• TylerK (unregistered) in reply to mastmaker
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  • J (unregistered) in reply to danixdefcon5
    danixdefcon5:
    Good thing that POS button doesn't work on Linux... but what were the keyboard designers thinking when they set up that thing???

    I think they were thinking how great it would be if all PC's worked like Macs.

  • unklegwar (cs) in reply to Foo Duck
    Foo Duck:
    The CIO should be greatfull for not having to find a child freezed to death or at least dehydrated in the datacenter on a monday morning.

    Freezed?

    er.... see "Frozen"

  • unklegwar (cs)

    GD kids are such a pain in the @$$. Remember the good old days when you could slap their hands when they couldn't keep their hands off things?

  • darin (cs) in reply to JustMeAgain
    JustMeAgain:
    1. Since I brought my 13-year-old daughter to work as a receptionist/office helper for a day she has vowed never to work in an office again -- she's now 20 and is keeping the promise.

    I think many companies do this wrong. They take all the kids and put them into a room with a highly paid baby sitter and show presentations and have them do coloring (BTW, I never have to sit through presentations in my job). There are maybe 10-20 minutes where they kids are with their parents. This defeats the purpose of "take your child to work day" because the children are explicitly not shown what the parents do at work. Instead they get the corporate BS. No wonder kids think this is boring.

    The "unofficial" take your kids to work day is when the parents just bring the kids in without having a corporate event, and the children really get to see what happens and it can get interesting. Even if daddy isn't doing anything fun, somebody nearby might be. Soldering, inventory, cable routing, oscilloscopes, manufacturing, pulling pranks on Dwight, etc. This works best at smaller companies though.

    (Actually, at my company that makes medical ultrasound, our holiday party was an open house for family and friends. In order to demonstrate what we actually did at work, we scanned someone who was pregnant so the kids could see the fetus.)

  • EvanED (cs) in reply to jrwr00
    jrwr00:
    Well, atlest it didnt kill the WHOLE center, ive seen a kill switch for the massive UPS, you press that thing, and 60 servers go down HARD

    That's what I was envisioning as I was reading... one of the kill switches they have on the walls of shops and such, that take out the electricity to the room minus emergency lights.

  • hotflungwok (unregistered)

    When I was in grade school I used to go work with my dad occasionally. He worked at an international airport as a radar technician, so his work area was full of oscilliscopes and tools and other neat stuff.

    The last time I was allowed to go, he showed me a remote radar terminal. It showed local traffic, and could do things like display name and origin of flights. My dad showed me how to do a couple of things, told me not to press any of the red buttons, and went off to get something done.

    Well, these weren't just any red buttons, they were glowing red buttons. And they had cryptic technical abbreviations on them. After becoming bored with looking at incoming airline information, my hand somehow slipped and pushed one of the red buttons. Nothing happened. So I pushed a few more. Nothing. Then pushed another one. The radar terminal shut down, went blank, all lights off. Oops.

    Phones started ringing. 'What?' and 'Youre kidding' featured heavily in the conversations I could hear. Remote radar terminals all over the airport were down. All of them. My dad asked me what I did, and I kind of sort of mentioned that I might have accidentally touched a few of the red buttons.

    The 4 button combination I had pressed was an emergency shutdown. The only terminals it didn't affect were the air traffic control terminals, which were on an independent system. All they had to do was turn the main system on again, and all the terminals came back up again pretty quickly. Nothing bad really happened, but it was thought best that I not return to the airport after that.

    My dad referred to it as a 'constipation alleviation event'.

  • Jackal von ÖRF (cs)

    With my home server (a low-end PC in a corner), I've disconnected the power and reset buttons. Pressing the power button requires opening the case. No problems with the temptation of "the big red button". (The only button would be the PSU's main power switch, and it's not as tempting.)

    PS: I've seen my work place's data center once. I didn't press any buttons.

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to hotflungwok
    hotflungwok:
    When I was in grade school I used to go work with my dad occasionally. He worked at an international airport as a radar technician, so his work area was full of oscilliscopes and tools and other neat stuff.

    The last time I was allowed to go, he showed me a remote radar terminal. It showed local traffic, and could do things like display name and origin of flights. My dad showed me how to do a couple of things, told me not to press any of the red buttons, and went off to get something done.

    Well, these weren't just any red buttons, they were glowing red buttons. And they had cryptic technical abbreviations on them. After becoming bored with looking at incoming airline information, my hand somehow slipped and pushed one of the red buttons. Nothing happened. So I pushed a few more. Nothing. Then pushed another one. The radar terminal shut down, went blank, all lights off. Oops.

