back to article Database man flown to Hong Kong to install forgotten patch spends week in pub

Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday folly in which readers share stories of their professional adventures. This week, we bring you the tale of reader “Kelly” who encountered a previous On-Call titled Outsourcer didn't press ON switch, so Reg reader flew 15 hours to do the job. “I see you that story,” wrote Kelly, “and raise …

Page:

  1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
    Pint

    Pointless, yes, but there are worse places to spend a week in on the firm's time...

    Okay, pub o'clock in about 7 hours and counting. Have a nice weekend, everybody!

    1. boltar Silver badge

      "Pointless, yes, but there are worse places to spend a week in on the firm's time..."

      Depends on whether you have a life at home or not. If my firm gave me a days notice to fly to HK for a week I'd tell them where to shove it and give them vaseline to help.

      1. rhydian

        So many downvotes for what is a perfectly reasonable point.

        I'm a single chap with no kids, so a week in HK would probably be fine with me

        But for someone married/with kids, who can't just pootle off for no good reason? I can see how they'd be nonplussed

        1. boltar Silver badge

          "But for someone married/with kids, who can't just pootle off for no good reason? I can see how they'd be nonplussed"

          Exactly. I have a kid who I have to look after in the evenings. I can't just clear off with a days notice and expect my other half to cover. When the people who downvoted me finally get out of short trousers they might understand the issues about having a family and the accompanying responsibilities that outweigh any job requirements.

          1. sandwich

            Have an up vote for demonstrating family commitment.

          2. future research

            Exactly. I have a kid who I have to look after in the evenings. I can't just clear off with a days notice and expect my other half to cover. When the people who downvoted me finally get out of short trousers they might understand the issues about having a family and the accompanying responsibilities that outweigh any job requirements.

            I agree, I have a wife and kids the I love. They are more important to me than being a slave to someone else.

          3. Mark 85 Silver badge

            There are way too many people in this world to think "live to work" is the way things should be. If you're not available 24/7, they just can't understand why. As a sidenote, most of them seem to be in middle manglement for some reason.

            The "work to live" attitude is mentally healthier, for certain. When I was working, I kept the attitude that "I was looking for a job when I found this one." along with "work to live" and held me in good stead for most of my working career.

            1. boltar Silver badge

              "There are way too many people in this world to think "live to work" is the way things should be. If you're not available 24/7, they just can't understand why"

              They're the sort of people who don't have much of an existence to speak of outside work. Their job defines them, their self worth is linked to it and their life revolves around it. They can't really comprehend the fact that other people arn't the same as them and prioritise other things above the office and their job is simply something they have to do to earn a living.

              1. VBF

                I agree 100% - it should be the "Life-Work Balance", NOT the other way around! Far too many people seem to have lost site of that.

                Having said that, as a single fellow, I'd love to be given a week in SE Asia at company expense - what jolly fun!

          4. Alan Brown Silver badge

            " I can't just clear off with a days notice and expect my other half to cover"

            I wouldn't expect you to. Paying someone to do _that_ job is part of the expenses you should be demanding.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              " Paying someone to do _that_ job is part of the expenses you should be demanding."

              And finding such a trusted person at a day's notice is something you think you could achieve?

              In real life that only works if grandparents live close at hand. (Grandfather here.)

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        @boltar

        Currently the votes on your comment are 9 to 5. Coincidence? I think not.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "If my firm gave me a days notice to fly to HK for a week"

        I'd be demanding business-class seats and an appropriate travel allowance to make up for the disruption to family life.

        This kind of troubleshooting job is charged out at upwards of $5k/day so you have plenty of leeway to dig your toes in.

      4. John Tserkezis

        "Depends on whether you have a life at home or not."

        We were told on a Friday afternoon, that we were to fly out that Saturday morning to the other side of the country (6-7 hour flight one way with a changeover inbetween).

        Then again, nether of us had a life at the time, and it was too late in the day to formulate an excuse...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Putting family first over career that won't thank you, I totally agree.

          Worrying about downvotes on Register, not so much.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @boltar As a boss, I completely agree with you.

