk (inside). I suggested someone take that key home.
Next day as I arrived (fashionably late, as coders do) the office manager asked my why I had suggested taking the key, because nobody had been able to get in that morning until she arrived. I pointed out in the corner behind a coffee table the unplugged PSU for the lock and asked where they thought the cleaner would plug in her vacuum and whether she'd remember to plug the lock back in afterwards.
Looking round, I saw that the cleaner had just unplugged the cable which ran the whole cabinet to allow them to plug in a vacuum cleaner.
The wall socket involved had a double faceplate.
The left-hand receptacle of the pair was empty,
Did you check that the left-hand receptacle was working?
Back in the oughties, I worked for a resume-stain outsourcer that serviced a bank. They had a SCSI array in a closet tucked away in a closet at the back of a room of desks occupied by non-IT people. The SCSI array looked like a beige box mini-tower. Every month, there would be a series of head crashes on that array that seriously perplexed the admins. This went on for many months and they went through a LOT of SCSI drives and much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
One day, I just happened to be in that room when one of the HVAC support team guys came in in a big hurry. He strode over to the closet, yanked out the array, slammed it on the floor under a grating in the ceiling, stomped on it as he stood on top, opened the grate and fiddled with something in the HVAC system, closed the grate then climbed down, yanked it off the floor and slammed it back down in the cabinet. Nobody else said anything since they had no idea what the array was.
I was surprised the case of the array survived, let alone head crashes. Apparently this was a job he did about once a month, so the penny dropped. The admins put the array somewhere a lot safer and told HVAC to bring their own ladder in the future.
That socket in the picture is one of ours. 110v 16A. Its the sort of thing you'd find scattered around a data center for the cleaners to plug their vacuums into but not on a dedicated circuit for a data center.
A few things spring to mind. One is that "Do Not Touch" type notices are designed to be ignored, they're almost inviting fiddling. You need to put a physical guard around the switch. If its that important then you should have a UPS plugged into it. You should also make sure there are handy utility sockets nearby for cleaners to use, phone to charge and so on. (Its a similar concept to the one way that's guaranteed to keep your hand tools safe --you have to have a ready supply of low cost tools around to act as decoys.)
Anyone seen the movie "Hot Millions" (Peter Ustinov)? Very propheitc.