ON CALL: DIRT FILE The On Call mailbag is bulging with contributions from readers who want to add to The registers Dirt File, a periodic spin-off of our weekly On Call column about tech support nightmares that focuses on the filthiest, worst, filthiest, dirtiest environments in which readers have been asked to work.
To open this installment, meet a reader who does well Regomize as Wright who is an assistant IT manager at a very, very large US airport.
We have a 22U cabinet deployed in the public area of our airport that houses the network switch and uninterruptible power supply, Wright explained. The cabinet is locked tight.
However the airport facilities team often calls to ask for keys to get into what they think is a locked bin.
Wright arrives to find the rack nearly full from people dumping trash through the cable access slot above.
Among that trash are bottles and cans that, inevitably, haven’t completely decomposed.
As readers will no doubt appreciate, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) contain multiple batteries. And when batteries get wet all kinds of bad things can happen involving fires and explosions. Which is not popular anywhere but especially about airports.
Fortunately, this UPS did not suffer.
Amazingly, the equipment survived even though the beverage containers leaked their contents, Wright told On Call. I can only assume that the first layer of litter provides protection or dispersal of liquids.
Don’t try this defense method deep at home, dear reader.
Next, let’s meet Howard who used to be a shopkeeper in Monaco, with the house of a woman who offered dog grooming services to the Principality’s residents.
She often has 10 to 15 dogs roaming free around the house at any given time, Howard told On Call. And while those dogs weren’t allowed in the room of his home that contained a computer, dog hair still got inside.
Computer fans and motherboards will require regular cleaning every 3 or 4 months to remove about 0.25 cm of adhering dust, dander, and the occasional dog hair, to prevent overheating.
Howard has allergies so working in this house makes him weak.
I had to take an antihistamine at least 30 minutes before I arrived at his place just to survive the visit, he wrote.
He had the same problem at a nearby sports bar where four machines near the main entrance were absorbing all kinds of dust and crud and needed regular cleaning (or replacement) of chassis and CPU fans especially, despite the daily obligation for cleanliness.
The datacenter got me drunk. Not really
Today we will meet a reader who kindly called Dennis who was once asked to upgrade the network at a winery an hour or two outside of town.
The comms room sits atop cellars that hold thousand-gallon barrels of port, Dennis explained, adding that some of the barrels are 100 years old and the winery puts in new ones every year.
All that wine sat there, wafting up to the comms room where the air conditioning sucked the musty, yeasty, steam inside.
Staying there for hours has an inevitable effect, Dennis told On Call. I had to call my manager and let him know that I would be staying at a nearby hotel because I was in no condition to finish work.
Dennis’s boss assumes that he has sampled the customers’ wares.
I took some time explaining that not a drop had passed my lips, Dennis wrote, before lamenting the truth of his statement because they made and still do some great wines.
Finally, let’s meet a reader named Bobby, who thankfully didn’t have allergies when he asked to fix a fan, slipped inside a server and wondered who on earth has decided to line it with what looks like thick felt.
Except it didn’t feel like it.
It’s 15 years of caked-on dust from carpets on the floor and cigarette ash and smoke being sucked in and compressed into the case from the power supply fan, and occupying every spare centimeter of space inside, Bobby told On Call.
His attempts to clean it up went awry.
It exploded into the room, like a spore cloud. Once airborne, it quickly entered the air circulation system throughout the building, causing the entire building to smell of cigarettes for several days.
Share your stories of the dirtiest places you’ve ever worked by clicking here to send an On Call email. The Dirt File returns next week.
#antihistamines #time #open #computer
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