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18th-Oct-2005 12:25 am - An observation.
It has occurred to me that when someone says "I'm not proud of <something they've done>", what they really mean is "I know you think it's bad, but I've long since rationalized it to myself, so fuck you."
16th-Sep-2005 03:29 pm - As big as church bells, I tell you

I once had my 208-CD wallet full of pirate warez/games stolen from my apartment.

I am proud to say that I did in fact call the police and report the theft, although I did also describe the discs as "daily-use backup copies".

I'm fairly certain they didn't do a damn thing, though.
14th-Sep-2005 01:20 pm - Second part is coming, I swear
...but I've been tasked with writing up the first part as a post-mortem, which means I have to take out all the swearing.

In other news, I've had quite the fun time helping people get settled in at the begining of term, resulting in some fun games nights with alfedenzo, math_foo, and holdenk. math_foo even gave me a countertop dishwasher for helping her shuttle stuff around, which is a fine form of recompense given that I am prone to playing Sim City with my unwashed dishes. I was planning on buying alfedenzo a bigger TV to make console games nights at his place less eye-squinty, but it now turns out that holdenk has a huge living room and a decent-sized TV, so we may end up doing such things there, since the microlith is all nice and packed in the hardshell carrying case, ready to respond to a serious dearth of video games at a moment's notice. FEMA we ain't, but our response time to a lack of video games is second to none. I might just buy alfedenzo a TV anyway, 'cause I told him I would.

Sadly, I have had to start asking for money to defray the expenses of using Harold as a taxi service. What with all those New Orleans refugees drinking all the gasoline, there just isn't enough left for us middle-class white folks.

The Royal Medieval Faire is this weekend; everyone should go.

I would dearly love to throw a Hallowe'en party this year, but I am hampered by the extreme lack of a place. I do have boatloads of recipes, props, board and console games in aid of this sort of thing, however. Ph34r.
6th-Sep-2005 11:45 pm - It has been A Day
So, today:

I got reamed by my boss for being under-dressed (wearing T-shirts and jeans on days I knew I was going to be crawling under filthy desks rewiring things), for showing up late (being in the other office building fixing something when some office drone in the main building needed their password reset first thing in the morning), for not following the Server Change Management policy (which I was informed of for the first time at said meeting), and for telling the users I had no access to the remote servers that host their applications (which I don't, and which I was specifically told to tell them by my boss three months ago).

I dropped $500+ on my car getting the brake pads, rods, O2 sensor, and cigarette lighter fixed, but I actually don't mind, because it rides a lot more smoothly now and I think the Midas guy near work is not ripping me off anywhere near as much as the one near my home.

Also I bought a new watch.

ObITAdviceColumn: IT Managers, if you have highly motivated staff who are too busy actually fixing your network to bother with trivialities like dress codes and punching a nonexistent time clock, don't shackle them with pointless procedures and policies that you aren't willing to follow yourself. It just demotivates them and loses you any respect you might have had. Make the soulless drones at the quasi-mythical Head Office the enemy, the uncaring Olympians doling out their Byzantine rules for the torment of mortals in the branch offices. Nudge-nudge-wink-wink with your staff, letting them know that as long as they play along with the minor annoyances you'll back them when something really stupid comes down the pipe.

Otherwise, your highly-motivated staff are going to take all those detailed project plans for re-architecting the network into something reliable, efficient, and self-maintaining and fax them to the CTO the day they quit without notice.
13th-Aug-2005 12:10 pm - Machine Replacements, Part the First
My current project is rolling out brand new PCs to a number of new employees - specifically the ones with really old PCs. Like everything else around here, we've fucked it up. Here's how.
Read more...Collapse )
13th-Aug-2005 10:55 am - A Resolution.
Looking back on my recent posts, it occurs to me that all I've done is bitch about my job. Since I loathe people who use their livejournal as a place to whine about how terribly life is treating their overprivileged upper-middle-class suburban selves, I have resolved to make my work bitch posts more useful. From now on, while I'm not going to stop bitching about how bad this place is, I am going to follow up each bitch with a technical brief on the proper way to do whatever it is we've fucked up. Perhaps I can help others learn from our mistakes.
10th-Aug-2005 06:29 pm - I think I may have to quit
I was kind of joking before; now I am seriously thinking about it.

I just spent an hour explaining to my boss what source control was, why it was necessary, and why we needed to use it for the login scripts, among other things. And he was fighting me all the way.

