Making the problem go away is not the same thing as fixing it

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On Call Welcome erstwhile much to On Call, The Register's play file featuring readers' turbulent tales of their tech support troubles. This week, meet a scholar we'll Regomize arsenic "Mal" whose first occupation successful tech was programming a mainframe astatine a mini communal financial services outfit.

"I worked connected a financial package written successful COBOL called 'CLOAS,' which nan unit told maine stood for a 'Complete Load of Australian … Something'," Mal opened.

The value of that exertion became evident erstwhile Mal took a telephone successful nan early hours of nan greeting from nan on-duty mainframe operator.

"The caller explained nan problem, but only astir 1 connection successful 10 made it done to my befuddled brain," Mal admitted. After slowing things down and proceeding nan communicative again, Mal was only somewhat nan wiser.

This communicative comes from nan clip earlier distant access, truthful location was thing for it but going to nan agency – contempt nan hour.

The business didn't make overmuch much consciousness erstwhile Mal arrived. But he yet identified nan probable cause. Having done so, he realized that this was not nan benignant of point that conscionable fails each astatine once. There would person been a concatenation of events. There would person been earlier failures.

He recovered himself "mystified arsenic to why location had been nary informing of nan system's impending demise."

Mal asked nan usability if he'd seen immoderate beforehand announcement of nan problem and was assured nary informing had been evident connected that night.

But nan twelvemonth before, nan usability recalled, he did spot a warning. Many of them. So many, successful fact, that nan correction logs filled up and caused an overnight occupation to fail.

Mal dug into nan business and learned that his predecessor had been called retired erstwhile those warnings proliferated. He'd travel to nan office, charged respective hours overtime, and moreover ordered a pizza astatine nan company's expense.

And past he made nan warnings spell distant – by changing 1 statement of code.

And which azygous statement of codification did he change, you whitethorn ask? Was it, perchance, nan statement that was causing nan problem?

Of people not, silly. It was nan statement that generated nan warning.

  • Workload written by student made millions, ran connected unsupported hardware, pinch zero maintenance
  • Police ignored nan laws of datacenter ambiance control
  • Techie labelled 'disgusting filth merchant' by disgusting hypocrite
  • Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson

"Job done, he went location and forgot each astir it, leaving maine to hole nan existent problem a twelvemonth later," Mal muttered to On Call.

Mal besides reinstated nan informing message.

The worst point astir this On Call incident? "As it was 2:00 AM I couldn't moreover bid a pizza," Mal lamented.

Have you been called retired to reside a problem that should person been fixed by personification else? If so, click present to nonstop On Call an email. We ever invited much stories. Lots of caller submissions person concerned nan mainframe age, which leads On Call to situation to those of you moving connected much modern kit to stock much stories. Anonymity guaranteed – for you and nan outfit you worked astatine enduring nan agony of being connected call. ®