Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

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On Call Welcome erstwhile again to On Call, successful which The Register connects readers pinch your peers to stock stories of shocking support SNAFUs.

This week, meet a chap we’ll Regomize arsenic "Walt" – because that's nan Regonym we utilized connected nan previous occasion he submitted a story.

This clip Walt told america of an acquisition successful nan mid-1980s erstwhile he worked arsenic nan sole IT personification for an up-and-coming finance firm.

"We had moved into a caller agency to location our telephone halfway and we had astir 30 telephone reps moving 24x7 shifts," he explained. "Each had a table pinch a telephone and a pre-PC era 24x80 alphanumeric machine terminal. These were connected to a ample minicomputer."

The telephone halfway agents were connected level 23 of a very gangly building, pinch nan minicomputer housed successful a beautiful instrumentality room replete pinch raised floor, aerial conditioning, UPS, nan useful – measurement down connected level five.

It's a agelong measurement from level 23 to level five, truthful it was impractical to tally dedicated cabling – this was nan mid-80s, remember, erstwhile hairsbreadth was large but inexpensive cabling was not.

Walt truthful expropriated telephone wiring already coming successful nan building to link nan terminals.

Here's really Walt described nan resulting rig to On Call:

"The setup progressive moving cables from nan instrumentality room to nan adjacent maestro ligament closet and terminating them connected telephone punch-down blocks. Drop lines from nan 23rd level ligament closet to nan desks were besides run. Between nan floors were riser cables pinch plentifulness of capacity and by cross-connecting nan root and destination cables to nan risers we had a coagulated copper relationship from machine to terminals that worked for illustration a charm."

Until, of course, it didn't – and Walt received an urgent telephone that nan terminals were failing.

"I headed to nan 23rd level to analyse and judge capable 1 by 1 nan terminals were going dark."

He checked nan terminal controller, anticipating it had failed.

"When I sewage there, I saw nan doorway to nan ligament closet was open. Inside was a telephone technician ripping disconnected nan cross-connects betwixt our terminal lines and nan risers to nan 23rd floor."

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Gentle reader, shield your delicate ears against Walt's adjacent utterance, which was "What nan **** are you doing?" Except not nan asterisks.

"A tenant has vacated, and I was cleaning up nan cross-connects. I saw these and put my tester connected them. No dial reside aliases voices truthful I assumed they were abandoned. I decided to cleanable these up, too."

Telephone sanitization, connected different words. Just for illustration nan cretins Douglas Adams packed into hypothetical ark-load of useless workers.

Walt told nan telephone tech that he wouldn't get a dial reside because they were information lines, not telephone lines, and they needed to beryllium fixed truthful information could resume transmission!


"I went to my table successful nan instrumentality room and grabbed a printout of nan cross-connects arsenic good arsenic a punch-down instrumentality different telephone tech had fixed me," Walt said. "Going by nan chart, nan telephone tech and I had nan cross-connects replaced and nan telephone halfway was up and moving again successful nether 15 minutes."

The station mortem to this incident saw a motion posted adjacent nan applicable wiring, to pass early would-be telephone sanitizers that nan sheet and cross-connects were information circuits.

Have crossed wires caused you grief? Click present to email On Call your stories. Keep 'em cleanable and thin – and remember, nary communicative is excessively aged nor excessively silly! ®