Author Topic: Things you hope you don't hear...  (Read 14936 times)

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Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #75 on: April 12, 2017, 10:24:42 pm »
"Have you been saved by Jesus?"


Unfortunately, like most people, Jesus saves but doesn't perform backups. I'd hate to be his IT guy in heaven!

His hard drives have a MTBF of 100,000 years instead of hours.  ;D
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Offline rdl

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #76 on: April 12, 2017, 10:26:17 pm »
I distinctly remember being "saved by Jesus" when I was 12 years old. It doesn't come with Lifetime Warranty?
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #77 on: April 12, 2017, 11:05:08 pm »
"Have you been saved by Jesus?"


Unfortunately, like most people, Jesus saves but doesn't perform backups. I'd hate to be his IT guy in heaven!

His hard drives have a MTBF of 100,000 years instead of hours.  ;D

Which is ~138,000 times they've failed since the beginning of the universe. An MTBF of 100,000 years sounds great, until you start thinking on a cosmological scale. Because of the "eternal warranty" that Heaven's Purchasing Department always insist on, that drive supplier was driven out of business after only about 10 million years.
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Online blueskull

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #78 on: April 13, 2017, 12:10:19 am »
I smelled something, like a thread to be locked.
 

Online Vgkid

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #79 on: April 13, 2017, 12:15:33 am »
I was working on my first power supply. Heard arcing, realized that the ground lead of my o-scope probe had shorted the main filter cap. I quickly pulled the power, and then un-welded the ground probe. This only lasted a total of 10 seconds, from start to finish.
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Offline CJay

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #80 on: April 13, 2017, 06:43:42 am »
I smelled something, like a thread to be locked.

*nods, grabs popcorn*
M0UAW
 

Offline Zucca

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #81 on: April 13, 2017, 07:37:44 am »
One day when I was living in USA I came back from work and turned the light on in my living room. The light was strange, more bright then usual and kind of variating with the time.
5 sec. later my EE self survive instinct kicked in:

1) turned the light off
2) Pulled out my Fluke 85V
3) AC Main were at 200-220VAC, ahhhhhhh
4) Run to the main switch and cutted the power of the entire flat.

The switching ISP (Charter) modem PSU was aldready melted, nothing else seems to be cooked. I call Charter and it took me 15min to get through that stupid automatic answering robot customer support. Finally, after my boold pressure got high enough, I got the usual smart ass real person, and he started with check this, check that. After the third time I said: "The power supply is just melted, that's why I don' t have internet", he got it and told me to go to the Charter shop. I felt stupid, I should had go there without calling the monkey phone customer support.

The next day after checking the mains before the main switch, I got them back to 110Vac. Main Switch on and back to normal life, without WIFI internet. CRAP.
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear... 1/4: TIC-WHOOSH
« Reply #82 on: April 13, 2017, 09:54:45 am »
Things you don't want to hear: "Tic-Whoosh"

Back in the mid 1970s, the state of the art broadcast color TV camera technology still used vacuum tubes for imaging (while everything else was solid-state).  So we still had to deal with these fragile (and frightfully expensive) things.  It was critical that you never allowed them to face down because of fear that any possible debris inside the tube could land on the imaging surface and mar the picture.  They were shipped in large cube shape boxes with an internal gimbal to keep the tube always facing up regardless of the orientation of the cardboard carton.



One evening the engineer at Los Angeles TV station KTLA had the task of replacing one of the tubes in the servo-mount camera on the helicopter. He unplugged the socket and unscrewed the retaining ring at the base of the tube. That allowed you to pull the tube out from behind. Then he took the new tube from the carton and carefully inserted it into the deflection yoke and tightened down the retaining ring.  What he heard was the sickening sound of tiny "tic" of the glass envelope being breached, followed soft "whoosh" of the air rushing into the (formerly) vacuum tube.  Upon removing the now-ruined tube, he observed that sure enough, it had that look of a tube that lost its vacuum.

Now, these things cost somewhere around $2000 each back in the 1970s, so this isn't a trivial problem.  But the engineer shrugged and went downstairs and got another spare tube.  This time, he very carefully inserted the new tube into the camera and tightened down the retaining ring, only to hear exactly the same "tic-whoosh" of another multi-thousand dollar tube instantly ruined.  Thoroughly demoralized, he left a note for the chief engineer and proceeded to his favorite social establishment to drown his sorrows.

