* Posts by perolsen

2 posts • joined 15 Jun 2011

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


Mac mass hysteria and taxi phobic WiFi

I client of mine - a school - bought two of the horrible Power Macintosh 4400 machines back in the late 90'ies. They were to be used in a computer room for the students. I stacked the two machines on top of each other to save space and had the monitors on each side of the stack.

The students experienced regular but strange crashes on both machines. I was called and looked into the problem. Both machines was indeed quite unstable and crashed in places, I haver never seen the old MacOS crash. I began testing on one machine, while a student was using the other. When I experienced a crash, the student cried out in frustration. His computer crashed as well. Well that was interesting. And it was possible to recreate the event. Each time one of the 4400s crashed the other followed. Could this be mass hysteria? Was the machines so badle build, that they would influence each other?

I moved one computer away - to the other side of the monitor. After that both machines ran smoothly and the crashes disappeared.

At another client, I installed a WiFi. It ran perfectly, and I left. But over the next couple of days my client called several telling me, that the WiFi was gone. Each time a power off/power on solved the problem. But this network were very unstable. I went to my client, and the problem couldn't be reproduced. Then I moved the router to a desk to work. I reinstalled firmware and tested and tested and tested. Everything was fine. The uses connected without problems, and I thought that the newly installed firmware had solved the problem. Then I moved the router to its location (in a window). I booted it, the users connected and ... crash! The I noticed that below the window (my client was on the 1st floor) there was a taxi. As a matter of fact it was a parking spot for taxis. Could the radio bursts from the taxis knock out the router? I moved the router to a dfferent location in the office, and the problem disappeared.

A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe


Murphy rules ...

A major telecom company in Denmark had a datacenter with a diesel generator as backup power. But the generator was getting too small, so a bigger was to be installed.

Before the new generator could be installed the old one had to be removed. It was pulled out of the building and loaded to a truck. The truck then reversed and drove into the transformer box with the main power line.

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