Comment On Hallway ERP

In the early 80s, the server room at MegaCorp (as we'll call them) was cutting edge. Humming along to A Flock of Seagulls and occasionally taking breaks to solve Rubik's cubes, the engineers installed servers, networking equipment, and a main air conditioning unit. Their infrastructure was among the best in the business. [expand full text]
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Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:03 • by Tony (unregistered)
I find it hard to believe that the stickers sold out in less than 8 seconds...



Note from Alex: Go figure, there was a bug in my code. I had "(hour > 12)" instead of "(hour >= 12)". It's up now, and hopefully will be for more than 15 minutes like yesterday.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:04 • by Adam (unregistered)
This president was a genius! Not only did he save money by not building a new server room, but he saved money on the office heating bill by having all that high-power equipment in the hallway!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:08 • by Ghost Ware Wizard
I can't believe the saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies here but I've seen, and read, worse. Too bad the IIC <aka idiot in charge/> had to have an outside audit before he ponied up the $ for a new server room. Amazing!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:08 • by JF (unregistered)
Thanks :) now time to read the article :)

Captcha: ewww, as in the electronic world wide web? The series of tubes?

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:10 • by BradleyS
Given the way that the 100 stickers seem to be going away in the first 10 minutes of the link being up, I REALLY hope that Alex is limiting them to one per person. I want a sticker, and they're going really, really fast.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:15 • by AbbydonKrafts
Eventually, Sarbanes-Oxley auditors came in.

..<snip>..

Naturally, the auditors asked why the ERP system was set up in the hallway, and coincidentally, the next day a big fat check arrived for construction of a new server room.


So there are good side effects for non-accounting people.. teehee..

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:16 • by finn (unregistered)
The sticker form works, thanks! But wasn't up exactly on 19:00 (GMT+2).

I know a guy who was building a little server room. Kind of a semi-professional setup: good hardware, decent UPS-systems and air conditioning, etc. We laughed at him when he decided to build a DIY raised floor for no apparent reason. Well, couple of weeks from that a water pipe broke and flooded the still-not-finished server room. Luckily, the machines were alright.



Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:21 • by CynicalTyler (unregistered)
Hey, so I needed all 100, give me a break! They're the exact right size and shape to tape together all the extension cords in our server room. Every time I trip over one we lose email for half an hour, but not any more! Thanks WTF!

(Captcha: muhahaha? Is that an evil cow laugh?)

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:24 • by Raymond Chen
Jesus, do I need to come down there and do it myself?


The correct response is "Yes, please. Thank you for the offer. (And stop calling me Jesus.)"

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:26 • by Tony (unregistered)
123266 in reply to 123246
Ok, so how's this for a WTF... right after I posted the comment, my boss calls me into a meeting... cue 19 minutes of mindless stupidity, and I get back just in time to see more "Sorry, we're sold out today."
Tomorrow, those suckers are mine... and if I don't get one tomorrow, I'm going to write a script to get them the next day a la the Amazon Xbox 360 fiasco LOL.

-----------------------------------------

Note from Alex: Go figure, there was a bug in my code. I had "(hour > 12)" instead of "(hour >= 12)". It's up now, and hopefully will be for more than 15 minutes like yesterday.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:52 • by mdk
I don't know why, but this is the second time in two weeks that I read a story here and immediately thought of my work at the same day or the day before. (Well OK, it isn't that bad - the leak is only punctual, and a bucket can really solve the problem.)

I think it's time to change jobs.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 12:53 • by PS (unregistered)
123275 in reply to 123247
Adam:
This president was a genius! Not only did he save money by not building a new server room, but he saved money on the office heating bill by having all that high-power equipment in the hallway!



And on really cold days the water in the now empty server room would freeze and the staff could play ice hockey. That beats a corporate gym any day.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:07 • by snoofle
Personally, I would be more than happy to buy a sticker (how much could they possibly cost?)

Addendum (2007-02-27 14:10):
Hey Alex, where's the link to buy swag?


