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10 Computer Mishaps

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-got-a-few dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 898

Ant writes "ZDNet UK posted Ontrack Data Recovery's 2004 list of the 10 strangest and funniest computer mishaps... Some of them are funny!" My best mishap was installing the alpha video driver on an NT 3.51 box thinking that it was just an alpha driver. Of course since this Alpha meant DEC and this was an x86 box, the server barfed pretty hard. Also the time I spilled an 8oz glass of water on my laptop and lost all my email from 1994 to 1999 and my backup was corrupted. That I liked too.

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898 comments

#1 Works! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379767)

Hey, freezing a broken hard disk works, really, just don't do it like this. [arrowsmash.com]

Re:#1 Works! (4, Interesting)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379930)

I tried freezing a drive that wasn't working once. Didn't help any.
 
What did help was taking the cover off and physically holding the arm in place so the head couldn't jump back and forth. Drive worked well enough to get data off after that.
 
It should be noted that this solution was simply a result of getting really pissed off at the drive because nothing else would work.

GNAA FRIST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379771)

Suck it down, Linux-loving fagatron bitches -- GNAA OWNS YOU. I hate Linux. [tomchu.com]

My ones (5, Funny)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379777)

These really aren't very good but hopefully people will send some better ones in.
My personal ones:

A friend in the office had to install identical 2 machines with linux. Step 1: Install linux on one machine. Step 2: Install the hard drive from other machine into the computer. Step 3: 'dd' one disk over to the other one. Step 4: Scream as you did it the wrong way round and overwrote your newly installed disk with blank disk garbage.

On a server I needed to remotely manually replace libc with an older version file from another machine. Ofcause you have to remember to do everything in a single command otherwise if you delete the old version you cannot run anything else. (I am sure there must be a simpler solution to that than take the disk out and do it on another machine)

Leaving a computer under the desk but pushing it back as far as it would go so the back board of the desks fully covered the fan hole. It got very hot after a day and then burned out the cpu and powersupply in one go.

Inserting a K6-3 into an older board which I didnt want to replace. The board had jumpers with markings for the CPU voltages 3.1, 3.0, 2.9, 2.8, 2.7 and followed by 2 unlabelled jumpers. The chip wanted 2.6v core supply (I cant remember the details) so foolishly I assumed the other two jumpers were the lower voltages for which there were no processors at that time. I was wrong and a puff of smoke appeared as my lovely new 450MHz executed its first and only operation.

Checking if the IDE cable worked itself loose without moving the computer from its place and leaving it turned on. So I am reaching round the side and blindly feeling around for the cable and I suddenly feel something like an electric shock (which turned out just be accidentally touching the cpu fan blades). I very quickly remove my hand snagging it on one of the many sharp pieces of metal sticking out of old cases. It was quite cool to be able to see my muscles moving around as a huge piece of skin flopped open exposing the tendons in my hands.

Re:My ones (5, Funny)

yfmaster (686465) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379836)

wow, that last one made me flinch in pain. My favorite problem was when my dad called me to fix the monitor, "I was watering the plants and missed. Now the screen is black and there is smoke in the room."

Re:My ones (0, Redundant)

mattcurrie (192138) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379845)

It was quite cool to be able to see my muscles moving around as a huge piece of skin flopped open exposing the tendons in my hands.


Ouch!

Re:My ones (3, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379878)

On a server I needed to remotely manually replace libc with an older version file from another machine. Ofcause you have to remember to do everything in a single command otherwise if you delete the old version you cannot run anything else. (I am sure there must be a simpler solution to that than take the disk out and do it on another machine).

That's exactly what sln is for. It is like ln, but statically linked, so you can change the libc symlink without the system barfing.

Re:My ones (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379953)

My first traumatic computer injury was in about 1996, when I was attempting to remove an ISA card from a 486, and I was rocking the card using my hand on the card to pull, and my index finger to rock the metal plate. Well the card popped out suddenly, and my finger slid up the hole for the interface at the back, and the edge was sharper than any other I'd encountered before, and I had a [small] chunk of my finger flopping around and bleeding more than most bad paper cuts do.

I've since injured my thumbnail while removing a metal bezel cover the incorrect way, and had various knocks and scrapes inside the case while removing power or IDE cables mostly.

Re:My ones (2, Funny)

Epistax (544591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379962)

Checking if the IDE cable worked itself loose without moving the computer from its place and leaving it turned on. So I am reaching round the side and blindly feeling around for the cable and I suddenly feel something like an electric shock (which turned out just be accidentally touching the cpu fan blades). I very quickly remove my hand snagging it on one of the many sharp pieces of metal sticking out of old cases. It was quite cool to be able to see my muscles moving around as a huge piece of skin flopped open exposing the tendons in my hands.

