back to article Planes, fails and automobiles: Overseas callout saved by gentle thrust of server CD tray

As the week draws to a close and we bite our collective knuckles at all the things that went a bit wrong, take solace in another tale about those brave souls charged with fixing stuff when it all goes squiffy: On Call. Today's story comes from an engineer, who we will call "Brad". Brad spent the early 2000s working for a …

  1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

    11pm and no fscking engineer on the premises

    Or at least not the right engineer? Go to sleep and we will solve the problem the next day. Or leave the CD with the security guard and let those clowns solve their problems by themselves.

    1. eraiser

      Re: 11pm and no fscking engineer on the premises

      Lots of data centres I got called out to had no technical staff, and sometimes no staff at all - doors remotely opened as long as the job was scheduled and you had the right access code.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 11pm and no fscking engineer on the premises

        Ah yes, although I always found the door wedged open by someone in this particular backup DC.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: 11pm and no fscking engineer on the premises

        "no technical staff, and sometimes no staff at all "

        even so - there has to people and CDs that arnt a plane flight away!

  2. Jonathan Richards 1

    Target

    somewhere in the middle of nowhere between Wales, Bristol and Birmingham

    Mitcheldean, then.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Mitcheldean

      Why not Cinderford?

      1. Chozo
        Devil

        Re: Why not Cinderford?

        Imagine Deliverance with sheep

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Why not Cinderford?

          What a place.

          Some good pubs in the area, but the locals are weird.

          Even as far east as Maisemore, but get as far as Longhope and abandon hope.

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Why not Cinderford?

          A revisit to a Cinderford lady (Apologies for the repeat story & also the reason for the icon).

          Earls Court - PCW Computer trade show (1986 IIRC & running from Tuesday - Sunday) , there was a joint meal between ourselves & our OEM who was also in attendance touting his version of our product.

          When Kaptain K. K**k in a seemingly desperate attempt to impress our side of the table asked Felicia (From the assembly floor & apparently interested in our trainee tech Graham) how she was enjoying her first trip to London from rural Cinderford.

          "It's crap!"

          KKKk looked stunned & pressed on regardless "Why?"

          Her followup answer stunned everyone into silence mid conversation\mid chew.

          "I miss my boyfriend between my legs".

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: Why not Cinderford?

            One honest lady with true non-negotiable morals...

          2. Aussie Doc
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Why not Cinderford?

            Clearly a woman of honesty. Like her >>>

    2. trolleybus

      Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

      It can't have been Mitcheldean, because he had to travel there from Europe. Maybe the Birmingham is in Alabama?

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

        Considering they were upset over finger nail clippers I would defiantly say he was dealing with the TSA . Considering that Birmingham,al is the largest city in the state I'm willing t o bet it might be Birmingham Kansas or Birmingham Iowa .

        1. Dabooka Silver badge

          Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

          Nah, not just the TSA. I was on holiday in Austria when 9/11 occured and the flight back was similarly policed with nail clippers etc. causing untold over-reaction.

          Besides he clearly says Blighty.

      2. Louis Schreurs

        " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

        UK != Europe

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

          The Continental Shelf begs to differ. If you go and look at navigational charts for the part of the North Sea between Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, you can easily understand how a relatively small amount of movement of land or sea can enable walking across. Dogger Bank was Doggerland within the period for which he have good archaeological evidence.

          1. rcxb Bronze badge

            Re: " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

            > The Continental Shelf begs to differ.

            Quite true, but if you just go by geology, then there's no rational way to draw a dividing line between Europe and Asia, as commonwealth countries still teach their children. India, however, could easily be its own continent.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

              Fair enough, so we're also part of Greater China, or will be.

        2. General Purpose

          Re: " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

          UK ∈ Europe

          1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

            Re: " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,

            ∈ = "is a member of the set" or "is an element of"

            Translation for those not inflicted with squiggles

      3. ckm5

        Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

        The article specifically says "Brad was on his way to Blighty"

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Target

      To be fair, "middle of nowhere between Wales, Bristol and Birmingham" covers a fair bit of western[1] England..

      It could even be Leominster!

      [1] I am forbidden by Royal Decree to refer to anything north and east of Exeter as "the south west". According to She Who Knows, that's where the south-west stops. Cos that's what she was taught at school in Plymouth.

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Target

        Personally I believe that Civilisation ends at the Tamar; you may call your wife a Northerner from me :)

        Mine's a Skinner's -->

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Target

          On which side? I want to know so my Cornish wife and I can argue about your post.

  3. storner

    Ah the old push-out-the-cd-tray trick

    Been there, done that. Sadly servers have no cd trays these days so, you have to rely on the labelling done by underpaid contractors <shudder>

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Ah the old push-out-the-cd-tray trick

      I thought they put lights on the front panel you could flicker. Like our HP box with it's "UID" led

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Ah the old push-out-the-cd-tray trick

        And then somebody leaves it on when they logout of iLO...

        That said, on the one hand, I think they timeout these days, and on the other your iLO should allow you to mount an ISO, skirting around this whole issue.

        (That may be iLO Advanced, but it's so well worth it for days like these!)

    2. CheesyTheClown

      Re: Ah the old push-out-the-cd-tray trick

      Why not dump random data to the PC speaker?

      1. DBH

        Re: Ah the old push-out-the-cd-tray trick

        In my experience, sometimes the technicians forget to connect the speakers to many of the servers, in fact quite often the speakers are entirely missing

  4. LDS Silver badge

    How could the script to open/close the CD trays be run without remote access?

    I guess the connection was too slow to upload the hideous size of any Oracle installation.

    At least he had a DBA to help - once in my younger days I was sent to install Oracle myself without ever having installed it before, because the colleague who should have done it was sent to a more lucrative job. I was given CDs and a heavy manual...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    airport security

    "After nearly causing an airport security incident due to forgetting about a tiny pair of nail clippers in his backpack"

    I carried a Victorinox Swisscard in my wallet for a decade post-9/11 and never had a problem in several European airports. Perhaps coins blocked the x-ray view or the security personnel were not very alert?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      Luck of the draw?

      I've tried to find out in advance whether it's worth me buying a Victorinox Rambler ( a little knife, similar to the SD Classic but with invaluable Philips screwdriver, wire stripper and bottle opener, not sold in UK shops) when on the Continent, but ten minutes of reading internet forums suggests that the risk of it being confiscated at the airport depends upon the airport, the airline or the security personal on the day.

      1. El Al

        Re: airport security

        The SwissTech Utili-Key has served me well and I have yet to lose one to airport security. It just sits on your keyring, looking like a key. A useful little blade, small flat and crosshead screwdrivers, and it will get you into a beer bottle too :) Recommended.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          In the UK a small blade is allowed, https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/personal-items though in the immediate years after 2001 there was a significant degree more hysteria and my grandmother had to part with a small pair of nail scissors.

          Of course what's actually in the rules may have no bearing on what the person at security thinks the rules are. My favourite remains ice (think lollipops etc.) not being allowed, because obviously they're water and water is a liquid...

          1. redpawn Silver badge

            Re: airport security

            I carried one for years but recently got one confiscated because I used all my change and had the wallet separate from my backpack. Clutter is the key. I've accidentally carried a large leatherman through security without its being found. Talked to a soldier who was tasked with carrying dummy grenades through security to test security. They had to run them through multiple times to catch them.

            1. Louis Schreurs

              Re: airport security

              I once carried a real full Leatherman through Heathrow, in leather pouch on my belt.

              Passed a see-through container of confiscated goodies, all was well and stayed that way till me was home.

              Got lucky I guess.

              1. Muscleguy Silver badge

                Re: airport security

                Was that before or after they made us take our belts off?

