Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Techie's speed test ends up bringing sales reps' work to a screeching halt

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Monday morning has rolled round once again, which can only mean one thing – Who, Me?

Yes, it’s time for another trip down readers’ memory lanes in El Reg’s weekly column that celebrates all the times you’ve tried to slink off without someone noticing the monumental error you’ve just made.

This time, we meet “Joe”, who was testing out some new shiny kit – much to the detriment of his fellow workers.

“It was 1990, and I was working for a high-tech startup that had grown from 24 employees to well over 200 in three years,” Joe told us.

The firm had bagged itself a warehouse, kitted it out with desks, run CAT-5 to each, and then set up the servers.

Each of the sales reps in the biz had an IBM 286 desktop running client management system SaleMaker, Joe said.


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“The entire operation was set up to make selling the highest priority in the company.”

Joe was the pre-sales tech support for the floor – which at least meant he only had himself to blame for the complaints he was about to face.

Our tech support had just received the latest Intel 386 desktop, and was eager to put it through its paces.

“[It had] blazing fast file application opening,” he said, “Windows apps running three times faster.”

Joe was pretty impressed, but fancied giving it a proper run for its money.

So for a real test he logged on to the file server… and started to copy a 20MB image file to his new system.

But, of course, the file server also happened to be on the selling floor.

“Instantly everyone on the floor stood up,” Joe recalled with a shudder.

And all of a sudden, there was a chorus of voices as a hundred-plus sales reps watched their daily call stats and sales data came screeching to a halt.

“Did your machine freeze?” asked one. “Yeah, mine too,” came the reply.

The culprit was, of course, Joe’s new machine.

“My new Intel 386 was so much faster than the 286 machines on the floor that it was grabbing every packet on the LAN,” he said.

So he did what all the best Reg readers would do. “I Quietly CTRL-C’d the file copy… then they all started saying ‘Oh, it’s back now’.”

Has your job ever suffered because your kit was too good? Did a personal test done on a whim end up screwing up your company’s actual work? Tell Who, Me? all about it. ®


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