The Long Goodbye

  • ochrist 2012-08-06 08:25
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!
  • Brian 2012-08-06 08:28
    I would think a better use of paper would be to put an ad in the jobs section of the local newspaper for a competent IT data center tech. How long did it take to track this problem down????
  • Nagesh 2012-08-06 08:34
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you can read the first two paragraphs of an article, and the only suspense left is whether it was something plugged into the wrong socket, or somebody explicitly unplugging it in favor of a kettle/phone charger/vacuum cleaner.
  • snoofle 2012-08-06 08:35
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!
    You made my Monday!
  • Your Name 2012-08-06 08:37
    Brian:
    I would think a better use of paper would be to put an ad in the jobs section of the local newspaper for a competent IT data center tech. How long did it take to track this problem down????


    The problem is always something stupidly simple, because you try to solve the complex ones first.
  • CodeCaster 2012-08-06 08:39
    Nagesh:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you can read the first two paragraphs of an article, and the only suspense left is whether it was something plugged into the wrong socket, or somebody explicitly unplugging it in favor of a kettle/phone charger/vacuum cleaner.

    Here, here.
  • Studley 2012-08-06 08:42
    True to her word, she never went anywhere near the servers, and at 12PM, she grabbed her purse, jammed the sudoku puzzles in there, and left.
    That must have been a very tough sudoku puzzle, to keep her in the office until noon?
  • Sten 2012-08-06 08:43
    TRWTF is the electrician who connected an outlet to the lights. AFAIK it is illegal in the EU for safety reasons
  • Roy 2012-08-06 08:45
    I was expecting a vacuumcleaner in a wrong socket... but close enough ;)
  • Matteo 2012-08-06 08:51
    Actually I already knew this anecdote (and many others) from "How Not to Program in C++", by Steve Oualline. This is the long version, but it appears it's not a new story.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 08:53
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!


    FUT DA WHAKIN... MUC TU READINBLEADIN
  • Carl 2012-08-06 08:58
    It never finished, and it hadn't for over a year. Each day, somebody spent an hour or two cleaning up after its inevitable, messy failures.
    And in all that time, nobody noticed the following pattern?

    ...
    success
    success
    success
    fail
    fail
    fail
    ...

    as opposed to

    ...
    success
    fail
    fail
    success
    fail
    success
    success
    ...

    In the latter case you have something intermittent; in the story the failures should have always happened in one batch at the tail end of the job. Seems that would be a fairly large clue.

    Anyway, TRWTF is using FTP instead of rsync.
  • oldami 2012-08-06 08:58
    Agree this should not have taken long to figure out. Even the simplest remote server monitor program would have detected the server dropping off-line when the the switch powered off. Once you know that, there are only a few things to verify are working.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 09:02
    Now... they might wish to move the building security system from that socket.

    CAPTCHA: ingenium - FER TRU INGENUIM, WUZ REEDIN BLEEDIN
  • Come on. Seriously? 2012-08-06 09:03
    Nobody was able to determine network connectivity issues were to blame? Seriously? That would have been one of the first things I'd have checked. If nothing else,

    ping /t example.com > pings.txt

    I call the whole thing BS.
  • toshir0 2012-08-06 09:03
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!
    Best *frist* post since so long... I didn't even know one could write a first post without being batshit stupid. Congrats !
  • StMarc 2012-08-06 09:14
    It's very common in the US (although in newer construction the trend seems to be away from it, thank the evil gods) for a room to have a switched outlet instead of an overhead light. (You plug a lamp into the outlet and that's how you turn the room light on and off with the switch.) I hate this and have rewired every house I've owned to make all the outlets constant-power and added overhead lights, but many people don't seem to have an issue with it.

    The OP actually doesn't *say* that the room had any overhead lights at all. It's entirely possible the switch controlled multiple outlets. It seems likely that somebody tied an overhead light circuit into the switched outlet circuit, or vice versa, but you never know. And I can think of reasons why you might want to do it. Even more likely - and not violating your rule at all so far as I can tell - is the possibility that there was a *bank* of switches, one or more of which controlled overhead lights and one of which controlled the switched outlet. People have a tendency to just flip all the switches on a bank when entering or leaving a room. (And don't ask me about the place I used to work where they used circuit breakers as light switches.)

    What, exactly, is the safety issue to which you refer? I can think of a few examples, but none of them really seem so terrifying as to call for a code requirement. More like a "don't be a cheap moron" requirement.
  • foxyshadis 2012-08-06 09:14
    Come on. Seriously?:
    Nobody was able to determine network connectivity issues were to blame? Seriously? That would have been one of the first things I'd have checked. If nothing else,

    ping /t example.com > pings.txt

    I call the whole thing BS.

    What do you expect, when you have a boss who orders you *not* to solve it just because some other schmuck couldn't do basic troubleshooting? Also, it appears that the sysadmins might have never been informed, if it was only programmers who were looking into the problem all along.
  • StMarc 2012-08-06 09:16
    Sorry, that was in response to:
    Sten:
    TRWTF is the electrician who connected an outlet to the lights. AFAIK it is illegal in the EU for safety reasons
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 09:19
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.
  • Remy Porter 2012-08-06 09:25
    If someone had checked network connectivity, this story wouldn't be running here, now would it?
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-08-06 09:26
    StMarc:
    It's very common in the US (although in newer construction the trend seems to be away from it, thank the evil gods) for a room to have a switched outlet instead of an overhead light.
    In a residential building, sure. In a commercial building, no way.
  • Le Forgeron 2012-08-06 09:33
    Remy Porter:
    If someone had checked network connectivity, this story wouldn't be running here, now would it?


    But network connectivity was there, in normal daytime.
    Even at the start of the night, it was still there.

    And as you came in the room early in the morning, it was already back as you turn the light on...

    Yet the ftp program of the night failed.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 09:34
    A government office... trying to eek a few cents off of the electric bill
  • foo 2012-08-06 09:40
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."
  • JC 2012-08-06 09:40
    I here you loud and clear

    * weeps *

    "Herwig grimaced, if only because a roving HR drone might here that and draw the wrong conclusion."
  • foo 2012-08-06 09:41
    Carl:
    It never finished, and it hadn't for over a year. Each day, somebody spent an hour or two cleaning up after its inevitable, messy failures.
    And in all that time, nobody noticed the following pattern?

    ...
    success
    success
    success
    fail
    fail
    fail
    ...

    as opposed to

    ...
    success
    fail
    fail
    success
    fail
    success
    success
    ...

    In the latter case you have something intermittent; in the story the failures should have always happened in one batch at the tail end of the job. Seems that would be a fairly large clue.
    AIUI, there's only one job per night.
    Anyway, TRWTF is using FTP instead of rsync.
    Ack. Though I still wonder what of kind of terrible mess FTP could possibly make. At worst, there should be one partly transmitted file and the rest of the files missing. Retransmit them and done.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 09:52
    Don't worry... I charged my backup pacemaker over the weekend.... now I'll drive us to <insert destination here>
  • Cbuttius 2012-08-06 10:00
    I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger.

    Even if they were not able to hold power for a period of time (due to consuming far more energy than laptops) they could maintain power for a short period in order to be able to "hibernate" by persisting the current state and resume as soon as the main power source came back.

    It's also a WTF that they are paying someone to be onsite until midnight just doing sukodu puzzles.

    Incidentally if Greta wants to make some career progress she would better spend her time reading some technical books or browsing technical websites and then find herself an alternative job.
  • Skeeve 2012-08-06 10:08
    foo:
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."


