• ogilmor (cs)

    Love it! Yeah, I remember those days, but BYCTWD has gotten less popular lately. When we did that, smart parents would let their kids run wild with the air hockey table so they'd stay out of the way....

  • Scoldog (unregistered) in reply to big zig
    big zig:
    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.

    I got told this second hand, so it could be incorrect.

    The Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in NSW, Australia used to have tours (I don't know if this is still happening, what with all the "heightened security threats" out there).

    Part of the tour would lead you past a Big Red Button on a wall with a whole bunch of threatening looking "Do not touch" buttons. However, the button was linked to a counter above the wall displaying the amount of times people had succumbed to temptation!

    Captcha: alarm, how appropriate.

  • hk0 (cs) in reply to EvanED
    ...but now I'm on a Windows box with a custom GNAA and ctrl-alt-delete

    Uh, I think you meant GINA. Little freudian slip there? Watch any good danish space movies lately?

  • Scoldog (unregistered) in reply to chocobot
    chocobot:
    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 ......

    "Will you remember using a history eraser?" How very Zen

  • Alan D. (unregistered)

    I work at a university with a very large Oceanographic research college that does all sorts of weather modeling and related research. The entire university has a facility services department that does generic minor repairs and maintenance. Well we had one of those guys in the supercomputer room and, after finishing a job, he thought he'd turn off the lights...

    Ya, the big red lightswitch that you have to hold down for 3 seconds and crane your hand behind a protective piece of plexiglass with the words "Emergency Shutdown" on it. Needless to say our entire system got killed and all in-progress research was terminated early and the majority of it unrecoverable. This stuff can take months to finish too. I never heard the exact figures, but some of our research grants can reach in the $5M range.

  • Steve (unregistered)

    It was our first day at a new school, a program for high school students held in the basement of a local college's library. I saw a BRB on the wall (behind a piece of plexiglass to prevent accidental pressing, but not locked) and asked what it did. I was told a short but fanciful yarn about the days when a single computer filled the entire room, wherin the Button would be used in time of flood or Russian invasion to shut said computer down. "But it's not hooked up any more," my new teacher conceded at the end of said yarn.

    A few days later, some classmates were gathered round the Button, daring each other to press it. I, in in a fit of youthful hubris, informed my fearsome classmates that "the Button is not hooked up any more," pulled aside the plexiglass, and pressed it. Every computer in the room shut down immediately. We all scampered away.

    Soon, we heard tales of every computer in the library turning off at the same moment. Coincidence, to be sure. It took a day for an electrician to come down to our basement quarters and investigate the loss of power. A student (not I) informed him that someone had pressed the button over on yonder wall. "Interesting," said the technician, "but that couldn't be the problem - that Button is not hooked up any more."

    Another day passed, and we saw the electrician back. He was removing the Button from the wall. Apparently it was hooked up after all.

    Of course, the principal blamed the button pressing on another student, one she had deemed a trouble maker (and without provocation as far as I know.) I chose not to correct her.

  • Ed (unregistered) in reply to JustMeAgain

    We had an operator who would use the HALT button on the console (IBM 3031) to pause the scrolling of the display.

    We re-educated him after we figured out why response time would periodically tank.

  • m0ffx (unregistered)

    A few times lately I've managed to kick the plug to my power strip out. Causing my computer to go kapow rather abruptly.

    I'll be glad when my laptop's back up and running.

    CAPTCHA: atari. Did they have big red buttons?

  • darin (cs) in reply to Nick Holland
    Nick Holland:
    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've noticed that in the past, PC's (the clone things) used to have a big reset button, and a harder to press power button. The logic being that pushing reset is much better for your computer than cycling power when things get hung. But over time I've seen that this has reversed. The power button is large, and the reset button is very difficult to press with a finger, and is even missing on some computers. The only thing missing is to make the power button red to encourage poeple to press that instead of reset.

    (also, the game Evil Genius has a big red button you can buy to slow down and befuddle any secret agents that infiltrate your base)

  • Phil E Stein (unregistered) in reply to RobertJohnK

    How bout bring-an-intern-to-work day (for those with troubled marriages)

  • rotu (unregistered) in reply to Kiddibeik
    Kiddibeik:
    I was a datacenter once and saw one of those big black-with-a-hint-of-red monoliths that those big IBM mainframes are.

