* Posts by GroovyLama

36 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jun 2021

BOFH: I get locked out, but I get in again


Reminds me of the desks at the first place I worked. I originally used to leave my laptop locked in the desk and not take it home (recent graduate, so no need for "on call" or needing to answer any important emails in the night).

One day I forgot my key for the drawer at home, so asked our facilities guy who managed the office if he had the spare. He turned my attention to a pot with about 100 keys in it, and told me to knock myself out. After the shock on my face had subsided he showed me the trick....

While the drawers were securely locked, the actual locking mechanism went into the desk itself. All you needed was a person to lift one side of the desk up by about an inch or so and another person** could open the drawer and retrieve anything you needed from it, before closing drawer and lowering desk back down.

** It could have been done by one person if savvy enough, but the facilities guy didn't want H&S on the case so he always recommended working in pairs!

IBM lifts lid on latest bid to halt mainframe skill slips


Re: Most commenters have missed the point

I may be a young pup compared to others here, having been in the telco/billing industry since I was a graduate in 2007 (covered telco, energy, utilities billing in that time). I haven't seen anyone use mainframes for billing or handling of calls in that time.

There may well be some legacy mainframe systems knocking around in telco, but none that I've seen (mostly UK and EMEA based telcos).

It was unix based systems, which then migrated to VM and/or linux in my experience.

Tech support done bad sure makes it hard to do tech support good


Re: Its always DNS except when its configured with an IP address :)

The problem in this scenario is that they were using the IP equivalent of private123.ticker.com, but should have moved to public.ticker.com when they cancelled their sub to the private ticker.

In this case, it's likely the private123 domain would at some point be removed, rather than CNAMEd to the public domain, so issue would still occur.

Using domain name is also not infallible. I've had plenty of cases at multiple employers where outbound access was restricted in firewalls using IP addresses (layer 3), but apps were connecting outbound using domain names (layer 7). If the vendor of the service you are connecting to changes IP range without prior notice, that still leads to connection failures. These days layer 7 whitelisting in firewalls can resolve that, as can setting up special prices to manage outbound connections.

Prior to having access to firewalls with layer 7 capability, our best solution was to use a tool we had built for outbound throttling, but using it as a proxy for connections that were going to cloud based services that could not guarantee the IP range they would be using. It was usually anti DDoS measures (and then cloud) that meant we had to use it. We found it also provided a way for us to also lock down some of our servers, so we had less holes opened up in the main firewall

Enterprising techie took the bumpy road to replacing vintage hardware


Mid-2000's, a colleague had got back from some international travel and had been complaining the hard drive in his laptop was making a lot of dodgy sounds, and laptop was running slow, and that it needed replacing. IT told him it needed to be reviewed before the drive could be swapped, and someone would be round lunchtime to check it over.

He decided to perform his own check. He pulled the drive out of the laptop - this was a Dell laptop. I seem to remember you could unclip the drive out quite easily, just like the batteries. A Latitude model maybe? - He started off by shaking the drive up to his ear, and then proceeded to SLAM it down on the desk a few times. He then held it up and shook it again.

"Yup, it's definitely got a rattle to it. I think it's knackered".

Cue all the surprised faces when IT came to check the laptop and it couldn't boot off the drive. Replacement drive provided post haste!

Regulator says stranger entered hospital, treated a patient, took a document ... then vanished


A future who me?

Despite the hospital operating closed circuit television cameras, the wall socket powering the system had been turned off by a member of staff, so police are unable to name the person or find the missing document.

So.. does that mean we are going to get a "Who, me?" in a few years from a cleaner who needed to plug in his hoover, and took out the CCTV for the entire hospital. And it just so happened to be the day someone decided to play Doctor?

Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness


Re: bullshit detected

Why? would it still be tight? :p

Datacenter architect creates bonkers designs to illustrate the craft, and quirks, of building bit barns


Re: Typical architect design

I don't think it's greenbelt, most of that land is currently in use for industrial purposes. There is one portion which is currently open/grassland. The website staes it is land that was originally quarried during construction of the M25

There are also a few residential properties within the proposed site, though I assume they are being bought out as part of this scheme.

