back to article Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s Friday forage through readers’ memories of tech support jobs that became FUBAR*. This week meet “Robin” who back in the 1980s had a bit to do with a company called “Lion Systems Developments” – or LSD for short. Robin was around when LSD “won the contract to supply the communication …

Page:

  1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    The good old days

    Back when PPP over ATM meant someone had pissed on the cash machine.

  2. Roger Greenwood

    Ah FUBAR

    Reminds me of the many shortcut descriptions in the techy field.

    As a young apprentice I worked with a guy referred to as Fubsy. His real name was probably Dave, but everyone said "See Fubsy about that ... Fubsy has the key .... Borrow one off Fubsy etc". Took me months to find out FUB meant effing useless bastard.

    Surely along with the list of El-Reg standards we should have a list of these many useful acronyms.

    A friend of mine has one he calls the WHIP syndrome when he has trouble working out what has gone wrong with some electronic gismo. (What haven't I pressed).

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I used to work with someone known to all and sundry as "Spof". I assumed that it was a play on "Spock" until I'd worked with him long enough to realise that he was a Single Point Of Failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        SPOF should refer to the Customers.

        Back in the day, way way back, I was being cross trained on old IBM (IIRC) Cash Machines in a well known High Street Bank.

        The Banking Hall had the kit walled off in an enclosure with large mirrors above so anyone could see what was happening inside.

        TL tapes an put of order note over the card reader (A4 so noticable.)

        As we haul the back off off the cash chutes he points up and says "Watch this."

        Cue Customer walking up to said cash machine (powered off) who duly ripped off the A4 and inserted His card.

        Much cursing later we retrieved said card and handed it to the Banking Staff who happily expalined that they would need to log an Engineer visit.

        PEBCCAC - problem exists between cussing Customer and card reader.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        My manager sometimes refers to me as a SPOF. The team always panics when I book holiday time!

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        In the Civil Service we used to classify as Khaleef, Keep Him Away: Likely to Erase Every Fing.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I like the military moniker NFG for equipment that is no good.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        The FNG is NFG :)

      2. paulll

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        "Not FunctioninG," if anybody asks...

      3. David Roberts Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Ah FUBAR - NFG

        I recall an apocryphal tale of a bus driver who signed off his vehicle as NFG.

        Cue a manglement bollocking and his response that it stood for No First Gear.

    3. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      A boss i had long ago accused me of suffering from CRAFT disease. Can't Remember A F@#$ing Thing"

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        Yeah, you've already told us that a few times...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        I suffer from that

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah FUBAR

          I am currently suffering from FARAABA syndrome - Feeling As Rough As A Badger's Arse.

    4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      From my scale company days: Failure Under Calibration, Known Error Detected.

    5. W4YBO

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      The three (that I know of) gradations of FUBAR...

      SNAFU - Situation normal, all effed up.

      TARFU - Things are really effed up

      FUBAR - Effed up beyond all recognition (or repair.)

      1. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        I know of two more variants:

        FUBAR - Fscked Up Beyond Any Recovery

        FUBAB - Fscked Up Beyond All Belief

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues
          Devil

          Re: Ah FUBAR

          Don't forget this one:

          FUBAR - Fscked Up Beyond All Reason

    6. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I had an incident at an ATM one Sunday that caused me to invent an acronym. I had £200 cash that I needed to be in my account urgently. I was going on holiday the next day and wouldn't be able to get to the bank before the flight. So I was using the deposit point to put the money in and after using my card I received an envelope for the money. I put the money in the envelope and put that in the ATM, so far so good. Then the machine asks if I need more time to make the deposit and I realised that it hasn't registered the cash going in. So I called the phone bank and told the bloke what had happened. He said not to worry about it he could see that the money was in the account. I said that this was only because the transaction hadn't finished. Once I said No to the more time question the system would reconcile the lack of an envelope and remove the money. "It doesn't work like that sir" is the reply so I asked to speak to a supervisor. This bloke said the same thing as the initial advisor and I gave him the same reply. He told me I was clearly not aware of how things work. I said I was fairly confident I understood but if he knew better I could let the transaction finish. As soon as I did he became very excited because the £200 had just vanished from his screen. He was most apologetic and said he'd put my complaint in immediately. Fortunately I had an old number for the branch and was able to call them from Heathrow before my flight. I knew the lady that answered the phone and she told me she'd have a look for the missing cash. It was credited to my account that day.

