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Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...

The UPS gets its revenge in a tale of fire, fury and farming

Who, Me? Monday is here once more, bringing with it the promise of a clean slate, a fresh week and a mailbox full of problems. Put all that to one side and take solace in another Reg reader's misadventures courtesy of Who, Me?

Our tale takes place in 2001 and comes from "Jeff", for that is not and was not his name.

Jeff was working for a major computer company that supported various US airlines and he'd been charged with moving a bunch of servers from one building to another. The hardware itself was branded AST, which had been quite the noise back in the day.

Originally all about making expansion cards, AST helped in the design of the EISA bus before picking up a substantial share of the computer market. Challenging times meant that the company was eventually acquired by Samsung before being closed in 1999 and dissolved in 2001.

A former worker recalled the time of the original purchase, telling El Reg: "Suddenly we had access to the Samsung internal network. There were cartoons depicting lazy American workers all over...

An old fax machine with someone pushing a button

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time


"They got pulled when the Helldesk managers complained."

Best nobody mention that to the Tweeter-in-Chief. Oh dear.

Back to Jeff. Although his company had picked up a substantial portion of AST's output, it was only a few servers that actually needed to be moved in this instance before the inevitable happened.

"We ran out of available outlets."

There are lots of things Jeff should have done at this point, perhaps even pondered the fate of Mr Creosote in Monty Python's Meaning Of Life. But he did not.

Instead, "without thinking, I plugged in 'just one more' server to the UPS."

He almost got away with it.

"When I hit the 'on' button the server almost came up to POST…

"You could hear the UPS groan and then...


Flames jetted from the front of the UPS case at Jeff's legs and he uttered something unsuitable for both a family publication and the open-plan office in which he was working.

"Ultimately, I did not get nailed for the expletive as everybody (couple of hundred folks) heard the BANG and smelled the smoke."

We imagine an f-bomb or two was nothing compared to the impromptu office pyrotechnics.

"I also survived not being provided with enough UPSes to cover the load," he added.

Manufacturers of UPS devices will be relieved to learn that Jeff eventually retired from the world of IT, opting instead for a farming life free from modern fripperies such as telephones or electricity. "No bills other than car insurance and property tax," he boasted.

Where do we sign up?

Do you recall the smell of burning UPSes in the morning? Or have you ditched it all and gone in for The Good Life? (Though Richard Briers is sadly no longer with us.) Share your adventures in an email to Who, Me? ®

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