The Darling G has asked me to moderate the somewhat colourful language I tend to use in my posts when referring to the UnClued or those members of the general population who have aroused my ire, so that she can let her family see my posts.
So, this means I'm no longer allowed to use the words f&%#, sh*$, b0ll*!^s and, of course, c*$t.
Hopefully, arse is still allowed - if it isn't, then that'll be a pain in the posterior.
I'll now have to go through my prior posts, editing the language and trying to find suitable euphemisms once I've run out of special characters to use!
In other news, I note that I've posted as much in the first quarter of this year as I did in the whole of 2007. Nice to have a readership again, and even better to have inspiration!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Channel 4 had something called 'The Man With No Face' which I saw the trailer for - and frankly, even that was less of a freak-show than the appalling cavalcade of wannabees and weirdicans parading themselves for the opportunity to fellate Sir Alan.
Even a cursory glance showed me that odd woman with the bright pink beret - (warning, Fashion Police, pull over); Raif (Ralph? Wraith? whatever) whose hair appeared to be carved from a single piece of finest mahogany, and Alex the straight-talking, straight-shooting Salesdroid with a chip on his shoulder so heavy it might have been fashioned from depleted uranium.
And of course, the speedily-fired Nicholas Denancyboy-Brown-Oliver St. John-Mollusc Smythe F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel.
A man so skilled, so talented, so brilliant that his greatest tragedy was achieving only a 'B' in his A-Level French. A pretentious pseud of such outlandish proportions it was hard to believe he wasn't a plant for some comedic relief.
A trained Barrister with an 'Outstanding' score in his law exam, he dazzled Sir Alan and ourselves with his verbal dexterity in the Boardroom - his sparkling ripostes and stunningly original use of 'like, you know, educated and. . . just rough sales types' was a guaranteed winner in the presence of a self-educated, self-made millionaire.
However, his sharply-honed debating skills were not the height of his talents, which clearly extended to his sartorial elegance.
I mean, what sort of genius intellect thinks, "I know, I'm entering a contest to impress Sir Alan 'no razors' Sugar. I know he's even more old-school than Eton. I know he pulls fewer punches than Tyson.
"I know, I'll impress him with mirrored shades, eyeshadow and pink nail varnish!". Yes, folks, you read that right. Pink. F&%#ing. Nail Varnish. In a job interview.
I reckon he should have been Fired with this:
Seriously though, what's the point of this program? I can understand the first series, when it seemed that people with genuine skills and talent were undergoing a gruelling interview process for a serious role. But now?
These InDUHviduals were defining themselves as Entrepreneurs, European Sales Managers and Barristers, to name but three. One contestant defined herself as 'the best salesperson in Europe'. FFS.
How conceited and arrogant do you have to be to think that people can't see through this self-serving, deluded pile of steaming manure?
I know successful entrepreneurs, sales managers and lawyers. Believe me, they all make enough money to laugh at the 'six-figure salary' on offer at the end of this freakshow.
If any one of these people were half as intelligent, skilled or competent as they believe themselves to be, they would be out there quietly making money for themselves. Instead, they're simply sad wannabe slebs looking for that elusive full-page spread in 'Hello' magazine.
These people consider themselves to be the best of the best - having seen their incredible ability to screw up the simple task of running a fish stall in a market, I think we can safely say that there's absolutely no start to their talents.
Yet the sad thing is, people still watch it. In my case, simply for material, and because it proves my ever-dropping opinions of humans as correct.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
My thanks to @chrisbrogan for his excellent article on achieving Inbox Zero.
I present, for your interest and edification, my own personal attempts to attain Inbox Zero:
Work: Outlook Web Access
You know - it seems odd, but already I can see the benefit of having Inbox Zero.
It's easier to see what's new (well, DUH) but also it puts stuff that needs to be actioned in a much clearer space, and means that prioritising actions becomes simpler as well.
Thanks again, Chris!
