Trauma Center

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  • JimLahey 2012-12-05 08:08
    "See you next Tuesday," Manny said.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=See-you-next-Tuesday
  • Simon Peyote Joints 2012-12-05 08:14
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?
  • Rhywden 2012-12-05 08:16
    Simon Peyote Joints:
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?

    Story covers that one: "No ACPI".
  • Luke 2012-12-05 08:17
    Without ACPI it's a simple push and release button.
  • mott555 2012-12-05 08:18
    I think everyone would have been better off if he'd let the system power down. Sure, they'd have lost millions and jobs would have been lost, but it might have convinced management to re-organize into something more sane.
  • Smug Unix User 2012-12-05 08:19
    I was expecting it to be a prank on the new guy.
  • TM 2012-12-05 08:25
    I'd have totally released that button!
  • Remy Porter 2012-12-05 08:26
    I can see it now, one of these people reads TDWTF today, and goes, "What? Holy crap, that guy still believes that was a real production server? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

    Best. Prank. Ever.

    Sadly, it probably wasn't.
  • Bongo 2012-12-05 08:27
    "Paul apologised for not shaking hands."

    Best sentence of this article.
  • T.R. 2012-12-05 08:29
    Now THAT is a big one...
    So the entire business was relying on a single machine never having a disk failure, hard reboot, be hit by a power cut, among a million other things that could cause it to reboot or be shut down.
    Such a machine, I would imagine would be at least load-balanced and be kept in a clean, climatized place not directly accessible by the dev team...
  • Severity One 2012-12-05 08:33
    T.R.:
    Now THAT is a big one...
    So the entire business was relying on a single machine never having a disk failure, hard reboot, be hit by a power cut, among a million other things that could cause it to reboot or be shut down.
    Such a machine, I would imagine would be at least load-balanced and be kept in a clean, climatized place not directly accessible by the dev team...
    Bet you still believe in the Tooth Fairy, too.
  • some pony 2012-12-05 08:37
    Are you kidding me? These kind of machines are historically an old desktop system of one of the devs that he doesn't use personally anymore because it is too flaky. They preferably run at the dev's home address, without UPC, in an airtight closet about the size of the machine's casing.
  • Bob 2012-12-05 08:38
    Ha. The only difference between the story and reality is that someone usually has the foresight to stick the label _over_ the power button.

    I'd have let go of the button as soon as the idiot threatened me. "How are you going to pay your lawyers when all your customers leave - which is exactly what's going to happen as soon as I make this farce public."
  • Sockatume 2012-12-05 08:39
    Of course, MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.
  • Sockatume 2012-12-05 08:41
    "I'd have let go of the button as soon as the idiot threatened me. 'How are you going to pay your lawyers when all your customers leave - which is exactly what's going to happen as soon as I make this farce public.'"

    Publicised your sophisticated physical-access hacker attack? Let's face it, the company did the best they could do against your supervillain-esque malevolence.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 08:44
    Sockatume:
    Of course, MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.


    MacGuyver was fired the other week for using equipment from an non-approved vendor. Sure, the paperclips we get from the no-bid contract with the boss' nephew's office supply hut costs $50 each, but they're SOX and PCI compliant paperclips!
  • Steve The Cynic 2012-12-05 08:45
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?
  • Ironside 2012-12-05 08:54
    I want $500,000 in cash and a helicopter outside or I release the button.
  • TGV 2012-12-05 08:56
    The part I didn't get: why does someone press the power button on a computer without any need? Especially on the first day being toured around? I call BS.
  • Jens 2012-12-05 08:58
    I'd have jammed the switch down with a toothpick. BTDT.
  • TGV 2012-12-05 08:58
    TGV:
    The part I didn't get: why does someone press the power button on a computer without any need? Especially on the first day being toured around? I call BS.

    Ah, the comment above me explains it: someone fucked up with the html comments, and that makes the story particularly weird.

    DON'T TOUCH THE <!--!! WE DON'T READ COMMENTS! WE'RE PROGRAMMERS!
  • TheSHEEEP 2012-12-05 09:01
    Why he did not immediatly quit after that incident (or, well, after the paid off-time) is beyond me.
  • Unknown 2012-12-05 09:08
    4 needles and a couple more guys and it becomes very easy to safely switch with someone.
  • Shoreline 2012-12-05 09:09
    Is it normal not to have a computer assigned to you?

    I'm certain it's normal to have a server room which is separate and away from any kind of common traffic.

    Millions of dollars lost due to a reboot? Nothing about that makes any sense.

    I'm guessing the legal team's case would consist of "We're bigger than you".

    I'm sure this has all been covered by now.
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-05 09:10
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?

    Oh yeah, Firefox 3.6 or so does that. That's what finally got me to switch to Seamonkey on this computer a few months ago. I think the TDWTF article in question is even still in the tab set when I start up FF.

    Seems the HTML/SGML standard for comments has a WTF in how the "--" of "<!--" and "-->" of comments are interpreted. Hint: not how you'd expect. Newer versions of Gecko do what you would expect, spec be dammed. (Now if we could only get rid of that crazy Javascript semicolon rule, then we could solve all of the problems in the Mid-East.)
  • Ironside 2012-12-05 09:14
    Serious question: If he let go and they sued him but lost would he make money from it? Ie compensation? or is it a (lose money or lose nothing) situation?
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-05 09:15
    Unknown:
    4 needles and a couple more guys and it becomes very easy to safely switch with someone.
    Toothpicks and Bic pens.

    Also, FWIW, I read Janice's voice as Linda from Bob's Burgers. That nice Jewish Mother accent, dripping with sarcasm, is just perfect for her lines.
  • hobbes 2012-12-05 09:17
    Why not trace the pins to the jumper on the motherboard, wiggle it off slightly and bridge them manually with a pair of clips and some wire?
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 09:18
    Ironside:
    Serious question: If he let go and they sued him but lost would he make money from it? Ie compensation? or is it a (lose money or lose nothing) situation?


    I'm sure it would come down to where in the world he was, and how good both legal teams were. Maybe Redacted Inc could argue malice, or willful negligence. It's unlikely they'd get $10M from an individual, but they might get something.

    If they lost, he might be entitled to lawyers fees. Since it was his first day, he'd almost certainly be in some sort of probation period, where they could fire him for any reason. It's unlikely he could sue them for wrongful dismissal. He might have a good trauma/emotional hardship case on his hands, though. Especially if he could prove neglect on their part
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2012-12-05 09:19
    The threat would have been enough to release the button. "Good luck in court, asshole" followed by releasing the button and walking out.

    Any company that stupid DESERVES to lose millions of dollars.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 09:19
    ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL:
    Unknown:
    4 needles and a couple more guys and it becomes very easy to safely switch with someone.
    Toothpicks and Bic pens.

    Also, FWIW, I read Janice's voice as Linda from Bob's Burgers. That nice Jewish Mother accent, dripping with sarcasm, is just perfect for her lines.


    I will now re-read Manny's lines as Louise.
  • Richard 2012-12-05 09:23
    Most of those old beige boxes with the mechanical power switches, you could release the button and push it again quickly enough to prevent a power-down.

    You might want to practice a few times before doing it on a production server, though.
  • Steve The Cynic 2012-12-05 09:32
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?

