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'Xtreme' Equipment That You Have Borrowed? 216

Posted by Cliff
from the overkill-but-fun dept.
djupedal asks: "What's the most extreme type of equipment you've used from the lab/office/university, etc. for your own projects, etc.? Have you ever taken a piece of unknown lint into work just to check it out under the nuclear microscope? Ever used the UV curing oven on the production line to make custom wheels for an R/C car? Ever used the 100,000 ton press in the lab to meld a dime into a nickel just to have a present for your gf/bf on Valentine's Day?"
"Ever drop by the house on the way home from work and use your company's nuclear density gauge to check for hardpan in the backyard?

Was that you I saw driving a 50 ton crane into the sub-division just to have a platform to install a 3 meter dish on the roof of the garage?

Ever hog a T-3 so you could loop-logon on to your own box....after networking thru a minimum of 25 repeaters near the equator...just to see how much delay there is when going around the planet?

To get you started -- we used to work the night shift at a ski area - and when we found spare time, we would fire up a few of the $200,000.00 Kässbohrer PistenBully's and run off into the trees and play hide & seek in the dark, when it was snowing heavy and your tracks would be covered quickly. All lights out and nothing but iPods online, we would play tag until we either got lost, stuck, bored or the sun came up.

What's your best example of trivial use of some very expensive gear that wasn't yours?"
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'Xtreme' Equipment That You Have Borrowed?

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  • Secretary (Score:5, Funny)

    by $exyNerdie (683214) on Friday April 22, 2005 @09:53PM (#12319865) Homepage Journal
    I once borrowed my boss's secretary!

  • freeze drying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2005 @09:53PM (#12319866)
    I can't go into specifics ... but I once used the vacuum chamber of a sophisticated scientific instrument to freeze-dry a bouquet of flowers. Inside the clean room. A big ice-jam happened in the inlet to the vacuum pump. I also used the milling machine and lathe to make a smoking pipe.
  • I borg (install SETI@home) on very box I can lay my hands on, and I guess the total value of all those machines is weel into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I also installed a Counter-STrike server on a server at my high school, and I think its been running for like 7 months and noone has noticed yet :-)
    • Re:Well.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:40PM (#12320112) Homepage Journal
      "I borg (install SETI@home) on very box I can lay my hands on, and I guess the total value of all those machines is weel into the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

      Careful! There was a story here a few years back about a guy who installed SETI on a network. He was then billed for all the run-time SETI used. The owners of the network used math a lot like yours to arrive at an outrageous number.

      My advice? Watch your ass. I was nearly fired from a job once simply because I sent a text message over the network.
      • " I was nearly fired from a job once simply because I sent a text message over the network."

        Details please...

        • I sent a message to a friend of mine in another aisle asking if he wanted to get a pizza. An orbitting supervisor saw the message pop up. Before long I was in his office 'explaining myself'.

          Not a very interesting story, but the very next day I bought the first of my comprehensive Dilbert collection.
  • Cryogenics (Score:4, Funny)

    by pipingguy (566974) on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:07PM (#12319932) Homepage

    I recently used liquid helium to freeze the memories of thousands of Slashdotters.

    The answers are:

    -yes
    -maybe
    -only if hamsters are involved
    -no
    • Cryo - for real. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shag (3737) *
      When "outreach events" like international astronomy day come up, a few of the "younger" (read thirtysomething) and "not quite as professional-looking" (read: myself included) sorts at the Institute are deposited behind a pair of tables with a dewar of liquid nitrogen and... hmm. Our current list includes flowers, tennis balls, pennies (and a metal block, plastic bags and ball-peen hammer), graham crackers, wire springs, balloons, and... hmm. I don't think the marshmallows worked. They got crunchy, but di
      • by pipingguy (566974)

        Craig Morton claims he will pound a nail into a board with a banana. He will undertake this folly tomorrow in front of an unforgiving audience: kids.

        There is, of course, a secret that will prevent Morton from playing the fool. He will pretreat the banana with a component of air that has been compressed and expanded until it becomes liquid nitrogen. At minus-320 degrees, liquid nitrogen will star in several trick demonstrations all day tomorrow as part of COSI's "Strange Matters" exhibit.