Red or white, the end result was the same. But I should explain....
My back is a pain in the arse.
For those of you who read Zoe's excellent Blog, I wish to assure you there's no connection between our similar ailments. Honestly.
I'm completely locked up, with the lower part of my back completely immobile, and tendrils of pain shooting down my legs regularly. The GP's signed me off work for a week, and made noises about a referral for an MRI scan if things don't improve. He also prescribed me Diazepam tablets, with instructions to take up to three a day as required.
Have you ever taken Diazepam? It's...interesting. Interesting in an 'Oh $DEITY, I'm completely out of my gourd' type way.
I took my first tablet last night, just before bed. The label on the pack said 'Diazepam 2mg', and the little white pill looked so small and insignificant next to the 500mg Co-codamol tablet.
I laughed at its paltry dimensions and dosage, and said to The Darling G, "I don't know why I'm bothering - at this dosage it might as well be a placebo.". But down it went, and I lay down in the least-uncomfortable position I could find to try and get some sleep if possible.
My head was the first to go. Within minutes of taking the pill my head was swimming, and I completely lost the ability to think straight. Five minutes after that - well, I can't remember, as I was completely out of it.
I've now been up and about (after a fashion) for 90 minutes, and I can still feel the effects of the tiny, yet awesome, tablet I took almost 12 hours ago!
To paraphrase Ford Prefect, it's a sensation unpleasantly like being drunk. And if you don't know what's unpleasant about that, just ask a glass of water.
Anyway - as my head slowly clears, I'm going to try and stay moving during the day, and get a few things done that don't require heavy lifting or mental acrobatics.
More posts to come when I feel comfortable enough to use the PC again.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I'm in pain.
This is not a case of 'Man-Flu' - my back's gone into spasm and I can neither stand, sit nor walk without pain.
Call my GP's Surgery.
"Hello. I'm in pain. Do you have any appointments available this afternoon please?".
"No, sorry", comes the reply. "We're fully booked".
"OK - in that case, please may I have an appointment for first thing tomorrow morning?"
"No. We don't release tomorrow's appointments until 0830 tomorrow morning. You'll need to call back then".
So, let me get this straight.
I can't get an appointment THE DAY that I need one, and you won't let me book one for the next day either - unless I take part in the 'Hold For A Receptionist Lottery'?
Why on earth can't I simply book an appointment to see my GP?
Is this some grand, target-orientated conspiracy, or do doctors have the BOFH nature and just like their patients to have patience?
I don't know, but what I do know is I'm hurting, poorly-served and pissed-off at the pile of bureaucratic bo*&%$ks that is all that remains of our once-proud General Practice.
Once I got home, I called them again - and suddenly they DO have an appointment I can have today! Perhaps someone at the surgery read this Post.
I Am Happiness. Sort of.
Back from the doctor. It's a suspected worn/damaged disc in my lower spine. I've been prescribed Diazepam and signed-off work for a week. If it's not better by then, it's off to the hospital for an MRI.
The Geek within me kinda wants an MRI - but I don't want the pain I'll have to go through to earn it!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Communication, as we know, is an important thing.
However, while WE know that, our dear, esteemed Management seem to have missed the particular memo.
I'd like, therefore, to share with you two instances of supreme stupidity in Manglement communication, of differing types, for your entertainment and edification...
1. "Do What We *WANT*, Not What We Ask For!"
So. Yesterday we have a call logged by Manglement to the Security Team (me), and the request said thusly:
"Remove $COMPANY users from firewall."
Less than an hour later, this request is backed up by an email from said Mangler, saying "These need to be handled fairly swiftly (in other words they are 'easy wins')".
No problem. On to the firewall, and spend an enjoyable few minutes deleting accounts. I find that nuking accounts is always a pleasurable part of the day.
Once the deletions have been done, I fire off an email to the company concerned and the instigating Mangler, advising them of completion and providing a complete list of the deleted accounts and the remaining extant ones.
