back to article 'Can you just pop in to the office and hit the power button?' 'Not really... the G8 is on'

Monday, bloody Monday. If you haven't quite recovered from the weekend, just thank your lucky stars there aren’t any major global diplomatic events to tangle with today. Unlike this week’s IT sinner, “Peter”, who writes in to El Reg’s regular confessional column Who, Me? to get an old incident off his chest. At the time in …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    An server environment

    *twitch*

    1. Phil W

      Re: An server environment

      Not to mention several instances of "the" missing from the details of the trip to Seattle downtown

  2. M7S
    Flame

    Just a beer?

    Or were cocktails suddenly out of fashion?

    (As it's a Monday morning, there's a clue in the icon)

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Just a beer?

      Cocktails come in and out of fashion. Beer is eternal.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Just a beer?

        Beer is eternal

        And they have found lots of beer residues in Egyptian tombs to prove it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a beer?

      Whoosh! (if only the forum supported emojis)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just a beer?

        Emojis? You mean emoticons, Shirley. :-)

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Emoticons...

          Always makes me think... (To the Transformers theme tune) Emoticons... feelings in disguise.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Just a beer?

          "Emojis? You mean emoticons, Shirley. :-)"

          Emoticons? You mean Smileys, Shirley.:-)

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Just a beer?

            I heard emoticon at SAIL before I saw Smiley on Usenet ... and we will all do our best not to remember the abomination known as the "bixie" ... but "emoji"? That's a bastard begat by kiddies who not only can't remember history and refuse to acknowledge that it exists, they are re-inventing it to suit themselves to shore up fragile egos.

            There must be an emoticon for that ...

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: Just a beer?

              Emojis should consigned to the dustbin. I think bixie is already there. The kids don't care and mom and dad probably don't know the difference. I do have friends who still use "smiley" but not all smileys smile.

              I'm not sure if it's the kids who named it that or some marketing clown.

              Emoticon gets another vote from here.

            2. Graham Dawson
              Headmaster

              Re: Just a beer?

              Nah, emoji is an nipponism (or a japanese neologism if you want to be picky about it). Emoticons took off over there as a way to quicky communicate ideas over text message, partly because they work well with the prevailing writing systems and partly to fit within the character limits or short messages. The name itself stems from the Japanese love of taking English words and localising them (witness pokémon - pocket monster - and furasuko - flask as two disparate examples). So, just as romanised text became romanji (or romaji) to fit with kanji, emoticons became emoji.

              The word was adopted to the west by osmosis, through apps originally written in japan, or targeting japanese audiences, using the term in their English localisations as well.

              So less of that high-horse rubbish about the kids today, alright? They know more than we like to pretend.

              1. Z80
                Headmaster

                Re: Just a beer?

                The emo in emoji doesn't come from emoticon. Emoji comprises 絵 pronounced e as is bed, meaning picture/drawing and 文字 moji meaning letter/character.

                1. Graham Dawson

                  Re: Just a beer?

                  Hm. Fancy that.

                  I think that might validate my point even more to be honest. The word isn't invented by "millennials", is the thing.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Just a beer?

                    "The word isn't invented by "millennials", is the thing."

                    You honestly think millennials and marketing clowns aren't world-wide phenomena?

                    1. dmacleo

                      Re: Just a beer?

                      You honestly think millennials and marketing clowns aren't world-wide phenomena?

                      ******************************

                      just like all plagues...

                    2. Graham Dawson

                      Re: Just a beer?

                      I'd be impressed with a millennial who managed to be more than 30 years old in 1999.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Just a beer?

                        Graham, you are the one who brought up millennials in this thread. I said "kids", someone else brought up marketards. To me, it was a kid who came up with "emoji" when a perfectly good word already existed. And it was definitely the marketing wing of NTT DoCoMo that heavily pushed/promoted the concept.

                        1. Graham Dawson

                          Re: Just a beer?

                          You're right, I did, but it doesn't change facts. The man who invented the word was not a kid. The word is imported from Japanese. It has a nearly twenty year pedigree, while emoticon as a word only precedes it by a few years.

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            Re: Just a beer?

                            I wouldn't say it had a pedigree, it's more of a mutt along the lines of a labradoodle. And the point remains that the kid (from my perspective) didn't invent anything. He merely renamed something that had existed for decades[0] and already had a perfectly good name that was widely used, world-wide.

                            And no, the claim that so-called "emojis" are different because they are bitmaps doesn't hold. Letters on a screen are, in fact, bitmaps. And if you really insist, I can go back to PLATO III which had non-ASCII bitmapped emoticons back in the late 1960s.

                            [0] ASCII art started in the early 1960s, emoticons are small examples of ASCIIart. I remember sending my then girlfriend an ASCII rose in the winter of 1968-'69 (PDP-10 at SLAC).

                            -----\--/-<(@

                            1. Graham Dawson

                              Re: Just a beer?

