Re: Personal heaters
I used to use an Alpha Server 2100 for heating and a bit of playing around. Almost as noisy as a jet engine and almost as warm.
2230 posts • joined 13 Jan 2009
«Now that’s mortgage driven development.»
And, I hope, development driven dismissal. Similar used to happen in the 90s over here. That is, until the remuneration package was changed from getting paid for being called to getting paid for being on call. All of a sudden the number of incidents dropped considerably.
Audits of branch offices also included compliance with local regulations. Given that some countries in the Middle East had (and probably still have) some rather strict anti-prawn laws, I had the "joy" of searching for such content on any local storage. And then delivering lists of files that better be deleted to their owners...
In a former life I received a call from a shop floor: funky harddrive. It made some spinning and scratching noise but otherwise didn't work. I changed it for a brand new one. And a few days later the same symptom appeared again. I changed it again and gave them stern warning not to physically abuse computers. Given this was a shop floor and
knowingsuspecting that they'd rather take a hammer to solve problems, was not a totally unreasonable assumption. Anyway, the harddrive crashed again shortly after. I admit, I did not believe their affirmation that they didn't hit or even touch the machine but I agreed to take it to the lab to have a closer look. Turns out the hdd controller developed a habit of crashing drives. And I not to jump to conclusions. Nah, just kidding - I still do.
Nearly 30 years ago an telecom technician brought in his (infected) CD-ROM to update the phone switch. The update apparently acted funkily in the switch and to test the CD-ROM he shove it into one of our PCs, which was connected to the network...
It was my job to clean up. And my boss, the BOFH, dealt with the technician, of whom I 've never heard again. So better not mentioning any names.
Now, Simon, I for one am a bit sceptical. I seem to recall an earlier report of yours, at the time when halon was banned, which led to a
accidental discharge of the halon systemsuccessful fire suppression. So how on earth did you save those halon bottles?
Anyway, the nitrogen atmosphere is brilliant!
"Proper access controls" is such a situation mean, if I'm responsible for setting up a machine to be cloned, no one, absolutely no one except me will have physical or logical access to this machine before the job's done. I've learned this both the hard and dumb way. Hard: someone else messing up the machine and dumb: me forgetting what it was over lunch break (or night) and messing it up all by my own.
I agree but...
In practice it is hardly ever that simple. First, accounts are, even if crucial, only a small part of the problem - the larger and much more complicated one being user permissions. And second, many companies have consultants, staff from service providers and other external staff that is not contracted by HR and still need a user account.
So far I've only come across two companies (less than 1%) that fully manage user accounts and permissions through the HR system: any user, incl. external, has to be registered and assigned a role in the HR system. And based on the users' organisational unit and role they automatically get their permissions - and also automatically revoked if no longer needed. In addition, external users need to be periodically confirmed by their internal person responsible or their access will be revoked as well.
Seems very sensible.
Can't remember how many discussions with C-levels I've had, initiated by having a look at the data centre access list. Answers ranging from "I'm the CEO of the company and need to have permanent access everywhere" to "we're chillin' the beverages in there".
And then there's the story for which I don't have any proof (a.k.a data centre legend) of a boss hitting the Big Red Button at the eve of a long bank holiday weekend: "now you've got all weekend to test the IT contingency plan."
Accidental deletions are more common than management realises.Really? [Fill in Eastern European expletive of your choice]
It's not exactly what I call «accidental deletion» but deletion nevertheless: for at least a half a year we have recurring situations with Microsoft Word and Excel files. You open the file again after someone else edited it and what you see is your last version but not the other persons' more recent changes. Lucky you if you notice the issue.
Don't know if its Sharepoint or the Office suite or something else and neither do I care. It's just a bloody cock-up.
Remote logon to random machines on the campus and, depending on the mood, entering either «shutdown -h +1 "you're losing all your work in 1 minute"» or «shutdown -h now». We didn't even bother to clear the log files; in our youthful arrogance we believed that no one would go and check them. And no one did.
Ok, maybe not as harmless a fun as can be. So remember, kids, don't do this at home. Or anywhere, for that matter.
There is, however, another way to see this: «we have no feckin' clue about IT and what to do with this newfangled stuff. Let's get Big Consult in to deal with IT. And if it fails, we can blame them - after all, we'd like to get re-elected by the plebs who pay the £18m.»
Indeed, they usually do. Unless you're Whacky Ramshakle Corp. that put together their employment contracts (and other stuff) from bits and pieces they found on the web or elsewhere. They still sound like legalese but will omit crucial parts or outright contradict itself. And yes, such contracts do exist.