    For various complex and not necessarily valid reasons, I'm on Firefox 3.6.23.
  • Anon. 2012-12-05 09:32
    TheSHEEEP:
    Why he did not immediatly quit after that incident (or, well, after the paid off-time) is beyond me.


    That, at least is obvious. If you were going to quit after, you wouldn't spend the time hanging around holding the button down.

    That said, I call BS on the whole story. Any one of the WTFs would be acceptable on its own, but all of them in a single story? nope.
  • Sarah 2012-12-05 09:36
    Anyone else who would like watch the movie Speed with me?
  • dgvid 2012-12-05 09:37
    Am I the only one who giggled at "he had creamed and sugared his 'I's and 'T's"?
  • DES 2012-12-05 09:39
    RAM still has to be installed in identical pairs. At least on server hardware.
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-05 09:42
    Lorne Kates:
    I will now re-read Manny's lines as Louise.
    Damn. And Paul as Bob works really well, too. Gene can be Daryl. But there's nobody left to be Tina.

    Kristen Schall's voice is awesome. She's one of the main reasons I watch 30 Rock.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 09:45
    ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL:
    Lorne Kates:
    I will now re-read Manny's lines as Louise.
    But there's nobody left to be Tina.


    She's the server off in the corner with the CPU fan with worn-out ball bearings.
  • dgvid 2012-12-05 09:46
    Simon Peyote Joints:
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?

    Some time in the mid-1990s a co-worker of mine was doing a multi-disk software install from floppies. This was in the days just before CD-ROM drives became common and installing something like the Visual Studio 2.0 or a TCP/IP stack meant going through a dozen or more 3.5" floppies.

    After the second or third disk he reached out and mistakenly stabbed the power button instead of the eject. He was afraid that rebooting mid-install would corrupt his machine, so he kept the power switch pressed down for the remaining 10 or 15 minutes required to finish the install.
  • F 2012-12-05 09:48
    T.R.:
    Now THAT is a big one...
    So the entire business was relying on a single machine never having a disk failure, hard reboot, be hit by a power cut, among a million other things that could cause it to reboot or be shut down.


    Of course not. This was only "001". Clearly the business is reliant on a whole raft of additional machines that can also never be allowed to fail, reboot, etc.
  • F 2012-12-05 09:49
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?


    Must be one of these damn standards-compliant ones.
  • Grant 2012-12-05 09:57
    Rewiring to bypass the switch would have been dangerous.

    On newer systems, it's a simple little switch connected to the motherboard, with 5v signalling. On old systems like that the power switch was part of the power supply, switching the hot side of your 110/220v power.

    Of course, you could have just wedged a few toothpicks around the sides of the button to hold it all day...
  • rackandboneman 2012-12-05 09:59
    If these are pre-ATX computers the power switch is usually an actual power switch, and very dangerous to hotwire live.
  • biziclop 2012-12-05 10:03
    The real WTF is that nobody thought about blue-tac or plasticine.
  • Andrew 2012-12-05 10:08
    dgvid:
    Am I the only one who giggled at "he had creamed and sugared his 'I's and 'T's"?


    Yes. You are the only person in the world who finds humor to be funny.
  • sukru 2012-12-05 10:09
    I used to do this all the time! As long as you can re-press the buttons before the capacitors discharge, nothing happened.
  • Rootbeer 2012-12-05 10:29

    I like how until the mention of an iPad in the 46th paragraph, there's nothing in the story that indicates when it takes place, and thus how old the hardware is, and thus how much of a WTF it is.

  • realmerlyn 2012-12-05 10:38
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?


    In real browsers, "--" is a toggle between comment and non-comment. So an odd number of them will confuse any standards-compliant browser.
  • iMortalitySX 2012-12-05 10:44
    Shoreline:
    Is it normal not to have a computer assigned to you?

    I'm certain it's normal to have a server room which is separate and away from any kind of common traffic.

    Millions of dollars lost due to a reboot? Nothing about that makes any sense.

    I'm guessing the legal team's case would consist of "We're bigger than you".

    I'm sure this has all been covered by now.


    The answer to those...

    Depends on who you work for and what they can afford. I used to work for an MSP where we serviced many small companies. The most frustrating thing was when we would go in, develop/update an application, directly on their server, which is also the customer kiosk machine. No kidding.

    Millions of dollars is possible. One company that we performed services for kept their server/CEO work stations in the CEO's office which was in a metal building. After it got struck by lightning, they lost all their data, and poof. It cost the company something like 1.2 mil in contracts that dropped them quickly afterwords.


    CAPTCHA : minim
  • dpm 2012-12-05 10:48
    Anon.:
    TheSHEEEP:
    Why he did not immediatly quit after that incident (or, well, after the paid off-time) is beyond me.
    That, at least is obvious. If you were going to quit after, you wouldn't spend the time hanging around holding the button down.

    That said, I call BS on the whole story. Any one of the WTFs would be acceptable on its own, but all of them in a single story? nope.
    There's always one in every crowd. You seriously believe that this could *not* have happened? Why not? How many places have you worked? Are you sure you've worked at the worst possible places?
  • Clickety click 2012-12-05 10:50
    Yeah but all the other WTFs aside, someone had an IBM Model M. So they can't be all bad.

    In my opinion, the Model M is the best keyboard of all time. You can keep your flat, soulless keyboards with a row of hotkeys to open IE or whatever (who honestly uses those?)

    I remember back at the beginning of the noughties, when I was working for a fairly large insurance company, word had come from head office in Paris (France) that all peripherals were to be replaced with the officially sanctioned device from some little computer shop in Round Rock, Texas. Some tosh about compatibility. I tried for as long as possible to circumvent this hardware refresh but they eventually got my anti-social, curly-corded noise-maker and threw it out.

    Sad times.

    Needless to say I quit that day etc etc.
  • Jan 2012-12-05 10:51
    realmerlyn:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?


    In real browsers, "--" is a toggle between comment and non-comment. So an odd number of them will confuse any standards-compliant browser.
    If you write bad code and it won't compile, is it the compiler's fault? Or yours for not understanding the language syntax, arcane as it may be?

    Anyone who asks "what browser are you using" has demonstrated that they are not yet competent to be writing HTML code. Write to standards. That will work on all compliant browsers. If someone is using a non-compliant browser, that's their problem.
  • Firefox 3 theme rulez! 2012-12-05 10:52
    Steve The Cynic:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?

    For various complex and not necessarily valid reasons, I'm on Firefox 3.6.23.


    Yeah, I can't be bothered to move from Mint 7 either :)

    And I like the user interface of that too... on Win7 I'm on FF15 with theme add-on "Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4+" ( http://ffaddons.game-point.net/ff3ff4/ ) - unfortunately they've broken something in FF16+ and the add-on won't work any more :(
    So I'm stuck on FF15 now.
  • Will 2012-12-05 10:56
    Manny waved at the developer at the other end of The Center, and she waved back.
    By this time he has observed plenty of red flags. If he had the presence of mind to consider this the last straw, he would have saved himself a lot of grief.

    Just sayin'
  • Kent 2012-12-05 11:01
    So the computer has never before failed during the daytime? (Otherwise they would have gone out of business from the losses, which would have been a good thing, and in the case of companies like this, the sooner it happens the better.)