The next day, it was discovered that there was a manufacturing defect in the retaining ring. It had a small metal burr that broke the glass envelope when tightened.  Since the camera was under warranty, and they had been using Norelco plumbicon tubes in their Norelco camera, the company replaced the ruined tubes and the faulty retaining rings.  I remember getting the notice from Norelco to check all the cameras for this problem. Fortunately, our cameras didn't have this problem.

Bonus story 1:
At the big university hospital we had two Norelco 3-tube color cameras which consisted of a camera head approaching 1/2 cubic meter and a support rack full of panels bristling with nearly 200 adjustment knobs. One afternoon, I had to take the camera across the campus to shoot something in the medical center.  I loaded the camera head into the back of the little electric golf-cart and got in to drive it up the ramp and out onto the sidewalk. Alas. because of the weight distribution of the camera head and the minimal support from the golf-club bag platform, the nose-up attitude of the take-off, and the sudden jerk from the pre-PWM motor control technology, the cart jerked when I pressed the accelerator, and the camera head tumbled out of the back of the golf-cart and onto the hard concrete floor.

I was mortified when I had to tell my manager what happened.  We didn't have the budget to keep spare tubes and I feared I was completely stuffed.  The metal enclosure of the camera head was significantly damaged, but I discovered when I carefully removed the three (Red Green Blue) tubes, they were perfectly fine.  They don't make optical systems like that anymore.  So I removed all the electrical sub-assemblies from the camera head shell, and we took it over to the body-shop where they repaired it like-new (except that they couldn't match Norelco's special gray hammertone paint color).

When we got the shell back from the body-shop, I replaced all the components inside and re-terminated the TV-81 cable. The cable was around 15mm diameter, with a 300mm diameter military-style circular connector for the 75 wires plus six 75 ohm coax cables.  Alas, I got everything re-connected and it looked like everything was working again.  Except that I forgot to put the connector shell over the cable before terminating it, and I had to disconnect all the wires, thread the cable through the back-shell, and re-terminate the cable.  I have almost never forgot to thread the cable through the connector shell in the several decades since that incident.
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear... 2/4: Would you like to Hold?
« Reply #83 on: April 13, 2017, 10:12:30 am »
Things you don't want to hear: "Would you like to hold?"

I had the great satisfaction of being on the delivery end of this one.  Back in the late 1980s, our large corporation was deploying PCs and usinng cc:Mail for online communications (pre-POP/IMAP).  The "IT" organization was still in a primitive level of evolution and cc:Mail had a bad habit of the server-based database locking up.  IT's solution was simple, just re-boot the server and everything would be great again. Never mind if anyone had any document open, delivering a presentation, etc.

IT had not yet deployed any servers on our R&D fab campus, but we had lots of computers in the server room which supported the factory. Of course, semiconductor fab down-time even back in those days cost something around $1M per hour, so, ultra reliability and redundancy was common practice in our environment.  The fab operates 7x24x365 with scheduled "warm-downs" only once a year (typically between Christmas and New Year).

In order to deploy cc:Mail on our campus, IT asked if we could set up some file shares on one of our VAX servers to handle the cc:Mail databases.  We accommodated their request and set up four or five file shares for the database files.  One warm day in August, I got a call from the corporate IT help desk.  They said that database ALCCM3 was locked up and cc:Mail was failing for several hundred customers.  "Could you re-boot the computer and clear up the fault?" they asked.  After putting them on hold for several seconds while I laughed uncontrollably, I calmly returned to the phone and said:  "The next scheduled re-boot of that server is Christmas-eve.  Would you like to hold?"   They discovered a different way of clearing up the problem without re-booting the server.
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear... 3/4: Ready when you are, C.B.
« Reply #84 on: April 13, 2017, 10:42:39 am »
Things you don't want to hear: Ready when you are, C.B.

This is an old yarn from the "golden era" of Hollywood production.  Typical feature film production (even today) typically takes several hours to properly construct, light, and "block" (establish where everyone, including the camera, will be). A single camera is used and all the shots from that angle are filmed together (out of story-edit sequence).  Then they break for lunch and re-set everything for the "reverse-angle" shots in the same location, etc.