    Phones started ringing. 'What?' and 'Youre kidding' featured heavily in the conversations I could hear. Remote radar terminals all over the airport were down. All of them. My dad asked me what I did, and I kind of sort of mentioned that I might have accidentally touched a few of the red buttons.

    The 4 button combination I had pressed was an emergency shutdown. The only terminals it didn't affect were the air traffic control terminals, which were on an independent system. All they had to do was turn the main system on again, and all the terminals came back up again pretty quickly. Nothing bad really happened, but it was thought best that I not return to the airport after that.

    My dad referred to it as a 'constipation alleviation event'.

    I only have a laptop at my desk (the data center is far enough away that I can't see anything going blinky-blinky without walking in), but I'm gettin' me one of them glowing red light buttons, preferably with blink-capability, and gluing it to the top of my laptop...

  • DM (unregistered)

    I wonder if the kid thought he'd hear those three profound words after pressing the red button...."That was easy".

  • b (unregistered) in reply to David
    David:
    Brian:
    At least it didn't launch a missle
    I think you mean missile.

    why don't you keep completely irrelevant and childish observations like that to your self?

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to b
    b:
    David:
    Brian:
    At least it didn't launch a missle
    I think you mean missile.

    why don't you keep completely irrelevant and childish observations like that to your self?

    I argee. It is a wlel konwn fcat taht you olny need to see the frsit and lsat lteters of ecah wrod in odrer to be albe to raed sutff. The ohter lteters can be sarmclbed and you can sltil udnresntad!

  • its me (cs) in reply to Brian

    So I see lots of people blaming the kid, lots of people lamenting the fact that Big Red Buttons exist, but nobody cluing in on the real WTF in this one.... "they were in the process of reconfiguring their high availability system, which meant that there was no fail over."

    In the middle of the production day? No fail-over, reconfiguring, hello?!? That's the WTF. Even the most secure data center will get occasional VIPs, and sure the BRB should have had a cover, but come on, reconfiguring a high-availability system in the middle of a production day? That's the WTF....

    -Me

  • anony-mouse (unregistered) in reply to danixdefcon5
    danixdefcon5:
    ... So once I was working on some stuff, tried to press the "Del" key and pushed the "Power" button instead.

    Which starts a non-interactive, non-stopping forced shutdown.

    On a server.

    Good thing that POS button doesn't work on Linux...

    Last time I pushed that button while logged into my server it asked me what the reason for shutting down was, and refused to shutdown w/out it. The real wtf is that you were logged on at the machine and not via remote desktop.

    Oh, and linux will respond to those keys with the proper keymap selected, you have quite a bit of control of what happens when its pressed too.

  • Guus (unregistered)

    I had 2 computers hooked up through a KVM. Going for lunch I would hit Cntrl-Alt_del on my windows box and hit enter. (locks computer)

    Then I would switch to my linux box (which is running the dept database server) and automatically do the same ...

    I've only made THAT mistake once...

  • Roy (unregistered)

    More years ago than I care to admit, I began my IT career with a large local authority in the south of England which was one of the largest IBM shops in the UK at the time. It used to be the practice to give tours of the data centre for various bigwigs such as the county councillors so they could see just exactly what the millions of pounds they'd poured into that big room in the basement had bought.

    Legend had it that one day a tour of bigwigs were gathered around the system console while the duty operator explained the god-like power he had over this huge collection of gadgetry.

    "For instance," he said, "to shut down the entire system, all I have to do is type this command 'SHUTDOWN' and press the return key here."

    "What, this key?" said one of the bigwigs as he leaned over and pressed the return key.

    They stopped doing data centre tours after that.

  • marvin_rabbit (cs) in reply to b
    b:
    David:
    Brian:
    At least it didn't launch a missle
    I think you mean missile.
    why don't you keep completely irrelevant and childish observations like that to your self?
    Oh, now I get it. At first I read it and thought that he meant "at least it didn't launch a missive".

    I was trying to figure out how it would do that... Was it being email? And how was it sent if the power was out? Maybe it was being printed by a battery backup printer. Hmm...

    But now a see that he meant "missile"! Thanks for the clarification.

  • indyHarcourt (cs)

    We have this big red button in our data center. I pushed it and some guy from Staples magically appeared and refilled the printer with paper and ink. That was easy!

