On-Call Hello Friday! And hello also to On-Call, The Register's weekly reader-contributed tale of dirty data centre deeds done dirty cheap.
This week, meet “Rick” who once worked for a non-government organisation as “both a software dev and part-time support-person.”
One fine Friday afternoon, Rick “received a rather panicked call from the accounts department” requesting his attendance in the team manager's office at his very earliest convenience. No explanation was offered for the urgency of the call.
Which rather piqued Rick's interest, so he dragged himself away from the fun of “fixing a bug in their Paradox DB code and headed on down the corridor.”
Once Rick arrived, the door to the manager's office opened “and one of the Accounts clerks pretty much pulled me inside, closing and locking the door immediately.”
“He was agitated (and I was a little nervous) so it probably took a couple of minutes to calm him down and drag the details out of him,” Rick wrote.
Once the clerk spilled, Rick learned that the the manager of the Accounts team had the only multimedia-capable PC in the office. So when the manager went out, the clerk snuck in and used it to play a Star Wars shoot-em-up.
Rick says that “during this frenzied Stormtrooper kill-fest somebody had knocked on the door, panicking our gaming friend and he'd switched off the monitor, unplugged the headphones and ejected the CD.” That CD found its way into the clerk's pocket, where it snapped during the clerk's gyrations as he tried to explain his presence in the manager's office.
It must have been a good game, because Rick says the clerk was so keen to play more than he “carefully placed the two halves of the disk back into the CD-ROM drive and attempted to reload the game.”
“The Farce was strong with this one,” Rick said, because once he couldn't get things working “he gave in and ejected the disk, but only one half reappeared in the open tray. He'd been trying for some time to locate and extract the other piece but eventually couldn't get the tray to open at all. Then he'd called me.”
The poor clerk was worried that when his boss returned – an event expected in under an hour – things would not go well.
“Suppressing a smirk,” Rick “told him that this would require some work, but that of course I would attempt to extricate the missing half of his CD as quickly as possible, and promised him that I'd be discreet.”
So Rick returned “bearing the largest toolbox we had” and said the clerk “went noticeably paler at this point.”
Rick therefore despatched the terrified clerk to make some tea while he sorted things out.
“As soon as he left I manually ejected the CD tray using a paper-clip, up-ended the PC and gave it a shake. The missing piece of his Star Wars universe then dropped out onto the carpet.”
The PC quickly proved itself fit for service and the clerk quickly proved mightily relieved. Rick therefore decided not to ask “why he hadn't considered taping the two halves of the CD together” before putting them in the PC.
If you've ever been asked to fix half of something, or even less, write to share your story and you, yes you, might just find yourself in a future edition of On-Call. ®