It looks like the site includes my friend's parents house. I'll have to ask him if he is aware someone is planning on putting a Data Centre on top of their house!

Telco CEO quits after admitting she needs to carry rivals' SIM cards to stay in touch


Never display the logo of a rival

While it makes perfect sense to have multiple SIMs across different networks from a DR perspective, the optics of it can be quite bad.

Imagine how it would look if the boss of Nike was caught walking around in Adidas trainers, because he found them more comfy!

It's not just the public perception, it's also the optics of how it will be perceived internally. Remember that the worker bees are usually told to "live their brand", and be local ambassador's for it.

About 5 years ago - one particular large(st?) UK MVNO, which had a major push to get group employees and friends/family to purchase contracts, then had a major faux pas at one of their company all hands. They had got the exec team up on stage and were fielding questions from employees. One employee decided to ask what mobile provider they all used. While most of them answered proudly that they only used their own network, one exec publicly stated that he used a rival telco, because the CEO had told him "your roaming usage is too expensive on our network, use another SIM to lower the bill". cue a lot of awkward silences and shuffling from the other execs on that stage!

Why have just one firewall when you can fire all the walls?


I remember we once had an odd set-up where we had applications deployed across multiple servers for High Availability, with the Load Balancer checking a status file on each server to see which apps were available for live traffic. This was in the early days of cloud and containerisation, and hadn't moved to the newer solutions yet.

A colleague in a timezone ahead of me had conducted a review and was preparing for shutdown of some apps, and arranged for it to be done. Problem was, the Load Balancer (network team responsibility, we were apps team) was configured incorrectly, so for some of the applications it was checking the wrong status file for availability. This meant that when he shut down the application instances we no longer needed, the Load Balancer took that to mean some other apps were also not required, so closed off access to them.

I was receiving calls from the client about losing access before I'd even reached the office on that one! Luckily it was an easy fix - start up the redundant apps again and all access restored.

Thorough review of the Load Balancer config later and all such inconsistencies were fixed up. Some valuable lessons were learnt through that on making sure that health checks are accurately checking the right source!


We can put it next to the "Any" key!

Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support


Re: Worst case I ever saw ...

It reminds me of the first place I worked at (supplier of billing systems and network equipment to telcos)... I worked on the consulting (project implementation) side, but I got to work quite closely with the engineers who managed the actual hardware. They all hated the dreaded call outs for failed equipment, except with one client. This client was based in the Seychelles, so any hardware issue meant an engineer would have to be sent over, and due to flight schedules, they would HAVE to stay at least one or two nights in a 5 star hotel while waiting for their return flights. There used to a be a lot of rumours of engineers bribing managers to be on the preferred list for managing those call outs, never knew if it was true or not.

While I like to think of myself as a technical person, I've definitely been the "user" in a few cases like this story - but NEVER rude to the support engineer. I don't get why people ever think it's OK to be rude to someone like that. I think my funniest mistake has to be kicking the power cable out of the back of the laptop from under the desk.. just as I was about to present something.. with a dodgy battery that held no charge. Previous requests for a new battery had been denied for budget reasons (laptop was "too new" to need a replacement battery apparently). It was funny how quickly I got one after that story got around!

Datacenter would spoil beautiful view ... of former industrial waste dump


I never said I had the right idea :)

It's a hard one to explain, I'm sure most people would prefer to see their local area improved, but not at the detriment of another aspect.

The only thing I see Iver missing is a decent sized supermarket, but I'm back to increasing traffic!

Perhaps it's more the layout of Iver, traffic increases always bottleneck the high street and other streets off it. if there was a relief road that lorries could take around it that would help a lot with local perception. There was one proposed a few years ago as part of redeveloping all the farms behind the Ridgeway, not sure what ever happened to those proposals.


Re: Hmm.