        More at: h [toledoblade.com]
        • Yep! Bananas have a lot of thermal mass, so we haven't yet taken the time to chill one properly for that particular trick. (Graham crackers are a lot easier.)
          • Bananas have a lot of thermal mass
            I suppose it's the water bound to the starch. Potatoes are similar, I once got some puree on my arm and it burnt like hell.
    • by lizrd (69275)
      Toward the end of my undergraduate tenure, I had a wart on my foot and a key to the room in the physics lab where the big dewer of LN2 was stored. So one evening, I filled my coffee mug took it back to my apartment and convinced my roommate the history major to substitute as a physician. A bit of google searching revealed that the basic procedure for freezing warts off involves dipping a cotton swab into LN2 and then pressing it against the wart until frostbite sets in. Not being total slobs, we had some q
      • Re:Cryogenics (Score:3, Informative)

        by pipingguy (566974)

        You want to be careful with LN2 and not just because it's so cold. Air is a bit heavier (no doubt someone will bring up dewpoints, density) than N2 but in a confined space liquid nitrogen will evaporate and displace oxygen.

        The body needs oxygen, and inhaling gases that don't contain it causes the body to pull oxygen from other parts that do - this causes a system shutdown. You can't reboot, it is a true BSOD, no recovery possible (even if you use Linux).

        Read this [bbk.ac.uk].
  • Compute power count? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by photon317 (208409) on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:12PM (#12319958)

    Back when it used to seem like a lot (~1997?), we used to "steal" all the processing time on 4 Sun E10Ks and 7 frames of IBM SP/2 nodes and do SETI and Distributed.Net work on them when they idle between real projects.

    What about cool home science gear that doesn't belong in a home? A guy at my office has 2 and a half electron microscopes in his garage he uses to peek at anything and everything that interests him around the house. I believe between the 2.5 microscopes worth of parts, one is actually running at the moment.

  • Desk (Score:5, Funny)

    by EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:17PM (#12319987) Homepage
    My wife and I have used her bosses desk to do a little photo shoot we submitted to a mens magazine (and a little something else that didn't get photographed.) Sadly, they(the photos) were rejected, like all of the informative articles I've submitted to slashdot.
  • by Jjeff1 (636051) on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:35PM (#12320079)
    Yea, last week.

    hogged 1/2 a T3 for 12 hours or so.
    • That's nothing, I used up almost all of a 100Mb link on a bittorrent the day the last fedora came out.

      Yeah, the 100Mb was almost all outbound. I forgot about it and left it open all weekend and no one really noticed. i don't remember how much bandwidth I used up, but it was lots and lots.
  • SPE meter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:45PM (#12320132)
    While building the subwoofer for my car, I found that I wasn't getting the desired output of the driver I had installed. I brought it into the lab at work [klipsch.com] to measure the output. Using the data I was able to find and use a driver that was better tuned to the box I had built.
  • Once I borrowed my boss's laser cannon and vandalized the moon! I won't tell you what CHA stands for, though...
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmai l . c om> on Friday April 22, 2005 @10:55PM (#12320183) Journal
    I once "hijacked" a whole steam train.

    More than 20 years ago, a $MAJOR_CLASS1_RAILROAD celebrated it's 100th birthday. To celebrate, they borrowed one of their old steam trains from $MAJOR_SCIENCE_MUSEUM.

    They had to ferry the train about 200 miles each time. Luckily, they sold tickets for those ferry trips, so we could enjoy riding the train.

    At that time, my grandfather died; he lived in $RAILROAD_TOWN about 1/4 of the way between the museum and the rail office. He was a civil engineer, and one of his pet peeve was about railroaders calling themselves "engineers" because they ran the engines...

    The day of his funeral, there was a steam trip scheduled. I was on the inbound trip a few days earlier, and I went to see the museum director (whom I have known for years before), and I told him that when they'll get back home, at $RAILROAD _TOWN, there would be my grandfather's funeral.

    "We'll take care of it", the director said.

    So, when the funeral procession went out of the church, there was the steam train, with crew at attention, saluting my grandfather... Later, at the cemetery, everyone was suspecting that I had a hand in that...


    • An M915 is a tractor trailer, think an International or Freightliner you see on the highway but painted OD green.

      While I was in a class at AIT an instructor told me to find a truck with a working battery.

      He failed to say where from.

      The one I found was on the other side of the school and, as it turns out, was one that another class was going to use that day. When they got to their bay, the truck was gone and so all the instructors were called to find it.

      My instructor knew where it was because he had
    • "At that time, my grandfather died; he lived in $RAILROAD_TOWN about 1/4 of the way between the museum and the rail office. He was a civil engineer, and one of his pet peeve was about railroaders calling themselves "engineers" because they ran the engines..."

