Ten Years of IT at SATV: Ups and Downs

There have been ups and downs over the years at SATV, not a few have been down to my own mistakes.  This is one of them.

This is or was a wiring harness used in our video server.  Because PC cases don’t have a lot of room for connectors, particularly not for BNC video connectors, it is very common in the broadcast and professional audio fields to have cable snakes—a series of BNC or XLR pigtails that go into a DB connector where it can be DB-15 (like the old IBM Joystick connectors) or DB-25’s (serial).

This is one I broke.  I was sliding out the video server for cleaning—I had wanted to check the machines for dust ingestion, which was a problem when we renovated our studio area a few years ago.  The slide rail got stuck and I pulled a little harder.

It snagged the cable without my realizing it and broke off several cables in the snake which we only found out about later on.  Fortunately, our program director, Dave Gauthier, had been able to work around the problem.

I offered to pay for the cable, but was declined.  "You do more good than bad”, I was told.

Another amusing picture:

When we got our new Dell server, it opened, as most Dell tower servers do, with a key inserted into the lock on its bezel.  The power button and case release button and screws are all under the bezel so you must unlock it and take it off from time to time.  This key was in the bezel while it was propped up against a cabinet while I worked on the server.  As you may know from the history of that machine, it had spent a lot of time being open.

I knocked the bezel down and it landed flat on the floor on the “good” side.  The key snapped off in the lock.  Lucky I had another key and a pair of pliers to remove the stub.  Keeping honest people honest is all this does.

We use Spiceworks to manage our IT assets and I’m a regular in the community there.  There was a thread going a little while ago, “What is Your Most Recent IT Screwup?  Be Honest”, and I contributed two posts I will reproduce here:


David Moisan

Network/Systems Administrator at Salem Access Television

Salem, MA

My worst mistakes are in the home. You know, you’re more likely to trip on a cat toy and fall down the stairs and die at home, that sort of thing.

I have an SBS box at home with backups. Good thing too. I’ve done these:

1) Changed security inheritance in c:\Windows in such a way that the next step was to get out the restore disk and the backup drive–or break down crying. I no longer change security on Windows directories, ever. (and I did have that backup!)

2) Torn apart my new server motherboard five times on a dead system indication, not realizing the BIOS has a blank screen for the first 30 seconds and there was nothing wrong with the board.

3) In the days of hard sectored floppies, inadvertently inserted a CP/M distribution disk as the "destination" in an old NorthStar machine and realized it only after hearing clickclickclick. (Fortunately I had a copy of that disk itself so I copied it back over…)

3A) Fired up a very, very loud daisywheel printer on that NorthStar for testing–during a staff meeting in that same room! It would have been a good way to drown out boss ranting had I thought of it…

4) Flashed the firmware on a managed switch through the serial port and didn’t take into account that 9600 baud is not fast to transfer an 8 meg image. Switched over to backup switch very very quickly and quietly. Configured TFTP the next day.

5) Rebooted video server in the middle of a program during Patch Tuesday. Embarrassing. We run from the satellite in the mornings for exactly this reason.

6) Ignored a call on the cell during afternoon sleepytime thinking it was a wrong number. Nope. My boss was on the line and he never calls me just because, and it WAS something I needed to have acted on 15 minutes ago.

Jun 10, 2010 at 10:24 AM


Oh does that bite! I was on the beta for SBS 2008 and every time a refresh came out I would save a PST as I put all my personal mail on Exchange. I migrated the mailstore twice in the course of the beta.

The RTM comes out and I have a copy.

I say, bleep it, I won’t bother with a PST, I migrated the store twice how hard could it be?


Could not migrate the mailstore from my beta machine for love nor money.


I go and buy some program to read OST’s. It doesn’t get all my mail but just enough to triage it and get the important stuff. I try yet another OST reader to get one piece of mail that has an important voucher code in it, the one email I most need.

Ain’t going to do that again…

There you have it!  Those are my mistakes and I don’t expect to stop making any soon, even though one never wakes up in the morning with the intent to screw up.  But, there have been good moments, next.


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