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War Stories - Just for fun

By SlappyMcnasty ·
Tags: Off Topic
I have short timers disease with the upcoming holiday so I thought I would try and start a fun thread of random tech stories...

Story 1
A friend of mine worked as a mechanical engineer for a large auto maker. His job was to break stuff and figure out if it was acceptable or not. One task he had was with a new engine that vibrated at a certain RPM. After weeks of testing it was decided that they needed to refit the chasis with new motor mounts costing the company tons of money. In his area was a guy with a title like Master Mechanic, he couldn't be an engineer because he didn't hve a college degree. He read the report and wrote across the front, "switch to a 3/16 inch steel washer." My friends team tried it and the vibration was gone, no multi million dollar fix needed.

Story 2
I had to rewrite some functionality on a Cold Fusion based web site. I make the changes and test it out in dev/test/stage and everything is cool. That night I move the code to production, it doesn't work. I can't figure out any reason for it not to work. I end up eventually looking at the production code previous and notice that it has an external file reference. I open the referenced file and there is nothing there, just a empty file. A couple hours later, I include the file knowing that there is no logical reason it should make a difference. Lo and behold the page renders correctly. I never did figure out why including an empty file made a difference. but I did add a comment before and after the include
<Do Magic>
(cfinclude file name)
<End Magic>

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I am more on the support side

by The Scummy One In reply to War Stories - Just for fu ...

myself, so I get lots of wild calls.

Some years back I get told that a monitor was not working. I looked at it and it was just really bad. So I asked the lady to stay close and I would bring out a new monitor (21" crt's). In any event, I show up 10 min. later and she is nowhere to be found. I installed the monitor, but could not test it because all I could get to was the logon screen.
She gets back and calls me screaming how I put out a dead monitor in place of a poor one. I asked her to do several things, and she said she did. Irate as ****, making sure that everyone around her knew that this was an issue and I had screwed up. I walked out to her desk and hit the space bar (which she claims to have done) and viola, the logon screen appeared.

Another person just could not turn on her Jornada, I asked to check the power cord, she said it was plugged in. I asked if it was in a power strip or the wall, she said the wall. I had her redock, reset, etc.. Nothing. I asked again about the power cord, and she was certain (and stated to check) that everything was fine, that it must be the unit. I walked out to her desk and followed the cord to a power strip that was turned off.

Now this is a tech problem. Funny as **** too. A tech that worked for me (on a rainy day) was putting a monitor on a cart to go to another building (walking). I had mentioned to cover the monitor or to wait until the rain stopped. I even pointed out that he could use trash bags. But, maybe I should have done more?
Anyway, I got called 20 min. later, he had decided to walk this 21" crt to the other building unprotected, while it was raining. Then he thought it appropriate to dry it off a tad and install it at someones desk.
can you say smoke, crackle, smoke?

I had another tech with written instructions about how to deal with a rampant problem. But, I was working on the problem as well and couldnt look over his shoulder... too bad that day!
Anyway, it required going into the Win directory and deleting all of the files starting with a set of letters (I think it was 3 or 4 letters). The instructions were clear and pointed out that wildcards can be dangerous, AND this person had 2 years exp...
Anyway, apparently he read ABC*.dat to be *.* yes, you guessed it, BSOD and no more booting...
I got a call on my nextel saying "what did I do wrong?"

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on a similar note..

by Jaqui In reply to I am more on the support ...

Had someone complaining a couple of weeks ago that there was no power to half their space, the socket must be dead.

I checked the circuit breakers, all on.
looked at where the problem was in their space, pushed the reset button on the power bar back down.

silly git had so much plugged in that it had popped the overload protection in it.

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Truth is stranger than fiction

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to War Stories - Just for fu ...

Had a pc out on plant connected up via RS232 running some in house emulation software.
Got a report that screen 'had gone silly' software incremenatlly updated different parts of the screen with plant status info, and it was all garbage.
Reset it, everything OK.
Following day same thing, and again.
Six days in a row, this is getting damn annoying. Terminal was three miles away, had to get all the safety gear on walk all the way down there.
Re intalled the software, changed the box, changed the terminal server port, no change...
Every day sometime between 5 & 6. In desperation went down there and watched the thing.
Boring, boring boring....
Lights came on, garbage.

They'd done some wiring work and wrapped the serial cable round the 440v power supply for the big fluorescents in the warehouse.....

Next week ?50,000,000 business stopped by vaacuum cleaner....

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Weird problems too

by mjd420nova In reply to War Stories - Just for fu ...

Got a very strange call from the school district superintendant that a local high school was having a problem with the clocks getting reset every night. Didn't rally excite me but turned into a real cloak and dagger search for the fault. After resetting the clocks first thing in the morning, checked out the main controller that tells all the clocks(240 of them) when to advance the minute hand. Couldn't find anything that would lead to this fault occurring and tried inducing a few things to try and duplicate the failure. No luck and the same fault occurred again that night. After resetting the clock I set up a power line monitor on the outgoing lines to see when and what was going on. The next morning the same fault and the monitor picked up all kinds of garbage on the line around 7PM, when the school was closed up. Getting really strange. I asked the principal for a key to try and be present when the fault occurred and arrived at 6PM that night to see what's going on. Around 730PM I started watching the clocks ticking off the minutes like it was the second hand. I took a quick tour of most of the class rooms and all the clocks were winding around like mad. I then found a janitor in one of the shops area running a buffer over the floor. I asked him to stop for a minute and the clocks stopped dead in their tracks. After scrounging around in their maintenence bin I found a set of brushes for the buffer motor and he went back to work and I went home. Strangest problem I've seen in the last decade.

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But at least it's quiet now...

by NickNielsen In reply to War Stories - Just for fu ...

One of my stores had a power failure during a thunderstorm and I got called because the point-of-sale system was completely down. When I arrived, I found the UPS for the point-of-sale controller was turned off. According to the manager, when they called the help desk to report the power outage, the help[less] tech told them "I can't hear you. Turn off whatever is making that awful noise!"

From a newly remodeled store, I started getting calls every Monday morning that the printer at the receiving desk was out after a generator test. Sure enough, each time I'd go look, the printer was off and wouldn't power up. After about three weeks of this (and over $1,000 in printers!), I decided to be there when it happened. I got there about 10 minutes before the generator test usually started and set up my test equipment, connecting a DVM and an outlet tester and disconnecting the printer. The generator started, but as soon as it tried to take the load, it started stumbling and power to the entire store started bouncing. The DVM wouldn't stabilize enough to get a good reading and the outlet tester had all three lights flashing in various combinations. End result was I called the electricians to get on the generator and replaced several other pieces of store equipment. But I saved the printer!

Edit: spel

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