    And the reason it couldn't reboot is because that was what would automatically advance the trading day -- but once having done so, the counter was stored in TPM-protected memory so you couldn't just go in and set it back?

    Like the time I creamed in my girlfriend's "I", this story is too hard to swallow.
  • Paul Neumann 2012-12-05 11:06
    So, TRWTF is SGML today?

    From W3C:
    White space is not permitted between the markup declaration open delimiter("<!") and the comment open delimiter ("--"), but is permitted between the comment close delimiter ("--") and the markup declaration close delimiter (">"). A common error is to include a string of hyphens ("---") within a comment. Authors should avoid putting two or more adjacent hyphens inside comments.
  • MP 2012-12-05 11:13
    He didn't spend the next week looking for a different job?
  • Anketam 2012-12-05 11:19
    And what happens if the power goes out? I highly doubt they have the 'servers' on an UPS. If I was feeling mean I would trip the breaker for that room and then lol.
  • Naveen 2012-12-05 11:20
    I am a regular reader of this blog and this is by far the best story I have read here. Hats off! I just hope this is fictional, for sake of Paul!
  • Derek Stiles 2012-12-05 11:22
    My mind was screaming "LET'S BEGIN THE OPERATION!" the whole time that I spent reading this.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 11:29
    Paul Neumann:
    So, TRWTF is SGML today?

    From W3C:
    White space is not permitted between the markup declaration open delimiter("<!") and the comment open delimiter ("--"), but is permitted between the comment close delimiter ("--") and the markup declaration close delimiter (">"). A common error is to include a string of hyphens ("---") within a comment. Authors should avoid putting two or more adjacent hyphens inside comments.


    Huh. Learned something new. Given how much I love em-dashes, I'm surprised I haven't been burned by this before.
  • Steve The Cynic 2012-12-05 11:42
    Firefox 3 theme rulez!:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?

    For various complex and not necessarily valid reasons, I'm on Firefox 3.6.23.


    Yeah, I can't be bothered to move from Mint 7 either :)

    And I like the user interface of that too... on Win7 I'm on FF15 with theme add-on "Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4+" ( http://ffaddons.game-point.net/ff3ff4/ ) - unfortunately they've broken something in FF16+ and the add-on won't work any more :(
    So I'm stuck on FF15 now.

    I'm not on Mint, nor any other variety of Linux. FreeBSD 8.2, if you must know. It's a long story and I'm not bored enough to tell it all here.
  • Cbuttius 2012-12-05 11:52
    The real WTF is any company not having a backup server that will keep the business going if one of your servers goes down, when that server is worth so much in business, i.e. far more than the cost of a backup.

  • the beholder 2012-12-05 11:56
    sukru:
    Richard:
    Most of those old beige boxes with the mechanical power switches, you could release the button and push it again quickly enough to prevent a power-down.

    You might want to practice a few times before doing it on a production server, though.
    I used to do this all the time! As long as you can re-press the buttons before the capacitors discharge, nothing happened.
    I did it several times too when those buttons were the norm, but Paul couldn't have the luxury. It wasn't his machine, so he couldn't be sure how much the button would push back until it reached the stage where you have to press it again.

    The article calls the lack of ACPI a "small blessing of old hardware". I have to disagree. Were they using newer hardware Paul would release the button at Manny's scream and all would be ok.
  • Fred 2012-12-05 12:06
    For some reason that description of the "server room" reminds me of a guy I used to work with. Let's call him Dan the Junkyard Dog. Dan existed in the midst of an enormous pile of formerly useful computers and peripherals.

    Dan also seemed to think that his job was to run around the building and help whoever called him. So lots of people called him.

    Our boss, however, thought Dan's job was do what the boss needed done. After a series of conversations failed to communicate this message, the boss snuck into the den of doomed hardware one evening and disconnected Dan's phone. Over the next couple days Dan became quite depressed as he thought nobody needed him any more. (The boss, and his needs, apparently didn't count.) Finally he inspected his phone and discovered the missing wire.

    You'd think he'd start putting the puzzle together, but no, in his world broken hardware was the norm so he just "fixed" his phone and went back to usual.

    He left the company a few weeks later -- probably for somewhere with a bigger pile of older junk.
  • Greg 2012-12-05 12:09
    Even that newfangled pushbutton switch was a mistake. Proper computers had proper switches that worked like a light switch, except the lever was red and about 2 inches long. It flipped with a satisfying "thunk" and didn't give the software any opportunity to argue with your authority.

    When humans lose the ability to power off their computers, the world of the Terminators is one step closer to reality.
  • bkDJ 2012-12-05 12:11
    This article, including HTML comments, was probably the most fun read here in weeks! Great writing, but 3 typos stuck out:
    "all in various states of apparent disassemble" -> disassembly
    "There were CRTs, two button mice," -> two-button
    "closest to the lone window verses least covered in dust" -> versus

    the beholder:
    The article calls the lack of ACPI a "small blessing of old hardware". I have to disagree. Were they using newer hardware Paul would release the button at Manny's scream and all would be ok.
    Maybe, depending on what was set in the OS's power options. Though given the rest of the circumstances, "when I press the power button" was probably set to "shut down".
  • Sean 2012-12-05 12:11
    Certainly a made up story or grossly exaggerated in terms of impact.

    Even if 100% of revenue came through that single box, with around 250 trading days per year and $10M per trading day, this is a $2.5B company; not a small business. And in financial services industry. If the financial numbers are correct, they should have $100M+ IT budget. While there can be lot of other nonsensical things done at such places, hard to believe they are running with dozen or so programmers with hardware that is close to 2 decades old with no physical segregation of production and development servers.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 12:14
    bkDJ:
    This article, including HTML comments, was probably the most fun read here in weeks! Great writing, but 3 typos stuck out:
    "all in various states of apparent disassemble" -> disassembly
    "There were CRTs, two button mice," -> two-button
    "closest to the lone window verses least covered in dust" -> versus


    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for the spiel check. Fixed!
  • Neil 2012-12-05 12:16
    Jan:
    realmerlyn:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?
    In real browsers, "--" is a toggle between comment and non-comment. So an odd number of them will confuse any standards-compliant browser.
    If you write bad code and it won't compile, is it the compiler's fault? Or yours for not understanding the language syntax, arcane as it may be?

    Anyone who asks "what browser are you using" has demonstrated that they are not yet competent to be writing HTML code. Write to standards. That will work on all compliant browsers. If someone is using a non-compliant browser, that's their problem.
    I believe Firefox 4 switched to ignoring double hyphen-minus characters as part of their new HTML5 parser. If you look at the source (which of course you should always do, particularly on this site) then you'll see newer versions complain whenever a comment contains a double hyphen-minus. I'm looking at you, <!-- <b>Tokyo</b> &amp; <b>Beijing</b> - see you at <a href="http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/QCon-Tokyo-2012--QCon-Beijing-2012.aspx">QCon</a> (April 16-20) -->
  • Clayton 2012-12-05 12:23
    I can't believe noone has mentioned the reference to the excellently quirky Trauma Center games (or at least, used the phrase "game" or "Nintendo DS").
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 12:50
    Clayton:
    I can't believe noone has mentioned the reference to the excellently quirky Trauma Center games (or at least, used the phrase "game" or "Nintendo DS").