    It too had a big red button on the front panel.

    The Button was however covered with a case made of acrylic glass, thus making it impossible to turn it off :-)

    You were A datacenter once. what are you a cyborg?

  • Mr. Sweetness & Light (unregistered) in reply to nobody

    Our old As/400s had the same thing. Only they had enough sense to put a plastic cover over the thing. Surprising how this is overlooked as a SPOF.

    My favorite was the server they put right over the fire sprinklers. It controlled the network for the entire business.

  • Nicholas Sherlock (unregistered) in reply to danixdefcon5
    danixdefcon5:
    Some keyboards have three nifty keys added to them: "Sleep", "Suspend" and yes ... "Power".

    Heh, I was in the middle of a multiplayer game of "Soldat" online, and I hit the "sleep" button instead of F12. My screen went black and my drives span down... a few seconds later I was madly stabbing the "Resume" button. It came back up and the game was still going! I even went on to win the round!

    It happened to me again some weeks later, but unfortunately Soldat just crashed as the system resumed.. :)

  • Blackbeard (unregistered) in reply to its me

    The reconfiguration might have been something that takes a long time to finish and test.

  • triso (cs) in reply to deadlock
    deadlock:
    Perhaps the phrase "Press this button" should be added to help deter the urge to press it.
    That's only marginally better than "Do not Press this Button."
  • PHP coder (unregistered) in reply to David
    David:
    Brian:
    At least it didn't launch a missle
    I think you mean missile.

    WOW!! You found a spelling mistake on the internet!!!!

    Do you want a medal?

  • Hank Miller (unregistered)

    These buttons are not for human use. They are there because UL requires all equipment to have an off switch. As the company I worked for a few years back found out. The computer was deigned to run without interuption for 50 years (According to marketing anyway), complete with 3 power supplies[1], and redundant/hot swapable everything. We couldn't convince UL that going to the back of the machine and removing all 3 power cords was good enough to power it down, we needed a button that could be pushed with one hand - and no cover was allowed. (We ended up with two off buttons with the on button in between, push both to power off without also hitting the on button)

    [1]by design 2 were needed, but the power supplie engineers went a little overboard, while everything else took less than designed, so in practice only 1 power supply was needed, but interlocks prevented the system from working with just one power supply.

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

    WOW!! You found a spelling mistake on the internet!!!!

    Do you want a medal?

    No, but I will take a meddle if you have one.

  • glob (unregistered)

    when i was sysadmin at a university, we had some suits from sun doing a tour.

    we had a library system running on oracle/sun. there was an old terminal hooked up to it (wyse60 or similar). it had a system debug button that dropped the system into debug mode. at the time i didn't know the commands to take it out of debug, so i just labeled the button "don't touch" and left it.

    one of the suits saw the label and asked. i responded that it crashed the server and he said "well, it shouldn't do that" and promptly pushed the button.

    i thanked him for his time and ushered him out of my office.

  • Darryl Smith, VK2TDS (unregistered) in reply to Scoldog

    I hate to say this but my brother did work experience at Lucas Heights at the end of the eighties. They showed him how to use their computers, and put him on one for the week. Unfortunately they put him on the console. Whatever computer system they were using had a reboot or halt button. On the keyboard. In the centre of the cursor keys.

    Guess what button my brother managed to press on the first day he was there. Soon after that he went onto another computer. He went for a job there last year and did not get it. Guess they have long memories!

  • Maserati (unregistered) in reply to ogilmor

    I have a Theory about BRBs. Label a BRB "Pressing this button will kill you." Make it actually kill the person who presses it. People will only stop pressing the button when the pile of bodies obscures the sign.

    I want a benign BRB. I want one that kills the main lights, drops a disco ball, turns on some strobes and pipes my party mix to the PA system.

    I'll settle for a BRB with a very long USB cable.

  • djm (unregistered)

    At least it wasnt the big red fire suppression gas release button.