This should be a college entrance requirement.

Re:My ones (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379998)

Cool! Pics?

blood will short your circuits, too (1)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380031)

I very quickly remove my hand snagging it on one of the many sharp pieces of metal sticking out of old cases.

Ouch. A lot of otherwise (relatively) harmless electrical shocks cause secondary injuries due to just this sort of thing. I cracked my elbow pretty damn hard once because of this. I was amazed at how fast my arm moved (then i was amazed at how much it hurt).

Re:My ones (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380074)

When I was younger I had just finished making my first computer. I didn't put on the back plate though and so there was a medium sized hole in the back. Anyways, next day I wake up and go to turn on my computer and absolutely nothing happens. I open up the case to find a hamster inside the case with many gnawed wires. The IDE cable was chewed along with various others. The HD had been pissed on as had the motherboard. The entire computer was just gone... Multiple components not working at all anymore. My sister's hampster had gotten lose that previous night and just found my computer to be a good place to rest. Oddly enough, my cat killed that hamster the next time it got loose.

Toilet Trauma (5, Funny)

TurdTapper (608491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379778)

One man became so mad with his malfunctioning laptop computer, he threw it into the toilet and flushed a couple of times.

It must have had problems dumping his log file. It was probably stuck in the backside cache...

Re:Toilet Trauma (5, Funny)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379835)

Yeah. It's terrible when you down't have the bandwidth for a big download.

Dull dull dull (5, Insightful)

MullerMn (526350) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379779)

Not to sound like a miserable bastard, but exactly which of these are supposed to be funny? This article is really lame, uninformative and about as funny as colon cancer.

The first item on the list takes the piss out of some guy for putting a HD in the freezer in an attempt to get it to work, when that is well known for sometimes working in temporarily resuscitating dead drives, if the death is due to a mechanical fault.

Also, the link for page two seems to keep taking me back to the first page in Firefox.

<insert misc comment about /. going downhill>

Bah. Humbug.

Re:Dull dull dull (1)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379818)

Not to sound like a miserable bastard, but exactly which of these are supposed to be funny? This article is really lame, uninformative and about as funny as colon cancer.

Yeah, they're only "sneer at someone else's misfortune" funny. Taco's alpha driver beat the lot - at least that made me smile.

"User reinstalls, forgets to back up, loses all their baby photos!" Hilarious. Not.

Also, the link for page two seems to keep taking me back to the first page in Firefox.

Yeah, you need the "read more" link below that.

Re:Dull dull dull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379828)

I agree, this article is pretty lame...

Re:Dull dull dull (5, Funny)

Gleng (537516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379920)

This article is really lame, uninformative and about as funny as colon cancer.

I don't know. My dad had bowel cancer and had to have half of his colon removed (He's 100% recovered, btw!). We always say that he has a semicolon now, and that they did a really half-arsed job of the operation.

Those jokes never get old.

Re:Dull dull dull (5, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379994)

Not to sound like a miserable bastard, but exactly which of these are supposed to be funny? This article is really lame, uninformative and about as funny as colon cancer.
That's not the idea. The idea is to have slashdotter contribute their own stories which are bound to be orders of magnitude better than the lame stuff in the original article...

Remember when... (5, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379788)

Remember that time when Taco tried to revamp the slashdot login system and none of the stories had comments for like half a day? Ahhh, memories...

Yes, yes I do (5, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379838)

How could I forget yesterday so quickly? Do we really have that many Memento-style disabled Slashdotters?

stoners (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379996)

How could I forget yesterday so quickly? Do we really have that many Memento-style disabled Slashdotters?

We're not going to have to start locking up the glue and white-out, are we? Hey! Stop sniffing that!

Re:Yes, yes I do (1)

archen (447353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380000)

How could I forget yesterday so quickly?

I think this is how we cope with Slashdot. For instance if we remembered yesterday and the day before, we'd probably notice that half of the stories are dupes. Instead we get to repost on topics and probably post funny and insightful comments that we read previously and think we came up with them on our own.

Or maybe I'm more senile then everyone else...

Format disk before use (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379790)

This is a Commodore 64 user I knew. He got around to reading some computer books, and remembered the phrase "you must format a diskette before you use it". Guess what he did first when he decided to use a commercial program that was on a diskette?

Re:Format disk before use (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380051)

Ummm, opened the box?

