Toaster cooks network and burns 'expert' user's credibility to a crisp

Reader savours the sweet, sweet taste of vindication

ON-CALL Welcome to On-Call, our Friday frolic through readers' tales of being "used and abused to serve like hell", as Grandmaster Flash once said.

This week, meet “CJ”, who back in the day “finally managed to convince the owners of real estate agency that their ageing 10B2 thin Ethernet network needed to be updated and made reliable after many, many 'emergency' call outs to fix the kicked, disconnected, severed cabling.”

CJ spent a long weekend wrestling “almost a kilometre of CAT5e”, but by the time Monday came around the client “had both floors cabled with a spanky new network, comms cabinets mounted on walls, lovely new switches and the servers (an ageing SCO Unix 5 machine with EISA network card and a new Windows Server 2000 Small Business Server ) locked away in a safe place where users couldn't touch them in the now hopefully-unlikely event things slowed down or stopped."

The network was tested and qualified for what was then a searing 100Mbps and CJ was “confident the new network would make a huge difference to the number of hours spent crawling under desks armed with a multimeter and cable tester.”

Until about half past ten on the Monday.

It was then that “an irate user who had been unfathomably opposed to the new network for many spurious and ridiculous reasons called me with that sneering tone of voice only an estate agent can muster,” CJ recalls.

“Your new cabling has stopped us all working,” sneered CJ's foe, “You better get here right now and get the old stuff put back.”

CJ was having none of that, so fired back a few questions and learned – with sneering turned up to eleven – that “It's broken all the computers, they've all gone off and it's that piece of shit box you put on the wall, all the lights have gone out and I said it wouldn't be powerful enough to run our network.”

“All the lights have gone out,” asked CJ? “The lights on the comms cabinet or the computers?"

“All the lights, everything. The whole building is dark” replied the sneering chap. “We need you here right now.”

After carefully and patiently checking that lights were on in adjacent buildings, CJ suggested his nemesis might need to go and check the circuit breakers in their office. Which was good advice because the main breaker had popped.

The sneering chap “still tried to pin it on the new comms cabinet, for some reason the flashing lights offended him even though they were under a stairwell outside the office he worked in.”

But CJ eventually figured out the real reason for the breaker doing its thing: the sneering man's toaster, which he'd been using to toast crumpets had broken a filament and shorted to earth in the kitchen.”

Which left CJ feeling toasty, and the sneering chap with egg on his face. Well he no longer had toast to rest it on, did he?

What have users unfairly blamed you for? Or what messes have users made that you've had to clean up? Write and let me know and who knows? You, yes you, could appear in a future edition of On-Call.

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