back to article Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

And that's one of the easier chores our reader found himself faced with in a new temp job. Most weekends, our On-Call feature looks at the odd situations readers find themselves in when called to do something on a client site or in the dead of night. This week we're making an exception for reader “Bill”, who rates himself as “ …

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As a sysadmin you could always ask for training to help you do your job properly

but that would take you out of the office for at least 3 months or so every few years, cost more than your salary and make you highly employable elsewhere.

And for god sakes keep passwords in the safe. But dont let anyone know the combination!

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Anonymous Coward

Grow up!

Just because someone doesn't do their job properly it doesn't justify smacking them in the face or kicking them in the head as someone mentioned in the comments. I've worked with some annoying people in my time but that didn't justify physically attacking them. If someone worked for me with that attitude they'd get the sack PDQ! Let's leave all this pseudo macho school yard bravado crap behind. I mean how are we going to encourage more women to work in IT if they have to worry about this type of nonsense. El Reg, you should be ashamed of yourselves for this article, even if it is tongue in cheek!

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Re: Grow up!

"If someone worked for me with that attitude they'd get the sack PDQ! "

You mean if someone actually cared about sorting out your systems properly that they would feel frustrated enough to express this kind of sentiment you would sack them? In that case you are probably the person who hired the initial fuckwit who left the mess, you obviously can't tell the difference between venting and a real life threat.

"I mean how are we going to encourage more women to work in IT if they have to worry about this type of nonsense."

Why would a woman worry about this type of thing? They probably wouldn't have left such a mess behind in the first place if my experience of women in IT is anything to go by. Cowgirls they are not.

"El Reg, you should be ashamed of yourselves for this article, even if it is tongue in cheek!"

To steal from your own thread title, grow up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Grow up!

You mean if someone actually cared about sorting out your systems properly that they would feel frustrated enough to express this kind of sentiment you would sack them?

No, I think he/she means that if anyone (such as Bill) came in and turned previously working machines into non-working ones for many staff x multiple hours - when he/she could have scheduled things to not impact staff - they'd be in trouble. The "attitude" bit there is that Bill thinks his "applying patches" (which have sat unapplied for ~4 years) is more time critical/important than the work other staff do.

In my experience (so far), in most workplaces he/she would be in trouble. And I tend to think they should be - circumstances depending of course, as things aren't always black and white.

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Re: Grow up!

Oh, I thought they were referring to the desire to give the previous techie a smack in the chops for creating such a mess, perfectly understandable in my book.

I agree that the path chosen to fix it all was a bit immature, but then if he was more experienced he wouldn't be a sole techie in a small company in the first place most likely :)

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Anonymous Coward

Walking away

The article and posts above explain more eloquently than I ever could why I gave up being a sysadmin.

But working on bids I came across a potential client for an outsourcing of their ICT, and I can only say that I doubt they would have let us do the job properly. Their security manual (all of it) was on a server in their internet facing DMZ, even though it was marked 'sensitive', and the rules said no sensitive information was allowed in the DMZ, their head of secureity insisted it was ok beacuse the server was partitioned and they had had it tested once and the tester couldn't get access to the partition.

They admitted to, on average, two level 1 incidents a week (yes, that is two incidents which prevented most of their staff from doing their jobs, with no work around, every week).

I could only hope that their staff subverted and ignored the security instructions so as to do their work securely.

I advised my bid team to walk away from that one, but we bid anyway, and lost. The 'winners' walked out after a couple of months.

On other clients, it is essential to remember that the Director with responsibility for IT has a day job, and his (usually his, rarely her) prime objective with the IT budget is to minimise it, and not let anyone turn anything off for even half an hour. After all his/her Rolls only needs servicing once a year, so why should IT need anything more? IT exists to replace director's lost laptops, not to whinge about upgrading the Windows boxes (whatever they are, do they put flowers in them?). The quality of the tea served in the boardroom is far more important than that.

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Is there someone you'd like to punch?

Would you like the complete list or just my top 100?

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Anonymous Coward

Job Security.

Hello, and welcome to Monday morning all!

Perfect article to start the week off Simon, just felt the urge to point out if weren't for the "idiot boy"'s and "Wild Bill"'s of the world many of us would be without gainful employment!

"Bill trusted Windows and left it to do the job. He then rebooted and... nothing happened"

Fantastic! one problem begets another and frankly people should punch themselves in the face if

vendor patches and updates are thought to be reliable any great percentage of the time. For most of the world computers and networks are mere tools and a means to an end, when was the last time you saw polished hammer or nail gun (with safety still intact) stored in a flight case with a maintenance schedule and updated documentation? <SiC>

Overworked, underpaid, misunderstood neglected and disrespected.. job security for those that

love a challenge in seeing a disaster area restored to a reasonably secure and functiong state.

Work hard play hard and know when and how to relax mate, means more business in the future and less chance of the sheeple and techknownaught's causing a heart attach or BOFH episode.

Cheers ]:o)

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I don't need to punch boss at old work...

...he's driven most of his company away, and his business partner did a dirty on him. He does look like he ate Shrek though...

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So many companies are running on a razors edge

I remember one small company (although the name evades me after so many years an such a short period I worked there so is probably a good thing) as an admin. They had a NT box where all the networked PC's data was held. It was connected via a switch that could not handle the load and a shit load of ethernet cables with no labels in such a knotted mess it was impossible to trace which cable went where. They went under the floor to various rooms in the building (No nicely placed wall sockets). They also went to hubs (also under the floor) where they got split to various PC's which users complained were 'slow' (Hmm. I wonder why that could have been).

The NT box held a ton of porn (mostly saved by management I might add) and the server was running low on space on the RAID array (I deleted it all and then had to deal with management in my ear about doing so. I kid you not). The backups were made to tape in the most erratic manner. None were tested and the labeling was a nightmare. I spent a VERY frustrating evening one day trying to rebuild the array after one of the hard disks died with the 'concern' that the backups might not work if it could not be rebuilt (or another disk died during the rebuild). They had an ancient database system that was 'proprietary' and coded by someone who had long retired and the temp IT guy they had been using only knew small parts of the system. I was made 'redundant' once I got totally fedup with the mess and went to management with my diagnosis that the company was about to go tits up if I was not allowed to spend some decent cash on fixing it.

I wonder if they are still in business. Actually no I don't.

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Anonymous Coward

I worked at one place where their idea of a secure server was to chain it to the rack with a huge chain and a cheap padlock . . The same place sacked the nightshift on Christmas Eve which led to them locking out every single manager/team leader login bar one on the system as they discovered on 28th December when the skeleton shift arrived for work, of course the helpline (outsourced to Romania) was not available as they were on holiday. I happened to know that login so was able to save 20 people having to stay around doing nothing all day (No login - no access to the work schedule and no ability to print procedures or do any other paperwork, no QA/Team Leader would be able to sign off work either).

So I can quite understand why the original admin did what he did, mission creep happens everywhere and unless you are careful you wind up doing 2 or more peoples work for less pay. I was once on a project, that after a few months they decided to give to another department. There were things I knew and were not documented that I did not pass on (not documented because the image team couldn`t be arsed to update procedures) The contract was cancelled a few months later because they couldn`t get the systems out of the door fast enough.

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