                I have well muscled athletic legs and have to wear trousers at least 2 inches wider than my waist to get them over my thighs. Consequently the walk through the scanner to retrieve my belt etc is a trifle fraught. I breathe out.

                I have one pair, bought in extremis, which are a full 4 inches wider at the waist. They are much more leg hugging. The merely 2 inch extra pair were so tight the pockets stood out in outline. Not for flying in those.

                1. Korev Silver badge
                  Windows

                  Re: airport security

                  And I just thought you were pleased to see me...

                2. herman Silver badge

                  Re: airport security

                  Obviously you need more beer to correct that anatomical flaw.

                3. What? Me worry?

                  Re: airport security

                  So you'll be at the the six day races? (your affliction being a common one amongst sprint cyclists...) :)

            2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

              Re: airport security

              I've heard of people re-using their range bag as carry-on luggage, and managing to fly out to the USA with a few rounds of ammunition in a side pocket of the bag. Then, on the way back to Blighty, realising that they had the ammo in the pocket and having to quietly drop off the offending items in a potted plant in the airport...

              1. press n hold down

                Re: airport security

                We arrived at ozzie airport, before going through immigration realised that my wifes carry on luggage contained fruit (apples, oranges & bananas) and other foods for small children which are not allowed by the Biosecurity team to be carried thru immigration. My wife discretely took her carry-on bag to toilets looking for a waste bin, without success, finally she selected a cubicle and created an artistic display with the fruit and a few sausage rolls neatly arranged on a toilet seat. Win!

        2. ckm5

          Re: airport security

          I have one of these on my keychain https://tacticalkeychains.com/collections/frontpage/products/wtf-wrench-that-fits Very useful as it has two screwdrivers, a hex bit holder and the ability to undo bolts upto about 13mm and because it's titanium, it makes a surprisingly good prybar. No one has ever even glanced at it...

          1. Jan 0

            Re: airport security

            When did "Stone Wash" become a colour?

            Doesn't stone washed titanium look like titanium?

        3. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          My Utilikey has accompanied me on multiple international flights, which always seems like a much worse idea when I'm stood in the queue for security and I suddenly wonder how impressed my boss would be if I got pulled over for having a knife...

          Still, it's got me out of so many jams I'd happily buy a new one if it got confiscated. Assuming I wasn't locked up/shot by a trigger happy copper/fired etc.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        I've tried to find out in advance whether it's worth me buying a Victorinox Rambler ( a little knife, similar to the SD Classic but with invaluable Philips screwdriver, wire stripper and bottle opener, not sold in UK shops) when on the Continent, but ten minutes of reading internet forums suggests that the risk of it being confiscated at the airport depends upon the airport, the airline or the security personal on the day.

        Just put it in checked luggage then.

        Or fly out of Zurich or Geneva where they have well stocked Victorinox shops on airside duty free.

        The guy in Geneva assured me I could take a purchase on my flight as long as it was direct. I didn’t chance it.

        I like the sound of the rambler. It’s on both Victorinox UK online store, Amazon and others I am about to buy.

        1. Is It Me Bronze badge

          Re: airport security

          Same here, just ordered on Amazon UK

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      I managed to get a Gerber multi-tool into a court room once. I was a witness in the Coroner's Court and had gone straight from work forgetting it was in my pocket (as always). As I was wearing a suit and tie I think security thought I was a magistrate or lawyer and just passed it as "a stapler!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: airport security

        That didn't work for me when I forgot my victorinox hunter penknife in my satchel that'd I'd used to fix out tenants flats plumbing with the night before (we would have sold it but after 15 years with and the mortgage paid off it moved less than 5% in value. Much better to rent it out and get that said 5% in rent every year).

        On the plus side I got to see both sides of the justice system and managed to get away without charges (just minus a very nice penknife I bought when I was 16).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: airport security

          (we would have sold it but after 15 years with and the mortgage paid off it moved less than 5% in value. Much better to rent it out and get that said 5% in rent every year).

          Well bully for you. Now back to the story.

    3. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      I once got taken to one side because in my dive logbook on my carry on, I'd tucked a ring spanner and forgotten all about it...nope...you cannot take a spanner onboard.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Well that's hardly a surprise. If you can't take rounded scissors you certainly can't take a hunk of metal good enough to cave in a skull with.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Most laptops are solid enough to cave a skull in (at least once) and you can still carry that on.

          If you really want to bludgeon someone on a plane I recommend you unclip the seatbelt buckle from the seat, it is usually just an oversized jewellery sprung clip, you then have a nice heavy metal block on the end of 12" of webbing - at least as good as a bar of soap/pool ball in a sock (had to do this once to untwist the strap as the clip was fastened upside down).

          Security theatre is just theatre.

          1. ridley

            A litre bottle of spirits from duty free would provide quite a thump and if broken a nasty weapon.

            1. jmch Silver badge
              Devil

              "...and if broken a nasty weapon"

              contrary to standard Hollywood practice, it is actually rather difficult to break a bottle in a way that turns it into a 'rather nasty weapon' since (a) it requires extreme force against a very hard object to break in the first place (a sharp tap against a wooden table won't work) and (b) it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder as anywhere else.

              Of course using it as a club is quite enough

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                I can attest to that.

                No intent to make a weapon. I was a child and thought the pop bottle could be used to hammer a rock into the sand of our sand box. I have a scar on my hand to prove that was not a good idea.

                1. moiety

                  Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                  There was a reddit thread about injuries once, and a number of A&E workers chipped in to say that attempting to use a glass/bottle in a fight will usually involve a trip to the emergency room to sew the tendons in your hand back together.

                  Some selection bias here because they are only going to be seeing the failures; but it's a frequent occurrence.

                  You're probably better off swinging a bar stool or similar.

                2. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                  Have seen with my own eyes, landlord attempt to eject folk from pub, one of them broke a Pils bottle on the table and went for the landlord with the jagged end. He chased the landlord round the pub with mates in tow trying to hold him back.

                  But most glass attacks are done with glasses, not bottles.

                  1. Aussie Doc
                    Joke

                    Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                    My glasses aren't that good.

                    Even though they're tinted and reinforced.

                    Sorry about that but I'm a certified dad and allowed to say those sorts of things.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                      "Sorry about that but I'm a certified dad and allowed to say those sorts of things."

                      How on earth did you manage to get permission? My kids get really grumpy when I tell dad quality jokes...

                      1. TSM

                        Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                        You need to start from a very early age, so that they grow up just expecting it as a normal part of life, and it doesn't occur to them that it could realistically be any other way.

                        1. moiety

                          Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

                          And frankly, it couldn't. Dad jokes are going to happen. It's like rainbows; where the confluence of events and forces produces an event; which the viewer can either find entrancing or disappointing, depending upon their frame of mind. The same could be said of farting; but I thought rainbows would sell better.

              2. smudge Silver badge

                contrary to standard Hollywood practice, it is actually rather difficult to break a bottle in a way that turns it into a 'rather nasty weapon' since (a) it requires extreme force against a very hard object to break in the first place (a sharp tap against a wooden table won't work) and (b) it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder as anywhere else.

                However, if you are in a fight in a bar and you really must break a bottle, do it with an upward swing against the overhanging edge of the bar. Then you can simply continue the upward movement and stick in your assailant's face. Smashing it downwards wastes a precious second.

                Oh yeah... I know... where's the IT angle? :)

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Oh yeah... I know... where's the IT angle? :)

                  Depends on your height, the effective length of your arm (held straight or crooked at the elbow) and your distance to the edge of the bar.

                  Next question.

                2. Muscleguy Silver badge

                  How many convictions for GBH do you have for interest's sake?