But when filming a large-scale scene, or especially if something destructive is happening (like blowing up the fort), they will use several concurrent cameras (more TV-style). Coincidentlally, one of my favorite movie scenes. Peter Sellers in "The Party" as a hapless extra...

https://youtu.be/DKwC6X7_JU0?list=PLZbXA4lyCtqqcuS1GjH0uVV2CA9O4dGyW

The story goes that when legendary Cecil B. Demille was directing Charlton Heston as Moses in "The Ten Commandments" there is the scene where he leads the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. The scene was epic, perhaps the origin of the marketing term "cast of thousands". All the extras were dressed up in period costumes, they had live animals, rolling stock, children running around, etc. And they had four cameras to capture the epic scene.

The cameras back in the day were large contraptions that used 35mm film, and the production was shot in "VistaVision" which ran the 35mm film horizontally for a larger image area without the enormous expense of 70mm equipment.  So Mr. Demille and his principal cinematographer were seated on the end of the Chapman camera crane.



And there were three other cameras around the area also capturing the scene.  When everyone (and everything) was finally in place, they were ready to proceed.  Mr. Demille shouted down to his Assistant Director on the ground that they could begin.  The A.D. shouted into his megaphone for the "background" motion to start (meaning the cast of thousands with their animals, carts and kids, etc.)  Then he called to start the cameras.  The oxen pulled, the carts rolled, the people shuffled, the herds of goats, sheep started moving, the kids ran around, etc. until they were out of the shot of all the cameras.  At which point, Mr. Demille signaled to the A.D to call "Cut!"

Mr. Demille turned to his cinematographer and said: "Well how did it go, did we get it?"  At which point the camera operator said "well, the film broke about half-way through, so I'm not sure how much we got.  Well, that is one reason they use multiple cameras.  So they ask the second camera operator who replies with an equally disappointing status: "Some of the sand has got into the gears of the camera and it doesn't run anymore.  I don't think I got anything." 

So on to the third camera.  Now those big cameras didn't have the nice viewfinders of more modern designs. The cameras had a lateral "rack" system where you could rack the camera over to the right to see through the eyepiece directly through the shooting lens. This was perfect for blocking, aiming, focusing, etc.  But, when it was time to expose the film, you had to rack the camera back over so that the film gate was behind the lens.  Alas, the 3rd cameraman forgot to rack the camera back over before starting to shoot, and his cinematography career in Hollywood came to an abrupt end.

Of course, by this time Cecil was rather frantic that they had got something usable from this every expensive scene.  They had the fourth camera up on the hill to get the "wide shot" of the epic scene. So the Assistant Director got his megaphone and called up to Camera 4. "Hey, Bill, did you get it?"  No response.  So he yelled louder: "BILL! DID YOU GET THE SHOT?"  And the very faint response barely came back through the distance: "Ready when you are, C.B."  :palm:
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 12:51:04 pm by Richard Crowley »
 
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Offline WaveyDipole

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #85 on: April 13, 2017, 10:59:55 am »
"I am calling from PC Support. We have detected a new virus on your PC and are calling on behalf of IBM and Microsoft to..... :blah:"

You know the types - they offer to remote to your PC and "correct" the problem, but instead install malware and charge your credit card for the privilege! I know of at least one elderly person that was  :scared: and conned out of 300GPB (so-called annual support charge) with this tactic although I'm glad to say I haven't heard of it being used for some time. We actually had a locally based outfit doing this - which was shut down and ringleaders hauled before the courts.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 11:45:20 am by WaveyDipole »
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #86 on: April 13, 2017, 11:21:36 am »
The Blue Banana

Back in the earliest days of commercial color television in the US, only RCA was making production color TV cameras.  They were as big as a dog house and weighed several hundred pounds. Bristling with tubes, with a cable as big as your arm, and 3-4 full-height racks full of support circuits (with several hundred more tubes) and a couple racks of control panels. (For EACH camera!)   The cameras also required an enormous amount of light because the imaging tubes (image orthicons) were not all the sensitive.  And then add the poor (by today's stanards) lenses, and the R/G/B beam splitting/filtering optical path with its significant light loss, etc.



So, NBC (owned by RCA) had set up one of their studios in 30 Rockefeller center as the "color studio" with huge lights, and massive air-conditioning (to mitigate the heat from the huge lights, etc.)  Alas, because of space consumed by all those racks of support circuits (for EACH camera), they couldn't put the control room on the same floor of the building.  So they carved out a place several floors up and on the other side of the building for the support/control gear.