Nobody complains. Nobody. Not a word.
Fast forward to this morning, and a telephone call comes in from one of the recently-removed VPN users, complaining that they, and their cow-orkers, are unable to connect.
However, in the spirit of inter-departmental co-operation, I decide to give Manglement a quick call and let them know that someone Up There has neglected to tell anyone else what was about to happen.
"Oh, no!" is his terror-stricken response. "That wasn't supposed to happen - you were supposed to remove SURPLUS users! That's what we meant!".
"Well, the email and service request said you wanted all the users removed."
"I know, but that was a mistake - we didn't mean it! You'll have to fix it!".
< sigh >
Cue 4 hours of restoring users from backup configs, and calling round to check the lusers can all connect.
The fsking luser even tried to say it was OUR fault! No chance, pal - I've got the mails and the original call notes.
Clearly I missed the Cisco training module 'How to read between the lines of ignorant and incomplete Manglement requests'.
2. Did You Need To Know That?
An Email Arrives.
The Mangler in this case, wanted to know the IP address a Remote Luser had connected to their firewall FROM.
One quick check, and I fire off a response with the source IP, and suggest she verifies it by getting Remote Luser to verify it on whatismyip.com.
Quicker than a luser heading for the donuts, she dashes off her reply - and it's a reply that fills me with dread and resignation.
"Oh, no", she says. I didn't need that information - I put the wrong thing in the email. What I wanted to know was what else she connected to afterward, as she's introduced a worm onto our network. Sorry, should I have mentioned that?"
< Gnnnn... >
'Nuff said, really.
Well, as it turns out, we don't manage any of the devices that got affected, our firewalls don't allow traffic inbound from the client in question, so we're safe.
Tomorrow will be spent crafting the carefully-worded email explaining exactly why I don't care that Remote Luser infected them, and perhaps suggesting that next time they pick up an infection they might like to tell us about it somewhat quicker than today.
As for Remote Luser - well, there will be LARTage, of that you can be assured. The Mangler resposible for my earlier suffering will be made to pay as well, in new and interesting ways.
Mark my words, There Will Be A Reckoning.
And, I think, a few lessons in communicating properly.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
(With apologies to Otis Redding)
To the Tune of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay!
Sitting in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evening come
Watching the Tweets come in
Then refresh and read new ones again
I'm just sitting at my PC all day
Tryin' to find somethin' witty to say
Oooh, I'm just sitting at my PC all day
I logged on to my laptop
Checked the Blogs and read my mail
Wanted to check my Followers
But Twitter's down again - Epic Fail!
So I'm just gonna sit at my PC all day
Really must think of something clever to say
Ooo, I'm just sitting at my PC all day
Look like nothing's gonna change
I'll still Tweet and be inane
I'll just Blog the memes people tell me to do
Signal-to-Noise remains the same, yeah
Sittin' readin' Twitter at home
I don't bother calling friends on the phone
Two thousand Tweets or more
Can't be dull, mustn't become a bore
So, I'm just gonna sit at my PC all day
I just have nothing of interest to say
But, I'lll just sit at my PC all day
As if you hadn't worked that out.
$LUSERMANAGER calls in, ranting, roaring and raging because (he says) a recent firewall change isn't working.
"You're useless", says he. "I asked you to give me telnet access to foo, and it's not pingable from my machine! Fix it NOW!"
At this juncture, you'll need to visualise the bottle, dummy and cute little mittens being flung across the room in abject, infantile frustration. The mental image will work even better if you put the baby in a three-piece suit.
"So", I say, ever the voice of reason. "You can't ping it? Have you tried Telnet itself?"
"What's the point of trying bloody Telnet if I can't ping it?"
It's at this point I should point out that our firewall rules are specific. Very specific, in fact. Right down to blocking everything except specifically-stated and requested ports.
Like, in this case, ICMP. Which he didn't ask for. So he didn't get.
The silence on the phone tells me everything I need to know. He needn't say a word.
