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Convenient switch hides an inconvenient truth

is that it?

That story kind of peters out.. So I assume that when the remote was used to turn the projector one the old 'Big Red Button' circuit was tripped and all the computers upstairs turned off resulting in the barrage of expletives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: is that it?

Yes, instead of being a circuit the cable they found was in fact a switch. The Big Red Button just connected the 'Live' wire to the 'Neutral' wire, so when the projector was connected between the 'Live' and 'Nautral' wires, turning the projector on acted the same way as the old switch.

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Re: is that it?

No no no, you missed the cause for the screaming.

The remote turned out to be for a garage door opener & was causing all the kilts & skirts to keep lifting up over their owners' heads.

The screams were because there were more men than women thus affected.

I'll get my coat, it's the one with the pockets full of garage door openers. =-)p

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Re: is that it?

What's the quickest solve you’ve ever made in a tech support crisis?

User: "The screen is black"

Me: "Can you switch the computer on please?"

User:"Oh, that fixed it, thanks"

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Thumb Up

Re: is that it?

Yes, instead of being a circuit the cable they found was in fact a switch. The Big Red Button just connected the 'Live' wire to the 'Neutral' wire, so when the projector was connected between the 'Live' and 'Nautral' wires, turning the projector on acted the same way as the old switch.

Ahhhhh, thanks for that!

Like "GNoMe", I was wondering why the article finished prematurely!

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Unhappy

So labelling stuff is tedious and boring. Until it saves you doing stuff like this

Something to keep in mind perhaps when you next have to install some new stuff and think "Nah, what's the point of labeling it?"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So labelling stuff is tedious and boring. Until it saves you doing stuff like this

"Nah, what's the point of labeling it?" Exactly, the installation review will catch that - however - label it completely wrong and then there is a con-slutting gig secured in the future to 'make it work' ....

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Hmm, it's almost a "Who Me?" story. Not one of the better Friday offerings to be honest.

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Are we scraping the barrel of On Call's now?

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Coat

They have been for a while, which is a shame. You'd think that there'd be hundreds of great stories from the readers. Either they aren't getting sent in or for some reason Vulture Central is choosing the rubbish ones.

Mine's the one with the memoirs in the pocket.

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The real war stories end up in the comments. The article only seems to serve as an air duster to clear the mental cobwebs away.

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It's almost "This weeks topic is... power supply weirdness" or Air-con or pre-Y2k scripts.

I'm hoping for leap-years next week. I used to be able to reliably able to predict a spike in tickets at the end of every fourth February, but managed to change to a less experimentally-inclined job in 2015, so I missed all the fun last time.

The best I can recall off the top of my head was a system getting the ages of some pensioners wrong... because the devs had mistakenly programmed it to think 1900 was a leap year (Excel also does this, at least Excel 2010). Admittedly that's not such an issue anymore.

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Barrel Bottoms

The fix for this is to offer a T Shirt for the lead story.

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This post has been deleted by its author

1900 was not a leap year as it is divisible by 100 but not 400

In the Gregorian calendar three criteria must be taken into account to identify leap years:

The year can be evenly divided by 4;

If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;

The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

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No, 1900 was not a leap year. The criterion for years divisibly by 100 (ie century starts) is that the year _is_ divisible by 400. That’s why Y2k was a leap year.

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"Um - 1900 was a Leap Year (it's divisible by 4 but not by 400)."

That's exactly backwards.

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RE: Um - 1900 was a Leap Year (it's divisible by 4 but not by 400).

In a word - NO, it was not.

<quote>Um - 1900 was a Leap Year (it's divisible by 4 but not by 400).</quote>

<source>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year</source>

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If you think you could do better, and wish to have your deeds chronicled beneath the red mast of the vulture, you could just email Rebecca Hill at rebecca.hill@theregister.co.uk. If. *cough*

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Anonymous Coward

If you think you could do better, and wish to have your deeds chronicled beneath the red mast of the vulture, you could just email Rebecca Hill at rebecca.hill@theregister.co.uk. If. *cough*

already done and story told, but true enough some of the better stores are to be found n the comments.

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Re: Barrel Bottoms

What would the Tshirt say?

'I anonymously confess to fucking up!'

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Re: Barrel Bottoms

Shome shuggestions:

*Someone* once crashed a mainframe and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

IT workers of the world. Our hands on your emergency power buttons.