                  I live in Scotland and in 20 years I have only been threatened with a glassing once, by a drunk little old man. I just drew myself up, squared my shoulders and loomed at him. He blinked, tried calling me 'big man' and being my friend. I summoned hauteur and ignored him.

                  1. Aussie Doc
                    Pint

                    Ah, you summoned Hauter - the God of scorn.

                    Have a beer.

                3. jmch Silver badge
                  Happy

                  "...if you are in a fight in a bar and you really must break a bottle, do it with an upward swing against the overhanging edge of the bar. Then you can simply continue the upward movement and stick in your assailant's face. Smashing it downwards wastes a precious second"

                  And being an IT Pro, I guess that is something you came up with after a thought exercise carefully considering all the possible actions and outcomes... right? Definitely not from practical experience.... yeah?

                  Erm....

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Most laptops are solid enough to cave a skull in

            My old 17" Macbook Pro certainly is. And able to withstand an almost-full bottle of wine falling on it (fortunately the cork was back in so I didn't waste the wine!).

            1. Binraider666

              Hurling my G5 tower would be pretty effective too! Exceeds the weight limit for checked baggage of course...

          3. Stevie Silver badge

            Theatre de Securitie

            Upvoted for last line.

          4. defiler Silver badge

            I could take my old Game Gear onboard. I'm pretty confident I could bludgeon a cow with it before it did me any serious damage...

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        Terrorists with spanners might dismantle the plane in mid-flight.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Terrorists with spanners

          Nah. UK spanners are metric mostly. Boeings are A.F.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: Terrorists with spanners

            Don't let the terrorists find out about Metrinch!!

          2. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: Terrorists with spanners

            Are there an Boeings flying still?

            I bet Airbus use metric. Though I expect you would need quite a set with a big size range to dismantle an aircraft. Perhaps a few different sized adjustables?

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          I think I've posted previously about the promotional Claas tractors (I think) key fob that looked like a spanner head with a hex drive on the lower jaw. It was absolutely useless except to make my keyring noticeable. It flew many, many miles until one security check at Doncaster Robin Hood airport when it was deemed to be a tool, and so confiscated. I still miss it.

      3. The Quiet One

        Re: airport security

        I got quizzed at Gatwick over a Viptela SD WAN router in my carry-on. The official persisted in referring to It as a games console while clattering it about on the counter...….

      4. Suburban Inmate

        Re: "you cannot take a spanner onboard"

        Meanwhile... *gestures at Stanstead*

    4. A K Stiles

      Re: airport security

      I flew from UK to Brisbane, Australia in 2017, with an unexpected 6 hour stint in a hotel in Dubai. It was only at Brisbane airport, on the flight home, that my Wallet Ninja was confiscated, having been into both BHX and DXB in my wallet without a blink from security...

      1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        Following the link you gave: Tsa approved for carry on during flights

        Don;t say that Brisbane airport security are a greater PITA that TSA.

        1. A K Stiles

          Re: airport security

          I suspect the guy by whom I was being checked hadn't read the online description and it didn't say TSA approved anywhere on it. I certainly wasn't in a place and time to argue with him!

          Looking at the Q&A on that amazon link it appears I'm nowhere near the only one who has forgotten they even have one and eventually had it confiscated by airport security somewhere in the world.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: airport security

            TSA is just limited to America of course. I had my luggage cut open once as it was locked with a TSA lock, on reflection in the UK obviously they don't have the keys (probably the only ones who don't by now), and they decided it was easier to cut the zips than the lock.

          2. Swarthy Silver badge

            Re: airport security

            Something tells me it was less confiscated for security and more confiscated for "that looks cool, and I want it.", or in short "security".

        2. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          Aussie airport security was streets ahead of the US long before 9/11. I flew Sydney to Auckland in early 1988 and entry to the gate was via a metal detecting gate and once in you were not getting out again (that way).

          I also flew in the US in August of 9/11 and remember standing in the check in line in Seattle. They were hauling people out of the line to check in for the flight leaving in 5minutes. I just had time to grab a 'coffee' (Starbucks) before going to catch mine.

          I had 5 hours in Newark on that trip and saw a lot of stuff, the woman who got to the gate with a cat in a carrier. The guy arriving at the gate (airside) and buying a ticket with a credit card. I remember wandering down one limb of the building and looking across water at a cityscape and recognising the Twin Towers and that I was looking at the end of Manhattan Island.

          After 9/11 America caught up to the rest of the world.

      2. KittenHuffer

        Re: airport security

        How about the guy who was stopped because his t-shirt had a picture of Megatron, who happened to be carrying a gun!

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7431640.stm

        1. OssianScotland Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          I had a major row with LTN security many years ago. My son, then aged about 6, had got an action figure as a holiday present, and the security goon objected to said 1/6 scale figure having a scale rifle (plastic) with a bayonet (also plastic). I kept arguing and eventually got a supervisor with at least one working brain cell to let it through, but I fully expected the back room and rubber gloves. After that, I will never use that airport again!

        2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          Years ago I was subjected to the hideously inconsistent security of Aintree Racecourse at the Grand National. I had paid for on-site parking and entry to the Tattersall's ring, though not unfortunately for a seat in a grandstand (Aintree are scalpers; everything they can make you pay for, you do). Knowing that the security would be paranoid, I had removed anything dubious or sharp from my person and from the car, or so I thought.

          First contact with security was in the car park. Unsurprisingly they wanted to search the car. Look under bonnet: OK. Mirror under body: OK. Root round inside car: OK. Search boot and oh my goodness, clear evidence of terrorism, criminal tendencies, intent to detonate nuclear weapons and anything else they could think of!

          They had found one shot 10M air rifle target.

          Cue car being re-searched, and a grilling for me: "Where's the rifle?"

          "At home, in a locked firearms cabinet fifty miles away."

          "Are you sure?"

          "Yes, the rifle is about five feet long, shiny black and silver, really bloody noticeable and NOT IN THE CAR. Would you perchance like to have another look round with the mirror onna stick?"

          With much chuntering and bad grace I was then permitted to park up and enter the racecourse, although they did keep the target card.

          As soon as I got to the main gate, more security. Knowing of old what Aintree is like in early spring, I was dressed for the occasion in winter woolies and my biggest, most insulating overcoat. Security take one look at me and my mother, and wave us straight past the metal detection arch and so on, and go back to meticulously searching twerps in off-the-peg suits and women in summer dresses (who would then go on to quaff anything alcoholic in an attempt to keep warm).

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        I once had to pass through Salzburg airport (what little there is of it) with a number of dead laptops in my baggage. Which confused the security staff as they had been told that all laptops had to be turned on to prove that they were not bombs..

        I ended up disassembling them[1] in order to prove that there was no Semtex hidden in them. Then, as I was leaving, left them with the thought that it would be fairly trivial to ensure that the battery was replaced by something with enough charge to allow booting up but sufficient space to pack with explosives *and* enough charge to detonate them.

        Which was the last time I helped airport security as it lead to me having to take the next flight as they took me back to security to confiscate the several (very dead) batteries that I was also carrying.

        Remember - first rule of airport security[2] is "airport security has no sense of humour and doesn't tend to hire the brightest and best[2]"

        [1] They managed to overlook the toolkit I also had in my luggage.

        [2] Except in Israel. They seem to hire ex-special forces types. Who may also lack a sense of humour but are otherwise very, very good at their jobs and actually understand threat models.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: airport security

          I was flying out of Gatwick in 2003, and accidentally left my mobile in my pocket on the way through the metal detector. When I pulled it out, the officers waved me through without making me go back through the detector. I could have been carrying anything.