Amazingly (I can't imagine why) his tone changes at this point. From the Incredible Hulk to Uriah Heap in one giant bound. One minute ago he was all for having me hung, drawn and quartered - now he's being so bloody obsequious that I could request a blowjob in the middle of the office - and I'd get it, probably with a smile thrown in.
"Oh, thanks, it's working now. Thanks so much for doing this, I really appreciate it."
Yeah, right. Until the next time you want something and chuck a tantrum my 2yo son would be embarrassed by.
Which, if I know you, will probably be tomorrow morning.
This post has been brought to you by Merriam-Webster and Carseycritter
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Well, I for one think this is a fantastic idea - right up there with the Hindenburg and the Sinclair C5.
So, in this new spirit of patriotic co-operation, I've taken the trouble to design a NEW Oath of Allegiance revised and updated to meet modern educational and cultural standards, and to reflect the lives of many of our youth these days.
I promiss 2 b proud of Brittan n 2 support the Ingland football team. I will sho my citizenship at all internationals by takin my shirt off n singin "2 World Wars and One World Cup", no matter who we r playin.
I will respec the culchur of Ingland - like Big Bruva n X-factor, innit. But not old stuff, coz its shit.
I will b real to the peeps in town and that, like when me y my m8s r hanging round the bus stop we won't chuck fings at them. Except that old c*%t from No. 42 coz he called the Plod just coz we was jumping on his car n that n he's probly a pedo anyway.
I wil b proud ov my
All this I sware, on my bottle of White Lightning and in the sure n certain hope of a benefits giro when I leave school.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Chris Hambly started it, and as this meme lumbered on, I was tagged, unsurprisingly, by loudmouthman.
So - after much soul-searching, redrafts and puzzling, here are my own Eight Random Things About Me.
1. I Am A Military Genius
I served in the Armed Forces for seven years - started in the Royal Marines, then transferred into the Royal Navy, where I served as a Radio Operator on a Polaris submarine. My claim to fame, my moment of military brilliance, came at the start of an exercise, while we were waiting for the tug bringing senior officers on board the sub.
I dropped a 'Man Overboard' smoke flare.
To be precise, I dropped it in the Control Room of the submarine, where it subsequently went off filling said Control Room with thick purple smoke. This thick purple smoke caused the unconsciousness of my Commanding Officer, who was in the Control Room at the time. It also caused the scrambling of a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.
I was Not Popular.
2. I Am Brave in the Face of True Terror
OK, I admit it. I'm terrified of flying insects. This mostly applies to wasps, bees, and other nasty, stingy buzzy things - but if a butterfly gets too close it's taking a pretty major chance!
The worst thing about this was while I was married - I don't believe in transferrring my fears onto others, so was trying to tell my step-kids there was nothing to worry about...all while desperately trying not to run away screaming like a girl.
3. I Am A Broken Man
I've broken my nose a grand total of nine times.
I've also broken 4 ribs, every one of my fingers and toes at least once, both wrists, dislocated my right hip and compressed one vertebra (leaving me unabe to walk or feel my legs for a day).
In fact, when I was doing judo at National level, I once ended up in the same Casualty ward four times in eight weeks - once for my nose, once for torn ligaments in my right wrist, then a broken right wrist - and three weeks later, when I wasn't supposed to be training - a broken left wrist too...
4. I Am A Late-Entry Geek
Though I was first 'outed' as a Geek about eight years ago by Loudmouthman - he pointed out that doing my own OS installs and upgrading my mobile phone every six months was not normal behaviour - I've only been a professional Geek for 15 months.
Prior to that, for the previous ten years I'd been in Sales & Marketing, spending the last five years of that in IT Sales, where I discovered where all the people who are too dishonest to be Estate Agents end up!
After finally realising that I really, REALLY hated selling stuff and that I'd prefer to be fixing it, I took a first-line Helldesk role. Five months later I was promoted to the second line, and I'm happy there (normally), dealing with Cisco, Checkpoint and Stonegate firewalls and networking kit. I love my job.
