After a feverish half-hour configuring the switch and setting up 802.1q trunking and routing on a Dell Latitude running Fedora Linux, the city network was back up and running, with all traffic routing through a single interface on the laptop balanced on a chair in the data center.
As it turned out, the replacement supervisor took another day to arrive due to the inclement weather, leaving the city at the mercy of this bubblegum and duct-tape fix for almost 48 hours. It ran without a hiccup. Suffice it to say, a cold spare supervisor was procured following this event.
Jackass IT stunt No. 2: Set storage devices to 350 degrees
Set your time machine for 1995 -- when 5.25-inch hard drives contained as much as 9GB of data, if they were really expensive -- and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, back then you could fit an awful lot of information in 9GB, including the entire mail spool of a 5,000-user dial-up ISP. But when that disk decides to stop spinning up after a power outage, you might have a problem or two -- especially when it's discovered that the 2GB DDSII DAT drive has been stretching tapes for the past several months and nobody knew until now.
The problem wasn't access -- the disk presented to the SCSI controller just fine -- but it also didn't seem to spin up at all. It would whine and the motors would click, but the spindle didn't appear to be spindling. Lacking any other options, a trick from an even older era of MFM and RLL disks was put into practice: bake the drive.
An oven was set to 350, and the full-height 5.25-inch disk was placed on a cookie sheet in the middle rack. Bake for 5 minutes, remove, do not let cool, plug immediately into power and a controller, and turn on the computer. Voilà, the grease that had hardened around the spindle had loosened enough to permit the platters to spin and the data was recovered - and immediately copied to two spare drives.
Although it was speculated that the disk might be best served with a chilled Chianti and rice, we'll leave it to you to whip up and wolf down what is sure to be a culinary delight.
Jackass IT stunt No. 3: Put vital passwords on the network
Here's one where a gifted but seriously antisocial network administrator put the "jackass" in "jackass IT."
After being abruptly let go, the network admin took with him the enable password to a wide array of production network gear. As soon as the problem surfaced a few days after his departure, he was contacted by email and asked for the password.
This prompted an expletive-filled missive that lambasted everyone in the department and other parts of the company, but alas, no password. The last sentence of the email, however, read, "If you really want the [redacted] password, it's on the network already, you [redacted] [redacted]."
He proved unreachable after that email, and his phone was disconnected. Desperate to find the password, admins searched all of his files on the network storage arrays, but came up empty. They looked in his cube, on his dev systems, everywhere they could think of, but the password continued to elude them.
At that point, one of the admins who had logged into the departed admin's Linux development system noticed a process called "pping" in operation. It was a compiled binary that had been running for quite some time and was apparently pinging one of the core switches every 5 seconds. He presumed that it was some form of connectivity testing that the admin had been running and moved on to other things.