Crapahildis

William Gibson has a wonderful entry on his blog from the other day, regarding old Dutch names like Crapahildis. It is no wonder why names like that, and Hortense, etc. have died out. My god. It’s strange, though, that I feel a machine naming scheme coming on…

Reorganization to Add Vision

Okay, so the blog has been suffering a little. Sorry folks. I’ve just been burnt out. My primary job has been hectic lately, as management reorganized quite a large chunk of the system administration and “base technologist” jobs a month ago. I’m not complaining at all, actually, even though the last two weeks have been 70 hour weeks. I know I’m not going to get any sympathy when I say that I really try to keep to 40 hours a week (hey, work smarter not harder). Sometimes a reorg can be a good thing, if you are able to get some things fixed in the process. One thing that is really getting fixed are some of the operating system teams. …

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Back

Ah, New York City is a wonderful place. But it’s good to be home now, too. More later, when I get a chance to sort through all my email.

Exhausted

I’m exhausted. In the last five days I’ve spent 26 hours at the Bartell Theatre in Madison, along with two days of weddings, and softball practice (I haven’t played softball in years and my arms are going to fall off). I do a lot of work as a tech with the Strollers theatre company. I’ve looked for a hobby for a long time that involves a minimal amount of computers but still appeals to my technical nature, and theater tech work fits the bill. Often the tech work spills over into other non-Strollers stuff, like installing a new stage floor, but it’s fun, and the techs get comp tickets (usually used by friends, since the techs often see the show …

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Doing and Talking

There seems to be a spectrum that all people can be classified into. One end of the spectrum is “doing” and the other is “planning.” There are the cowboys at one end, who never plan anything but just do things. There are the dullards at the other end that never actually do anything because their plan might not be complete. Most of the IT folks I work with seem to fall in the center somewhere, where they know just the right amount of planning that it will take to implement something, but then can switch gears and get it done. Often these people fall towards the “doing” side of the spectrum. I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately, though, where managers …

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Mmm, DDoS

While I was gone last Friday one of my Linux boxes was DDoS’ed. I’m not sure that the proper response was “oh, cool!” though. Heh, I’ve had nearly every continent scan and attack me but never any DDoS lovin’, and that’s fairly exciting to me. I’m actually a bit annoyed that I missed it. It was all small UDP packets hitting all possible ports, beginning *exactly* at 01:00 CDT and ending *exactly* at 09:00 CDT. Props to the DDoS’ers — they’ve mastered cron. 🙂 My network colleagues tell me it hit 300,000 flows per hour. Interestingly enough, the Linux box — a single-CPU Dell PowerEdge 2650 running Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3 — didn’t seem to notice much, beyond …

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The Big Easy

I just spent an extended weekend in New Orleans. That town is amazing. Given the liquor I seem to have consumed, at least based on the rate my wallet was getting lighter (aside from the airport parking kiosk eating my credit card), I can’t even believe the amount of alcohol that must flow through the French Quarter. I was definitely less intoxicated than many people. One neat thing I did was taking the City Segway Tour. While the tour itself wasn’t super informative, the novelty of riding a Segway HT through parts of the French Quarter and Algiers Point far outweighed any negatives. Those Segways are awesome little machines. The controls themselves are fairly simple, once you get used to …

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Good Old Days

Ah, “progress” or a budget finally caught up to the UNIX guys. If these guys hadn’t written UNIX, and the Berkeley guys hadn’t hacked it all up, where would we be today? I have been quite fortunate in that I got a chance to talk to Dennis Ritchie at length a few years ago, in what basically amounted to a chance encounter when I offered to get him a beer at a USENIX evening event. I didn’t even know who he was, just that he needed a drink (the beer was free, I wasn’t being real noble). He mentioned something to me, though, which sticks out in my mind. He said that he was at the right place at the …

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“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

I nominate the following for the sysadmin motto, as stated by God in the “Godfellas” episode of Futurama. “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.” It sure seems that way to me. Take, for instance, patching of machines, which is a thankless job because the customer often sees it as an unnecessary inconvenience. If you get hacked, though, it’s blame city. A good customer of mine asked me last Friday if all the downtime to patch is necessary. “Doesn’t it seem sort of reactionary?” he asked. Yes, it is quite reactionary, but I think all this news of Zotob.? and RBOT seems to justify it. I mailed him the link to the CNN …

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Hello

To mangle The Clash, I fought the blog and the blog won. I have avoided a blog for a long time. While trying to avoid blogging I’ve also been yearning to start a system adminstration web site that isn’t just forums. Something with more personality and higher signal-to-noise is in order, where the n00b questions don’t sap the energy of the site. I read a lot of blogs by programmers, such as Phil Haack over at haacked.com and DrunkenBatman at drunkenblog.com, where programming and life as a code-enabled human gets woven into a sort of an ongoing narrative. In hoping to do something similar as a sysadmin, it finally occurred to me that I should do just that: something similar, …

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