  • EvanED (cs) in reply to Guus
    Guus:
    I had 2 computers hooked up through a KVM. Going for lunch I would hit Cntrl-Alt_del on my windows box and hit enter. (locks computer)

    Then I would switch to my linux box (which is running the dept database server) and automatically do the same ...

    I've only made THAT mistake once...

    Win-L, if you have a Windows key. (Just in case you don't know.)

    I used to do the ctrl-alt-del,enter thing too, but now I'm on a Windows box with a custom GNAA and ctrl-alt-delete,enter is "change password." So I switched to using Win-L, and I like it better now.

  • Dave (unregistered)

    So it was a particularly windy day at the gas station. I hop out, get the pump going, and look for someplace out of the wind to wait. One of the big structural columns holding up the roof should do the trick. I walk to the column, sidle up in front of it, and it's perfect! I back up a little to lean against the column, and the back of my head hits something. All of a sudden, all the gas pumps shut down. Yep, I accidentally knocked the emergency switch with my big ol' noggin.

    Two downsides: one, the embarrassment of the screwup; two, not getting to enjoy conciously pressing the shiny, candylike button.

  • Moekandu (unregistered)

    Many years ago, I worked as an operator (aka, glorified backup weenie) for a large retail chain.

    The boss had recently installed a new CD-ROM drive into the primary file server (486/66 running Novell 2.23, I believe), an NEC with a funky bezel. After the installation, the cover wouldn't close correctly.

    A few days later, I scoot up to the desk to run a particular backup and my knee hits the cover on the server. I don't notice anything in particular and keep working. About thirty seconds later, the boss comes running into the room in a complete panic, saying the server is down.

    Twenty minutes later, the server is back up and I'm feeling like a total heel. While boss is on the phone letting the various department heads know that the server is back up, he spins in his chair and his knee hits the server. Down it goes.

    "Well, I don't feel so bad anymore," I tell him. He laughs. We pulled the bezel off the server and removed the power button before powering it back on again.

  • mark (unregistered)
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  • Kev (unregistered) in reply to danixdefcon5

    Ah, the Uni I went had a number of keyboards with three keys missing - it took a few months before I found one which had those keys on it - obviously they had been prised off when someone accidentally hit them and lost there work (the damage to the keyboard surround implied they were prised off when someone was annoyed rather than by the techs. The really annoying thing about the reboots is that the machines would reinstall themselves over the network if they hadn't been logged out over the weekend...

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to its me
    its me:
    In the middle of the production day? No fail-over, reconfiguring, hello?!? That's the WTF. Even the most secure data center will get occasional VIPs, and sure the BRB should have had a cover, but come on, reconfiguring a high-availability system in the middle of a production day? That's the WTF....

    -Me

    No man, it's the fact that they let a gaggle of kids into the datacenter. Yeesh.

  • aquatone282 (unregistered)

    I saw a Big Red Button get pushed one time.

    It was in the Transportable Ground Intercept Facility II five minutes before we were scheduled to establish the datalink with our aerial platform and get to work.

    It worked.

    And the guy who pushed it had one less stripe on his sleeve several days later.

  • Kiss me, I'm Polish (unregistered)

    At a place I worked for several years ago, there was a big red box called The Alarm System. Once in a while the alarm would go off, and make the sirens get everyone out of the office. The level of noise was unbearable, so it did what it was supposed to do: everyone got out within the next 3 minutes. Now, the thing to do was to push the damn Big Red Button on it in order to stop the noise. The cavalry was already on its way, and the noise was worse than the music my little sister listens to. Normally, since it was the secretary's job, and as I was the IT guy, I would push the Button, based on the common belief that since there's some electricity involved, it definitly has to do with the IT, even if it was next to the secretary's desk. And then came a cold winter morning when I was late. Not much, maybe 30 minutes. And the winter morning was really cold, going well under 0 in both scales (don't get me started with those kelvin things). Unfortunately it was the day when the alarm was so bored that it went off. Imagine about 30 people freezing their asses off for almost half an hour. I felt a little like a hero when, after giving the gladiator's salute to the boss, I entered the building with the secretary. "See, this is the button" - I showed her. "You need to push it in order to stop the noise". "But I won't do that" - she answered through the sirens. I was starting to get deaf already. "You have to, otherwise it won't stop". "But there's electrity in it! It will kill me!" As I finally pushed the button, I knew I had lost, even if I didn't get fried by a high voltage, supposedly concentrated in the big red button. I lost, because it proved that pushing the button required the work of one IT guy, not one secretary. I don't miss that job much. I really miss that boss though. He wouldn't make scenes when people were late at work once in a while, as long as they were keeping the work done. He kept it that way even that day.