    I didn't see noone's comment, but Derek Stiles did mentioned it just a few comments above.
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-05 12:54
    Lorne Kates:
    Huh. Learned something new. Given how much I love em-dashes, I'm surprised I haven't been burned by this before.
    FWIW, I decided to open up my old Firefox to see what that page was.

    I was greeted by 30 or so "THIS SESSION HAS EXPIRED" windows from the HR thingy I had to do last month which didn't think Seamonkey was a real browser. Not the first time that the open tabs memory has "remembered" tabs that I closed, but definitely the most spectacular.

    http://thedailywtf.com/Comments/Kentucky-Fried-Cat.aspx

    Open that one in Firefox 3.6 and then something more recent. A properly "standards compliant" browser will not parse the comment as intended, and you won't see any of the comments. Because they've become a comment.

    Current browsers say fuck the standard and parse it in the way that humans expect.
  • A Luser 2012-12-05 13:04
    Toothpick(s).
    Jammed between button and housing.


  • DCRoss 2012-12-05 13:09
    Paul's first day at Redacted Commodities and Trading, LLC.

    Sooo... How are things at Knight Capital nowadays, Paul?
  • sunnyboy 2012-12-05 13:12
    A Luser:
    Toothpick(s).
    Jammed between button and housing.




    Bingo! That or a small screwdriver... anything to wedge the button in the on position.

    Basically, the guy deserved to work there simply because he was too stupid to think up a decent solution to jamming the button on for the day.

    I'd call that a pretty good 'interview' question!!! :-D
  • Dzov 2012-12-05 13:27
    A lot of those buttons aren't very well made, and the act of trying to jam it could cause enough of a momentary interruption to completely shut down. If that was your $10 million, would you risk it?
  • Zylon 2012-12-05 13:31
    Lorne Kates:
    Huh. Learned something new. Given how much I love em-dashes, I'm surprised I haven't been burned by this before.

    If you really loved em dashes, you'd know that they're a — (Alt-0151 or &mdash;), not --.


    As for today's story, I have a hard time believing a room full of geeks didn't take advantage of this opportunity to brainstorm ways to keep that button pressed.
  • letatio 2012-12-05 13:34
    Lorne Kates:
    Sockatume:
    Of course, MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.


    MacGuyver was fired the other week for using equipment from an non-approved vendor. Sure, the paperclips we get from the no-bid contract with the boss' nephew's office supply hut costs $50 each, but they're SOX and PCI compliant paperclips!


    Am I insane or don't power switches generally make the circuit meaning they only needed to open up the side and unplug the switch from the motherboard?

    How old was this machine?
  • jiteo 2012-12-05 13:42
    I still don't understand why someone's first step upon choosing a computer that is *already on* is to press the power button. Apparently that's explained in the HTML comments, but I had a look and still don't get it.
  • Curmudgeon 2012-12-05 13:58
    To be sure (captcha esse), the real WTF is that he ended up as a new hire, in that room, NEVER HAVING SEEN IT BEFORE.

    He did not ask for, nor was offered a tour before uh 'creaming' on the dotted line. What did he expect and how many light years away was the reality?

    Now THAT's a WTFWYT (WTF were you thinking).
  • B00nbuster 2012-12-05 14:10
    TBH: It should be very easy to perform such a live surgery. I could've done it.
  • John 2012-12-05 14:14
    TRWTF was hitting the power button on the machine. I had an admin years ago suggest that the best thing to do when faced with a keyboard and a blank monitor where you weren't sure if it was in screen saver mode, sleeping or off, was to just press the shift key. This will either confirm it's off, sleeping, or running, and the shift key is least likely to enter any data input that might affect something running in the background.

    But my real question is, if someone says "Pick out a computer" why would your first instinct be to hit the power button? This one smells of Snope...
  • Fing 2012-12-05 14:40
    John:
    the best thing to do when faced with a keyboard and a blank monitor where you weren't sure if it was in screen saver mode, sleeping or off, was to just press the shift key.
    NO!!! Not shift! Control!! You shift-lovers make me sick, I tell you. How many times do I have to go over this? Ye gods I hate living in such a stupid world. And it never gets better...
  • urza9814 2012-12-05 14:51
    letatio:
    Lorne Kates:
    Sockatume:
    Of course, MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.


    MacGuyver was fired the other week for using equipment from an non-approved vendor. Sure, the paperclips we get from the no-bid contract with the boss' nephew's office supply hut costs $50 each, but they're SOX and PCI compliant paperclips!


    Am I insane or don't power switches generally make the circuit meaning they only needed to open up the side and unplug the switch from the motherboard?

    How old was this machine?


    I think you're insane. It's a desktop PC, and every desktop PC I've ever built or repaired had a normally open power switch. Which I am absolutely certain of because I've had a few machines so mangled that I had to replace the power switch with a generic button from Radioshack.
  • smxlong 2012-12-05 14:59
    On those old machines you can pop the button out and back in fast enough that the machine wont lose power. I used to do it all the time when I was bored.
  • Mr.'; Drop Database -- 2012-12-05 15:22
    Paul Neumann:
    So, TRWTF is SGML today?

    From W3C:
    White space is not permitted between the markup declaration open delimiter("<!") and the comment open delimiter ("--"), but is permitted between the comment close delimiter ("--") and the markup declaration close delimiter (">"). A common error is to include a string of hyphens ("---") within a comment. Authors should avoid putting two or more adjacent hyphens inside comments.
    Acid2 used to contain a test for this. Something like <!-- -- -->this is a comment<!-- -- -->
    The test was removed when the author of Acid2 finally agreed that the real error was the SGML spec itself.
  • Darth Paul 2012-12-05 15:27
    bkDJ:

    Maybe, depending on what was set in the OS's power options. Though given the rest of the circumstances, "when I press the power button" was probably set to "shut down".


    Reminds me of how the Australian Public Service, with their strict Internet usage monitoring policy, always had Internet Explorer search set to "Just go to the most likely site" at a time when search engines were notorious for having no safety filters and even the search term "broccoli" was not safe.
  • ahhhhh 2012-12-05 15:39

    it's far less interesting to read about me telling you about him telling you about his co-worker telling him about a different co-worker
    Oh. So its just a story the tell the FNG to make sure he doesn't mess with the production server.
  • glwtta 2012-12-05 15:50
    Paul seems like kind of an asshole.

    Also, just tape down the button, jeez.
  • WhiskeyJack 2012-12-05 15:50
    Well, like a previous poster in the thread, I've done this sort of thing too, and ended up holding the button down for a few seconds, maybe a few minutes... long enough to clean up the system and let it shut down properly.

    Given that the story is probably highly anonymized, I bet the original story was much the same.
  • db2 2012-12-05 16:42
    "So what you're saying is that if I release this button, you're out ten million, but if I hold it down all day, you're only out... half a million. Here, I'll fill out my deposit slip for you..."
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 16:52
    WhiskeyJack:
    Well, like a previous poster in the thread, I've done this sort of thing too, and ended up holding the button down for a few seconds, maybe a few minutes... long enough to clean up the system and let it shut down properly.