That's pretty much what it is. Grassy area, that was once landfill. I notice that most of the pictures in the planning application only showed it from adjoining areas, to show what visual impact would be around it. Never once showed pictures within the area showing its actual rural/field setting.

Though it's not really used for anything else at the moment. Would be good if it could at least be opened up as a public park. I think there's just a few public footpaths running through it


I am also an Iver resident. This is what, the third data centre application in as many years?

One of the data centre applications was rejected as it is planned for a former asbestos dumping ground, and was also vaguely written so the DC could be converted in future into a distribution centre. The developers were basically hedging their bets that they could either get an AWS or an Amazon into it, maybe both (other "evil" conglomerates are also available).

A distribution centre would have been a disaster, there is already a disproportionate amount of lorries passing through Iver because of its location between the M40, M25, M4 and Heathrow airport (and associated businesses).

I think the only data centre application around Iver that might have a chance is the new one that will kick DPD out of the Ridgeway trading estate, as that's the only one that's actually proposed to REDUCE the volume of road traffic in the area, something residents have wanted for a long time. It is also the only one repurposing existing land, rather than green belt land.

Iver can definitely benefit from something that brings more trade or business into the area, not sure if a data centre will do that though.

Workload written by student made millions, ran on unsupported hardware, with zero maintenance


At my previous employer we had a database view a previous longtime employee had written to allow looking up accounts in a test database, it was to help testers find accounts easily for whatever test case they had to run.

It was a good view, but very poor performance over time as test environments got larger, and was a no-go on the anonymosed copy of production.

So I set about rewriting it as a process, that can rebuild a custom table that mapped out test accounts. What started out as a 1 day hack turned into 4 week side project.

Inevitable feature creep kicked in and more flags were added, then I also put in some automated steps to allocate accounts to different teams, with configurable rules others could manage, so people don't trip over using the same data during test cycles.

Performance was phenomenal: 2-3 mins to rebuild and mark up data in a regular test environment and less than 4 hours to summarise a production sized environment. And I bet those timings got quicker when it moved onto newer, faster hardware.

That process is a young un compared to other examples here. I handed that code over to other colleagues to maintain when I switched teams, but they still used it for the 5 years I was still there, and it's been a year since I left. But the code works so well it could be used for at least another 5-10 years.

It's not hard to put in extra rules for flagging accounts, and there were plenty of custom columns added for retrieving additional data in future.

Or maybe they scrapped it as soon as I left and haven't told me!


Re: I'm curious...

So, just another customer demo then?

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market


Re: Yet again, Mint

I believe they are changing:

PICNIC - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

to something more person specific:

PIWNIC - Problem In Wife, Not In Computer

PIMNIC - Problem In Mother, Not In Computer

Bosses face losing 'key' workers after forcing a return to office


Re: Keep in mind

The cost can be much higher than that. I left my old job last year. An ex-colleague called me recently and told me about a mistake they had made, which was something I would have normally flagged up and resolved before it became a bigger issue. Now the customer is hitting them with a $120k bill for lost revenue!

TCS bags £234M Teachers' Pensions deal as Capita set to end 29-year run


I see it more as:

"Future ready" : "Ready for additional Change Requests, to make it do what you actually wanted"

"Digitally enabled" : ... "We have a website, and some new fangled S3 thing to put stuff in" (secured S3 is additional change request)

"Omnichannel platform" : "The platform wasn't really built to do this, but we'll make it fit for the right price" (see "Future ready" above).

Oracle's examplar win over SAP for Birmingham City Council is 3 years late


Is part of this caused by the attempt to refit a modern ERP to meet a 20-30 year old business process?

Is any attempt being made to update the process to leverage the features of the new ERP?

Amazon CEO says AWS staff now spending ‘much of their time’ optimizing customers’ clouds


Re: Chicken, welcome to the roost...

Not necessarily...

I have a friend who works at AWS, and his role is specifically to optimise customers AWS usage. As he puts it, his target is to save customers money.

