* Posts by Richard_Sideways

22 posts • joined 17 Feb 2015

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault



My first IT job out of Uni was being the general IT Guy at a book seller ("Amazon? PAH!" they said...) One of the staff there did desktop publishing on Quark. New version day came along and up rocks me with my selection of CDs and shuffle in the new version, all is well and rosy in the garden. Few hours later I get an irate call from the user saying her monitor (some beast of an Iiyama CRT) has gone all "Wibbly Wobbly" and that its my fault as its the only thing that's changed and that I'm terrible and she's got deadlines and that this is completely unacceptable etc, ad nauseum. Interesting side note here is she phoned me... yet her desk was not 20m from mine, in an open plan office... I digress - I go visit said irate lady, and indeed, her monitor has a proper shimmy on, and the only thing on her computer that had changed was that new version of Quark... the thing that had changed under her desk however was the small fan space heater she'd brought in from home and doing unspeakable things at the Hz rating the monitor was set to. Suggesting her fan was causing the issue did not seem to improve the situation, so I play with the Hz until its stable. As I slink off back to my lair I hear the unmistakable sound of the self righteous "Huh! I TOLD him it was the computer!"

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


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

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?


Re: The smoke is its soul leaving its body...

J'accuse indeed! HA! Jokes on you - I've only ever done that particular titsup on my OWN hardware!



The smoke is its soul leaving its body...

Had an engineer swear blind that it was ok to hot swap memory on an HP-C240 (it wasn't...POP!).

And once walked into the build room to the piquant aroma of cooked electronics, with the PFY claiming that Dell had sent us a dodgy batch of new workstations as none were firing up... PSUs were all switched to 110v not 230v.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?


Mouse training

About a gazillion years back, I was on a Photoshop course and the instructor was telling a tale how a lady who had been on the same training was hoping they would be using a pen, rather than a mouse as she always found using one so difficult as "it blocked the view"... intrigued, he asked her to show him and she carefully lifted the mouse, placed it on the monitor screen itself and started moving it around. It had never occurred to her to use it any other way. Apparently after this revelation, she was a very able student.

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer



Back in the Beforetime, when I was a tech guy, we had a small consignment of smart new laptops come in on approval for the corporate bigwigs, and a few of these made it into the pool for the sales guys. Once word got around that there were new lappys available as opposed to the tacky plastic HP ones, ther was a sudden spate of mysteriously broken machines come in... once the pool of the shiny new ones was exhausted, this didn't stop the tide of smashed screens but all we had left were the knackered old stock of paving slabs salvaged from the refresh. This did not go down well with those wishing to show off at the Travelshed for mobile reps and we had all kind of tantrums and pissing and moaning about how it wasn't their fault their laptop had "just broken on its own" when you could clearly see when a pen had been slammed inside the thing repeatedly.

Oh yeah, and one of those BigWigs had 2 of those nice new ones 'stolen on the train', one after the other, just around the time his kids were off to university... weird that, particularly as they had the security tracking on and were traced to the cities his kids went to uni too... passed that one to our fraud team for investigation. When I followed it up, was told it was "sorted, and delete those two from the tracking register".

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer


Lets see... I had them take the credit, take the overtime, take liberties with the truth, take a sizable bung from a vendor, and generally take the piss throughout... but take the heat?... Oh - I did have one take the cool, when he demanded we turn off one of the AC units down in the datacentre as it was FAR TOO COLD. The other unit then froze up through overwork and pee'd all over the floor.

Remember the 1980s? Oversized shoulder pads, Metal Mickey and... sticky keyboards?



A keyboard presented as 'Broken' which was so full of sesame seeds that the keys couldn't actually go down, accreated over months of seeded bap lunches. They'd been compressed down into a strata layer which contained a rich source of sesame oil. Upside was, once cleaned out, that keyboard was the quietest, smoothest operating keyboard we had.

Divert the power to the shields. 'I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain!'


It's getting hot in here...

A former employer had a primary server room based out of their original site office near Old St. Lon. Based on the top floor of a an old building, the AC was a mish-mash of consumer office units which had a penchant for icing up and leaking all over the 'artistic pamphlet' photographic studio downstairs. During a particularly warm summer in the early 00's with 2 of the 3 units on the fritz, in order to get the temp back down to below 100 we took the decision to take the windows out of the server room partition to try to ventilate into the empty office which still had operational AC.

