I rushed out to the trash bin and found the box the network cards came in: four plastic cases, all empty. I figured maybe someone in the lab found the fourth card and used it. I sent out an all-hands to my trusty lab friends, asking if anyone had seen it. I was willing to suck up my pride and admit to a silly mistake, but this time to no avail. I had to send an e-mail to my boss, who was forgiving and ordered a new card post-haste.
When the new card arrived, my boss handed it to me and said with a grin,"Don't lose this one." I marched up to the datacenter and pulled the server that seemed to have swallowed my card out of the rack. I popped the cover, and looked incredulously into the guts. There was the missing network card, staring back at me.
I can count. However, I had not remembered to remove the blanking plate before installing the card. I'd managed to install the card with the blanking plate in place (both the Intel card's ports and the blanking plate sat flush with the chassis). Damn that sly Intel engineer, made a fool of me he did.
Back downstairs I went to face my boss. Staring at the floor, I handed him the leftover network card. He asked, "What, wrong card?"
I explained and then proceeded to slink back to my gopher home under my pile of shame. I had been doing hardware for a decade. This was the first time I had made such a faux pas.
My lesson learned: When you are not familiar with the hardware you're working with, ask a teammate to work with you the first time -- no matter how menial the task. An extra set of eyes may save you some pride, some pain, and a whole lot of aggravation.
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