Note from Alex: The Cafepress store remains, however I stopped linking it on the sidebar after receiving several complaints about poor customer service, quality, etc. Plus they were too expensive. Buyer beware. I will offer higher quality and lower cost swag soon from the same supplier as the Digital Donkey Mug.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:18 • by danixdefcon5
For those that are unfamiliar, the Sarbanes-Oxley act ...


Hm... I am in Mexico, and yet I am familiar with SOX. For some peculiar reasons, this financial institution also implements SOX. Maybe because it bought some big US branch recently?? (You must have seen it about 1 or 2 weeks ago. More specific, and I would give out where I'm working at.)

I actually love that kind of auditors, the ones that kick stuoopid non-IT managers in the groin and make them actually spend in IT the right way.

If only they had gone with some of my older employers ... (one of them had a "share your password with your co-workers" policy. Yeah, reeeeal secure ...

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:21 • by Jojosh_the_Pi
"Uh, yeah," replied Winston, "they're wide enough, but that's not really-"

"Great, go ahead and start moving them."


That exchange is the reason to start your responses with the new problem first: "This will cause a problem with X, although the width of the hallways is enough (you arrogant doofushead*)." But only add the arrogant doofushead part when it's clear your concerns are being ignored, and say it softly enough so it can't be heard over the doofushead's rambling.

* most people would choose a stronger insult, of course.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:25 • by Pecos Bill (unregistered)
Good thing I didn't work at that company. I'd be randomly switching off the servers in the hallway just for grins!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:32 • by Marc (unregistered)

Stormy days, systems would be up and down.
On clear days, the systems would still be up and down...


:-D That's life

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:43 • by themagni
123298 in reply to 123263
finn:
The sticker form works, thanks! But wasn't up exactly on 19:00 (GMT+2).

I know a guy who was building a little server room. Kind of a semi-professional setup: good hardware, decent UPS-systems and air conditioning, etc. We laughed at him when he decided to build a DIY raised floor for no apparent reason. Well, couple of weeks from that a water pipe broke and flooded the still-not-finished server room. Luckily, the machines were alright.



See, that's one of those situations where he could never explain to you why he was raising the floor. You'd skip it if you tried to do it yourself. But no, one busted pipe and that $100 worth of materials saved you thousands of dollars in equipment and time. You'll raise the floor next time you get a server room built, won't you?

That guy knows what he's doing. Hire him next time.

And that's the point of this article, isn't it? You can spend just a few hundred dollars to get something fixed before it's a problem, or you're going to spend thousands of dollars to get it fixed later, once it IS a problem.

Huh, I forgot what industry I'm talking about. ;)

I got a sticker today. It was busted at first, but Alex fixed it PDQ. Thanks, Alex!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:45 • by themagni
123299 in reply to 123292
Pecos Bill:
Good thing I didn't work at that company. I'd be randomly switching off the servers in the hallway just for grins!


I'd switch them off and swap some cables.

Once the boss' email went down, cheques would get written.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 13:50 • by Squibby
Heh. One of the first topics that Bruce Schneier discusses in his book 'Secrets and Lies', is that CEOs will never spend money on security (and that includes availability, redundancy) until he is held accountable by his superiors, or the law.

I see examples of Schneier being proven right every day with stories and events such as this. What's worse is that the President probably wouldn't have even approved the funding even if he were shown the Sarbanes Oxley documentation before his audit.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:00 • by morry
I've worked at a place like that. Couldn't spend a dime on infrastructure, raises, ice machines, anything like that, but they dumped millions into the laps of consultants and other companies to implement new processes and proceedures. And they wonder why all their projects cost more $$$ these days.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:03 • by Romanski
Uhm... I've posted something in this forum about stickers at 12:01 or thereabouts, and the post was definitely there (the first one). Was it lost by the software or was it deleted on purpose?

I remember seeing that post about "sold out in less than 8 seconds" and mine was there too. Now mine is gone. This is not very nice :(

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:19 • by Socrates (unregistered)
CAPTCHA: onomatopoeia

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:20 • by Jeff S
123316 in reply to 123307
Romanski:
Uhm... I've posted something in this forum about stickers at 12:01 or thereabouts, and the post was definitely there (the first one). Was it lost by the software or was it deleted on purpose?

