* Posts by OzBob

450 posts • joined 6 Mar 2008

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RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

OzBob

If there is any afterlife

I hope he is forced to maintain their systems using Registry Edits.

Have a copy of his bio, (from an Op Shop), the tech part is a nice read, he was at the forefront of IT for a while.

And I thought Gates was the salesman and Allen the techie (Writing a boot loader for the Altair while on the plane to deliver BASIC to the vendor? Cant imagine his Bill-ness doing that!).

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12

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

OzBob

One I heard from an "old sweat" at my govt employer

they got a copy of DOS something (2.0 I think) from the vendor (not allowed to build it yourself in those days) and typed the"format" command after putting a floppy in the drive. However with no drive specified, "format" wiped C:. So, send PC back to vendor for re-installation.

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Fortnite 'fesses up: New female character's jiggly bits 'unintended' and 'embarrassing'

OzBob

Want to legimitise the boobies?

Add a baby to it.

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That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?

OzBob

Cost of replacement vs hassle of IT personnel

Having worked in govt IT, if the cost of running legacy hardware is only the time of a permanent (and therefore zero additional cost to the business) employee, with occasional 24 hour work-a-thons to recover after a crash, then the business will definitely not replace, re-org etc.

What I try and design into my systems is the migration path for the eventual end-of-life cutover. So sticking to flat files or low levels comms for interfaces, splitting app stacks into distinct components that can be hived off individually, etc. I am never around to get the thanks for this from the users (and I never tell the management in case they try to "help" and f**k it up) but I like to think someone notices and appreciates it.

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Sysadmin misses out on paycheck after student test runs amok

OzBob

Working with a fully male team

one of the servers had the function of being a "Command Line Interface (Test)" machine (we had already had a couple of instances of shutting down the wrong server) we looked at each other and said "we'll never find that in the computer room".

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1

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds

OzBob

Lost count of the amount of times

I have needed a piece of software and been told "sorry, cant justify it" or "OK submit a 3 page request and we will get back to you around Christmas". As long as it did not require subscription based support (no ongoing costs), one legendary boss used to say "book it to your credit card and claim overtime in the same amount". He's now a photographer, which is a real loss to IT.

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London's Gatwick Airport flies back to the future as screens fail

OzBob

So was William Sadler found in charge of some mercenaries

in a church on the outskirts of the airfield, with a lot of air traffic control equipment? I've seen this before.

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1

Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design

OzBob

I hate electricity

at the best of times, so never f**k with it. So when I switched on a new HP Disk Array in the Data Centre, my co-worker thought it would be fun to pop a large balloon behind me and see my reaction. (which was to call him a c-bomb after my heart rate dropped back down to normal)

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'Can you just pop in to the office and hit the power button?' 'Not really... the G8 is on'

OzBob

Anyone remember

that macho loon who stayed put after hurricane katrina and blogged about it rather than getting out of dodge.

https://interdictor.livejournal.com/88989.html

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Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

OzBob

Four into one

I had the dubious honour of working for a Government Department who shifted from a proprietary software package to SAP, so I got re-trained coding in ABAP, and another crew (all 4 fresh out of the local community college) doing Basis Support. Roll on two years and all 4 of the Basis team walk out wanting better money from other companies (this was in the 90s when SAP experience was gold). The department para-dropped me into the situation (solo) with 4 weeks left to get a handover (I was a Unix sysadmin by then) and I spent 3 weeks fixing all the bugs in their Unix system that had created enough work for 3 of them. If their managers had talked to my managers, I could have saved them a fortune in time and effort.

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Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running

OzBob

Re: I crashed a server once, at client site

"I didn't really need it because I'm a developer, not a sysadmin"

I call BS, there's not a developer alive who doesn't think he can do a sysadmin's job better. (I coded for 6 years before I switched over and every now and then I have to knock back a developer in a meeting)

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Sysadmin's PC-scrub script gave machines a virus, not a wash

OzBob

Farwwell message that became a virus

Had an application support engineer transfer (he got shuffled around the various IT divisions of this multinational for reasons that will become obvious) so he wrote a farewall message on the OS login script for the application userid, but made it so the text file added to the login message was tar'red without a ".tar" format. Two problems

1. He did not revert back to the old login script, but kept adding the message to the end of the login script EACH TIME IT RAN! (cue 10 screens of output each time you stopped and started the application)

2. He put it into multiple applications, so when country A and B went down, and USED THE SAME TEMPORARY FILENAME for building the login message, we had 2 country A systems running and no country B.