Probably not first post, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379794)

wrt the "10 computer Mishaps"
I thought it was funny/ironic that when I clicked on the link, I got:

  404 File Not Found
The requested URL (hardware/05/08/23/1425259.shtml?tid=133&tid=198&t id=218) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@slashdot.org.
 

Re:Probably not first post, but... (1, Offtopic)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379841)

Now I get a page claiming that they are experiencing 'planned downtime'. Looks like they're trying to cover their arses over being slashdotted.

Hmmm, just the sort of bullshit I've come to expect from ZDNet....

Beer (4, Funny)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379796)

Beer and keyboards don't mix. I spilled nearly a pint on mine and its tough working with it now. I won't give it up because its one of those old IBM [dansdata.com] keyboards and I just love it. But man its tough typing without arrow keys, a backspace and some letters. Reminds me of that Simpsons bit:

Marge: You know Homer, the "E" doesn't work on that typewriter

Homer: We don't need no stinkin' "E"! Ok, "Food Box: Go or No Go" by Homer..no, Earl..no, Bill Simpson!

Re:Beer (2, Informative)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379858)

Close, but here's the actual quote:

Marge: You know, Homey, the E doesn't work on that typewriter.

Homer: We don't need no stinkin' E! "Restaurant Review". No. "Eatery Evaluation". No. Ah! "Food Box"! "Go or no go, by Homer...". No. "Earl...". No. "Bill Simpson"!

Re:Beer (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379912)

Funnily enough, I've always had good luck with beer and monitors, though.

I spilled half a can of lager down the back of my old 14" when I was at a LAN party[1] as a kid[2], and although it buzzed alarmingly and the colours went screwy, we tried turning it off, letting the beer dry and turning it on and it's worked fine ever since.

Footnotes:

[1] Well, a mate brought his PC round when DOOM first came out, and we played over a null-modem cable. Still counts, right? Nobody'd even coined the term "LAN party" at that point :-)

[2] His parents were out, hence the beer. We were 14, hence the beer getting knocked over and going down the back of the monitor. :-)

You can fix that (2, Informative)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380020)

I have a beloved Playstation 2 USB kb, which is nearly impossible to replace now. I got coke ( very acidic ) spilled on it and lost all but a few keys.

How do I fix it? Simple, I bought a conductive pen off amazon.com and retraced all the bad traces. You really need to clean with alcohol a lot to make sure you got all that coke off first. It also helps if you have a multimeter to figure out what needs to be retraced and save time. Everyone should have 3-4 multimeters lying around. =)

Re:Beer - cleanup (2, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380023)

You could try pouring distilled water into the keyboard, while it's unplugged naturally, and let it sit for a while then drain it. It should remove the stickiness, and not leave any residue or rust the connections if you're fortunate.

my mishap (4, Funny)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379798)

It's software, not hardware, but this happened to me at 4 am, 4 hours before the launch of a very important project. I had just spend 6 hours importing old data into new software and wanted to delete the default User:

Delete from Users; where ID=1;

Re:my mishap (1)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379847)

rollback?

You did do this in a transaction right? :)

Re:my mishap (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379871)

At 4 AM, it's a good idea to have implicit transactions turned off ;)

Taco, Taco... (5, Funny)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379805)

I really would have expected Taco's story to be about "the one time we updated Slashdot..."

Posting article to /. (1)

glazed (122100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379809)

Killed my drive

Re:Posting a story on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379959)

Killed my web server

Facts? (0, Redundant)

Kimos (859729) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379820)

This is nothing but a list of vague semi-technology related stories. They're not particularly funny either. This looks more like a lame email forward than a slashdot story...

Zdnet (1)

Zlib pt (820294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379822)

"You have been redirected to this page during a temporary period of planned downtime."
Planned ou slashdotted ?

Re:Zdnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379893)

lol "planned downtime" i am gonna use that one

Re:Zdnet (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379909)

/.'ed, definitly - worked for a while then grinded to a halt and switched to redirection.

Sorry if I missed any humor you had intended.

Re:Zdnet (1)

Zlib pt (820294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379929)

It was no humor, just plain ironic

-5 Unfunny (0, Flamebait)

kryzx (178628) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379823)

Article Moderation Totals:
-3 Unfunny
-2 Uninteresting
-1 Uninsightful

100% suckage.

Must be a slow news day.

woops! (0)

manavendra (688020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379833)

Guess this really isn't a coffe-mug holder!

My best... (4, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379851)

$Airline is on the brink of bankrupcy, and owes a friend close to $50,000. My friend is just about to write-it off.

