Tell Us Your Best Stories From Inside The Lab!

Illustration for article titled Tell Us Your Best Stories From Inside The Lab!

The lab is a unique place. It's part office, part studio, part library, part kitchen, and part playroom, often with several thousand dollars of equipment and a few highly flammable chemicals thrown in. We're looking for all of your best stories of life in the lab.

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Maybe your story is about coming up with an unusual fix for a balky piece of equipment. Maybe it's about an expected series of reactions (looking at you, chemists). Or maybe you just want to tell us about your biggest lab failure or your biggest success. Share your stories in the comments now!

DISCUSSION

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Chip Overclock®

A long time client asked me to come in for an afternoon in the lab to help debug some cellular telecom equipment that had been returned from the field and for which I was one of the principal platform developers. We sat at the lab bench watching log messages scroll by on a laptop connected to the unit while a technician got the unit to go into its failure mode.

"Okay", I began, "this is likely to be a hardware problem. There is a failure with the connection between the ARM processor and the PowerPC processor. It sure looks like an intermittent solder joint failure."

"Oh, no", said the technician, "we think this is a software problem. We were thinking you could..."

As he spoke I slammed my hand against the side of the cabinet and the problem went away.

"... oh. Okay, I'll mark that one down as a hardware problem."

Of course, I had no idea what was going to happen when I hit the side of the cabinet. I was just doing that as a diagnostic step.

But it did make me look like a fraking genius.