To really foul up needs a computer

To completely screw things up takes man and machine working in utter disharmony. These are my top five IT screw ups, taken from my professional and personal lives. Excepting my screw ups, all errors are anonymous to protect the embarrassed.

In fifth place is the IBM engineer who sent me to A & E

We were installing a new disk platter in to one of our disk cabinets attached to a System/38. I was underneath the cabinet guiding the platter into place when the engineer dropped it. The platter survived as the fall wasn’t too great and my thumbs cushioned the impact. Those disk platters weighed about fifty kilograms!

I take fourth place

I first used Linux in 1998 and started to use it seriously in the early 2000’s so you would think I know what I am doing. Just a few months ago, I ran the command sudo dd if=openSUSE-Leap-42.2-DVD-x86_64.iso of=/dev/sda bs=4M. On my main workhorse computer. If you are a Linux user, feel free to send me a face palm.

Bronze goes to a data centre administrator

After carrying some routine maintenance on a Linux-based MySQL server, this hapless hero suffered a brain fart and rebooted it using the command sudo shutdown -r -h now. He endured a two-hour drive of shame to press the power button, a two-hour drive back and practically unlimited piss taking from the development team.

Silver goes to me… and my manager

We managed to take down the companies primary web server when updating Windows and installing Coldfusion (does anyone still use that?) which went very well until we rebooted. It took us almost all the companies busiest weekend to get the machine back up and running. In our defence, we both had flu, the data centre was freezing and we didn’t want to do the work until after the busy weekend. The IT director overruled us.

A second IBM engineer takes the gold

If you were in IT in the 1980s and leased a mainframe or mini computer from IBM you received amazing support. An engineer would be on-site within an hour, regardless of the time. This particular engineer had rummaged around in the guts of the System/38 for three or four hours, it was about 03:30 and we were all tired. Finally he fixed the computer and had it running. With a sigh of relief he casually leant on the wall and on the big red emergency power off button. If you hit that button, it required an IBM engineer and nearly 24 hours to properly IMPL the computer and get it running properly. At least we had an engineer on site. We took the opportunity to move the button to over the door.

How many times have I written this post?

Twice. A late bonus entry from me. I’m trying out a markdown editor called retext. It doesn’t warn you about changed files when accidentally pressing Alt + F4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *