The Manglefreuzer Switch

By on August 11, 2004

For everyone who has ever struggled with intermittent problems, the truth has finally leaked out.

…there’s always the chance the mangelfreuzer switch will trip — which would be a problem.”

“What’s a manglef.. r.”

“Manglefreuzer — as in Mangle-Froy-TSir. It’s a switch or other device that hardware manufacturers put into their equipment to detect unuathorised access to a box — and makes the system act strangely.”


“Yes, you know, the odd memory error, harddisk write error, machine crashes, etc. To encourage you not to tamper with the box. And generate revenue for the maintenance provider of course.”

“Are you serious?!”

“Of course. Some of our major outages have been those exact same problems.”

“You mean they’re all caused by a manglefreuzer?”

“Some of them, yes. Obviously no sane vendor would build in something which could be conclusively linked as the source of a problem, so they make the outages sporadic and hard to track down…”

“And people know about this?”

“Technical people, yes.”

“And you’re ok with that?”

“We don’t really have that much choice in the matter, do we? Anyway all the vendors do it — and not just in computers.”

And all this time I’ve been blaming the problems on interference from low-flying cloaked alien spacecraft. Those PC-building dirtballs!



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