5. I Am Nick Hornby
Yeah, right. I'd like his talent and his money, please.
I just love to write. I've written marketing blurbs, slogans, fiction, rants, political commentary and even the odd eulogy. Some of it even gets quite positive responses.
I used to find that I could only really write when I was depressed and angsty - and truth be told, some of my best work still comes out when I'm angry and let the venom flow - but these days I also write for pleasure because I'm in a good mood. And if it's not as good - tough, I'm not writing it for you, I'm writing it for me.
6. I Am Nick Robinson
Again - maybe not but I'd like his site traffic.
I've been into politics, and observing politics, since I was 8 years old.
My earliest memory of politics changing lives was the 1979 General Election. My parents let me stay up to watch the first counts come in - and as the excitement built and we started to see the upcoming landslide victory for the Conservatives, I saw how much that change meant to my parents.
Since then, like most people my political stance has varied with age, but these days I believe not in a particular party, but simply the need for conviction politics - people entering Parliament not for the expenses and the easy life, but out of a desire to do some form of GOOD in this country.
I used to blog exclusively - and pretty obsessively - about politics and the iniquities of our current Governments both here and in the US. These days I just watch the news, and only post when Gerry's finally had enough of me ranting at the TV.
7. I Am Fatal1ty
I'm resoundingly crap at video games. I love them - but I'm rubbish.
When I played Halo deathmatch with Loudmouthman, the most frequent sound was 'Bam! Headshot!' - and my most frequent action was waiting to respawn.
And when I tried to play Americas Army online - I couldn't differentiate between my team-mates and the enemy - and shot more of my colleagues than the opposition. Once again, I was Not Popular.
8. I Am A Happy Man
There's little to add to that, really.
I am finally lucky enough to do a job that I love, and I wake up most mornings looking forward to my day.
I have a wonderful partner, who has done wonders to increase my confidence and my social circle - and who even understands, tolerates and supports my constant geekiness.
I have fantastic friends who've stuck by me through some very tough times, and have always been there for me.
I have a beautiful son who I adore, and I love spending time with him, though it's never enough.
I have a wonderful - if somewhat eccentric - family, who are friends as well as being parents and siblings.
So all that considered, I reckon I'm pretty fortunate - and I frequently have to pinch myself to make sure it's not all just a dream, and happening to someone else.
So - there you go, Eight Random Things about me.
Thanks for reading.
Friday, March 07, 2008
It's something all the reviews mention as well - so I've taken a couple of shots that I think truly put this amazing little device into perspective.
First off, here's one of the EeePC atop Gerry's Dell Latitude D420 - at 12.1", it's also classed as a subnotebook:
That still doesn't fully evoke the sheer tinyness, so here's one with both devices open:
Finally, the grand picture that proves it. EeePC atop 12.1" D420 atop 15.4" Compaq:
Do you see it now? This thing is SMALL. Tiny. Miniscule.
Yet to me, it's kinda like a soldier ant - tiny, yet for its size unfeasibly powerful. I plan to post a full review in a week or so, once I've had some more time playing with it, but so far it's handled everything I've thrown at it - including some clumsy cock-ups - with nothing but aplomb. In fact, it's proved so useful that I'm planning to eBay the 15" Compaq lappy in the photo, as I haven't use it once since the day the diminutive Asus arrived.
Damn, it's small. But it's perfectly formed and, as I once mentioned on Twitter, this to me could be the device that finally makes sense of Linux on the desktop.
Stay tuned for a full review.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
But sometimes - just sometimes - a luser does something so dumb, so moronic, so spectacularly cretinous that simply finding the words for the rant becomes difficult.