    It isn't the clean shutdown they were worried about. It was the broken-ass startup that, upon each and every boot, would set the calendar on trading system to day+1. Their system would be out-of-sync with the exchange, and they couldn't execute any trades.

    It's a little WTF nugget in a bucket of sloshing WTF stew.
  • Mark 2012-12-05 17:09
    If this were a real story, I'd think the power button would have been mechanically disabled long ago, at least taped over. AT LEAST. But most likely, talking this kind of money, these measures would be unnecessary because the machine would be out of arms reach of anyone who didn't understand the importance of it, and it would have had a great fail-over plan in place.

    Releasing that button, if the story was real, would have resulted in the manager getting fired and the lawyers coming down on him for such massive negligence, which makes his threat to the new guy pretty funny.
  • Kef Schecter 2012-12-05 17:09
    I'd totally have released the button. Maybe if I were feeling particularly generous, I would at least attempt to tape it down or something. It'd be their own stupidity causing the losses, not mine.

    db2:
    "So what you're saying is that if I release this button, you're out ten million, but if I hold it down all day, you're only out... half a million. Here, I'll fill out my deposit slip for you..."

    Except extortion is a crime.
  • Nick 2012-12-05 17:43
    Fing:
    John:
    the best thing to do when faced with a keyboard and a blank monitor where you weren't sure if it was in screen saver mode, sleeping or off, was to just press the shift key.
    NO!!! Not shift! Control!! You shift-lovers make me sick, I tell you. How many times do I have to go over this? Ye gods I hate living in such a stupid world. And it never gets better...

    Scroll-Lock, twice. Jeez.
  • Realee 2012-12-05 17:59
    The moment I read what had happened I thought "Cardboard & Sticky Tape"

    That or purposely use the "middle" finger and direct it towards Janice.
  • F 2012-12-05 18:15
    Lorne Kates:
    Paul Neumann:
    So, TRWTF is SGML today?

    From W3C:
    White space is not permitted between the markup declaration open delimiter("<!") and the comment open delimiter ("--"), but is permitted between the comment close delimiter ("--") and the markup declaration close delimiter (">"). A common error is to include a string of hyphens ("---") within a comment. Authors should avoid putting two or more adjacent hyphens inside comments.


    Huh. Learned something new. Given how much I love em-dashes, I'm surprised I haven't been burned by this before.


    Em-dashes are no problem; it's double hyphens that have syntactic meaning.
  • chubertdev 2012-12-05 18:24
    Is it just me, or are HTML comments absolutely useless?
  • foo 2012-12-05 18:37
    Curmudgeon:
    To be sure (captcha esse), the real WTF is that he ended up as a new hire, in that room, NEVER HAVING SEEN IT BEFORE.
    Honestly, what's that with those CAPTCHA quotes? It's bad enough when posters try to make witty comments about them, but sometimes, like here, someone just copies them into the text without any relationship to the rest. What's the point?

    I'm not trolling, I'm really wondering. It might have been funny once or twice when everyone didn't know that the CAPTCHAs here are always the same, but now, it's just annoying.
    Now THAT's a WTFWYT (WTF were you thinking).
  • foo 2012-12-05 18:40
    Kef Schecter:
    I'd totally have released the button. Maybe if I were feeling particularly generous, I would at least attempt to tape it down or something. It'd be their own stupidity causing the losses, not mine.

    db2:
    "So what you're saying is that if I release this button, you're out ten million, but if I hold it down all day, you're only out... half a million. Here, I'll fill out my deposit slip for you..."

    Except extortion is a crime.
    Yeah, hands up you criminal!
  • foo 2012-12-05 18:41
    chubertdev:
    Is it just me, or are HTML comments absolutely useless?
    It's only you that's absolutely useless. (SCNR)
  • John Hensley 2012-12-05 18:52
    F:
    Must be one of these damn standards-compliant ones.

    Proving that "standard" and "crap" aren't antonyms.
  • John Hensley 2012-12-05 18:52
    F:
    Must be one of these damn standards-compliant ones.

    Proving that "standard" and "crap" aren't antonyms.
  • John Hensley 2012-12-05 18:54
    Also proving that the comment editing page needs an interlock on the submit button
  • iminuru 2012-12-05 18:58
    No Unicorns?

    Captcha:
    veniam - somewhere in vietnam
  • chubertdev 2012-12-05 18:58
    foo:
    chubertdev:
    Is it just me, or are HTML comments absolutely useless?
    It's only you that's absolutely useless. (SCNR)


    My favorite part of your post is where you provide an example of them being useful, proving that it's not your post that's useless. :P
  • da Doctah 2012-12-05 19:10
    Epilogue: a week later, Manny received a massive bonus for screaming at the moment the button was pressed and not an instant earlier (which would have prevented the 12-hour vigil) or an instant later (in which case the prod server would have already been brought down and he would be the one getting dinged/sued/sanctioned for letting it happen with his wonderfully non-specific "grab a computer").

    And everyone agreed that Sarbanes-Oxley need never know that in a shop with this mission-critical power switch, there was neither a failover nor a recovery plan in place.
  • Zylon 2012-12-05 19:16
    foo:
    Honestly, what's that with those CAPTCHA quotes? It's bad enough when posters try to make witty comments about them, but sometimes, like here, someone just copies them into the text without any relationship to the rest. What's the point?
    We get a lot of morons here.
  • Shagrat 2012-12-05 20:02
    This is by far the most WTF thing I have ever read here.

    If I were in that guy's place, I would press the manager hard that it is not just my problem, but also theirs. If I let that button go, those millions lost will be visible to their managers - possibly jeopardizing Manny's post or at least his annual bonuses.

    And their case for damage caused would not be that strong either - how can you prosecute a guy for pressing an innocent button? His actions would hardly qualify as negligence. On the quite opposite: Manny could be later prosecuted for gross negligence. He knew the trade server runs on ancient hardware that can fail at any moment and the server is hardly secured in any way, yet he let it be so.
  • Coyne 2012-12-05 20:02
    We had this critical server that was new when it went into service, but it had sort of been around a while...like about 8 years. It was basically about a pinch above IBM AT. Worked well, but was full of software that, well, wasn't likely to be replaceable (we had passed Y2K during that 8 year period).

    The power supply failed one night. We paid IBM about $1000 for an exact replacement power supply, delivered on an emergency basis, on Saturday morning. Even at that time, we could have replaced the whole machine for the cost of that power supply...but then there was the software...

    However, unlike the people in the story, we did manage to get the box...and its obsolete software...retired not too long after that.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-05 20:06
    F:

    Em-dashes are no problem; it's double hyphens that have syntactic meaning.

    Trivia time: Guess how one types an em-dash. Here's a hint: the answer is "--".
  • grnkjl 2012-12-05 20:25
    Lorne Kates:
    Trivia time: Guess how one types an em-dash. Here's a hint: the answer is "--".

    And if you have an input method that converts two hyphens into an em-dash, then there's no problem with said em-dash appearing in an HTML comment.
  • jonnyq 2012-12-05 21:28
    Remy Porter:
    I can see it now, one of these people reads TDWTF today, and goes, "What? Holy crap, that guy still believes that was a real production server? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

    Best. Prank. Ever.