    Anyone who opens up a socket to handle the wires without turning the circuit off at the breaker is a moron who deserves to have their electrician's licence revoked, for the safety of everyone around them.

    Seriously. Switched or not, you turn the power off before you screw around with the wiring, no matter what. Ignoring that is a pretty good way to end up hurt.
  • Franky 2012-08-06 10:09
    actually, I have the same configuration for my TV ... which is awesome, I just walk into the room, carelessly flip the light-switch on doing so, and the tv springs to live ... everybody is "wtf? how did you do that" the first time they see it :D

    and the best is, the thing doesn't draw any excess power when it is switched off (which is most of the day)
  • java.lang.Chris; 2012-08-06 10:10
    Carl:
    Anyway, TRWTF is using FTP instead of rsync.


    This.
  • dkf 2012-08-06 10:12
    Cbuttius:
    I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger.
    It's called a UPS, and it's a feature of systems managed by someone who's actually competent.
    Cbuttius:
    Even if they were not able to hold power for a period of time (due to consuming far more energy than laptops) they could maintain power for a short period in order to be able to "hibernate" by persisting the current state and resume as soon as the main power source came back.
    Assuming that they've been wired up right, they only need to hold power until the onsite generator comes up and stabilizes. Of course, experience of operations at a national datacenter tells me that the trick is to remember to put the network routers and AC on the generator too. And to remember to check that the upstream ISP has done the same thing…
  • dkf 2012-08-06 10:15
    oldami:
    Agree this should not have taken long to figure out. Even the simplest remote server monitor program would have detected the server dropping off-line when the the switch powered off. Once you know that, there are only a few things to verify are working.
    A complete classic would be if there were two switches, one for the internal network and another for the external network. Then if it was just the external switch that lost power, the internal network and the monitoring system could stay up and functioning but the file transfer would still fail. (Multiple network interfaces per server isn't exactly unheard of.)
  • badman 2012-08-06 10:20
    I used to work at a chemical treatment facility where I was paid to sit and read all night. I just had to listen for buzzers and watch for red lights. Also every hour or so I would walk thru the facility and look for anything that "didn't look right". Of course I was trained, and knew how to handle thing should something go amiss, but it hardly ever did. an in the many years I had that job I only had to pick up "the red phone" and make the call to the government once. You know the one, "this is operator xxxx at site yyyy and I would like to log an incident"......
  • Cbuttius 2012-08-06 10:35
    dkf:
    Cbuttius:
    I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger.
    It's called a UPS, and it's a feature of systems managed by someone who's actually competent.
    Cbuttius:
    Even if they were not able to hold power for a period of time (due to consuming far more energy than laptops) they could maintain power for a short period in order to be able to "hibernate" by persisting the current state and resume as soon as the main power source came back.
    Assuming that they've been wired up right, they only need to hold power until the onsite generator comes up and stabilizes. Of course, experience of operations at a national datacenter tells me that the trick is to remember to put the network routers and AC on the generator too. And to remember to check that the upstream ISP has done the same thing…


    I am not competent in that field, I am very much a software engineer and not a hardware expert. However I am competent enough to be able to provide a minimum spec of what I would like my computer to behave if the power cable is pulled from it.
  • Ben Jammin 2012-08-06 10:36
    It's that he's concerned with HR about:


    "That's what 'night-shift' means," Greta replied with a smirk. "You were here for the whole thing last night."


    But not concerned about hr/police about:


    With the lights off on his side, Greta couldn't see him, but he could watch her through the glass walls.
  • Ben Jammin 2012-08-06 10:37
    funny*

    My mind types faster than my fingers
  • Rootbeer 2012-08-06 10:39
    "I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger."

    It's a solved problem for servers, as any competently designed server room will already have everything critical getting its power through a UPS. In the case in this story, it's possible that the server room proper has a UPS, but the overflow in the Copy Center does not.

    It's kind of a solved problem for desktops, too, as home UPS units capable of gently shutting down a home computer and its peripherals in the event of an outage can be bought for under $100.

    What I don't understand is why more server rooms don't let the UPSes deliver DC voltage direct to the server motherboards at all times.

  • Infinite Time and Space 2012-08-06 10:52
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!


    Two years of college German and that is about as well as I can speak it.
  • D-Coder 2012-08-06 11:01
    Rootbeer:
    "I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger."

    It's a solved problem for servers, as any competently designed server room...
    ...will not end up on this site.
  • ufmace 2012-08-06 11:10
    First response to reading: the standard chuckle

    Second response: Wait a second, how did they not figure that out sooner? What kind of troubleshooting plan never ruled out a loss of connectivity to the server? What kind of logging system never noted the type of error? While we're at it, what kind of manager tells their employees to not bother trying to fix a simple problem like that? Groan.
  • Mikerad 2012-08-06 11:13
    Ben Jammin:
    It's that he's concerned with HR about:


    "That's what 'night-shift' means," Greta replied with a smirk. "You were here for the whole thing last night."


    But not concerned about hr/police about:


    With the lights off on his side, Greta couldn't see him, but he could watch her through the glass walls.


    Everyone knows HR doesn't exist after 5pm...
  • EmptyJay 2012-08-06 11:14
    Amen.

    I can't stand not having built-in overhead lights. We installed them in both bedrooms before we moved into our current place, and I added recessed lights to the living room after about 2 years of suffering without.

    I still find the switched outlets to be useful, but I'm slowly converting them to constant power.
  • operagost 2012-08-06 11:14
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.

    Pretty much handled by the NEC code that says you must have a dedicated circuit for fire detection and alarm equipment, and it can't have a switch on it. Try again.
  • operagost 2012-08-06 11:16
    foo:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."

    Like when handling a firearm, always assume the circuit is live unless you've flipped the breaker and tested for current at the receptacle. Do they have untrained morons playing with electricity in the EU?
  • foo 2012-08-06 11:22
    Cbuttius:
    dkf:
    Cbuttius:
    I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger.
    It's called a UPS, and it's a feature of systems managed by someone who's actually competent.
    Cbuttius:
    Even if they were not able to hold power for a period of time (due to consuming far more energy than laptops) they could maintain power for a short period in order to be able to "hibernate" by persisting the current state and resume as soon as the main power source came back.
    Assuming that they've been wired up right, they only need to hold power until the onsite generator comes up and stabilizes. Of course, experience of operations at a national datacenter tells me that the trick is to remember to put the network routers and AC on the generator too. And to remember to check that the upstream ISP has done the same thing…


    I am not competent in that field, I am very much a software engineer and not a hardware expert. However I am competent enough to be able to provide a minimum spec of what I would like my computer to behave if the power cable is pulled from it.
    As others said, you can have it. It's just a matter of cost. Many people (including myself :) don't spend the money, since power outages are very rare where I live, and journaled file systems avert most problems if they do occur.

    However, note that this story was about the network switch losing power. Shutting it down gently wouldn't help a bit.
  • Remy Porter 2012-08-06 11:22
    I've done some wiring with the breaker on. It's the kind of mistake that you only make two or three times before you finally learn your lesson. Just call me "Sparky".

    //Kidding- the only times I've gotten shocked from an outlet have been for far dumber reasons than not turning off the breaker.
  • foo 2012-08-06 11:24
    operagost:
    foo:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."

    Like when handling a firearm, always assume the circuit is live unless you've flipped the breaker and tested for current at the receptacle. Do they have untrained morons playing with electricity in the EU?
    Sure. Don't they in the US (or anywhere else)? I mean people working on their own home's installations; sure, they're often stupid, and saftely regulations just add one layer of protection.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 11:24
    operagost:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.

