delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Change my job-title to, "Knight Errant, Keeper of the Bits, Guardian of the Unwary, and Defender against the Internet Hordes".
  • ... "Claims of accuracy are not a compelling argument. You're not allowed a better job title than I have."
  • Update the GECOS field for my user account to a value other than that held by HR.
  • To not circumvent this restriction by updating testing accounts instead.
  • To also not update the GECOS field for other users contrary to User Administration policy. Take the suffix "(Killjoy)" off my account at once.
  • ... "No, you not allowed ask the head of User Administration for special permission. She'll say yes."
  • The University's Graduation ceremonies should not be referred to as the "Semi-Annual Batman Cosplay Convention."
  • ... "moreover, you will only be admitted if wearing the traditional formal robes. Your sloppy clown make-up and purple jacket is completely inappropriate."
  • You are not to invent your own hazard glyph that asserts "THIS OBJECT IS COMPLETELY HARMLESS".
  • ... particularly if it has a post-it added that adds, "... unless provoked."
  • No, the Vice-Chancellor is not a Cylon.
  • You are not empowered to set condition one throughout the department.
  • The departmental fire coordinator is responsible for managing the building's fire wardens, not for calling in airstrikes on targets of interest. Send that radio equipment back.
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Name servers after meta-syntactic variables.
  • The correct strategy for coping with a contagious illness is not, "Continue to come in and cough on all the users, so that there's no work for you to do when you recover.”
  • Configure the undergraduate lab workstations to object verbally when someone tries to wander off with one of it's peripherals.
  • Change the graphical login shell on April Fools Day to mimic the Windows 95 desktop, complete with Mac start-up chord.
  • Tell a user that all of their data – and all of the backups of their data – are gone, "Just to see the look on their little faces."
  • Reduce load on the home-directory servers by implementing "rolling SIGSTOPs" on end-user terminals.
  • Keep sharpened CD blanks in my desk drawers.
  • Say, "Ooops, that's not the button I meant to press." while in earshot of, well, anyone.
  • Explain to undergraduates that "the git revision control tool" is an implement used by authoritarian lecturers to make them prepare harder for exams.
  • Publish notices in public spaces claiming that "It's not just you. Technical support really are out to get you. Yes, you."
  • ... or add a footnote claiming that the ire of technical services can be placated with chocolate.
  • Well done, however, for passing your first-aid training. Hopefully you won't need it. While you're at it, could you take over as the local fire coordinator as well..?
(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Refer to my office as the 'holding cell'.
  • Remove the world-executable bit from /bin/rm, because "the users can't be trusted to use it safely."
  • Demonstrate my dominion over the undergraduate lab by scripting all of the lab machines to sequentially eject and withdraw their CD drive trays in a continuous mexican wave.
  • Update the service status page to enumerate the current functional levels of the system administrators.
  • ... particularly listing your own status as "low voltage on +5 line, supply more coffee."
  • Reconfigure printers to display as their low-toner message NEED MORE POWDERED CHOCOLATE.
  • ... or have them display the message OM NOM PAPER when loading from the extended magazine.
  • ... never, ever configure the printers to display the message JUDGING YOU at any time. One of the secretaries had to be restrained from beating their office photocopier to death with their shoe.
  • The correct sequence of steps of making a presentation is not, "1: Insert foot in mouth. 2: Aim gun at foot. 3: Fire." Kindly remove this text from the "Helpful advice to undergraduates" wiki-page.
  • Maintain and/or distribute fortunes files containing quotes from University lecturers.
  • Add Aerial Faith Plate markings to the floor-tiles in the machine-room.
  • ... or label individual lecture theatres and labs with test-chamber glyphs.
  • ... or, in any other way, indicate to the student population that cake may be found in the College tutor's offices.
  • I am permitted, nay encouraged, to study the Canons of Effective and Ethical Systems Adminstration. The study of cannons, however, is strongly contraindicated.
(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Name the new batch of file-servers after Latin expletives.
  • Name any server ORWELL.
  • .. especially if it's the network IDS box or HTTP proxy server.
  • .. your second choice of name of BLACKMAIL for the HTTP proxy server is likewise vetoed.
  • Change the ring-tone on my office phone to the theme tune from "Mission: Impossible".
  • ... or have it signal an incoming call from the Financial officer by playing, "Back in Black."
  • ... similarly forbidden combinations include "Smoke on the Water" for the building Fire officer, "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" for the site medical team, or "Go Go Power Rangers" for campus security.
  • ... Modification of the ringtone or any other setting of other users' handsets without express permission from the owner is likewise forbidden.
  • Random Early Drop is not a legitimate strategy for coping with too many support tickets.
  • The back-up tapes are not scared of the dark.
  • ... Do not assign individual personalities to different back-up tapes.