          Just last week I went through the security checkpoint at a hospital. Officer asked me to hand him my bag, so I pulled out the two multitools he'd object to. (He had me put them back in my car and return.) I started to empty my pockets for the metal detector, but he just waved me through anyway and ignored it when it went off. I guess I don't fit the profile.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: airport security

            I had one Airport Security agent (Who really would have been better employed at home in her sari) at Calgary constantly running one item through the X-ray machine as she thought it was a bomb\detonator\suspect electronics, until one of her more aware colleagues educated her to the concept of car keys complete with OEM fob for locking\unlocking remote start etc.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: airport security

            Metal detector in an hospital? If going for an MRI scan, then understandable, though over the top. Other than that I am very surprised.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          "I ended up disassembling them[1] in order to prove that there was no Semtex hidden in them. Then, as I was leaving, left them with the thought that it would be fairly trivial to ensure that the battery was replaced by something with enough charge to allow booting up but sufficient space to pack with explosives *and* enough charge to detonate them."

          For that matter, it's not unusual for laptops to have more than one battery but only actually require one working battery to operate.

        3. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: airport security

          In the 90s, I once had to fly to Belfast with a pair of modems & assorted cables in my carry-on bag.

          I must have been sweating, but didn't get picked out for "special treatment"

      4. John R. Macdonald

        Re: airport security

        @A K Stiles

        Same here, multiple return flights to Turkey with a similar gadget in my wallet with no problems either in Europe or Turkey. Fly back from Egypt and Egyptian security confiscated it because there is a 1.5cm "blade" on one edge.

      5. ckm5

        Re: airport security

        I posted this upthread https://tacticalkeychains.com/collections/frontpage/products/wtf-wrench-that-fits similar idea but far, far less conspicuous.

    5. PerlyKing Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Victorinox Swisscard

      Maybe you got lucky.

      For those who haven't seen one, a Victorinox Swisscard is about the size of four credit cards stacked up, and contains a few of the more common accessories of the famous pen knives: scissors, a nail file, tweezers, toothpick, a ballpoint pen, a pin, and a small knife which slides out completely. The plastic handle is about 4cm and the blade is about 3cm.

      A few years ago I flew from the UK to the continent. I checked the airline's web site, ascertained that the knife in a Swisscard was short enough to be allowed on board and flew out with it in my carry-on with no problems at all. On the way back after going through the scanner, security at the other end pulled me aside, went through my bag and pulled out the offending item. When I, politely, told the man about being under the length limit he paused for a moment and then declared that concealed knives (you can't see the blade when it's in the card) are definitely not allowed. I could see that reason was not going to prevail but I did manage to get him to just confiscate the knife, not the whole thing.

      Security at both ends completely missed my ebook reader in its metal case, which presumably didn't look electronic in the X-ray....

    6. lybad

      Re: airport security

      Pre-9/11, but I got stopped when I checked in a bag as I had a trombone mouthpiece in the middle of a bag. Security couldn't work out what it was from the scan...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        Maybe they couldn't decide between trombone and tenor horn?

        1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

          Re: airport security

          I once had a similar discussion with security because as carry-on I had a carrier bag containing a disassembled model plane with a 0.8cc motor on it. They thought the motor[*] was a gun. Never mind that the motor was only 60mm long and 50mm from top of cylinder to bottom of crank case, it was obviously a goddam handgun despite its ungunlike shape - or that wingtips and tail were sticking out of the bag.

          * Cox TeeDee 051 on the front of a 1/2A competition model for those who know about models

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: airport security

          Did that make him a Tenorrist.

      2. ckm5

        Re: airport security

        I used to travel with a round, analog quartz alarm clock - boy did that get them excited - most just laughed.

        Not after 9/11 however.

      3. mhoulden

        Re: airport security

        A while back I read about someone who travelled with an electronic metronome. It decided to switch itself on just as she was passing through Customs.

    7. LDS Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      A colleague of mine had an empty bullet casing (turned into a key ring) confiscated flying to London...

    8. Sequin

      Re: airport security

      I once had to go to a Category A prison in Cambridgeshire - think IRA, Plane Hijackers, bombers etc to install updates to a system in the admin centre that tracked inmates' earnings. To get in I had to go through security screening that at the time was considerably tighter than most airports - a gun had been smuggled in a few years earlier that was used n an IRA jailbreak.

      My briefcase was fed through an x-ray machine and I was given the once over with a hand held metal detector, then given a pat down. Luckily I had remembered to leave my swiss army knife in the car, and as it was a software installation, I didn't have my toolkit with me.

      I finally was allowed through into the office and opened my briefcase to get the floppies I needed. I then noticed that I had my little stationery folder with me - it contained pens, ruler, pencil sharpener, stapler etc. Amongst the other items was a Stanly type knife and a pair of scissors - both had been totally missed by the screws at security.

      1. Zimmer
        WTF?

        Re: airport security- dangerous things, cake slices

        My daughter had a git-wrapped cake slice confiscated at Manchester...

        I must remember to remove the Leatherman from my key ring when I next take a flight...

        1. A K Stiles
          Joke

          Re: airport security- dangerous things, cake slices

          If you didn't like the person who packaged it, you could have done it yourself, or is it a case of immense self-awareness?

          1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            Nonsense

            I'm sure he really likes Snivelling Little Rat-Faced.

      2. Montreal Sean

        Re: airport security

        @Sequin

        I went through something similar at a prison outside Montreal.

        I had to replace a systemboard in a Dell desktop in the admin wing, so needed to bring in my toolkit.

        Security desk sends my bag through an x-ray machine, they do the full body sweep with a metal detector, take my phone and pager away...Then they ask why I need all these tools. I tell them it's a standard technician toolkit but if it's a problem I really only need one screwdriver. They let me take one driver.

        There were 3 security doors to go though, each requiring I stop and be checked by video camera before being let through. Same on the way out.

        I'm glad I was only going to the admin wing!

    9. smudge Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      I've inadvertently taken a set of darts in my hand luggage from the UK to USA and back again, without any problems. Would have been very upset to have had them confiscated.

      OTOH, I lost a Swisscard that way, once. Security officer probably had a nice line in selling them.

    10. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      After forgetting it was in my laptop bag whilst travelling half way around the planet through multiple airport hubs, I got stopped at Bayun airport (Guangzhou, China), and a teeny tiny multitool, complete with a blunt 1" blade was confiscated.

      Wearily I clambered onto the China Southern plane to Amsterdam, and was given a large, razor sharp steak knife to eat my noodles with.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: airport security

        You should have seen the nice knife set sold at Oslo Gardermoen airport a few years ago... Yeah, at one of the stores on the inside, past security.

    11. OssianScotland Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      I carry a standard SAK with me, for the all important corkscrew and bottleopener, and when I fly, it goes in my hold luggage.

      Flying last weekend and got to my destination where I found my other SAK - the one with the screwdriver bits etc. - had been in the bottom of my cabin bag all the time. Not flagged at 2 security scans, but it is definitely going in the hold baggage when I return tomorrow.

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: airport security

      I’ve always wanted to freeze a 2 litre bottle of water and then try to get it on a plane as anyone, with a most basic understanding of physics, will know it is not a liquid and, therefore, not subject to liquid restrictions.

      Need a chicken icon as I’d be too afraid to try.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        Security will tell you it's counted as a liquid because it'll turn into one in short order. You're not going to be the first one to try that, don't expect them to have any sense of humour about it.

        1. 0laf Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: airport security

          Probably best not to point out to the 'specialist' on duty that a liquid explosive will have a different freezing point than water

      2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        The notion of liquid is very flexible anyway. I once had to abandon a brand new pot of honey at Pisa airport although it was crystallized (and unlikely to change phases mid-flight). A good kilogram of sweetness wasted!