We made the company fly him back from Country C to remove this virus. (I found the cause quickly but made him come back to confirm it). I last heard he got transferred back in after I left, god knows what the systems look like now.

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Engineer crashed mega-corp's electricity billing portal, was promoted

OzBob

An option sadly missing from a lot of designs

is the ability to segment off parts from other parts so external technicians can work on it. Too many systems I encounter house multiple functions from several systems on the same box, which make it a nightmare to pass over to someone else without risking compromising the entire lot. Architects who used to be Developers rarely thinks of this, those that were Sysadmins notice a little better.

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That alert sound on Silicon Valley on gilfoyle's bitcoin miner

OzBob

That alert sound on Silicon Valley on gilfoyle's bitcoin miner

is an actual song,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybGOT4d2Hs8

I so want to make it my incoming message alert at work.

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Sysadmin unplugged wrong server, ran away, hoped nobody noticed

OzBob

Honesty is the best policy

but maybe not right away. My second day at my first IT job (large government department, late 80s) I brought down the COBOL based mainframe for 2 days by pressing the wrong set of keys on a locked up job. I confessed to my then boss, and got let off with a warning.

Roll forward 10 years and I am the 2ic of the support team and I mention this little mishap to my different boss. He says "Oh yes, I remember not sleeping for 36 hours while I fixed that. Good think you never did it again".

37
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Router ravaging, crippling code, and why not to p*ss off IT staff

OzBob

Works both ways

I left a job in acrimonious circumstances, and made one of the most senior people there in terms of service (the facilities management lady) who could not be bought or intimidated by manglement, watch while my replacement disabled my accounts and changed the root passwords with me in the room (me being on the other side of the room). I also had a copy of the dates, sizes and checksums for all the important config files and libraries, and told manglement I did so (in a secure repository) and that if they falsely attributed my work to any faults, I would hear about it and I would sue. (I had references from others who had already left, and from my replacement who was a stand-up lady). Post-departure was surprisingly quiet in terms of support requests :)

8
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Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

OzBob

Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

Ah yes, the very first dilbert cartoon I ever saw. Back in the days when life was not trying to outdo satire.

4
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FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

OzBob

It's not technologies job to backdate itself to suit the law

it's up to the law to modernise itself to reflect technology.

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Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage

OzBob

Came close myself just today

What bright spark decided to allow keypresses on VSphere Client to perform menu actions? So if you don't properly focus on the console, you can type away and get prompted for "do you want to shutdown"? Fortunately I looked up and saw that before I got too far, but it was close.

5
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Rogue IT admin goes off the rails, shuts down Canadian train switches

OzBob

And there is the problem with IT

(well, one of them). A major disconnect between management's understanding of security risks and the sysadmins understanding of security exploits.

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Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

OzBob

The problem with Open Source vs Free

is that there is not an easily digested metaphor that resists it's definition being butchered or co-opted for a cause. So you actually have to understand the core concepts and their implications. The fact that so many people now resort to metaphor to explain it (and badly most of the time) shows half the problem.

Stallman had a great idea (Free) but Torvalds wrapped the concepts in a model people mostly understood (Open Source).

0
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It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

OzBob

Re: Great Apes

Duty rumour was that NASA ground crew wanted to wear ape masks when John Glenn exited the shuttle on his second flight, fact or fiction?

2
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'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

OzBob

Re: Improbable

"A system that marks a student down when they have given a perfectly correct answer just because they haven't given the answer the examiner was expecting is...

a great primer for some of the ar5eh0le managers you will meet in IT".

3
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New Zealand joins the Space Race

OzBob

We're not south african

the uxxent is all wrong.

22
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Infamous Silicon Valley 'sex party' exactly as exciting as it sounds

OzBob

Life imitating art

So, a silicon valley party has as much sex and drugs as if the characters from the TV series "Silicon Valley" had organised it (Erlich Bachmany aside). Quelle surprise.

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Quentin Tarantino in talks to make Star Trek movie

OzBob

"Discovery" isn't Trek

It's just "Torchwood" in a different setting (but credit for the gay characters and the ginger minger)

5
6

My boss says "your job will be gone in 5 years"

OzBob

My boss says "your job will be gone in 5 years"

"it's all cloud and we aint in the Data Centre business anymore" (I'm a Unix Sysadmin) Thanks boss, and also for the company aligning with Azure (windows based, oh double joy). I'm late 40s, looks like I might have to finish my RHEL 7 Cert and then try working for a museum or local government that has running copies of actual hardware.