      FYI, I believe this is exactly where the term "engineer" started.

      i.e. those guys were the first engineers, and since then the term has become very generalized compared to its original meaning.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:19PM (#12320296)
    Once, I'd lost my Bic pen, so I snuck into the supply closet and took another one. I just needed to sign something.

    I felt pretty bad about it, so I filled out the form to have my original pen replaced, and then I put the pen back in the box.

    But then I thought about all the ink I used filling out that form. I thought to myself "did I really need to fill out all that stuff on the second page? They know me here.. but it's better to err on the side of caution".

    So I wrote out an apology and attached it to the pen with a rubber band, then put it back.

    Well, after a while I got to thinking.. they can recognize my handwriting, can't they? And then they'll put two and two together... how many people have filled out requests for new pens in the last week? I could really get in trouble.

    So I snuck back into the closet.. except.. Jones was there. He was looking for staples, thank God, which are on the other side. I tried to act cool but I'm sure he knew *exactly* what was going on. Could he see my eyes darting toward the box of blue Bic pens? Just stare straight ahead. Thankfully, he just grabbed his staples and left.

    I grabbed the pen and the note, ran back to my office, and wrote out my resignation explaining the whole thing. In Word this time.. by this point just *touching* a pen made me nervous.

    Quite a crazy episode in my life, I tell you.. but sometimes you gotta go a little "wild" sometimes, eh?
  • by TheCamper (827137) <SporkMasterSpork@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:37PM (#12320360) Homepage
    My roommate at college is an architecture student at UNC Charlotte. He recently used the college of architecture's 50 watt laser cutter to make a valentines gift for a friend of his. 50 watts doesn't sound like much, but it is. A 100 watt light bulb puts out only 2 watts of light.
    • This is kinda OT, but have you seen "versalaser"? I've been drooling over it for a while; but I'm not sure how well it works.

      I've only seen it advertised in PCmag (pron: ueber-biased), but at least the laser seems too cool.

      IF it does what it advertises.

  • by unitron (5733) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:50PM (#12320409) Homepage Journal
    "...What's your best example of trivial use of some very expensive gear that wasn't yours?"

    Well, there's all those years I spent as an announcer at various AM and FM stations. :-)

  • by Tr0mBoNe- (708581) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @12:28AM (#12320528) Homepage Journal
    I work for a large telecom in the back end software devision and the team I work on develops the operating software for the network. My usual test environment is a cluster of 64 Sunfire servers with each of those servers containing 8 processors and 32 Gb of RAM. Including the infrastructure, Myranet optical lines, and NetApp storage boxes this brings my setup from the uber to the l33t.

    The other day, I wanted to see how fast this cluster could encode The Matrix... it took 4 seconds... I was pleased.

    We're upgrading to 256 IBM Blades soon so it should get fun then. I'm a big fan of blades... the Sun blades we use are tremendously fast and perfect for what we do. need more processing power? chuck in another 64 blades into that rack and there you go... Those blades are the same that are used in the MareNorstrum cluster in Spain... that would be the 5th most powerful supercomputer in the world (and is at par with the Earth Simulator, costing 10% as much heheh)... damn I can't wait to get those going...

    For some reason, when I get home, not having all that power and an internet connection to match just feels wrong.
    • Sorry, that's the IBM blades being the ones in that supercomputer... my bad.

      Sun blades are great too... smaller form factor but less CPU and more KW needed. and equal number of processors in traditional pizza box units consumes 3 times as much power and releases 3 times as much heat. not to mention it fills an entire rack, while the IMB blades take only half or less (I can't remember the exact unit size, and i'm too lazy to dig out the info...)

      For an enterprise setup, you'd be a dumbass not to go with bla
      • I believe power and heat issues are more of a problem with blade setups then they are for 1u and up servers in datacenters that weren't intended to house blades.

        So blades would not be a no brainer.
    • Only 32GB?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @12:43AM (#12320598)
    we "borrowed" it and lazed a hole into our boses engine from an impressive distance.

    then the fire started.

  • very cold ice cream (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @12:52AM (#12320631) Homepage Journal
    My dad used to work at a nuclear pharmacy. There was a very cold freezer there, somewhere aroun -200 F. One time he stored some ice cream in there before he brought it home. They were as hard as bricks.
    • "One time he stored some ice cream in there before he brought it home. They were as hard as bricks."

      They? Both the ice cream and your dad?

