Famous operational issues

Bruce H McIntosh bhm at ufl.edu
Mon Feb 22 16:04:27 UTC 2021

On 2/22/21 9:14 AM, Alain Hebert wrote:
> *[External Email]*
>      Well...
>      During my younger days, that button was used a few time by the 
> operator of a VM/370 to regain control from someone with a "curious 
> mind" *cought* *cought*...
Two horror stories I remember from long ago when I was a console jockey 
for a federal space agency that will remain nameless :P

1. A coworker brought her daughter to work with her on a Saturday 
overtime shift because she couldn't get a babysitter. She parked the kid 
with a coloring book and a pile of crayons at the only table in the 
console room with some space, right next to the master console for our 
3081. I asked her to make sure sh was well away from the console, and as 
she reached over to scoot the girl and her coloring books further away 
she slipped, and reached out to steady herself. Yep, planted her finger 
right down on the IML button (plexi covers? We don' need no STEENKIN' 
plexi covers!). MVS and VM vanished, two dozen tape drives rewound and 
several hours' worth of data merge jobs went blooey.

2. The 3081 was water cooled via a heat exchanger. The building chilled 
water feed had a very old, very clogged filter that was bypassed until 
it could be replaced. One day a new maintenance foreman came through the 
building doing his "clipboard and harried expression" thing, and spotted 
the filter in bypass (NO, I don't know WHY it hadn't been red-tagged. 
Someone clearly dropped that ball.) He thought, "Well that's not right" 
and reset all the valves to put it back inline, which of course, pretty 
much killed the chilled water flow through the heat exchanger. First 
thing we knew about it in Operations was when the 3081 started throwing 
thermal alarms and MVS crashed hard. IBM had to replace several modules 
in the CPUs.

Bruce H. McIntosh
Network Engineer II
University of Florida Information Technology
bhm at ufl.edu

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