  • Robert R (unregistered) in reply to Kiddibeik

    The glass in front of the button is actually a sliding panel which one the day is question and most days previous was left slide back due to a broken spring.

  • Bill (unregistered) in reply to nobody

    Similar story from the other side. I used to have a client with a fairly old data center. One day, a bunch of folded-up plastic tarps appeared on top of each server rack. When queried, we were told that if a fire broke out, those were for the operators to cover each rack before exiting the building. I'm not sure when/if it occurred to them that asking operators to hang around to deploy the tarps was a huge WTF.

  • Robbie Coleman (unregistered)

    That Kid has a future in IT!

  • risk (unregistered) in reply to darin
    darin:
    They take all the kids and put them into a room with a highly paid baby sitter and show presentations and have them do coloring.

    Thus preparing them for a dazzling career in management.

  • RobertJohnK (cs) in reply to Fredric
    Fredric:
    I just hope the pentagon doesn't have bring-your-kids-to-work-day...

    I don't know about the Pentagon, but the White House is reportedly replacing bring-your-kids-to-work day with bring-your-wife-to-work day.

  • RobertJohnK (cs) in reply to Guus
    Guus:
    I had 2 computers hooked up through a KVM. Going for lunch I would hit Cntrl-Alt_del on my windows box and hit enter. (locks computer)

    Then I would switch to my linux box (which is running the dept database server) and automatically do the same ...

    I've only made THAT mistake once...

    For those who don't know: comment out the "ca" entry from /etc/inittab and Ctrl-Alt-Del will no longer cause a shutdown.

  • Rank Amateur (cs) in reply to Kiss me, I'm Polish
    Kiss me:
    ..."See, this is the button" - I showed her. "You need to push it in order to stop the noise". "But I won't do that" - she answered through the sirens. I was starting to get deaf already. "You have to, otherwise it won't stop". "But there's electrity in it! It will kill me!"
    I think you've stumbled on the ultimate geek test. If you refuse to push a big red button when told you must, you're a total un-geek. If you insist on pushing it when told you must not, you're a total geek. --Rank
  • Nick Holland (unregistered)

    ok, lots of stories about what goes wrong with Big Red Buttons. Has anyone ever seen one pressed, where afterwards, everyone says, "Gee, I'm SO glad that Big Red Button was there and so glad it got pressed!"?

    I managed to convince our people that the likelihood of something WRONG happening with the BRB was much greater than the likelihood of it being needed and actually HELPING. However, that was after the BRB was mounted. On the wall. Next to the door. RIGHT where reasonable people would have expected the light switch to be (the actual light switch was mounted next to the fire alarm). Mounted, but not active. Thank goodness, I think...

  • Zorg (unregistered)

    Do you know what I love? A killer. A real, dyed-in-the-wool killer. You see, a REAL killer would have immediately asked about the little red button on the bottom...

  • Bob (unregistered)

    Had a friend who worked in a big (Cyber) datacenter in the late 70's or early 80's. It had the big red buttons that cut power AND tripped the Halon fire system too. Someone had a desk right next to/underneath one and the button got bumped. My friend was at the console when the lights went out. He said the Halon system blew hundreds/thousands of pages of output all over the room and it got Real dark and Real quiet..

  • Ishai Sagi (unregistered)

    In the early days of World Of Warcraft Beta (please dont kill me - I quit!), a lot of people never bothered to read the instructions, or indeed the in-game help, and were just shouting to the whole world in the general chat stupid questions. Most of all, it was hunters - people who could get pets to do the fighting for them. But the problem is - you have a pet, you have to feed it. The most common question then was - "how do I feed my pet". That question dominated the general chat areas, every time a new guy downloaded the beta and logged in.

    I had a simple solution for this annoyance. While other people contended themselves by shouting back "RTFM!" I simply answered the question with "hit alt-f4". Everytime I did that you could feel the silance following, as one by one these people tried my solution. muuahahahaha!

  • big zig (unregistered)

    Luckily it was only a data center. Imagine this being a nuclear reactor, so the power grid in California. People do some dumb things to impress kids during those visits.

  • big zig (unregistered) in reply to Kiss me, I'm Polish

    This happens anywhere someone does soemthing no one else will do. I ended up managing system security configuration for a major company when I was dumb enough to help 'design a solution'.

    Moral of the story: Never volunteer.

  • gwenhwyfaer (cs) in reply to danixdefcon5
    danixdefcon5:
    but what were the keyboard designers thinking when they set up that thing???