One day, frantic call from my friend: "can you come with me to $AIRPORT, $AIRLINE's mac is down (I was the Mac expert then). Seems that $AIRLINE is running it's whole fleet management software on ONE computer.

We get there, and the VICE-PRESIDENT OF FINANCE is waiting for us at the receptionist desk. He hands my friend a $50,000 cheque!!! We go look at the macintosh, and I cannot do anything, the hard-disk is totally molten...

We get out of the airport and rush to the bank to have the cheque certified.

The next day, $AIRLINE filed for bankrupcy...

Re:My best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380062)

the hard-disk is totally molten...

red...hot...mag-ma

Re:My best... (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380092)

How long was your friend able to keep his check. I assume that he was sued for preferential treatment by the bankruptcy trustees and his 50 grand was appropriated to pay for lawyers fees?

Installing a modem at age 12 (5, Funny)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379852)

When I was 12 or so I bought a 2400 Bps internal modem for my Compuadd 486 SX25.

I had no idea what I was doing so I called up the Hayes support line. I told the support guy I wanted to install my new modem but needed help.

He asked me if I had my computer's case off, to which I replied yes. He then told me to go ahead and plug the modem into one of the free slots.

Zap! OUCH! Poof!

He neglected to tell me to turn off the computer.

Hey, I was 12... leave me alone.

For those of you who are worried, some how, both the computer and the modem survived and I eventually got it installed and working. :)

Re:Installing a modem at age 12 (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380040)

Hehe, that reminds me the time when I wanted to upgrade the Hard disk of my fathers computer, I was like 13 or something.

I dit everything "almost" ok, unplug IDE cable, unplug DC cable, take out old HD and install new HD... everything smooth

After that I decided to install the old HD as a slave disk, again just install HD, plug IDE and plug DC cables...

Then, turn on the computer and whoops, old CD not working... after trying with some jumpers configurations and *here i go* different way of connecting the IDE cable (on those days IDE cables didnt have the small plastic which prevents you from connecting them in the wrong way... and also the bios didnt have protection so you could not fry them :( )...

Of course, after some time of trying to use the computer with the drive (turned on, tested int he bios, configured the HD head, cyls,etc params) the only thing that happened is that my fathers HD got fried...

Now, the only detail I missed so far is that that disk contained nothing less than my fathers PhD thesis =oS.

Yep, you can guess how I felt after I took the disk to a friend (he was like 30 or something and was the expert in computers then) and he told me that my disk was totally RIP...

Fortunately, for me, my father had backup of his thesis in floppy disks ...

Oh! or other time when I erased all my information when making my first FreeBSD installation! that was back in 1994 ... cute.

Re:Installing a modem at age 12 (1)

JLyle (267134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380091)

He asked me if I had my computer's case off, to which I replied yes. He then told me to go ahead and plug the modem into one of the free slots.

Zap! OUCH! Poof!

He neglected to tell me to turn off the computer.
My story is along the same lines. I had the case off of an old PC XT compatible of some kind. It was kinda late, and I'd been working on the PC for an hour or so (can't remember why now). I plugged a video card into one of the empty slots while the power was still on and, among other things, it fried the hard drive. Luckily there were backups, but it still a few days to get everything back up and running.

Well this one takes the cake. (3, Funny)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379866)

While working outside on my laptop in Key West some kids scared up the wild rosters that live there. Airborne and over my laptop he shat a full on metric ton of bird juice onto my laptop.

I was cleaning roster shat out of my keyboard for the next 2 weeks. Smelled good as well. At least it was not in my beer I guess.

Re:Well this one takes the cake. (1)

cyrek (556620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380012)

There's a roster for roosters on the rota-roaster?!

Re:Well this one takes the cake. (1)

JasonBee (622390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380078)

What kind of wild Roster was that??

It was a "he" , and yet plural at the same time...my brain hurts :P

My worst (1)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379870)

I was using BBedit, and wrote a fairly simple script to update all of the copyright statements that were hard coded in several thousand web pages, it worked fine on several test pages, but when I told it to do the whole server, it just erased the pages and saved a new blank copy. Thank god for a back up that was only three days old

Oh ho ho! (4, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379872)

My best mishap was installing the alpha video driver on an NT 3.51 box thinking that it was just an alpha driver. Of course since this Alpha meant DEC and this was an x86 box, the server barfed pretty hard.
Ha ha ha! Oh, Taco! You and your hi-larious shenanigans.