    Pretty much handled by the NEC code that says you must have a dedicated circuit for fire detection and alarm equipment, and it can't have a switch on it. Try again.


    that was intended for humor dude. Sort of like charging the pacemaker. TRY AGAIN :p
  • ABRsvc 2012-08-06 11:50
    FWIW: There is a code requirement in the US for a switched "light" of some wort for every room. This can be either a switched outlet (usually only half of it) or an overhead light.

    The room mentioned by the OP, is in a commercial building which falls under different guidelines. It is unusual to see any switched outlets in a commercial building.

    Dan
  • C-Derb 2012-08-06 11:55
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!

    TRWTF is everyone who slapped that into Google Translate without trying to read it first. *facepalm* I'm an idiot.
  • Llarry 2012-08-06 12:02
    When I was in college, I spent a couple of years living in a flat in a converted old house. One day the kitchen light fell out of the ceiling (due to water damage from the floor above weakening the mounting). The landlady's "handyman" showed up to fix it. Looked up at the wires --

    Chuck: "has the circuit been shut off?"

    Me: "I don't think so." (breaker box for the entire building was in my roommate's bedroom, 15 feet away...)

    Chuck: "Oh well, guess I'm gonna get bit." - Reaches up with screwdriver and pliers and trips the breaker from there.

    We think Chuck *liked* 110v...
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 12:11
    coincidentally... due to my unwillingness to do any rewiring or construction on a house I am renting... the cable modem that connects our telephone service is actually plugged directly into an auxillary power socket on a ceiling light... which of course is on a switch. When the kids get around to turning lights off... we can't receive phone calls until I notice and turn them back on. Were I not moving soon... that might get old quickly and I might get off my lazy arse and do something about it.
  • Fred Flintstone 2012-08-06 12:12
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.


    In the US all fire detection has to be hard wired with battery backup.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-06 12:16
    Fred Flintstone:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.


    In the US all fire detection has to be hard wired with battery backup.


    Geez... Assuming people generally come to this site to laugh... why everyone take things so damned seriously? Obviously I was joking... both about this and about the pacemaker!

    Captcha: refoveo: Refoveo! Refoveo! Wherefore art though Refoveo!?
  • Arnold Judas Rimmer 2012-08-06 12:17
    StMarc:
    What, exactly, is the safety issue to which you refer? I can think of a few examples, but none of them really seem so terrifying as to call for a code requirement. More like a "don't be a cheap moron" requirement.


    From EU experience...
    Circuits are wired using the minimum permitted conductor-core and insulation for the required current, and breakers/fuses to match.

    Plugging a high-current device into a low-current circuit would either:
    (a) trip the breaker/blow the fuse
    (b) heat the wiring/cause a fire

    Using more copper and insulation than necessary is expensive - and socket terminals are generally designed to take a maximum thickness of conductor. You can't physically fit a 100A cable in the terminals for a 1A light socket.
  • Coyne 2012-08-06 12:19
    Sten:
    TRWTF is the electrician who connected an outlet to the lights. AFAIK it is illegal in the EU for safety reasons


    Can't speak to EU, but here in the U. S., switched outlets are actually common.

    Someone commented switched outlets are rare in commercial buildings. But they can be used and can also happen by accident. A lot of commercial buildings use "plug-together" equipment (both lights and outlets) for ease of office reconfiguration (especially in cubicle farms). It's really easy with those systems to accidentally plug something into the wrong circuit.

    Most commercial buildings don't do switched outlets simply because companies don't like to buy floor and table lamps; overhead fluorescent is cheaper and easier.
  • Mason Wheeler 2012-08-06 12:20
    JC:
    I here you loud and clear

    * weeps *

    "Herwig grimaced, if only because a roving HR drone might here that and draw the wrong conclusion."


    Good grief, the comedian's a bear!

    No, Akismet, this is not spam.
  • Nagesh 2012-08-06 12:27
    badman:
    I used to work at a chemical treatment facility where I was paid to sit and read all night. [...] in the many years I had that job I only had to pick up "the red phone" and make the call to the government once. You know the one,

    "... hello, is this the canal lock operator? Say if you happen to see about a dozen kilograms of TCDD come floating down the river, would you kindly scoop it up for us and hold it for collection? We seem to have misplaced it."
  • Nagesh 2012-08-06 12:27
    This would be WTF in 1980. Consider the presence of Sudoku, it look like more recent timing. I call shengenz on this one.
  • Fred Flintstone 2012-08-06 12:29
    Skeeve:
    foo:
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."


    Anyone who opens up a socket to handle the wires without turning the circuit off at the breaker is a moron who deserves to have their electrician's licence revoked, for the safety of everyone around them.

    Seriously. Switched or not, you turn the power off before you screw around with the wiring, no matter what. Ignoring that is a pretty good way to end up hurt.


    In addition, you should put a lockout on the breaker/switch, to prevent someone from turning it back on. In an electrical code class (2003), I recall the instructor telling a story of a guy that was wiring a subpanel in his barn. He turned off the main breaker. When his wife came home, she turned it back on. Zap dead. Not sure if the story it is true or who knows maybe she wanted to do him. Anyhow, his point stuck.
  • foo 2012-08-06 12:34
    C-Derb:
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!

    TRWTF is everyone who slapped that into Google Translate without trying to read it first. *facepalm* I'm an idiot.
    TRWTF is Google Translate for not recognizing this text and providing the appropriate link! :)
  • Dan 2012-08-06 12:36
    Rootbeer:
    It's a solved problem for servers, as any competently designed server room will already have everything critical getting its power through a UPS. In the case in this story, it's possible that the server room proper has a UPS, but the overflow in the Copy Center does not.

    It's kind of a solved problem for desktops, too, as home UPS units capable of gently shutting down a home computer and its peripherals in the event of an outage can be bought for under $100.

    What I don't understand is why more server rooms don't let the UPSes deliver DC voltage direct to the server motherboards at all times.


    This. The usual UPS implementation is a hack, converting from AC to DC to AC, then the device's internal power supply converts back to DC. Some kind of standard DC delivery system would be a huge improvement. USB works fine for small devices, but nothing exists for bigger devices (at least for the home/small biz user).

    I wish desktop computers at least supplied a few seconds of additional power, which could be done with a small capacitor. I have experienced way to many 1 second power glitches in my life.
  • foo 2012-08-06 12:37
    Nagesh:
    This would be WTF in 1980.
    Hardly so. Coax didn't need switches.
  • Wonko 2012-08-06 12:45
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.
  • A german 2012-08-06 12:46
    Infinite Time and Space:
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!


    Two years of college German and that is about as well as I can speak it.


    This is everything but german. To me it reads more like a bastard of dutch and english.
  • Wonko 2012-08-06 12:47
    Wonko:
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.


    The above was in response to :
    Anyone who opens up a socket to handle the wires without turning the circuit off at the breaker is a moron who deserves to have their electrician's licence revoked, for the safety of everyone around them.

    Seriously. Switched or not, you turn the power off before you screw around with the wiring, no matter what. Ignoring that is a pretty good way to end up hurt.

    TRWTF is the reply button.
  • Cat 2012-08-06 12:50
    Wonko:
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.
    Your fuses are labeled? Correctly even? Wow! Which alternate universe do you live in, and how can I transition over to it?
  • Zylon 2012-08-06 12:52
    Been a while since we've had a Remy WTF so tortuously overwritten that it's almost impossible to follow what's actually happening.
  • Tharg 2012-08-06 12:58
    Wiring a power socket to a lighting circuit is contrary to wiring regulations in the U.K.

