Favorite A.S.R. Posts

From: dpm@access1.digex.net (David P. Murphy)
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: Re: Favourite LART?

jrms@yc.estec.esa.nl writes:

>Ah. But a claymore is an "Ancient Scottish two-edged broadsword". At
>least that's what I thought he was taking about. It would make an
>excellent LART, surely. Claymore mines would damage the machines.

i am staring at a TZ30[1][2], and the thought of "damaging" it[3]
with a claymore mine holds great appeal to me at this moment.

[1]  the DEC tape drive from hell[4] for TK50 tapes[5]

[2]  the driver for which seems to consist of the following code:
while (bMounted) {
fprintf(stderr, "%%SYSTEM-F-PARITY, parity error\n");

[3]  they come pre-damaged from the factory, a big time-saver.

[4]  these should only be used by the very young, since they're the 
only ones who'll still be alive when the damn backup finally finishes.

[5]  which suck as well, of course.

From: Don Kitchen <don@cs.byu.edu>
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: Re: I've found... the answer!

Lars Balker Rasmussen <gnort@daimi.aau.dk> writes:

> I know of institutions who wouldn't touch HP-equipment if it was given
> to them along with a huge cash-grant.

I wish you'd tell me what kind of systems they're using instead, because HP
can't be doing much worse than Sun "would you like the compiler or internet
options with that" Microsystems, or Silicon "hey be glad the support-contract
number isn't a 1-900" Graphics. Then there's Digital "It sucks in 64 bits,
you can't suck in 64 bits anywhere else" Equipment Corp (Did we mention it's
64 bits?).

From: "Mark P. Beckman" <bofh@visi.com>
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: "you paged me for WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!"

I finally put an end to another of my 14 hour days about 8:45 last night,
and was on my way home when my pager went off.  Wasn't voice-mail[1],
wasn't paging software.  Was someone from work paging me directly.

So, I call the number on my pager, and get one of our

"What do you want?"
"Could you move a SQL file into production for me?"[2]

At this point, I began dwelling on which LART I should use on this
particular luser.  Something which would inspire a lot of fear on sight.
Somthing which would inflict pain.  A lot of pain. Verrrrry slowly, and
for a long time.[3]

"You paged me for what?"
"Er, to move a file into production. So, can you do it soon?"

Maybe an open container of plutonium.  Hear Russia's having a Blue-Light
Special (TM) on the stuff.

"Err, why?"
"Because, I'm on my cell phone, in my car, on my way to get something to
eat.  It will be at least 90 minutes before I get back to my apartment.
Even then, I've both phone lines tied up.  And, even if they weren't tied
up, I still wouldn't do so.  All production move requests need to be to me
before 5 pm, or else they wait until the next day."
"So, it won't get done tonight?"


[1]I have my voice-mail at work page me.  Yes, it's an annoyance.
However, this way I don't have to give out my home number (which is
unlisted).  "Can I have your home number, in case I have problems." "No,
just call my extension, and leave a message.  It'll page me."

[2]Moving SQL files into production requires root access.  Don't ask me
why, I didn't make it this way.  Good thing is, only a few/week.

[3]Several hours of taped, back-to-back episodes of "Regis and Kathie Lee"
came to mind.  Or, at least anything with Kathie Lee.

"ThisemailhasbeenbroughttoyoubyJOLTColoa,   |          bofh@visi.com
favoredbyssysadmins,netadminsandprogrammers |------------------------------
everywhere.JOLTCola--forallthesugarand      |       If the stockholders
twicethecaffine(R)."                        |           only knew...

From: gdm@kestrel.scs.uiuc.edu (Gian-Paolo D Musumeci)
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: Uberluser graduate student.

So I'm sitting at work one day, rereading[1] the Glorious Tales of the BOFH
for morale, when I get an e-mail from a secretary in a department that I did
some Web page design[2] for a while back.

"An uberluser grad student created another page for another part of the
department, and wants it linked with yours. Can you please help him?"

