back to article BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

"Simon, Steven – a word?" the Boss burbles warmly. "What's up?" the PFY answers warily. "Nothing - just having an interesting conversation with a bloke from an outfit that deals with infrastructure obsolescence, code debt and I.T. asset leveraging." "Ah yes, I thought I felt a disturbance in the force," the PFY nods. "Come …

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Re: Halon?

"Out of curiosity, what do they use instead of Halon these days?"

Inergen, argonite or various other trade names. They're all a mixture of Argon/Nitrogen/Co2 in varying ratios

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Re: Halon?

"Also, where does this pathological fear of Halon discharges come from?"

Halogen is inert, HOWEVER halogen + flames == toxic mixture

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Re: Halon?

"Some other fun trivia is that both the noise from the gas discharge and the actual fire alarm sirens can be really, really bad for mechanical disks. "

As can the floor tiles lifting 5-6 feet in the air if the discharge balances aren't set right.

Yes, it has happened.

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Re: Halon?

CO2 with a perfume tracer.

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Re: Halon?

Most of the Halon scares are about accidental (or not-so-accidental...) discharges, not actual fires.

And if things really are burning, you are unlikely to be worse off from the Halon byproducts than what the combustion would have resulted in otherwise.

Hydrogen halide production isn't something that only occurs in a fire in the presence of Halon, you know*. Not to mention the others - I'm no expert on the toxicology of combustion gases, but carbon monoxide certainly comes to mind.

* Halon produces HF while many burning plastics would be mostly HCl. HF is more toxic (spill the liquid on you and the acid burns aren't your big problem - it gets absorbed into the bloodstream and poisons you... really does a job on bones as well unlike most acids), but HCl is the stronger acid. I'd think direct lung/airway damage would be relevant long before systemic toxicity when inhaling the thing?

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Facepalm

Boxes or Mercedes

These sales drones really lacked imagination. They should have known it was going to be down to how and not if they were going to go, so why not go in the most spectacular fashion possible? Cannonball into the Mercedes! Actually, just throw something heavy into the car and stick your head out the window as high up as possible for a chance at going on to round two.

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Re: Boxes or Mercedes

I'm guessing it was their Mercedes.

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Coat

Tagline: "I dunno, do you have any wheatgrass juice?"

I really wouldn't touch that stuff - you never know who's been running amok in it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tagline: "I dunno, do you have any wheatgrass juice?"

I Wouldn't recommend it either, or anything to do with flax.

It might be healthy but it's just 'kin horrible.

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Devil

Sales assh****, Locked office, Halon and windows to choose from

Doesn't get any better then this!

Glad to have you back at your old level Simon.

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Pint

Ahh, the force is strong with this one. Keyboard successfully killed.

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Pint

cloudy snake oil

This is the world we live in these days - the carpetbaggers turn up exactly like this, selling the same old snake oil with a shiny new mobile app in the cloud guaranteeing 99.999999999% availability 75% of the time with exceptions for third-party incidents - e.g. when the office cleaner plugs his e-cig charger into the server USB port and fries the entire system (hello B.A..)

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Re: cloudy snake oil

Very, very rarely are janitors ever stupid enough to plug anything into a customer's computers, and even more rarely are they allowed access to the server room at all! If your server room needs cleaning, then your filtration system is in dire need of attention. Also, techs should be smart enough and capable enough to do a quick sweep (preferably not with a static-based cleaning tool like a dust-mop or swiffer).

That having been said, I once received a call informing me that I was being re-assigned. The gentleman I was to replace was somewhere between 60 and 70 years old, and completely tech-illiterate. He had received a complaint about his dusting, and had attempted to fix the deficiency in his work - the problem is that he disconnected and moved each and every computer in the office (a government office at that) in order to complete the task properly. I didn't ever find out if any of the systems had been damaged by his meddling.

I met the man, he truly didn't understand what he had done wrong. He literally had no idea why he was being fired for doing an extra good job.

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Brilliant. Love it.

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Anonymous Coward

I hope the droids

Were from Salesforce.com

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I have had cold sales calls to a domestic line, on the TPS list, from salesmen like this. They get abusive if you say no. They ring back if you hang up. The calling number is always withheld.

I suppose their calls are what keeps the Openreach engineers in employment. Honesty is becoming worthless.

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Ask them to hold while you connect them to your boss who can authorise the purchase, and then forward the call to the police non-emergency number (101 IIRC)

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"They get abusive if you say no. They ring back if you hang up."