    • by CharlieG (34950)
      Heh,
      I used to run a "test chamber" at work. A few wees after we started the lab, it was time for the Christmas party for the department I had just left. In that day and age, a gift of a bottle of "booze of bosses choice" was a normal thing, and it was opened AT work

      So we bought the manager of bottle of vodka. He promptly opened it. One of the guys said "I really wish the vodka was cold". I smiled, and asked "How cold do you want it?" He made a mistake, and said "as cold as you can make it" My reply
      • Liquid nitrogen is probably good for this. At a physics summer school, we did some experiment with LN2, and there was a good bit left at the end which we were just told to do what we wanted with so long as we didn't damage anything.

        I pored 1/2 a cup orange juice and 1/2 a cup LN2 into a polystyrene cup. It took ~30-45 mins to melt; and at the beginning it wasn't even wet to touch or anything.

        So, in summery, some types of polystyrene cup are amazing insulators and can be handled with liquid nitrogen inside
        • A month or so later, the LN2 bulk tank was hooked up - not to make the chamber COLDER (or normal tests only took us down to -72c) but to make it cold FASTER (we had to change temperature at 15 C/Minute). By the time I left the company, oh, 7-8 years later, I had 3 chambers running, and used about 3000 gallons of LN2/day!! Used to get a tanker truck 3x/week. And yes, a doubled up styrofoam cup works well - well enough that it will stop boiling inside the cup - between the air layer above the LN2, and the
  • Google. (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @12:56AM (#12320647) Journal
    Clusters of computers. More than 100K computers. For trivial use.

    They even give you an API.

    Doh :).
  • I work at a company that makes LCOS devices (liquid crystal on silicon), so we've got some fancy microscopes custom-made for looking at pixel arrays under a wide variety of lighting conditions. I also happen to be hacking the PV2 disposable digital camera [maushammer.com] and didn't know the sensor resolution. So, we popped it in and found it was a 1.3 megapixel camera, even though it was claimed to provide 2 megapixel quality [slashdot.org].

    We've got a laser that can cut metal traces in IC's; I've been dying to find a use for it. Or the
  • ...amongst the many fun toys at work is a truck with about 20U rack space in the trunk, power generators, etc. --- the perfect venue for the world's fastest lan party...
  • RF Home cooking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Glacian (674566) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:25AM (#12320765) Homepage
    Using the 700lbs LOA(low observable antena) use for ground following radar on the B1-B to cook hot dogs while it was hooked up to an anochoic chamber.

    Moral of the story,800+ watts = burnt hot dog in under 1 sec.

    • And by "burnt hot dog" you mean "I got cancer?"
    • The power output of that radar must've been more than 800 watts - Most consumer microwave ovens have power outputs of 1000+ watts, and since all of that goes into a shielded chamber, it all eventually goes into whatever load is inside that chamber. (Whatever you're cooking.)

      Also, large directional antennas usually don't have that much near-field gain. It's only until you get far away from the antenna that the gain becomes apparent.
  • by slashdot_commentator (444053) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:38AM (#12320973) Journal
    Ever used the 100,000 ton press in the lab to meld a dime into a nickel just to have a present for your gf/bf on Valentine's Day?

    Geeks really need to address the mental disability that hinders their ability to procreate.

  • We had a cluster 15 of those expensive beast in the automation lab, and they were commonly delivered with a networked flight simulator.

    Su root, uncomment the entry in /etc/services and lo ! Friday night were turned into combat-mode flight simulator lan parties.

    That was of course 10-15 years before lan parties were invented, of course.

    • Dogfight! Lots of fun. BZFLAG was also another good SGI staple.

      We had a cluster 15 of those expensive beast
      O2 was the cheapest SGI workstation ever sold! The prices only went up from there! Octane, Onyx, Origin $$$
    • You sure you're thinking about the O2? As another poster said, they weren't that expensive (though more expensive than the Indy, for sure). Too bad they're past their prime. We're about to throw out 4 of them to make space for more linux peecees. :(

      Also, the 10-15 year time estimate seems off. When was the O2 introduced? Sometime around 1996?

      Not trying to pick nits -- just curious if you were doing this on an Indigo or somesuch.