I look a bit baffled and realize that no, I did not implement any sort of
security on the Web directory[3], and the username and password for that
directory are common knowledge amongst the Powerful in that department.
Further, instead of being hosting this departmental page on the University's
main servers, he might want to put it on, say, the friendly local server
where all the other documents for this department were.

So I send the uberluser a polite email message saying that he might want
to look into putting them on the local server, telling him where the pages
I did reside, and to please inform me of any modifications.

The uberluser responds thusly:

I don't necessarily want to make any changes to anything you've done, just
put in links.

You can link the [...pages you've done...] to the [...page I did...], at
You can tell me how to do it myself.

That's all

I blink.

"What the hell?"

"Did he just give me OPTIONS? Like, a decree?"

So this request is now festering in my mailbox. There it shall stay, I
decree, until the uberluser approaches me on bended knee and proffering
gifts of chocolate and ammunition.

Unless anyone has any *better* ideas...


[1] For the, what, ten millionth time? It never grows old....
[2] Yes, yes, I confess. I had no choice. Long story.
[3] I don't have any control over the machine and I wasn't paid anywhere
near enough to do anything more than a casual chmod -R.

From: stefan.kapus@zetnet.co.uk (Stefan Kapusniak)
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: AIYYEEEEEEEE !!!!1!!!!!1

I am not a sysadmin.  No. _Not_ a sysadmin.

I'm altogether a much lower form of life[1]


I know I shouldn't have tried to answer the support question, I've
had to deal with that particular luser before.  It is invariably
not a success for either of us.

But the guy who normally deals with him is on leave[2] and I'm
thus the only person in the company who understands the creaky
and long in the tooth piece of software that this luser uses.

And the guilt kicked in.  As it does.

In response to my carefully worded requests for information on
precisely what he does leading up to getting the error message,
and what he thinks he's _trying_ to get the software to do, and
giving exactly which menus options to select to find the information
that I need to know to work out whether he's got a mis-configured

...he just repeats to me the same BLOODY ERROR message and none
of the information I ask for.  An error message which means 'the
luser tried to do this particular thing that doesn't happen to
make any sense', I know it means that because I WROTE THE DAMN
ERROR CODE...it tells me what he put in to get the error, I can
see it doesn't make ANY SENSE, and since he doesn't seem to realise
the necessity of telling me in detail WHAT HE'S ACTUALLY TRYING TO
DO, even when I ask him...

It doesn't help that his English isn't particularly good, and I
don't speak a word of his native tongue.  I can't work out
whether he doesn't understand a word I'm saying because it's in
English, or because he just happens to be brain-dead.

The Manager who does speak the native tongue, just returned from a
week long visit that included the lusers site, didn't seem to get my,
perhaps overly subtle, hint that maybe just maybe _he_ might want
to speak to the luser to ease communication difficulties.

I can't throttle said luser because he's on a different continent
to me;  not to mention the fact that his company keeps buying
our stuff.  Plus the GUILT and SHAME of my being a linguistic

And now he's just repeated his error message AGAIN, and casually
mentioned that actually they don't want the system to work like
_that_, it would be better if it worked like _this_[3].


*THWACK*                    *THWACK*

-- Kapusniak, Stefan m

[1] That dare not speak its name.

[2] and departs the company on Friday meaning that I will end up
doing user support on this string and sealing wax piece of
software. AAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIYYYYEeeeee !!!!111!!!!!!1

[3] Of course due to his broken English and the fact that he
doesn't give any detail, I can't make head nor tale of
what _this_ and _that_ are.

[4] Cced to my Manager[5], appended with eternal one line error
report with no useful information.

[5] Yes, the same Manager[6] who didn't get my subtle hint.

[6] Actually a director, 'tis a small company.

From: frances@fis.unico.it (Francesco Benvenuto)
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: Lusers' blind spot

I have yet another experimental confirmation of the well-known fact
that lusers can't read.

