BOFH

About 5 thousand years ago at UCT a friend of mine introduced me to the BOFH series. I decided knowing what BOFH is is a prerequisite for the ops position I have open so I found them online and while I’m waiting for the right version of Ubunu to download (after installing the 32 bit version on a 64bit xeon) I was LMFAO to the very first one called Genesis – and here it is:

I’m really bored. You know how bored you get when work’s going on and on and on, and nothing interesting is happening, and you’re listening to a radio that picks up ONE station on FM, and it’s always the station with the least records in the city, about 5, and one of them is “You’re so Vain” which wasn’t too bad a song until you hear it about 3 times a day for a year, and *EVERY* time it plays, the announcer tells you it’s about Warren Beaty and who he’s currently poking, someone you’ll never sniff the toe-jam of, let alone meet, let alone get amourous with. And EVERY time someone mentions Warren Beaty, someone says that he used to go out with Madonna too, and have you seen “In Bed With..”

AND THEN, someone ELSE will say “It wasn’t really about Warren Beaty, it was James Taylor” and the first person will say “What, `In bed with Madonna?'”, and they laugh and everyone else laughs, and I slip out the Magnum from under the desk where I keep it in case someone laughs at a joke that’s so dry it’s got a built in water-fountain, and blow the lot of them away as a community Service. I figure that I’ll get time off my sentence if I ever kill someone by accident who’s got a life.

So visitors are getting pretty thin at the moment, and the Quick-Lime Pits are filling up rapidly, and all I’ve got to do is the full backups and maybe I can go home.

So, to relieve the boredom, I get some iron filings and pour them into the back of my Terminal until it fizzes out (Which doesn’t take all that long, surprisingly enough), then call our maintenance contractors and log a fault on the device. Sometimes they’ll send someone who knows what they’re doing, but it’s a lot more fun when they don’t – which is about 98% of the time.

So they maintenance guy comes in, and I can tell he’s NEW because the photo on his ID actually LOOKS like him, not like the head engineer, whose photo’s a black and white tin-type (he’s that old).

Maintenance Contractors always dress up nice, with a tie and everything because they believe that a customer will trust a nicely dressed guy with their million dollar equipment *just* because he’s got a nice tie..

Because he’s NEW and ALONE, he’s what you call an appeasement engineer, the new guy they send so they respond within the 4 hour guaranteed response period. (Things are getting better and better) Your average appeasement engineer is about as clued-up on computers as the average computer “hacker” is about B.O, and their main job is to make sure the power plug is in and switched on, then call back to the office for “PARTS”. The really keen ones will sometimes even take a cover off the equipment and pretend that they see this stuff all the time. I wonder what sort today’s is…

“You got a dud terminal?” he asks pleasantly

I tell him yeah, and bring him into the control room.

“Which one is it?” he asks, confused by the fact that only one of them is smoking.

“It’s the Model Three” I say, giving NOTHING away.

“Ah, the old model three!” he says knowingly, without a clue what a model three is, or which one of the three terminals it is, which isn’t surprising, as I just made it up.

“We get a lot of Model Three problems” he says nodding “So what actually happened?”

Sneaky, but not good enough. I’m not going to point it out to him.

“It just went dead” I say, in luser mode.

“I see. Could you just recreate what you were doing so I can check the unit out when it’s ready for operation?”

Very Sneaky. I decide to let him off the hook.

“Look, I’ve got to go to the toilet, there it is over there” I say, pointing at our Waffle-Iron.

“But that’s a Wa…” He says, then stops. He’s a beginner, and it’s just possible that the company has a line of terminals that look like waffle irons. He bites.

“Sorry” he says, smiling again “for a minute there I thought it was a Model 2!”

A reasonably good save, but it won’t save him. “Huh, it’s nothing like a model 2! *THAT’S* the model 2” I say, pointing to the expresso machine.

He nods and I leave, which means he’s got to take the iron to bits, otherwise he knows I won’t believe he’s worked on it. I give him a couple of minutes to get the element exposed then wander back in.

“So how does it look?” I ask, concerned-like.

“Well, I think we could have a processor problem..” he says concentrating on prying the element up.

..concentrating so much that he doesn’t notice me plugging the iron in.

“Shouldn’t you be wearing an earthing strap?” I ask innocently.