        I had an argument with my business partner this morning as they wanted to ask one of our consultants to work on the weekend because the client wanted out of hours training.

        My argument that "he has a wife & kids & the weekend is family time." won out so we pushed back to the client & they understood so rescheduled for a workday. Sure it might lose us business, but that's our fault for not having enough staff to cover without overtime. It gains us respect with our employees which is (in my opinion) more valuable in the long run.

        Clients are easy to find (relatively), good & loyal staff are not.

  2. Alexander J. Martin
    Pint

    Off Topic

    This is very off topic, but the phrase McAirport reminds of Will Self's cracking review of Aerotropolis. Enjoyable for the writing and thought, rather than the anecdotes, for which I'll stick to On-Call. Cheers for sharing Kelly!

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Off Topic

      Thanks for the link: excellent read.

  3. Roq D. Kasba

    Days before laser pointers

    I could imagine the terror factor being at least squared or possibly cubed with the now ubiquitous powerful laser pointers.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Days before laser pointers

      Dunno that means you now have a blinded pilot flying a 747 at the same height as your apartment.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Days before laser pointers

        "Dunno that means you now have a blinded pilot flying a 747 at the same height as your apartment."

        Probably not a consideration for the hard of thinking.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Days before laser pointers @Dr Syntax

          Oh I dunno would be quite a good demonstration, if they were too thick to see that, then they will probably die in some sort of stupidity related accident thats almost an achievment in itself.

          I believe it's what's known as a self correcting problem.

      2. Zork-1
        Pint

        Re: Days before laser pointers

        A pilot once joked that he closed his eyes when trying to land at Kai Tak because he was afraid of hitting something :) So laser pointers wouldn't have affected him.

        Incidentally, I am at my customer's site in HK right now, reading all the comments because I have completed the new software installation in 1/5th of the scheduled time - I had prepared the system remotely beforehand, just a matter of switching over and performing some tests.

        Almost time to go ... to look at what new shiny hardware they have at Sham Shui Po. Then a beer or 2 at Lang Kwai Fong.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    A day's wages for walking in, pressing Enter, then leaving.

    It was a BIOS "Press Enter to Continue... " (no fault present, just an option in the BIOS to do that for some silly reason), but they didn't bother to turn the screen on before telling me that their "network was down" and I "had to come over immediately" and "they'd pay me a full day and call-out to fix it and compensate the customer I was actually scheduled to be with that day".

    The office staff had plugged in a heater, blown the fuse, the server was on UPS and shut itself down, but on boot-up had a BIOS message setting to "Press Enter to Continue..." and nobody bothered to look.

    Found the still-warm heater unplugged and hidden under the desks, in a room that we'd said not to plug anything in.

    I was home by 8:45am. And I'd hung around to find the heater, and make sure it booted properly and didn't need to chkdsk.

    1. Bodge99

      Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

      Not on the scale of flying a measurable percentage around the world..

      I once had to drive from 20 miles north of Newcastle (the Geordie version) down to Cardiff on a Sunday morning to plug in a brand new desktop PC. Specifically to fully push the kettle plug into the psu, an extra 10mm or so.

      The "custard" was the head of IT for a "quite large" company.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

        Back in the 90s I had to drive from London to a brewery in Burton to install an RS/6000. When I got there it turned out they didn't want it installed "just yet" but to just leave it on a desk in the machine room. Fine, I drove home. Luckily someone else got the inevitable call a few days later to go back and actually set it up. What a bunch of muppets.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

          "Fine, I drove home."

          Right away? From a brewery?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

            Depends. If it was Bass - well they say a Shandy Bass is a waste of good lemonade.

          2. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

            "Right away? From a brewery?"

            30 mins in Burton was enough, beer or no beer :)

          3. FIA

            Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

            Fine, I drove home."

            Right away? From a brewery?

            He had to be quick or they'd notice the car bottoming out and an odd metalic clanking from the boot.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA @Boltar

          Going anonymous for safety thoguh I doubt it's really needed.