ZDNet UK Editing Mishap / Pedantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379880)

From the heading of the article:

"It's amazing some of the ways people can lose data. Our favourite excuse of late incolve [sic] everyintg [sic] from toilets to tarmac and mountaineering to meterology [sic]"

Wow. There's no need to proofread the heading, because afterall.. What are the chances of making a mistake there?

Huh? (1)

Shanep (68243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379884)

My best mishap was installing the alpha video driver on an NT 3.51 box thinking that it was just an alpha driver. Of course since this Alpha meant DEC and this was an x86 box, the server barfed pretty hard.

What are you doing installing what you beleive to be an alpha quality driver on a server?

Beer + Keyboard (4, Interesting)

markmcb (855750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379890)

I don't know about that article being funny, but I knew a guy in colleg who woke up to a random dude pissing in his keyboard. I'm not sure if the keyboard was ruined, but I do know that it was trashed (much like the random dude). Cops were involved and the guy ended up having to buy a whole new system for my friend. So if you're in college and you're not locking your dorm room door, you might want to put a towel or something over your keyboard at night.

Re:Beer + Keyboard (0)

detlev409 (673380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380018)

Having worked a college help desk, I can tell you with some confidence that this happens waaaay too often...

#1 computer mishap... (3, Funny)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379899)

Having your webserver shine briefly in the ultraviolet range before slumping in a heap of molten slag because you got linked on the front page of Slashdot.

Biggest Mishap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379916)

This one time, I made a list of mishaps and posted it on Slashdot. Suddenly, I remembered that we needed to have "Planned" downtime.

Some of them are funny! (1)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379919)

Where $Some == 0.

My best mishap was the following: I decided to make bubble solution for my little girl. So I went on the Internet using my laptop and found a recipe that involved mixing water, glycerine, sugar and dish washing liquid.

The mixture makes very good, but very sticky bubbles. I made about a litre of it and put it in a jug. I then got up from the table and knocked over the jug onto my laptop keyboard.

Oops.

Luckily the laptop I have is almost sealed under the keyboard (there's a small hole for the keyboard connector) and I was able to remove the keyboard and simply wash it unde the tap and then dry it out. In fact you can pretty safely wash laptop keyboards once separated from the machine because there are no electronics in them, just a PCB with rubber keys on top.

John.

Danger in the Workplace (1)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379921)

I hold one of those much admired positions within my small workplace, that of the "guy know knows what a computer is". As a result I look after our server, all the desktops, database application, etc, etc - even tho I have only a rough working knowledge in the field (I'm actually a multimedia designer!) During a weekend RAID-5 upgrade (from the single 200mb HDD with no redundancy / backup (you can see where this is going, can't you)) I was informed there were errors on the disk, so I naturally ran chkdsk to sort them out. Chkdsk did sort them out, and I was able to copy accross the old drive data to the new raid array. It wasn't until the next monday in the office when I (and to an extent, everyone else in the company) realised that the chkdisk had neferd _everything_ on the data partition - 4 months of un-backed up accounts, contact databases, artwork, pretty much everything were left with massive holes. I rang ontrack, the guy at the other end of the phone felt sorry for me. morale: backup, please.

Arguments becoming options (5, Interesting)

skroz (7870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379924)

The worst/oddest I've seen went something like this:

1. Someone ran rsync with -r at the end, intending to do something recursive. This option was treated as an argument, causing a file called -r to be created. This was done in / on an HP-UX workstation.

2. Two years later, someone wrote a script to be run from cron that would run as root then change to a directory containing data files, erase them, and create new ones. This directory of data files was NFS mounted on the workstation in 1 above. Many, many other filesystems were also mounted on this workstation, all rw, all as root.

3. Some time after that, someone rebooted the workstation. Not All of the NFS mounts came up, so when the script in 2 ran as root and did not check to make sure the destination directory existed, it was not able to cd and ran in /

4. The script executed "rm -f *", intending to delete the data files. Unfortunately, the file called -r was still in / and was included in the argument list. Rm of course interpreted this as an option, so the command became "rm -f -r (everything else in /.)"

5. 3 and 4 happened on a saturday night when no one was around, so no one noticed all of the data disappearing until Monday, when it was all gone.

6. Several people had a very, very long day. Actually, several long days. A few weeks, actually.

Can you count the number of gross and avoidable administration mistakes, boys and girls?

Re:Arguments becoming options (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380035)

And yet *nix users continue to insist that command-line tools and bizarro naming conventions are a good thing.

