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posted by Cactus on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-it-plugged-in? dept.

martyb writes:

"Remember that one bug that had you tearing your hair out and banging your head against the wall for the longest time? And how it felt when you finally solved it? Here's a chance to share your greatest frustration and triumph with the community.

One that I vividly recall occurred back in the early 90's at a startup that was developing custom PBX hardware and software. There was the current development prototype rack and another rack for us in Quality Assurance (QA). Our shipping deadline for a major client was fast approaching, and the pressure level was high as development released the latest hardware and software for us to test. We soon discovered that our system would not boot up successfully. We were getting all kinds of errors; different errors each time. Development's machine booted just fine, *every* time. We swapped out our hard disks, the power supply, the main processing board, the communications boards, and finally the entire backplane in which all of these were housed. The days passed and the system still failed to boot up successfully and gave us different errors on each reboot.

What could it be? We were all stymied and frustrated as the deadline loomed before us. It was then that I noticed the power strips on each rack into which all the frames and power supplies were plugged. The power strip on the dev server was 12-gauge (i.e. could handle 20 amps) but the one on the QA rack was only 14-gauge (15 amps). The power draw caused by spinning up the drives was just enough to leave the system board under-powered for bootup.

We swapped in a new $10 power strip and it worked perfectly. And we made the deadline, too!

So, fellow Soylents, what have you got? Share your favorite tale of woe and success and finally bask in the glory you deserve."

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by mverwijs on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:52PM

    by mverwijs (2457) on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:52PM (#13194) Homepage

    It was the night of January 25, 2003. I was working at a webhoster. We were migrating to a new datacenter. Meaning we prepped the new datacenter, switched off all the servers in the old location, moved them, and switched them on again.

    Hours and hours of racking, stacking, pulling cables, testing cables. All through the night. From 23:00 till 06:00 or so. We were beat, but we were done. We started flipping on switches and routers. All looked good. We started flipping on servers. Round about the time we switched on the last 10 or so servers, all the switches and routers lit up like a christmas tree. Blinking lights started to furiously flicker. We thought there was something wrong with the last couple of servers, so we switched those off. The problem persisted. Restarted the switches. That didn't solve anything. We started to switch off servers rack by rack. By this time, customers were starting to wake up and call as well, since we had drifted outside the maintenance window. Everything went crazy.

    After some more trial and error, we noticed that if we turned on Windows Servers, the problem would return. Right about that time, our upstream network provider called. They noticed issues on ipaddresses that were running SQL Server. And they were blocking that traffic from that point on.

    We had migrated a datacenter on the exact date SQL Slammer became active. Shitiest timing. Ever.

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  • (Score: 1) by mrider on Saturday March 08 2014, @05:43PM

    by mrider (3252) on Saturday March 08 2014, @05:43PM (#13244)

    Two different network gone apeshit stories for me:

    1. Back in the day when laptop computers didn't come with Ethernet, we used to buy the PCM/CIA cards that required an adapter. The card side of the adapter was kind of flat with two little hooks that grabbed the card to keep it from pulling out, and you had to squeeze the sides to release the hooks. One day the network goes absolutely berserk. The lights on the hubs (too long ago for it to have been switches) were lit up solid. Nobody is able to do anything. So I start pulling patch cables one at a time, and eventually I tracked it down to a laptop whose adapter had one hook broken. It was only partially plugged in on one side, and the partial connection was causing the network traffic to go crazy.
    2. One of the offices I worked in was remodeled and they used an open floor plan for the worker bees. The problem was that they put in WAY too few Ethernet ports. The consequence was that there were little pocket hubs everywhere. One day the network is slow as heck, and nothing seemed wrong. Eventually I started tracing hubs, and I found one hub plugged into the wall via the uplink port, a few devices and a cable leading to another hub. That hub had a cable that went to the uplink of another hub along with a few devices. That hub had a cable that went to the uplink of another hub along with a few devices.That hub had a cable that went to the uplink of another hub along with a few devices. (Repeat at least three more times). Eventually I came to the end of the chain, and the last hub had a cross-over cable leading back to the wall! We moved out of the office shortly after that, and since it was fresh in everyone's mind, I was able to convince the bean-counters to put an adequate number of ports in the wall.

    Doctor: "Do you hear voices?"

    Me: "Only when my bluetooth is charged."

    • (Score: 1) by kai_h on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:38AM

      by kai_h (1524) on Sunday March 09 2014, @03:38AM (#13428)

      I remember those PCMCIA card network adapters fondly.
      There were a number of different brands, and they all used a similar card to RJ45 dongle. They were even kind enough to share the same physical plug. Except, there didn't seem to be any standardisation between brands on what pinouts to use for the plug.

      In a lot of cases, using the plug from one card with a different card would lock up the laptop hard. I had a drawer of cards and dongles and had to work out which dongle went with which card. That was a fun day...