Now, it took several hours to "dial in" four vintage color cameras.  I could appreciate that as one of my early jobs was to perform regular setup of our two (much more modern) Norelco color cameras.  Even those cameras, which were relatively stable and used all solid-state circuits, could take an hour or more to get all three (Red Green Blue) deflection geometry to match perfectly, and then start on the signal path, adjusting offset ("pedestal") and gain, and "knee", etc. There were literally hundreds of user-adjustment knobs on each camera.  People who use modern video cameras have no appreciation for all the complexity that is now baked into a small, single-chip camera.

So the camera technician would travel up to the studio after lunch to start setting up everything in preparation for an evening live broadcast (there was no video tape recording at the time).  He would power up all the cameras, fire up the lights, and set up the various test and alignment image cards.  Starting with the "ball chart" to dial in the geometry of all three tubes to scan exactly in sync.



And then the "chip chart" where you adjust each color channel (Red Green Blue) to match exactly to produce a pure gray stairstep.



And then, once the geometry was synchronized, you could start on the video signal path adjustments.  Once you were done with the basic adjustments, it was common practice to set up a more "natural" looking subject to tweak the colors of the different cameras to match. One common practice was to use a bowl of plastic fruit to see the more subtle shades of real life.

So, our camera tech took the subway from New Jersey one afternoon and up to the control room to turn on the cameras, then down to the studio to turn on the lights (and the HVAC) and set up the test charts and aim and focus all the cameras.  Then back up to the control room to start hours of tweaking the four cameras for broadcast-quality performance.  When he finally got the geometry of all the cameras tweaked, back down to the studio to strike the test pattern easel and replace it with his bowl of plastic fruit.

Back up to the control room to tweak the colors on the cameras to match.  But no matter what he did he could get all the colors of the fruit to look great, except that the banana was blue.  But he could adjust the cameras so that banana was the proper yellow color, but all the other fruit were horribly wrong.  Back down to the studio to see if he could see anything wrong, but everything looked perfect.  Back and forth all afternoon trying to get the cameras to work. But then the director and the cast and crew started arriving ahead of the broadcast. The director asked the camera tech, "Aren't the cameras ready yet?  We have to start blocking and rehearsal soon."

It turned out that the camera tech's "friends" were secretly substituting a blue-painted banana into the fruit-bowl every time the camera tech went over to the elevator to go up to the control room.  I suspect that the camera tech formed a new circle of friends, that is if he didn't end up in the metal ward.   :scared:
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 11:57:44 am by Richard Crowley »
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #87 on: April 13, 2017, 11:28:46 am »
The "PC support" scammers are as active as ever (if not more so).  We hear of some being rounded up by the authorities every once in a while, but for each operation that is busted, there are likely dozens (or scores) of them out there scamming people every hour of the day. There is a whole sub-channel of "scammer baiting" on YouTube.  When I searched for scammer baiting, I got 34,200 hits. 

The scammers don't care (or can't tell) whether you are using a virtual machine with a fresh build, or even a Mac or Linux system). All they know is their pathetic script.  Some of them have actually broken down and admitted the scam and how it works, etc.  A few have even been tricked into bricking their own computers.

And it is not just computer support. There are many scammers out there pretending to be from the tax authorities (Internal Revenue Service in the USA) and demanding immediate payment of thousands of $$$ to avoid imminent arrest and imprisonment ("the sherrif is on his way to come and arrest you").  And the ones who fake calls from utility companies threatening immediate shut-off if payment isn't rendered on-demand.

No offense to our Indian (Bangladesh, etc.) friends, but the accents are so thick many of them are barely understandable. And their scam scripts are simply laughable. I am embarrassed that so many people are conned by these fools.

If I ever get a call from one of these fools, I will demand someone who speaks English.  That should stop them before they can even begin.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 12:40:54 pm by Richard Crowley »
 

Offline Zucca

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #88 on: April 13, 2017, 11:55:01 am »
Thanks Richard, very interesting. would like to drink a beer with you and hear some other stories before the PC age.... when everything was analog and noisy...
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Offline Luminax

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #89 on: April 13, 2017, 12:11:18 pm »
Her reply was "What do you mean software?........ What lights are on at the moment?". I think I even said to her, "You know, software, that's running on the modem?... The configuration you're trying to get me to reset?... The thing where you stick the pen in the hole and such?".