The first customer he worked with had done a typical lift and shift of an entire server into AWS EC2. After just a few hours of reviewing what they were doing he was able to propose changes that would get their annual costs from in the multiple thousands down to $100/year for that one server. And this hasn't been just a one off for him.

There is still a lot of naivety in the minds of people (perhaps within management more?) about how to move from on prem into the cloud. Lift and shift as a phase 1 is usually how they start, and then the inevitable happens and phase 2 never happens to actually benefit from potential cost savings. Then the surprise at lack of expected savings.

Of course everyone's experiences will be different, so YMMV.

Exotic Lily is a business-like access broker for ransomware gangs


Re: I really can't understand what some people consider trustworthy...

It's quite common that corporate mail servers will block encrypted/password protected zips as attachments, as they can't be virus scanned. This can lead to people sharing files via One Drive links. The article mentioned One Drive as one of the services used.

So I can see how it would be plausible, based on how we are restricted to sharing files with some clients.

I also had a manager who used to use drop box to share training videos. This was before the age of teams and one drive became prevalent, and a much better method to use

India takes Amazon’s biggest local e-tail alliance out of its shopping cart


Re: Incredible!

I believe the correct term is "climate change"!

Although if you are viewing this on a mobile device in portrait mode, you may be missing out on the Christmas landscape that is across the top banner this year (I can't remember if it has been there in previous years).

The Sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Microsoft has pulled support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365


The grass is always greener

Since IE11 came out it's been the supported browser for one of our in house CRM applications. After all these years, one of our clients pushed to have us switch to formally support Chrome for them, but only because they also now have a Salesforce based platform used in tandem, which won't support IE.

So a project is started up, and while we had no major code changes required (only a few cookie shenanigans that needed to be sorted out) we switched a few weeks back to Chrome being the officially supported browser, at the agreed level with Chrome 91.

Now, we knew, and warned the customer, that Chrome updates a lot more quickly than other browsers do, so there was some contingency planned in as part of the project that client machines should not be updated to bleeding edge versions, but be managed via group policy so we also have time to test and certify our application against the next major version to be released. I'm sure you can see where this is going...

Not one week after we launched supporting Chrome 91, the client goes ahead and installs Chrome 92 on all machines, and raises all sorts of escalations as to why our application is broken on Chrome 92 when opened via an iFrame, when neither Chrome 92 nor iFrame invocations were supported. You may even have seen some of the articles on the Reg on the issues chrome 92 caused with that special little feature.

For all the faults IE11 has, at least it was "stable"** in that sense compared to chrome (the same way a glacier looks stable compared to a flowing river).

** I know I know. About this CRM is always behind IP whitelist and other security policies, so it's not like IE11 was being used for any general web browsing.

Malware and Trojans, but there's only one horse the boss man wants to hear about


Re: In a previous career

I worked with one such developer who was the bane of my existence for a few years. He left at least 12 months ago, but I am still raising tech debt items to fix the mess he left behind. He was a pretty good dev overall, but had a real ego and usually came up with ideas beyond his ability. He also couldn't see past what happens in a dev environment, and could never understand how things worked in production.

I think what made it worse was all the problems he created were always because he refused to follow the designs I came up with. I might not be an out and out developer, but I know how to design something which is not just functional, but also production/real world operations ready. Unfortunately "blue sky" Devs don't like that, and think they know better.

I must have warned upper management 2 years before he left that he would be a problem, but my warnings were pushed aside as too confrontational. I think it too one very low performance review with A LOT of negative feedback from multiple peers before they took it seriously that they have a problem on their hands.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell


The "interview from hell" that set me off on my career

When I first graduated from uni, I was finding it a bit hard to find work. I originally wanted to go into web development as a PHP back end developer, but was always losing out to candidates "with more experience". After a few months I got a call from a recruiter about a job as a junior consultant for an IT firm that provided Billing Solutions for Telco/TV companies.

I figured it couldn't hurt to apply, and the incentive of travelling the world was appealing for a recent graduate. Got through to the interview stage fairly easily.

