Ouch! When the computer equipment is in good condition, but the configuration is inappropriate • The registry

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On guard The week may be over, but users’ ability to stick things where they shouldn’t be is far from exhausted. Welcome to another edition of On Call.

Today’s story takes us back to the days when we worked in offices and the concept of “hot desking” was a fashionable thing that did not require the attention of workers dressed in hazardous materials between sessions. .

“Ben”, as that is not his name, traveled regularly from town to town for his job and, being a conscientious guy, went to company offices along the road to deal with the calls. He and a coworker would arrive early in the morning to diagnose complaints and sort out computer issues that were encountered by staff.

There is little like the pleasure of arriving at your office to find out that the computer fairy has already been around and taken care of that broken printer. Unlike the bad computer fairy who insists on shoveling Microsoft’s sometimes dubious updates over Ethernet.

“The workers,” said Ben, “were mobile and the laptops were all the same model, allowing them to easily stop at one of our branch offices and plug into a docking station for work. .

“The docking station was connected to a large monitor, as well as a keyboard and mouse for their convenience.”

All very familiar. This hack well remembers a large company that invested heavily in docking stations from a certain manufacturer to allow staff to move from office to office. Everything went a bit wrong when the laptop fleet received an upgrade and it was discovered that the manufacturer had ditched the original dock connector in favor of USB. A practical dumpster was soon filled with expensive and redundant metal and plastic plates.

Ben was preparing for his next epic road trip when he got the inevitable call. One of the docking stations was not working. The keyboard and mouse were dead. The monitor was not receiving any signal. The light on the docking station was dark.

Ben tried the obvious – was the wharf actually connected to power? The response was quick: of course. He then asked the user to connect the monitor directly to the laptop, and the screen obediently lit up. The employee could continue to work more or less as usual, but the dead dock was a bit of a mystery and Ben resolved to take care of it personally the next morning.

Upon arriving at the affected aircraft, Ben spotted the problem. Yes, it was plugged into a power outlet, and yes, the power was flowing …

Except it was leaking in the anti-theft cable. Someone had managed to jam the power cord into the hole for securing the laptop docking station for users with light fingers.

Ben plugged the power cord into the correct outlet – you know, the one marked “Power” – and things tripped normally.

He didn’t tell us how the user reacted to the magic bullet, but quietly updated the training documentation “with pictures and instructions on the correct way to plug the power cord into a power station. Home”.

We knew an accident and emergency worker who loved to share stories about all kinds of things going through all kinds of holes. Inserting a power cable through a security slot was, we hope, towards the more innocent end of the ladder.

Have you ever been called in to sort something stuck somewhere it shouldn’t? Share your story with an email to On Call. ®

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