    Sadly, it probably wasn't.


    I thought it was a prank, too, until they got him a bucket and decided someone else had to flush the bucket.
  • jonnyq 2012-12-05 21:35
    Clickety click:
    Yeah but all the other WTFs aside, someone had an IBM Model M. So they can't be all bad.

    In my opinion, the Model M is the best keyboard of all time. You can keep your flat, soulless keyboards with a row of hotkeys to open IE or whatever (who honestly uses those?)

    I remember back at the beginning of the noughties, when I was working for a fairly large insurance company, word had come from head office in Paris (France) that all peripherals were to be replaced with the officially sanctioned device from some little computer shop in Round Rock, Texas. Some tosh about compatibility. I tried for as long as possible to circumvent this hardware refresh but they eventually got my anti-social, curly-corded noise-maker and threw it out.

    Sad times.

    Needless to say I quit that day etc etc.


    Who uses those hotkeys? well, I use the pause and volume buttons.

    I'm tempted to buy one of those and assign the extra keys to stuff.
    http://pckeyboard.com/page/category/PC122
  • jonnyq 2012-12-05 21:43
    Holes in the story:

    1. I seriously doubt single machine by itself was so mission-critical.

    2. The story says that the problem wasn't the machine shutting down. The problem was the machine rebooting, advancing the clock to the next day. So, taking your finger off the button would shut the machine down, but it should be at least less damaging to just leave the machine off. Or power it up off the network and reset the clock before plugging it back into the network.

    3. They didn't assign him a work machine? They pointed to a pile of live, running machines and said "go get one of those"? That part didn't happen. Even if I thought it was a development machine, I would be curious why they want me to use the one that's already plugged in to something.

    4. I would not want to be threatened with a lawsuit pending keeping my finger on a button, but I would at least respond to Manny by saying, "If I'm sued, I will testify that you, the person training me on my first day, told me to use this machine. You will be named in the lawsuit, too. Just try me."
  • Cheong 2012-12-05 21:53
    If I were him, I'd pull out any power/reset wire connectors from motherboard, so the only way to shutdown the production "server" is to do soft shutdown. (Or pull the power cord in case of emergency.

    For how to startup the machine if it has been shutdown? Man, every average or above competent will be able tell you that with a scerwdriver, shorting the first 2 pins will make it start.

    Note that some motherboard use 1st and 3rd pin, and in that case you'll need a little handcrafted tool that serve as jumper to boot that.
  • foo 2012-12-05 21:56
    jonnyq:
    Remy Porter:
    I can see it now, one of these people reads TDWTF today, and goes, "What? Holy crap, that guy still believes that was a real production server? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

    Best. Prank. Ever.

    Sadly, it probably wasn't.


    I thought it was a prank, too, until they got him a bucket and decided someone else had to flush the bucket.
    That "someone else" was the only person not in on the prank (or on much of anything else). Two birds with one stone ...
  • Cheong 2012-12-05 22:03
    1. I seriously doubt single machine by itself was so mission-critical.

    In case of trading machine (I assume that it's stock trading, because if it's other's then it's difficult to fit all the limitation and the "million per day" transaction volume... at the days there's machine without ACPI) it's common. Trading machine owned by the company is not allowed to directly connect to Exchange system. They have to rent a server from Exchange and connect through it (and with old machines that don't have ACPI in this story, I assume it uses COM port and can't handle real multitasking). The monthly rent of these machines are expensive so typical trading firms won't host more than 1 active machine unless if it's really needed.

    2. No. I think "the clock" means the clock of the Exchange, not of local machine.
  • Dirk 2012-12-05 22:59
    Clickety click:
    with a row of hotkeys to open IE or whatever (who honestly uses those?)

    I use the calculator hotkey ALL THE TIME.
  • Zylon 2012-12-05 23:50
    Lorne Kates:
    Trivia time: Guess how one types an em-dash. Here's a hint: the answer is "--".

    No, that's how you type two hyphens.

    Here's how you type an em dash: —
  • Craig 2012-12-05 23:56
    I had a semi-similar situation, though not involving millions. I worked in POS support for a restaurant franchise that had about 80 stores in 2 states. The (ancient) hardware was running Linux and SCO UNIX. (Ugh) I remoted in to one of our stores about 150 miles away to do some maintenance on one of the SCO machines. I don't remember the exact situation any more, but basically they hadn't paid their support and the OS license was expired. My remoting in caused the system to realize this. The only thing keeping the system alive was the terminal session that I had with this cruddy system over a lousy modem connection. While they wouldn't have lost millions, they would have had to suffer with doing everything manually at a million-dollar store on a busy Friday until the system could be restored.

    I ran my cell phone battery dead twice (as my home phone was tied up) speaking with people at our software vendor until I finally reached someone that had a clue and could be persuaded (through a combination of begging and vague threats) to give me a license key to use, though they weren't happy about it, as it was one they had bought for their own use. 8 hours later, and amazingly the modem connection still going, I was able to put in a temporary license key, reboot the system, and crack open a much needed beer.
  • beginner_ 2012-12-06 00:50
    TRWTF is that he didn't blackmail the manager present. "Give me $500000 check NOW or I move my finger!!!" I mean anyone sane would have already known that it was not only the first day but also their last. If it's real you don't want to work there and if it's a prank you also don't want to work there.
  • Mo6eB 2012-12-06 04:35
    Sockatume:
    MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.

    I was thinking of duct-taping a piece of cork to hold down the switch.
  • dkf 2012-12-06 04:41
    jonnyq:
    1. I seriously doubt single machine by itself was so mission-critical.
    You're claiming that people and companies never do such stupid things on a site that is devoted to stories about precisely that?
  • Cbuttius 2012-12-06 05:52
    Paul didn't realise the situation he was in properly? Not a very shrewd businessman.

    If you release the button they're set to lose 10 million.

    If they sue you they'll never get anywhere near that amount because you'll just declare yourself bankrupt if they have a case at all which they probably don't because any loss you make whilst operating as an employee you would not normally be liable for, just as you can't claim any profit you make for the company as your own.

    Sod the job. But bargain with them how much they will pay you off to keep holding the button all day. How about 1 million? More than they'll lose if you let go. Half a million - cheap for them. Minimum of 300K: any less than that I'll say leave it.


  • Cbuttius 2012-12-06 06:03
    See You Next Tuesday is slang for

    C U

    followed by the initial letters of Next Tuesday.
  • Jimbob Jones 2012-12-06 07:24
    Sounds similar to a story a co-worked was telling me about. In one of his previous lives he worked at a mail house. One of his team-mates was doing a lucrative print job for a client but for reasons they never worked out the font came out 'wrong', but only on one specific machine. They suspected it may have been some strange quirk caused by the copious amounts of fonts installed on his machine somehow conflicting with each other, but couldn't be 100% sure.

    The client loved the way the job looked with the messed up font and seeing as they weren't able to replicate the issue on any other machines, they had to declare his team-mates machine as untouchable, never to be rebooted, upgraded, patched etc until the clients marketing campaign had finished (think it was a 12month campaign, can't remember the exact details). They were afraid to so much as look at the machine in case it fixed whatever it was that was causing the font to be rendered differently. Good times :)
  • Zemm 2012-12-06 07:46
    Cbuttius:
    See You Next Tuesday is slang for

    C U

    followed by the initial letters of Next Tuesday.


