Throwback Thursday: Easy enough to fix

Networking pilot fish is sent to do some work at a remote customer site. "It's my first time there, and the visit is an eye-opener," reports fish. "The location turns out to be a janitor's utility closet in a small building that's been converted to house the network equipment and a couple of important servers.

"Cable runs from naked holes in the wall, in undifferentiated bundles held up by tie-wraps attached to drop-ceiling crossbeams. The room isn't temperature controlled, and the servers are sitting on shelves that line the walls."

Fish swallows his misgivings and starts looking for the switch he's supposed to work on. He finds it under a bundle of cable, covered in plaster dust and old spider webs. Dusting it off, he starts in on it.

A little while later, an employee comes into the closet. "Hey, are you working on the fiber circuit?" he asks fish, who starts to explain that he's working on a completely different system.

But the newcomer stops him. "No problem, just figured I'd ask," he says. "It does this from time to time. Easy enough to fix."

Then he pushes aside some bundles up near the ceiling to reveal a fiber modem sitting on yet another bundle, grabs the modem and starts yanking on it to rock it back and forth vigorously.

Fish feels the blood drain from his face as he watches. But finally the employee stops and says, "There, that should do it. Did the job last time!" Then he bids fish goodbye and leaves.

"I checked to make sure that the fiber connection in question wasn't part of my customer's network," fish says. "Then I thought about the sort of workout the on-site employees might give our customer's equipment if they ever have a problem and we're a little slow to send someone.

"I made sure that site was on our customer's next tour of his remote facilities. A couple of months later, we got a rack for the site -- complete with a working lock."

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