punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Tech - International has a whole different set of rules...

Okay, it may be the lack of sleep talking, but this was too damn funny:

Stray Cats with Fleas Put Radio Off the Air

[pad pad pad] MEOOOWWW!! [crash... clatter] Dammmit! My computer!

When I worked on International tech, crap like this was common. Well, not flea-ridden cats crashing through roofs, no, but... well, here's a few instances I have actually dealt with Internationally.

Problem: Lost connection to Philippine call center
RFO: Shark bit through cable
Details: At first, I thought this was a slang term for something, but no, apparently a shark bit clean through a fiber cable between two islands. Apparently it's common, they get confused by the electrical signal and attack. The cables are coated with a nsty-smelling substance, but that fails sometimes. Even the big Trans-atlantic cable has to have common mainteance. A guy from UUNet Eurpoe told me that spies are always attaching things to the cable, often badly causeing all kinds of damage.

Problem: Lost connection to Philippine call center
RFO: Volcano
Details: Not what you think; the call center didn't go BOOM. Where they don't have cables, they have microwave towers on mountains pointed at each other. Volcanoes tend to smoke a lot, disturbing the signal, or the Earthquakes move the towers out of alignment.

Problem: Lost most of Aberdeen, Scotland, and various points East
RFO: Shepherd protest
Details: For two days, some protesting shepherds took over the small telco houses connecting most of Aberdeen and points East, and ransacked the place. It took a week to get full connectivity again. Apparently, the protest worked, and ther shepherds got what they wanted (some zoning thing).

Problem: All Lufthansa flights stalled
RFO: Missing server
Details: For about 8 hours, all Lufthansa flights out of Europe were stalled because their scheduling software (that told pilots and stewardesses what flights they were scehduled on) required a server to be up and running. But no one knew where it was. We were called because we bought the company that owned the server. It took Lufthansa over 3 hours to get to us, and it took us over 4 to find out where the server was, who owned it, and who had access to fix it. It was rebooted, and then just crashed every 31 days or so, but by that time, we had a better chain of communication. Damn thing ran on a Pentium 75 box running NT 3.5.1 in the year 2000. I hope it's since been replaced.

Problem: The French can't get DNS
RFO: DNS was on someone's laptop
Details: Suddenly, the French can't get DNS. The IP is traced back to the US, where it is found to have been running on an old 486 monochrome laptop on an ex-employee's desk in a disused wing of a building we were in the process of selling. The story goes it was supposed to be a test server, never to be used when our French operation went live, and then the employee left the company. It ran for another year until the log files filled up the hard drive.

Problem: Pakistan nodes stop responding
RFO: Local rebel uprising
Details: Maybe not funny, but if you want to get a country's attention, take over their only switching office connecting them to the outside world. Repeatedly.

Problem: Swiss customer only connecting at 2400 baud
RFO: Phone wires are bare copper wires
Details: The modem was connected with aligator clips. No lie. I am surprised he connected at all.
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