  • NoneRightNow (unregistered)

    I used to work for a company, and there was limited wall space. So they put this white board on the wall near the door - covering the Big Red Button. Eventually, someone hit the whiteboard hard enough, and dropped power to the whole room. So, please don't hit the Big White Button, and when writing a note, be gentle since you are not making four carbon copies, either...

  • Ninotchka (unregistered)

    In a previous life I worked at an international particle physics lab. The lab had a huge accelerator that cost something like $5k/min to run. Some of the physicists were pretty high strung and arrogant types. One of them had just started and was getting the tour around the main control room when he saw the BRB. It was labeled "Don't Touch."

    New Physicsist: "What does that button do?" Tour Guide: "Don't touch that." NP: "But what does it do?" TG: "Just keep away from it!" NP: "I heard you the first time. What does it DO?!" TG: "Can't you just leave it alone?!" NP: "No."

    Boomf. He pushed the button and the entire machine went down. Took 'em a day and a half to recover and get everything running again. Thing is, if they'd told him it was the master kill switch he'd have kept his hands off. He explained that very eloquently when the lab director came in to see what the hell had happened.

    I hear the former "new physicist" is now a big-shot in the field and on the staff of the same lab that he single handedly shut down all those years ago.

  • cklam (cs)

    my 20-month-old daughter is as cute as a (reset-)button (the ones on my PCs at home that get pressed all the time).

  • Impeach Bush (unregistered) in reply to Fredric

    They had a bring your kids to work day at the WhiteHouse one year, and the SOB never left....

  • cklam (cs) in reply to snoofle
    snoofle:

    < ... snip ... >

    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!

    Amazing - did you do all by yourself or is there any tool ?

  • Just Chris (unregistered) in reply to Impeach Bush

    So, I'm calling bullshit on this one. At least, it's not exactly like he told it. The "Big Red Button" on a p695, is actually an orange switch. Said orange switch is about midway up the box, which would put it at about 4 feet above the floor. It is also recessed into the frame, and behind a vertically sliding piece of plexi-glass, that was put there just for cases like this.

    So, in order for this child to hit the "Big Red Button" and power off the server, he would have had to see it hiding there from across the room, run across the room to the server, possibly jump and at the very least, reach above his head to slide open the cover, and hold it, and with the other hand, flip the switch.

    So unless it was Jack Jack from the Impossibles, it probably didn't happen. But if it did, even through all of the aforementioned obstacles, happen the way he mentioned it, then they deserved it.

  • PHP coder (unregistered) in reply to Impeach Bush
    Impeach Bush:
    They had a bring your kids to work day at the WhiteHouse one year, and the SOB never left....
    ROFLBURGERS ON A PLANE!

    CAPTCHA = dubya

    Is the CAPTCHA test rigged or something? It always seems to pick a relevant word!

  • m0ffx (cs) in reply to Just Chris
    Just Chris:
    So, I'm calling bullshit on this one. At least, it's not exactly like he told it. The "Big Red Button" on a p695, is actually an orange switch. Said orange switch is about midway up the box, which would put it at about 4 feet above the floor. It is also recessed into the frame, and behind a vertically sliding piece of plexi-glass, that was put there just for cases like this.

    So, in order for this child to hit the "Big Red Button" and power off the server, he would have had to see it hiding there from across the room, run across the room to the server, possibly jump and at the very least, reach above his head to slide open the cover, and hold it, and with the other hand, flip the switch.

    So unless it was Jack Jack from the Impossibles, it probably didn't happen. But if it did, even through all of the aforementioned obstacles, happen the way he mentioned it, then they deserved it.

    Anonymisation. It probably wasn't even really a p695.

  • Just Chris (unregistered) in reply to m0ffx
    m0ffx:
    Just Chris:
    So, I'm calling bullshit on this one. At least, it's not exactly like he told it. The "Big Red Button" on a p695, is actually an orange switch. Said orange switch is about midway up the box, which would put it at about 4 feet above the floor. It is also recessed into the frame, and behind a vertically sliding piece of plexi-glass, that was put there just for cases like this.

    So, in order for this child to hit the "Big Red Button" and power off the server, he would have had to see it hiding there from across the room, run across the room to the server, possibly jump and at the very least, reach above his head to slide open the cover, and hold it, and with the other hand, flip the switch.