I remember seeing that post about "sold out in less than 8 seconds" and mine was there too. Now mine is gone. This is not very nice :(


Maybe, just maybe, if you post something actually relevant and on-topic, it won't get deleted?

Just a crazy thought.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:20 • by akatherder
We had our servers and a/c on a massive enterprisey UPS. The power got cut one day. As it turns out the a/c's WEREN'T on the UPS. The servers all stayed on with no a/c. These are a/c units that are about the size of 4 fridges next to eachother and we had 4 of them blowing. It got up to 140 degrees in about 15 minutes. We were shutting systems down from our desks, but that was taking too long so we just started doing manual power downs.

Many a motherboard got smoked that day :( The place would have burned down if it happened overnight.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:21 • by imagination (unregistered)

just imagine the servers being plugged into one ups that gets pulled everytime the single hallway plug is needed for the vacuum cleaner...



captcha: atari - can anyone remember these?

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:35 • by ptomblin
I'm working at a very large company in Rochester NY that used to be a world leader in picture film. Back in September, a bunch of roof tiles in the hall collapsed because the roof was leaking. Our crack maintenance team sprung into action and suspended a plastic tarp with a hose in the middle (trade name "Leak Catcher") from the ceiling. It's now February and it's still there. Nobody has fixed the ceiling.

I'm thinking of doing what the protagonist of this story should have done, and filed a complaint with the fire marshall about obstructions in an exit hallway.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:45 • by Juggler (unregistered)
123323 in reply to 123282
snoofle:

Addendum (2007-02-27 14:10):
Hey Alex, where's the link to buy swag?


+1

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:52 • by Bill (unregistered)
123324 in reply to 123319
imagination:

just imagine the servers being plugged into one ups that gets pulled everytime the single hallway plug is needed for the vacuum cleaner...



captcha: atari - can anyone remember these?


Small computer story.

Years ago, while onsite loading SW and data onto a client minicomputer, I was informed that the system kept crapping out just before 8 each morning. I checked the logs and saw that to be true, but after running diagnostics could find no issues. Power perhaps?? Nope. It's plugged into a dedicated outlet, as evidenced by the nifty red outlet and confirmed by the electrician.

So.... I show up early the next morning and, sure enough, down it goes. So I run tests again and continue to run thru theories.

The next morning, I'm standing there waiting for the inevitable reboot, when I see one of the draftsmen in the next room (hardly a secure server environment, BTW) come in to start his day, walk over to the blue-line (big printer for blueprints) and switch it on. Bingo!!!!

Come to find out every elevtronic device in the building was on ONE SINGLE SHARED dedicated circuit.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 14:59 • by Eric (unregistered)
Something similar happened a few years ago across the state lines from where I live, but not involving computers.

There had been numerous requests for money to repair the major highway between two towns about 100 miles apart, but they couldn't get it allocated.

So the mayors of the two towns got together and hatched a plan.

They made up some kind of celebration and invited the governor to visit their towns. He was to land at one town for a lunch meeting and then travel with the mayors and the local state representative to the other town for a dinner meeting. The governor's airplane was to meet him in the other town that evening and fly him back to the state capitol.

So everything was going smooth. The governor spoke at the dinner meeting to everyone who showed up and they had a nice meal.

Then they left for the other town. The driver was a friend of my older brother.

As they were going down the bumpy road, with the governor feeling the bumps, they reached a point where the road was too bad to drive on. So they pulled into the ditch for a quarter mile or so and then back onto the highway. While they did this, the two mayors kept their discussion going like nothing unusual was happening. They didn't even look around at the highway or the ditch.

But the governor sure did notice. The driver said that he almost snapped his neck looking over toward the road and that from then on he paid more attention to the condition of the major highway than he did the conversation.

But noone in the car made the slightest comment about the road.

That night, the governor returned to the state capitol, and the next day, he found enough funds for the highway department to repair that highway.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:09 • by Moss
Why do people seem to think computers are so great that they can't overheat or die?

