Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Quartz)   System locked. A)bort? R)etry? C)ause massive conspiracy theory to be launched with a typo?   (qz.com) divider line 39
    More: Fail, credit cards, American Embassy  
•       •       •

4521 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Jul 2014 at 12:28 PM (41 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



39 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-07-21 09:44:18 AM  
That's actually an interesting story.  I had not heard that one before.
 
2014-07-21 11:51:32 AM  
That site won't work for me.

/haz a sad
 
2014-07-21 12:31:39 PM  
Can anyone summarize the article, it just kept popping back to the start of the article every second or two over and over, which made it kind of too annoying to bother reading although it seemed possibly interesting.
 
2014-07-21 12:37:36 PM  
Just a little under 31 years ago, I played a key role in a conspiracy theory that grew up around a passenger plane downed by a Russian missile. Trust me, I did not mean to be involved.
+

On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 passengers, was shot down over the Sea of Japan. At about 6am that morning, I arrived at my summer job at the American Embassy in Tokyo where my task was usually to start up the computer which had been turned off over night. But on this morning, I realized the system was already engaged and that a surprisingly large number of workstations had been left on over night. While rare, I had seen this pattern before when a Washington deadline for information was looming.
+

Not long after I arrived in my office, I received a call from a secretary in the Agriculture Department who liked to play a computer game before her workday started. Her favorite game had a bug that regularly froze her workstation. This was the "bad old days" of computers and the only way to reset her station was from my central console.
+

On this day, I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset. But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again. I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy. This realization didn't bother me much, because no one except the Agriculture section secretary was usually on the computer system this early in the morning.
+

But then all hell broke lose.
+

My boss, a Japanese computer engineer named Itoh, poked his head in the door. This was a shock because I had never seen Mr. Itoh before 10 am ever. My job was to come in early and leave early and he arrived late and stayed late to shut down the system each night. He asked me what had happened. I told him I had shut down the system by mistake. He shook his head and ran down the hall.
+

Next, the head administrator, who I had only seen once in the computer room, walked in. He asked where Mr. Itoh was. I pointed down the hall. And he ran that direction as well.
+

More than an hour later, the administrative director returned to my office to explain what had happened. He told me about the Korean Airline disaster and that no one really knew what was going on, but that most of the information available was coming in from Japanese sources-first from Japanese fishing ships in the area and later from Japanese defense forces who were being dispatched to look for debris. A team of translators and US diplomats had been readying the first report for president Ronald Reagan at the time I turned off the computer systems. As this was a very early computer with limited backup capability, hours of work of dozens of experts had been lost when I inadvertently closed down the computer.
+

I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake. President Reagan was criticized in the press for his administration's delayed announcement of the tragedy. But more troublesome, the reports that were being compiled in the US Embassy at the time of my error were meant to be shared with the South Korean government. As the team in Tokyo went back to rewriting the report-with clear evidence that the plane had been downed in the Sea of Japan-the South Korean government, working from flawed data, announced that the airliner had simply been forced to land in Russian territory and that all passengers and crew were safe.
+

That Korean announcement and the slow response by the US president-both caused by delayed real information-caused decades of conspiracy theories. Until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, many Koreans clung to the hope that their loved ones were still alive and well in some Siberian prison camp.
+

So this week, in the face of a Malaysian Airline crash in the Ukraine-and with all the associated speculation of 24-hour news organizations and the tweetosphere, my advice is to take a deep breath, count to 10, and know that there is a very good chance that truth in the matter will be forthcoming very soon. And let's hope that there is no stupid 23-year-old with his finger on an important keyboard in  this information chain.
 
2014-07-21 12:39:32 PM  
"'Abort, Retry, Fail?' was the phrase some wormdog scrawled next to the door of the Edit Universe project room. And when the new dataspinners started working, fabricating their worlds on the huge organic comp systems, we'd remind them: if you see this message,  always choose 'Retry.'

Bad'l Ron, Wakener, Morgan Polysoft"
 
2014-07-21 12:47:23 PM  
Sure. That's just what they want you to think.
 
2014-07-21 12:56:33 PM  
BOfH era stuff right there. Disk quotas and some guy in a room could screw up all the terminals in one shot.

Hmm. Ag deptartment and a game in 1983 on a terminal. You don't suppose Oregon trail?
 
2014-07-21 01:04:36 PM  
If you try hard enough, you can make just about anything sound like a conspiracy.
 
2014-07-21 01:12:23 PM  
This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".
 
2014-07-21 01:13:55 PM  

lindalouwho: That site won't work for me.

/haz a sad


That's because THEY don't want you to find out about THE TRUTH.
 
2014-07-21 01:20:11 PM  
I've caused a kernel panic on a production server before. It inconvenienced people for about 20 minutes. Apparently, it could have been worse.
 
2014-07-21 01:30:56 PM  

2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".


A typo refers to mistakes that are often the result of hittinh the wrong key. See what I did there? I hit the wrong key. That's a typo. This guy hit the wrong key. Typo.
 