You know, I'm an idealist. I believe in the sharing of information.
I go to great lengths to write informative notes about the latest
software installations, the correct procedures to follow, etc. etc.
and I have to do so twice (once in Italian, once in English, for those
pesky furriners, you know...).

Why I bother I don't know. I never met anyone who actually knows
the notes are there. Never mind that every time anybody logs in to
any machine the information is there. Multiple times. In clear text.

It says (more or less):

news: how-to-print, how-to-submit-batch-jobs, blah1, blah2...

type "news | more" to read news, further documentation is available
in the /pub/docs directory.

It's been there for years. At every login. Every day. Years.

Variously underlined, boldfaced, with asterisk borders, in reverse,
blinking, in dayglo colors. I will try and buy sound hardware to fire
off some siren, or something... (the standard Sun hardware is not
enough, apparently).

Yet when I point this out to them they wonder in astonishment and
marvel with their eyes wide open, and actually try to suggest that the
lines above were never there, surely weren't there yesterday, and they
are actually not there even now.

Hell, they can't see them even when I point my finger at them, on their
monitor screen. They swear it's not there, even if it is.



Why bother?
fB "<...clickety click...>"

From: hillary@hillary.net (hillary gorman)
Newsgroups: alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: ARGH.

(yes, I'm back, hi everyone)

<ring ring>
Me: net access!
Phone: <silence>
Me: hello! net access, may I help you?
Woman: uh. hello. I want <pause> I need to speak to <pause> I need the
person in charge of your AT & T account.
Me: What account would that be, ma'am?
Woman: What?
Me: Whaaaaaaat accoooooount wouuuuuuld thaaaat beee, ma'am?
Woman: uh, your long distance account.
Me: which one?
Woman: what?
Me: whiiiiiiich ooooooooone?
Woman: I wouldn't have that information.
Me: So, to whom would you like to speak?
Woman: the person in charge of your account.
Me: <thinking, there must be a brain cell somewhere...> which account,
Woman: uh <pause> <pause>
Me: ma'am?
Woman: the long distance...
Me: ma'am, if you can't tell me with regard to which account you are
calling, how do you expect me to route your call appropriately?
Woman: uh <pause> <silence>
Me: ma'am? ma'am? are you there? ma'am? <faint click>



From: jmaslak@pobox.com (Joel Maslak)
Subject: Re: Why Sysadmins should love dust

Peter Gutmann (pgut001@cs.auckland.ac.nz) wrote:
: We seem to have some mutant strain of cleaners who won't dare touch a power
: point without asking permission first.  They won't even unplug an obviously
: powered-off, non-computing piece of equipment like a binding machine without
: asking about it first.  Even carpenters and things will come and ask before
: they plug in their +3 vorpal angle grinder of destruction.

So, my guess is that you DON'T even have the following situation:

Scene: Upstairs office, footsteps overhead.  Sound of large
objects being dropped onto not-to-strong ceiling.  General
scene of panic, with people running for their life in all

Actors: Me.  Heating & Cooling contractor.  NT Server (Sorry, I
don't like it, either).  APC UPS.

Background: These guys have a habit of killing power.  For
instance, they have taken down half (one phase) of the
office power on three occasions.  It got to the point

where we required our department to be notified of
their arrival, and proceeded to announce "The heating
and air-conditioning contractor has entered the
building.  Please save all work." on the intercom.
Not that it did any good, but...

Me: <sitting back, relaxing>
Them: <dropping heavy objects>
<the scene shifts to the roof>
Them: <playing with high voltage lines.  Grabbing the line and
touching it against the side of the air-conditioner, just
to see it spark (not sparc) as it goes to ground.
<the scene shifts back to the office>
Me: Humm, why is this APC switching rapidly between battery and
AC line?  This seems bad.
APC: <switches back and forth at a rate of 10-15 hz>
Me: Not good, I have a bad feeling this time.
APC: <nothing -- as in the clicking stopped, the server's fan
stopped, etc>
Me: What, no warning?  Just up and die?  Killed power?
What the #$@!