When he thinks I can’t see, he creeps his hand over to the wiring frame and says “Well, It’s just as easy to hold onto earth like this”

“But what about the risk of a cross-the-body shock with no resistor in series with you?” I ask ever-so-more-innocently

“Oh, it’s ok” he says “the unit’s unplug…”

>click< >BZZZZZZZEEERRT!< >clunk!<

I ring the maintenance help-desk again…

It’s Rhonda

“Hey Ronda!, Ah, I’m going to need another engineer and a new Waffle Iron over here; for some reason your engineer opened up my Waffle Iron without switching it off.” I say

Rhonda knows me. It’s the third call and the third appeasement engineer this year. You’d think they’d learn.

“You’re a real prick” she says, annoyed

“Tell ya what Rhonda, why don’t you come and fix it; it’s a Model Three…”

We Caucused Today in Sammamish, Washington

We went to Beaver Lake High School and Caucused today. It was jam packed and old timers were telling us this is the fullest they’ve ever seen it. The table next to us got 50 votes for Obama and only 4 for Clinton. Our table (or precinct) got 25 for Obama and 14 for Clinton. That resulted in 4 delegates for Obama and 2 for Clinton at our table. Kerry was elected as a delegate for Obama so she has to go to the regional caucuses in April and then maybe county and national.

It sounds like Obama took WA by storm today which is really great news and it was awesome getting together with our neighbors and chatting about how much we think Obama rocks.

I think one of the big differentiators with Obama is that he gets you thinking about how you can get involved and how you can help your country. It’s a very Kennedy-like approach to politics (…ask what you can do for your country) rather than Clinton who simply tells you what she’s going to do while she’s in office. It’s the people in a country that make it great, not the politicians and Obama gets that.

Based on the passion of the people I was seeing today, if for some reason the Democratic party superdelegates intervene and elect Clinton as the nominee, it will shatter the party like never before. The folks who support Clinton aren’t as passionate and as vocal as those who support Obama – at least here in Washington and in many other states from what I gather – and my guess is that we’ll all hit the streets and make a lot of noise if something like that happens.

This is a very exciting time for the United States and it reminds me of South Africa in the early 90’s when the ANC came into power and Nelson Mandela was released from prison and took presidency. I was in the Cape Town city center when Mandela spoke for the first time and one senses the same kind of enthusiasm at Obama rally’s that we had back then for someone new and a great change in the direction of our country.

Obama in Seattle, Lipitor and the Lake Washington Rowing Club

Kerry and I hit the Obama Rally at the Staples Center today at 11am. We got there late and it was already full to capacity – which is 17,000 people. So we decided to hang around outside with a crowd of around 5,000 other folks in freezing rain. The buzz was awesome and when Barack showed up he did a little impromptu speech on the stairs with nervous secret service agents behind him with an SUV with the door open and the engine running. Then they broadcast the speech from inside on the speakers outside. It was more like a rock concert than a political rally.

The message that resonated with me was “We don’t need a disease care system we need a health care system” – talking about preventative maintenance in health care rather than treating illness once they arise.

A few years ago drug companies started moving their focus to ‘lifestyle drugs’ like Lipitor that provide a constant revenue stream for the entire life of the patient. Lipitor is the worlds top selling drug incidentally. Keeping people healthy is not very profitable but treating sick people for their whole lives is very profitable.

The NY Times had an article yesterday on Lipitor and how it is being investigated by a congresional committee. There’s an interesting follow-up article today about how the congressional committee is trying to track down the stunt double that actually did the rowing that Dr Jarvik was supposed to be doing in the Lipitor ads. The NY Times says the rower is from Seattle and is a member of the Lake Washington rowing club and it was filmed locally.

A friend took this photo inside the staples center (right-click and view image for a much larger version)

Snowkiting and Powder in Utah

CRV and Bill Tai put together an awesome weekend in the mountains of Utah snowkiting. ThanksĀ  Jeff Kafka and team for some awesome instruction. I think the most memorable moment was Chris Sacca getting up on stage at the local bar and singing Stairway to Heaven including the screamy bits at the end. Tell me someone got that on video!!

I didn’t have a camera but hopefully some photos will be on Flickr soon.

Saturday we snowkited and I had a few great runs although I got my ass seriously whipped by a 10 meter kite on top of the windy ridge until one of the guys on a snowmachine came and grabbed my kite for me.

Sunday the conditions were whiteout and it was snowing heavily so we hit Park City for the deepest powder I’ve ever seen. It was a warm clear beautiful day and I hung out with Sunil Paul and Sebastian Thrun and turns out Sebastian is a spectacular skier and he gave me some great pointers on how to ‘bounce like you’re on a trampoline’ in powder. We did a few really challenging (for me) runs through trees and it was awesome!!

Posted in Fun