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:16 • by cparker
123329 in reply to 123321
ptomblin:
I'm thinking of doing what the protagonist of this story should have done, and filed a complaint with the fire marshall about obstructions in an exit hallway.
You may have just done exactly that, o dilligent worker of Eastma^H^H^H^H^H^Han anonymous photo film company. ;)

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:26 • by kimbo305
123332 in reply to 123328
Moss:
Why do people seem to think computers are so great that they can't overheat or die?

well, there's certainly no warnings on most boxes saying, hey, ventilate me, or diagrams of good infrastructures for your data center. The commoditization of hardware has given people the impression that servers are just plug and play, and don't need to be farmed carefully.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:26 • by Rob Sirloin (unregistered)
WOW. That really IS "Worse than Failure"....

Nope, still not working for me. This is gonna take some time to get used to.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:29 • by iAmNotACantalope
123334 in reply to 123282
snoofle:
Personally, I would be more than happy to buy a sticker (how much could they possibly cost?)

Addendum (2007-02-27 14:10):
Hey Alex, where's the link to buy swag?


Meanwhile, 5 days * 100 stickers * $0.39 = $195. That's a lot to mail some stickers. Plus Alex's time to stuff envelopes.

And I wouldn't be surprised to see the envelopes hand addressed and stamped, just for the WTF factor. (And don't manually correct the &amp !)

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:43 • by Ohnonymous (unregistered)
The REAL WTF is that they were solving Rubik's cubes in the 80s. No wonder they couldn't get funding when they really needed it.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:46 • by Dazed (unregistered)
123339 in reply to 123299
themagni:
Pecos Bill:
Good thing I didn't work at that company. I'd be randomly switching off the servers in the hallway just for grins!


I'd switch them off and swap some cables.

Once the boss' email went down, cheques would get written...


... for security cameras, to see who was swapping cables.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:48 • by iAmNotACantalope
123340 in reply to 123339
Dazed:
themagni:
Pecos Bill:
Good thing I didn't work at that company. I'd be randomly switching off the servers in the hallway just for grins!


I'd switch them off and swap some cables.

Once the boss' email went down, cheques would get written...


... for security cameras, to see who was swapping cables.


You mean the RJ45 doesn't go in the floppy drive? I mean it rhymes... apparently.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:50 • by bob the dingo
I was the IT manager at my last job, and had to go through an S-O audit. It really is good for getting some extra money for stuff like that despite management's best efforts!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:55 • by Pitabred (unregistered)
123343 in reply to 123288
danixdefcon5:
If only they had gone with some of my older employers ... (one of them had a "share your password with your co-workers" policy. Yeah, reeeeal secure ...


Before I was paying attention (I'm a solutions engineer, and I just reset my own password as I see fit, I don't deal with IT that much, except to request upgrades), apparently our old IT guy had all the user passwords written down on a sheet of paper on his desk. And none of our other users questioned it :( He never asked me for mine. At least we have someone competent in now... I was joking with him about how if you have root access, you don't need no steenkeng user passwords.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:57 • by Pitabred (unregistered)
123345 in reply to 123333
No, the new acronym isn't really working... but it's more PC. I figure that if you really know what WTF means, you don't need to worry about it, and now you can explain what you're doing to your boss ;) Heading off problems at the pass, before a project does something worse than failing... yeah, that's it...

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 15:59 • by Sammy (unregistered)
123346 in reply to 123321
ptomblin:
I'm working at a very large company in Rochester NY that used to be a world leader in picture film. Back in September, a bunch of roof tiles in the hall collapsed because the roof was leaking.


Jesus. Knowning what I know about where you work, it's not exactly like you guys don't get much rain, either.

Along similar lines: we once had people working on the roof over our server room who left the tiles completely off overnight. None of the roofers, of course, had bothered checking the weather forecast, so when I came in the next morning under a slow, steady shower, I discovered my coworkers frantically throwing tarps over everything in our ops room. Water was streaming in from various points in the ceiling.

