What is the weight lifting capacity of blockchain
BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "I've got two words for you," the Boss says excitedly. "Block Chain!" "That's one word," the PFY shoots back. "Unless you're talking about old fashioned lifting apparatus," I say. "And it's usually said as 'Chain block'. Was that what you were talking about?" "No, I mean the new …
Surely all this needed was some fake status reports on request when the boss wanted updates? By the time he's wondering why nothing has actually been delivered, the next shiny will have appeared on the horizon to take his attention and you can "shut down" the Blockchain project....
"I was expecting the BOfH to simply set every server in the datacentre to Bitcoin mining, perhaps after judiciously adding £10,000 of graphics cards to the budget, and then wait until people noticed and complained. Then of course blame the boss's blockchain project."
Oh, I think he did that a long time ago. Only he didn't blame the project, he blamed the boss in person. Meet the new boss.
I've not worked for many employers, so I'm sure others will have vastly more saddening stories of a similar ilk.
I'll never forget one particular CIO (because we loved TLAs at that company) who upon joining had to "make his mark". Amongst various bad ideas, I'll never forget as the "most senior IT person" being pulled into a conference call he was on with a large vendor of fantastic hosting support (*ahem*) who's architect was saying words like "multi-master-replication" and "nfs-clustering" etc.
The CIO, nodding excitedly, kept saying "Yes! It sounds like we need some of that multi-master-replication with nfs-clustering!"
I'd feel unnecessarily unfair in continuing the story beyond that, except to say it all fairly rapidly disappeared after he left. A small website with perhaps 4-5 concurrent users at peak. Definitely a case of buzzword bingo over technical understanding.
I once tried to get a co-worker's job title changed to Application Support Specialist. I might have snuck it past the boss, who was actually a very good boss, but I got greedy and tried to add "Head of Licensing Enforcement". That made the acronym a little too easy to spot, apparently.
A CIO at a past company was good at the talk, not the walk. And as the technical and HR issues mounted up, this became increasingly clear to higher management, causing said CIO to come up with increasingly deranged ideas to show that he was on top of things.
Lots of people leaving due to low morale after too many months of too much crunch? Let's introduce a minimum three-month notice period "to make people feel safer". It's just a coincidence that this makes it harder to find a new job, right?
Evidence of existing/legacy platforms that need uplifting/replacing? Ignore them in favour of the latest new-shiny.
Later, when confronted with performance issues as a result of this policy, he insisted that the DBAs go through the database and delete records that are more than X months old. Utterly ineffective as a performance tweak thanks to the fact that the DBAs were generally on top of tuning queries and indexing tables, but it did give him some nice big numbers he could show to higher management...
"Let's introduce a minimum three-month notice period "to make people feel safer". It's just a coincidence that this makes it harder to find a new job, right?"
So true. At one company I worked for the top management were about to bring this in. There was general dissatisfaction about the company at local management level, and when tipped off by HR four of us handed in our notice in one week to ensure we didn't get trapped. Including HR, so no heads rolled.
I did wonder afterwards how the local general manager explained it. "To lose one senior manager is unfortunate...to lose 4 in one week looks like carelessness." But they kept him on. I guess, like Theresa May and Rudd, they really at that point had no alternative.
Bosses at the end of the 1990s would announce that we would be doing everything in future "with XML" and hire a twat on £1200 per day to ponce about analysing the business. Two months later, they would vanish leaving behind a half-written DTD and an irrelevant project statement. The boss would then tell you to finish it off without training or assistance, the budget having been used up.
The boss would then tell you to finish it off without training or assistance
But if harassed sufficiently, he would eventually agree to shell out £40 for a couple of textbooks (while muttering 'I don't know why someone like you can't find all you need to know on the Internet' under his breath).
I know this, because I came across those books when I moved office earlier this year. Left the fuckers in the recycling waste.
Well, not quite. The parcel trolley sounds like a Good Thing.
