Choose Your Path IT Guy: Halloween Edition

10_27

10_27

Choose Your Path IT Guy: Halloween Edition

Inspired by the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, our Choose Your Path IT Guy invites you to determine your own path as you read. Click on the option you want to pursue and the story continues. Enjoy!

I’m not a superstitious person. But I have to admit that I get a little twinge when Halloween falls on a workday. Sometimes, strange things happen.

I get a call from one of our users complaining that the network is slow. It’s a pretty typical kind of call, so I’m not worried. Even the guy who called is a good guy, so I’m pretty sure this will be an easy enough fix.

CHOOSE YOUR PATH:
Reboot the network
Investigate the various parts of the network

Reboot the network

It’s rare that we have network issues, so I decide to reboot the network. I power everything down and let everything sit for a couple of minutes before I start powering back up. I work through the steps to reboot quickly and efficiently. While I’m working, I can’t help but notice a ladder propped up against the door to the server room. Did I walk under that on my way in?

I keep working through the steps to reboot the network when my phone buzzes with a text message. It’s from my boss. “Network is down. We need to fix it NOW!” Well, good thing there’s no pressure. I text him back to say I’m rebooting the network now and he should have connectivity in a couple of minutes. A few minutes later, another text. “Network is still down. The big dogs are barking about it. Get it fixed.”

CHOOSE YOUR PATH:
Troubleshoot with the boss
Contact the provider

Investigate the various parts of the network

I have a mental checklist of the parts of the network that are the most likely culprits when the network gets sluggish. I’ll start by checking those out.

CHOOSE YOUR PATH:
Check the router
Check the end user’s computer

Troubleshoot with the boss

This isn’t working. A reboot always works. Something is seriously wrong. And if the big wigs are upset about it, I decide I better head over to see my boss to figure out what’s next. I double-check to be sure everything is powered up and running as it should be (despite the lack of connectivity), then turn to leave the server room. I walk to the door and under the ladder (I must have walked under it on my way in after all). I press my keycard to the card reader to unlock the door, but it only buzzes while the red light blinks ominously. I try again. Blinking red light and buzzing. Knowing it won’t work, I try the doorknob anyway. Nothing. I grab my phone, but there’s suddenly no signal. I’m stuck. I pound on the door hoping someone outside will hear me. No response. I type a quick text, “Stuck in the server room. Let me out!” The message pings back as undelivered. The server room is really starting to heat up, now that everything is running again. I step back from the door and trip over a black cat 6 cable. Wait…cat cables aren’t black, are they? I start sweating, but maybe not because of the heat. “Hello? Is anyone out there?” I yell. No answer.

No answer ever comes.

The end.

Return to the beginning to see if you can survive Halloween at work!

Contact the provider

This isn’t working. A reboot always works. Something is seriously wrong. And if the big wigs are upset about it, I decide the problem must be with the provider. I grab my phone to call the provider and get the ball rolling on a solution as I walk to the door and under the ladder (I must have walked under it on my way in after all). I press my keycard to the card reader to unlock the door, but it only buzzes while the red light blinks ominously. I try again. Blinking red light and buzzing. Knowing it won’t work, I try the doorknob anyway. Nothing. I give up thoughts of calling the provider and focus on calling someone to let me out of here, but there’s suddenly no signal. I’m stuck. I pound on the door hoping someone outside will hear me. No response. I type a quick text, “Stuck in the server room. Let me out!” The message pings back as undelivered. The server room is really starting to heat up, now that everything is running again. I step back from the door and trip over a black cat 6 cable. Wait…cat cables aren’t black, are they?

Maybe I can trip the alarm system to get someone down here to let me out. There’s no alarm pull in here, so I grab the ladder and use it to climb up to the fire suppression system on the ceiling. I knock it around a bit with no success. Finally, I hit it hard several times. Suddenly alarms scream to life as halon rains down. Halon! I hold my breath, knowing that halon is toxic, and hope someone will open that door quickly…

The server room goes blurry and I squint through the billowing fog. I’m starting to feel dizzy… Did I just hear someone knocking on the door? Feeling woozy… Is there someone there?

The room goes dark.

The end.

Return to the beginning to see if you can survive Halloween at work!

Check the router

There’s a good chance the router is to blame for our sluggish network performance. I make my way over to the router to check it out. On my way, I pass the break room where I see a buddy enjoying a little snack. I stop in to say hello. We make some small talk and I eventually excuse myself to get back on task. As I walk away, I accidentally knock over the salt shaker on the table. My buddy grabs a pinch of the salt and tosses it over his shoulder with a wink, “just in case!” he says. I smile and shrug as I head over to the IT closet to investigate the router.

