Oh dear: Simon Hackett, datacentre disco star


While researching Simon Hackett for an article on his entry into iiNet’s ‘Top Geek’ competition, we found this amusing video of the Internode managing director entering what appears to be one of the ISP’s datacentres … in style. Hit it, boys!

It looks like Internode network engineer Mark Newton and a number of co-conspirators took some comments from Hackett about an ISP somewhere with a disco ball a little seriously. From what appears to be an email from Newtown on the subject, dredged up from Whirlpool:

Simon pissed off to the US for a fortnight. While he was gone, we hooked a reed-switch to the magnet which the security system uses to lock the door, and wired it into the DCD pin via an RS232 breakout box. We wired the DTR pin to an RS232-controlled 240-volt power switch, which powered the lights and the mirror ball motor.

The breakout box was connected to a serial port on a rackmounted server which we had equipped with a video capture card, which in turn was connected to a video camera. Software was written such that when the door was opened there’d be a five second delay, after which the disco lights turned on, the mirror ball started spinning, an SMS was sent to the culprits, and an MP3 player started playing the Bee Gees singing “Staying Alive.”

During this the video camera would be streaming to hard disk for the duration of the MP3. The resulting MPEG is 18 Mbytes in length, although most of it is just an empty room after Simon had run away wimpering.

“It worked.” :-)

Now what we really want to know is, Simon, is why didn’t you break out and bust a move on the “dancefloor”? I mean, you’ve clearly got the jive going in your bones, if that strut when you entered the room is any indication :)

Oh, dear.


    • This is probably the best datacentre prank I have ever seen … the way the music and lights kickstart as soon as his foot hits the floor is priceless :) He would have had a heart attack!

  1. Ah, Simon Hackett, Mark Newton and the core Internode peeps really are utter legends :-) Who needs pontzy multi-million dollar ad campaigns with orchestras summoning whales from the deep, when you can have a disco ball in the data centre, connected via RS232?

  2. Oh man, this video cracks me up so much. Would love to know what poor Simon was thinking when he turned around and saw the disco ball. Just watched it through again twice!

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