    For starters, safety is improved by segregating power and lighting. If the lights are off at the breaker, I know they're all off, and that power will be on. I can plug a work light into the power to avoid working in the dark.

    Conversely, I can have the lights on whilst I work on the "known to be switched off" power circuits.

    Also, this means that if a light bulb blows, and trips the breaker, it doesn't cut power to anything.

    The wiring behind lighting circuits is usually either 5 or 15 amp rated, and will not carry the 30 amps that a power circuit can.

    Power circuits have to be earthed, but light fitings do not. I usually connect earths wherever possible, in case someone decides to fit a metallic/conducting light fitting, and/or metallic (e.g. decorative brass) light switch.

    The idea of a power applicance without an earth is usually not good, unless it's a double insulated applicance and specifically designed to work that way.

    Finally, lighting circuits are usually connected to circuit breakers and not an RCD, whereas power circuits should always be connected to an RCD. Thus an errant finger in a power circuit can get a maximum current across the heart of 30 milliamps (or whatever the RCD trips at) which is not enough to kill.

    Considerably more current than this may flow before a breaker operates on overcurrent. Residual current will not cause a standard breaker to operate, so the lighting circuit may take a painfully long time to trip.
  • Steve 2012-08-06 13:02
    Nagesh:
    badman:
    I used to work at a chemical treatment facility where I was paid to sit and read all night. [...] in the many years I had that job I only had to pick up "the red phone" and make the call to the government once. You know the one,

    "... hello, is this the canal lock operator? Say if you happen to see about a dozen kilograms of TCDD come floating down the river, would you kindly scoop it up for us and hold it for collection? We seem to have misplaced it."


    Why would you call a CANAL lock opertor if you suspect something to be floating down a RIVER
  • foo 2012-08-06 13:05
    Cat:
    Wonko:
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.
    Your fuses are labeled? Correctly even? Wow! Which alternate universe do you live in, and how can I transition over to it?
    Hold mains in one hand and ground in the other ...
  • Nagesh 2012-08-06 13:08
    Steve:
    Nagesh:
    badman:
    I used to work at a chemical treatment facility where I was paid to sit and read all night. [...] in the many years I had that job I only had to pick up "the red phone" and make the call to the government once. You know the one,

    "... hello, is this the canal lock operator? Say if you happen to see about a dozen kilograms of TCDD come floating down the river, would you kindly scoop it up for us and hold it for collection? We seem to have misplaced it."


    Why would you call a CANAL lock opertor if you suspect something to be floating down a RIVER
    What's being difference of CANAL and RIVER?
  • Gurth 2012-08-06 13:19
    Nagesh:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you can read the first two paragraphs of an article, and the only suspense left is whether it was something plugged into the wrong socket, or somebody explicitly unplugging it in favor of a kettle/phone charger/vacuum cleaner.

    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you notice "Nagesh" making a post without any obvious grammar and spelling errors.
  • Zylon 2012-08-06 13:27
    Gurth:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you notice "Nagesh" making a post without any obvious grammar and spelling errors.

    You know "Nagesh" has been posting too long when he forgets to log out of his troll account.
  • Gurth 2012-08-06 13:28
    C-Derb:
    TRWTF is everyone who slapped that into Google Translate without trying to read it first. *facepalm* I'm an idiot.

    A german:
    This is everything but german. To me it reads more like a bastard of dutch and english.

    So … never heard of blinkenlights then?
  • da Doctah 2012-08-06 13:31
    Cat:
    Wonko:
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.
    Your fuses are labeled? Correctly even? Wow! Which alternate universe do you live in, and how can I transition over to it?

    I've got a bank of breakers instead of fuses, but that was the first thing I did when I moved into my place: run around from room to room with a hair-dryer and check which breakers controlled which outlets so I could label them.

    It's a good thing I did too, because there's no consistent rule about what's on the same circuit. In one place, all the sockets in one room are grouped and the adjacent room is a different circuit. In another part of the house, all the sockets on both sides of a certain wall are in a bunch, as is the wall light fixture in the hall outside, while the other sockets in both rooms are on other circuits.
  • snoofle 2012-08-06 13:35
    Skeeve:
    foo:
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."


    Anyone who opens up a socket to handle the wires without turning the circuit off at the breaker is a moron who deserves to have their electrician's licence revoked, for the safety of everyone around them.

    Seriously. Switched or not, you turn the power off before you screw around with the wiring, no matter what. Ignoring that is a pretty good way to end up hurt.
    Interestingly, every electrician I've ever had to my house to change this or that has never turned off the breaker; they work with the hot wires - no gloves or anything - because, in their words: I know what I'm doing!

    When I queried, they explained that as long as you a) never touch both wires at the same time, and b) stand on something that is an insulator, you're safe.

    Seems gutsy to me, but I'm not an electrician.
  • snoofle 2012-08-06 13:37
    da Doctah:
    Cat:
    Wonko:
    Wouldnt that be the problem?

    If I go to my fuse box and pull the fuse labled "kitchen Sockets" id expect that to cut the power to my kitchen sockets, I wouldnt expect the fuse labeled Kitchen lights to have any bearing on the wall sockets.

    I would of course check that the power was out even after removing the fuse, but thats not the point, circuts are isolated for a reason.
    Your fuses are labeled? Correctly even? Wow! Which alternate universe do you live in, and how can I transition over to it?

    I've got a bank of breakers instead of fuses, but that was the first thing I did when I moved into my place: run around from room to room with a hair-dryer and check which breakers controlled which outlets so I could label them.

    It's a good thing I did too, because there's no consistent rule about what's on the same circuit. In one place, all the sockets in one room are grouped and the adjacent room is a different circuit. In another part of the house, all the sockets on both sides of a certain wall are in a bunch, as is the wall light fixture in the hall outside, while the other sockets in both rooms are on other circuits.
    I think the reason they do that is so that if one breaker blows, a whole side of the house isn't in darkness; you'd still have power in some outlets/lights from other breakers.
  • Paul Neumann 2012-08-06 13:40
    operagost:
    Like when handling a firearm, always assume the circuit is live unless you've flipped the breaker and tested for current at the receptacle. Do they have untrained morons playing with electricity in the EU?


    So, I believe I've flipped the breaker. Could someone show me how to test for current at the receptacle now?
  • Mozzis 2012-08-06 13:43
    You are missing the point: the OC meant that by turning on the lights, the socket would no longer be dead.
  • D-Coder 2012-08-06 13:45
    Zylon:
    Gurth:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you notice "Nagesh" making a post without any obvious grammar and spelling errors.

    You know "Nagesh" has been posting too long when he forgets to log out of his troll account.
    You know "Nagesh" has been posting too long when he posts.
  • Remy Porter 2012-08-06 14:01
    It's okay, I always include an Easy Reader version in the comments, just for folks like you. People who have mastered the English language get to enjoy the whole article, and people who have issues with natural languages can read the source for the easy reader version. It's for accessibility!
  • Paul Neumann 2012-08-06 14:18
    Remy Porter:
    It's okay, I always include an Easy Reader version in the comments, just for folks like you. People who have mastered the English language get to enjoy the whole article, and people who have issues with natural languages can read the source for the easy reader version. It's for accessibility!


    Damnum, thanks for the tip. <!-- I was suspicious, but did actually confirm. -->
  • PRMan 2012-08-06 14:34
    Mikerad:
    Ben Jammin:
    It's that he's concerned with HR about:


    "That's what 'night-shift' means," Greta replied with a smirk. "You were here for the whole thing last night."


