But software of any kind goes down eventually, except in this case it wasn't the program's fault. IT pro Aaron Frizzell tossed a gutter ball and shut down dozens of lanes just as leagues were set to begin an evening of bowling and beer drinking.
Reader bloopers – your foul-ups – keep getting better, or at least funnier. Keep'em coming.
Frizzell was a software distribution coordinator for a company whose customers included bowling alleys, and one of his duties was to diagnose problems with software diskettes that were mailed out.
One evening he received a call from a Seminole, Fla., bowling center that was having trouble. Frizzell provided telephone support.
"I talked her through entering the username and password of the Super User (SU) to get to the operating system-level prompt," Frizzell said. "I instructed her to change to the /tmp directory, and I walked her through a diskette test. The test failed."
As part of the cleanup procedure, Frizzell asked her to type "rm -r usr", which is a command to remove -- without prompting -- the entire directory and its contents. Frizzell thought he was familiar enough with XENIX, a version of Unix developed by Microsoft that runs on PCs.
"Remember back when I issued the command 'cd /tmp'?" Frizzell said. "This command was not
As league play was about to begin in a 100-plus-lane bowling center, bowlers started complaining that lanes weren't working correctly.
"You could visibly see the lanes going down as the operating system's custom software slowly died," Frizzell said.
"When I realized what I had just instructed her to do, I was pretty flush with embarrassment and anger at myself," Frizzell said.
Without changing the current directory to 'tmp' directory, the 'rm -r usr' command had removed the 'live' /usr directory. This put the computer and the whole bowling center out of commission.
Next: The bowling alley owner placed a not-too-friendly call to Frizzell's boss - the vice president. Frizzell, of course, got an earful from the vice president, completing a customer support experience that was far from a strike.
Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to email@example.com. Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at SearchWin2000.com, part of the TechTarget network.