Top Ten Reasons Why The Most Important Machine Is Unlabeled

Today is office move day across much of .NET Framework land.. Good folks across building 41 and 42 are doing a little shuffling around…   As part of the move, we all had to be out of the office today.  Like any good manager, I wanted to keep my team productive even during this “downtime”..   Many of engineers on the team wanted to work on “their” machines, so we reserved a conference room and had them plug in their machines there then go home or to Starbucks or the local library and work from there remotely.   So we ended up with a conference room full of nearly identical headless dev machines, luckily we had the foresight to label them.. all but one of them 😉


All was going well until machine “Enso01” needed to be rebooted.  This is our test pass machine… no one could run or update tests without this machine… so it was arguably the most important machine.     Luckily someone on the team happened to be around, so we had them reboot it and we give them this description of where to find the machine:

 “Enso01 is a black Dell on a chair near the front of the room. It had a keyboard and funky old mouse attached to it.  It is not labeled…“

Which of course forced someone on our team to ask the obvious question that we were all wondering about:

“I’m still curious why we wouldn’t put a label on the most important machine in the room.”

Luckily the answer was very clear.. enjoy.. I hope you get to use this someday!


Top Ten Reasons Why The Most Important Machine Is Unlabeled

10.   Where’s the fun in that?

9.       Label could change performance characteristics

8.       Security through obscurity

7.       Labels are used with GOTO, and GOTO is harmful, therefore labels are harmful!

6.       It is fun to brute force test which machine is which


5.       Famous machines don’t need IDs

4.       I thought you were going to label it!

3.       Through process of elimination, if all other machines are labeled, then the remaining one is Enso.

2.       Attempting parody movie, “Dude, Where’s My Server?”


And the number one reason why the most important machine is unlabeled…

1.       No budget for labels

Comments (18)

  1. What's New says:

    Today is office move day across much of .NET Framework land.. Good folks across building 41 and 42 are

  2. Pop Catalin says:

    From the series of managed office moving guidelines …

    :)) funny stuff.

  3. Joan Miro says:

    Re: #3 – Maybe it’s the programmer in me, but I never could see by BOTH Hot and Cold taps had to be labelled…


  4. Shivam says:

    Duh, I will keep it in mind and I hope to be able to use some of thoses reasons soon…



  5. Ted Howard says:

    Along similar lines, my favorite way to identify a machine with known domain name and unknown physical location is to remote desktop in and eject the DVD tray.  I think Todd Abel may have taught me that trick.

  6. Andy says:

    @Joan Miro — for the same reason that "a good programmer looks both ways before crossing a one-way street".  :]

  7. cmroanirgo says:

    Should we be asking a critically more important question: Why would a computer at microsoft ever need rebooting? 😉

  8. Rick says:

    @Ted Howard – I’ve been using that same trick and my department has never understood the fun in it 🙂

  9. I like all the reasons but specially the # 1.. at the time of recession every1 should think of budget saving schemes.. go man go 🙂 you saved Microsoft from a big economical disaster 🙂

  10. Joe says:

    Do you guys ever get Block Wars on campus??

    You know… Building 41 battle it out with Building 42 to reserve the office space. Meanwhile Building 43 sneaks in and occupies half of Build 42 while its occupants are raining program dumps on Build 41.

    No… just wondered. Carry on.

  11. Brad says:

    Oh so true, so true…

    But i would have to slide in

    Label affects aesthetic posterity, somewhere on the list.

  12. Bob Armour says:

    Also, don’t forget that variant of Murphy’s law – labels that are important will fall off and price labels will put up a fight before always leave a stcky residue on the expensive gift that you just bought.

  13. yelinna says:

    Other reason:

    Labels (readable text) avoid encryptation!

  14. Stefan Didak says:

    This might be the start of a "how many programmers do you need to label a machine". On the other hand, not labeling backups is MUCH more fun! 🙂

  15. Miral says:

    You forgot the most important reason: if you labelled it, then the invading ninjas would be able to find and abduct/destroy the machine with ease.  By not labelling it, you are making things more ninja-proof!

    Although possibly reason #8 covers that.

  16. Colin says:

    lol… But the question is… Does anyone REALLY know why it wasn’t labelled? 🙂

  17. Sadeer says:

    4.       I thought you were going to label it!

    1.       No budget for labels

    These just killed me.