                              I'm old, therefore an adult is a child and can be dismissed as such.

                              Fucking arrogant. This isn't a matter of perspective.

                              The concept of making little faces with text might be more than 100 years old, but the word emoticon is only a few years older than the word emoji. They're both neologisms invented by adults of approximately the same age, but in different cultural contexts. One won the battle for mindshare, one lost.

                              Cling to your fantasy of the "real" word as much as you like and complain about "the kids" all you want, you can't change this reality. Why not wave your cane at them as well, while you're at it, and complete the stereotype if a bitter old man who refuses to accept anything "the kids" come up with because it's not the way it used to be done, and change is scary and evil.

                              That's all you seem to do around here anyway.

                              1. jake Silver badge

                                Re: Just a beer?

                                Why does the concept of history frighten you so much, Jimmy? (You don't mind if I rename you Jimmy, do you?)

                                1. Graham Dawson

                                  Re: Just a beer?

                                  This is history. It just happens to be history you don't like, so you dismiss it as "the kids".

                                  1. jake Silver badge

                                    Re: Just a beer?

                                    No, Jimmy, I don't dismiss it as "the kids". I dismiss it because there was already a perfectly good word that the entire connected world used to describe the device. The fact that it was a kid who invented a pointless word is ancillary.

                                    1. Graham Dawson

                                      Re: Just a beer?

                                      A word that had only existed for a few years at the point emoji was coined.

                                      And your claim that it was "the kids" wasn't ancillary, but central to your entire argument.

                                      "emoji"? That's a bastard begat by kiddies who not only can't remember history and refuse to acknowledge that it exists, they are re-inventing it to suit themselves to shore up fragile egos.

                                      It's fine to not like the word, but all your claims about "history" are bullshit when both words are very nearly the same age, while your constant wank about fragile egos and kids (apparently defined as anyone younger than you who does something you don't like) is laughable.

                                      1. jake Silver badge

                                        Re: Just a beer?

                                        No, Jimmy. That was two separate thoughts in one comment. The useless word, and a rant about kids. So I'm no Shakespeare. I never claimed I was.

                                        "Very nearly" and "are" aren't exactly the same thing, now are they Jimmy?

                                        History in Internet time isn't the same as history in geologic time.

                                        I applaud kids where they deserve it. Like this kid. I highly recommend his product.

                                        1. Graham Dawson

                                          Re: Just a beer?

                                          No, you contended that emoji was a word invented by kids with fragile egos and no knowledge of history. You've had it demonstrated to you that this is false, but rather than accept your mistake, you've insisted that you're actually right anyway and that anyone who disagrees with you is also either a safely dismissed child or somehow mentally deficient and in need of your special brand of education (like Jimmy from all those old information films - don't think I'm so retarded that I don't get your sly little joke). Your entire argument is ultimately "I don't like this word that the kids today are using, so I'm going to make shit up to dismiss it and treat anyone who disagrees like they're an idiot".

                                          You're allowed to not like the word, that's absolutely fine, but maybe, instead of patronising and demeaning everyone who disagrees with you and dismissing the more popular word because of "the kids", you could act like the adult you claim to be and accept that your opinion is a clear minority.

                                          Emoji won. It's as simple as that.

                          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                            Re: Just a beer?

                            The man who invented the word was not a kid.

                            Your source?

                            It has a nearly twenty year pedigree, while emoticon as a word only precedes it by a few years.

                            A trivial check shows emoji has been in use for at least 50 years. There's no substantive difference between emoji in the sense of "pictogram in a pictographic written language" and "Unicode character that's an icon of some sort", particularly since emoji has also been used to refer to other sorts of icons in computing contexts.

                  2. phuzz Silver badge
                    Headmaster

                    Re: Just a beer?

                    This is your regularly scheduled reminder that some of us millennials will be forty in a couple of years, so using the word as a short-hand for 'bloody kids' is increasingly inaccurate.

                    1. onefang Silver badge

                      Re: Just a beer?

                      "This is your regularly scheduled reminder that some of us millennials will be forty in a couple of years, so using the word as a short-hand for 'bloody kids' is increasingly inaccurate."

                      You forgot to say "And get orf my lawn!". You should start practicing now, you'll need to get the inflection right when you need to use it.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Just a beer?

                        Accuracy is relative. A 30 year old still often seems to be a kid when you're pushing 60 ... not all, mind, but often enough to be mentioned.

                        For the record, I don't think I "grew up" until I was 35ish.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Just a beer?

                          "A 30 year old still often seems to be a kid when you're pushing 60 ..."

                          Well do I remember my grandmother talking about "that nice boy from down the street". My dad pointed out that "that nice boy" had two kids. When you're 80-90, anybody below 50 is a kid.

                          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                            Re: Just a beer?