      3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

        Re: airport security

        If you have access to a heatsealer, you can divide a plastic bag up into multiple compartments of less than 100ml, ice bag style, which will separate enough to flow into each other after a careful squeeze. Cut the corner off and you have a pint or so ready to drink. Technically permitted, and surprisingly often allowed through in practice.

      4. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        They count jars of bloody preserves (Jam) as liquids.

        My mum got stopped at Orlando the year after 9/11, and accused of trying to smuggle an offensive weapon into the USA. She was surrounded by machine gun toting security and ordered to slowly remove the weapon from her bag.

        Thoroughly bemused she pulled out her keys and explained what a pitch repair tool was, and why someone planing to play a few rounds of golf might have one.

        We then all pulled out OUR keys and showed identical pitch repair tools.

        They let us in, but it was touch and go for a while.

    13. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      Victorinox Swisscard in my wallet

      We had a manager at Galileo who was on secondment from SwissAir who, when he left, gave us all SwissAir branded ones of those.

      My wife still carries one in her handbag some 20+ years later. She says it's the most useful thing she has - apparently I don't qualify..

    14. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      Nail clippers... <sigh> I never have figured out how those are a danger unless one has access to some important cabling on the plane. Paranoia and power trips seem to be the hallmark of security these days.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        Paranoia and power trips seem to be the hallmark of security these days.

        Let's stick with power trips, with the level of paranoia necessary to see nail clippers as a danger to airplane security you just will shoot your colleagues first as terrorists.

      2. redpawn Silver badge

        Re: airport security

        The pilots need their nails to fly the plane when things get tough. Case closed

    15. macjules Silver badge

      Re: airport security

      I always used to travel with a Victorinox Swisscard. Unfortunately the sheer vindictiveness of UK airport security meant that a Pound Shop Hitler once decided that the 1" blade was a weapon and confiscated it. When I objected the same PSH decided that he was going to have my laptop bag scanned multiple times, in the hope that it might erase the hard drive.

      1. Esme

        Re: airport security

        I've only been able to travel abroad four times in my life. The last time was earlier this decade (I forget exactly when) and whilst I'd heard about the no liquids thing on planes (didn't bother me - didn't want to take any liquids with me to visit my friend in Germany (I live in the UK)), it didn't occur to me that i might have anything else on me that might be problematic. I'd add at this point that wearing my best skirt-suit as I was, with its nearly floor-length skirt (pseudo-Edwardian - I'm a Steampunk) I looked particularly old-biddyish on my holiday.

        Had an enjoyable holiday with my friend, saw some of the local sights, start going through German security prior to the flight home. I get asked to open my suitcase. Oh my word! What on earth can they - ah. I'd visited the gift shop at a local castle and had purchased some thimble-sized metal thingummies that had nice-smelling spices in as gifts for friends when I returned home.

        Realizing that that might be what had caused concern, I hoiked them out of my bag to show security. Who smiled and then scanned me personally and asked to look at my keys, which were in my handbag. These are on a series of rings which also have hanging off them a metal police whistle (a gift from my ex's father) and a metal multitool which unfolds to provide an eminently usable pair of pliers, screwdriver, a small blade and various other little widgets such as you might find on a pen-knife. And one of those ever-glowing lights purchased from El Reg's hallowed online store. Oh dear...

        I explained I worked in IT (perfectly true, although as a helldesker for several years rarely had need of my multitool in this job, but DID use it to open the cases of my PCs at home) and after a quick peek at the contents of my handbag by the female security guard, was waved through with a smile. Only after I'd gotten home did I realise they hadn't said a thing about the foldable nail-scissors (not part of the multi-tool) also in the bunch.

        Nothing was confiscated, and I was only held by security for a matter of minutes. First time in my life that I saw an upside in looking like an old biddy...

    16. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: airport security

      Obligatory: http://terminalcornucopia.com - a set of weapons constructed with things you can buy after security at an airport.

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I'm amused that some people seem to want RGB lighting in their PC cases, since the aesthetics of something kept under the desk is of little importance. However, in this scenario an RGB LED that the administrator can set to a specific colour or blink might be very useful.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      But these days you attach an iso file to a virtual dvd drive using the virtual machine management software.

      1. cream wobbly

        These days? There was iLO and its ilk, there was always mounting the ISO or even the physcial media drive. This was an abject failure of telling the boss "no I work in an IT organization".

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      I've been in this situation before, thankfully our servers have UIDs (Unit Identification LEDs) which are simple to activate remotely and give you a nice flashing blue LED on the server in question to help you identify it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The cloud managed security appliances that form part of my platform have that exact ability: The be able to flash the varying coloured LEDS on the front. Uber useful :-)

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Some servers have LCD displays that can show different information - including the machine name. IIRC you can blink that too, and some can change colors - usually used to show errors, but could help to quickly find one among many servers in a rack.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "However, in this scenario an RGB LED that the administrator can set to a specific colour or blink might be very useful."

      AFAICR Dynix servers could be set to blink an LED on individual HDD carriers. But that was so last century.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Oh blinky colours. Had a drive fail on a server here at work. The failure alert? The green light on the drive starts blinking. The same thing it does when it's being accessed. And the same colour that it does when everything is working fine.

        Turns out the drive had failed over a month earlier and because it was still green wasn't picked up.

        The drive lights are now configured to blink amber if they fail.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Useful product idea, a USB connected servo powered arm with a flag.

          It can be set to wave to identify the server or send any particular fault condition with semaphore

          1. D-Coder

            Why not just have the servo grab the disk, yank it out, and toss it towards the operator?

        2. jonathan keith

          Blue blinkies would be easier to see for us red / green colourblind unfortunates.

          1. eraiser

            My biggest bugbear in my 25+ years, goddamn multicolour status LEDs - please just make it flash, or have a separate one. The number of times I've stared at racks looking for the 'amber' LED in a sea of green ones - Grrrrrr.

            I feel better after that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, the memories

    of going into a data centre full of PDP-11's and wondering which one was giving us jip. The room had just been re-organised and all the racking numbers had changed and only the security people were on site in the early hours of a cold damp Sunday Morning. The System Admin had been to a wedding and was unable to drive. This too was in the middle of nowhere in North Wales. He was on the phone but of little use other than get us access to the room and the system passwords.

    Thankfully we could remote into the system uing DECnet and run a program that changed the rotation of lights on the front panel..

    We were able to find the offending rack and fix the problem by swapping out an iffy SCSI Controller. Job done, we hung around for an hour making sure it was all working before disappearing into the night back to Warrington.

    Those were the days when there were even paper copies of the schematics of the computer shipped with it.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: This too was in the middle of nowhere in North Wales

      I thought North Wales was the definition of nowhere.

      1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

        Re: This too was in the middle of nowhere in North Wales

        *Looks around*

        It is. *sigh*

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: This too was in the middle of nowhere in North Wales

          Sounds great

      2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

        Re: This too was in the middle of nowhere in North Wales

        No, North Wales may be the Land of the Gogs and notably short on good pubs, but it isn't the middle of nowhere. That honour goes to a very large area of mid-Wales known locally as the Green Desert, which is devoid of anything but green stuff, sheep and the occasional Welsh local (who, contrary to popular belief, are not overly-fond of sheep).

        The Green Desert is literally mile upon mile of roughly vegetated nothing much. Stocking levels are about a quarter of a sheep per acre, if you can be bothered because if you let 'em out then sooner or later you have to find the sheep and fetch 'em back in again.

