We had successfully installed several dozen computers (a mix of 8088 and 80286 machines) at Edgerton University in Kenya. It was not an easy task. To get to Edgerton you drive from Nairobi over a two lane (in the good sections) road along with the open trucks and overloaded buses to Nakuru. From there you best use a four wheeler to climb the mountain to the college/university. They had to bring in a seperate power line because there was not enough juice to run the computers. We painted the computer outlets red and put individual UPS units with each computer.

The systems were installed and running fine when I returned to Chicago. A few weeks later we got a fax that there were problems. The computers were all failing on a regular basis. It was crisis time, loss of data and program crashes were not a good thing.

John drove up from Nairobi the next day to investigate. He stayed the day and saw the actual failures with his own eyes. He called me in Chicago the next morning after he got back to Nairobi. The falures all happened at about 10:00 am. The screens start flickering, the data in memory starts doing wierd things and everything soon grinds to a halt. So what happens at 10;00 am I asked. That is Chai time. Chai is tea. so just before tea time all the ladies plug in their tea kettles to heat water for Chai. But we put UPSs on all the systems I responded. Yes but they make that awful buzzing racket so they were all unplugged and set aside. The computer outlets are conveniently located and the standard outlets were hard to get at so they plugged the teakettles into the red computer outlets. The meter showed the voltage supposedly 220VAC dropping down below 140 volts. No wonder the memory was failing with the daily brownout.

So what to do? We wrote up instructions on how to save files and power down the computers every day before Chai. Procedures we can change, culture we cannot.