fallenpegasus: amazon (Default)
At one company I worked at, one of the problems it didn't have was IT.

When someone was hired, by the time they got to their new desk, there was a computer on it with the correct image on it, their desk phone worked, their email worked, the calendaring and scheduling worked, and all necessary passwords and ACLs were configured. The internal ethernet networks all worked, were fast, and were properly isolated from each other. The wall ports were all correctly labeled, and there where the right kinds of wall ports in each cubical and conference room. The presentation projectors and conference room speaker phones all worked. The printers all worked, printed cleanly, were kept stocked, and were consistently named. The internet connections were fast and well managed. Internal and external security incidents were quickly recognized and dealt with. Broken machines were immediately replaced with working and newly imaged replacements. If someone accidentally deleted a file, getting it back from backup typically took less than an hour. Software updates were announced ahead of time, and usually happened without issue.

The IT staff did not seem noticeably bitter, angry, harried, or otherwise suffering from the emotional costs traditionally endemic to that job role. In fact, they were almost invisible in their skill and competence.

So, of course, came the day when the senior executives said "the carpets are just naturally clean all the time, we don't need all these janitors!". IT was "reorganized" into a smaller staff of younger and much less experienced (and probably cheaper) people.

Of course, it all went to shit. New employees would go a week before they had machines, phones, passwords, and ACLs. Printers ran out of paper, projectors ran out of lightbulbs, servers ran out of storage, networks got misconfigured, and so forth. The total time lost and wasted across the whole company was most certainly greater than the savings of laying off the expensive and skilled IT staff.

This is not to say that the reorganized IT staff were stupid or lazy. They worked very hard and ran themselves ragged trying to keep up with the cycle of operations, while trying to skill themselves up in their "spare time" and with a slashed training budget.

The lessons I learned from this experience speak for themselves.

What lessons that may have been learned by any of the other people involved, especially the executives who made these decisions, I cannot say.
fallenpegasus: amazon (Default)
So, a couple of days ago, we configured one of our development boxes so that it will work outside the corporate LAN, and then ship it to the cableco who's going along with our IPTV experiment.

They get it, and after some excitement (some cables had come loose during shipping), it gets attached to their IPTV network, and turned on.

All is good, yes?


This box, for random reasons, was configured to try to boot off the `net before booting off it's HD. This was harmless in-house, since we don't have a PXE bootserver.

It appears that this particular network, it did.

The poor little peecee woke up, said "hello" to the world, and then suddenly this big bad PXE server comes over to it and says HELLO LITTLE BOY! YOU'RE NEW HERE! I LIKE YOU. YOU WANT TO BE A TV STB, DON'T YOU? HERE, EAT THIS CANDY, BOOT THIS INSTALL KERNEL. YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT. HERE! TAKE IT! TAKE IT!!! LITTLE BUGGER, I'LL MAKE YOU LIKE IT!

And when it was all over, the poor little peecee was left crying and bloody behind the bushes in the new playground, it's brain and HD well scrambled. All it wanted was to be friends.

Poor little peecee.

So, what have I been doing today? Preping another peecee to send out and plug into that network. Only this one is a little bit more wise, a little bit more suspicious. It boots off of itself, and only off itself, and if any big bad PXE server tries to rape it, it's going to kick it in the ****.


fallenpegasus: amazon (Default)
Mark Atwood

October 2017

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