10 real-life intern mistakes

But let’s not forget the intern who brought down three floors of AIG’s Wall Street network for three days! In the early 1990’s, when Charlie Ungashick was an entry-level network administrator, AIG wanted to move from Ethernet to Token Ring; from PCI servers to MicroChannel.

“New management wanted to bring in ATT/NCR servers running the then new Windows NT,” explains Ungashick. “ATT configured a server for us to test. They sent it to me on a Friday. Before I left for the long weekend, I decided to plug it in put it under my desk. The startup wizard asked me for the computer name. Since we didn’t yet have any naming conventions for Windows NT, I just called it “CU-NT01” – CU are my initials, this was our first NT box – made perfect sense.

Little did I know that the server was a DHCP server. Put two DHCP servers on the same network and they’ll create a situation where all the clients get confused when they renew their leases. In a nutshell, my new server created so much traffic that nobody could use the network.

Unfortunately, the network guys had no way to predict, isolate or even identify which of the nodes on the network was creating the problem. They knew the server name, but didn’t know where it was! After two days, they had to use a network “sniffer” to find the offending machine. It took them most of the weekend and part of Monday to find it.”

Jay Bazzinotti has an incredible tale to tell! Imagine how he reacted when the FBI swarmed the office due to one of their interns!

“I worked at a company that helped propel the internet in the early days by inventing the error-correcting modem,” says Bazzinotti. “In order to stay ahead of the competition, who were licensing our technology, we were always enhancing our techniques. So, we often hired interns. We had one intern we particularly liked. He was quick and bright, and he provided real contributions to the technology.

Then one day, the FBI swarmed down on our company. They came in fast and hard and all work came to a stop while we wondered what the hell was going on. It turned out that our intern had stolen the source code for our most precious and valuable techniques and tried to sell them to the Chinese for the pitiable sum of $50,000. Unfortunately, the Chinese he was selling them to were undercover FBI agents.”

Mitali Pattnaik describes a similar scenario about a fellow intern:

“The story is about my officemate. We were both working on Microsoft Exchange. One day on week three into the internship our manager came in asking where my officemate was. I said I didn’t know – probably at lunch. He said there was something going on with my officemate’s PC… “security had alerted him”. He didn’t know anything else.

He walked over to my officemate’s desk and hit a key, fully expecting the PC would be locked and he would have to wait for the guy to return. The computer was not locked. Right there on the desktop was the old-school Windows “flying folders” UI of files being copied from one drive to another.

Needless to say the guy never came back from lunch.”

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