It's the middle of summer a few years back at this fishing-equipment factory -- and the heat is on this software developer pilot fish's team.
"One day, every PC in the building rebooted and all unsaved work was lost," fish says. "We received many complaints from users asking what was wrong with our software.
"We developers knew it wasn't our software, but were clueless as to the cause. The network techs felt the same way about their network and its configuration."
Maybe it's just some intermittent glitch, fish figures.
Then, the next day, it happens again. All the PCs reboot, and more complaints flow in.
And the day after that, it happens once more. That's when factory management steps up the heat on the IT guys, informing them that this problem that's nobody's fault will
be identified and resolved.
The techs start hunting for the issue's source -- and someone points out that all three incidents happened at about 3:30 p.m. But not exactly
at 3:30, so it's not likely to be a bug that's triggered by the clocks on the PC or network servers.
Fish and his co-workers make some guesses, and then some phone calls -- and more phone calls.
"Finally, it was deduced that it was summer, and it gets hot in summer, and the electrical demand ramps up in the mid-afternoon," says fish. "We learned that was when the 40-miles-distant secondary power plant would connect to our city's power grid -- and it did so with an inelegant hiccup of a spike that would overwhelm every PC in the building.
"Our reward for resolving the matter? We had to work after hours -- without extra pay -- to install UPSes at everyone's workstation without interrupting any data entry work."
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