I eat script kiddies for breakfast. Snap, >kzert<, ping.

I press kill-switches for a living.

:~$whoami

El Reg "Who Me?" Outstanding Sysadmin Skills award winner.

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Well... how many times can we have "oops..." as a switch is clicked or a cable pulled or command line mistyped? We've all done our share of these. It's a rite of passage.

Having said that, I do look forward to reading these weekly and the comments as our common random acts of distraction, newbieness, or forgetfulness, along with the usual missteps caused by someone who preceded us is reassuring that we are not alone.

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I had a free time limited version of a casino games suite back in the windows 95 days. I had altered the date by a fair few years when installing it so that the thing would run indefinitely. I ballsed this up however and it required me to keep the date in the 70s. However someone borrowed the computer to apply for something and had to use a DOS program to do so. The person in question had filled in their date of birth and discovered it then worked out she was 3 years old. So she changed the date to the correct one and carried on. She didn't realise that this would bugger things up but I returned from college to discover that the game didn't work anymore. Bloody annoying but she had no idea it would cause problems for anything else.

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swm

Re: RE: Um - 1900 was a Leap Year (it's divisible by 4 but not by 400).

Actually "divisible by 4 but not by 100 but not by 400" slips a day every ~37,000 years so I have heard proposed "divisible by 4 but not by 100 but not by 400 but not by 40,000" (to keep with the "4" motive). But we will just have to wait and see how fast the Earth is spinning then.

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swm

Around 1970 on December 7 someone set the year to 1941 as a joke. When this was discovered the operator reset the date to the proper year. All logged on users were billed for about 30 years of connect time.

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Re: Barrel Bottoms

... I have a t-shirt that one of our vendors was giving away at a conference that says "I'm here because YOU broke something." I wear it when I get called into the office on off-hours. :)

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Re: Barrel Bottoms

I was thinking a red shirt with the register masthead and logo on it.

El Reg wins 'cos advertising, and low costs due to volume discounts on shirts.

Writers win 'cos free shirt only available through posting good story.

Win-win.

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>'Well... how many times can we have "oops..." as a switch is clicked or a cable pulled or command line mistyped?'

What make these stories entertaining is not so much what mistake was made as what the unexpected consequences were and how/if our anti-hero survived the ordeal.

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"... All logged on users were billed for about 30 years of connect time."

What ever you do don't let AWS know about that trick!

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Re: Barrel Bottoms

"I was thinking a red shirt with the register masthead and logo on it.

El Reg wins 'cos advertising, and low costs due to volume discounts on shirts.

Writers win 'cos free shirt only available through posting good story."

Are you really wanting to be wearing a *red* shirt when attending an emergency?

"Win-win-lose"

FTFY

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"The real war stories end up in the comments. The article only seems to serve as an air duster to clear the mental cobwebs away."

This is true at several websites I follow: Not Always Right, Clients from Hell, Off the Menu, etc. Not unique to El Reg.

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Given the fact that this is pretty poor, I think i'll have to tender my own "Who, me?"

I was working for a pharmaceutical company and I had the pleasure of fitting an additional 512GB of memory to a test box. Unfortunately they didn't bother labeling up each server in the enclosure, I was given a map of what server was where. So I promptly shut the box down, pulled it out, fitted the memory and then booted it back up.

Zero issues, up until the following morning. I didn't bother using the UID on the machine to make sure it was right. Turns out I pulled the incorrect server, caused some application testing to fail and then fitted an astronmical amount of memory to it. The upside was the testing completed in a few hours with the extra memory instead of 24 hours, once that had finished, I shut it back down, shut the correct server down and moved everything.

Another one

I was cabling up an enclosure via fabric over to our san, Low and behold they never bothered to cut the cabling so by the time it got to the san, there was a massive pile of fiber, literally huge. So I started my work and traced the correct cable and plugged it in, all was fine, until I lost my footing on the flood and promptly put my foot into the pile of cabling. we lost 7 cables out of the hundreds that were there. So we had to re-cable them again.

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IT Angle

Here's my On-CALL

many years ago working as an IT apprentice I had to spend a week in each department. During the week in the tendering department they were showing me how to use the system on the old green screen terminals. After several minutes of them trying to get it to work they said 'hey you're IT' at which point I walked over and pressed the On button on the front and watched as the screen came to life.

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Pirate

Similar has happened to me twice in the past two months. Both times it was in HR. Ah well, I like the easy calls...