    That nobody would be so lax as to plug a $5 desktop keyboard into a $10k server...?

  • gwenhwyfaer (cs) in reply to snoofle

    I bet it took you much longer and required much more thought to type everything that way than to do it correctly, though ;)

  • Matthew (unregistered)

    They had to restore all the systems from backup just because the power was cut? Geez. I understand having to repare some filesystems and rollforward some databases or whatever, but that doesn't sound like a very robust system to me. Sounds like that red button is a Kill Switch++ (turn off power and reset to factory default). That is the real WTF.

    -matthew

  • newfweiler (cs)

    Here's a story that is not a button story but a flood story.

    I did some consulting at a certain hotel-casino. The data processing center was on the 13th floor. The computer operator told me this story.

    A guest on the 14th floor turned on the water for a bath, plugged the overflow drain to get a deeper bath, and then forgot about it for a few hours.

    It's very disorienting to find yourself standing in the rain next to your mainframe.

  • Bob (unregistered)

    When we moved into a larger office, the server room had a Big Red Button on the wall but we didn't look too hard into what it really did... we just assumed it was a bad idea to press it and left it at that. So it just sat there taunting us.

    The day the power was knocked out region-wide by a huge windstorm and we were dead in the water anyway, everyone in the department gleefully took turns pushing The Big Red Button.

  • RyanM (unregistered) in reply to Ishai Sagi
    Ishai Sagi:
    In the early days of World Of I had a simple solution for this annoyance. While other people contended themselves by shouting back "RTFM!" I simply answered the question with "hit alt-f4". Everytime I did that you could feel the silance following, as one by one these people tried my solution. muuahahahaha!
    If you are on a CounterStrike server and you want to free a slot for a friend to join, just say "Press F10 for god mode!", you bet there will be at least one beginner pressing F10, which immediately closes Counterstrike.
  • Marco (unregistered)

    As far as I remember from back when I worked at IBM, Big Red Buttons were pushed by employees too - by accident of course, e.g. by leaning onto them on the wall. That took out half a data-center.

    CAPTCHA: quake - 1,2,Arena,4?

  • chocobot (unregistered) in reply to J
    J:
    From "Ren and Stimpy"

    Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? [Stimpy reaches for the button; Ren slaps his hand away] Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool!

    Stimpy: So what'll happen?

    Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good. I guess we'll never know, 'cause you're going to guard it. You won't touch it, will you?

    Narrator: How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to erradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button? The jolly, candy-like button? Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?

    Stimpy: No I can't! Yeagh! [Pushes button]

    Interesting. I don't remember this ......

  • lofwyr (cs)
    I mean really, while you're at it, why not just crush all of their hopes and dreams and tell them that Santa Claus died in a mid-air collision with the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny was run over while trying to save the world's last candy factory, and that there would never be any birthday parties ever again.

    Actually, Santa "they don't call me El Machete for nothing" Claus and the Easter "gotta k*ll that SoB" Bunny where both fragged by The Main Man. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9ooZYjF0mI (scnr)

    l.

  • Steve (unregistered)

    A former boss tells a similar story on himself.

    My former boss, call him Glen, would occasionally give tours of the computer room (back then, it was a giant mainframe that served as a time sharing system to the entire campus where it was located plus two satellite operations, one across town and the other in Washington, DC) to visiting dignitaries.

    This computer room had a big red button mounted on a pillar near the operators consoles that not only shut down the machines but also darned near everything else in case of a fire or some other disaster.

    Not only that, it initiated a Halon dump.

    Halon or Bromochlorodifluoromethane is a fire retardant, now no longer used because of its damage to the ozone layer, used in a lot of computer rooms because it did not form conductive ions and, at least according to one source, could be breathed for long enough to get your rear out of the affected area (I've never tried so I won't swear to that).

    Well, you can see where this is going.

    One day, Glen was giving a tour to some DC bigwigs and one of them pointed to the big red button and asked what it was.

    Glen turned and said something to the effect of "Oh, this? It shuts down the machine room in case of a fire."

    Then he proceeded to demonstrate.

    If you've never seen a Halon dump, they can be quite impressive (I saw one under test conditions at another center). Since the gas is under fairly high pressure, there is a noise that you would not believe would occur outside of a airport runway and the venting will blow raised floor tiles out of their mountings.

    Also, since the gas is under pressure, the temperature drops precipitously and the room fills with fog.

    There was a quick exit to the door by all concerned.

    The center was down for several days and Glen was red-faced for weeks.

  • fcs (unregistered)
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