To me, this is an example of catastrophically bad platform design.

switching off the wrong server ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13379925)

How about this one :

A big telecommunications company wanted to upgrade hardware on a Compaq ES40 cluster, justed fopr access control on their ADSL network. The operator stopped all the applications and the OS on the left hand node (A). The right hand node (B) was taking over the load at that time, so no users would be affected. Then he stepped behind the cluster, and switched off the /left/ power supply.

Only when he heard the SNMP alarms going off, he realized that he just switched off server B, the one that was carrying all the load. Node A was already shut down, so couldn't take it over.

It took about an hour to boot everything back up. ADSL access for the entire country was interrupted, and the press had a field day.

Smashed hard drive (3, Funny)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379931)

I lost all the data on an old hard drive once... after I beat the shit out of it with a hammer.

It was a dying drive, didn't need it anymore. So we had fun! The platters made a nice spiral in the air after I broke the spindle off...

Highly ranked mishap (1)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379940)


This mishap [psg.com] wasn't so bad really, but somehow managed to get a lot more public attention than I cared for.

Coral anyone?? (1)

detlev409 (673380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379941)

Somebody better cache this thing quick. Looks like the server is crying already.

Crybaby.

My personal favorites (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379951)

I once managed to connect my first CD-ROM drive backwards to the power suppy so that it was getting far more voltage than it should have (stupid Y connector). That was one of the times I managed to cause smoke to come out of the computer.

Another time I was putting in a variable resistor to quiet down a fan. Unfortunately it wasn't rated at the voltage I was passing through it, so that was smoking computer #2.

This final one happened to someone else (really). They were a domain administrator, thinking at they were looking at all the users with access to their computer, though they were really looking at the domain users. Since there were so many, they decided to delete them all out. Sure enough, no one in our organization could log onto the domain again. Eventualy people figured things out and restored from backup. The person felt pretty guilty, especially as they were a manager of the network team.

Re:My personal favorites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380060)

"Another time I was putting in a variable resistor to quiet down a fan. Unfortunately it wasn't rated at the voltage I was passing through it, so that was smoking computer #2."

Resistors are rated by wattage, not voltage. And you'd need a variac instead of a resistor.

Re:My personal favorites (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380097)

Yeah... On a PDC, the local user database IS the domain user database.

That's really all a PDC is... A NT box with a shared user database.

I'm sure 99 % /.'ers have better stories... (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379956)

I have to agree with first posters... these aren't very good stories. But, thinking maybe it's phishing for better stories, I'll byte:

I once created an extremely complex script, crafted lovingly to do something at the time I'm sure I thought important. As always I incrememtally built and tested, assuring myself of one more self-anointed masterpiece. Finally, finished, as an afterthought...

I inserted a variable to point to a directory node below which I would clean up all of my work (even though I knew I had no need for the variable and would never tweak it). It was such a simple addition. No need to test.

Fired up the script, it ran a couple of seconds, I was prepared to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Hmmmm, I don't remember ANY of the test runs running so long. Why is the hard drive light flickering so much? And why still? And why so long?...

Yeah, the

rm -fr c:/$CleanupDir (I was using MKS Toolkit in a windows environment)

command worked perfectly. Except I defined the variable initially as: cleanupdir=dirname

So, everything was lost except for the frigging "masterpiece".

Undaunted, (I'm no idiot, golllll!), I calmly inserted the QIC backup tape with my prerun backup.

No, wait!, I'll not be caught with that error again! I quickly edited the only remaining file in my tree of files, the offending script and smugly fixed the rogue spelling. I hadn't been working in this industry this long without knowing how to take safeguards!

Now, twenty minutes later, my script fixed... my files restored... let's try this again. Yeah... something about the chronology of fixing the script, then restoring the broken version over it from the backup tape. At least I proved the error was replicatable. So, I am an idiot afterall!

disclaimer: this happened over ten years ago, so I'm a bit short on exact detail of the snafu, but it really did happen. And, even though I repeated my idiocy, the fact I had the backup tape at all with only the one error to fix in the script saved my butt... so not all was lost in the lunacy.

Now that's funny... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379958)

You have been redirected to this page during a temporary period of planned downtime. We apologise for any inconvenience this work may have caused you. ZDNet UK should be available shortly and we encourage you to visit us again soon.

-The ZDNet UK Team

Well..... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379968)

There was the time I tried to submit a $JOB with the $PRIOTL card ahead of the $DATA card, but forget the change the ppu patch panel on the IBM 1401 with the jpu panel - Hahaha, the operators were cleaning green-bar paper out of the chain printer for hours.