But a good BOFH could have a ball with a building full of IoT tat. After
hardening implementing security, he could have IoT wireless speakers acting as bugs, IoT fridges altering their temperature to cultivate salmonella, IoT copiers pumping out full-colour pron, IoT coffee machines emitting superheated steam while ordering extra supplies for Mission Control's own machine, IoT light switches plunging the room into darkness whenever the Boss opens his clueless yap, IoT heating controls turning room temperatures up to Incinerate and IoT door locks keeping the occupants of that room confined to the oven. Plus an IoT car park shutter that guillotines the Boss' new pride and joy.
Yup, definite potential.
Don't forget about the remote start on the Boss's car and carbon monoxide. "Alexa, Start the Boss's BMW."
At 1 AM while it's parked in his attached garage. Below his bedroom where he's alone, of course.
Or his fancy remote controlled smoke detectors at a 2 AM: "Alexa, test the smoke detectors. Again."
Remote car start, smoke detectors... those actually can be useful. To fully embrace the cluster that is IOT, it needs to be more along the lines of the smart light bulbs that double as speaker, microphone and laser turret or the smart toilet that ties into the wireless stereo to provide superb sub-woofer functionality to your wireless whole-house media system along with a seat-based shiatsu massage. Or an IoT pet rock.
"Plus an IoT car park shutter that guillotines the Boss' new pride and joy."
I'm fairly sure some of the historical ones feature this exact scenario, proving once again that the BOFH is ahead of the curve.
I vaguely recall one where the car becomes remote piloted and slams into the walls as well... I definitely recall a boss getting a remote piloted wheel chair at least!
I was hoping for a blockchain implementation that would improve audit and accountability by making it impossible to delete or alter the browser history and network traffic logs which are tagged by the single-sign on authentication, which oh... now... who's been uploading sensitive corporate documents to a rival's anonymous FTP server whilst simultaneously browsing bestiality and kiddy pron websites... and are those kittens underage??!!!
Sure the boss has come up with these MBT "solutions" and there's loads of kits left from shutdown projects. However, a good BOfH will repurpose said kits for other things. Sure, he'll tell the boss that the IoT junk was removed and is now in a storage bin.... but some of that kit will have had potential, will have been repurposed and will now be doing something off the books. a great BOfH will keep such repurposings secret. Bitcoin mining would have been done, he's not going to mention that, it's beer money after all!
Try working in the world of education. There's a new magical initiative coming round the corner every few weeks. And
tossers very important senior people making careers and earning far more than a school head by promoting these magic beans until just before they crash and burn, by which time they've moved on to something else.
Oh, trust me, nobody in IT believes they've invented the corporate fad. At plenty of companies, the management-style-du-jour roller coaster was fucking things up for the entire corporate drone population long before the endless revolving door of educational fads or IT trends swooped in to make knowledge workers' lives more "interesting". Plenty of that crap's been in heavy rotation since the 1980s, if not longer.
The thing that sets IT trends apart, though, is that they have this tendency to captivate non- IT people. Because IT is everywhere and every company makes use of IT, scenes like the one in this episode are all too common. Some management type catches wind of a new shiny that the company absolutely must be doing, despite not actually having the first clue what it even IS. I mean, that stuff's for the nerds to sort out, right?
You don't really get much of that, outside of IT. Management styles and trends mostly infect management, and while the workers are definitely the ones who suffer at least whatever nonsense they're enduring is being implemented at the right levels. And whatever educational initiative is in vogue this week, at least you know the people dabbling in it are educators, or involved in the educational system to some degree. You're not going to see the manager of a coffee shop stroll in some morning and announce that they're going to be implementing Mindfulness. Employees at the nearest big-box electronics store aren't likely to receive memos detailing the TV department's new Brain Gyms initiative.
In IT things like that happen all the time, even within companies that aren't remotely in the IT business. Here in the US recently, a beverage company decided (while in the death throes of failing as a beverage company) that they were going to radically reinvent the company to save it. They changed their name to something absurd involving (you guessed it) blockchain, and then promptly still folded because oddly enough a beverage company isn't well-positioned to make the transition into the exciting world of blockchain. (Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if the one person on staff with any sort of technical know-how resigned on the spot the moment they got wind of that idiot plan.)