Unthrilled.

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Stick to the script, kiddies: Some dos and don'ts for the workplace

OzBob

I use scripts all the time

But I test them like they could possibly delete the environment (and I insist on a separate playpen area to develop in, that replicates prod).

Part of the problem I have with DevOps is that there is no "preview" mode and the recovery method should something go wrong is long and convoluted. Surely the ability to revert a change should be paramount in a dynamic environment? (data as well as config?)

And I don't use scripts to text my girlfriend when I am working late, like this guy. https://github.com/NARKOZ/hacker-scripts

4
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Possible cut to British F-35 order considered before Parliament

OzBob

Forget the choice of our airplanes for the moment

Did anything think about providing the capability for allowing our allies to launch and land non-F35 aircraft on these carriers?

"Sorry, F18 with a short fuel load we can't capture you, try swimming for the nearest arrestor cable carrier about 100 miles east of here"

5
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New coding language Fetlang's syntax designed to read like 'poorly written erotica'

OzBob

OK, so if there are any coders

that are part of the "Huka Falls Surf Club", they will subscribe to this sort of thing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huka_Falls

If you are a programmer who wants pain, try coding in ABAP.

8
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Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind

OzBob

Re: Common English words with very different meanings.....

The english language was forked? It's a brave soul who would draw up the git branch tree for the english language.

1
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User thanked IT department for fast new server, but it had never left its box

OzBob

I always tell the Ops when I put a performance hack in

and I even tell them which type of components it is (backup drives or print interface etc) but I never tell them WHICH component! I want to see if there is an actual visible improvement that they can recognise and report.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Ops, they know much better than me how a system works day-to-day but they can also be guilty of wishful thinking and seeing false-positives if told that something has changed.

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need to do a [insert buzzword] project!

OzBob

if you want to be ahead of the curve, ask the writers of Halt and Catch Fire, as their characters seem to anticipate and identify the big trends for EVERYTHING !

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Why don't System designs include end of life migrations?

OzBob

Why don't System designs include end of life migrations?

Am stuck building an obscure Non-Linux OS to house an Application written in an archiac language, and it struck me that designs for solutions do not identify the end of life process or ease of migration from them.

Shouldn't most Systems have a method of automated extraction of data in a common format for migration, or the ability to port code easily? It seems a waste of my time to build an out-of-date OS just to host an Application that could be easily written in something else. or is it the fact that it's my time being wasted, rather than the developers?

1
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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

OzBob

Actually, the problem commenters here had with Windows for Warships was that it added features to manage OS updates that would have beneficial to Joe Adminstrator, but that were only available to the MoD. (and that rattling of anchor chains you can hear is the ghost of RMS)

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Embrace the world of pr0nified IT with wide open, er, arms

OzBob

Com-pu-pu-puter games!

Great 80s synth riffs, the band Mi-sex have jumped on the re-union train down here in antipodean land lately, despite their lead singer dying in the 90s in a car crash (the bands Dragon and The Angels suffer the same problem but have still re-formed). Though they all lack the budget to bring them back via avatar a-la Tupac. Maybe they will just prop a photo up on the stage.

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Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

OzBob

I had a female co-worker

who was stroppiness personified when she did not get her way (she was a friend of the director who has vaguely promised that her application administrator role could lead to greater things and she was impatient to get to those things). When I complained, my supervisor said she had a medical condition (of the female kind) that caused her to be so short, so could I please excuse her behaviour?

Next time she kicked off, I pulled out a tape dictaphone (it was the 90s) and switched it on. She clammed up immediately. I took the dictaphone over to my supervisor, gave it to him, and said "I've found the cure for what ails her, it's either EMF or accountability".

I'm not on linkedin with either of them.

15
0

Why does Skype only show me from the chin down?

OzBob

Sounds like a typical foboff from networks

Have gotten used to the perpetual "no!" from our networks team, so wrote a script to generate several tests for things they used to blame without looking, to get them to man up and actually look at the issue.

We have call answering rolling readouts on our TV screens here for apps support, don't networks have something similar?

