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back to article BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

Sometimes it feels like my life consists  mostly of waiting. Long, long periods of waiting. I don't know how much of my time has been spent watching little dots slowly ticking over a monitor as a kernel loads, the moria-like spinning of /-\| characters on the screen while a RAID card configures or the slow crawl of a progress …

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Pint

That last paragraph is a classic.. roll on Friday

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SIX!!!

Ahhh, the mighty cricket bat - I often offer it up to others who look like they might need it!

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Go

Re: SIX!!!

I have a stick with a nail in it. Very useful for "fishing cables from under desks"... and things...

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Re: SIX!!!

Woah there, you'll progress to bigger sticks and bigger nails, and soon, you'll make a stick with a nail so big, it will destroy us all!

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Paris Hilton

Re: SIX!!!

Hangon, health and safety meant they took away my cricket bat whilst threatening me with having to fill in forms, all I have now is foam bat :(

Where did you hide them?

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Simon is on form

"... or the slow crawl of a progress bar across the screen as a windows boot prepares to fail..."

Having struggled with a series of installs lately, I can relate to that. Really I can.

Time for some percussive maintenance!!

Where is that cricket bat?

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Re: Simon is on form

Yep, that one line on its own is a piece of literary genius!

..maybe one day BOFH will replace Shakespear in schools.

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Unhappy

This makes me sad

I always enjoy BOFH, but - into November and we're only on episode 9?

They're becoming a rarer and rarer treat.

Someone (Not me obviously) slip Simon a backhander and commission some more.

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Re: This makes me sad

Hear Hear, the BOFH is the reason I started coming here in the first place (I stayed for the articles).

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Re: This makes me sad

Chad H.,

You're not the only one. Some years ago I remembered the early BOFH series and started the search. What I found was El Reg.

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Happy

Re: This makes me sad

Likewise. Sometimes I spend a day re-reading all of the previous episodes, just to remind me why I've stayed in IT.

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Linux

Re: This makes me sad

Hear Hear, the BOFH is the reason I started coming here in the first place (I stayed for the articles).

Much the same.. Some BOFH stories used to float around Fidonet (yes, I am that old!), then I found more on some news site (well IIRC it had "news" in the name) with my early forays into the web, and later they disappeared from there and I found El Reg. Been a regular reader ever since. In fact in some of the earlier days (especially before comments) I'd read every article.. Yeah I needed a life back then! :)

(Still need one now.. Anyone got one to spare? Or shall I just take the boss's one?)

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Pint

The truth

'advanced knowledge': "the LinkedIn endorsements from people they barely know"

Instant classic

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Thanks Simon always enjoy the BOFH. But is it a little unreasonable of me to ask since we only get one a month now could they be a little longer please?

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Thanks!

Just... Thanks.

You've made a dull and dreary friday worth seeing it through till pub-o'clock with minimal percussive repercussions inflicted upon the Clueless Crowd (tm).

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coming-to-work-naked

iT MIGHT BE MORE FUN TO TURN UP WITH SHIRT, TIE, SHOES AND SOCKS, BUT NO PANTS OR TROUSERS. Oh hell, caps lock. Damn it. Well I'm not typing that again.

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Pint

Re: coming-to-work-naked

Never mind the caps lock, it shows you are really getting into the spirit of things, in a tap-dancing-along-the-disaster-curve kind of way. Have a beer!

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Installers

Yup, he's perfectly described my complaints about Windows installers - let's ask questions at 5 points during the install process instead of once at the start and once at the end. For all that people complain about Linux not being user friendly, the majority of Linux installations have been easier than Windows IME...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Installers

It's worse than that! About 5 or so years ago, most hardware worked on linux, except for wireless, it either worked out the box or basically required a human sacrifice to get it going and then no guarantee an update would fuck it all into a tinker's bucket.

This has now been sorted, and pretty much any linux install works out the box on most stuff. Whereas nearly every windows install requires gathering sound/motherboard/proper graphics/wifi/touchpad drivers from the manufacturers website. Which is invariably shit. I don't understand that... you can work with multi-layered surface mount components but can't build a website that's easy to navigate.