    So unless it was Jack Jack from the Impossibles, it probably didn't happen. But if it did, even through all of the aforementioned obstacles, happen the way he mentioned it, then they deserved it.

    Anonymisation. It probably wasn't even really a p695.

    I'll be more than happy to send you a pic...

  • Baston (cs)

    We also have that type of button and we have one (encased) in the central heating place (the one the firemen could press to shut down all the power supply in case of emergency).

    And we once have the bad luck to ask someone to do some maintenance on that central heating.

    And the guy just removed the case protecting the button and press it to switch the power off ! And of course all the systems were switched to a rescue supply and (thanks god, or rather thanks hosting headquarter) slowly shut down

    When we yelled him why he had done that, he just said it was the way he always use to switch power off !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NameNotFoundException (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • NameNotFoundException (unregistered)

    Did anyone notice that you don't need to enter the captcha any more? WTF!

  • Gareth Martin (unregistered) in reply to danixdefcon5

    I don't mind having a keyboard power button, but when they either put it (along with sleep and resume) between the cursor keys and the Del/End/Pg Down, or even worse put them where the scroll-lock set is and shift those and the del/end/pg.down keys down a line...

    You might notice that one of those ways puts power in the exact same place the other puts del.

    Are they trying to get them pressed by accident? I spent ages trying to find my current keyboard purely because I wanted a "normal" one, and not one with re-arranged keys or one the size of a house to accommodate the 1001 media keys. I managed to find one eventually, and it does have media buttons on it, but they're a sensible size and don't replace the F-keys (with an F-lock to get the F-keys back).

  • Shareware (unregistered) in reply to darin
    Comment held for moderation.
  • A_H (unregistered) in reply to Brian

    It didnt launch a missle, but when I was a wee lad, my father, then in the Air Force, took me on a flight. Against the rules, but there it was.

    I got to go up to the cockpit of the plane, a C-119 Flying Boxcar I think it was. Now if you don't know, this plane was a cargo plane, with two huge piston engines. In spite of the large engines, the plane, with a full load, could just barely stay in the air-- it was considerably underpowered.

    So I get to look over all the neat guages and levers and such. being just a wee one, I think this is really neat, and without thinking I grabbed the nearest lever, a shiny red one, and pulled it down!

    I dunno what it was, probably the throttle or prop pitch or mixture lever. Anyway, the plane went "neeerrrowwww!" and fell off to the side!

    Now the piston engines of that day were very delicate-- you couldnt just jam the levers any which way without damaging the engines. There were very definite rules-- you had to pull back on the pitch before adjusting the throttle; the mixture had to go back before the pitch, etc, etc-- avery complex coreography to keep the engines from overspeeding, under-mixing, torching, overcooling, or backfiring. There was no way to undo what I had done in a hurry, so the poor pilot had to cope with a leaning and dropping plane, while the co-pilot had to quickly remember how to get the engine back up to power with the right moves. I was quickly hustled back to my seat. Fortunately, we had enough altitude beneath us to recover from that fiasco.

  • Hob (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • 2CentsWorth (unregistered)

    Bring a child to work day is stupid in my opinion and annoying to those of us who don't have kids and actually need to get work done. I love kids, but bringing them to your job is pointless. If you want your kid to know what you do for a living, talk to them. Do your show and tell at home. I worked in a sales office once and the kids were like WTF this is boring. Unless you work at NASA or something, keep your little tax deductions at home.

  • Mark (unregistered)

    I once worked in an engeering dept. (i.e. full of young geek males). On bring your daughter to work day (to try and encourage more girls to entering engineering), one of the secretaries did so. Daughter also brought a friend to keep her company. Said daughter was 18, so was her friend, and had plenty of assets and know how to display them to best effect. They were allowed to to parade up and down the office for quite a while before someone senior realised what was happening.

    No work got done that day, and it took days for the level of work to recover. I suspect some more sheltered engineers never really recovered.

  • Silver (unregistered) in reply to snoofle
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  • PC Paul (unregistered) in reply to Silver
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  • Peter Antoine (unregistered)

    In the long distant past, well before PC's were even a gleam in IBM's eye.

