* Posts by gordonmcoats

14 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Dec 2017

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s


hot-wiring with office supplies

We had an critical email server running on a Dell box, unfortunately this model's power button was so poorly designed it wasn't up to the muscular fingers of the support team, or - eventually - the biro you needed to depress the damn thing.

After it completely gave up the ghost the only way to power down. the server was pull the power out, and the only way to power the thing back up again was to short out the connections to the power button using a specially shaped paper-clip.

Researchers trick Tesla into massively breaking the speed limit by sticking a 2-inch piece of electrical tape on a sign


Re: Mercedes, and Mazda

It would've had to do a General Lee-style leap about 5 metres into the air, not sure 65 would have been fast enough..


Re: Mercedes, and Mazda

Mazda CX5 picks up a 65 limit sign from a railway line running parallel to a 30 limit road for me.

Shows the road limit as 60 for about half a mile before it corrects it..

School's out as ransomware attack downs IT systems at Scotland's Dundee and Angus College


Re: "mass panic worse than the coronavirus"

nice connection from DA to DA College

Ah, night shift in the 1970s. Ciggies, hipflasks, ADVENT... and fault-prone disk drives the size of washing machines


ah, junior operators mounting dodgy disk-packs on multiple drive units causing mass-destruction. *Exactly* the same thing happened here in the early 80s. ICL engineers were *not* amused..

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs


Re: George 2+

I once lost the whole week's rents run output with an incorrect ON OUTA 27 command..

Beware the developer with time on his hands and dreams of Disney


back shift operations..

Aaah. the hours I spent on my lizard flicking its tongue out animation screen (unused, unsurprisingly) for an application at my work, a mass of 'tput. calls spat out to a file which was then catted out to the screen..

The dread sound of the squeaking caster in the humming data centre


trolleys in machine rooms..

Not exactly similar, but in the late 80s - and also a bank, we had a file controller in doing overtime on a saturday. While pusing his lade trolley full of 12" reels he managed to trap his hand between the trolley and one of the angled metal brackets on the side of one of the tape racks that held the shelves in place.

The sudden and unexpected blood loss was described as "impressive"

(I should add, he did actually make it back to work on the monday - heavily bandaged..)

Strong-willed field support op holds it together during painful customer call


late 80's, working as operator in a Bank's operations centre, large IBM laser line-printer requiring further investigation for some paper stuck deep in the bowels of the paper path somewhere..

Me: "Hey, friendly Siemens engineer, can I borrow a screwdriver? There's some paper stuck somewhere and I need to open up the printer to reach it.."

friendly Siemens engineer: "Is it one of ours?"

Me: "No, it's the IBM one"

friendly Siemens engineer: "Here you go..."

Techies take turns at shut-down top trumps


computer room fight to the death...

Back in mainframe operating days, my first tour of the machine room as a junior operator finished with being shown the emergency shutdown buttons which were right next to the emergency breathing apparatus for whoever hadn't made it out of the room before the doors dead-locked and the gas came down. There was only one set of the oxygen masks so presumably it would have got interesting if more than one operator failed to get out within the 30 second warning.

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly


Re: Why use a revision control system?

All my extra-special configuration files are safely stored on the 12" reel hidden under my desk. Not had to reload anything off it in years though..

Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?


Re: Given the toxicity of the toner powder, Mike called an ambulance forthwith.

Aaaah, depends on whether it was hot-fuse or cold fuse.. (IBM, hot, Seimens cold AFAICR)

When working for a bank as an operator in the late 80s, we often had to refill IBM and Siemens laser line printers, with large plastic bottles of the black stuff. the Seimens refill hatch was on top of the printer and used to have a vibrating system which emptied the bottles. Impatient operators would sometimes assist, giving the bottle a good shake. This often resulted in a big black cloud, and even blacker operator. looked impressive on the white lab coats we had to wear tho..

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires



ah the joy of handilng still spinning disk packs..