When dealing with the full ramifications of The Event today, and the immediate aftermath, I thought tonight's post would be easy to write. My mind was awhirl with vitriolic comments - a cascade of inventive invective primed and ready to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting Web in all its diabolical fury. It hasn't ended up quite that way - simply because the sheer enormity of The Event was so staggering, so unbelievable that by the time I sat here at the PC, with its cursor winking expectantly, I found it hard to summon the words to describe it.
Still, nothing ventured and all that, so here we go...
Like many managed services providers, we host our client systems in large datacentres. The datacentre involved in The Event is a large one in London. You may have heard of it - however to protect the guilty and disguise it, I shall call it BlueCoach.
Two of our largest clients also have their backup devices in Bluecoach. These clients both have large tape stackers connected to backup management servers. Each client has their own rack in their own cage, and the cages themselves are situated some considerable distance apart. Each client performs daily, weekly and monthly backups, often totalling many Terabytes of data.
So - an email from BlueCoach arrives - the loading bay's locked on one of the tape stackers. I try and unlock it remotely - and it won't unlock. One quick check with our Guru later, we've established that the software is saying it's unlocked, while the hardware has decided to do its own thing, and is resolutely refusing to relinquish its tapes.
What do you expect - it's Slackup Exec running on 'Doze. AHS, ASS.
OK, no problem - we can drop the backup server, get the Tape Guy to powercycle the stacker, change the tapes, then he can restart the backup server from there. Simple.
Only the Tape Guy has gone home, and in his place is...well, I'm still lost for a description. Amoeba-man? A Neanderthal? A lobotomised three-toed Sloth? Gordon Brown? I don't know. But whatever it was, it sure as hell shouldn't be anywhere near a datacentre. Or computers. Or humans, for that matter.
But I digress. Anyway, I fire off an email to BlueCoach saying the following:
- I am going to remotely shut down the backup management server $foo-backup01;
- Please would you go to the tape library and physically power-off the library, then turn it back on, unlock it and change the tapes.
- Once you have done so, please restart the backup management server $foo-backup01 - it's a 1u server, in the same rack, and obviously its LEDs will be off.
I get the feeling he'd be happier lolling around somewhere, learning how to find his arse with both hands, map and flashlight.
This pathetic pseudo-simian couldn't FIND server $foo-backup01, despite precise information even down to the rack name and its position in said rack. Finally, just as I'm losing the will to live (or, more accurately, losing the will to let HIM live), he sends me a triumphant email thusly:
- Request completed. The server was called $bar-backup01
A live, running backup server.
For our largest client.
22 hours into a multi-terabyte full monthly backup that had been requested by their Auditors!
Even some 6 hours on, I'm still struggling to find any reasoning for what 'Homo Moronicus' has managed to achieve. He'd managed to go to completely the wrong rack, in completely the wrong cage - a significant distance from the correct one - and then reboot a live device when he'd been TOLD that the device he was looking for was powered down?
The mind boggles. Surely at some point, some under-utilised neuron must have given a brief fizzle and he'd have questioned the name of the server (suffice to say that my descriptions are much less detailed than our corporate naming protocol)?
Could he even READ?
What sort of bottom-feeding, scum sucking, microcephalic excuse for a proto-human would perform an act of such inconceivable imbecility? I appreciate that 'datacentre troll' isn't exactly the most intellectually challenging role - after all, you really only need one finger to turn the boxes off and on again - but come on, surely even a retarded chimp might have taken a brief second away from masturbation and dung-flinging to realise what he was about to do might need verification!
Well - the incident reports are filed, and I sincerely hope - in fact it is my most fervent wish that this thing, this creature, this floating blob of something unpleasant polluting the gene pool, receives a P45-shaped LART. Thanks for fucking up my day, dickhead. Don't let the door hit you in the brain-cell on the way out.
Those of you who follow my Twitter Feed will know that today I suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous idiocy.
140-character mini-rages don't really cut it, so I'm letting it brew properly and will vent tonight in such a manner that the term 'blast radius' will be applicable.
More soon....stay tuned to this channel!