  • ... Do not draw eyes and faces on the back-up tapes in permanent black marker.
  • ... The back-up tapes cannot speak, nor have they formed a collective and elected you their leader.
  • ... In the event the back-up tapes do speak, you are not to follow their advice.
  • In short, do not anthropomorphise the backup tapes. We don't like it.
  • ... We are not asking you to anthropomorphise Departmental Management. Despite your protestations to the contrary, we are already anthropomorphic.
  • No, rioting in the streets does not constitute legal grounds for forming a "People's Militia", a.k.a forming your own Security group.
  • ... Also, no, martial-arts instruction can't be funded out of the Departmental training budget.
  • ... We are, however, accepting your request for training in first-aid. We suspect it's probably a bad idea, but we can't immediately see how..
(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Install posters about the building advertising Sysadmin Appreciation Day.
  • ... particularly those listing karma score exchange rates for various classes of gift.
  • ... you are also not permitted to take that day off as leave for the express purpose of encouraging the user population to appreciate you when you are here.
(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Install signs of any description next to the building's motorized rotating doors.
  • ... Especially labels that read, "It is perfectly safe to walk through this device."
  • ... Especially when the label can only be read after stepping inside.
  • Grief the undergraduates on the Minecraft server they're running on one of the Departmental interactive shell machines.
  • Maintain a list of things that ${BOSS_SYSADMIN} is not allowed to do at work.
  • Violate Eschaton Clause Three.
  • Make clear that when I'm talking about simple alternatives to manipulating git history, that I'm referring to the revision control tools of that name, rather than the Helpdesk manager.
  • "I am altering your disk quota. Pray I do not alter it any further."
  • Answer queries of the form "What am I doing wrong?" with the response, "Would you like an enumerated list?"
  • I shall not refer to the handcrank used for locking / unlocking room partitions as the Education Stick.
  • Zero /etc/passwd on a clueless user's computer so that they can't log in -- causing the console to print "You don't exist. Go away." when they try to reboot via CTRL-ALT-DEL...
  • Unload a CO2 fire-extinguisher on people standing next to a 'No Smoking' sign while puffing on a cigarette.
  • Use the Justice Field episode of Red Dwarf as a model for how best to educate / punish users that try to do evil things. Such as wipe another user's home directory..
  • Configure my workstation to run interesting screensavers with a short time-out, as they may have the effect of diverting the attention of senior members of the department when they stop by my desk to talk to me.
  • ... or get them to sign-off on pay-rises or changes in effective responsibility while they're cognitively distracted.
  • ... Also, stop trying to take over Security operations. We said 'no'.
(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: University sysadmin.)
  • Not to install next to some of the more interesting equipment in the campus tunnel system, signs that read, "It is perfectly safe to walk past this device."
  • ... Similarly, painting lurid crosshairs on the concrete wall or ground next to such equipment is contraindicated.
  • Attach hazard labels to computer equipment with an explosive-hazard glyph, and the text, "DANGER: This unit is fitted with an anti-theft device. If siren sounds, stand well clear." Whilst we appreciate the cost-effectiveness of such a security solution, the stickers are worrying the security, cleaning and -- most importantly -- the secretarial staff, and is making it somewhat difficult for us to carry our laptops internationally..
  • Disable the spam filter on a user's account to convince them of its efficacy.
  • Hollow out any space underneath the central lawn area, nor house aircraft of any kind anwyhere on site.
  • ... this includes that remote-control quadrocopter with the lasers attached.
  • Responses to requests of the form, "I'd like to speak to your supervisor" should not include phrases such as, "Do not mistake me for some conjurer of cheap tricks". Even if they are a bolshy student from outside the department trying to score some free OS licenses.
  • Not to violate any clause of the Geneva Conventions at any time.
  • Not to construct, or bring on-site, portable or fixed-emplacement electromagnetic pulse devices for 'secure data wiping operations' or for any other purpose without permission.
  • Acceptable strategies for replacing out-of-date OS installations do not include a bulk mail-shot that reads: "Anyone found with an operating system installation from prior to 2009 will be donated to the bioinformaticians for genetic sampling. A floor-by-floor audit begins in 15 minutes. Get cracking."
  • ... Similarly, threatening to configure such old installations to play Barbie Girl, Go Go Power Rangers and similar dreck at maximum volume, on loop, until they're reinstalled is a no-no.
  • ... Configuring all of the Undergraduate lab workstations to play the first few bars of the Imperial March when you enter the room was very cool, and we're very impresed how you wired up PulseAudio, a multicast RTP broadcaster, and a control interface on your Android phone to make it happen. But no.
  • WE TAKE IT BACK! Don't make ANY noise when you move. ESPECIALLY NOT TICKING!
(Continued!)
Edited to add: Sticker designs, because I was asked ever so nicely:

(SVG)

(SVG)

Please don't do something silly like slap this on a laptop and take it through an airport. You might get me in trouble!

delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: Newly-minted sysadmin, university setting.)
  • Install red lights in the Systems office for use by the Night Shift.
  • ... or airhorns for surprising the Night Shift.
  • Add additional functions to the text-to-speech agents on the undergraduate lab machines without prior approval from Management.
  • ... or configure them to reproduce GLaDOS's speech-patterns without approval from Management.
  • ... our your own speech-patterns.
  • ... especially that god-damned laugh.
  • Change the speaking fire-alarm system to say anything other the normal "In the interests of safety, please evacuate the building" message save with express authorization from the Fire Safety Officer.
  • ... We especially disapprove of the particular phrase you chose to install prior to the last scheduled fire drill, "Containment failure in Sub-basement Two; unscheduled reactant excursion in progress. You have 15 minutes to reach minimum safe distance."
    Do you have any idea how hard it is to retain good security staff?
  • ... No, you still can't take over Security operations.
  • Requisition Gurkhas from the MoD for any purpose whatsoever.
  • ... This prohibition likewise applies to Gurkhas who have retired.
  • Declare martial law.
  • Resolve problem tickets of the form "Help, I am over my disk quota!" with the gleeful response, "Fixed!"
  • Suggest the best way to stop students from borrowing and not returning Mac VGA adaptors is to attach explosive charges to them.
  • ... and when one of the other new Sysadmins asks, "What, the students, or the adaptors?" respond with the words, "Excellent; I can see your training is coming along nicely!"
  • ... This is specifically and especially contraindicated in circumstances when the student making the request is still within earshot.
  • Accept bribes in any form, including but not limited to: cookies, flasks of Dr. Pepper, or chocolate, in exchange for prioritizing a user's print-job above the others on Project Printing Day.
  • Accept ransom in any form, including the aforementioned, in exchange for not suspending a user's print-job on Project Printing Day.
  • Reset my password to '); DROP DATABASE;-- shortly before helping evaluate the projects of, as you put it, "final year students with low karma scores".
  • Your first words uttered to the new teenaged work experience student shall not be, "Ahh, excellent! Another helper! Before we begin, tell me, you don't have any serious medical conditions that I should be aware of, do you?"
  • ... Your new habit of grinning manically and steepling your fingers, whilst less audible than the previously forbidden hideously evil laughter, is likewise contraindicated.
  • ... In fact, we'd prefer it if you made some noise when you moved, too.
Total time elapsed in post: 24 days.

