Pulling down a partition or knocking through a door does not necessarily make for a properly connected workspace

I don't care about your problems, it works fine here


Who, Me? Although a little late for Halloween, today's entry into the Who, Me? archives concerns mysterious outages and some electrics that were perhaps a touch too cunning.

Our story comes from Gary, who was gainfully employed as a software developer. Like so many, he wore multiple hats and was also the sysadmin for his company. If there were any problems – hardware or software – the buck tended to stop with him.

And there were problems aplenty. The office itself had been built up over the years by knocking through adjacent spaces as the company had grown. While the extra space was all well and good, hardware management was becoming a problem. "Machines would be turned off when I didn't expect," explained Gary. And unexpected shutdowns have never been a good thing, regardless of one's preferred flavour of operating system.

At first, Gary's boss was reluctant to authorise the expenditure to get in an electrician to sort out the problems. His PC was fine. No problems there – very much a case of "it works OK here, guv".

But still the issues persisted. Mysterious outages. Computers abruptly shutting down. Eventually the biggest of big cheeses was persuaded: all the kit was shut down and an electrician called in to trace all the circuits.

It was, predictably, a mess. Lines were mislabelled, cables went places they probably shouldn't. A goldmine for an electrician. Less than ideal for anyone plugging a computer into a wall socket.

However, one mystery remained. The outlet in the boss's office was still live: "The electrician couldn't find where it landed in the circuit breaker," remembered Gary.

Hours of cable tracing went by as the electrician followed the wiring through floors and walls.

And through more floors and walls.

It transpired that the cable landed in another company's circuit breaker on one of the floors below. The boss was therefore, in a very real sense, insulated from the electrical mayhem of Gary's workplace. Instead, the company underneath was unwittingly paying the bill for his power consumption.

Thankfully Bitcoin mining was yet to be the force for energy consumption that it is today, and the boss's bit of spreadsheet fiddling and Solitaire playing was unlikely to have troubled the bean-counters below too much.

Still, a reminder that pulling down a partition or knocking through a door does not necessarily make for a properly connected workspace. Electrically or network-wise.

"Ahh the joy of remodelled offices!" laughed Gary.

Ever found yourself connected somewhere you shouldn't be? Either syphoning someone else's power, or gazing at another data estate thanks to a forgotten bit of Ethernet? Confess your accidental dastardly deeds with an email to Who, Me?. ®

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