    But not concerned about hr/police about:


    With the lights off on his side, Greta couldn't see him, but he could watch her through the glass walls.


    Everyone knows HR doesn't exist after 5pm...


    Funny.
  • Neveralull 2012-08-06 14:39
    Franky:
    actually, I have the same configuration for my TV ... which is awesome, I just walk into the room, carelessly flip the light-switch on doing so, and the tv springs to live ... everybody is "wtf? how did you do that" the first time they see it :D

    and the best is, the thing doesn't draw any excess power when it is switched off (which is most of the day)
    So you're one of those guys that if you're in a room, the TV's on?
  • ochrist 2012-08-06 14:40
    Gurth:

    So … never heard of blinkenlights then?


    Bingo. That's where I got this specific version of the text from. It was the word 'blinkenlights' that triggered me to search for the text (so I guess Remy or the OP knew about it).

    First time I read it was in a server room in the early eighties, but the original text is much older than that.
  • ILackedAles 2012-08-06 14:44
    I saw this happen in Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I think we should give "fr1st" to Chevy Chase.
  • Zylon 2012-08-06 14:57
    Remy Porter:
    People who have mastered the English language get to enjoy the whole article, and people who have issues with natural languages can read the source for the easy reader version.

    So the "easy" version is written in Esperanto?
  • pjt33 2012-08-06 15:10
    operagost:
    Like when handling a firearm, always assume the circuit is live unless you've flipped the breaker and tested for current at the receptacle. Do they have untrained morons playing with electricity in the EU?

    Yes. I've moved into an office which previously had a UPS for some of the sockets. (One small UPS: about a dozen sockets). When the previous occupants moved out they took the UPS with them, replacing it with a piece of terminal block bridging the input and output cables. Said terminal block was wandering around loose inside an unearthed metal rack-mount box.
  • monkeyPushButton 2012-08-06 15:39
    Fred Flintstone:
    Skeeve:
    foo:
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."

    Anyone who opens up a socket to handle the wires without turning the circuit off at the breaker is a moron who deserves to have their electrician's licence revoked, for the safety of everyone around them.

    Seriously. Switched or not, you turn the power off before you screw around with the wiring, no matter what. Ignoring that is a pretty good way to end up hurt.

    In addition, you should put a lockout on the breaker/switch, to prevent someone from turning it back on. In an electrical code class (2003), I recall the instructor telling a story of a guy that was wiring a subpanel in his barn. He turned off the main breaker. When his wife came home, she turned it back on. Zap dead. Not sure if the story it is true or who knows maybe she wanted to do him. Anyhow, his point stuck.
    True of any safety switches, but even then it's not a guarantee. Once while working at a printing plant (in my pre-IT days) I was working to clear a jam on a labeling machine. I had hit the emergency stop switch (which locks in place and won't allow the machine to be turned on again while it is down).

    The packer at the end of the machine was chatting with her fellow workerer and, noticing the machine was off, tried to start it, never turning her head to look down the conveyor belt to see me with my arm on the belt reaching up into the labeling machine. STILL never turning her head from her conversation, she undoes the safety lock and presses the start button. I was so shocked to see her do this while I was working on the machine, it wasn't until the last second that I pulled my hand back as the belt started rolling.
  • jay 2012-08-06 16:01
    Neveralull:
    Franky:
    actually, I have the same configuration for my TV ... which is awesome, I just walk into the room, carelessly flip the light-switch on doing so, and the tv springs to live ... everybody is "wtf? how did you do that" the first time they see it :D

    and the best is, the thing doesn't draw any excess power when it is switched off (which is most of the day)
    So you're one of those guys that if you're in a room, the TV's on?


    Once my daughter walked into the living room to see me sitting there and the TV off. She asked, "Why isn't the TV on? Is it broken?"
  • jay 2012-08-06 16:06
    Cbuttius:
    It's also a WTF that they are paying someone to be onsite until midnight just doing sukodu puzzles.

    Incidentally if Greta wants to make some career progress she would better spend her time reading some technical books or browsing technical websites and then find herself an alternative job.


    Greta's job is analagous to a security guard or alarm monitor. She's there to react if there is a problem. If nothing goes wrong, great, everybody's happy. An auditor who complains that you're wasting money paying this alarm monitor because nothing went wrong, well, that would be like saying that you wasted money buying life insurance because you didn't die this year.

    From Greta's point of view, she might well think this is a dream job. She just sits around doing Sudoku puzzles or whatever else amuses her and gets paid for it. Maybe she doesn't want to "make career progress" to a job where she would actually have to work eight hours a day. Some people have the goal of fighting their way to the top. Others want a job where they can just coast along.
  • jay 2012-08-06 16:17
    I once bought a house and before long noticed that one of the outlets in a downstairs bedroom didn't work. I figured okay, dead outlet, I'll get around to it sooner or later. But I left a lamp plugged in the socket. A few days later the lamp was on. I tried flipping the wall switch but no, that didn't turn it off. I thought maybe there was a loose connection or something, messed with it, oculdn't find a problem. The next day the lamp was off again. It seemed to go on and off with no discernable pattern. I gave up on it while I worked on other repairs and upgrades.

    One of those upgrades involved the ceiling lights in the basement. I discovered a wire connected to the ceiling light circuit that went up through the floor to this bedroom. Sure enough: turn on the basement lights, the outlet in the bedroom had power. Turn off the basement lights, the outlet had no power. Hmm.

  • TheCPUWizard 2012-08-06 16:20
    About 15 years ago, I helped develop a Pharmacy management package, which uploaded data nightly. One store would fail every night, but succeed when a retry was done in the morning. The only difference was that it was a modem rather than a switch, and that (thankfully) it was the Pharmacy owner, and not myself) who had to do the all nighter..

    Thanks for the memories!
  • operagost 2012-08-06 16:50
    Some Jerk:
    Fred Flintstone:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.


    In the US all fire detection has to be hard wired with battery backup.


    Geez... Assuming people generally come to this site to laugh... why everyone take things so damned seriously? Obviously I was joking... both about this and about the pacemaker!

    Captcha: refoveo: Refoveo! Refoveo! Wherefore art though Refoveo!?

    Sorry, but we couldn't find the punchline. Is it that when you start a fire with your shoddy wiring, the fire system will be off because you flipped the switch on the way out?
  • Mizchief 2012-08-06 16:58
    Reminds me of something that happened to my dad. He had an outside light that wasn't working so He changed the bulb and all that good stuff, then decided he needed to take it apart to figure out what was up with it.

    So he turns off the lights on the switch then tells my mom not to turn the lights back on (the fuse box was on the other side of the house and down a a couple flights of stairs)

    So hes elbows deep in this fixture with a multimeter checking for bad connections then looks down for a moment, then looks back up to see that all the other lights are now on as he was reaching up to grab the wire, then shortly after my mom calls out "the light switch was off that's why it wasn't working dummy!"
  • operagost 2012-08-06 17:09
    Tharg:
    Wiring a power socket to a lighting circuit is contrary to wiring regulations in the U.K.

    For starters, safety is improved by segregating power and lighting. If the lights are off at the breaker, I know they're all off, and that power will be on. I can plug a work light into the power to avoid working in the dark.

    Conversely, I can have the lights on whilst I work on the "known to be switched off" power circuits.

    This is convenience, not safety. We have work lights here in the USA.


    Power circuits have to be earthed, but light fitings do not. I usually connect earths wherever possible, in case someone decides to fit a metallic/conducting light fitting, and/or metallic (e.g. decorative brass) light switch.

