Reply to post: Bah!

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

Stevie Silver badge


While I have never seen a kernel panic from a yanked keyboard cable I wouldn't write it off as BS. Pulling the plug cleanly would have caused a stop-a I think (in-head memory is faulting when I try and access long-term storage for useless facts) but if the plug deformed and the pins separated from he motherboard connector in haphazard order, who knows?

I once worked at a place that issued their staff those neato IBM Thinkpads with the butterfly keyboard - the one that sprang out all steampunk-like and assembled itself into a full-sized keyboard when you opened the lid of the decidedly tiny computer.

The way IBM managed the miniaturization trick was to move all the peripherals normally fitted into the case (floppy, CD etc) out into external units that connected via a parallel or serial port as appropriate.

Problem was, the back of the lappy had a proprietary port the width of the laptop designed to dock into a "workstation" frame, and to break out the pins of this enormous harmonica-like port you needed to snap in a special accessory that hooked over one side of the laptop and snapped onto a spring-loaded pawl on the other. Still with me?

A colleague was madly typing away one Wednesday afternoon when the plastic pawl broke and the port adaptor thingy ejected. But it did so in an arc, starting on the left and not completely disengaging from the right side when the laptop reacted.

The bizarre unplanned unplug resulted in the lappy hardware sending all sorts of interrupts to Windows 95 in rapid succession, which decided that the laptop obviously needed to load a new profile as it was clearly undocking. From something. It didn't have a profile to load, but didn't let that get in the way of an attempt to do so.

It got about halfway through this before the laptop hung (or was turned off in a panic; I was suspicious but couldn't prove anything).

There were lots of company-revenue-generating ideas on that machine's hard-drive, but because of the new-fangled RIDs 'n' SIDs 'n' Bellz 'n' whistlez all now were unavailable without recourse to advanced low-level digital spanners and hammers.

They were still recovering the machine when I left work on Friday afternoon.

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