                            "Well do I remember my grandmother talking about "that nice boy from down the street". My dad pointed out that "that nice boy" had two kids. When you're 80-90, anybody below 50 is a kid."

                            I remember my MIL pointing to "that poor old man struggling to get across the road". He looked to be about 70ish. She was 85 at the time. It's all relative to what is inside your head :-)

                    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                      Re: Just a beer?

                      This is your regularly scheduled reminder that some of us millennials will be forty in a couple of years, so using the word as a short-hand for 'bloody kids' is increasingly inaccurate.

                      Bloody kids are turning forty now. Always repeating history.

              2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Just a beer?

                Nah, emoji is an nipponism (or a japanese neologism if you want to be picky about it).

                There are kids in Japan, and Japanese kids are certainly capable of being ignorant of history. And we can also still assign blame for the spread of the term to other languages.

                While complaining about one neologism replacing another is an exercise in futility, the Japanese origin of emoji is not evidence against jake's claim.

          2. AlexGreyhead

            Re: Just a beer?

            ... and don't call me Shirley...

  3. Symon Silver badge
    Alert

    Long ago.

    I used to rent out a house I owned in the nearby city to students. Nice little earner while it lasted. Anyway, I also kept a server in the (fortified) attic because the cable internet in town was much faster than in our rural office. There was a firewall running as well, to keep the students at bay. It would go down every now and then which would have meant a 90 minute round trip to fix, except I had one of these (or rather the current model at the time) :-

    https://dlidirect.com/products/web-power-switch-7

    The server and firewall were both set in their BIOS to turn on when the power returns, and the remote power switch must've saved me a 100 hours of sitting in traffic. The switch itself never crashed, even when it got filled up with dust from some building work. I remember that its uptime looped back to zero at about every 30000 hours. I've still got it somewhere...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      A web power switch ?

      I had no idea they made such things. I'm going to have to remember that for eventual future problems.

      Thanks for the tip.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: A web power switch ?

        Remote power switches are standard operating procedure around here. Most of the ones I spec can be operated over the LAN/WAN and/or via dial-up over POTS. User configurable. Hint: Don't buy the cheap ones, they tend to fail at the most inopportune time. You'll save the extra loot the first time you use it remotely in your PJs (or less ... ).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A web power switch ?

        You can buy a web power switch off Amazon for about $10. They call them "smart plugs". All cheap IoT crap.

        https://www.amazon.com/Socket-ChiHope-Compatible-Control-Anywhere/dp/B074J8HYBP/

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: A web power switch ?

          You can buy a web power switch off Amazon for about $10. They call them "smart plugs". All cheap IoT crap.

          And to operate them from afar you need a working DSL as well as the appropriate hole(s) in your firewall. Those not working correctly could be a reason to want to use the switch while actually making it impossible to do so.

          An Arduino checking outbound connectivity from inside your home LAN and toggling power to the modem is a) not relying on the connectivity it's trying to restore and b) autonomous.

          Improving this setup so that the Arduino (code or hardware) failing is dealt with is left as an exercise for the reader.

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: A web power switch ?

        They also make ones you can control over the phone or a radio channel. Just the thing when the mountain-top computer decides to go off into the weeds. A few touch-tones and there's your off-and-on-again. Very popular with radio hams who run smart repeaters or packet radio networks.

        https://www.amazon.com/Remote-PDU-Power-Switch-Controlled/dp/B01LYXSB5A

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Long ago.

      We have 5 nominally identical machines used for "industrial control" use, all around 6 years old now. But one of them turned out to crash at roughly 2-6 month intervals. Memory tests, etc, revealed nothing. Second time it happened it was at 9.30pm on a Friday night while I was out for a beer or three and I had to persuade the security guy to let me in and up to the top floor to push the reset button.

      After that we put watchdog daemons on all of them (and quite a few other machines as well) and in practically every case it has saved physical intervention to restore operations.

      Top tip - edit your settings so the machine just fixes any file system anomalies and continues, and is not sitting there prompting you to decide on the action. For example:

      http://xmodulo.com/automatic-filesystem-checks-repair-linux.html

      In general most modern file systems will be OK for any automatic repair, if not then you were going to have to reformat and restore your backup anyway...

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Long long time ago. in an Age of Conflict and Rapid State Change ....

        ..... Virtual Revolution with Universal Solutions

        Top tip - edit your settings so the machine just fixes any file system anomalies and continues, and is not sitting there prompting you to decide on the action. .... Paul Crawford

        Sound advice for down voters here on El Reg who never reveal the problems/fears they've associated with a freely shared post.

        Have you noticed practically nobody has any problem with pleasures? Makes you wonder why they are not widely lauded and readily freely provided?

        Perhaps IT EMPowers the Almighty for Rewarding Omniscience with Heavenly Foresight in Future Paths to Be Followed/Explored/Trialled and Trail-Blazed? And perhaps definitely IT does all of that, and everything else too.