 :palm:

Just ship me my damn modem!
First line support often have little domain knowledge, their main ability/task is to run down a flow-chart of standard questions & responses.

Thing is - it works for most punters who have even less knowledge about how stuff works.

Here in Malaysia our biggest ISP support line just sucks...
It was quite good until a few years back and, courtesy of knowing someone in their main outsourced call center, I get to know the 'secret handshake' to get me passed to second line to (usually) reset the port or drop the hang session, etc.
Monopoly, though... we ain't going to be getting better ISP anytime soon...

Anyway, things I hope I don't hear in my daily job... one of them being "Dude, the boss just overridden the test parameter again" because that's usually a precursor to something breaking and requiring me to troubleshoot down a rabbit hole trying to trace back what he fizzed up
 |O |O
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Offline timb

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #90 on: April 13, 2017, 12:11:48 pm »
Things you don't want to hear: "Tic-Whoosh"
~Snip~
It was critical that you never allowed them to face down because of fear that any possible debris inside the tube could land on the imaging surface and mar the picture.
~Snip~
One evening the engineer at Los Angeles TV station KTLA had the task of replacing one of the tubes in the servo-mount camera on the helicopter.

If you were using the camera in a helicopter, wouldn't it be pointing down? Pointing down and vibrating even. What keeps all the debris from falling down once it's installed?
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #91 on: April 13, 2017, 12:31:31 pm »
If you were using the camera in a helicopter, wouldn't it be pointing down? Pointing down and vibrating even. What keeps all the debris from falling down once it's installed?
No. The servo mechanism was designed to prevent tilting the camera  more than 45 degrees down.  In situations where they used straight-down shots, they used mirrors. (They could flip the scan horizontally and/or vertically by simply reversing the deflection yokes.)

I suspect that last generation of tubes weren't nearly as vulnerable to the "internal debris" problem, but, by then the tradition had been established, and the things were so darned expensive, they didn't want to take any chances.
 

Offline Zbig

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #92 on: April 13, 2017, 02:43:45 pm »
No offense to our Indian (Bangladesh, etc.) friends, but the accents are so thick many of them are barely understandable. And their scam scripts are simply laughable. I am embarrassed that so many people are conned by these fools.

If I ever get a call from one of these fools, I will demand someone who speaks English.  That should stop them before they can even begin.

Few years ago I was reading user comments under the PC support scam article on "The Register" and came across the story of a guy who told his preferred way of dealing with these. Important thing to note is they, despite their unmistakable accent, apparently like to introduce themselves using fake common English first names. So, it went something along these lines:

Support scammer, in thick Indian accent: "Hello my friend, my name is John and I am calling from Microsoft Support..."
The guy being called, in perfect British English: "Oh, hello, that's brilliant! My name's Deepak."
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 02:45:56 pm by Zbig »
 
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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #93 on: April 13, 2017, 02:57:59 pm »
Field guy: "Uh-oh ... " 
to which the conversation quickly escalates to..
Me: "Uh-oh? .. What the (insert expletive) do you mean "Uh-oh?"
Nothing like that conversation to send your imagination off on a riotous romp.

Depends what the guy was doing at the time  ;D


No Problem, that will buff out....
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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #94 on: April 13, 2017, 03:06:52 pm »
While I was the tech with the uh-oh, I can legitimately roll out the 'I was only following orders' defence.

Called out of hours to a hospital server which was flagging a predictive fail on one disk in the RAID array (I forget the exact disk size, either 36 or 72GB)

It was a HP DL380 G4 which had 3.5" SCSI disks installed and one was indeed flashing amber to indicate predictive failure.

