Home From The Field F*&# my life.

F*&# my life.


In Sydney, Australia, In the first couple of weeks of June we have had some extremely wet weather. Late one afternoon (4.30pm-ish) the heavy rain caused a power outage on the outskirts of the city, where a client happens to have their business. I received a UPS alert of the power failure, and before i had time to think “shit, the idiot is about to call about this” the phone rang. It was the idiot calling from their mobile. The conversation went sort of like this;

IDIOT: Hi! the power here has just gone out, is there anything we should do?
ME: Yes, we should shut the server down cleanly before it loses power. I have logged on and i’m about to do it now.
IDIOT (and FML #1): But we just bought that new UPS, shouldn’t it should keep the server up and running while the power is out? Why do you need to shut it down?
ME: Because the UPS is essentially a big rechargable battery and it will only supply power to the server during a power outage for 10 minutes at most. As we dont know how long the outage is for and im gussing everyone will go home, the best thing to do is to shut down the server and in the morning turn it back on.
IDIOT (and FML #2): Oh ok… and how do we turn the server back on in the morning?
ME (trying and failing to not sound like an asshole): Well like your PC and every PC, there is this this device on the front of the server called a power button, pressing it will turn the server on.

The old power button. Gets them every time! -Scott


  1. I’ve had to explain this to several users and then with them unable to grasp what a button is I run to their office and press it. Also put out a mass email telling everyone to reboot at their convenience and had a call 5 mins later asking why their PC was still at a black screen told them to turn it back on. Users….

  2. I would say this is more of a bad/arrogant tech fail.

    Without knowing more about the type of server & the needs of the business, I have trouble seeing these questions as “stupid”, the end user may be an idiot, but it’s not obvious from this.

    I say this as a tech who would rather have his customers ask simple questions so I have the opportunity to give them accurate answers. It only tries my patience if they ask the same thing over and over, or make the same mistake over and over. What’s obvious to a tech or sysadmin is rarely obvious to someone who only understands the basics.

    Maybe this betrays a lack of experience on the reporting sysadmin’s part, or maybe I’ve just been at it too long– sometimes, one does not simply “power on” a server.

    I’ve worked in environments where shut-down of the server/network rooms had to ideally be done in a specific sequence, and getting the equipment to start-up in the correct sequence was even more critical. If specific conditions weren’t met prior to a particular server booting, it may as well have been left down because it sure as hell wasn’t going to function properly. Granted, that’s usually more applicable to cascaded network switches, but some servers are finicky, too.

  3. Why not just try and make the world just a little bit better of a place and simply say, “Just push the power button on the front” and be done with it? They’re paying you right?

    It’s funny that, more often than not, rather than highlighting genuine stupidity you see in IT, Faildesk more often illustrates the fact that these apartments are staffed by condescending pricks.


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