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Re: Installers

If you get any questions at all during a Windows install, you are doing it wrong. Seriously.

We deploy dozens of systems each week and not one of them asks a question we don't want asked at a time we don't want it asked. Boot to the media, tell it the machine name (because we don't like the automatic naming convention), pick the machine function, and press the go button. Do whatever other work you like and come back later to a completed Windows install on a computer waiting to be delivered to the end user.

Answer questions during a Windows install for a standard system deployment? Amateurs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Installers

It's nice to see that you spend the time saved being arrogant on the internet.

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Re: Installers

you can work with multi-layered surface mount components but can't build a website that's easy to navigate.

Multi-layered surface mount components aren't easy to navigate, I think that's the problem, it screws with your brain.

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Re: Installers

You input the name during the install process?

Sounds like asking for trouble...

That name is asigned when we buy the machine, and the supplier sends us a list of serials and their corresponding MACs. Goes straight into AD and readied for PXE automatically.

Then the machines arrive a week or 5 later...

So the routine is 'Hammer the [F12] key in the hope of getting into the boot menu, pick 'Onboard Nic', wait for the hurried chance to press [F12] again, then twice on [Enter] and leave to cook'...

By the end drivers, SW and AV is all in place.

Then the user logs in and everything goes pearshaped...

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Re: Installers

"You input the name during the install process?

Sounds like asking for trouble..."

My recommendation was to use automatically assigned names based on serial or MAC but I was overridden by manglement. I agree, it can - but very rarely does - result in trouble.

"By the end drivers, SW and AV is all in place."

Exactly.

"Then the user logs in and everything goes pearshaped..."

Truer words were never spoken.

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Re: Installers

I do not usually get installer questions during installation of Windows, except when it does not recognize hardware. One case I remember is Windows 2000 refusing to talk to a bog-standard S3-based super VGA card from Diamond, just a year old, so hardly obsolete. It did like the older Matrox Millennium board I had lying around. On most bog-standard machines you do not have trouble, but if you have anything remotely fancy, the Windows installer can throw a fit.

The same Windows 2000 install refused to boot the moment I attached a Quantum Viking II UW-SCSI disk to the Adaptec 2942 UW controller (which it did recognize). Attach a disk -> no boot; remove disk, all hunky-dory! AARGH! As the main disk was a mere 20GB, I really liked the idea of having a second 9GB disk available, especially because all the old data was on it. It was not to be. Put the thing in an external case and attach as external SCSI drive? That did work. Why? To this day I do not know.

A Linux install on the same machine was WAY faster.

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Re: Installers

"wait for the hurried chance to press [F12] again"

You need to change the boot program from startrom.com to startrom.n12 then.

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Pirate

Re: Installers

"Answer questions during a Windows install for a standard system deployment? Amateurs."

That's easy to say when you didn't build that light/no touch system, isn't it.

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Pirate

Re: Installers

"Then the user logs in and everything goes pearshaped..."

That's my usual reply when someone asks what's wrong with the network. I tell em it was fine until the users got on it.

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Re: Installers

"That's easy to say when you didn't build that light/no touch system, isn't it."

Actually, I did build it. Certainly, it was built upon and using the deployment tools that MS provides, along with some tools and utilities built in-house, some by me, some by others, but yeah, isn't that how it is supposed to be done? Had it been necessary to do so we would have built it from scratch because it would be nuts to deploy systems by hand when you are dealing with any volume.

Or should I have applauded the depiction of a professional BOFH (and the commenter) for a lack of a professional approach to system deployment? Seriously. Complain about Windows, Microsoft, etc. - sure, I get it, and I do. But *this* kind of complaining only goes to show whether or not you approach your job like a professional or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Installers

That's what Obama should have said.

>That's my usual reply when someone asks what's wrong with the network. I tell em it was fine

> until the users got on it.

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Re: Installers

Great advice for large corporates with SOEs that take years to update. For the rest of us, cycling through Windows Update umpteen dozen times after installing Windows just to install the updates is annoying.

Compare this with linux ... as part of the installation it updates to the latest versions!