    I was working at a site that had ICL1900 machines. (one that has to be kick started on some mornings, I am not joking, but that is for another day)

    I as the Jr. Operator, I got in first and had to start the machine. On the power dist. panel pull out the BRB, press start alternator, and hit the green button. All would start.

    This cold November morning, pull BRB, press start, nothing! OK. repeat (as this always fixes things), nothing. I wait for the shift leader to come in, he does exactly the same, no joy. Call borough engineer (I worked for a local council) he comes in, does the same thing. No Joy. "Must be the main distribution panel in the basement", off he goes, half-an-hour later, he is back does the same thing. No Joy.

    Right, the whole of the council is down, nobody can get their checks, pay their taxes, and all the rest of the admin stuff.Not Good. So we have half the technical staff from the borough, standing around the power panel. When one of the data prep. people (data prep. type in number off paper onto punched cards) walks into the comp. room with a batch of cards, looking at everyone standing around, and states, "shouldn't that big red [about a foot long] lever that says 'power', be pointing at the '1'". Two minutes later the computers were on there way up.

    New contractor, working the evening shift had trown the lever that no one else did. Big label appeared.


    Same site, all the BRB's on the walls has toilet roll tubes over them as they kept getting pressed by mistake. Cheap 80's solution.

  • Midnight Rider (unregistered)

    I once worked on a job where the big red button sat by the exit (they were assuming that you'd have the sense to press it as you ran from a fire, etc.) and the new guy thought that it was used to open the door to get out. Why he thought so was beyond us as the button itself was housed in the aforementioned plexiglass, requiring him to lift it before pressing...

  • Phill (unregistered)

    I'm reminded of a (possibly apocryphal) story I once heard about a nuclear power plant that would organise tours. They had a big, red button with a sign above it saying "Do NOT press this button". The button was linked up to a simple counter. Every time they had a tour the button would be pressed numerous times. A simple social experiment showing the anarchist in everyone.

  • MD (unregistered)

    Happened to us back in 1981. During "Family Day" tours, someone had to push a button on the IBM 3340 disk units. We don't know who - but it became apparent when people reported the system down.

    Reboot didn't work. They powered the CPU off and on - that didn't work. The systems people eventually had the floors torn up, tracking down wich disk on th cain was bad.

    Finally, they turned the whole system off and brought it up one piece at a time - tada! No problem. We were back in business.

    Since then,as in the article, the computer room was off limits to tours. It just goes to prove that "reboot" was the solution well before Windows.

  • Daniel (unregistered) in reply to fmtaylor

    I came here to say that :-)

  • Harry (unregistered) in reply to Brian

    I used to work at a place called the PPPL aka Princeton Plasma Physics Research Lab. What they were doing was building prototype fusion reactors. Some of these beasties are fairly large. Every now and then they had a family day / open house. It was really cool to see the kids messing around or taking tours next to the stellarator or the spherical tokomak.

    And the tours were a gas too. Like you would hear the guide saying stuff like "this is the ion beam counduit" to a bunch of 12 year olds. The only thing missing were the Jeffries tubes.

  • jak321 (unregistered) in reply to fmtaylor

    Of course the term "molly-guard" comes from the name of a daughter of one of the computer center employees at the University of Illinois U/C. Many many years ago her dad was in doing some system work on the U's main IBM mainframe early one Sunday morning, and she too pressed the Big Red Button. Twice.

    She's out of college these days.

  • Jamie (unregistered) in reply to Datacenter Guy

    Speaking of peanut butter sandwiches in the RAID array, at the last call centre I worked at we were developing an expert system to guide users through error reporting (the self service trouble reporting system was horribly user-unfriendly and nobody would let us make it user friendly...but that's a different WTF). The day of the weekly call we had where we decided what items needed to be added to the expert system, one of our desktop support techs found a sandwich someone had shoved in the floppy drive of a workstation on the production floor. We joked that we should add "Sandwich shoved in floppy drive" as a possible subject for the expert system, the instructions were to select the subject ID "LUNCH CART" in self service. Sure enough, the next day we noticed that someone had created a new subject ID called "LUNCH CART" in self service and it is still there to this day.

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