Our Biggest Screw-Ups


Joined Jan 17, 2007
I did a 'rm -rf *' in the wrong Unix server directory during a file cleanup that lost some of the latest versions of software I was working on. I did have a backup but it was weeks old.
Ouch! ... but that's more like it ... :D

So by the authority invested on me, I hereby absolve all your faults... go, sin no more... :p:D
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Joined Jan 17, 2007
Something similar happened to me with an apple II back in '84n btw... I lost almost two months of code because I opened the drive and pulled out the disk before it was done saving the info and before the green led turned off... :oops::mad:
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Joined Nov 30, 2010
Edit: When the dishwasher was installed they reversed polarity.
"Never bet your life" somebody else (did their job correctly) (turned off the circuit breaker) (etc.)."
"Eventually I realized that my legs still worked"
Been there, done that. I cleaned the sawdust off 20 feet of floor as I slid to a stop.

It wasn't my fault! I was 20 years old and my boss told me to do that!
That one probably created my first idea that led to my, "Never bet your life" rule.
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Joined Oct 3, 2010
I worked as a maintenance tech in a wire & cable plant that made oil field wireline cables and subsea umbilical cables. Steel & plastic armored Cables several miles long. They have different areas of the plant; cabling, armoring, extrusion, etc. One day they were trying out a new process; instead of taking a cable core from cabling dept to armoring dept to get a steel wire armor, then going from armoring dept to extrusion dept to get a plastic layer, then back to armoring for another armor layer, then back to extrusion for final plastic layer, they decided to bring 2 extruders from extrusion dept into armor dept; they set up one long line: armoring machine> extruder> 2nd armoring machine> 2nd extruder, and they ran the whole thing at once. It was a very high profile ordeal and the whole engineering dept was there during the day shift, buzzing around watching the thing get made. Half way through night shift (my shift), most of the engineers left and I started working on PMs in armoring since the whole armoring dept was shut down except for that one job. I was all the way on the other side of the building from them.

To complete my PM, I had to lock out a machine. I turned off the disconnect and a few seconds later I hear all kinds of shouting, sounds like the end of the world on the other side of armor dept.

Turns out they had repurposed that disconnect to feed one of the extruders. It was the middle extruder, so the cable was missing a patch of plastic underneath another layer of steel and plastic. It was half way through a 24hr production run. The cable was ruined right smack in the middle. Neither side was long enough to sell. All told it was a loss of > $500k.

I didn't get fired but I did get verbally flogged in front of the whole night shift. There was an investigation and they found that I wasn't at fault because nobody had told me that they were using that disconnect for something all the way across the building (and there was no sign), but that I should have noticed there was a portable cord coming out of the disconnect where there shouldn't have been (i agree).


Joined Jan 6, 2004
For any micro like those of the PIC 18F family, connecting ALL their Vdd / Vss pins is a must, so I did.

Pins 31 & 31 were OK. See below what I reserved for pins 11 & 12.



Joined Nov 4, 2008
About 40 years ago I was an electronic technician at a military transmitter site in Hawaii. When normal electronic work was slow we had to mow the grass around various vertical antenna's. There were a couple of short ones.....about 30 to 40 feet high, and they used 3 guy wires up about half way. I was mowing the grass with a gasoline powered mower and got too close to one guy wire. The blade cut the guy wire and the antenna fell over.


Joined Apr 26, 2005
I had asked a tech to secure the transmitter. He reported he had so I stared to show another tech where he was making the tests.

As my finger approached the point of interest, a nice blue arc came out to greet my finger. Good thing my forearm was resting on ground. I turned to the ashened white tech and said. ... Did you see where that arc came from ... That is where your testing, but wait till I tell you. I have to have a conversation with someone.

Moral of the story ... The ass you save may be your own.


Joined Nov 4, 2013
About 10 or so years ago I joined the internet and found forums.

Still ponder on if that was a major screwup or not.