    A small economical car from the 1980s?
  • tation 2012-12-06 07:51
    Fing:
    John:
    the best thing to do when faced with a keyboard and a blank monitor where you weren't sure if it was in screen saver mode, sleeping or off, was to just press the shift key.
    NO!!! Not shift! Control!! You shift-lovers make me sick, I tell you. How many times do I have to go over this? Ye gods I hate living in such a stupid world. And it never gets better...


    No no NO! You use the caps lock key or scroll lock or the num lock key and check to see if the keyboard lights change.
  • Lorne Kates 2012-12-06 08:58
    Cbuttius:
    See You Next Tuesday is slang for

    C U

    followed by the initial letters of Next Tuesday.


    Oh. =( I don't want that in my article. I'll go change the day to Thursday.
  • CA 2012-12-06 10:49
    People that star in stories on this website quit for much less.

    I would certainly make a fuss if they threatened me that way, but only now that I have worked for around 3-4 years and know more. If this was my first job I would probably shut up and keep the button pressed.
  • Bas 2012-12-06 11:05
    Jan:
    realmerlyn:
    Steve The Cynic:
    Somebody should edit the comments in the HTML to not include double-dashes, as that confuses at least some browsers.

    lk: Done. What the heck browser are you using?


    In real browsers, "--" is a toggle between comment and non-comment. So an odd number of them will confuse any standards-compliant browser.
    If you write bad code and it won't compile, is it the compiler's fault? Or yours for not understanding the language syntax, arcane as it may be?

    Anyone who asks "what browser are you using" has demonstrated that they are not yet competent to be writing HTML code. Write to standards. That will work on all compliant browsers. If someone is using a non-compliant browser, that's their problem.


    You don't have much experience with enterprise software development do you?
  • Decius 2012-12-06 12:32
    Lorne Kates:
    F:

    Em-dashes are no problem; it's double hyphens that have syntactic meaning.

    Trivia time: Guess how one types an em-dash. Here's a hint: the answer is "--".


    Oddly enough, when I type "--" I get two hyphens in quotes. When I want an em-dash I type — or &emdash;.

    Don't get me wrong- I very often use hyphens in informal cases where an em-dash is indicated.
  • Left Blank 2012-12-06 12:39
    dgvid:
    Simon Peyote Joints:
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?

    Some time in the mid-1990s a co-worker of mine was doing a multi-disk software install from floppies. This was in the days just before CD-ROM drives became common and installing something like the Visual Studio 2.0 or a TCP/IP stack meant going through a dozen or more 3.5" floppies.

    After the second or third disk he reached out and mistakenly stabbed the power button instead of the eject. He was afraid that rebooting mid-install would corrupt his machine, so he kept the power switch pressed down for the remaining 10 or 15 minutes required to finish the install.


    My copy of Microsoft Office 4.2 - 1994 - 32 Floppies - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc. - Sealed within plasic tear-open bags in groups of 5 disks.
  • DCRoss 2012-12-06 12:42
    Coyne:
    We had this critical server that was new when it went into service, but it had sort of been around a while...like about 8 years. It was basically about a pinch above IBM AT. Worked well, but was full of software that, well, wasn't likely to be replaceable (we had passed Y2K during that 8 year period).

    The power supply failed one night. We paid IBM about $1000 for an exact replacement power supply, delivered on an emergency basis, on Saturday morning. Even at that time, we could have replaced the whole machine for the cost of that power supply...but then there was the software...


    I had a similar situation with an irreplaceable IBM server from a previous decade (I wasn't sure which one, really) running a hacked up version of Netware and some proprietary database that nobody was able to replicate. If we had really put some development effort into it I'm sure we could have managed to migrate it to new hardware, but it was always scheduled to retire in just a few weeks so that never happened.

    When it finally failed to reboot after a UPS failure we paid someone on eBay $100 for an exact replacement server and moved the drives over. It was much easier than trying to fix the failed parts.

    The next day at the post-mortem meeting we stressed that we were lucky that that worked and that the whole system was a time bomb that needed to be either retired _now_ or have some serious resources allocated to building a backup server so that we didn't lose our remaining clients who still depended on the poor thing.

    The director nodded sagely and offered a Solomon-like solution to the problem. "Here's what we're going to do. You can take $200 out of my budget and buy two more of those servers. That should keep us going for a while longer."

    A year later the company was absorbed into a nearby megacorp. I wouldn't be surprised if even now they still have a big black box sitting in the corner of their server room bearing a handwritten sign that says "Do Not Power Off -- We Really Mean It".

  • ObiWayneKenobi 2012-12-06 12:52
    Kef Schecter:
    I'd totally have released the button. Maybe if I were feeling particularly generous, I would at least attempt to tape it down or something. It'd be their own stupidity causing the losses, not mine.

    db2:
    "So what you're saying is that if I release this button, you're out ten million, but if I hold it down all day, you're only out... half a million. Here, I'll fill out my deposit slip for you..."

    Except extortion is a crime.


    That would be blackmail, not extortion. Extortion is a demand for money with threat of physical violence (e.g. "Gimme the dough or I break your kneecaps"). Blackmail is a demand for money or you'll do something damaging in a non-violent way to the offender.

    Both should be legal when dealing with stupid people like this company, though.
  • Kidd 2012-12-06 13:16
    I hope this company fails.
  • Kwpolska 2012-12-06 14:54
    And what would happen if power went out? Losing a bazillion dollars, because their “servers” are shit, right?
  • Zylon 2012-12-06 15:02
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    That would be blackmail, not extortion. Extortion is a demand for money with threat of physical violence (e.g. "Gimme the dough or I break your kneecaps"). Blackmail is a demand for money or you'll do something damaging in a non-violent way to the offender.

    Extortion: Give me money or I'll reboot your mission-critical server.
    Blackmail: Give me money or I'll tell all your clients that your mission-critical server has no backup.
  • bubba 2012-12-06 16:01
    Note really.
    Since the switch is already on both the terminals are hot.
    So bridging them with a piece of wire would not cause any sparks.
    If you are sufficiently insulated and ungrounded you can safely work with hot wires.
  • mh 2012-12-06 16:07
    Hmmm ten million you say? How much of that is mine if I don't let go?
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-06 18:55
    Jimbob Jones:
    One of his team-mates was doing a lucrative print job for a client but for reasons they never worked out the font came out 'wrong', but only on one specific machine. They suspected it may have been some strange quirk caused by the copious amounts of fonts installed on his machine somehow conflicting with each other, but couldn't be 100% sure.
    Windows NT4 SP4 or later with Word 97 or Word 98. Or Windows 2000 with Word 97 or Word 98.

    Windows 2000 US version had the same bug during beta, and Microsoft fixed it in Windows 2000 US version some time between beta and final release, but Microsoft never fixed it in Windows 2000 Japanese version. So Windows 2000 US version displayed Japanese fonts more reliably than Windows 2000 Japanese version did -- including Latin characters that are included in Japanese fonts.