The interview was one of the worst I have ever been through, where I was asked a wide range of technical questions which I wouldn't have reasonably known. I had made it clear to the interviewer (the person was very soon became the head of consulting for the EMEA region for consulting) that outside of web development, I was not a strong C or Java developer. He proceded to grill me specifically on C and Java, and throw in other questions that even a person with a few years working experience would find difficult to answer. What was worse was he was "marking" me against the sheet he was asking me questions from, so would very deliberately get out a red pen to mark little X's when I got a question wrong. For the first 15-20 minutes that red pen was getting a lot of mileage, and I was starting to get a little flustered.

"Let's move on to Databases shall we, which you claim to know" he said. Started off with a few SQL questions which I was getting right, so he decided to write up a fairly complex SQL query on the board, and asked me what I thought the result would be. He was pretty shocked when I got it right. After that things started to ease up.

When the interview finished, as I was leaving I remember thanking them for the opportunity and making it clear I didn't expect to hear back after all my little red X's. Got outside to see I had quite a few missed calls and texts from the recruiter so I called him back, conversation was pretty much this:

Recruiter: How did the interview go?

Me: That was terrible, probably my worst interview ever. He kept asking me tough developer questions, nothing to do with the role.

Recruiter: Sorry to hear that, so how late did the interview start?

Me: It didn't, it started early as soon as I got there

Recruiter: Ah right, so you waited til you got home to call me?

Me: Nope, just walked out now

Recruiter: Wait, how long were you there?

Me: An hour and a half of torture? why?

Recruiter: That's fantastic news!

Me: ????

Turns out most candidates don't last more than 15 minutes before they are rejected by this guy, and I was the only one out of the current crop of graduates who had actually made it to the end of the interview. The second round was 2 separate interviews with HR and the person who would be my line manager. They both said that if I had made it this far, I would have to come across as an axe murderer to lose out (why to axe murderers get such a bad rap anyway?)

So I got the job, and set me up for the rest of my career so far, which I've been very good at and enjoyed so far.

A while into my job I asked my boss why he interviewed me the way he did. He said working out whether I would be competent for the role from a skills perspective would have been too easy, so he wanted instead to try and push me out of my comfort zone, and see how I would react.

At my current employer I was a line manager for a while, and have also been asked for a while to help out with interviews for various roles (testers, developers, BA's) to help get a feel for a candidate. While I've never gone to the level he did to grill someone outside of their comfort zone, I have learnt a few ways to weed out candidates.

Note these are my own learnings from my own experience. I'm not suggesting anyone else has to use them or even like them.

I'll let other people judge what sort of interviewer this makes me!

- When a candidate finishes answering a question, leave a few deliberate seconds before moving on or responding. Maybe spend it writing some notes and then just wait a few seconds. A good candidate will be confident in their answer and not say anything further, or will at least ask if you are happy with the answer, or if they need to explain further. A BS merchant will get worried at the silence and will try and fill it. That is usually where they can be caught out

- In the days of face to face interviews, I would either draw a basic API integration diagram, and ask the candidate to explain it, or get them to draw out their own diagram for a requirement. Very basic, and not expecting them to get it 100% correct. It's more to see how their mind works when working through a scenario, but it can be very telling. We had a candidate we hired once where we didn't do this, and it quickly became clear that while they could talk a good talk, they couldn't achieve something like this even if you gave them the diagram to memorise. that person did not last long with us (there were other issues with them too)

- If the candidate decides to draw anything on the board as an answer when not asked explicitly to, be wary as it may be a rehearsed answer, and not something they actually understand. We had one candidate who wowed the people in the first round as a tester because they drew an integration diagram, albeit it to an audience of non-techies. They tried the same trick in the second round with me. I simply picked up the pen after them and drew two new boxes to represent some new supplier systems, and asked them how they would test and verify integration into their diagram. They simply could not answer it, even though it was their own practiced scenario

- I haven't done this for a while, but I used to set small tasks for potential BA candidates where they would be tested to make a small Use Case/spec update ahead of an interview, or have to prepare a small presentation for a new requirement. Again, this can give you a much better insight into how they operate, than asking some of the standard questions


Re: On/off/on

Well...? We're waiting :p

Somebody is destined for somewhere hot, and definitely not Coventry


Re: Dont use corporate emails for this sort of thing

Smart to stay anonymous. Not only do they know where you live, they know where to find you in the woods!