      I christened the phone banking staff as a Feckingly Annoying Technologically Challenged Support-staff.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    have plenty where I work. Mainly of the type Computer Users Non Technical

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      We have a dropdown list for 'reason for closing ticket'. One of those reasons is PEBKAC.

      (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)

      1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

        re: PEBCAK

        see also PEBCAM/PEBMAC (Problem exists between Chair and Monitor / Monitor And Chair) for display-related issues and the "ID-ten-T" error for problems that are due to neither hardware or software issues.

        1. DuchessofDukeStreet

          re: PEBCAK

          See also PICNIC - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        Another one we have is WOT

        "Waste Of Time"

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Another one we have is WOT

          Also WOMBAT - Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Another one we have is WOT

            I/O error. Incompetent Operator.

    2. jfm

      I've seen problem reports (especially networking issues like "The Internet is down!") referred to as Layer 8 problems.

  4. tip pc Bronze badge

    Staff don’t care about access to the computers

    Staff never used to and in most cases still don’t care about who has physical access to computing systems. Show up in OpenReach gear and ask to be let into the comma room (aka computer or hub room) and in you get, no questions asked, especially in this world of outsourcing where the reception staffed by inter serve have no clue and don’t care who you work for or why you are there so long as they get to charge extra for an unscheduled access arrangement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

      That goes back to the old adage that if you are wearing a high-vis jacket you can get into almost anywhere.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Hi Vis...

        ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          Don't forget the clipboard.

          1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Don't forget the clipboard.

            ...and, most importantly, the worried look.

          2. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            and the hard hat.

        2. I Am Spartacus
          Holmes

          Re: Hi Vis...

          The suit and tie are important.

          I was doing an audit of a satellite office in the Far East. We were prepped by being told that no-one wear suits, its al very relaxed. So three of us turned up on Sunday, a day early, wearing suits and carrying smart attache cases. We walked straight past security (Fail 1) in to the CEO office, which was unlocked (Fail 2) and proceeded to mooch around. We found an internal document that even we should not have access to. It was THE most sensitive document that the company possessed.

          We then went to said CEO's home address, disturbed his family barbecue. On being shown the document and our explanation of how we obtained it, you could see the blood drain from his face as he envisioned his pension floating away. The senior auditor just said "We WILL have you full co-operation for this audit, won't we."

          I learnt that day that appearances really do matter!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hi Vis...

          "... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath"

          I used to drive a Range Rover and wear a smart suit - even though I was a techie. When I arrived at one particular company site the car park would invariably be full. To my surprise the security men would usher me to a reserved space. This went on for many months until someone realised I wasn't top brass.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            "I used to drive a Range Rover ... This went on for many months.."

            Yep, REAL top brass would've renewed their lease and upgraded their vehicle by then.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Had a IBM field guy turn up, he rings me up as hes 5 mins away.

            After 10 mins no show, its Friday afternoon & POETS day for me as I commute back to Devon.......

            5 mins later he rings again he's lost, he's driving around the premises because security let him drive straight on-site without a question (It was raining hard & they could't be arsed to get out of the hut or open their window) & hes using a phone (Big sign by the barrier that security just opened - Saying any electronic things like that are prohibited on site due to risk of Dartford vapourising itself (No bad thing in itself, but not if I'm in the middle of that explosion)).

            This is the same pharmacutical company that opened the barrier at the other end of the site to let internal miscreants steal a pill pressing machine on the premise of moving it to the other site across a public highway, who then got into a waiting vehicle with it.

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

          And you have a clipboard with some official-looking papers.

          And a battered hard-case with tools in.

          1. caffeine addict Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

            And you have a clipboard with some official-looking papers.

            In the late 70s/early 80s my dad was a buildings surveyor for a largish London firm with buildings over looking the Thames in an expensive bit of town. He'd get sent off to a condemned squat one day and Heathrow the the next.

            On one trip to Heathrow, armed with a clipboard and a dictaphone, he found that if he walked up to a door making notes people would go out of their way to let him through. No security checks, just let him through. Apparently it was all fun and games until he found himself airside with no way to get back in to the terminal without a lot of explaining.