(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Previously. Recap: Newly-minted sysadmin, university setting.)
  • Threaten to replace any of my cow-orkers with a very small Perl script.
  • Attempt to merge the technical-support and campus-security departments without approval from Management.
  • Attempt to bypass the campus-security group and form my own tactical black-operations team without prior approval from Management.
  • The words "Do whatever makes sense to you" from a technical discussion last week does not constitute approval from Management for tactical operations of any kind.
  • ... Tactical vests, mirror shades, and earpieces are not approved wear for systems administrators.
  • Carry smoke grenades onto the university grounds at any time.
  • Wear day-glo cycling gear and bicycle pants in front of the other systems administrators more than is absolutely necessary.
  • Install UpsideDownTernet on the laptop gateway.
  • Wonder aloud how best to install pyrotechnic charges in the undergraduate lab workstations, so that when users click "Eject" on their USB memory stick icons, they do.
  • Run Dsniff on the network boundry packet-logger to capture and passwords sent over the wire in clear, then publish them via the projectors in the lecture theatres.
  • RESOLVE tickets with the comment, "That'll teach you to use strong encryption next time."
  • Say to the helpdesk manager, "You have a woman's passport, m'lord" in a comedy Blackadder voice. Even if it is in a pink carry-case.
  • ... or in any other voice, god-dammit.
  • Leave the BSOD screensaver running on my Systems workstation when Management are likely to visit.
  • ... or that other one that simulates a vertical-hold failure on your expensive new LCD panel.
  • ... in fact, just uninstall those and use a starfield or something, would you?
  • Answer a user's complaint of failed network connectivity with the words, "Hello, and welcome to Technical Support. You are currently being held in a queue. Your copyright-infringing activities are important to us. All of our agents are currently.. busy. Please remain still and touch nothing; one of our operatives will see to you shortly."
Total time elapsed in post: 13 days.

(Continued!)
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
(Newly-minted sysadmin, university setting.)
  • Tell users that if I don't like them that I'll halve their disk quota. Every 30 seconds.
  • Laugh in a genuinely frightening, deep and evil fashion while users are in earshot.
  • ... or other sysadmins are in earshot.
  • Laugh in a high-pitched, gremlin-like fashion.
  • Sneeze-explode without giving everyone at least 5-seconds notice so that they can don ear-defenders.
  • Laugh at the help-desk chap's entertainingly cute sneezes.
  • ... in fact, just stop laughing, will you?
  • Suddenly appear out from under a cow-orkers desk unexpectedly while clutching power cables.
  • Answer the helpline phone with the words, "Special Operations - You Tag 'Em, We Frag 'Em."
  • Refer to a certain former Australian predecessor as "Skippy the Idiot."
  • Locate end-users generating sudo security alerts and bring them in for questioning.
  • Add a karma field to the user administration table.
  • Implement an automated "reward" scheme for users with excess karma..
Total time elapsed in post: 11 days.

(Continued!)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I worked for about a year and a half as tech support at a little domains'n'more shop in the Phoenix area, before I up and moved to California. After moving, I went back through all my journal entries and came up with a list of rules.

Things Azz (or Azz's co-workers) Shouldn't Do in the Workplace:


  1. Must not knock over computers in the training room, even if they are just where a stray foot can push them over.

  2. "A great big truck" should never be included in any description of how the internet works.

  3. When specifically excluding "a great big truck" from discussions of how the internet works, should wait until instructor's mouth is no longer full of coffee.

  4. Must sign out for breaks with something at least resembling her legal name.

  5. Must not claim the last name of "Lunatic" when calling Tier 2, because they will take me seriously and get mad when they don't find me on the list.

  6. May not throw beachballs at the heads of teammates anymore.

  7. May not throw beachballs over the heads of teammates anymore.

  8. May no longer violate the airspace of the nearby Quality Assurance cubes with:

    • beachballs

    • frisbees

    • frisbees-missing-their-centers

    • hackey-sacks

    • Nerf footballs

    • Nerf baseballs

    • ...anything, really
    Read more... )
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