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Episode 28

So you think you've got some idea of what hardware's all about then? Think MAYBE you could mix it with the big boys of computer repair and come out relatively unscathed? Well now's the time to put it to the test!

1. You hear a loud clatter from one of the fan units of a machine you're servicing. An Amber FAN light at the front of the machine is on. The other FAN is stopped completely. You know intuitively that:

A. One fan down, one fan about to go down
B. One fan down, one fan can be fixed on a later service call
C. One fan needs oiling, the other needs replacing
D. The stopped fan is probably a standby, and the other one is still going, so no need to fix anything
E. A diagnostics problem is probably causing all this


2. It's 11pm, you're in bed and get a call about a faulty disk drive. Your immediate response is:

A. I'll be right there after I stop for a replacement unit
B. I'll be right there but I may have to leave for a replacement unit
C. I'll be there in the morning as we have no replacement units in stock
D. I think you have the wrong number, this is Dave's Minicabs
E. I'm on another job out of town at the moment - my phone's on divert - I'll get back to you next week sometime, with the replacement unit and the Penalty call fee


3. 24 x 7 x 4 means:

A. 24 hour, 7 day, 4 hour repair
B. 24 hour, 7 day, 4 hour answerphone response
C. 24 hour, 7 day, 4 hour delay before response
D. C., then 4 hour delay before you get out of bed
E. 24 Day Repair, 7 minutes till your contract expires, 4 hours waiting for someone to pick up the phone


4. You're called into a job to service piece of kit you've never ever seen before. You don't even know what it does. You:

A. Admit this to the client and call another engineer out
B. Admit it to the client
C. Look at the manuals
D. B, then C
E. Break out the screwdrivers - HOW HARD CAN IT BE!


5. After E, above you put the kit back together and have a large box of spares left over. However, the green light still comes on when you press the power button. You:

A. Look at the manual now, and put the pieces back
B. Leave the pieces with the client
C. Sell the pieces to the client as service spares
D. Put them in the bin
E. Take them home and build your own unit from the parts you'll have left over the NEXT time you service one


6. You're called out because an earth leakage detector is tripping on a piece of your kit. You:

A. Check the Power Supply
B. Run a continuity-to-ground test with a multimeter
C. Run a continuity to-ground test with a Megger tester, which patently says on the outside "Not to be used on computer equipment"
D. Tell the client this unit isn't meant to operate on earth leakage detectors
E. Epoxy the Trip-reset button down


7. You have NO F***ING IDEA what is wrong with a piece of kit you're servicing. You:

A. Ring a fellow engineer for advice
B. Replace the whole unit
C. Just keep plugging away for HOURS in case you find something
D. Piss about till the client leaves the room, then pack up and bugger off
E. D, and take the kit with you, then deny ever having been there


8. The phrase "No user serviceable parts inside" means:

A. The unit is not easily serviceable by the client
B. The unit is compose of modular components that need to be replaced, not serviced
C. There is great danger for the client in opening the case
D. There's a bit of danger for an engineer too, to be honest
E. You'll be replacing the unit sight unseen


9. "Warranty VOID if Seal Broken" means"

A. The seal guarantees that a product failed in service, and not due to tampering by the client
B. The Seal guarantees that the entire unit has not been tampered with
C. The Seal stops people being nosey
D. The Seal stops people from finding out their 2000 quid unit consists of a tiny circuit board and a bag of sand to make up weight
E. C, which is why you slap them on anything you can find from the stash in your tool box


10. Ohms Law states that two resistors in Parallel are:

A. Equal to a resistor of 1/2 the sum of the two resistors
B. Equal to a resistor less than either of the resistors
C. No substitute for a resistor of the correct value
D. Will do at a pinch
E. Can be charged out at twice the parts cost, to disguise the huge Labour charge?


How did you do then?
Mostly A You're obviously not an engineer - it's patently obvious. You're too honest and know too much. You must be stopped.

Mostly B You too know too much for your own, or your company's good. Stick to your graduate studies and leave the real world alone.

Mostly C Honesty with occasional flashes of insight. You must do better if you want to enter the fast pace charge-now-ask-questions-later world of engineering

Mostly D You've got what it takes, but you don't really know how to use it. You need to sharpen those skills a little till you're at peak performance

Mostly E A large number of important vendors would snap you up in a trice. You have the special blend of non-accountability, blatant irresponsibility and ignorance that will make you invaluable to any organisation that chooses to employ you! Good work!!!

Didn't do well? Perhaps you'll do better in Part Two - coming soon. ®

BOFH: Kit and Caboodle
That's right, the whole shebang

BOFH is the Bastard Operator From Hell. He is the creation of Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright.

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