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Fed up with slammed servers, IT replaced iTunes backups with a cow of a file

Pigs might fly before youngsters listened to IT instructions – so the IT manager made sure chickens came home to roost

who, me? Greetings, gentle reader! What a joy it is to see you, as once again we delve into Who, Me? wherein Reg-reading raconteurs recall rascally rebellions at work.

This week our rapscallion of record is one "Roy" (not his real name) who once served as IT manager for "a well known environmentally conscious international organization". It was the sort of place where many bright-eyed idealistic young activists worked – complete with their disdain for "the man" and any sort of corporate diktat.

This became a bit of a sticking point when iPods became all the rage. Every hip young person of the age needed to possess the hottest gadgets. And naturally they then synced them to their company-provided laptops. Which thanks to Roy's diligence were backed up to corporate servers. Which had only so much space.

This was an environmental org, remember – massive amounts of electricity and magnetic media being consumed to accommodate thousands of copies of The Smiths latest album was not exactly on brand.

Roy started receiving "awe-inspiring alerts" warning that storage capacity would soon be utterly depleted. He issued instructions that the company laptops were not to be used for backing up tunes – instructions that the prevailing culture deemed worthy of being unread and disregarded.

Who reads memos from the nerds anyway, right? That's not cool, man.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. A file-system script was devised, which according to Roy would seek out music files stored in the backup server (these were iPod backups, remember, not iPhone backups – so no encryption).

Once a music file had been identified, it would be replaced by a file that had exactly the same name as the original and retained other metadata so it would be synced back to the users' iPods. The content, however, would be altered somewhat.

In place of their original many-minutes-long songs, the tree-hugging activists would hear only a few seconds of gentle mooing. This was in most cases not Cery entertaining, but took up vastly less room on the server.

The script ran over a weekend and into Monday morning, when the various laptops were re-synced (against company directives) to their iPods – and dozens of wide-eyed idealists were convinced their music had been kidnapped by cows.

Ever been mooved to desperate action by an udderly ridiculous situation? Tell us about it in an email to Who, Me? and we'll milk it for all it's worth.

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