* Posts by Enigman

16 posts • joined 17 Sep 2012

Atlassian Jira, Confluence outage persists two days on


Routine until it's not

At my last job all our changes were peer reviewed and any scripts that were to be run also had to have a peer review by someone with equivalent or greater scripting skill/experience. Production level changes went before a CAB except where they were declared 'routine' - routine being the change was successfully executed 10 separate occasions with no backout required, no incidents attributed to the change. Changes to the script would result in the counter being reset and the change could end up needing to be presented to CAB.

If the script hadn't changed since it was last run the peer review of the script wasn't mandatory but we did have to provide evidence that the script hadn't been changed for Production changes (timestamps, checksum or similar.)

Scripts had to be like for like across environments (Dev, Test, Prod (DR was classed as Production) unless there was a specific reason (different setup in Dev to Prod - client tried to save money with lower specs for some environments.)

At the time I got shoved out the door they were working on 'streamlining' processes and pushing the Agile line to speed things up. I had heard on the grapevine later on that my former offshore colleagues had tried to blame one of my old scripts for a major incident. What eventually transpired they had taken one of my scripts as a base, changed some of it's functionality for what they wanted and in the process removed the parts that backed up existing configurations/settings etc. They had presented it as being 'unchanged' so that they didn't have to go through CAB.

Infosys denies former head of diversity recruitment's accusations of racial bias and visa fraud


All the outsourcers game the visa systems regardless of the country. They'll advertise for positions with a high level and wide ranging skill set, interview and makes lowball offers that the candidates would never accept. Then they go to the relevant immigration authority with their 'proof' they advertised and couldn't fill the positions - no one asks them what the offer was and whether it was commensurate with industry expectations. All the governments look at is whether they advertised, whether they could fill the positions locally and now many visas they need.

Then once they get the visas approved they bring over resources who have nowhere near the same skill set as what was advertised. I've even seen managers brought over as 'technical' resources.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)


I take my personal laptop with me to coffee shops but because it's a 17" beast they'd have a slower time running off with it especially as I always use my kensington lock with it. I don't patronise a shop unless it has something I can wrap the cable around to deter snatch and grabbers. I'm careful about where I sit in shops and maintain situational awareness no matter how much I'd like to concentrate on what I am doing.

The snatch and grab thief relies on surprise, it's the same as purse snatchers - they know it will take a second or two for the the fact that the theft has occurred which gives them enough lead to get away before anyone can stop them. They also know that two people shouting in a coffee shop is a common enough occurrence that some people won't even look up from their devices. By the time others had looked up from their devices and put two and two together the crook might have already fled, others quicker on the uptake would probably have not wanted to 'get involved'.

About to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? You might want to wait a little bit longer


Asus Laptop users beware

The Windows 10 April update borks Asus laptop keyboards - I had my laptop update itself while unattended. The Asus keyboard driver has an issue with the update. Updating the driver results in an error message stating the Asus Num Pad device was not compatible with this version of Windows.

Unfortunately my parents' Asus laptop also had updated itself while they were out. Luckily I had Teamviewer installed, remoted into it and rolled back on both laptops (after first trying to update the driver.)

AI and robots? Will someone think of the jobs, says HPE CEO Whitman

Big Brother

Get ready to live in a brown box so the rich don't have to see you

For a most depressing take on how it's likely to pan out with AI and robotics have a read of Manna by Marshall Brain.


Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop


It's all so the hipsters sitting in Starbucks who get a new Mac can look down on those without a Touch Bar. "Oh, yours doesn't have a Touch Bar? That's so 2015..." How else could they differentiate that someone has the latest iDevice as Ive probably won't allow a ticker on the lid flashing "Has the latest Mac Pro..."

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

Black Helicopters

It's all about the $

Apple will push the "We care about your privacy" but it really comes down to making money. The idea of a company giving away the keys to what some people consider their lifeline would certainly give some people pause about buying a product (even if they are giving away more valuable marketing information to Facebook, Twitter etc through social oversharing.)

Given the push with Apple Pay and using an iDevice for making payments and who knows what other financial services in the future. If they desire to replace ATM's, credit cards with an Apple device (and essentially act as a financial service provider) it would be that much harder for them to sell those services to both the industry and the consumer if they were seen to publicly provide a means to access the devices even in a controlled environment. This is where they are probably envisaging huge profits in the future by getting a percentage of each transaction processed via millions of iDevices.

Even if they presented facts stating the work (if performed) was carried out in a strictly controlled environment there would always be that doubt that they could carry out a similar process remotely on any device. There would also be the worry that a foreign power or criminal organisation would then target their engineers to enact the same process for those parties.

Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages


Re: "TL: You weren't at the town hall this morning."

Or the one where they have invited the customer to present and to make them think there are still a large number of people who haven't been offshored they bring in people who don't even work on the customer's account. Customer impressed with 200 people being in the room without being any the wiser of 100 or so who don't work on (and never did) their account.

My manager ticked our names off a list as we entered and later asked me why I didn't attend - I was sitting right next to her because she'd made sure we were there early to be near the front...