Wasting their time is the one that works. Just ask them to hold the line a moment, put the phone aside and then hang up a few minutes later. I've only had one attempt to call back.

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I have had cold sales calls to a domestic line, on the TPS list, from salesmen like this. They get abusive if you say no.

What the hell are the sales droids on these days.... ???? The only thing I can figure out is that either they sleep through Sales101. Get abusive with me and many IT types that I know, and the word will get spread to every department that might get called.

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You just need this

https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/4gla0x/extension_666_hell_we_are_sick_of_cold_sales/?st=j445z687&sh=5cdead7c

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Vape Nation-

I saw this and laughed , good story. I thought it would be hilarious to see if some actually vape the Halon. I wonder if the CRTS can be used to a chairs to and desks to achieve the 100k savings.

I buy Halon Gas back from data centers, so if your afraid of the discharge let me know i send you some Cash or BC.I have herd the horror stories like that over the years, i actually recharge those tanks as well here in the US, were still allowed to service them.

I saw a few questions regarding alternatives to Halons, Look up HFC 125 or HFC 227 or NOVEC 1230

or just reach out to me via A-Gas America Fire Protection team/ A-Gas UK Fire Protection

* do not vape Halon it breaks down into an acid at tempatures above 800 Fahrenheit

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Re: Vape Nation-

If the temp of the vape is 800°F then acid is likely to be the least of your problems.

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Re: Vape Nation-

"I buy Halon Gas back from data centers, so if your afraid of the discharge let me know i send you some Cash or BC.I have herd the horror stories like that over the years, i actually recharge those tanks as well here in the US, were still allowed to service them."

This reads like some Nigerian Prince just died and someone wants me to help them move some money out of the country!

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Re: Vape Nation-

@John Brown

That's probably because the final purpose is not far off. I suspect the Halon gets bought cheap ("how else are you going to get rid of it? You'd have to pay a company to remove it from the premises. Instead we pay you!") and then sold for an arm, 2 legs and a large part from the remaining limb to a client needing Halon on an existing system they don't want/can't replace. Probably good business.

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Re: Vape Nation-

someone has to supply the US Gov and UN. Why not a Nigerian Prince?

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Software-Biz is a kind of drug dealing these days...

First you get hooked with "tremendous" cost savings. Then, if all your precious data has gone to shiny new system, they will bend you over and screw you with upgrades, maintanance or additonally needed features (unfortunatly) not included in the initial purchase. We need far more BOFH...

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Re: Software-Biz is a kind of drug dealing these days...

I was hired on to a museum that had a Unix catalog system that was on it's last legs (and was far too complex for the small organization that was trying to use it). My first task was to sort the problem and recommend either getting a version upgrade of the existing system (at substantial cost) or replacing it. When I called for a quote to upgrade, I found out that the price did not include migrating our data from the labyrinthine database to the new poorly documented version, which would cost as far as I could tell about $5 per record. We replaced it with a different system, and one of their programmers (who knew he was on his way out) helped us work with the new vendor to map and export the data.

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PFY really came through this time, right straight to the suicide.

good on him/her

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Pint

reinforcements

as required

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TWA?

This seems like one of those British acronyms not used much on my side of the pond. Googling it only brought up stuff about Trans-World Airlines (and no, that didn't mean what most people would think nowadays).

Wild guesses: Time Without Accident? Total Workplace Accidents? Tally (of) Workplace Accidents?

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Re: TWA?

tragic workplace accident. Took me a while but it's actually in the line above the abbreviation.

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Re: TWA?

and there was me thinking it was a TWA T reference...

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Devil

Re: TWA?

"Although we may run out of Pan Am coffee, we will never run out of TWA tea." -- Kathleen Turner (as China Blue), _Crimes of Passion_

Seems most sales departments are similarly well stocked with TWA tea.

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Devil

Must stop

reading BoFH..... its giving me far too many bad ideas........

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Must stop

Bad ideas....in this story? What do you mean? OMG .... are you actually considering putting your hair in a bun and becoming a geeky salesman?