  8. Lee Zwager

    ("almost the last rack we searched")

    This really should have actually been the last rack you searched :D

    1. Andrew Moore

      I always find it funny when someone says “it was in the last place we looked”. Why, do some people continue looking after they find it???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's Oracle. That's how a full table scan works.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          It's Oracle...you could use every server in every rack, so you have to check for licensing purposes...

    2. Annihilator

      I thought this, but then also thought that you should really continue looking to the end, to ensure you hadn't just stumbled across a server with a dodgy CD drive...

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Counter escalation

    Dumping the issue back in the Brad's bosses lap would have been the way to go. I'm here to assist, and there's nobody from the client to assist me, the night droids can't help, call me at the hotel when they're ready.

  10. Mr Dogshit
    FAIL

    Brad, of course, was in Europe

    Yeah, and so are Wales, Birmingham and Bristol. At least until the end of October.

    1. jigr1969
      Mushroom

      Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

      Unless Wales, Birmingham and Bristol are going to suffer a horrible fate of a massive earthquake which moves these cities and the land inbetween them to another continent, comeg the 1st November, regardless, they'll still be in Europe.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

        Which is why the author shouldn't have used 'Europe' in opposition to England/Wales in his article ("Brad was in Europe", "Brad returned to Europe"). That's for him ->

    2. AIBailey Silver badge

      Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

      As you've gone with a FAIL icon rather than a Joke Alert, I'll assume you're serious.

      Please, PLEASE read up on the difference between the continent of Europe and the European Union.

      No amount of bluster from Farage and his pals will remove the United Kingdom from Europe

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

        Indeed. Interestingly, parts of Russia are also in Europe. In fact the most commonly used language on the European continent, is Russian, and the largest city is Moscow.

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          I had this exact argument with someone when they were trying to argue that there hadn't been any major wars in Europe since 1945. This was in response to someone commenting that they had married a refugee from a major European conflict where soldiers had literally walked into her home (when she was still a young girl) and simply told them it now belonged to them and if they wanted to remain alive they should leave now.

          The war in question? Yugoslavia. His comment? But they weren't in Europe then. I had great pleasure pointing out that everything west of the Urals was actually in Europe and no amount of politics or semantics was ever going to change that fact.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

        AlBailey, the CONTINENT of Europe isn't the problem. Look at who is effectively running the EU (here's a clue - the names "Merkel", "Macron", "Junkers" and "Barnier" seem to feature heavily when decisions are taken and announcements are made) then look at what the Lisbon Treaty creates in 2020 and explain to us why there is absolutely no cause for concern.

        Even if the current crop of leaders really do have the best interests of all EU citizens at heart, there's no guarantee that the next lot will. Who are you going to call when the Central European Defence Force is rolling into town to keep you "safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic"?

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          You do realise that all the claims about the Lisbon Treaty and 2020 have been debunked? And that it's actually been in force since 2016? And we have opt outs for most of it anyway?

          The Euro? No, no one is being forced to join the Euro. Not even after 2020.

          EU Army? Requires UNANIMOUS support. Guess what? Britain actually has a VETO against the EU army.

          Same for all the other claims.. They are that, claims, none of them based in fact. The only fact about the Lisbon Treaty you need to know is that not one single member of the EU has signed up to the entire treaty in its entirety.

          1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

            Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

            Regardless of Lisbon treaty, the most recent members are obliged to join the Eurozone as soon as they comply with the economical criteria, although there's no way for the EU to actually enforce that.

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

              @FrogAndChips exactly, as part of the joining process they say they'll work towards joining the Euro, but the reality is there's nothing actually forcing them to. The most recent members have even made it clear in some cases that they'll not be joining the Euro, and not signing up to the whole Lisbon Treaty. There are some aspects of the Treaty that are universally accepted, but that's more to prevent a single country (or in the case of Germany, a single province, I think it was Bavaria that blocked the Canada trade deal for a few years) blocking legislation and trade agreements that the rest of the EU has signed up to. Or you know, making the EU more democratic by reforming certain aspects of it, all the very things that people wanting to leave are complaining about it not doing. Another thing that is always overlooked is that the very fact we can invoke Article 50 and leave the EU is as a direct result of the Lisbon Treaty, as Article 50 didn't even exist prior to it. The Lisbon Treaty really is Schrödinger's Treaty, being both removing a nation's sovereignty while enshrining a nation's sovereignty at the same time.

              1. keith_w

                Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                It was part of Belgium - Wallonia I believe.

                1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                  Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                  And because Belgium is chaotic neutral, that "regional" government has legislative equality with all the other governments. All seven of them, federal and three regional, three community.

                  So it's not like Bavaria or Scotland blocked it (their legislatures are subordinate to the union they belong to, Germany and the UK in these cases), but that Belgium has seven equal parliaments, and thus each of those effectively gets to exercise Belgium's veto power without, uh, veto from the others.

                  It is bonkers, but that's more because Belgium is nuts. Lovely country to visit :D

                  1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Belgium is nuts.

                    Belgium is beer and chocolate. And cheese. Belgium is THREE, three things, beer, chocolate, cheese and waffles. FOUR, Belgium is four things,

                    I'll come in again.

                    Yes, that purple robe please, TYVM.

                2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                  "Belgium"

                  I almost clicked the "Report Abuse" button there!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                The Lisbon Treaty really is Schrödinger's Treaty

                Like all of the EU, smoke, mirrors and fudge to give a veneer of unity without any actual union, because 28 countries could never actually agree on true political unity. Billions of taxpayer-funded euros, so that politicians can polish their egos.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                  "because 28 countries could never actually agree on true political unity."

                  Yet the United States "works" even though the political views in the midwest and coasts differ a lot. Why's that?

                  I'm not even sure the different parts of UK have a true political unity.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: no one is being forced to join the Euro

                    Yet the United States "works" even though the political views in the midwest and coasts differ a lot. Why's that?

                    Because its citizens all feel "American" first, and for the most part chose to be there.

                    I'm not even sure the different parts of UK have a true political unity.

                    Probably not, so what hope is there that they'd feel united as "Europeans"?

        2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          "Even if the current crop of leaders really do have the best interests of all EU UK citizens at heart, there's no guarantee that the next lot will."

          I was going to suggest this could be said about Westminster but we know for a fact many of them do not have the best interests of UK Citizens at heart.

        3. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          Good job our military swear allegiance to the Crown.

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

            "Good job our military swear allegiance to the Crown."

            If this is about the idea that as part of an EU Army our lads would be forced to take orders from some Johnny Foreigner I have some very bad news for you regarding NATO...

            1. the hatter

              Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

              Also, regarding the lineage of the Commander-in-Chief.

        4. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          You're a pillock.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

        Maybe that will be his next sleight of hand.

        1. Mr Dogshit

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          I still don't understand how they let Australia into Eurovision.

          1. Doctor Evil

            Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

            "I still don't understand how they let Australia into Eurovision."

            Why is the operative question, as in: why do they let Australia into anything?

            1. YetMeh

              Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

              Wanker, not just a wanker, but first class

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

        "No amount of bluster from Farage and his pals will remove the United Kingdom from Europe"

        On the other hand, in common parlance, Europe is on one side of the English Channel and Britain is on the other. "Dense fog in Channel. Europe cut off."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

          The original urban legend headline was "Continent isolated", which is much better.

          In 1842 Tennyson could write "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay" with the obvious inclusion of the UK in Europe. The EU is recent.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Brad?

    Is this Brad perchance an Oracular Horror reference?

    You put the CDROM in, you put the CDROM out .....

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Brad?

      Not only is that hokey, it's pokey

      right behind you, which way to the pub?

