An Internet Connection Emergency!

, , , , , | Legal | June 22, 2020

This story takes place back in ye olden days of dial-up Internet.  

The place where I worked at the time had two phone systems so you had to dial a prefix to select the line. Unlike most places where it was a single digit, they decided to get more convoluted and used three-digit prefixes — 922 for an internal line and 991 for an external line. Why they picked those number combinations, I have no idea.

One day, a non-technically-inclined coworker needed to take a laptop on a trip and he needed the IT folks to set up the dialing program for him so that he could get his email. In order to test that it was working, they set the number to 991 1-800-[number]. Then, they made the mistake of not wiping the prefix before handing it to the employee.

This employee didn’t know that he would need to look up what he needed to dial to get an outside line from his hotel and change it on his laptop. He just plugged in his laptop and tried to connect. It just so happened that his hotel used nine to get an outside line, so his machine was dialing 9-911 over and over and over again trying to connect. He had no idea why it wasn’t connecting, so he was blissfully unaware of just who he was calling until hotel security showed up at his door.

Fortunately, the authorities understood that he had not done it intentionally, so there were no serious consequences for him, but the poor guy was too afraid to try to connect his laptop for the rest of the trip.

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