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I had similar at an old job, boss was setting up projector system for the directors on an away day. Following 30 minutes of them trying to fix the system I get the call to bring the spare laptop and projector to the event.

30 second look at the setup with senior management crowded around, spotted that the VGA from the laptop was plugged into the VGA OUT of the projector, plugged into the correct port and TA-DA all working fine. Boss didn't look too happy.

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Facepalm

Where I work

Where I work, we do on site service for both residential and business. I had a service call one time - in the middle of an ice storm - for a residential customer, who was complaining that he couldn't get anything to display on his screen. On a day when only two of us were working, no less.

I make it there safe enough and proceed to check for what the problem might be. The computer is running, so I proceed to check the cables. As I'm doing so, I notice there's no light on the monitor. I press the power button on front of the monitor, and sure enough it powers right on. Problem solved.

If it wasn't for the ice storm, I might have cut the guy a break on the service call fee. As it was, I think he was embarrassed enough that he paid it willingly.

=======

On a separate occasion, one of my coworkers had to do an on site for another residential customer. His solution? Power on the computer. Sometimes you have to wonder what's going through people's minds before they decide to call for support.

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Re: Where I work

Back in the alt.sysadmin days I recall a story that got posted:

"I can't access the internet"

"What seems to be the problem?"

"Well the screen is black and there are no lights on the computer"

"Is it plugged in?"

"Yes"

"Can you check to make sure all the cables into the monitor and PC are connected?"

"No"

"Why not?"

"It's too dark"

"Then turn the lights on"

"I can't, there's a power cut..."

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Anonymous Coward

A long time ago - in a company far away

While doing tech support for a large software reseller, I got the infamous call:

"I'm stood at the server and have put the disk in, what do I do next?" from a contractor tech for a southern (UK) organisation.

He was wanting me to talk through the upgrading of Exchange 5.5 to 2003 (it was some time ago)

No prep work, no cleaning of active directory for dead accounts, no cleaning of DNS, no nothing.

I replied with a "go and do the prep work, then call us back", which he was not happy with, but my manager supported this response. We'd been stuck with a talk through of recovering a server not long before this.

Never did get a call back from the tech in question, or anyone else for that matter. They must have found some one who knew what they were doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A long time ago - in a company far away

At a company that shall remain nameless because I don't want to get sued, I was a PFY to the BOFH. Our boss thought he could "show us a thing or two", came in early, & proceeded to install a software package. When the BOFH & I showed up a bit later we were greeted with a nonfunctioning server room, a panicky boss, & instructions to "fix it, quick!" BOFH & I jumped on it, got the mess cleaned up, the servers back online, the data recovered, the backups restored, & the customers back to earning us money. The BOFH impressed the hell out of me when he wrote up his report as to the cause of the unplanned outage. In much nicer language that wouldn't get him fired it amounted to "Our boss is an idiot who didn't RTFM. Had he bothered to RTFM then he would have known that the software he tried to install was incompatible with the server software versions we're using. The software expected $Path, found $OtherPath, & promptly nuked everything as it "corrected the error"." Boss tried to cover his ass to the upper manglement, failed utterly, and we got a new boss a month later!

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Meh

a bit thin?

That's it? Flipping the breaker and seeing people go berserk?

Seems a bit weak, like tea where the teabag barely hit the water...

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Re: a bit thin?

like tea where the teabag barely hit the water

In Shetland that's called "water bewitched", and not kindly. Sheep, oil, and robust tea. Lovely place.

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Re: a bit thin?

Also known as Love-in-a-Canoe tea...

As in: fucking close to water.

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Re: a bit thin?

or fortnight tea (two week)

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Re: a bit thin?

"Love-in-a-Canoe tea..."

I thought that was american beer

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Re: a bit thin?

@Alan Brown

I'm guessing the downvote was from someone who hates Python?

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Re: a bit thin?

A real Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe. The secret starts by finding a nice romantic spot under a tree to put the canoe down...

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Coat

Re: a bit thin?

A real Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe. The secret starts by finding a nice romantic spot under a tree to put the canoe down...

Is that when they get eat (out) by a bear?

OK ok I'm going

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Re: a bit thin?

Just remember to put the canoe upside down. That way you can easily seal yourselves off from the outside, thus neatly avoiding the blackfly and mosquitoes.

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I just love the comments on On Call stories

You learn the damndest things.

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