IBM-qwert keyboard

Many years ago, Sebastian worked for a company which sold self-assembled workstations and servers. One of the company's top clients ordered a server as a replacement for their ancient IBM PS/2 Model 70. The new machine ran Windows NT Server 4.0 and boasted an IPC RAID controller, along with other period-appropriate bells and whistles. Sebastian took a trip out to the client site and installed the new server in the requested place: a table in front of the receptionist's desk, accessible by anyone walking through the main entrance. Not the best location from a security standpoint, but one of the new server's primary tasks in life would be to serve the company's telephone directory, installed on CD-ROM.

Two weeks later, the client called back, irate over the fact that the new server performed terribly compared to their old one. Troubleshooting efforts via phone were ineffective; the client demanded on-site support. After several frantic conference calls involving Sales, Support, and nosebleed-level management, Sebastian was on a plane back to the client site.

Once back within the client's stuffy lobby, he could see that the server setup had in fact changed since he'd last been there, despite the client's repeated insistence to the contrary. Someone had placed both the old and new server boxes under the table. Two CRT monitors sat side-by-side on the table along with their corresponding mice. The keyboards were on a roll-out drawer just under the surface. Both machines were already logged in as administrator, waiting for anyone to come along and not exploit that fact.

After checking in with his on-site contact and securing a cup of coffee, Sebastian got to troubleshooting. First thing, he used the mouse to open the Start menu on the new server—but as soon as he released the mouse button, the Start menu collapsed. He tried a few more times with no success.

Frowning, Sebastian rolled out the keyboard drawer, hoping to try a keyboard shortcut next. When he did so, he found the keyboards set up one in front of the other. The strain relief on the back of the old server's keyboard was sitting right on top of the space bar of the new server's keyboard. Apparently, it'd been holding down the space bar for the past two weeks straight.

Sebastian pulled the old server keyboard onto the table. Sure enough, the new server behaved normally from then on. Thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of miles flown—all to lift one keyboard away from another.

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