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JWG

Very old BOFH comments

In the U.S., most shops discontinued using Halon because it was expensive, you could never test the system (because it was too expensive), and too many bosses actually read the warnings. CO2 is the best we have, though it won't stop a really big fire. However, most BOFHs, like myself, never got around to removing the warning stickers (way too much work). As for CRTs, the phosphorus coating on the screen is what was dangerous, not so the electron beam. Granted the number of millirads of exposure in one day wasn't that bad, but overtime, given that you were sitting about 3 feet from the screen, millirads began to build up. Then you'd go home an sit in front of another CRT for hours. They do make great targets and generate a unique noise when they implode. However, I'm not an alarmist, given the radon gas coming up from under the house, the constant bombardment of cosmic rays, various kinds of radiation from our local star, and U.S. physicians love of X-raying you for everything possible, if you haven't developed a cancer of any sort by age 40, you're usually good to go. As for the sales swamp creatures mentioned in the article, a 2 story drop isn't good enough, 4 stories is more fun. During my 40 years in IT (before it was called IT even) the H&S toads were never allowed in the server room as they were a danger to the servers as they could never be trusted not to press a power button or reset. They could look into the server room, if they could find an open space between the Halon warning stickers covering the glass door.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very old BOFH comments

"As for CRTs, the phosphorus coating on the screen is what was dangerous, not so the electron beam. "

The phosphorus coating was only dangerous if it got out as it contained cadmium, which is very nasty indeed. Indeed CRTs in general seem to have been a convenient dumping ground for several major metallic toxins - lead, cadmium and barium.

CRTs produce some X-rays as a result, mainly, of the electrons hitting the shadow masks (with some produced by hitting the phosphors). But large color CRTs have thick front glass with a lot of barium to absorb the X-rays. I don't think the radiation was anything like as high as you suggest (but I'm not sure, because the rad is a non-SI unit and I never had to work with it). A dental X-ray is apparently about a millirad which suggests your figure is rather high.

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Mercedes or Boxes?

For the sales droid and the denim guy it probably wasn't a difficult choice. You see the Mercedes was probably the sales droid's own and of course he didn't want to scratch it.

As for the sales tactic, it is all to familiar. Really "cheap" up front, but the implementation and recurring costs are the ones that really kill you (hopefully the sales droid).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mercedes or Boxes?

"As for the sales tactic, it is all to familiar. "

Gillette comes to mind .....

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Thumb Up

Thought the CRT's were sold on eBay

... by PFY Recycling Corp.

And then bought back by the company as the new LCD screens would not accept the RGB BNC cabling.

--

Glad to have a good BOFH on a Friday. Thanks Simon.

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Data Migration

A former workplace of mine migrated from a Sanderson (?) minicomputer-based stock control system that worked beautifully, to a nasty proprietary Windows-based system that was so utterly incompatible that not only would they have to alter production workflows slightly to accommodate it, but they also had to employ temporary staff just to transcribe the product details from printouts into the new system.

It still wasn't working properly when I got out of that place. I could have done a better job myself; using pure Open Source software, piping the data directly out of the old system into the new and making it all work as closely as possible to the original system they already knew. Just using a web browser instead of a terminal emulator.

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Re: Data Migration

"I could have done a better job myself; using pure Open Source software, piping the data directly out of the old system into the new and making it all work as closely as possible to the original system they already knew."

Not really BOFH content, but a significant amount of my job is rescuing people who thought they could do this. Data migration is hard and it's almost impossible to coerce one data model into another without business process changes.

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Re: Data Migration is hard

Agreed in spades, but in the (admittedly unlikely) event you have sufficient contingency in the project plan you can iterate time time and again until its finally reasonable. But the intial estimate will probably be out by an enormous margin, and if sufficient time *is* built in to the project plan then your in house price is going to look extremely expensive against the external quotes that have all the drawbacks and inaccuracies listed above.

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Spot on description of "the bun"

"the geeky one will be... in some fashionable denim, pointy shoes and retro paisley shirt. And a beard - with a... 60% probability of a hair bun - because he's the edgy authentic woodsman type."

Swap the paisley for a checked lumberjack pattern (which goes with "authentic woodsman") and you have just described our Chief Windows Wallah.

Yes, he does have the hair bun.

I can just imagine him in the role described.

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Devil

Death by Powerpoint

Ahhh, help me... Sorry, was having a PSTD flashback to a sales pitch a while ago...

We need a meeting room like theirs!

Simon, Can I have the blueprints for yours? Well, we can negotiate a price I guess. After all, nothing is free in the new world order.

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Every time you verb leverage, God drowns a bunny.

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Terminator

HEROES

Simon and the the PFY are Super Heroes. You make my day, with these stories. Clearly, none of us would get away with any of this, but these thoughts likely cross all of our minds and that and the secret smile from them, is enough to get us through our days on our jobs. OY, MATE!!!

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