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?. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021