    Lighting circuits must also be earthed in the USA. The cable must include a ground conductor, and this conductor must be attached to the enclosure of the luminaire. If the outlet box is metal, the ground must also be attached to it. Sounds like the UK wiring is pretty dangerous!

    Finally, lighting circuits are usually connected to circuit breakers and not an RCD, whereas power circuits should always be connected to an RCD. Thus an errant finger in a power circuit can get a maximum current across the heart of 30 milliamps (or whatever the RCD trips at) which is not enough to kill.

    This is backward logic. Any circuit that has receptacles on it must follow that standard whether or not it has switched receptacles. If the circuit is in a kitchen or bathroom (~1990 and later) or a bedroom (2005 and later) it must have GFCI (is this what an "RCD" is?). In fact, I think bathrooms might need AFCI but I haven't checked because I'm just a DIYer and I haven't rewired my bathroom yet. Dedicated ighting circuits don't need a GFCI because it's not expected that a person will be in contact with anything attached to the circuit except the non-conductive light switch toggle. If there's a receptacle in the circuit, it probably needs GFCI now.
  • Larry Sheldon 2012-08-06 17:14
    With all the logs and stuff--why did he mot notice the TOD pattern?
  • Abso 2012-08-06 17:40
    Your switch "which locks in place" was not a lockout. A lockout would have involved you using a padlock, which your co-workers would not have had a key for, to immobilize the switch.

    Like this, for example.

    Your story is another example of why Fred Flinstone is advocating the use of lockouts.
  • Paul 2012-08-06 17:45
    jay:
    From Greta's point of view, she might well think this is a dream job. She just sits around doing Sudoku puzzles or whatever else amuses her and gets paid for it. Maybe she doesn't want to "make career progress" to a job where she would actually have to work eight hours a day. Some people have the goal of fighting their way to the top. Others want a job where they can just coast along.
    And then, after they coast along for 30 years and discover they have nothing saved for retirement, they feel entitled to steal from the people who actually did work all that time. They also feel a lot of anger, hatred, envy, etc. toward their betters.
  • MS 2012-08-06 18:10
    "I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger."


    Yes, that would be worth another $150 of cost and 10 kg of weight for every computer. You could incur the cost for every computer, instead of buying a huge UPS for the server room and only attaching the important computers to it.


    What I don't understand is why more server rooms don't let the UPSes deliver DC voltage direct to the server motherboards at all times.



    The energy loss in powering a whole server room via low voltage DC is much greater than the power loss in the AC/DC/AC/DC conversion. The same size wire has a higher voltage drop when there is a higher current -- and you need a higher current to make up for the low voltage.

    You could get lesser power loss by distributing high voltage DC, but then you would need special computers that only work in your server room. You couldn't use the same power supplies that you use in a desktop computer, because my house/office doesn't have high voltage DC available. Special computers = even more expensive that "server class" machines are already.

  • herby 2012-08-06 18:40
    I did it to myself once. I had a switched outlet in my bedroom that I had the main lights plugged into. The other half of the duplex outlet (also switched) was powering my computer. I had set it up to do a long process (software installation or some such), then decided to go to bed. So, I flipped off the switch to turn off the lights. Instant face palm plant. The next day I rewired the outlet to switch only HALF of the outlet. Lesson learned!
  • Meep 2012-08-06 21:40
    Best part of the UPS is, if these assholes had to router plugged into one, it would have beeped when the power went out.

    Cbuttius:
    I am not competent in that field, I am very much a software engineer and not a hardware expert. However I am competent enough to be able to provide a minimum spec of what I would like my computer to behave if the power cable is pulled from it.


    I'm pretty sure the first time you had to lift the computer from an awkward position you'd say, "fuck this, I am never again buying a case with a big ass lead-acid battery built into it."
  • Coyne 2012-08-06 22:42
    Meep:
    Best part of the UPS is, if these assholes had to router plugged into one, it would have beeped when the power went out.


    You might be someone who would check into a beeping UPS. But you wouldn't believe the number of people I've seen ignore an alarm that "didn't concern them".

    Including car alarms: I doubt if I'll ever bother with one because there's no point in paying for a device that everybody ignores during the whole 5 seconds it takes the thief to hot-wire the car.
  • Anonymouse 2012-08-06 23:26
    At my work, there are several hanging lights that are switched off every night by pushing the 'test' buttons on RCD's!
  • Luiz Felipe 2012-08-06 23:36
    operagost:
    Tharg:
    Wiring a power socket to a lighting circuit is contrary to wiring regulations in the U.K.

    For starters, safety is improved by segregating power and lighting. If the lights are off at the breaker, I know they're all off, and that power will be on. I can plug a work light into the power to avoid working in the dark.

    Conversely, I can have the lights on whilst I work on the "known to be switched off" power circuits.

    This is convenience, not safety. We have work lights here in the USA.


    Power circuits have to be earthed, but light fitings do not. I usually connect earths wherever possible, in case someone decides to fit a metallic/conducting light fitting, and/or metallic (e.g. decorative brass) light switch.

    Lighting circuits must also be earthed in the USA. The cable must include a ground conductor, and this conductor must be attached to the enclosure of the luminaire. If the outlet box is metal, the ground must also be attached to it. Sounds like the UK wiring is pretty dangerous!

    Finally, lighting circuits are usually connected to circuit breakers and not an RCD, whereas power circuits should always be connected to an RCD. Thus an errant finger in a power circuit can get a maximum current across the heart of 30 milliamps (or whatever the RCD trips at) which is not enough to kill.

    This is backward logic. Any circuit that has receptacles on it must follow that standard whether or not it has switched receptacles. If the circuit is in a kitchen or bathroom (~1990 and later) or a bedroom (2005 and later) it must have GFCI (is this what an "RCD" is?). In fact, I think bathrooms might need AFCI but I haven't checked because I'm just a DIYer and I haven't rewired my bathroom yet. Dedicated ighting circuits don't need a GFCI because it's not expected that a person will be in contact with anything attached to the circuit except the non-conductive light switch toggle. If there's a receptacle in the circuit, it probably needs GFCI now.


    Here in brazil, we have houses with 40 years that dont have any of these fancy things. We dont care for safety, we arent so stupid to kill ourselves with electricity. And my house has only 2 circuit breakers, all things goes to one, and three showers goes to another, of course home can fire up if all these thing are to be used in same time. We dont have fire alarms also, we have insurance.


  • Luiz Felipe 2012-08-06 23:39
    MS:
    "I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger."


    Yes, that would be worth another $150 of cost and 10 kg of weight for every computer. You could incur the cost for every computer, instead of buying a huge UPS for the server room and only attaching the important computers to it.


    What I don't understand is why more server rooms don't let the UPSes deliver DC voltage direct to the server motherboards at all times.



    The energy loss in powering a whole server room via low voltage DC is much greater than the power loss in the AC/DC/AC/DC conversion. The same size wire has a higher voltage drop when there is a higher current -- and you need a higher current to make up for the low voltage.

    You could get lesser power loss by distributing high voltage DC, but then you would need special computers that only work in your server room. You couldn't use the same power supplies that you use in a desktop computer, because my house/office doesn't have high voltage DC available. Special computers = even more expensive that "server class" machines are already.



    Rack mount servers generally have changeable power supplies, they can use DC power, its not so much more expensive. Of course you need to build large AC/DC UPS, these are expensive.
  • Luiz Felipe 2012-08-06 23:39
    Luiz Felipe:
    MS:
    "I still think it's a WTF that desktop computers and servers are not like laptops with their own internal power source with the mains acting as just a recharger."