    Windows NT4 SP4 or later could be fixed by copying font files from Windows NT4 SP3 or earlier. Windows 2000 could be fixed by using Word 2000 instead of Word 97 or Word 98, but differences in line breaks caused differences in the number of pages occupied by some documents.
  • Stuart Longland 2012-12-07 07:33
    Because I'll bet the "power button" was a big chunky on/off push-button that switched mains power.

    Pre-ACPI likely implies it was an AT style power supply, so that power button was routed straight to the mains socket at the back.
  • Dave 2012-12-07 07:44
    Bonkers as it sounds I believe it as I had a similar incident. Day2 at a nameless ISP and it turned out the beige box under my desk next to my desktop was both ns1, ns2, radius and the company website. Fortunately I'd learned that some of the power buttons built into no-name beige boxes would lose contact AFTER the switch would pass the point where the catch could be re-engaged. Basically I performed the quick 'semi-release & stab back down' manouver and the machine stayed live (well till somone lifted a floortile and the dust fried the PSU a couple of months later).
  • QJo 2012-12-07 09:16
    Zylon:
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    That would be blackmail, not extortion. Extortion is a demand for money with threat of physical violence (e.g. "Gimme the dough or I break your kneecaps"). Blackmail is a demand for money or you'll do something damaging in a non-violent way to the offender.

    Extortion: Give me money or I'll reboot your mission-critical server.
    Blackmail: Give me money or I'll tell all your clients that your mission-critical server has no backup.


    Technically, blackmail is threatening to reveal something illegal about the victim. You can only actually be blackmailed as such if you have broken the law.

    Whether blackmail also technically applies to a victim merely wishes to keep secret something about them that is embarrassing (but technically legal) is an interesting question. I would suggest this is not the case, because in the latter case you have always got recourse to legal means of fighting it without compromising your integrity. The victim of true blackmail has no such recourse, as reporting the act to the authorities will require that you lay yourself open to action by those authorities. Such a dilemma is what the blackmailer exploits.
  • Eric 2012-12-07 10:24
    Because on these old Machines where you could hold down the button forever, but releasing it meant an immediate shutdown, the powerbutton was hardwired as 230/110V straight through the PSU. The input jack on the PSU goes to a cord, over the Power button, and back to the PSU where it gets transformed down into 12/5V.

    Good times!
  • ShatteredArm 2012-12-07 12:43
    I which market is the trading day at least 12 hours long?
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-08 01:00
    ShatteredArm:
    I which market is the trading day at least 12 hours long?
    CME might have been the first.
  • Meep 2012-12-08 10:48
    the beholder:
    sukru:
    Richard:
    Most of those old beige boxes with the mechanical power switches, you could release the button and push it again quickly enough to prevent a power-down.

    You might want to practice a few times before doing it on a production server, though.
    I used to do this all the time! As long as you can re-press the buttons before the capacitors discharge, nothing happened.
    I did it several times too when those buttons were the norm, but Paul couldn't have the luxury. It wasn't his machine, so he couldn't be sure how much the button would push back until it reached the stage where you have to press it again.

    The article calls the lack of ACPI a "small blessing of old hardware". I have to disagree. Were they using newer hardware Paul would release the button at Manny's scream and all would be ok.


    It'd start to hibernate or some shite. ACPI pretty much means that power button does whatever it feels like.
  • Meep 2012-12-08 10:49
    jonnyq:
    Remy Porter:
    I can see it now, one of these people reads TDWTF today, and goes, "What? Holy crap, that guy still believes that was a real production server? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

    Best. Prank. Ever.

    Sadly, it probably wasn't.


    I thought it was a prank, too, until they got him a bucket and decided someone else had to flush the bucket.


    No rule that says you can't prank several people.
  • Meep 2012-12-08 10:49
    Sockatume:
    Of course, MacGuyver would've opened up the machine and hotwired the power switch.


    Or just get a wooden dowel or metal rod and jam it into the power switch. You could test it on another computer.
  • h0h0h0 2012-12-08 18:21
    I call BS on this story.. A little too much narrative here.
  • Patrick 2012-12-09 00:14
    Rhywden:
    Simon Peyote Joints:
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?

    Story covers that one: "No ACPI".

    And you know what that means. If you can release the button and re-press it fast enough (which is kinda easy to do) you can then let go without powering down the machine.
  • Val 2012-12-09 07:17
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    The threat would have been enough to release the button. "Good luck in court, asshole" followed by releasing the button and walking out.

    Any company that stupid DESERVES to lose millions of dollars.


    Well, imagine yourself in the place of his co-workers. Would you have liked if some random new guy would destroy your job just because he was feeling smug?
  • Val 2012-12-09 07:18
    Patrick:
    Rhywden:
    Simon Peyote Joints:
    I'm no expert - wouldn't holding the power button for 5 seconds on most machines trigger a hard shutdown?

    Story covers that one: "No ACPI".

    And you know what that means. If you can release the button and re-press it fast enough (which is kinda easy to do) you can then let go without powering down the machine.


    Would you take your chances with 10 million USD in the equation?
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2012-12-10 09:38
    Val:
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    The threat would have been enough to release the button. "Good luck in court, asshole" followed by releasing the button and walking out.

    Any company that stupid DESERVES to lose millions of dollars.


    Well, imagine yourself in the place of his co-workers. Would you have liked if some random new guy would destroy your job just because he was feeling smug?


    I suppose not, but again any company that keeps everything that keeps them afloat on an unmarked computer situated in a random cubicle where anyone can turn it off doesn't deserve to stay in business. That kind of stupidity should not be rewarded, it should be punished swiftly and decisively as a warning to other idiots that such behavior is NOT tolerated.
  • Chuck Conway 2012-12-10 17:46
    The real WTF was he did not quit the place.
  • Bill C. 2012-12-10 22:58
    Patrick:
    If you can release the button and re-press it fast enough
    I'm equipped to do that.
    Patrick:
    (which is kinda easy to do)
    What? Hey! Way to destroy a man's ego.
  • DavidN 2012-12-11 11:52
    As long as he left guilt-free in the end.
  • Konrad 2012-12-11 21:27
    I'm guessing it was an AT power supply, not an ATX power supply. Meaning that the power button was linked directly to the power supply, not to the motherboard.
  • MichaelWojcik 2012-12-19 11:47
    Not a single comment mentioning molly-guards? Damn kids. I'm assigning all of you a five-page essay on the Jargon File.
  • Neil 2013-01-09 12:02
    Neil:
    I'm looking at you, <!-- <b>Tokyo</b> &amp; <b>Beijing</b> - see you at <a href="http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/QCon-Tokyo-2012--QCon-Beijing-2012.aspx">QCon</a> (April 16-20) -->
    Well, I'm not any more, this has since been fixed. (But today I noticed a stray </p> in the source of the InsertSql() article instead...)
  • Dave 2013-01-10 16:20
    Because on a machine this old, the power switch IS an actual physical switch; not just a momentary switch.
  • Dan F 2014-06-02 21:11
    The only thing that could have made this story better was if after holding the button all day and finally being able to release the button (not to mention himself), the computer had kept chugging along as it had been. Not unlikely for the switch to be busted given the state of everything else in the place...