2014-07-21 01:45:14 PM  
I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

Not at all. There was a key - F6 - that would reboot one workstation without confirmation. You accidentally fatfingered the one next to it, which would reboot everything without confirmation.

Whoever thought all of that was a good idea should've been fired. From a cannon powered by exploding battery juice.
 
2014-07-21 01:45:29 PM  

Gonz: I've caused a kernel panic on a production server before. It inconvenienced people for about 20 minutes. Apparently, it could have been worse.


I know of an engineer who accidently deleted the entire config on a firewall. A production firewall. The core routing firewall, of a bank.....

And then managed to commit the now empty config to the cluster.

Whoops.

/only know of because he was suspended because of this a week before I came on board
 
2014-07-21 01:46:09 PM  

Arkanaut: lindalouwho: That site won't work for me.

/haz a sad

That's because THEY don't want you to find out about THE TRUTH.


This made me larf.

/webcamCat, you're the best!
 
2014-07-21 02:20:11 PM  

Fark like a Barsoomian: I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

Not at all. There was a key - F6 - that would reboot one workstation without confirmation. You accidentally fatfingered the one next to it, which would reboot everything without confirmation.

Whoever thought all of that was a good idea should've been fired. From a cannon powered by exploding battery juice.


Yeah, who creates a "reboot everything without confirmation" hotkey, let alone puts it next to another more commonly-used key?
 
2014-07-21 03:04:16 PM  

Ambitwistor: Yeah, who creates a "reboot everything without confirmation" hotkey, let alone puts it next to another more commonly-used key?


The entire 80s.
 
2014-07-21 03:06:35 PM  

Tobin_Lam: 2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".

A typo refers to mistakes that are often the result of hittinh the wrong key. See what I did there? I hit the wrong key. That's a typo. This guy hit the wrong key. Typo.


You don't know the meaning of the word "typography", do you?

/I already know you don't.
 
2014-07-21 03:14:00 PM  

wildcardjack: BOfH era stuff right there. Disk quotas and some guy in a room could screw up all the terminals in one shot.

Hmm. Ag deptartment and a game in 1983 on a terminal. You don't suppose Oregon trail?


I'm going with Rogue.  Either that or Thermonuclear War.
 
2014-07-21 03:34:41 PM  

GruntledWorker: If you try hard enough, you can make just about anything sound like a conspiracy.


the word "conspiracy" is a conspiracy to make conspiracy theorists look bad because it has "con" and "piracy" in it
 
2014-07-21 04:04:53 PM  
Conspiracy because of a reboot?  WAKE up SHEEPLE!  It's RED flag!  These PEOPLE are still living and DYING in a GULAG!
 
2014-07-21 04:09:02 PM  

dittybopper: That's actually an interesting story.  I had not heard that one before.


This.

Damn. Most people never even get the chance to make a mistake that big.
 
2014-07-21 04:23:22 PM  

dittybopper: That's actually an interesting story.  I had not heard that one before.


And you won't hear it the next time, either.
 
2014-07-21 04:36:13 PM  

Cybernetic: dittybopper: That's actually an interesting story.  I had not heard that one before.

This.

Damn. Most people never even get the chance to make a mistake that big.


It's funny to think that everyone makes mistakes, whether they're responsible for pushing a broom or for designing a bridge. I know a few civil engineers who have made mistakes in their professional life, and the "cheapest" screwup was $250,000 for using the wrong type of asphalt. Those are the types of mistakes that engineers feel horrible about but ultimately walk away from. Then you get things like the Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse, which you know must have seemed very innocuous to the person making the change, but ended up killing over 100 people.
 
2014-07-21 04:39:52 PM  

Fark like a Barsoomian: I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

Not at all. There was a key - F6 - that would reboot one workstation without confirmation. You accidentally fatfingered the one next to it, which would reboot everything without confirmation.

Whoever thought all of that was a good idea should've been fired. From a cannon powered by exploding battery juice.


THIS.

Who the hell designs a system where one user can take the whole thing down with one errant keystroke?
 
2014-07-21 05:05:37 PM  
That secretary should have been fired for inappropriate use of company computers. If she wasn't using buggy, unsupported software none of this would have ever happened.
 
2014-07-21 05:29:20 PM  

untaken_name: Tobin_Lam: 2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".

A typo refers to mistakes that are often the result of hittinh the wrong key. See what I did there? I hit the wrong key. That's a typo. This guy hit the wrong key. Typo.

You don't know the meaning of the word "typography", do you?

/I already know you don't.


Who cares what "typography" means to you? You. That's it. Nobody else cares. Words take on new, additional meanings. He made a typo. What are you going to do about it?
 
2014-07-21 05:32:46 PM  
Good article.
 
2014-07-21 05:58:14 PM  

HeartBurnKid: Fark like a Barsoomian: I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

Not at all. There was a key - F6 - that would reboot one workstation without confirmation. You accidentally fatfingered the one next to it, which would reboot everything without confirmation.