On the phone to the support team I was told they'd down the server for me so I could replace the failed disk (it's not necessary, they're hotswap, it's actually better to hotswap them), I agreed and proceed to boot the thing from a HP utility disk which allows me to check the RAID config, disk serial numbers, model numbers etc. (it wasn't unknown for disk caddies to be re-used by parts brokers and have incorrect markings compared to the actual disk in the caddy)

I found that some genius had configured the disks as a RAID0/JBOD, essentially a bunch of disks with a container spanned across them all to give a disk the size of the sum of parts, in this instance they'd done something I didn't realise was possible and had allocated the first 10GB of all the disks to the JBOD to give a disk size of 40GB for the OS (server 2003 IIRC)

They'd then allocated the rest of the disk space to a RAID5 set to hold the data volume (Might have been SQL Server, possibly Exchange, critical data anyway) so notionally the data volume was fault tolerant but not OS as removal of any one disk from a JBOD will kill it.

So, I explained this to the support team wonk who insisted he knew better than I, after all I was only a lowly out of hours tech (who happened to be HP qualified to work on Superdome, EVA, Alpha etc. etc.) and he was third line who knew all and requested I 'just shut up and replace the disk' or words to that effect, he was however happy for me to hotswap the disk so we booted the machine up, he connected remotely (genius things those ILOs) to 'monitor' my actions.

I protested, he demanded, getting quite stroppy and threatening to escalate it to his management. I suggested he dial their number and put us on a conference call so he did. Once I'd been introduced and explained why I didn't want to do it, his manager also insisted I replace the disk as he trusted his tech.

Obviously I then pulled the disk and watched the machine bluescreen instantly.

After what must have seemed an eternity to the remote parties but a few seconds to me, I asked 'would you like me to fix that for you?" and got a quiet 'yes, please, if you can'.

Turns out every server in the business had been built the same way.
OH GOD  :palm: :palm:
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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #95 on: April 13, 2017, 04:22:50 pm »
Sounds you don't want to hear.....

For a short time I was working for a semiconductor company here in SanDiego (now long gone)
I had a bad feeling about working there when upon my first day there I overheard a conversation between two cal lab techs. The equipment they were discussing was a plasma vapor disposition device. The gear used a large water cooled triode vacuum tube. (3CW35000)
The tech working on the gear was complaining the high voltage was kicking out and he couldn't find out why... A week later I entered into the conversation since I have a fair amount of vacuum tube experience. So I ask what the problem was, I got the same story how the high voltage kept kicking out and he couldn't find the problem....
So I ask; What have you done up to this point...
The reply was well there was a high voltage power supply problem (blown diodes bad filter caps) I fixed that had had high voltage. I drained the coolant and replaced it. that's when the power supply kept kicking out. we replaced the tube (at $1500.00USD) it still kept kicking out the high voltage...
I asked what did you use for coolant........................
Wait for it....................................................................................
He replied in front of his supervisor.... I used antifreeze.  :palm: :palm:
I said (in front of his supervisor) "you know that is a conductor of electricity right?".
His supervisor went back and purged the cooling system, replaced the antifreeze with some of our own DI water. The tech was terminated that afternoon....

A second story from the same place.
My boss there was not the Cal Lab supervisor but the QA department supervisor, I build fixtures and maintained some of QA's HI-Rel gear. (leak detectors, centrifuges, vibe sets etc...)
He hired a young tech who's job was to take readings on items that we were doing life testing on, among other things...
We had a bridge rectifier that was under full ratings life test, and this new hire was responsible for taking readings on it at the beginning of each day.
I am sitting in my little office working on something... when I hear....
BANG I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.. I got up and walked int our burn-in room just in time to see the last of the smoke that was released from this nearly priceless bridge rectifier...I looked at him, he looked at me......
I said you have to go tell W***.....
I went back my bench and heard the yelling, the door to W***'s office slam, and the next pay period end, W***, and the new hire were let go...

BONUS Story;
When I worked at Loral Corp. there was a period of time when I was responsible for teaching a new tech the ropes. This guy had NO RF experience. Ex-Nave Submarine sonar tech...
Young'ish kid, seemed to always be distracted. I'm suppose to be training this guy so they stick him two rows away from me... I asked my boss "how am I suppose to train him when he is all the way over there?" He said we will move him soon.....
Okay, I did the back N fourth, thing... The guy wouldn't take notes and always kept forgetting to check the zero on his power meter before powering up the transmitter he was supposed to be working on. And yes he always seemed to be distracted.... (he had animated conversations with himself)  :scared:

I got him through some of the basics of our modules and he even managed to tune them up correctly.  (I checked everything he did) so it was time to turn him loose with real RF test equipment and a transmitter to tune up and temp comp...
He gets everything he needs, frequency counter,
Bench receiver, distortion analyzer, audio osciallator, an HP-8559A spectrum analyzer with a diode limiter attached to protect the analyzer. power meters, I set up the plumbing and plumed in the SA, power meter, bench receiver, and counter.
He was instructed NOT to disconnect any of the gear at this time, just the transmitter...