        That's a Virtual AIMachine you Badly Tinker With at Your Own Personal Peril. Keep Out of the Deeper and Darker Sides of Life and Abuse and Misuse will Perish even as IT More Boldly has to Hawk ITs Most Delicate and Much Sought After Wares. Well .... either Perish or Be Reborn in the Most Attractive and Addictive of Phorms.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Long long time ago. in an Age of Conflict and Rapid State Change .... A New Kind of Running.

          Would such as Virtual Revolution with Universal Solutions be AIDivine Salvation? :-)

          And that question to every Wannabe Worldly Global Leadership Contender who/which you might like to consider has Kith and Kin and Skin in Great Games as Immaculate Warrior and Perfect Shepherd.

          Are they Pretty Unique or to be found Virtually Anywhere and Practically Everywhere Greater IntelAIgent Games Be Played.

        2. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Long long time ago. in an Age of Conflict and Rapid State Change ....

          "Have you noticed practically nobody has any problem with pleasures?"

          I often get downvoted by prudes that have problems with my pleasures.

    3. BenDwire
      Thumb Up

      Re: Long ago.

      I suspect my beard is a little more grey than yours ... I had a similar device that answered the phone line it was plugged in to, and then turned the power on or off depending on the DTMF tones you sent once connected. Back in the day it was put on the line that had 512k ADSL, and toggled the power to the firewall & modem.

      http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/reviews/telephone-controlled-mains-socket-adapter-mini-review.html

      Ah, simpler days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long ago.

        >> Ah, simpler days.

        One job I had a long time ago involved downloading readings from remote tide gauges using a PC and dial-up modem. The backup machine had a telephone acoustic coupler into which you inserted a telephone handset. Occasionally the remote equipment would fail to respond to the backup machine. The recommended fix was to noisily screw up a piece of paper next to the handset's microphone and the sound was successfully interpreted as a request for data!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Long ago.

          >> Ah, simpler days.

          I heard a story about an engineer who could whistle at just the right frequency down the phone causing the remote modem or fax to answer.

          No idea if that is true or not!

          1. Trygve Henriksen

            Re: Long ago.

            I had a classmate once who could whistle the dialtone so perfect that he did get the modem at the other end to star negotiating speed, so yeah, it's possible.

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Long ago.

              "I had a classmate once who could whistle the dialtone so perfect that he did get the modem at the other end to star negotiating speed, so yeah, it's possible."

              I've done that myself, many moons ago. Can't actually send any data that way, but it gets a response out of the thing at least.

          2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Long ago.

            It's true, and I used to do it.

            I worked at the university computing center, in the days when we connected to the mainframe with Teletypes and acoustic couplers. Newer couplers had a light sensor in the cups, so they could tell when a handset was in place, but the older ones were always listening for the "Answer" tone from the mainframe.

            When I'd walk into the public terminal room in the morning, to replace paper and check to make sure all the machines were working, I'd whistle and all the machines with the older couplers (they were always left running) would start chattering away in response.

            "The good old days" indeed, when the machines were happy to see (or, at least, hear) you!

          3. NordieBoy

            Re: Long ago.

            Installed a fax switcher at home and called it on the cellphone to test it.

            Normal call went to answer phone correctly and then I whistled down the line as a joke.

            And the fax took over...

            Surprised the hell out of me!

          4. tony trolle

            Re: Long ago.

            I whistled to see if Fax or modem, Fax does a handshake tune modems don't

      2. Dave Pickles

        Re: Long ago.

        My turn to say I didn't know they existed...

        After a hiccup at my ISP took down my VPN to home ("just reboot the router, sir") while I was 1000 miles away, I built something similar using an Arduino and a GSM modem. An SMS containing the correct password power-cycles the router.

        1. Oh Matron!

          Re: Long ago.

          Happier days.... Still know my way around AT commands (which phones *Used* to support) as used to have a similar setup

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Long ago.

            I read some years ago a story about an engineer. He could whistle down the phone line at just the right pitch to cause the remote modem / fax to respond.

            No idea if that is true or not!

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Long ago.

              "I read some years ago a story about an engineer. He could whistle down the phone line at just the right pitch to cause the remote modem / fax to respond.

              No idea if that is true or not!"

              First rule of propaganda. Repeat it often enough and it the people will believe it :-)

              1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

                Re: Long ago.

                But sometimes it's true: I knew such a guy.

            2. Oengus Silver badge

              Re: Long ago.

              We had a new IBM AS/400 that had 16 Fax cards installed to receive faxes with Credit card applications and file them automatically for processing. All of our branches had Xerox fax machines installed. We had issues with faxes not receiving correctly. IBM assured that they had tested the system with the particular model of Fax machine we used and it worked fine so the problem must be with the setup of the Fax machines.

              We had an Xerox engineer come on site and I watched as he whistled down the line to get he fax machines and fax cards to negotiate the connection. He was even able to listen and tell if the machines were responding correctly.

