Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Gremlin in the Machine

One thing that separates Stan Parks from your run-of-the-mill IT expert and computer consultant is that he doesn't know everything.

And, admits it.

I know enough about information technology to strongly suspect that some 'experts' are either clueless, or assume that the rest of us are. Years ago, at one of my first jobs, I overheard a technician tell my boss (this was before I worked at the Chronicle-Gazette) that data had gotten "stuck in the cable."

That sounded like a good explanation for why data sent to the printer would drop out of sight, only to re-emerge later. Often, when special paper had been loaded.

Problem is, the cable was an inert piece of metal wire and plastic insulation, with a plug at each end. How data could get "stuck" in there - and come out undamaged - is beyond me. I think the tech was pulling my bosses leg. Or, covering his own lack of knowledge.

Anyway, Stan still doesn't know what caused the latest problem with our network. It's working now, after Stan did a cold boot, using a backed-up copy of the system from a couple weeks ago. That's not what Stan said: I'm translating it into English.

Why it went nuts, Stan doesn't know: and told us. He's taking data he pulled out when it was a little psycho, and says he'll see what he can learn from it.

At this point, I'm almost ready to believe that there really were gremlins in the building.

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