On Call Welcome to the last On Call before Christmas, and a reminder that furry friends and technology do not always make good bed, or even floor, fellows.
Today's story comes from Andrew, who regular readers might recall from his adventures with Windows and a particularly bity guinea pig.
Andrew was an IT engineer with a variety of customers, all of whom required varying levels of support. "The Twilight Zone," he told us, "has got nothing on some of my clients." Harsh, but probably more than fair, judging by this hack's own memories of first-line support some 30 years ago.
One particular client was a bit of a clear-desk fetishist. You know the type – only a flat screen, keyboard, and pointing device were permitted on the desk's surface, while everything else was stashed underneath along with a rats' nest of wiring (although we're sure Andrew was a demon with the cable ties and made everything just so).
It also, recalled Andrew, "gave the office a nice tidy atmosphere to anybody entering."
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At least it would have, had the client not had a serious liking for cats. The creatures occupied much of the spare space in the office and doubtless would have made for some entertaining shenanigans during 2020's enforced videoconferencing.
"My first call out to this client was to sort out why the power supply units kept failing in the PCs," explained Andrew.
The reason was soon apparent as he cracked open the first of the computers. It was rammed full of cat hair. The stuff was everywhere in the case. Fans were clogged, cooling fins on heatsinks were festooned and vents were blocked.
It got worse as he investigated further. The Ethernet hub for the office was also on the verge of overheating. In fact, nearasdammit all the hardware in the place was suffering from hair where it didn't belong.
Andrew dutifully vacuumed the sheddings from wherever he could find it (pretty much everywhere) and replaced the failed power supplies. The problem was resolved, but not for long.
Delicately, he gave the client three options: "1: Rehome the cats. 2: Rehome the hardware onto the desktops, not a complete fix but definitely an improvement. 3: Regular monthly visits by the cat-friendly IT engineer with a hoover."
"The client opted for number 3," Andrew told us. We have no doubt the monthly visit proved lucrative, both fiscally and in terms of client happiness.
"The cats and company no longer exist," he concluded, "the client retired to somewhere sunny."
"I miss those cats."
Ever had your own run-in with the furry fan fiends? Or banished a beloved pet in order to keep the office ticking over? Send in your shots of hairy hardware or stories of vacuum-assisted resurrection to On Call. ®