No, no, no! Disco joke hit bum note in the rehab center

Techie tried to dunk on a co-worker, and found himself absolutely soaking wet

who, me? Welcome once again, valued reader, to Who, Me? – The Register's comfy Monday nook wherein we share stories of times readers weren't quite so clever as they imagined.

This week, say hello to a reader we'll Regomize as "Gene" who, once upon long ago, worked in the IT department of "a fancy rehab facility." Or perhaps more accurately, Gene was the IT department of said facility.

Gene was given the task of modernizing the phone system and decided that a Voice over IP (VOIP) system was the way to go. The particular system he chose, he discovered, had a rather nifty feature: it could retrieve custom ringtones in mp3 form from an FTP server.

Immediately the cogs in Gene's mind turned to pranking. Setting up the FTP server and an appropriately formatted file was a doddle, and he configured the system so that the phone of a specific coworker – in the nurse's station – would ring to the strains of the disco classic "It's Raining Men".

God bless Mother Nature – and whoever built a feature like that into a VOIP system.

Shortly afterwards, though, Gene got a call from the nurse's station. It was hard to understand the call though, as the plaintive plea for help was somewhat drowned out by the high-energy dance music in the background. Music that played – for the full four and a half minute duration of the song – every time the phone rang.

It transpired that the system expected ringtones to have a specific duration, but allowed files of any length. As a result, the Weather Girls' anthem to single womanhood would continue playing loudly, even after the phone had been picked up.

You can imagine the confusion that ensued.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone was as amused by the celebration of masculine precipitation as Gene. Indeed he himself started to find it less funny as repeated reboots – and even removing the original file from the server – failed to undo his prank.

Eventually he got the system to download a smaller and somewhat more professional-sounding ringtone file and – hallelujah – it stopped raining men.

Then it was time to explain the whole incident to the boss – who was not a fan of disco.

Ever been hoist by your own petard, as Gene was? Not necessarily with a prank – though those stories are almost always funny – but just had some clever techie trick backfire on you? Let us know in an email to Who, Me? and we'll share it here on some future Monday.

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