    Yes, that would be worth another $150 of cost and 10 kg of weight for every computer. You could incur the cost for every computer, instead of buying a huge UPS for the server room and only attaching the important computers to it.


    What I don't understand is why more server rooms don't let the UPSes deliver DC voltage direct to the server motherboards at all times.



    The energy loss in powering a whole server room via low voltage DC is much greater than the power loss in the AC/DC/AC/DC conversion. The same size wire has a higher voltage drop when there is a higher current -- and you need a higher current to make up for the low voltage.

    You could get lesser power loss by distributing high voltage DC, but then you would need special computers that only work in your server room. You couldn't use the same power supplies that you use in a desktop computer, because my house/office doesn't have high voltage DC available. Special computers = even more expensive that "server class" machines are already.



    Rack mount servers generally have changeable power supplies, they can use DC power, its not so much more expensive. Of course you need to build large AC/DC UPS, these are expensive.


    *you need to buy
  • hikari 2012-08-07 04:39
    CodeCaster:
    Nagesh:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you can read the first two paragraphs of an article, and the only suspense left is whether it was something plugged into the wrong socket, or somebody explicitly unplugging it in favor of a kettle/phone charger/vacuum cleaner.

    Here, here.


    It's "Hear, hear".
  • Gurth 2012-08-07 04:56
    monkeyPushButton:
    she undoes the safety lock and presses the start button. I was so shocked to see her do this while I was working on the machine, it wasn't until the last second that I pulled my hand back as the belt started rolling.

    TRWTF here being, I'd say, not letting people know you're turning off the machinery they use, and your reason for doing this.
  • hikari 2012-08-07 04:59
    Mikerad:
    Ben Jammin:
    It's that he's concerned with HR about:


    "That's what 'night-shift' means," Greta replied with a smirk. "You were here for the whole thing last night."


    But not concerned about hr/police about:


    With the lights off on his side, Greta couldn't see him, but he could watch her through the glass walls.


    Everyone knows HR doesn't exist after 5pm...


    HR is one of the last departments to actually leave the building where I work, outside of the people working night shift in support.

    I suspect the reason they leave late is precisely because there are people who work nights: they need (want) to be around for at least the start of their shift in case there's something they want to talk to HR about. But then our HR department is run by human beings who actually care about people.
  • Mathias 2012-08-07 05:05
    java.lang.Chris;:
    Carl:
    Anyway, TRWTF is using FTP instead of rsync.


    This.

    This...Not! (As it could easily be older than rsync)
  • Mayhem 2012-08-07 06:28
    It might be contrary to regulations, but a colleague of mine experienced a similar situation at Kings Cross Station during the Network Rail upgrade in the early 00s.
    Turned out their platform network switches were plugged into sockets that were wired into the main station lighting circuits. Everything died around lunchtime, and they were frantically running around trying to figure out why.
    Turned out a sparky was scheduled in changing overhead lightbulbs, and came within minutes of shutting down all traffic in & out before they found him on his lunch break and turned the power back on.
  • dummy 2012-08-07 08:12
    programs this guy writes -no matter the intense logging- won't detect a network failure? talk about fail.
  • YR 2012-08-07 09:31
    Nagesh:
    You know you've been reading TDWTF too long when you can read the first two paragraphs of an article, and the only suspense left is whether it was something plugged into the wrong socket, or somebody explicitly unplugging it in favor of a kettle/phone charger/vacuum cleaner.


    Precisely
  • Time and Again 2012-08-07 09:45
    "and at 12PM, she grabbed her purse..."

    The OP correctly knows that midnight is 12 p.m.

    Noon of course is 12 m., and there's no such time as "12 a.m."

    If you don't understand this, start asking yourself what the m. is for, and what the a. and p. are for. Got it?
  • no laughing matter 2012-08-07 10:24
    Luiz Felipe:

    Here in brazil, we (..) dont care for safety, we arent so stupid to kill ourselves with electricity.

    Sure, sure.

    Luiz Felipe:

    We dont have fire alarms also, we have insurance.

    So you prefer "warm renovations"?
  • Neil 2012-08-07 10:58
    operagost:
    Tharg:
    Power circuits have to be earthed, but light fitings do not. I usually connect earths wherever possible, in case someone decides to fit a metallic/conducting light fitting, and/or metallic (e.g. decorative brass) light switch.
    Lighting circuits must also be earthed in the USA. The cable must include a ground conductor, and this conductor must be attached to the enclosure of the luminaire. If the outlet box is metal, the ground must also be attached to it. Sounds like the UK wiring is pretty dangerous!
    I don't know what current regulations are, but in my house the light switches are earthed (the face plate is bolted on, so this earths the bolts). However many light fittings such as pendants only use two conductors, although the ceiling rose itself will of course have an earthing point for the conductor that leads to the switch.
    Finally, lighting circuits are usually connected to circuit breakers and not an RCD, whereas power circuits should always be connected to an RCD. Thus an errant finger in a power circuit can get a maximum current across the heart of 30 milliamps (or whatever the RCD trips at) which is not enough to kill.
    This is backward logic. Any circuit that has receptacles on it must follow that standard whether or not it has switched receptacles. If the circuit is in a kitchen or bathroom (~1990 and later) or a bedroom (2005 and later) it must have GFCI.
    I'm still using fuses...
  • callcopse 2012-08-07 11:38
    no laughing matter:
    Luiz Felipe:

    Here in brazil, we (..) dont care for safety, we arent so stupid to kill ourselves with electricity.

    Sure, sure.

    Luiz Felipe:

    We dont have fire alarms also, we have insurance.

    So you prefer "warm renovations"?


    I was kind of wondering whether this was the new Nagesh so trying to avoid any response. I might point out though that insurance is generally cold consolation when your kids are dead. Still, life is probably pretty cheap in Brazil. Sorry if I'm just in a troll bait state of mind or something.
  • James 2012-08-07 11:41
    Well, if it is a business. The plate should be at least marked 'Switched Power'.

  • the beholder 2012-08-07 11:46
    herby:
    I did it to myself once. I had a switched outlet in my bedroom that I had the main lights plugged into. The other half of the duplex outlet (also switched) was powering my computer. I had set it up to do a long process (software installation or some such), then decided to go to bed. So, I flipped off the switch to turn off the lights. Instant face palm plant. The next day I rewired the outlet to switch only HALF of the outlet. Lesson learned!
    About fifteen months ago I rented and moved to an old house. In the first day I set up a place to fulfill my basic needs - sleep, bathing and a computer.

    That night I decided I would leave the computer working while I took a shower. When I turned off the lights to leave the room, silent goes the computer. You can guess why.
    Cue much cursing, lights on in my room during the shower and me fixing the wiring the following day.

    The REAL WTF is that I didn't remember it when reading the article but did when I read the post I'm responding to.
  • Arseface 2012-08-07 12:53
    Wow... here was me thinking that the IEEE 17th Edition wiring regulations were a bit of a pain in the arse, and slightly annoyed that I am legally required to pay a qualified electrician to at the very least check any wiring and for most things have him install it (unlike 16th Edition which was happy with compliant DIY jobs). You have all convinced me that actually it's a bloody good idea since I assume you're all reasonably competent and technical people but you clearly have no clue about how to safely install and maintain electrical systems.

    Everyone whinges about health-and-safety and it might seem a bit overkill in many places but I've worked in grain stores - a machine that moves many tonnes of grain a minute doesn't struggle to much with your arms - and everything is isolated with switches padlocked off by every single person who may be working on that machinery. Padlocks can only be removed by the person who installed them (obvious exception for disgruntled employee 'sabotage' by locking off machines and running away - there's a master key but they have to ensure everyone is off-site first and the machine has been made safe e.g. all covers reinstalled. Anyway keeping the business running is a secondary concern to having employees not maimed and killed. Some personal responsibility is required (e.g. you actually have to isolate+padlock machines) and failure to take adequate precautions resulted in instant dismissal.