No server ops worth their salt should be without at least some skills as a glazier.

Apple fakes intimacy in our dead-eyed digital world with software fix



I, for one, welcome this advance -

as long as it comes with a +/- slider as to how intensly the effect is applied, with "Cage" at one end and "Feldman" at the other.

After years of listening, we've heard not a single peep out of any aliens, say boffins. You think you can do better? OK, here's 1PB of signals


Will no-one think of the legal?

Wonder what the GDPR compliance implications are of capturing and publically distributing potentially billions of off-world communications without the sender/recipients prior knowledge? Do we really want our first contact to be via Zarquon, Zarquon & Hive-mind Legal Associates, with a class action suit?

Russian-trained spy whale spooks Norwegian fishermen


From Blubber, with love

In fairness, theres no reason to think its the Russians... maybe this particular Beluga was into bondage... check his blowhole for a ballgag.

Are you sure you've got a floppy disk stuck in the drive? Or is it 100 lodged in the chassis?


Fiscal responsibility.

My old boss once presented me with his laptop with a 3.5" disk stuck in it, and was 'rattling'. Some judicious plier-work released the disk... along with a penny. Still rattling so out with the screwdrivers, pulled a total of 18p out of the thing. Seems that his young son had been treating it as a moneybox.

Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k


No good deed...

Back in the heady days of the Novell supremacy, I went for an interview for an Net.supp role. The interviewer was their head IT guy, but turned up nearly 30mins late, apologising and puffing and blowing about some ongoing issue with their printer queues. Interview rolls along perfectly well, and at the end as he's showing me out asks 'I don't suppose you know anything about print queues do you' Yes, says I, I do actually know a fair bit having setup plenty for some massively esoteric Canon monsters. So I find myself parked in front of the server wrangling distributed print services into submission, find the fault, and walk the guy through the fix in about 5mins. Handshakes all round as the printers start singing again... Did I get the job? Not even a call back...

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?


THIS! Plus, while on same theme, the noise Fred's feet used to make when pulling away in his car in 'The Flintstones' (or anyone making a quick getaway on foot in an HB cartoon)

Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut


No User Serviceable Parts Inside.

Many a 'happy' hour trying to decipher the location of some bolt head from an black and white close-up photograph with absolutely no other distinguishing features... or hunting around for a lost nut or spring which just went pinging off into the darker recesses of the engine-bay, probably wedging itself into some critical cranny to be ground to smithereens on starting. Opening the bonnet on my latest car I have a brightly coloured cap for screenwash and a big plastic cover which may as well have 'EINGANG VERBOTEN!' written on it in Gothic for all the spannering I'm expected to tackle.

Tell NASA to grab the margarita mix – a sextillion-kg salty ring found floating in space



IIRC there was a huge cloud of acetic acid discovered a few years back... what next? The Prawn Cocktail stellar nursery? A cheese and onion binary system? The Nice'n'Spicy NikNak nebula?

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day


I still have my old Amstrad 1640 with EGA and twenty MB HDD in my safety deposit loft...



One day, I'll sell that sucker and buy me an island!

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette


Are they sure it was Journey, because frankly the whole thing sounds more like some Cheap Trick...


China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service


An oaken shield you say?

That must be the THORIN (THermal Orbit Return InsulatioN) system...

When it sets down, it starts singing about gold...

Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

Black Helicopters

Come fly with me

The design of a former employers datacentre was laid down prior to the widespread deployment of virtualisation, but completed after - as a result about 6 rows of 2 large 24 row data halls were occupied.

The second of these hadn't even been fitted with racks, so hows a CIO to use a cavernously large empty room? Why, as a space to learn to fly his RC helicopter and drone of course!

Game of Moans: Sky coughs to BORKED set top box BALLS-UP


I was on the phone to them just last night about this. Ours has been acting up for at least a couple of months, and they came clean about it... But why OH WHY does the perfect 'Screw You, I'm Off' come along just when Sky Atlantic starts showing 'Last Week Tonight' and have Game of Thrones on the horizon... DAMN YOU SKY!


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