When the boss bawled out our landlord, the landlord responded, somewhat defensively, that his roofers "didn't think it was going to rain." Well, I suppose that was obvious.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:01 • by Muffhead (unregistered)
I was in the computer room for a small local bank about 10 am on a Friday morning. On the last day the last day of the month. I started to notice drips. My coworker then noticed drips on the other side of the room. The ceiling mounted AC was right in the middle of the room & spewing out water. Called the AC company, called the AS/400 guys & got plastic bags & buckets. The AS/400 guys were on standby to relocate the system out into the hall if needed. By the time the AC guys showed up there was a nice regular drip & it was almost lunch time. Told the floor manager to prepare to have the tellers run with paper only if needed. The look on her face was priceless, but she was prepared.

Finally with us covering the AS/400 & racks with plastic sheets & holding buckets for the AC guys they fixed the unit. We never had to take them down & the client was very happy.

Went back to the office & got my head ripped off by the boss for wasting my time, coworker's time, AS/400 guy's time & worrying the client unecessarily.

Thankfully I'm not with that company any more. The bank never moved the AC.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:05 • by MX5Ringer (unregistered)
Ok guys,

after the slating I got earlier for being 'Frist' (which has now been removed!)

I won't waste anybodys time by getting my own back for the truly hurtfull comments made by some!

This WTF actually rings so true with me.

On more than one occasion I'v had to take off my shoes and roll my trousers up to wade into my server room during heavy rainstorms (Manchester UK) as the roof leaks so much (the general office staff have much the same problem, more of a wet carpet problem for them though rather than a pissing in through the ceiling problem that I have)

The directors think the solution is to have the power and network points raised up the walls and the server racks repositioned above the max waterline rather than have the roof fixed!!

Thanks,
That is all.

(Actually if I submitted half the things that happen to me daily every day you wouldn't believe it. That's why I'm looking for a new job!)

CAPTCHA: Pointer, where's mine gone? can't see it under all this water!!

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:13 • by anony-mouse (unregistered)
Boo, I wish we had some more real stories instead of this fiction.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:15 • by ptomblin
123351 in reply to 123329
cparker:
You may have just done exactly that, o dilligent worker of Eastma^H^H^H^H^H^Han anonymous photo film company.


Well, in that case I should mention that is is building 205 of that anonymous photo film company, somewhere near the Entertainment Imaging offices.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:18 • by Daniel Vandersluis
123352 in reply to 123299
themagni:
Pecos Bill:
Good thing I didn't work at that company. I'd be randomly switching off the servers in the hallway just for grins!


I'd switch them off and swap some cables.

Once the boss' email went down, cheques would get written.


... for security cameras to watch the hall.

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 16:23 • by Daniel Vandersluis
123355 in reply to 123352
Ha. I was beaten to it, and didn't even notice. Duh.

Servers in the Gulf of Mexico...

2007-02-27 16:36 • by Nefarious Wheel (unregistered)
After a long day finishing up at Denny's at 1am on new year's day, the support phone went off -- me and the support manager were enjoying a cleansing ale or two and had to support a client in Florida on the other side of the country, over the phone.

After listening to Mike speak for about half an hour, things like "Turn the console key to the horizontal position -- you know, if you were lying down, that's horizontal, turn the key that way " to an operator who spoke fluent Spanglish in a near-supersonic tone of voice, he escalated the call. "It's for you" he said, and handed me the phone.

After about an hour of diagnosis (as in register pokes and peeks -- it was an old General Automation mini, a "JumboGA") I was convinced it was a hardware failure, and handed it back to Mike.

Mike patiently explained that their service contract was current, an engineer would be on a plane first thing in the morning, it was all paid for etc... but his offers for help were rejected.

"You can't get an engineer here, the airports are all closed." "Why?" asked Mike. The customer replied "Because there's a hurricaine in the Gulf of Mexico and the airplanes can't land. In fact there's six inches of water in the computer room right now".

--==[You know who you are]==--

Re: Hallway ERP

2007-02-27 17:09 • by Patrick (unregistered)
So my friend the artist said to me, "How's work going?"

And I told her, "Say your boss asked you to make a painting...but you weren't allowed to use a brush."

She goes, "I'd fingerpaint, or just dump the paint on the canvas and call it abstract art."


And I go, "Well, I'm fingerpainting."
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