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IT blooper #43: Want it done right? Better do it yourself

An IT manager's short visit to Blooperville to fix a faulty connector saved him from taking up permanent residence there.

IT manager John Barrow's team was dealing with intermittent network faults at a remote office. They tweaked a few things from their end, but couldn't target what was causing the network connectivity issues.

Since they were dealing with a remote office, Barrow decided to call in an engineer from a third-party support service provider.

The service provider's engineer arrived on site. But after eight hours, he still hadn't isolated the problem.The service provider sent another support engineer over to the office. Eight hours later, "Sorry. I can't find anything."

In came engineer number three! The engineer called Barrow howling in protest, because he couldn't see which PCs were which, since the cables weren't labeled. "He was about to uncable then recable the office! ("Yeah, our fault. It was one of those jobs we were going to get to," Barrow admitted.)

Barrow pointed out that he could switch off all the PCs and turn them back on one at a time; then a light would come up on the hub for each live connection and he'd know which PC was associated with which port.

The support engineer's response was frightening: "Oh, is that what those lights are for?"


Soon, Barrow had a very upset regional manager complaining (rightly so) that network connectivity was a major problem. After a blasting over the phone from his boss, Barrow managed to get a flight authorized so he could go take a look at what was going on in person.

After a one hour flight, Barrow arrived at the remote office. Fifteen minutes later he had diagnosed and remedied the problem: a faulty BNC backbone connector from the hub to the router.

The lesson Barrow learned: Don't trust service providers to send anyone that has a clue. If you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself.

Thank goodness for the advances in remote management tools!

Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at, part of the TechTarget network.

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