I'm sure we can find better stories than those (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379972)

A friend of mine (honestly, it wasn't me) was formatting a pile of floppys when he was distracted, and typed format /u c: instead of a:

It took us a while to figure out what had happenned, because windows kept working (in a sort of half dazed way) for a surprisingly long time.

And Nr. 11 was... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379973)

Melting down ZDNET UK site, using slashdotting tehnique. Thanks guys for give me reason don't read this article and waste my time :)

Watercooling 'Mishap' (4, Funny)

Freexe (717562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379975)

My favouriate incident was when my druken friend decided to try and have a drink out of my watercooling setup.

After he pulled the pipe out of the pump I distinctly remember 'hearing' the sound of water hitting a fan followed by 'seeing' that the pump was pushing water upwards-straight into my graphics card fan which was very effectively 'flicking' water over the rest of the PC.

PCs are hard to break, and after 2 days drying out it worked fine.

NB: this happened three times and after the third time and the purchase of my x800 xt I moved back to fans

11th computer mishap (1)

flibuste (523578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379977)

Get slashdotted by posting the URL of your website on the slashdot front page.

#1 Computer Mishap (0)

catalax (826962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379981)

#1: Getting your article posted on /. and your server set on fire.

Leaving this page open. (1)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379991)

I walked away from the computer with the "10 Computer Mishaps" page open.

Then my fiance used the computer and glanced through the page that was open.

Let me tell you, the jabs I got for being a huge dork and finding any humor in these sure were funny.

It is not "Computer Mishaps" (1)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379992)

"Computer Mishaps" should be "Data Destruction Disasters". That is what the ZDNet article is about and that is why most of the examples are lame.

Proposed Slashdot Editor Checklist

1. Read the article referenced (or at least the headline).
2. Check to see if the submission is on the front page already.
3. Check spelling, grammer and style.

Well, I guess 1 out of 3 is the best to hope for.

gentoo users: don't unmerge portage! (1)

rjnagle (122374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380001)

on a gentoo system, I typed:

emerge unmerge portage

Gentoo users probably are laughing hard at this one. I must admit after tearing out my hair I had a good laugh too.

silly newbie (1)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380006)

back when I was new to linux, and configuring my own system, my computer was pretty slow and I wanted to remove all the Redhat extras that I thought were slowing it down.

out goes wine, samba, all those extras. And then I see stuff called glibc, libso, and more clearly unneeded baggage. Delete delete delete.

Ah well, that taught me right quick not to fiddle with things you don't know about while logged in as root...

Beware the Wrath of the Tilde! (1)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380007)

My best computer mishap was back in about 2000 when I had only been using Linux on my desktop for a year or two. In an attempt to get Apache acting as I expected it to (or something, I don't really remember why) I created a folder called ~adam somewhere on my system. It didn't work, so I went rm -rf ~adam. Ooops!

And that's how I learned to fear and respect the power and glory of our lord savior, the Bourne Again Shell.

Re:Beware the Wrath of the Tilde! (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380088)

And this case is exactly why there should be NO (and I really mean NO!!!) recursive flags on any linux program. Pipe an output through find or something... Just as long as you DO IT MANUALLY.

Where there's smoke... (5, Funny)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380008)

When I was in university (1985-88) I worked in the computer lab and my buddy and I were asked to take a look at one of the secretary's PC that had a floppy drive that was acting up.

Rather than try to diagnose the problem at her desk we usually just replaced the drive and checked it out back at the lab. We removed the existing drive and plugged in the replacement. Because the floppy mounting was rather tedious we didn't completely mount it until we were sure it worked so my buddy held on to it while I powered up the machine.

Now what I haven't mentioned was that the power plugs in this particular brand of PC did not have a "notch" on them like modern PCs and we weren't paying attention to it so when we plugged in the drive we put the power plug on backwards.

When we powered up the machine smoke began pouring out of the floppy drive as my friend began screaming, "Turn it off, turn it off!".

When we realized our mistake we got a new drive and installed it correctly. When we left, the secretary (already cautious of computers) was now almost terrified by the PC on her desk.

Linksys ethernet adapter/asus pb400mb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380028)

installed a linksys ethernet adapter into a asus pb400 mb, and got and ip, but no network connectivity. fix: each time i boot, uninstall and re-install the driver. so in a way, it becomes secure (no network connectivity) if someone else boots it. :)

Email from 94-99? (1)

zbend (827907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380033)

Maybe its just me but my email from 94-99 would be a whole lot of worthless bytes, I wouldn't miss.

My Favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13380034)

Years and years ago, I had to connect an RS-232 cable between a Mac and an Iris 4D machine. We worked in an office which didn't exactly have the best power supplies and the two machines had different grounds.