    Having light switches and mains switches confused is bad. Someone will plug a kettle in, or some tradesman a power tool, and the 5A lighting wiring goes up in flames. That's why a lot of hotels in the UK have strange round-pin sockets btw. they are for lamps that have wall-mounted switches and by not being standard sockets prevent anyone from plugging hair-driers etc. in.
  • Dann of Thursday 2012-08-07 15:08
    Gurth:
    monkeyPushButton:
    she undoes the safety lock and presses the start button. I was so shocked to see her do this while I was working on the machine, it wasn't until the last second that I pulled my hand back as the belt started rolling.

    TRWTF here being, I'd say, not letting people know you're turning off the machinery they use, and your reason for doing this.


    If you think that TRWTF in his story was anything other than "woman disengages safety lock without checking the machinery" then congratulations, you're dumber than a second grader, and I wouldn't want you working on any machinery more dangerous than a bit of string and maybe some Scotch tape.
  • conifer 2012-08-07 15:56
    operagost:
    Do they have untrained morons playing with electricity in the EU?


    No, we have them playing with our money...

    captcha: dolor - consequence of the above.
  • Konstantin 2012-08-07 20:02
    foo:
    Some Jerk:
    unsafe if you have your fire detection plugged into that spot.
    This, or something like: "Hmm, this socket is dead, I'll have to open it and check the wires. But let me just turn on the lights so I can see better ..."


    In the US these types of sockets are actually upside down. So the ground plug is on the top of the socket rather than the bottom. It is made this way to prevent this, so you always know which socket is wall operated.

    If you don't believe me, go home and look(if your in the states, that is).
  • Moi 2012-08-08 11:25
    Sten:
    TRWTF is the electrician who connected an outlet to the lights. AFAIK it is illegal in the EU for safety reasons


    Well, except if France suddenly quitted the EU, then it isn't and it's actually pretty common. I tend to pest upon them, label them, and then no more problem.
  • shepd 2012-08-08 13:59
    I can't comment on the NEC, but after spending 6 months learning the Canadian Electrical Code very thouroughly, you are permitted to have an outlet and lights on the same circuit, assuming we are talking about 120 volt lighting here. This applies to residential, commercial, and industrial installations.

    With 347 volt lighting, things change, but then again, you're not going to connect your cheap hub up to that.

    As for fire alarms, if they are connected to electrical power here, in a residential situation, they must be permanently wired (and need to be able to signal each other). They may not be plugged into an outlet. They MAY (and SHOULD) share the same circuit as an often used light-fixture so the resident knows quickly that the breaker is popped. However, they are installed before the switch, for obvious reasons. So they are an exception to being connected to a switch, but then again, they don't plug into an outlet, so who cares?

    There is absolutely nothing inherently dangerous about a switched 120 volt outlet* that isn't equally dangerous as simply unplugging the device. Considering that's part of the test you have to pass to get UL/CSA/ETL/whatever certification, I don't worry about it.

    * -- There is one exception. Split receptacles when you use a single pole switch (like most would). Since you would turn off only one half of the outlet, the other half would be live and thus items plugged into it could liven up neutral should it be faulty. Such an installation would be illegal.

    If you want verification of any of this, call up an electrical inspector. I rewired half of my house and included circuits just like this (lights and outlets on the same circuit) and I passed first time, not even one negative comment. Because I like pain, I even pointed out the worst of my work and he didn't complain. Loving my "Electrical Safety Authority" inspection sticker on my new subpanel.

    In Europe, just about everything electrical related seems to be illegal. Outlets in the bathroom, switches in the bathroom, plugs without fuses built into them, etc.

    Yet, for some unknown reason, in the UK you can put 26 Amps of load on an outlet designed for 13 Amps without blowing a fuse, as ring circuits are permitted. Which is why the plugs have fuses in them. Crazy unsafe if you ask me!
  • Sir Robin-The-Not-So-Brave 2012-08-10 05:34
    ochrist:
    I suggest they put up a note in the room with this text:

    ACHTUNG!
    ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
    DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

    PS: What The Fr1st!


    This, in a gothic font, with an eagle symbol on top.
  • shepd 2012-08-10 14:22
    And to end the debate on GFCI/AFCI/RCD/whatever-the-fudge, for residential in Canada (and the US, although the US had the GFCI requirement for a lot longer):

    GFCI required on all outlets near the kitchen sink. Kitchen counter outlets must be 20 A T-Slots, OR (Canada only) split 15 Amp receptacles (this is almost dead now because dual GFCIs are very expensive).

    GFCI required on bathroom outlets. Also, bathroom light switches must be a minimum of 1 metere (probably 3 feet in the USA) away from a shower/tub.

    GFCI required on all outlets outdoors and in wet locations.

    GFCI required on hot tubs.

    AFCI required on bedroom OUTLETS only. Optional to connect to other circuits, however, it may nuisance trip when connected to certain lighting circuits.

    GFCI is optional pretty much any where else, however, you should fail workmanship if you put a GFCI on: Freezer, Fridge, or Sump Pump. Reasoning is that these are critical devices that must remain on, and since a GFCI can nuisance trip, the results would be... bad.

    Fuses are still permitted for anything, anywhere, in both countries--assuming you can still find currently certified residential panels that take fuses (industrial ones are very easy to find, in fact, for certain currents, you aren't going to easily find breakers). Heck, for that matter, at least in Canada, knob and tube wiring is completely legal even for new installs (good luck finding certified parts, though). If you have installations that aren't legal anymore, but were when installed (and were passed at the time!) they remain legal until you make changes (eg: If you have an ungrounded circuit and want to add an outlet, you will need to add a ground to the circuit or use a GFCI [Canada only]) unless there are exceptions (there was a time when it was legal to fill in the ground hole with caulk or drywall compound so it could not be used and use a standard 3 prong outlet on these circuits).

    There's other rules, too, like a 50A outlet for the stove fused at 40A, disconnect required beside the air conditioner, special grounding for hot tubs, clock outlet only outlet allowed also tied to the kitchen fridge breaker, the list goes on.
  • xert 2012-08-10 20:55
    shepd:

    In Europe, just about everything electrical related seems to be illegal. Outlets in the bathroom, switches in the bathroom, plugs without fuses built into them, etc.

    Yet, for some unknown reason, in the UK you can put 26 Amps of load on an outlet designed for 13 Amps without blowing a fuse, as ring circuits are permitted. Which is why the plugs have fuses in them. Crazy unsafe if you ask me!


    In Europe? Not all countries in Europe are as stupid as the UK.
  • Blind 2012-08-13 07:03
    Very nice.

    Reminds me of a problem an Administrator hunted at my univeryity a number of years ago.

    Every morning, the RAID was doing a resync. Then everything was fine.

    Just till the next morning.

    The RAID was set up of old SCSI Disks on a SN machine. One disk sitting in an external case, plugged into the wrong outlet.

    Whenever the admin left for home, he switched off the lights, causing the System to loose a disk... Only to start resyncing it the next morning when the Admin came to to look after the RAID...
  • R. King 2012-08-22 15:36
    Every outlet in my house controlled by a switch is labled "switched." Is that so hard?
  • thelordofcheese 2012-10-23 16:58
    she turned the lights off as she left.


    I knew the ending faster than The Book of Liz.

    sagaciter