Windows 11 comes bearing THAAS, Trojan Horse as a service


Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

In my view, the next big market after business is education, and that is where it is possible to go for dominance.

Most educational organisations (be it school level or university level) will already be using MS for Windows and Office. Having Teams built in will be easier to get teachers to use and support, rather than going for third party tools.

I already went through this with my young son who had the experience of home schooling for the first time during the January lockdowns (UK). His school decided to use Teams as the teachers all had it on their laptops already due to Office 365 subscriptions.

That was a problem for me though, since my list of devices available were:

- A Linux laptop (Teams on Linux is woeful)

- An old Windows 7 laptop my wife refuses to let me upgrade to Linux. Not used for anything financial anymore, it's really just there for iTunes sake (I hang my head in shame just at the mention of that)

- Taking time out to let him use my work laptop

In the end we installed Teams on an iPad, which was at least stable enough to let him have both video working and see the screen his teacher was sharing.

I can see this being the office effect all over again. Generations will grow up being used to Teams from education, so it will silently become the defacto to continue in the business world.

Outside of education, I agree that WhatsApp and FaceTime are the real market leaders for personal comms, with Zoom only used when there are more than 4 or 5 people on the group call.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5


The future is laser (for me)

I got fed up with the hassle of inkjets and their costs when I was at university, and switched to a small Samsung Laser printer (monochrome). I can't remember the exact model, but it was a great little printer. The ink lasted for ages, and it had an "eco" mode you could switch on with a little button on the top, that used less ink. Print quality looked identical between eco and normal modes as long as it wasn't low on ink.I think I used it for a decade, with a few years of continuous printing of lecture notes and coursework while at uni. In the end the rollers wore out, and it couldn't pick up paper anymore. I probably could have kept it going but I passed it on to someone who was going to try and repair it for their own use.

Last year just as lockdowns started, I bought a Brother DCP-L8410CDW - colour laser with scanner built in. Totally inappropriate for a home office, it just takes up too much space!

But the printing quality has been fantastic. and it's been great both for work and also for home schooling. I've looked at costs for buying new ink for it, and while it will be expensive to get all the different colour cartridges (are they still called cartridges for laser printers?) as a one off payment, current estimates show I would only need to purchase it once every 24 months, which will make it very economical from a print per page perspective.

Dell bigwig: Expect another 6 months of supply woes. Oh, hello Windows 11


Re: "a collection of kit that's now two years old"

I'd look at it another way. It means there will be a lot of decently specced business hardware entering the refurbished market when that upgrade cycle starts, which will be good for the savvy amongst us.

I might even finally decide to replace the 19 year old Dell Inspiron laptop I gave the kids. They're 5 and coming up to 3, so an air gapped laptop with Puppy Linux has been good enough for them to use with some basic typing and drawing apps. I'm starting to lose them to Youtube and Netflix now though...

Updating in production, like a boss


Racing to stop one of these from happening

Had a slight reversal of the scenario at a previous employer.

We had been struggling at our customer site with a problem with the reference data we had loaded. It always seemed like updates to some of the original data loaded was not taking effect. The changes were visible in the Product Catalogue Database, but once deployed into the rating databases it wasn't taking effect. The struggle went on for a week or so, until I found the problem. By this time I was back at our office in a different country, so I was supporting the team remotely.