A later conversation with APC reveled that this, in fact, was the chain
of events.  It seems that, to prevent you from being electrocuted when
you touch your computer, that if ground ever has 240 volts on it (note
that it's a 120 outlet), the UPS will surely just shut off.  No warning.

We had a nice talk with a contractor.

(What the $#@! do you think you are doing?  Do you realize that we are
going to start billing you for lost computer time.  That ONE server you
killed will cause 50 people not to get work down.  Killing power to the
half of the building, like you did LAST time, will cause 200 people to
go home early.  Let's see...  Their wages average $18 per hour.  If we
multiply that by 2 hours, and 200 people...  Yes, you are going to be a
very useful contractor after all...)

From: Simon Burr (simes@bpfh.net)
Subject: Re: A minor rant

Indica@cris.com (Leigh Metcalf) writes:
>And I'm starting to see waterbuffaloes
>wandering around my office.  Thankyouverymuch, whoever started that.

*bows* Simon the Stressed, the troll who escaped from TCP Towers, at your
service. Yes, I started off the waterbuffalo thing - all I can say in my
defense is that I was even more stressed than normal and suffering a real
lack of sleep at the time. You can also blame Kendall who was responsible
for putting the seed of the idea into my head.

Be thankful that you don't have to deal with it yourself... For a while it
appeared that I was being chased by waterbuffalo everywhere. There were
waterbuffalo spies following me around the British Museum (cunningly disguised
as cows - they couldn't fool me tho) at an ASRLon. And as for the water
buffalo in the pipes that dumps the halon-like[1] stuff into our machine
room[2]... I keep on having these visions of the halon-like system going
off and confused water buffalo dropping from the ceiling going "Moooooo".
I'm seeing this from outside the machine room (which is glass-fronted). The
machine room fills up with white gas which has waterbuffalo appearing and
disappearing from view in strange positions going "Mooooo"[3]. The glass on
the machine room then starts to crack and I start to run down the corridor
away from the machine room. The glass breaks, filling the corridor with the
white gas and waterbuffaloes at strange angles.

I'll not even begin to mention the island of waterbuffalo mid-atlantic
which was caused by Kendall and I firing too many waterbuffaloes at each
other via the net... they kept on colliding mid-atlantic and eventually
they formed a small island (luckily the casing of the fibre stretches fairly
well or we'd have a real problem clearing up the waterbuffalo contamination
that leakage would cause in the ocean). The danger to shipping isn't that
great as ships can hear the water buffalo gently Mooing in the night and
so can make course changes.

Yes, I do probably need more sleep. Why do you ask ?

[1] Its not halon, but does the same thing. AFAIR its called something like
FM200 or similar.

[2] This started off from a story from CamUni where plumbers grease was
found to be in the pipes of their halon system. This was only discovered
after the system had gone off and sprayed atomized grease all over the
machine room. Naturally I thought "Now, what if water buffaloes were in
the pipes instead ?" when I heard this. Although from the comments made
by the CamUniBOFHs I'd say that the plumbers grease all over (and in)
the machines was bad enough.

[3] The scene in Akira were Tetuso brings the capsule the remains of Akira
is stored in springs to mind. Just replace the pipes which feed the
coolant into the capsule with water buffalo and you're about there :)

From: abbyfg@huitzilo.tezcat.com (Abby Franquemont-Guillory)
Subject: Re: We hates Earthlink my precious.

In article <5jgaah$89o$5@synthemesc.insync.net>,  <aos@insync.net> wrote:
>Here's mine (eat your heart out Joe):
>:0 Hf
>* ^(To|From|Received|Reply-To|Sender): .*\<(earthlink)\.net\>
>Works like a charm.