"What on Earth is this?", the boss yelled, as he stormed into the office clutching a pencil that had a metre of paper tape trailing from it, a paper clip, and then another metre of paper tape trailing from that.
"It's the result of your demanding we introduce blockchain to our systems"
"The only practical application was in procurement, so they might better track the company's assets"
"Yes, yes, but that still doesn't explain the tidal wave of bunting that is hanging off of everything I see"
"Well, to implement blockchain in any meaningful manner, we had to be able to identify each element individually and also encode its entire history into its identifier. And that identifier is printed onto the paper tape. I'll show you. Let me have the pencil."
"I'll just run it through the reader and..... and .... hey presto, That pencil was bought from Pencils r Us under the PO number 451225425 on 12/07/16. Authorised by Mrs Simms and delivered on 18/07/16 as part of a consignment of 1000 pencils. It was stored in "goods in" until 30/09/16 until it was...."
"Yes, yes" the boss wearily interrupted "I see, and what of the other length of paper tape, what's that for?"
"Well the paper tape is equally an asset and so it too requires a blockchain identifier, which we cleverly managed to incorporate the asset of the paperclip and itself into, to prevent mindless iteration"
"In what possible sense can we justify this?"
"Well, seeing as every asset carries its own history we have removed the need to store that information on the servers, however that cost saving is dwarfed by the processor upgrades required to generate the blockchain code"
As his hunched over form shuffled toward the door I quickly stopped him in his tracks. "Hold on boss, you need this" and I handed him another length of paper tape.
"It's the new blockchain for the pencil, with the latest status update encoded in"
As he disappeared down the corridor I turned to smile at the PFY, who was already grinning ear to ear.
"I think our recently formed company might get dissolved very soon" I knowingly murmured.
"Yes, Punched Paper Tape r Us seems to have had its day once more, but what a gloriously enriching revival it was."
"The only question now is, do we put the profits into Bitcoin or a good old fashioned offshore tax haven?"
IoT devices have value, when they do something useful. For instance, the IoT keyboard and mouse for the boss, to "enhance productivity."
"But that didn't come from me!"
"Yes, it did. You were in your office alone, and that was typed in from your keyboard while you were seated in your chair. Ergo, you typed that."
"But I didn't type that! Surely, there must be some way to prove that."
"Yes, the security measures you had us implement can now definitively prove that those words in that email were typed by your keyboard while you were seated at your desk."
According to the University of Reading Maths Department (I think it was) it is.
It's been a squirrely problem since 1985, when the first IEEE 754 Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic was released, as it was designed around the requirement that every operation have a well-defined result. (Prior to IEEE 754 invalid calculations, including dividing by zero, would simply result in a program crash and for the most part everyone was fine with that.)
Since the IEEE improved everyone's lives, to quote Wikipedia on divsion by zero:
The standard supports signed zero, as well as infinity and NaN (not a number). There are two zeroes: +0 (positive zero) and −0 (negative zero) and this removes any ambiguity when dividing. In IEEE 754 arithmetic, a ÷ +0 is positive infinity when a is positive, negative infinity when a is negative, and NaN when a = ±0. The infinity signs change when dividing by −0 instead.
Most calculators will either return an error or state that 1/0 is undefined; however, some TI and HP graphing calculators will evaluate (1/0)² to ∞.
Microsoft Math and Mathematica return ComplexInfinity for 1/0. Maple and SageMath return an error message for 1/0, and infinity for 1/0.0 (0.0 tells these systems to use floating point arithmetic instead of algebraic arithmetic).
Seems to me the BOFH and PFY could make a few quid, to be spent across the street at the local pub, by getting corporate to buy mining rigs - to implement block-chain - and setting up a "corporate account", to which only BOFH has the "key".
Mine cryptocoins, on the corporate dime, at least, until the Boss complains about the cost of power; at which point it might be time for a new Boss, (same as the old Boss [thanks to 'The Who']). :)
I always thought that a blockchain was the comment section of your average (or random, if you like) internet magazine, but my sister here in the henhouse Astrid Vixen (not her real name) tells me it's probably a typo, and it should spell cockchain - which, according to me, is maintained far to consistently to be a typo, but indeed way funnier.