Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

How to Give an IT Geek a Stroke

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The moral of this short video is this: never bring a magician on a tour through your facilities. Or, if you do, don’t curse on camera when this magician destroys something you’ve spent hours setting up.

Okay, here’s the link: i.


  1. #1 Phillip IV
    February 26, 2010

    I’m sure it works nicely, but it requires a rather large amount of talent and effort.

    I prefer the old-fashioned way of giving an IT geek a stroke – by simply providing ample supplies of Mountain Dew and Cheetos.

  2. #2 george.w
    February 26, 2010

    In most systems (with less redundancy than that) the IT geek is visualizing threading in a new cable with both hands while fending off calls from outraged users and having to explain the whole thing to his boss. He apparently didn’t know the guy was a magician.

  3. #3 highnumber
    February 26, 2010

    Ja, apparently he did not know.


  4. #4 Tony P
    February 27, 2010

    Reminds me of a couple of instances in my career with tricky wiring.

    The first was 1994 at Brown University. Cleaning up a bunch of dead copper behind the Data General MV9600U, and I start hearing the console beeping. I come around to the other side and see the volumes dismounting:

    “Gretel dismounted”
    “Hansel dismounted”
    “Witch dismounted”

    I look over at the disk array just as my boss whips into the computer room. He had that red knot on his forehead. Turns out I managed to pull a cable past the locking hubbel connector that powered the disk array. It rotated just enough to break power.

    Twisted it back in and everything was good. Got my first lesson in rebooting ancient hardware. I still remember the command “B 24”.

    Year later I’m working for the state. The network patch is a rats nest. I make the decision that my network guy and I will re-wire it. Hadn’t planned on my net guy being a mensch and bringing two six packs of Bass Ale with him.

    It got re-wired but we spent the next day patching things up.

  5. #5 JM
    February 27, 2010

    Ok, it’s a trick. But in the real world this guy was lucky that the techie responded so mildly.

    I don’t care how much redundancy you have, this sort of thing (if real) can cause real damage. It takes time for a system to fail over; and that costs money. When you also consider that some systems won’t fail back after repair, or won’t stand two points of failure, inducing something like this imposes real – monetary – risk.

    Personally, I would have escorted him from the room immediately and had him arrested for criminal damage.

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