As I plugged the cable into the Mac, there was a pop and the smell of burned chips filled the air. The joy of this was that it fried the IRIX box as well.

Two computers (one quite expensive) in under a second!

Integrated cup holder failure. (1, Funny)

adamdeprince (600460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380041)

Well, there was this one time when I spilled an entire cup of coffee on my laptop. When will manufactures learn to make the integrated cup holders strong enough to hold a Starbuck's Venti? The worst offenders are those cup holders that go back in all by themselves if you push too hard.

Big Gulp (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380042)


  When I was 12, I spilled a nearly-full big-gulp into my Commodore 64. The screen instantly went black. I just about crapped my pants.

    I took the entire thing apart, cleaned off circuit boards, keys, and all, dried them, put it all back together... and it worked.

steve

old AT cases (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380050)

i wired the power up wrong on an old AT case i was switching out. I plugged it in, turned it on and boom! i've never seen a computer catch fire before. It blew the breaker in the office, blew the insulation off all the wires from the power supply and filled the office with the pleasant smell of an electrical fire.

I had an intern corrupt a very critical database with some bad sql. I was able to recover from backups and a binary log fairly easily but it still made for some frantic moments. I took the blame (she shouldn't have had the access she did) and besides she was already in tears heh.

Permissions problems (1)

g051051 (71145) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380080)

A shop I worked at had a DG Aviion [wikipedia.org] that was being shared by several developers. We all had root access, and things generally ran smoothly.

One day as I was working, some of my friends came into my office and mentioned they were having trouble with the system, that it wasn't allowing logins. I was surprised, since I hadn't noticed anything in several hours of work. "Look", I said, "I'm not having any problems", whereupon I logged out and couldn't get back in.

After lots of diagnostics, and booting from the support tape (which is something that I'm glad I'll never do again), we determined that the ownership of critical files had been changed. It turned out that one of my friends (normally a very bright guy) noticed that all the files that were in the /bin dierectory weren't owned by "bin"...so he fixed it. And all the suid programs that had to be root to work stopped working, including the ones that handled the login process.

The really annoying part is that the fellow in question didn't come forward (for a long time). The day it happened, he swore he didn't do anything, and even went to lunch with the other programmers while I was on the phone with DG support trying to track down the problem! It was still many months of occasional failures before we got most of the files fixed.

I have to agree ... (1)

TechnoLuddite (854235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380083)

... I have seen better. Amusing stories, in kind of a mainstream sort of way, but we've heard more outlandish. (And much more mad-scientisty.)

But, in keeping with the Ontrack theme mentioned, here's a couple I've heard of:

- One customer guessed that maybe his hard drive didn't work because it had been "sitting in a snowdrift by the barn for a while."

- Another customer, concerned that he would void the warranty if he disassembled the hard drive by removing the screws, used a hacksaw instead.

- An Ontrack representative told a customer to pack his hard drive in peanuts for protection during shipping. The drive arrived the next day packed in salted peanuts - instead of foam peanuts.

- Another drive arrived smelling fresh & clean, wrapped in Bounce fabric softener sheets. The customer had been told to pack it with antistatic material before shipping.

Linus dialled his harddisk (2, Interesting)

tero (39203) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380100)

Well, it can happen to the best of us.. This is from Lasu's Linux Anecdotes [liw.iki.fi]
At one point, Linus had implemented device files in /dev, and wanted to dial up the university computer and debug his terminal emulation code again. So he starts his terminal emulator program and tells it to use /dev/hda. That should have been /dev/ttyS1. Oops. Now his master boot record started with "ATDT" and the university modem pool phone number. I think he implemented permission checking the following day.

Convergys Story (1)

unsupported (230678) | more than 8 years ago | (#13380102)

I worked at Convergys, a tech support sweat shop, and had just been switched to Dell 95 support (I had been supporting Gateway NT4.0 systems). A user calling in had an error, the team lead, who was like... 16, told me to delete C:\windows\etc (or something), and reboot, because Windows would re-create it. What did you know? It didn't recreate it and I was stuck on the phone for 5 hours reinstalling every little piece of software and change very little configuration on the end users computer because I hosed it out.

It did teach me a very important lesson. Never delete, all ways rename.

Another Convergys story, a kid who worked on the Dell account was troubleshooting a womans CD-Rom drive. He told her to touch the power connector to her tongue, like a 9 volt, to see if it recieved power. ZAP! She got more than she bargined for... unfortunately the kid didn't get fired because he was buddy buddy with the supervisor.
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