9:30 stand-up now at 11:30

Our stand-up meeting was at 9:30am but was moved to 11:30am to make it easier for our colleagues in India for giving their updates. Said updates are still "X is not on shift, no update. I will check after the meeting." or something made up about why Y wasn't done because they looked at the aged ticket report 5 minutes before the meeting. My favourite part of the meeting (besides it ending) is asking why they have used 3 different reasons for the same ticket being aged over the course of the previous 3 days.

Still, it is better than my manager's Start of Week meeting - which has now slipped to Thursday lunchtime.

Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!


IBM XT's and DisplayWrite III

Last year when visiting a lawyer's office I observed that they were still using IBM XT's running DOS 3.3 and DisplayWrite 3 for the majority of their work. They'd purchased a few spare keyboards and monochrome monitors, and the like not long after they originally purchased them and had no intention of updating their workhorses. These guys weren't short of money by any means, just short arms and deep pockets. The boxes were older than some of the staff that worked there.

BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?


Only one time recorder? I now have 3

I now have 3 time and task management tools:

One used for 'predicting' my next 4 weeks of work effort and which reminds me every week that I need to fill in the next 4 weeks even thought it's already filled in and automatically escalates me if it thinks I haven't submitted it. It also has a problem with my predicting my 'actuals' and asks if I am sure I am planning to work greater than 50 hours that week - I don't 'plan' to but know some burning issue will manifest itself having sat in some managers inbox for 4 weeks.

One used for recording my 'actual' time which interestingly reports on me to management if I 'under claim' normal hours as a result of taking time in lieu (been a while since I actually took time I was owed)but it doesn't do likewise when I record 2 weeks of time in a single week.

And now a new 'task oriented' time recording system which only considers time spend on your device as 'active' time - If I were to use dead trees to review complex documentation and don't keep my laptop active, the tool decides I'm not working and nulls the time. It has a time limit on 'tasks' that you can't change and if you exceed it's limit, it decides that the task is complete and stops recording the time - you end up with no task recorded until you notice that your allotted time has exceeded. You have to put a minimum amount of designated hours of tasks or it reports on you as having not worked.

There are pre-designated types of tasks that you can't change so if you don't fit the pigeon hole you have to select a task that most closely matches the pre-designated tasks. You have to synchronise each week or you are designated as having not worked.in the tool. And all the recording is 'manual' and supposedly going to be analysed by some group of analysts across the organisation.

Disabling the tool or not having it running is reported by a tool that checks for it running.

In my case, I can't log in to the tool as they didn't set up my ID and despite having logged a ticket for it and no response my manager gets weekly emails reporting my non-compliance.

Now all I need is a tool to track all the time I spend recording my time and the circle will be complete.

Things you should know about the hard work of home working


Oh, you WFH? We can offshore it then

One of the perils of working from home is eventually a bean counter gets it in their head to offshore the work entirely. "Why should we pay someone here who is working remotely when we can pay someone much less overseas to work remotely?" The company I work for has been doing just that - anyone who was working from home was more likely to have their job offshored. They are moving jobs overseas anyway but it was more likely if you aren't seen in the office regularly (even though more often than not my manager rarely came to our site.)

Some of my colleagues work from home 2-3 days a week. I work from home only on the weeks that I am oncall (2 hour commute each way) - statistically I'd get a lot of calls during the drive to or from work so it makes sense to WFH when oncall.

With the cuts to staff came a cut to the office space we have (our new exciting 'Agile workspace' - if all the different teams had all their people come in on the same day there literally would no longer be enough desks for us all.

IBM jobs axe: 'The cuts have STARTED and are spreading' sigh staff



Dialled into a conference call earlier than I was supposed to and my manager, his manager and the Indian manager were discussing resourcing - despite my announcing my arrival they didn't notice and continued their conversation. Appeared to be a discussion of how they were hiring additional resources in India (I'd assumed it was replacements of staff how had left). Indian manager was asked how the hiring was going and what KT (Knowledge Transfer) he required from the Australian team. Then discovered they were hiring people in preparation for next Resource Action in May and that we were to be told we'd be training these new team members as backups for the team in India. They are scared we'll leave before they get a change to get rid of us on their own terms. Needless to say my team are now actively looking elsewhere.



Had one of my colleagues RA'd today. After 18 months in the job, my manager still has no clue what most of us do. Colleague was putting in 10 hour days and worked many a weekend without recompense just to keep his work cycle under control. We have several major activities that are dependent on this guy and the workload can't be moved to the rest of us. His job is moving to India and their management have already indicated they will only do the specifically defined work in his job role and not all the other work that he does... The rest of us are 'restlessly reinventing ourselves' to find a job elsewhere.

IT biz bosses are 'BIGGEST job cutters' in the US


I work for an outsourcer (but for how much longer I don't know) and like any organisation they have a mix of people of varying abilities. I see some pretty stupid things at times and wonder why I am cleaning up messes that could (and should) have been avoided both on a customer side and as the outsourcer.

We had 2 contractors recently let go simply because their contracts were up for renewal and some beancounter said we had to get rid of bodies. These guys were experienced and knew the customer's environment inside and out - in the mean time, we've got another 160 systems coming online that will need additional resources to provide support - the organisation is now attempting to hire replacements - based overseas.

Another thing that is happening is a global contracting company who supplies labour to my organisation is bringing in foreign workers by sponsoring them, housing them etc and paying them 40% of what the local contractors get paid - this is now putting pressure on the contractors when they try to renew their contracts.


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