All went well for two days, then he got board...........
I am at my bench and a coworker walked up and said "Why is J***'s spectrum analyzer smoking". My heart stopped.
YES the diode limiter was smoking and smoke was coming out of the reference level cal access hole in the front of the 8559A...
"J**** what the F... are you dong?
"I wanted to see if I could see audio on the spectrum analyzer"...
I looked closer..
The HP audio oscillator was on it's highest range, the level meter was just off the scale, and it was connected to the input of the analyzer... 
I looked at J**** and said in a calm voice, "you are putting thirty volts peak to peak into the input of an instrument that is designed to take a fraction of a volt maximum based on where you have the input attenuator set, do yo see what you did wrong?"
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my supervisor walking up just as J*** was answering my question. "I couldn't get a full scale signal on the analyzer" he said.
I replied. "That is because the lower limit is 10MHZ, I see you have a manual open to the specifications, didn't you notice that?"
"No...." was all he said...

They found something for him to do and I reminded my supervisor this was why I needed to have him next to me to oversee what he was doing. ...
He was transferred to our instrumentation division where his skills better fit the job at hand.

My boss did remind me of an Ex Marine who worked over on another product line who connected a 40W S-band transmitter directly to the input of another 8559A. All the front in that analyzer was reduced to carbon all the way back to and including the YIG, YIG filter, and First IF. 



Sue AF6LJ
Test Equipment Addict, And Proud Of It.
 
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Offline timb

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #96 on: April 13, 2017, 09:15:47 pm »
If you were using the camera in a helicopter, wouldn't it be pointing down? Pointing down and vibrating even. What keeps all the debris from falling down once it's installed?
No. The servo mechanism was designed to prevent tilting the camera  more than 45 degrees down.  In situations where they used straight-down shots, they used mirrors. (They could flip the scan horizontally and/or vertically by simply reversing the deflection yokes.)

I suspect that last generation of tubes weren't nearly as vulnerable to the "internal debris" problem, but, by then the tradition had been established, and the things were so darned expensive, they didn't want to take any chances.

Ah, okay that makes a lot of sense, thanks!

When I hear "cameras" and "helicopters" I think of the modern stabilized cameras that are so ubiquitous. I guess we really do take this stuff for granted these days (they're on every news and police chopper, some with FLIR even).

Your stories are really interesting, I'd love to hear more!
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; e.g., Cheez Whiz, Hot Dogs and RF.
 

Offline Gregg

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #97 on: April 13, 2017, 10:06:39 pm »
The biggest heart stopping didn’t want to hear happened to me while in the Navy on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea early 1970s.  It was supposed to be a stand-down day for Thanksgiving when at 6 AM the announcement came:

“General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your battle stations.  This is NOT a drill.”

It turned out to be a major fire in one of the engine rooms, but over 5000 crew me members probably all exclaimed the F word.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #98 on: April 14, 2017, 04:33:22 am »
It turned out that the camera tech's "friends" were secretly substituting a blue-painted banana into the fruit-bowl every time the camera tech went over to the elevator to go up to the control room.  I suspect that the camera tech formed a new circle of friends, that is if he didn't end up in the metal ward.   :scared:

 :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD

THAT was hysterical!  Though I'd suspect he needed a new circle of friends because he'd strangled the old ones!

-Pat
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 
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Offline Harb

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Re: Things you hope you don't hear...
« Reply #99 on: April 15, 2017, 08:35:08 am »
The Blue Banana


Pretty funny story........I have a couple of old RCA TK76 chains that I am going to restore one day.....was lucky enough to pick them up with Peds , CCU's and all.....even a set of lenses.......including some long OB ones......great for the mancave ;)

I wonder how many people know this is the sort of Makeup the actors etc needed to wear to make up for the lousy response of the old Camera Tubes........they used all sorts of colors to get the picture looking right at the TV end....

http://cosmeticsandskin.com/aba/max-and-the-tube.php

« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 12:09:44 pm by Harb »
 


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