      • Yea, e-mail me at jmertic at gmail dot com if you'd be willing to ship any of those O2s to Ohio.
  • Heavy trucks... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198)
    I have a part-time job driving heavy trucks, and it's kind of amusing to use those 3 or 4-trailer 120-tonne monsters to collect small loads at garden or hardware shops; the rig usually stretches across the entire car-park and blocks both gates, and parking inspectors won't issue infringement notices because it'll take them ten minutes to climb up and stick it on the windscreen... ;-)
  • by sithkhan (536425) <sithkhan@gmail.com> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @05:15AM (#12321515)
    Well, does ethanol count? Especially if you add in a hot college girl every now and then? That's a yes? Good!..
  • by martyb (196687) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @07:01AM (#12321742)
    When in college in the Late 1970's, we brought some liquid nitrogen from the main science lab back to the dorm. After pouring (IIRC) 150 proof vodka into ice cube trays, we used the LN to create "vod-cubes". These, when added to a class of Collins Mixer, made for an interesting drink - the longer we waited the stronger it got! Also used some of it to freeze popcorn and Fig Newtons(TM)... It sure was neat to see a Fig Newton *shatter*!
  • At the laser lab... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hank Reardon (534417) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @07:04AM (#12321748) Homepage Journal

    ...where I used to work, I borrowed their huge laser powersupply to try experiments with nonstandard lasing devices.

    I also borrowed a toothbrush, some of the boss' expensive pens, his chair, and his desk lamp.

    We discovered that, given enough energy, you can make just about anything lase.

  • Navy Helicopter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pease1 (134187) <bbunge.ladyandtramp@com> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @08:24AM (#12321937)
    I once wanted to be the first guy ashore from a seven month deployment on an aircraft carrier. I talked the chain of command into letting use one of the helos to shoot pix of the ship going pierside at NOB Norfork, then talked the helo crew into dropping me off at the Naval Air Station.

    After hitching a ride to the pier, I walked up behind friends and family waiting for me while the ship was still tieing up.

    My ship, USS America, was towed out to sea last week and will be sunk this week [navy.mil].

  • Well, let's see.

    There was the time I was working on an amateur radio repeater that was co-located with several commercial systems, including a commercial FM radio station. We had my COM-120B (a US$20,000 piece of test equipment). At the same time the FM radio station's engineers were out working on their gear, with a IFR-500S (a decade+ old US$10,000 piece of gear that cannot do half the things the 120 can). It was kind of funny watching those guys look over at us with envy.

    Then there were the times a fri
  • Snot (Score:4, Funny)

    by jago25_98 (566531) <jago25_98@COBOLh ... m minus language> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @09:18AM (#12322118) Homepage Journal
    Snot under the elctron microscope. I'm sure it's been done many a time before.

    Haven't had many opportunities other than that.

    Unfortunately I didn't get to see my own spunk.
    • by Brento (26177)
      Unfortunately I didn't get to see my own spunk.

      Does that mean you mean you looked at someone ELSE'S spunk under an electron microscope?!?
      • Sadly no, that wouldn't be as interesting. But still a race between 2 other peoples spermatozoa would be sweet.

        This is getting scary
  • Try this one on... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mendenhall (32321) * on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:16AM (#12322632)
    I work in a Free Electron Laser (FEL) center. The FEL is a few-million-dollar machine which is about 25 meters long, stem to stern. We have occasionally used it to carve Lucite blocks to present as going-away presents for departing associates. We figured that, since the operating budget of the machine (note: not the incremental cost of this task) runs about $500/hour, these could be considered $1000 gifts!

    We also use the laser for demonstrations for visiting high school students (etc) to carve hot dogs and to engrave names on tongue depressors. I think it is fairly memorable for the students to see a building-sized apparatus used for this. The only hope is that it gets some of them excited about science.
  • I used a Sun E3500 [sun.com] with 8 processors and 8GB of ram to run a GwebCache [gnucleus.com]. It didn't really perform as well as I had hoped, so I moved it back to it's normal cluster of 3 intel machines.
  • [I didn't do this; but I was there when it was done]

    The navigator of a multi-billion dollar nuclear submarine needed to come up with a track (a course) to follow in an oparea to kill time.

    Across 150 miles of ocean we wrote "Go Navy Beat Army".

  • by Ashtead (654610) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:18PM (#12326704) Journal
    This was a while ago, when I was at the University.

    One day in the RF and Microwaves lab, we wanted to listen to some radio programme. Now, there were several kinds of receivers lying around, but most of them were in the higher frequency ranges.

    Except for the HP140 series spectrum analyzers. These had a range going to 110 MHz, just right for FM broadcast radio.