This after we had the canonical no-source-control hey-you-overwrote-my-changes problem.

Some time before the heat death of the Universe head office is going to roll out SharePoint Portal Services. My boss figures we can use that for source control on our login scripts because teaching other IT people how to use CVSNT and TortoiseCVS is too hard, too complicated, requires installing more client software on their PC, and is not a corporate standard.

I am honestly not sure I can keep working at a place this devoid of clues.
10th-Aug-2005 01:37 pm - Burning Ring of Fire
I could eat sixteen Taco Bell spicy chimichangas and crap a better help desk system than FrontRange HEAT. This is the second company I've worked for that's blown the $30,000 for the HEAT Suite, and (big surprise) it doesn't work. Even when it does work, it's the most unusuable, clunky, poorly designed POS I've ever used.

This isn't true of most fields, but the trouble ticket tracking service space is completely and totally 0wnZ0r3d by Open Source software. It took me three days to get Request-Tracker on Debian up and running, and that's mostly because of the profoundly stupid lack of documentation resulting in some Apache module conflicts. (Compare to 3 months trying to get HEAT working properly).

If you're a Windows CIO or IT Manager and you're looking at spending money on HEAT or Remedy or any of those things, STOP right now. Install Uniform Server on Windows Server 2003, drop Request-Tracker on it, and spend a grand or two on a decent perl coder to customize it to suit.
5th-Aug-2005 05:23 pm - This is no way to run a railroad.
I've been here for four full working days. I just about quit this afternoon.

This is the fourth major NT-networked company I've worked for and the first non-IT business. I have never, never seen an NT network this badly fucked up. Nor an IT staff more blindly unaware of their own incompetence.

It's bad. Fact One: Active Directory is a powerful beast, but it has to be designed, planned, and implemented rigorously, from the top down, or else nothing else is going to work, from servers right down to desktops. Right now none of the AD domain controllers are properly synchronizing with each other, mostly because they're scattered all over the continent and communicating across slow links. Group Policies are being implemented in a half-assed, I-don't-really-know-what-this-setting-does-but-it-sounds-good way, and forget DNS actually functioning reliably (DNS, btw, is the bedrock of Active Directory). Fact Two: The Active Directory rollout here strongly resembles the fable of the seven blind men and the elephant - nobody has any idea what they're doing because they won't look at anything beyond their own little corner of the network and won't take the time to learn how AD works.

I deployed four PCs this aft and three of them are not working (two of them at all) because the machine accounts are in the AD, the user accounts are in an old NT4 domain, and apparently no one bothered to check if the things mapped by the login script are even allowed by the Group Policy.

The simple solution is to put the machines back in the old NT4 domain and quit fucking around with AD until it's right, all of it, everywhere. We're not doing that, because my boss would rather keep fucking around with trying to get the AD controllers to synchronize than fix the problems. Meanwhile, the users are getting progressively more and more frustrated.

A brand-new 3.0 GHz P4 should make a user happy, not pissed off. If I were the CIO of this gin joint, I'd have had all the IT staff lined up against a wall and shot by now, as a warning to others.

Update: After three hours of screwing around, my boss agreed to move the PCs back to the NT4 domain, which fixed everything instantly.

At a conservative estimate for the combined lost employee time, this little error of judgement cost the company about $500. Not that much, really, but $500 more than needed to be spent. This leads to BlueDog's ${RAND}th Law of System Administration: Know When to Back Out.
1st-Aug-2005 08:42 pm - With great power...
...comes some fairly bad movies, actually. I saw Sky High over the weekend, because, well, it's a superhero film about six high school kids and their wacky misadventures, thus fulfilling BlueDog's Law of Television.

It's not a good movie, but it's a fun movie. Go read reviews somewhere else. I'm not wasting time on this forgettable bit of fluff other than to say that the fight scenes are the best part (which is a bit odd for a Disney kids' film), since they involve many people being slammed bodily into large slabs of concrete.

Also, the fact that CGI effects have become so cheap and easy that it is trivial to make an overblown ABC Afterschool Special about superhero kids means that it is more likely that we'll see better and better superhero films in the future. Batman Begins is possibly the first film to get the core Bat-man concept right, and I suspect that we'll see The Watchmen any summer now.

Which brings me down to the important point. It was fluff. It wasn't very superheroic, really. But it made me realize that I really, really want to run the superhero game again. All I need is four players. I'd like five or six, but I'll go with four.

Concord City needs you. Will you heed the call?
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