              In the end we determined that the issue was that IBM had tested with US homologated fax machines and we were using Australian model fax machines. There was a difference in the levels output by the Australian fax machines so the IBM engineer bought in a jury-rigged attenuator to reduce the levels on the line and the fax machines worked properly.

              So from first hand experience I can assure you that some people could indeed whistle down the phone line to get fax machines and modems to respond.

      3. K Silver badge

        Re: Long ago.

        Neat, I've never seen one of them before... I wonder if they now have a mobile-sim version!

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Long ago.

        A _very_ long time ago I added code to a PC router to toggle the speaker output for every packet passed.

        The speaker output was piped to a timer circuit (555 monostable) which in turn was piped to the reset switch.

        If nothing passed for 5 minutes, the OS got a crowbar dropped on it (This was long enough ago that the whole thing booted off a 360k floppy). That $5 mod saved a number of callouts.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Long ago.

          If nothing passed for 5 minutes, the OS got a crowbar dropped on it

          Did a similar thing at a place of employment many years ago with an "interactive" machine (used by the general public) which seemed to go down at least twice a day. Practically nothing was networked and certainly not remote-able, and said machine was in a room about a 10 minute walk and stair climb from our office, so we installed a bit of code that read a text file from the HDD every few seconds, causing the HDD light to flash.

          A bit more sophisticated than a monostable, I had a counter connected to the oscillating 555 so I could select various delays via a DIP switch. The HDD light connected to the reset of the counter and the DIP switch connected one of the count outputs to a relay across the reset switch.

          This being Win ME (I think - might have been '98), the interactive software crashing would cause the whole machine to freeze so the little utility reading the text file would stop, the HDD light would stop flashing and the counter would eventually trip the relay.

          Worked a treat.

          M.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Geiger router

          If the router gets reset when there's no traffic... is that going to be happening all night at 5 minutes intervals? Or do the servers chatter amongst themselves all night (the ages hang heavy on their dusty data banks)... Or do you breed a router that generates its own "keep alive" packets?

    4. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Long ago.

      Looks like a good idea, provided they got the security right.

      30000 hours? 32767 probably!

      1. Bluto Nash

        Re: Long ago.

        30000 hours? 32767 probably!

        The extra 2767 covered by "about every"

    5. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Long ago.

      dell idrac has saved my arse sooooo many times when accidentally powering down instead of reboot.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Long ago.

        "dell idrac has saved my arse"

        Until you work for $BOSSAGE who deeply distrusts all forms of ipmi and insists they be disabled. *Sigh*

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Long ago.

          if remote tools are banned then ill take the overtime instead :)

    6. tony trolle

      Re: Long ago.

      that is so useful. Back the day a co-worker set up two servers facing each other so the cd/dvd drive with a rubber snubber glued on could hit the reset button of the other. Beat a 4 hour trip and an hour plus; going though security after a problem was noticed and logged

    7. mr_souter_Working

      Re: Long ago.

      I know somewhere that invested a lot of money in web power switches - but then left them accessible from the same VLAN as the servers, and never configured them - so no note as to which server was plugged in where (never even changed the default passwords) - so anyone could access them and turn off any port they wanted. As far as I know, they are still unconfigured.

    8. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Long ago.

      except I had one of these (or rather the current model at the time) :-

      https://dlidirect.com/products/web-power-switch-7

      Yup - before the Apocalypse That Wasn't[1], I had a version of that installed in remote offices that allowed telnet access and controlled power and serial port access (I was herding Solaris boxes at the time and having serial access could be quite important as one of the failure modes would kill all network access but leave the box still running..)

      [1] Y2K didn't represent the end of technology as we know it only because we did a lot of work to prevent it..

  4. Vanir

    Instinct

    So, acting on your instinct or gut feeling is not always the correct response.

    And yet, I suppose some non-instinctive thought was put into the

    "Other servers are connected to the server. Do you want to shut down instead?."

    There may have been a conjugate

    "Other servers are connected to the server. Do you want to reboot instead?."

    to a shutdown command.

    "subconscious knowledge wasn’t enough' - it did surface though - ‘No, no, no!’

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Instinct

      I doubt instinct can be used correctly when the UI it's begging for mistakes.

      It's a bad idea to ask for confirmation of another operation when performing a specific operation.

      Computer: Would you like to check for updates?

      User: Yes.

      Computer: Would you like to install updates?

      User: Yes.

      Computer: Would you like to upgrade to Windows 10?

      User: Yes... oh No NO NO!

      1. Giovani Tapini

        Re: Instinct

        I worked with a colleague in Southern Europe who would enjoy showing off his speed of typing when entering systems commands and responding to system queries.

        I was diagnosing some issues they had and identified that the colleague in question had very little idea of what he was actually typing. In a similar slow-motion "noooo" to the above story I watched as a command kicked back and his buffered keystrokes started cancelling processes and all sorts of carnage ensued...