            Fast forward 20 years and he was running an odd-job type of building firm and got the job of fixing some lighting at a car hire concession at Stanstead. With arrogance typical of the trade, he rocked up, stopped his car on double yellows with hazard lights on, and went off to work. Thirty minutes later he returned to his frankly fucked Ford Capri abandoned in the drop off point guarded by a pair of very unamused armed policemen.

            1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

              Re: Hi Vis...

              @caffine addict that's class haha. If this were Facebook I'd send you a friend request.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hi Vis...

          I remember at Intel some walked in dressed in a polo shirt and dress slacks and said he was with IT. He walked out with 5 laptops. I was shocked. Mainly because most users complain when you ask them for their computers.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Dropped off ten laptops to the Royal Marines at Lympstone Training Camp, locked in a secure room.

            By the time I got back to offices 15 minutes away 4 of them at least had gone walkines.

        6. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          It's how George Osborne got where he is today.

      2. JimHam

        Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

        Or wearing a chef's hat and carrying a tray of sandwiches.....

    2. wyatt

      Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

      Sometimes, but not always. Company I work for works for some very large multinationals and without the right access being emailed to the reception/security teams you don't get past them, even if you have the right codes/access arranged.

      First job after leaving the army we had a Fire Maintenance company turn up unannounced. Claiming they wanted to inspect our fire extinguishers. They had no appointment so their company was called and they were turned away from site.

      Some sites yes you can walk on and not be challenged, I would personally say this is getting less and less though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

        On a weekend a lorry arrived at an IT company site saying they had come to take all the lab oscilloscopes away for recalibration. The security guard let them in and helped them with the loading. Oops!

        That was in the days when the buildings were surrounded by lawns down to the street - with no security fence.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

          I was once working for a large financial institution, about twenty years ago.

          We had a call from one of the users that a system had stopped working, around 6pm. Couldn't log into the server remotely, so we wandered into the machine room - where we found the top off the server, and the memory chips all nicked. Someone had literally come in off the street and pinched the memory from a server.

          This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive....

          It was a long time ago, but still - anon for this one...!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

            "This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive...."

            Same thing happened at our office. Overnight someone stripped the memory chips out of many desktop PCs.

            While there was security control of people entering through the main gates - leaving was not regulated. There was some debate about whether they had scaled the perimeter fence to get in to the site - or whether it was an inside job of someone staying behind. The buildings had no external or internal door controls in that era.

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

              Same pharma company just different location (Stevenage) used to have a problem with laptops being walked out of the secure card access storeroom overnight (I was the last man out & the last man in the following day, usually arriving to some more ranting by the stores guy about missing stock) by security.

              Laptops also walked themselves out with people who weren't issued with them in the first place at the same place.

              One time I was stopped by the head of security in the hallway of one of the buildings about how secure Kensington locks were, during the course of the discussion he informed me that someone had got into a locked office over the weekend, by getting into the unlocked office\lab next door lifting up the ceiling tiles to climb over the dividing wall & drop down to get the laptop of their desire.

              They knew that was the MO as the individual did not clean his foot marks off the desks he landed on (unsure if he left the same way as he entered).

              The very best one was on issuing a laptop to a young lady at the same place on a wet Thursday & replacing it with a new one on the Monday.

              Apparently Thursday night both she & her partner (Who also worked at the same place) had their car broken into while they were at Tescos & had both laptops taken from the back seats of their car.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

            This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive....

            Late 90's, we had a small but significant number of expensive RAM clips go missing - from a locked cupboard in our stores.

            We had our suspicions as to where they were going and so arranged to get them smartwater-marked.

            Sure enough, the next weekend some more went missing. The police got involved and visited the home of the two contractors involved and, sure enough, a number of smartwater-tagged RAM sticks were found. Said contractors were very good at wangling weekend overtime and had unquestioned access to all parts of the building.

            What's sad was that, even though the RAM sticks were expensive, they were a pittance compared to what the two guys in question were already earning. And so, for a pittance, they threw away a lucrative contract and, since they gained a criminal record, any likelyhood of getting another one.

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