A friend of my contacted me a few days ago for some casual conversation what I really appreciate. Doesn't happen too frequently these days.
He was mentioning, that currently he is working on rewriting some old IBM AS/400 based software to modern Web 2.0 application. This reminded me a funny story regarding AS/400 from my rookie past, what I'd like to share here.Alcoa has a facility in Hungary. Back that days they had a wide operation here. Manufacturing plastic bottles, operating aluminum smelter, building aluminum boxes for truck bases (like Coca-Cola trucks), and so on.
I was working for Hewlett-Packard that time. We had a worldwide project at Alcoa for desktop PC provisioning. Sophisticated desktop management platforms (like SCCM) didn't exists that days.
So HP wrote some scripted MS Test based scripted platform for this, what, I can tell you, wasn't the best.
Actually the local Alcoa had some weird network configuration, mad this provisioning continuously fail.
So, my colleagues called me, to go onsite and try to resolve the issue.
I was sitting in the server room with a PC, for long time, and trying to figure out the issue.
It was a thick PC size black box under the table I was working on.
A guy came into the room. When he seen what I'm doing, his face become white.
He said slowly: Please remove your feet from the AS/400. That unit controls the aluminum smelter. If you eventually switch it of, the smelter will cool down and can't be heated once more.