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Instinct

          wasnt the windows 10 question more along the lines:

          We have downloaded windows 10 and wont will not certainly install windows 10 now at reboot startup? Please cancel or close to continue, yes?

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    That sinking feeling

    Ahhh yes, the all familiar dread that creeps up your spine and tickles the brain stem after you've pressed a button. It's funny how you already know something just went wrong before you conciously know what it actually is. "No, no, no" indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That sinking feeling

      I delivered a project to a UK Government department a long long time ago and just after transition to production the lead DBA shut down the database (rather than the prod test DB as intended). The next morning we had a conversation along the lines of 'didn't you notice there were 1000's of users connected?' - 'yes, I disconnected them safely before shut down'.

      (All's well that ends well, he wasn't fired, he did have the piss taken and the processes for separating test and production systems were usefully improved.)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: That sinking feeling

      "Ahhh yes, the all familiar dread that creeps up your spine and tickles the brain stem after you've pressed a button."

      And the spitting of a spilling era jest after clocking submit.

    3. Jay 2

      Re: That sinking feeling

      I believe the amount of time between pressing key/mouse button and realising something not good will happen is called an ohnosecond.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: That sinking feeling

        "Ely. the first, tiniest inkling that something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong." From "The Meaning of Liff" by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, a fictitious compendium of dictionary meanings of place names, especially British places. "Ahenny. The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds a bit like trying to get in to any of the Docklands DCs when the London Marathon is on. Had to do that once, was great fun, including some impatient woman ramming my car because we weren't moving, neither was the car in front, or the police offering stood in front of them!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "some impatient woman ramming my car because we weren't moving, neither was the car in front, or the police offering stood in front of them!"

      Years ago, in the queue for security checks leaving the ferry port at Larne the driver in the car behind was flashing lights and gesturing impatiently. I was strongly tempted to flash my official pass at the police checkpoint and suggest the driver behind was acting suspiciously.

      I later wished I had as a means of getting retaliation in early. Many years later my wife worked in QC for an Anglo-Italian firm which had a plant in Larne and in retrospect the driver looked very like her then Italian boss. He didn't like some of the figures she produced about a batch of product and "adjusted" them. When it turned out the batch was indeed substandard it was she who got fired for producing an erroneous analysis.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "He didn't like some of the figures she produced about a batch of product and "adjusted" them."

        I hope that was her salutary lesson about making unalterable copies and keeping them in a safe place.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Odd things they do in Blighty.

      "or the police offering stood in front of them!"

      You lot have sacrificial cops these days? Must be getting bad ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Odd things they do in Blighty.

        Was back in 2003, I couldn't type properly then either.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Stop

      Impatient drivers

      One sunny Sunday a good while ago I was doing traffic safety at a local run. Runners coming out of a side street and crossing a relatively major road out of the city. You stop the traffic as needed so the runners don't get splatted as that tends to cause a bit of a mess and some related problems.

      Anyway, a bit into the race a sizeable number of runners are crossing, no gaps to let traffic through, and at some point a Volvo driver got impatient, got out of the queue and into the other lane and accelerated towards the actual crossing. As stopping that car looks to be somewhat unhealthy I block the runners, and I've probably shouted "Stop" or "Watch out" at them.

      For the other direction there's a proper police officer controlling the traffic. Who just turns around immediately, points at the Volvo and bellows "STOP". And then points to the grass verge. We then continued to deal with the traffic and the runners, and at the very end the Volvo driver was dealt with, in a very thorough and extended way.

      Utterly satisfying to watch.

  7. big_D Silver badge

    Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

    I worked at a client who dealt in national elections. When the government won, the rebels claimed the elections were fixed and our team had to make a hasty retreat to the airport with private security hanging out the Landcruiser windows and returning fire to the following rebels!

    I was lucky, I had been due to rotate out to the site, but they cancelled on-site support at the last minute.

    The government's wire-tapping kit was also so old, every time they evesdropped the telephone line, the cc:mail modem dropped the line due to the loud clunk! We had to politely ask them to stop tapping the line.

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

      Sometimes I think I have had some varied and awful jobs, but I take my hat off to you !

      1. Giovani Tapini

        Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

        Yes, people think IT is safe and boring, I have one colleague shot at in central America, and one held at gunpoint by a security guard not properly briefed for out of hours working.

        I was asked nicely if I was carrying a gun in one country I visited, when all my colleagues were questioned and frisked and sent through the metal detector. I said no, and just got waived through... although I was the only one of us in a suit.

        A few near-misses in Eastern Europe in the early 90's when people nearby were subjected to the rough arm of the local police.

        I was safer doing IT in a factory where I only got showered by metal sparks a few times...

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

          sound like the slough/heathrow run. Survival of the fittest.

