Thursday, November 3, 2016

Yeah, I Got Nothing...

I don't know, but the Emperor looks a bit like DeNiro here. A bit.

So far it's been a long week. At work, we managed to break our computer Tuesday night and hadn't gotten it back on its feet by Wednesday. My Marine counter-part (okay, he's not in the Marines anymore, but he was a corporal back in the day) has a couple of ideas to get it running again. They should work.

I hope so, otherwise it's back to documentation Hell for me.

Software is all fun and games until it's time to write the manuals.

Okay, fun and games doesn't really describe it. Mentally, it's hard work.

No, really. You try to get all those 1's and 0's to line up in the right order. (Okay, a purist would point out it's just fluctuations in voltages representing 1's and 0's. Not real 1's and 0's. Hardware people, geez.)

How Napoléon saw himself crossing the Alps.
How Napoléon actually crossed the Alps.

About that malfunctioning computer, it's really my fault. I discovered something and said to Ron, the Marine, "Hey Ron, this test doesn't actually test anything!"

"Let me see."

"You're right. I have a couple of ideas, why don't you go to lunch and let me play with it?"


Some time later Ron comes back and announces, "Uh, we have a problem."

Ever the smartass, I respond, "Whaddaya mean we?"

So today we make one last attempt. Then it's time to call IT.

Let them figure it out.

Yeah, I got nothing.

So I'm going to watch some Russian dash cam videos for inspiration. You get...

Don't look at me, I wasn't expecting that either.


  1. The toughest part of testing ANY new item for inclusion in the Marine Corps inventory was the effort to ensure that it was Marine proof. "Let me try that" is the equivalent of "Here, hold my beer..." and is frequently the precursor to "Oh s***!" don't ask me how I know this, but you can trust me that it is absolutely true.

  2. I'll save your IT department a few steps.
    1) Have you tried turning it off and back on? (We call that cycling the Russian Switch, c'mon, you know, the onov switch?)
    2) Put in a help request, we'll get to you in the order received.
    3) What were you doing immediately prior to saying "Oh Sh*t!"?
    4) When was the last time you backed up your data? "Oh Sh*t!"

    That should save them some time.

    1. Ron got loose on the Internet last night, so we may not need to call for IT.

      (I already did the Russian switch yesterday.)

      Lesson learned: don't change ANYTHING until you have physically written down what the old setting was.


    2. You forgot the one before 1).
      - is it plugged in?

    3. Yep. That's a big one in a school district. Children LOVE to play games and unplug network cables then push them almost back in, so there's no connectivity. Then the little....well, let's just call them rascals, walk off and snicker at the teacher when it doesn't work. Some, not all, teachers have learned they can stop the fun by just pushing the cable in before putting in the help request. Saves everybody time.

    4. @Skip Plugged in: aye.
      Power applied: aye.

    5. @Juvat, had a German in NATO who thought unplugging one of the video cables was funny.

      It stopped being funny for him when someone stole the power cord for his computer. Now THAT was funny.

  3. My Uncle Howard was a North Central/Republic/Northworst Maintenance supervisor for decades. I once told him I had seen a reprint of the owner's manual for the B-29, at Half Price Books. Every troubleshooting sequence started with, " Is it turned on?" He told me he could tell me stories about that for days. He once had to fly from Minneapolis to Detroit, as a piece of equipment was not working. He said rotating the on/off switch to the right fixed the problem, so he caught the next flight back to the Cities.

    1. I once had the opportunity to teach new troops basic electronic troubleshooting.

      Not turning the equipment on always stumped them. My troops learned to check for power, first, last, and always.

      Once had a backseater write the radar up for not working in the (wait for it) O.F.F. mode. (He actually entered that in the aircraft 781 form.)

    2. Did that happen at Kunsan? I think I remember hearing about that.

    3. Yes indeed.

      I have written about it before as well.

  4. Make sure someone didn't sneak in and remove the slo-blow fuse.

    1. Ask your favorite Midshipman about standing radar watches in CIC

    2. As far as I know, neither of the SWO progeny ever stood a CIC watch. The Naviguesser went from being a snipe to being (naturally) the navigator, so from what I understand, his watches were either in the engineering spaces or on the bridge. The Nuke went from ASWO to nuke, so her watches on the destroyer were either down in sonar, or up on the bridge. When she became a nuke on the bird farm, er, I mean carrier, she was full time down in the reactor spaces.

      As to The WSO, no doubt she would ask "What's 'standing watch'?" I kid, she has had to stand watch as the duty officer in the ready room.

      Not sure if any of the kids have spent much time in CIC. But I'll ask.

  5. Can you explain why Napolean wore such a goofy hat? What possible function could that shape have? Kind of like wearing a ballcap sideways.

    1. The bicorne (descended from the tricorne) was a popular form of military hat which is still in use. The Italian Carabinieri still wear the bicorne in full dress. It's smaller than what Napoléon wore but you can see the similarities. Many items of military clothing back in the day had any practical use. Did you know that the epaulets on modern uniforms are vestigial armor?

      Military hats and uniforms. Hhmm, might be a post there...

  6. I always thought that epaulets were where you placed your soft cap when it wasn't on your head.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Another use for those.

      Very much discouraged in the USAF. DAMHIK...

      As was wearing a field jacket "hussar style" when it was too warm to wear it. Again, DAMHIK...

    2. Well, I wasn't always known for following rules/guidelines while wearing my uniform in the USAF.


  7. Don't envy those of you spending your days molesting electrons.

  8. Sounds like you might have a problem with your Heisenberg compensator. Mine went all Kobayashi Maru last month!

    1. We finally fixed the problem. The framistat wasn't aligned properly with the thingamajig.

      Though we did take a long look at the Heisenberg compensator.

      We're principled like that.



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