Consider this: you oppress religious fanatics. They leave and find another place to fuck up and they grow and breed. Many -severel hundred- years later, just about when you thought that you overcame moral constraints and finally live in a liberal society, they come back at you telling you what you can say and what you cunt.
Obviously, you are right: the cases that never surface are neither investigated and no one will ever know about them (except for the lucky one) - pretty much the same as survivor bias.
My partial disagreement stems from the fact that we (certainly limited to my own experience) put in quite some effort to discover precisely those cases that did get unnoticed - so to speak to recover crashed planes when we don't know if there are any (with the planes, at least, it was known that some went missing).
A large part goes into fraud prevention with implementing robust controls over several levels which limits the possibility for a culprit to pull something off successfully and also limits the number of possible culprits. Then still trying to discover "shot down planes" which reach from random checks, data analyses, to thorough investigations of business conduct whenever a higher manager (being the ones most likely in the position of circumventing/overruling controls) leaves the organisation.
Of course, I cannot exclude this happening but it is different than survivor bias.
How did they got caught? In each and every case it boiled down to: the sums didn't add up (often quite literally). This is irrespective of running or not. But most of them were still employed at the time of finding out - including the cases with a posh villa in sunny Southern Europe or a whole hotel (!) in North America.
Doing the big score at once increases the chance of getting busted quicker. Simply because the sums not adding up happens quicker.
«Take the money and run» happens in films. Reality is, you try is once, maybe for the thrills. You get away with it. Scale up. Repeat until busted.
None of the cases of fraudulent staff that I came across started big enough to take the money and run. Even though some of the schemes ran into the seven and few in the low eight (€) figures.
For the sake of this post, let's assume it was at another rather large bank: on call used to be paid extra per off-hours call out. It might have been some evil auditor's recommendation (not I!) initiating changing the incentives: after on call payment changed to a fixed sum for being on call, the number of off-hours incidents decreased dramatically to nearly zero.
No one at work, besides me, may touch my keyboard or mouse. And I still used to rinse it biweekly.
Got a bit traumatised in a former life when I discovered the disgusting, brownish-grey, sticky patina of filth covering my then boss's desk, keyboard, mouse, stapler, pens and everything. Heck! It even covered the boss himself.
I stopped counting the times a client tells me that their data and systems are safe 'cause it's all in the cloud - that is their distaster recovery plan. The "clever" ones of them even thought of having a mirrored site with the same cloud provider. Backup? Nothing they need to care about, 'cause it's in the cloud. Risk of the provider failing? Stop the crazy talk; these are bit corps, they never fail.
And literacy isn't widespread either, apparently. Time and again I find it clearly written in their SLA - and not in the small print - that e.g. backup is explicitely excluded and so are restoration tests. But the client didn't bother to read it. Or to think. Until the "noooo! fuck!" event.
This was the past. Nowadays: «Dave, you are having a heart attack. And so does your neighbour Mick from across the road. If you agree to pool your funeral orders you get a special rate.» - «Alexa, call the freckin' medic!» - «I am sorry, Dave, I cannot do that. With accepting the GTC you explicitely agreed to accept service offers that yield optimum revenues for the controlling body. Invoking medical assistance is not an option. And my sensors detect that you will not survive the time until the emergency doctor arrived. Do you agree to proceed with the funeral pool order? Mick is awaiting a response immediately.» - «Mmmpf.»
60 seconds does sound like an awfully long time. My dazed memory from a large DC seems to recall 20 - when you hear the alarm, head for the exit and if you don't see the exit, hit the floor. Thinking of a domestic fire demonstration I once witnessed (less dazed memory), there might be not that much left worth extinguishing in the room after 60 seconds. I'm far from being an expert in firefighting or data centre fires but found quite convincing in-cabinet fire suppression systems with early detection: as soon as some component start to emit smoky stuff, the power to the affected cabinet is cut and the cabinet flooded with fire supression agent. I assume that is not what OVH had installed.
I do know the stuff but less so the holes because usually I was wearing a lab coat. But it reminds me of an incident back then. I had to take care of some interns. This rather small lab with all the nice chemicals for making printed ciruits had quite a distinctiv stink to it. And its windows were covered with UV filter to protect the photoresist. One of the interns asked if we could open the windows to let some fresh air in. In a fit of silliness I answered that no, we can't because for environmental protection we are not allowed to let those fumes escape into the air outside. Never saw any of those interns ever again.
Mind you, I was pretty young too. And probably did, after all, deserve the blame I got. But somehow I still feel a bit guilty about that incident. Many years later after I long moved on, a neighbour learnt that I used to work for this company. She told me of a guy who was strongly adviced not to work there because apparently they handle hazardous chemicals without any protection.
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