Good Guy Firefighter

I LOVE this story – Rob

I’m a career firefighter who was a computer science major in a previous life, so I often get tapped to handle my departments IT issues. Sometimes, that duty spills over to actual emergencies.

We responded to a house fire and were the second truck on the scene. The fire had started in the kitchen and spread across the living room consuming most of the first floor. After we had knocked down most of the fire, we went back out to the front door to get some tools. I have a rule taught to me by an old fireman long ago: don’t leave a house fire empty handed since there’s always an important memory to rescue. So on the way out the door, I look to this burnt pile of debris and see their desktop computer sitting there. I grab the burnt, mangled tower, yank the cables off, and cart the computer outside. I hand it off to one of the engineers and tell him to keep it safe.

After the fire is out, and we have finished tearing up the rest of the house finding hot spots, I find the computer, crack the case open and see the interior is pretty clean. I carry it over to the homeowners. She is a sobbing disaster: mid 30s, three kids under 4, and her house is almost destroyed. Then she sees the computer and screams with joy.

She thought it was destroyed in the fire and, of course, it has ALL of the kids photos on it with NO backups. Best rescue of the year.

Then she asked if I found her iPhone. Sheesh…

via: [Reddit\TalesFromTechSupport]

Kind of like a landmine, only the fallout’s more expensive

Republished with permission from our friends at the Daily WTF:

He was greeted at reception by Manny, one of the upper-level directors. He got the tour– reception, sales, call center– and ended up in the kitchen. Over a free breakfast of free coffee and free muffins (all free), they signed the HR paperwork. Once he had creamed and sugared his “I”s and “T”s, Paul was shown to The Center.

“It’s the lifeblood of IT,” Manny said, “Development, IT, R&D– it all flows through here.”

The Center was a converted corner office just off the main hallway. Though it might have once been large and sunny, three of the walls were now packed floor to ceiling with computers. There was everything from off-lease black boxes from the big blue company to spatterings of various shades of sun-stained beige, all in various states of apparent disassembly. There were CRTs, two-button mice, and keyboards without that proprietary key between CTRL and ALT. “This…graveyard is where the lifeblood of development flowed through?”, Paul nearly thought out loud.

“Don’t you have problems scaling the code up from development machines to the production servers?” Paul asked, speaking over the distant clackity-clack of a lone developer on a Model M.

“How do you mean?”

“You know,” Paul prompted, “You can only stress test so much on the jalopy, so you never know if the code will handle the load the production servers can drum up.”

“Oh, I see,” Manny said, “No, the environments are identical for both. We use the same hardware, all the way from development to production.”

Paul couldn’t choke a response past the realization of that the production servers were also a cube farm of desktops with turbo switches. He didn’t want to see what the server room looked like. He took a sip of coffee to cover his shocked expression.

Manny waved at the developer at the other end of The Center, and she waved back. “Well, you just grab one of the Development computers, and get yourself familiar. Janice there will come up with your first assignment, and the rest of the team will be in shortly.”

Paul looked about, trying to pick a PC. He did on on-the-fly min/max calculation of closest to the lone window versus least covered in dust. He put down his coffee on the desk/ledge, and stabbed the power button.

The shrill shriek of the manager cut through him– but a millisecond too late.

“DON’T TOUCH THAT COMPUTER!”

Paul froze. He’d already pushed the POWER button, but hadn’t let it go. Only then did Paul see the tiny, envelope label stuck to front of the case. On it was handwritten:

PRODUCTION SERVER - TRADER 001

Manny was suddenly at his side. “If you let that button go, the company loses ten million dollars!”

via: [The Daily WTF]