  12. TonyJ Silver badge

    Barclaycard, c 1997

    ...Barclaycard had just laid off everyone in the IT department in their Stockton-upon-Tees office.

    The call came in to me to haul my arse up the A1 because a server wouldn't reboot.

    After I got there, of course, all of my previous contacts had left and no one knew where the key to the server cupboard was (couldn't call it a room!).

    After about another 90 or so minutes, a security guard finally tracked a key down.

    Someone had, at some point in time, left a floppy in the drive and it was trying to boot from it.

    One eject button pressed and of course, the thing rebooted properly.

    Hours and hours of downtime for something the on site staff could've fixed in seconds, had they not got rid of them.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

      A leaving gift by one of the laid-off members of staff?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

        I do hope so.

    2. SminkyBazzA
      Mushroom

      Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

      > Barclaycard had just laid off everyone in the IT department...

      > Someone had, at some point in time, left a floppy in the drive

      I suggest that these two statements are related.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

        Wasn't it around then that Barclaycard's IT staff were caught in one of the largest credit card frauds of all time?

        Someone in the IT department worked out that there were only 4 PIN codes being sent out when a new card was issued so simply cloned new cards and then by a process of elimination worked out what the PIN that had been sent was.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

          Correct, it nearly lead to the collapse of the UK banking system, as they had starting doing the Pins for all the main banks through a network of corrupt buddies.

          I thought it was 3 pins though.

      2. Anonymous IV

        Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

        > > Barclaycard had just laid off everyone in the IT department...

        > > Someone had, at some point in time, left a floppy in the drive

        > I suggest that these two statements are related.

        You forget Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

        1. TomPhan

          Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

          Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by outsourcing.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by outsourcing.

            Tautology detected.

    3. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

      Barclaycard had just laid off everyone in the IT department in their Stockton-upon-Tees office

      Oddly enough, the Wynyard installation that brought down DXC (the company formerly known as HPE/CSC) is located in that area. The backup that didn't backup is in Sunderland.

      Who would have imagined my old home town and its environs becoming so important in the digital era?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Barclaycard, c 1997

        "The backup that didn't backup is in Sunderland."

        Having left, things are reluctant to return to Sunderland.

  13. Jou (Mxyzptlk)

    I've been doing it that way for decades!

    Don't trust the labels on the servers. Don't. When turning of the wrong cluster node can cause a spectacular scream among the company I always eject the CD drive. Nowadays I use the management tools for the server to turn on the Rambo-Light to make sure I toggle the right machine. Luckily they are standard for decades as well.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095956/quotes/?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: I've been doing it that way for decades!

      I fail to see how taking down a wrong cluster due to faulty labelling would be your fault. Show your bosses the work order, show your bosses the label on the server. And leave it to them to give the Admins a good kicking for not maintaining correct server labelling.

      In the long run, putting up with false server labels is going to cost your company a lot more, since eventually someone will do something really terminal to one of those mislabelled servers. And when you get asked if you knew about the mislabelled servers, well I guarantee you'll be joining the line of people getting their asses kicked for not doing something about it.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: I've been doing it that way for decades!

        How long have you been in this business, and how long do you expect to last?

        If you touch something, and even if you're in the same postcode sometimes, you're going to catch the flak for everything that happens to it, for an indefinite period post-touch, and maybe even pre-touch. The boss's skin is worth more than yours.

        Best way to avoid trouble is to make sure somebody else does the dirty deed. even if it's pushing a button or flipping a switch.

        1. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: I've been doing it that way for decades!

          Yep - make the "owner" reboot it before you touch it. So you can plausibly say it was broken when you got there.

      2. Louis Schreurs

        Re: I've been doing it that way for decades!

        You have a real practical managerial point of view.

      3. Baroda

        Re: I've been doing it that way for decades!

        While relocating software to newer homes and decommissioning dozens of aging HP servers, I came across two in the same rack where one had been unused for more than a year.

        The other had still been used until the previous week. Both had uptimes of several years.

        The unused one was still powered up as was it's external backup tape drive - with tape.

        The other also had an external backup tape drive, with tape.

        Both servers and tape drives were labelled.

        Server 'A' was attached to the tape drive labelled 'B' and vice-versa.

        As far as i know they had been that way since they had been installed.

        I leave the implications of this as an exercise for the reader...

  14. tip pc Bronze badge
    WTF?

    remote access but not able to map a drive or send a copy of the cd rom as an iso?

    remote access but not able to map a drive or send a copy of the cd rom as an iso?

    seems the IT company missed a trick there and could have saved a bucket in travel costs to do effectively the same job in a fraction of the time.

    fair enough if the server needed to boot with the cd rom to complete an install but it sounds like the server had an OS and just needed some additional software install.

    1. keith_w

      Re: remote access but not able to map a drive or send a copy of the cd rom as an iso?

      It may be that the IT company made money sending him to the site, due to charge backs to the hiring company.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: remote access but not able to map a drive or send a copy of the cd rom as an iso?

      seems the IT company missed a trick there and could have saved a bucket in travel costs to do effectively the same job in a fraction of the time.

      Err...office politics. Some PHB's believe the only way to fix anything is boots on the ground. It also gives them a scapegoat for any and all problems that occur later even on machines the tech didn't touch.

  15. Nick Kew Silver badge

    There's a time and a place ...

    Don't most servers still have a /dev/audio device?

    I'd've thought a sufficiently distinctive sound might've made the server easier to find:

    while [1] do;

    cat dance-of-the-cuckoos.wav >> /dev/audio

    done

    Something (with a suitable audio track as suggested) to replicate for $boss.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: There's a time and a place ...

      I haven't seen many servers with much in the way of audio capability. None have internal speakers of the type that play audio files, and few have any method for connecting external ones. They all usually have a PC speaker for making beeps, but I've seen quite a few methods for actually using them, usually differing between different manufacturers and none as easy as finding an audio file and piping it somewhere. A good idea, but it might have taken some time to get right.

  16. corbpm
    Big Brother

    Airplane security

    I have been on exactly 2 flights, the first flight i was reminded about knives by my colleague so i left the airport and buried my Victorinox Signature (from my keys) next to a bin for retrieval on my return.

    Then i returned 10 minutes later to put my Huntsman from my bag into the same hole.

    Then just before the flight was due i remembered my credit card style victorinox Jelly in my wallet and that joined them.

    They where all there when i returned, which surprised me since i was expecting security to have been interested in me messing near the bin so many times.

    My colleague never shut up about it.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Indeed, such impunity demonstrates a shameful lack of professionalism from the security team. You should have been set upon by dogs and a fully-armored SWAT team for having had the gumption to dig and bury things around such a National Security thing as an airport.

      <sigh> What is the world coming to ?

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        <sigh> What is the world coming to ?

        The world isn't coming to anything, it is going ... down the drain.

        1. Louis Schreurs

          Big Bang .......

          Entropy........

          Drain.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Airplane security

      I don't know if they still have these (I haven't flown anywhere in about 10 years) but airports used to have those coin operated lockers. Pop in the money, fill up the locker, take the key and leave. On return, go to the locker and get your stuff.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Airplane security

        Never seen them and I started flying about 25 years ago.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Airplane security

        Airports haven't had those for decades.

        Left luggage was one of the places the IRA used to leave their...

  17. John 110

    Never carried a knife

    But I had my toothpaste probed once... (just the toothpaste -- oh, missus)

    1. CountCadaver

      Re: Never carried a knife

      Can tell you the reason - from an acquaintance more wordly than I "tube of 'herbal' seeds inserted in toothpaste tube, no one ever checks your toothpaste........."