          Did you work for a company based in Watford ? If so I think I drove up there some time later to build it, to find the MKSYSB tape they had was corrupt.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA @Boltar

            "Did you work for a company based in Watford ?"

            I was indeed working for a now long defunct company in watford at the time. :o)

      2. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

        An old story, from early on in my career...

        An academic buys a cheap dot-matrix printer from Morgan Computer, and complains it won't print.

        The Boss-man says "Sorry, we didn't supply it so you'll have to have to talk to Morgan or the manufacturer".

        After much blustering by the academic, the manufacturer sends out someone to take a look at it.

        The service engineer rummages through the packaging, pulls out the ribbon, and says "It does help if you fit this" before doing a test print.

        The call-out fee was more than the price of the printer - and the engineer had to make a 100-mile round trip, just to fit a ribbon.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

          "Morgan Computer"

          Fond memories. And before that, Morgan Camera. Lots of Exakta bits in the side window.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not quite these distances, but still a PITA

        you forgot to put the words "fecking stupid" in front of IT

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      You had to reboot the heater! I said this Internet of things was going to be a disaster.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      "And I'd hung around to find the heater, and make sure it booted properly and didn't need to chkdsk."

      No heater has received such a care before. Are you secretly preparing for Rise of the Heaters?

      /beer.jpg/

  5. Stuart Castle

    A friend of mine used to spend most of his working life flying to different conferences to present papers. In fact, even now, his budget for travel is greater than his annual salary, which, as he is a Doctor (although not a medical or surgical one), and a world renowned expert in his field, is high.

    Anyhow, I am starting to veer off topic.. He has flown to virtually every country, and probably to virtually every major airport is the point I am making. He loves flying, but Kai Tak used to terrify him. Every time he landed there, he apparently felt like the plane was about to crash, whether into a local building or the water.

    I've never flown there, but I like to think it's actually a tribute to the pilots of the planes (and the various staff in the control tower) that there were not many serious accidents there.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Thanks to eclipse-chasers I missed the opportunity to land at Kai Tak via the, um, more scenic route. After we were finally released from the holding pattern out at sea, after nightfall, we came in over the harbour to land. I still have a clear memory of watching as the starboard wingtip running light gently sank below the level of the mast-top warning lights on the nearby yachts.

  6. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Ahh the late lamented Kai Tak. Terrified the first time I flew in, doubly so when I watched aircraft on approach from the ground. Subsequently held on to a G&T for approaches. Not a terrible safety record, but I've never spoken to a pilot who flew in and out though.a

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Ahh the late lamented Kai Tak. Terrified the first time I flew in

      The first time I flew in I wasn't too bothered, having been well warned about it by a friend from HK. Then the same flight the next day overshot, went into the harbour and everybody drowned. Second time I flew in, definitely not so blasé.

      1. Trevor Marshall

        Never flew there for real, but worked with a lot of flight simulators (big boxy jobs on hydraulics) that included Kai Tak as an airport and I almost perfected landing on Rwy 13. Aim at the chequerboard painted on the hill and turn sharp right when you're over the middle marker. Kind of.

        1. The March Hare

          KaiTak simulator

          Once flew a large military transport simulator into Kai Tak - literally! the sim staff red handled 3&4 on approach (it was late on a Friday and they wanted to go home) and I totalled about 4 blocks of flats

          Even though I knew it was a sim it still made me go half-crown sixpence...

      2. Ol'Peculier

        If it's the flight I'm thinking from a friend of mine was on a break from ATC when it happened. There were injuries, but no deaths.

      3. Lazar

        You've not really landed at Kai Tak Airport until you landed at Kai Tak Airport with crosswinds, in heavy rain...

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Reminds me somewhat of landing in San Diego (California). Drop down over the hills and between the buildings on either side of the flight path. A bit tense but in a crosswind it's a sphincter clencher.

          1. Mikel

            Indeed. Had me thinking of a particular landing on Halsey Field at Coronado, CA. Didn't know they let civilian pilots do that sort of thing.

            San Diego Naval Supply Center NIA

            https://goo.gl/maps/hQqbA3VAZyC2

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019