I use my keycard to open the door to the IT closet and turn on the lights. The door closes automatically behind me as I start working on the router. I send a ping and it returns with no problems. Maybe this won’t be as easy to fix as I expected. I check to make sure nothing is overheated, verify solid cable connections in all the ports, and finally resort to just wiggling a few things around. The router doesn’t seem to be the culprit here. The problem is probably with the end user.

I turn to leave and notice a ladder propped up next to the door. Did I walk under that on my way in? I take a few steps and trip over a stray power cable, unplugging it. Crap. I stand up and examine the cable, inspecting the prongs to ensure I haven’t bent anything beyond usefulness. One prong is slightly askew, but I think it will still work. I reach to plug it back into the power source and watch in horror as a blue arc jumps from the wall to the cable and my arm.

The shocking end.

Return to the beginning to see if you can survive Halloween at work!

Check the end user’s computer

When in doubt, start with the source of the complaint. I gather a few supplies (just in case) and head over to see Michael, the end user who reported the problem. I walk down the row of cubicles, taking note of all the desks that are covered in decorative gourds and try not to roll my eyes. There are a people who have really stepped up their Halloween decorations, including a miniature graveyard at one desk. I get a little shiver down my spine as my shadow falls across the fake tombstones.

As I pass the office cemetery, I trip over an umbrella someone left out in the walkway. Annoyed, I close it and lean it neatly against a desk, out of the way so no one else stumbles over it.

Finally, I reach my destination. “Hey, Michael. Is this a good time for me to check things out on your machine to figure out why the network is giving you trouble?” Michael grudgingly leaves his desk so I can investigate the issue.

CHOOSE YOUR PATH:
Check the network cable connections
Check that the computer has connectivity

Check the network cable connections

As a master of all things OSI, I know to check the physical layer first. I crawl under Michael’s desk and start checking cable connections. I follow the RJ45 from the CPU to the network port on the floor and check the connections. Everything looks good, but then I discover a rogue cable that leads away from the network port and Michael’s desk. Since Michael is at the end of the cubicle row, I can’t imagine what this cable is for, so I decide to follow it. It snakes around behind Michael’s desk and back down the row. I walk to the opposite end of the row where I find the rogue cable leading around the corner and under the closed door to a storage room. A shiver runs down my spine, but I’m not quite sure why.

I reach for the doorknob and it turns with a loud squeak, announcing my entry. The door creaks as I swing it open and reach for the light switch. I grope along the wall for the switch when I notice the unmistakable warm glow of a laptop screen in the corner, illuminating a face. But the face is horribly wrong. It’s grotesquely elongated and discolored, with an eerie grin etched permanently from ear to ear. My stomach clenches as I finally flip the light switch, throwing bright fluorescent light across the room.

“Oh, hey Jason. I was just watching a little Hulu on my lunch break.”

“And you had to do it wearing a clown costume?!”

Well, that was a terrifyingly useless errand. I’ve got to get this network issue resolved.

Check that the computer has connectivity

Check that the computer has connectivity

I settle in at Michael’s work station to check a variety of basics to ensure that the computer has connectivity. I start by opening up the browser and testing out the load time for a couple of common sites. Michael is right. The network is running slow. I then send a ping. The ping stats are dismal. Looks like this might not be a happy Halloween after all. I’m just about to check the configuration of the firewall when I notice things have gotten rather quiet around me. I look up and down the row, and realize I’m suddenly alone.

“Hello?” I call down the row of cubicles. No one answers. I walk down the row and see that every desk is empty. I pass by the break room where there’s just a dash of salt that’s been spilled on a table, but no people. No one. I wander through the office, even check the server room, but I can’t find anyone. I finally walk out to the lobby and see through the window that there are a couple of people standing out by their cars. And then I hear it. A vaguely familiar beat, but muffled through the walls and windows. As I push the door open, the sound becomes clear as I see dozens of people running. Then a woman screams, “THRILLER FLASH MOB!”

mjthriller

I join in the dance and forget all about the sluggish network issues. They’ll still be there after the impromptu Halloween party.

The end.

Return to the beginning to explore other outcomes from your Halloween adventures!)

  • Sorian

    None of the links to choose your path work.

  • Karin Klinger

    Oh no, Sorian! I’m so sorry! What browser are you using? My apologies!

  • Sorian

    Google Chrome

  • Karin Klinger

    That’s strange, Sorian! We tested in Chrome and it seemed to work well before we launched it. And I just tested it again and from what I can see, it should be working for you now. If you’re willing to try again, I’d love to hear your feedback! My apologies for this experience!

  • Sorian

    Just made sure I didn’t have javascript disabled and updated my chrome. Not sure why not working, but I have it working in IE.

  • Karin Klinger

    Sorian! I’m impressed by your perseverance! Can you email me directly at marketing@cbtnuggets.com? I’d like to follow up with you.