1
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Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason

OzBob

Not so fast

First you have to get the RHT to actually write it down. I had a manager ask me to basically reorganise my team to favour one person (newest personal recruit, personal friend of the director). I told him it basically changed the job role of 3 people, and that I needed it in writing. At which point he would look at his watch, go "Oh dear, I need to be somewhere" and skip out. This was followed by all of my own improvement initiatives being blocked based on something-or-other. (Repeat for 6 months).

My end game was to divvy up work based on the lowest common denominator (the newest recruit) and write prescriptive job taskings for everyone (I was being accused of bias against new recruit, so had to show I was treating everyone the same). Half the team left, they got in a new team lead after 6 months, then the other half of the team left (including me). The manager and director got booted at the next reorg due to high staff turnover.

Lesson; management hold the reins on tasking and can make your life more uncomfortable that you can make theirs. They can also blame faults from their lack of support, on you, because they are in those circles and you don't. The only influence you can have is on metrics they are evaluated by that you don't control (staff turnover, morale etc).

I am not friends with anyone on facebook from that job. Pity, I was there 11 years but the last 2 I would rather forget.

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Universal Credit: 'One dole to rule 'em all' on verge of recovery – report

OzBob

Surely they have the data already

for who gets what and when and how much? And nobody thought to analyse that set of data and see how complex it actually was?

3
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NZ-funded Hawaiki cable signs DRFortress for landing station

OzBob

Didn't Kim Dot Blob try and float this one 5 years ago?

I guess his court hearing for extradition must be taking his focus at present.

0
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Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

OzBob

Re: location

Yep, had that one too, at 2pm of the afternoon before Y2K ticked over. Fortunately no major problems.

1
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Pizza delivery by drone 'trialled' in New Zealand

OzBob

It will last 3 weeks, a month maximum

the street kids and bogans (read: chavs down under) will knock them out of the sky for fun and / or sell them round the back of the pub. it will become prohibitively expensive experiment that will make people realise: humans have not yet collectively grown up enough to deal with this sort of technology yet.

1
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'I found the intern curled up on the data centre floor moaning'

OzBob

My deskphone was 2 digits transposed from the local police station

so I had quite a few calls from irate people insisting they had dialled the correct number and refusing to entertain the concept that I was not the police.

One memorable occasion was when a middle aged lady phoned up to complain about the immigrant family across the road having a "matrimonial disagreement". She was quite incensed about this, going on at length and not letting me get much in the way of a response in. Being rather annoyed at this distraction, I said "well, our armed response unit is on the range at the moment, and they are short their quota of darkies this week, so I will send them down in about 30 mins or so to sort them out". She all of a sudden went very quiet and said "oh. thank you" in a small voice and hung up.

I sort of felt guilty afterwards, and did scan the local papers for a few weeks, waiting for the headlines like "shock! police quota for immigrant violence" to occur (never did). Eventually I swapped my number with the fax machine and all was peaceful again.

8
0

Washed out summer? Fear ye not: DVDs for DevOps droogs

OzBob

The "Lord of the Rings" quandry

make it faithful and accurate, and only 12 people will understand and buy it.

make it accessible and dumbed-down, and 1200 people will complain about it.

(Note the interesting ratio between those 2 numbers)

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Crashed and alone in a remote location: When paid help is no help

OzBob

Interesting from the point of view of support

Always found support in the midlands to be 3-4 hours for one vendor, fascinating to hear that Yorkshire has much better response (but I guess they were paying for it).

1
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DevOps: The spotty faced yoof waiting to blossom

OzBob

Devops is not about Development personnel!

its about Development processes (building updates into versions and releases, and deploying them). I am fighting a semantic battle with senior manglement at a customer site on this, and pointing out that Operations is also the process. I have been a Developer for my sins, and know how badly this will end if they are the sole driver of this.

And the automation is used for deployment of the versions and releases, to allow both the conventional and Agile methodology to be relatively painless.

2
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FBI won't jail future US president over private email server

OzBob

Apparently Kim Dot Blob and Assange

were crowing that they had information on this issue that could sink Hillary's candidacy. Given this report, are they more or less likely to put this forward and potentially embarass themselves?

http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/kim-dotcom-hillary-clinton-julian-assange-wikileaks-presidential-campaign/

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Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

OzBob

So, M$ have done a "Braben"

Quelle suprise.

2
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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

OzBob

Bugger! Just missed Steel Panther in NZ

Last night, halfway across the country! belgium!

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