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Re: Installers

" Whereas nearly every windows install requires gathering sound/motherboard/proper graphics/wifi/touchpad drivers from the manufacturers website. "

Nothing wrong with that if you're in the computer/software supply chain. Most people are too scared to even try. Instead they just buy a new box. More revenue for the suppliers.

Remember if it ain't broke it don't get fixed. It ain't broke from the suppliers' point of view, so it will never get fixed.

So why is Linux different? Well 99% of new punters are adding a Linux partition to a Windows PC or tre-gutting a discarded Windows PC. It has to be seamless or they hit cancel and never try again.

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Re: Installers

" it can - but very rarely does - result in trouble."

It didn't cause any trouble for us, either, even with the old 'boot with a CD and type in the name' solution we used for WinXP... Until a series of machines was incorrectly marked using 'SelectaMark'.

(We used an 'in house asset code' and the computer suppliers got assigned blocks of numbers. Then two suppliers were handed the same block...)

Install one computer... OK...

Install another computer in another county... OK...

First computer no longer works on the net...

Reinstall first computer because of assumed borked Windows...

Second computer no longer works on the net...

After a few rounds, someone spotted the second computer with the same name...

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Happy

Today I am not:

Wiping customers noses.

Informing suppliers that the bag contents in no way match the description.

Covering up for another engineer who realy should have known better.

Explaining to the boss that yes, 20 miles on the M25 does take 4 hours sometimes.

I'm on holiday: Yay!

However, Simon I feel your pain. Really I do {smirk}

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or having to explain to the boss (yet again) why I do not know why a particular website that he is looking at is running slow or doing things in a way that he deems "not right". Now my standard response is "I will see if I get get you the phone number of the web developer in charge of that site and you can ask him yourself".

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When I was doing some certification testing in UK it happened during the storm of 2010 that dumped 6 inches (15 cm) of snow on Southeast England and it took me 4 hours to go 4 miles on the M25.

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Another one...

Users who ask "Is the GPS system down" when they have an issue with their SatNav.

Yes user, a constellation of approximately 24 satellites, which US military and numerous civilian enterprises are nearly totally reliant on, has switched itself off.

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Re: Another one...

They might have down (up? they are in the sky) loaded an update and needed to reboot...

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@monkeyfish

Far too helpful imho. The correct answer is..."baseball bat".

Or L.A.R.T.

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Re: @monkeyfish

I like the L.A.R.T., and bats of all types can be good, but I do prefer my clue-by-4.

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Happy

so familiar...

"Is the system running slow today?"

I have genuinely lost count of how many times I've been asked that. Or the other classic "Is the system down?". No further info, no slightest hint as to what they're doing, just "the system".

I think next time someone asks me that, I'll also have to fire up Google Earth....

And yay for a new BOFH on a Friday morning!!!

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Re: so familiar...

Only to be beaten by the ones who send group emails to proclaim that email is down. Gee, thanks.for.that

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Why does the choice of weapon remind me of this*?

* Unsafe for anyone less than 50 years of age.

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That has sent me back a few decades! I still tend to call a cricket bat "clicky-ba" :-)

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If only

We could get the various tribes to fight among themselves in Afghanistan (or other unmentionable places).

(*SIGH*)

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Anonymous Coward

Having a job where 'waiting for things' is a legitimate task is great.

It means you can do very little whilst the hangover subsides.

I say subsides, it hasn't kicked in properly yet.

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Facepalm

I remember once installing a new multi function printer, and during the "bag of spanners down the stairs" initial calibration, someone using their phone turned to me and asked if I could turn down the printer volume...

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Anonymous Coward

Similar

I am a techy, but I used to play in a band. I remember recording a song a t a studio and the guitarist turning to me and asking me to tell the sound engineer to "turn up the quality" on his solo. Oops, got to go, looks like the "network is running slow" again. It is in fact stationary...

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Perhaps you needed to give the guitarist a "Soar" knob.

http://www.mixerman.net/diaries5.php

http://i.imgur.com/HpbVL.jpg

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Pint

alternative to "the bat"

You could just as easily have had a mains driven high voltage transformer to encourage some other behaviours.

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