It’s always been my goal that the stories shared here on The Daily WTF provide a “certain” kind of inspiration. Perhaps the kind of inspiration leads towards better code instead of the disasters featured here. Or maybe the inspiration to gently nudge that “certain” programmer into a career of, say, accounting. Or even just pure inspiration which reminds us that, while sometimes boring, our jobs aren’t completely meaningless.
That said, it’s been a bit surprising to see that one particular article – ITAPPMONROBOT – has provided the inspiration for other IT professionals to build to their own "robot". Not once (see: Open Sesame), but now twice. Felix explains...
At my office, we have a proprietary wireless network link that is responsible for bridging our network and a bunch of specialized equipment. Essentially, this link consists of a regular computer with a ridiculously overpriced PCI card and ridiculously bad drivers. Every couple of days (or sometimes multiple times a day), the wireless card goes haywire and, according to the vendor, we “just have to cycle the computer’s power” to fix it. A known feature, I guess.
For months, we had talked about getting a remote-enabled power switch and writing a script to cycle the power when we lost the link. But with budgeting and time being limited, we just stuck to the tried-and-true “manual reset button” technique. That is, until I saw ITAPPMONROBOT.
I had an idea for something a little more complex and, in my opinion, a little more elegant. So, I opened up the link server’s case and spliced in some spare wire to the case’s reset button wires. Then, I found an old desktop machine, plugged it in on the shelf below, and used a bit of the handyman's secret weapon to affix the wires to the CD drive.
As you’ll see in the close-up, the wires are placed such that the leads will gently touch when the drive opens.
Amazingly, this eject/reset system has worked flawlessly for the past nine month. I’m sure, by now, we could have pushed to get that remote-enabled power switch. But none of us really want it. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just an odd comfort in getting that “ping loss” email and eagerly waiting for our little robot to reset the link and then send us that “ping normal” email a couple minutes later.