The product in question used a special table to track the "version" of reference data, it allowed the capability to be able to deploy reference data changes as their own release, but also be able to roll back to a stable version if required. I found there was a case where there were duplicate entries in the table for the original reference data loaded. When updates were being made, our applications were able to correctly track the change with one record, but the duplicate(s) were being left in situ with no update on them, which was then causing havoc.

I wrote up a pretty long SQL script to identify the affected records and passed this on to PM's and the developers investigating the issue with me. The response I got back was a "thanks for the help, you've found a defect affecting multiple customer sites, and we have built a patch to fix the issue. It's being deployed to customer Production sites globally ASAP".

my manager was a bit concerned about:

a) how did they write a patch so quickly, they don't usually do that.

b) they seem to be rushing this out a bit too quick for his liking.

So he asked me to verify what they had built. I went trawling through the patch to find a tiny little SQL file in it, with nothing but this:

DELETE FROM holy_grail_of_tables;


I had to go chasing after him to tell him to make sure the patch wasn't deployed anywhere. Luckily he was quite well connected in the company and was also on the phone with someone with some influence, so managed to get that patch rollout stopped before it did any damage.

After that the devs weren't allowed to apply any fix for this issue until it had been specifically reviewed and OK'd by me. I seem to remember that I had to write out the majority of the correct patch for them too - but that might be me remembering myself as the only hero of the story :p

Icon as that is what the developers at that place used to make me do quite often.


In one of our products, we have a database table that links to an address book table using the "Address ID". Unfortunately due to a spelling mistake not being noticed, we are instead referencing that Address using the "Adderss ID".

We always look back and wonder if that particular dev was thinking of "Adders" or "Udders" at the time they did that!

That thing you were utterly sure would never happen? Yeah, well, guess what …


Testing in production, the fun way

A Previous employer, was helping roll out our latest OCS platform for a Telco based in mainland Europe...

Someone wanted me to test that the OCS integration with the SMS-C was fully operational, but the configuration for the standard alerts (low balance, top up completed etc) hadn't been deployed yet.

The system was essentially being rolled out as a Greenfield deployment first, before migrating the rest of the customer base from a legacy system. So it left us in the weird state of having a Production system which had some real customers, but mostly test accounts to finalise things with.

I had one potential way I could inject in a message to send, the fact it wasn't fully logged by our system was just a coincidence, honest guvnor.

So I took one of the clients standard messages from customer care and "personalised" it for someone from the client side who had recently come back from holiday, informing him that his roaming usage was very high and he needs to contact customer care immediately to discuss how he will pay for it. It was great because he had been a) boasting about the great holiday he had while we were all toiling away and b) he did take a test SIM with him and generate a lot of valid roaming traffic on his travels for testing.

The look on his face was priceless, what was even better was watching him walk around and show it to 10-15 other people asking if they knew anything about it. They didn't (only 2 of us knew) but everyone agreed it looked like a legit message, since it came from the official number etc.

We had to fess up when we found him in the middle of calling customer care about it!

Unfortunately the client couldn't accept the prank as a formal test of the SMS-C integration, so I had to repeat the test with valid configuration once it has been rolled out.


Re: Sounds like agile at it's best

A healthy pipeline of work for the next sprint!

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance


Data Centres are like potted plants, right?

First time poster, long time lurker!

As part of a managed service for a client, I once had to explain to a new Project Manager how we were performing a Data Centre move and DR project all in one.

We were moving from having a single production site, into a new a set-up where we had replicated hardware across two Data Centres with a new DC provider.

The approach would have been something like this:

Site A: "legacy data centre"

Site B: first location in new Data Centres (newly built up hardware)

Switch Site B to be active, following a period of data replication/sync

Move the hardware from Site A to Site C (second location in the new Data Centres)

After completing configuration, switch to Site C as the primary site (so the original hardware will remain as primary site going forward)

He just couldn't understand this concept of moving things around, so I had to use the potted plants lying about in the clients office to get the point across, much to the amusement of his colleagues as he stretched his brain cells to understand.

Some people were surprised when his contract wasn't renewed, others were not....

Icon as that's what people thought of his PM skills.