      1. MrBanana

        Re: Never carried a knife

        Hiding stuff in toothpaste tubes used to be "a thing" when they were soft metal, and had a shielding effect. With plastic tubes, and modern scanners, you could only reliably hide something with the same density / composition as the toothpaste. Probably. Having accidentally smuggled a few dangerous items through airport security, it's a crapshoot as to what they will actually catch. Laser pen - Not OK. Remote mouse pointer for presentations, with builtin laser - That's fine.

    2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Never carried a knife

      Just don't try carrying Xmas puds through security.

      On airport x-ray machines, they appear to have a very similar density to Semtex.

      So similar in fact, that puds are used to test the machines!

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Had to go to cApe Town (only Capies will understand the capitalization) from Pretoria, I trundled up to security, put my bag in for scanning - and they confiscated my screwdriver and torx bit set. Blah, forgotten to take it out at home.

    Lesson learnt. Tools is a definite no-no as is certain knife thingies.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      (only cApes will understand the capitalization)

      FTFY ;)

      And security on planes is a joke anyway. Everything you really need for a wholesale massacre in the sky can be bought at duty free (after security) all over the world. A couple of bottles of cask strength whisk(e)y (or Stroh rum) and a lighter will usually do.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Coat

        Hmm. A man of experience, I see.

      2. batfink Bronze badge

        And TBF that's probably the best thing to do with Stroh rum.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          The best thing you can do with Stroh rum is use it in Jägertee.

  19. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Last rack?

    Brad finally found the server ("almost the last rack we searched"),

    I would hope it was THE last rack - why would you carry on searching after you'd found it?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Last rack?

      why would you carry on searching after you'd found it?

      To make sure it wasn't a false positive? Weird stuff happens and best to be sure that what you were looking for when found, isn't some other problem.

  20. nijam

    > "almost the last rack we searched"

    Why not actually the last rack? Or does that have too embarrassing an answer?

    1. Giles C

      Presumably he means almost the last rack in the room. I.e. the room has 5 racks in 5 rows and it was found in row 5 rack 4. Starting from one end it would be almost the last rack to search.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CDs, aren't they something your grandad used to put on a record deck and play with a needle thing ?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      A gramaphone, Grandad?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        I just got a nearly newer car and it has a USB socket on the dash, if you put MP3s on this you can play them through the radio (my previous car had a cassette player)

        I pointed out this cool new technology to the millennial PFYs at work who claimed it was so retro - having actual physical music

        1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
          Headmaster

          As any fule no, the USB socket is for charging your phone, which then streams music from the interweb to the radio over bluetooth.

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        D'you want a Dolby with it?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          With 5G would it be possible to podcast the entire singles chart to millions of cars at the same time on saturday morning ?

  22. daldred

    Three slots?

    Hang on, that bit about the flight missing three slots really doesn't sound right.

    Every time I've seen anyone caught with something they shouldn't have in their carry-on luggage, the problem has been resolved in minutes: it goes in the bin. I've been in one airport in which you can ask them nicely and pay for an envelope and stamp, and they'll let you post it to someone, but that doesn't take long.

    He was presumably at the airport the standard three hours before departure, given the time he had to get up, so how on earth did he manage to be still arguing with security over a nail cutter when his flight was due out?

    And how come it didn't just go without him? That's the usual sanction if you bugger about with security: OK, mate, we can talk about this while your flight goes, or you can play the game according to the rules. And, as the charming, but somehow utterly convincing recorded voice on the Schipol announcements system says in impeccable English, "Your luggage *will* be removed from the aircraft".

    (They seem to have a lot of late check-ins at Schipol,so that announcement becomes familiar during a few-hour layover).

    Was the delay actually caused by slipping into a bar to get over the sad binning of the nail cutter, and missing the flight announcements in the resulting haze?

    1. the hatter

      Re: Three slots?

      If you're not travelling on a flight after all, your luggage needs to come off. At some point when it becomes apparent that you might not be getting on the flight, people start figuring out who needs to be standing by, waiting for the word, to then unload your plane and pull your luggage off. But they don't want to just start unsealing the hold, pulling containers out, until they're sure you're not flying. So I guess they were trying to balance the time and labour costs off, stalling the go/no-go for the flight until finally they got word he was definitely boarding.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: Three slots?

        That's generally true, but given that the guy was on a one-day job, it's unlikely that he had any luggage on hold.

  23. smudge Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Use the same tactic to steal cars

    Last year our gym put notices up saying that there had been thefts from the lockers, and not to leave anything valuable in them. So I started taking my car key - ie electronic fob - with me.

    I was thinking about how I would find a car in the car park if I had the key. The fob would tell me what type it was, but there are plenty of them in the car park. And flashing lights could well be obscured by other cars.

    Then it occurred to me that I can also open the boot (trunk) remotely. Much easier than looking for flashing lights. Just pick a few strategic spots in the car park, press the "open boot" button at each, and you'll soon find your car!

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Use the same tactic to steal cars

      More cars than not do not raise their boots when the boot key is pressed, they just unlock it.

    2. keith_w

      Re: Use the same tactic to steal cars

      When searching for my car, I usually press the "lock" button twice to have the car honk the horn. If the horn doesn't honk, I am too far away for the signal to be detected.

  24. Notrodney

    Restart not Shutdown

    Had a similar incident where a server was shut down instead of restarted. Server was in a large server farm so we called them to ask them to hit the power button... only to find they had no record of the server so did not know where it was located. Luckily there was another server in the same rack so we ejected the drives - and streamed radio. The engineer then followed the sounds till he found the rack.

    1. HWwiz

      Re: Restart not Shutdown

      Hear sounds ?.

      In our datahalls its so loud, that if your going to spend more than a few mins in there you need ear protection.

  25. Nash

    "Write a script to open and close the CD Drive"........

    Why not just have the remote tech flash the UID on the affected server?...pretty much what its designed for.....

  26. DougS Silver badge

    6am flight after working all night?

    I would have "accidentally" overslept, telling my boss "probably" the hotel staff forgot to call me. I'd also "accidentally" shut off my cell phone, claiming it ran out of battery because of all those stupid "we need an update now" calls and tiredness making me "forget" to connect it to a charger before going to sleep.

    Screw that CTO!

  27. Louis Schreurs
    Paris Hilton

    UK != Europe

    " And Brad, of course, was in Europe,“

    Which about says it all about Brexit.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm interested as to why the flight missed it's flight slot. Surely it doesn't take that long to confiscate an item.

  29. HWwiz

    UID anyone ?.

    Part of the process on our incident tickets is for the service desk guy to log into the iLo / iDRAC etc and turn the UID LED on for the DC floor engineer. (Me).

    Then when we walk the hall we can find the server. The server / ESX physical host name is also a reference to the Isle and rack number so you literally cannot get it wrong.

    1. Nash

      Re: UID anyone ?.

      i literally said this 4 posts up ^^^ and i was downvoted to oblivion!?

  30. Adam 1 Silver badge

    not following

    > Brad finally found the server ("almost the last rack we searched")

    So if he found it, why did he keep searching?

  31. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    A journey from Europe to Wales/Bristol/Brum in the year 2000? But Wales/Bristol/Brum were in Europe then. And still are.

  32. Che van der Showa

    "... somewhere in the middle of nowhere between Wales, Bristol and Birmingham"

    Is that the Brumuda Triangle?

  33. gnarlymarley Bronze badge

    mount remotely?

    We were too poor to travel in the 1990's, so the only reason for us to show up physically at the server was if we crashed it. If we could remote into it, the 38Kbps was good enough to remotely mount a file system and run our installations. (And yes, it could take hours...) Though it was weird mounting a CD the first few times back then. Could be there was some sort of DRM that didn't let those CDs to be mounted.

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