    2. John R. Macdonald

      Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

      Back in the 1990's. a former colleague told me that he went to an interview for a well paid IT gig in some unnamed place in the Middle East or darkest Africa (can't remember which). After all the technical and pecuniary questions had been answered, he was casually asked if he knew how to handle an AK-47 and if so, would he be amenable to being a squad leader for co-workers with similar skills, 'just in case'.

      He declined the job.

      1. tony trolle

        Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

        Executive Outcomes did IT ?

      2. ICPurvis47
        WTF?

        Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

        I applied for a job as Chief Engineer in charge of the power station and vehicle fleet in Fiji, back when it was governed by a British Governor. I didn't get the job, but I was very thankful I failed when, a few months later, there was a military coup which ousted the Governor and took over running the country.

  8. David Austin

    London Riots

    Back in the 2011 London Riots, I had the fun of doing an overnight server upgrade on a little business on a North London high street.

    I managed to get in for the early evening before things kicked off, then put the metal shutters down, turned the lights out, hid in the back office with a brand new 2012 Foundation Server. One of the most tense nights of working I've had, and not just because I had to make a Symantec product behave...

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: London Riots

      My hat off to you. That night was scary! I always thought mayhem happens elsewhere... but seeing our own streets turn into stuff I used to see in unrests elsewhere in the world was... sobering.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: London Riots

        One of my friends used to be a cop in the Met; he said that things were a lot worse than the media let and he was very pleased to make it out unscathed. A few years later, he's now decided that a nice rural constabulary is much nicer to work in than the Met (although backup can take up to an hour to arrive!).

        1. Serg

          Re: London Riots

          For the Greater Good!

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: London Riots

        I always thought mayhem happens elsewhere... but seeing our own streets turn into stuff I used to see in unrests elsewhere in the world was... sobering.

        If you think those were bad, consider what it'll be like in about 8 months time when the nationwide food riots start...

        Joke icon. Or is it?

  9. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    Done that.. kind of..

    I remote rebooted a UNIX server that had been acting increasingly strange. A server with an uptime of over a year that ran a busy call center. Then did a ping -t and waited for it to come back up so I could continue maintenance. And waited.. and waited.. and waited... Finally, faced with the reality that it was never going to come online, I stated making phone calls and leaving messages to the few people that had a key to the server room, and prepared myself for an early rise and a 150-mile drive to see what happened. I didn't sleep very well that night.

    Fortunately one of the people got my message and found the machine stuck on some minor error with a "Press Y to continue" message on the console, and doing so restored normal operation.

    Then there's this: https://thedailywtf.com/articles/ITAPPMONROBOT

  10. Chris King Silver badge

    Riot outside my front door...

    I used to live near site on my last job - like two or three minutes walk to work.

    This was normally a very peaceful, sleepy little rural town, the sort of place you can drive through and miss it if you blink, but one night the high street turned into a riot zone...

    One of the local "ASBO families" (getting your first one was a rite of passage for this lot) were celebrating a wedding, and the reception spilled out on to the town's main road.

    At the same time, a server died on site, and I decided to wander down to campus to sort it out - I could have done it remotely but I had to pop out anyway to get some milk.

    As I opened my front door, a bar stool shot across my line of sight - had I stepped out a second or two earlier, it would have hit me at head-height.

    I could hear screaming, shouting, alarms, sirens, and breaking of glass. Okay, I'll nip out the back door and take a different route.

    Returning a few minutes later, I saw various family members being bundled into police vans - they had to call in cops from other nearby towns to assist with this mini-riot, and there was broken pub furniture everywhere in the street.

    Bride and groom spent the first night of their honeymoon in the cells at different police stations, from what I could gather.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Riot outside my front door...

      I was working at Tesco in the middle of Salford Shopping City (it wasn't called that then), back when the Salford riots were kicking off.The police tipped off the area manager that the rioters were heading towards the precinct, so they shut the store and turfed out all the evening staff (that was in the days when it shut at 6pm, but restocking took place up until 10pm). Great... there's now a group of 30 people, male and female, aged from 16 up to 65 standing around in the open, in a car park opposite the shops, no mobile phones in those days, no way for people to call their lifts in early, buses suspended due to rioting, watching the red flames flickering in the distance and hearing the angry shouting getting closer and closer... Only Dodgy Dave the shady supervisor's clapped out, badly pimped up Fiesta to shuttle people away from the precinct, 5 at a time squeezed into the dark blue rust bucket... and each of us armed with just a palette cutter and a pricing gun.

      The rioters were deflected away from the precinct in the end, thank goodness, but it was a hairy evening. Our hours were cut short for the next week or so whilst they expected repeated rioting, and those that could had to come in early to restock (it was, in those days, considered bad form to restock at full pelt whilst there were customers in store, so they usually only had a few people on, mainly for dairy and other perishables that were kept in the back of store cold room).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Riot outside my front door...