    So we made a simple antenna from a pair of wires that we stuck onto one of the windows, and connected this to the input of one of the HP-140 series spectrum analyzers. In addition to the convenient range, they had all kinds of nice filtering functions to limit bandwidth to an FM radio channel. We could even see the various broadcasting stations on the display.

    These analyzers had a vertical output, to which we hooked up a linear power amplifier that originally was designed for driving a tele-coil system for the benefit of the hard of hearing. We hooked up this to a speaker that originally had been in someone's car but became surplus when they got a new stereo system.

    By stopping the sweep and tuning the spectrum analyzer a little to the side of the frequency of interest, we got slope detection of the radio signal, and we got the sound of the station of interest.

    Of course, the sound quality wasn't the best, obviously not stereo; and we noticed that the spectrum analyzer would slowly drift into and out of tune with the temperature variations of the day, so frequent readjustments were necessary. Fading was also noticed, but this wasn't too bad. Still, this set-up remained in use for quite a while, something around a year.

    So this is how to make a set of $~10^4 equipment sound much like any old $~1 radio as found at flea markets, garage sales, or thrift stores...

    Same sound for a 40 dB increase in price...

  • by mildness (579534) <bill@bampAUDENh.com minus poet> on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:59AM (#12327034) Homepage
    In Ft Huachuca Arizon we would tell our Seargent that we were taking the truck to get the oil changed in the Motor Pool.

    On the way we would get a buzz on and take the things off-roading in the desert hills on base. Wonderful US Army 5-ton ten-wheel-drive tracter trailer rigs [airfieldmodels.com].

    First gear on a good incline and these beasts would just dig straight down.

    The conceit was we had to warm them up to get the oil flowing

    Peace,

    PFC Burton (ret)

  • Someone at the gliding club left the electrics on the piper pawnee towplane on for a few days, left the battery flat.

    So we pulled around a car, chained together two jumper leads (the battery isn't exactly conveniently located in one of these) and let it charge for about 10 minutes with the car running. Tried to start the plane, just about stalled the car and had no joy on starting it.

    Left it to charge another 10 minutes or so, and managed to get the plane started. No problemo!

  • My friend had a gathering at his house to sit around and enjoy the company of geeks, and maybe play some Doom (I). We were all encouraged to bring PCs and since I worked at a company that wrote finite element analysis stuff, and some visualization on heat flow, I borrowed the presentation computer.

    A $10,000+ SGI Indy with all the trimmings. Xtank ran well. The screensavers were also a huge hit.
  • Card-Access Door (Score:3, Interesting)

    by llamaluvr (575102) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:23AM (#12334376) Journal
    Not really stealing, but "exploiting", I guess...

    At work, they had me clean up a card-access system (Northern Win-Pak 2.0, yuck...) and I still have admin access on it since it's still messed up :-). Anyway, there's a sliding door that uses a card reader- it's the entrance to where we store our servers and equipment. One day, I forgot my card, and I needed to go in and out of that room a lot, and hardly anybody else was there. So, I timed it out, and figured out it took 15 seconds for me to walk from my cube to the door, and set the scripting thing in Win-Pak to wait 15 seconds and then open the door.

    So, now I walk in and out with no card, with the door sliding just as I walk up to it, without even breaking my stride. Our fridge and microwave is right next to the door, so I can't wait to mess with people's heads. Maybe I'll tell them we just installed retina scanners ;-).
  • The best I ever did was install the distributed.net client on the live production servers of a MMOG. (Yes, one you've heard of.) It did practically nothing while the game was busy, but it absolutely screamed during the school day when the player count dropped.

    But I'm just a software guy; a friend of mine is a mechanical engineer. Most recently, he used the rapid prototyping machine (sometimes called a "3-d printer") to build some miniature props for our D&D game. Teeny little dead monsters and decapita
  • About a year ago, I was moving into a new house, and had lots of stuff to throw away, since I lived in a farmhouse that my Grandmother lived in. She was one of these people who raised a family during the great depression, and refused to throw anything away. After the relatives went through all the stuff and took what they wanted, and I combed through what was left to keep what I wanted, I was still left with a huge amount of unwanted, and pretty much unmarketable stuff, not only in the house, but also in th
  • I've driven those, and for those of you who haven't, let me tell you they're MASSIVE vehicles. They can pretty much go where where you please, at least as long as the place is wide enough.

    So ... how the devil do you get one of those stuck (besides purposefully sliding it between a couple of trees)? And how much effort does it take to get it unstuck?

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.

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