Whoever thought all of that was a good idea should've been fired. From a cannon powered by exploding battery juice.

THIS.

Who the hell designs a system where one user can take the whole thing down with one errant keystroke?


I once accidentally removed a vital file from a system by typing the wrong file name while I was clearing up disk space using the Unix 'rm' command.

Many systems assume you aren't an idiot. Of course, we all are at one time or another.

Took me 45 minutes to restore the file from backup and to reconstruct the records created after the backup. All while my boss was looking over my shoulder. Biggest lesson: admit what you did immediately, *AND* tell them how you are going to fix it.
 
2014-07-21 05:59:20 PM  

2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".


I was thinking the same thing. I don't think TFA of TFA used the word "typo" though, just subby.

dittybopper: That's actually an interesting story.  I had not heard that one before.


Yeah, I thought it was just something that would fill the last 5 minutes of work. Turned out to be a much better story than I had expected...
 
2014-07-21 06:05:50 PM  

HeartBurnKid: Who the hell designs a system where one user can take the whole thing down with one errant keystroke?


Not any old user. The system administrator, sitting at his special administration console. In those days, the choice was between having enough memory to support twice as many users, or having enough memory to protect you against incompetence by your highly paid systems administrator.
 
2014-07-21 06:10:12 PM  

Tobin_Lam: untaken_name: Tobin_Lam: 2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".

A typo refers to mistakes that are often the result of hittinh the wrong key. See what I did there? I hit the wrong key. That's a typo. This guy hit the wrong key. Typo.

You don't know the meaning of the word "typography", do you?

/I already know you don't.

Who cares what "typography" means to you? You. That's it. Nobody else cares. Words take on new, additional meanings. He made a typo. What are you going to do about it?


Right, words mean purple monkey dishwasher raspberry pie. He didn't make a typo, so there's no need for me to do anything about it. Here's a word you need to look up: definition.
 
2014-07-21 06:29:42 PM  
static.fjcdn.com
 
2014-07-21 06:59:18 PM  

dittybopper: once accidentally removed a vital file from a system by typing the wrong file name while I was clearing up disk space using the Unix 'rm' command.


missing the crucial period in 'rm * log' or something like that?

/did that once. Only person that this inconvenienced was me, but it took me a couple of days to recover from it...
 
2014-07-21 07:07:55 PM  

wjllope: missing the crucial period in 'rm * log' or something like that?


I just twitched audibly.
 
2014-07-21 07:07:58 PM  

wjllope: dittybopper: once accidentally removed a vital file from a system by typing the wrong file name while I was clearing up disk space using the Unix 'rm' command.

missing the crucial period in 'rm * log' or something like that?

/did that once. Only person that this inconvenienced was me, but it took me a couple of days to recover from it...


Yep. And I immediately knew what happened. Called my boss, told him what happened before he started getting phone calls. This was at a factory, and system down meant workers idle and good not being manufactured. In other words, real money.
 
2014-07-21 07:15:30 PM  

untaken_name: Tobin_Lam: untaken_name: Tobin_Lam: 2chris2: This was not a typo.  A typo refers to mistakes in digital or printed text.  In this case, the author of the article hit the wrong function key, thereby carrying out a different function.

Just as, if you were playing a computer game and hit the wrong key, and ended up jumping when you meant to duck, this would not be a typo.  Typo doesn't just mean "hitting the wrong key on the keyboard".

A typo refers to mistakes that are often the result of hittinh the wrong key. See what I did there? I hit the wrong key. That's a typo. This guy hit the wrong key. Typo.

You don't know the meaning of the word "typography", do you?

/I already know you don't.

Who cares what "typography" means to you? You. That's it. Nobody else cares. Words take on new, additional meanings. He made a typo. What are you going to do about it?

Right, words mean purple monkey dishwasher raspberry pie. He didn't make a typo, so there's no need for me to do anything about it. Here's a word you need to look up: definition.


Exactly. You don't like one of the eccepted definitions of "typo" and you aren't going to do anything about it.
 
2014-07-22 06:29:55 PM  

Tobin_Lam: Exactly. You don't like one of the eccepted definitions of "typo" and you aren't going to do anything about it.


It's not accepted.
Because stupid people don't know any better doesn't make it accepted.
Words have meanings.  Use them properly, or stop talking/typing altogether.
 
2014-07-22 11:15:49 PM  

ds615: Tobin_Lam: Exactly. You don't like one of the eccepted definitions of "typo" and you aren't going to do anything about it.

It's not accepted.
Because stupid people don't know any better doesn't make it accepted.
Words have meanings.  Use them properly, or stop talking/typing altogether.


It is accepted.

And words, like technology, must evolve to be capable of describing our ever-changing world around us. Don't be scared, embrace to freedom it represents and we will all be better for it!

Also, guessing you didn't submit that post on a 1920s-vintage Underwood typewriter, so it feels a but ironic to be complaining about evolution in typography and it's related definitions on this medium.
 
Displayed 39 of 39 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report