        Reminds me of my job at University (the shelf stocking, not the rioting). We worked from 10pm until 7am, with the permanent staff doing five nights a week and us students doing three. I became almost nocturnal as my tutorials were just a couple of hours a week in the late afternoon and everything else was self study or coursework. Great times - it meant I was wide awake for gigs or clubbing, plus I had a reliable source of free booze since the two guys who stocked the drinks aisle had a little sideline. They'd record twice as many breakages as really happened (one pile of broken glass can look like two bottles of vodka if the shards are small enough), and they kept us quiet with some of their ill gotten gains.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Riot outside my front door...

          Dodgy Dave had a mate who was also a former supervisor at the store. One night, they used the copies of the keys that they had made to empty the booze cage in the stock room. Two stage process - bypassed the window's alarm contacts with a screwdriver and some double sided foam sticky pads (unscrewed the bar magnet and stuck it on top of the reed switch whilst the alarm circuit was off during the day), left the window open, then later on passed the booze out of the window, stacked it up onto the parapet, then shifted it all along the parapet to where the road passed underneath and passed it down through the sun roof into Dodgy's van / lurve wagon. It took internal security and the local gendarme almost three months to track the culprits down, but when they did... well, I didn't see Dave again. Ever.

    2. rskurat

      Re: Riot outside my front door...

      Your neighbors were the Palins, then? Pretty much anywhere counts as rural in Alaska.

      I wish the US had ASBOs!

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Sebokeng, Johannesburg.

    During the 1980's a colleague of mine had to visit the clinic in Sebokeng. He had to be escorted in with an army escort. Did his work, then got duly escorted out as well by the army.

    In the late 1990's I had to go to the same clinic. Then later on to a house of one of the clients.

    All was peaceful (or so I thought) until the cops pulled me over, took a shufty at my car's boot and told me to proceed, telling me to be more careful next time. I was naive at that time...

    ...but today I would just flat-out refuse to go in there.

  12. gymychoo

    Cool story bro

  13. DanceMan
    Thumb Up

    "he wrote to head office to explain the cockup, apologise and name-check his knight"

    This is what earns trust in the long term.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Police Escort

    Back in the day the state-wide police non-emergency reporting line went down, and it was three hours outside of the city in a small country town. Their normal response was four hours on-site but because of the politics of no police service for half a day a few calls to upper management created a sense of urgency with the support engineers. I was given the task of getting to site and restoring the service.

    Our management pushed back and pointed out it was "rush hour" so there'd be no way we could a) quickly get the parts we'd possibly need, and also b) get there within a decent time. So the fat blue line provided an escort service from our offices to the parts warehouse where I picked up a shopping list of likely items, and then I followed them the entire way through the city, up the main arterial road and then along the highway to the remote office. What would have taken us probably 3 1/2 hours turned into a total two hour high speed run sitting on the tail of a police car that helpfully ploughed the road ahead of us.

    They eventually elected to have a set of on-site spares and we could then call an external regional engineer who we'd trained up enough to remote hands for us.

  15. OzBob

    Anyone remember

    that macho loon who stayed put after hurricane katrina and blogged about it rather than getting out of dodge.

    https://interdictor.livejournal.com/88989.html

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its going to end badly when

    You try and power off the server, and it starts going "Full HAL" on you.

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that"...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Its going to end badly when

      Most such switches can be configured to be controlled using out-of-band signalling. HAL would have no way of even knowing they were there, much less stopping the power-off.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Its going to end badly when

        Then there's the explosive charge driven guillotine with the non-conductive blade clamped across the main feed line... a bit unidirectional in its ability to shutdown without the ability to restore the connection remotely, but very effective all the same.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Its going to end badly when

        HAL would have no way of even knowing they were there, much less stopping the power-off.

        Just make sure HAL can't read lips through window in the airlock door, right?

  17. Aseries

    Been there, done that.

    I would spend many hours running logs and updates on dozens of servers from remote access windows. I actually executed a SHUTDOWN just like that. Fortunately, just had to jump in my car and make a 20 mile trip across town to our business continuation site and push the button. There was an operator on site but I had a previous bad experience trying that method. Typically, I fell to the "3 AM syndrome" just like the famous "Three Mile Island Reactor" cock-up.

  18. mloftis

    Current $dayJob has offices and some datacenter space at The Westin Building Exchange. Where the president (of whatever country) will often stay when in Seattle. The Obama's have stayed there multiple times, the Chinese "President" as well. I actually had to go in during the mess when the Chinese president was there as well. Each time I've taken my motorcycle since if they decide to search it won't take them long, but so far, each time, the secret service has barely looked at me and waved me through the road blocks after a quick exchange of "Yes I work at the WBX" - at least on those days I had no problem finding parking though I've gotten caught both inside and outside the cordons while they were moving the high value target.

    (And yes the name of the building has changed over the years, I'm referring to it's current name)

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