Myself personally, I believe in sending right the fsck back to the
rogering tosspots of scieno cocksnots who profess to be running an
ISP there.  From time to time I've heard things like, "Hi, I'm
playing postmaster at earthlink today, where we've got no idea what
we're doing, and don't give a rat's patootie anyway, and I was
really stumped by the fact that all the mail my customers are sending
you seems to end up in my mailbox."  And I've gotten to say, "Funny,
that.  Don't suppose that's anything to do with any of the notes I've
dropped you little lusemonkeys over the years, eh?  Maybe if you
were planning on ever giving a wet slap it would have behooved you
to pay a bit of attention.  I told ya I was gonna do this if you
scumsucking spam haven dillweeds didn't handle it. If _you_ don't
like it all ending up in your inbox, imagine how I've been feeling
about it in mine."

Well, anyway, I like doing that so that when I have a crappy day,
I have someplace to take it out other than unsuspecting telco drones
who don't tend to keep the same kinds of hours as me anyway.
Abby Franquemont-Guillory  <abbyfg@tezcat.com>  Crazed Sysadmin Chyk
Infamous Devil's Advocate    <abby@taos.com>    Or Something Like It
# cd $abby's-working-locale ; tar cf . - | (cd /dev/bar ; tar xf - )

From: scotts@together.net (Scott K. Stafford)
Subject: Re: Why I don't get on with them...

In article <x73esawwua.fsf@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu>,
Steve VanDevender  <stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu> wrote:

>> You forgot the denouement, whereas the luser cries, "B-but I already
>> *did* that!"  Then you, of course, smile knowingly...
>This, of course, is covered in the AI koans:

>      Knight turned the machine off and on.
>      The machine worked.

Ah, but doesn't this suggest a hierarchy at work? The luser
cannot power-cycle a gizmo and make it work, but I can. But
produce a sufficiently more advanced gizmo, and I can't power
cycle it and make it work, but the field engineer can. This
suggests that perhaps there exists a *truly* advanced issue
that the field engineer cannot BRS-out, but some uber-guru


1. This phenomenon seems to be related to *title*, rather than actual
expertise. I know from nothing about repairing complicated
printers (perhaps no more than the luser), yet the power-cycle
works for me. The FE says, "Uh-oh, I know squat about this model,"
yet (click/click) the frob bounces right up.

2. The detection mechanism involved seems to be inversely
proportional to distance from the errant device. Sometimes
it is necessary to *touch* the device (to throw the BRS,
obviously...), but at times mere physical proximity causes
the problem to evaporate. Never can the issue be resolved
>from  the comfort of one's office.

3. Duration of the "aura effect" can be transitory. I go to
the <X> that is malfunctioning, use my aura to repair it,
and leave; whereupon I instantly receive another call that
the <X> failed the moment I left. I return and it begins to
work again. I remain longer near the <X>, and a much longer
period of "non-aurational" function is achieved.

4. Titanic profits await the organization that can create an
"aura box" which will protect mission critical devices. They
could be priced relative to the strength of the aura
produced, with an "informed luser" box selling very cheaply,
and a "hardware god" model would break the bank.

5. How would a malfunctioning "aura box" be handled? Would a
"meta-aura box" be developed?

Stuff to think about in our copious free time...

From: joe@cstone.net (Joe Thompson)
Subject: Re: Lusers who think its ok to reboot the workstations

zack@rabi.phys.columbia.edu (Zack Weinberg) wrote:

[lusers reboot workstations despite repeated verbal LARTings]

> So I was contemplating adding a bit to the rc scripts that checks for a
> clean shutdown and if it doesn't like what it sees, prints out a nice nasty
> error message and locks up the system.  The question is, what should it say?
> I am torn between a mock kernel panic and a simple "You luser, you were told
> not to reboot the system, and you did it anyway.  Now I am going to freeze
> until one of the clued mutters the magic incantation."  Or how about
> "Improper shutdown detected.  Type 'I will not reboot the workstations' 100
> times to continue"?

I would try something like the following:


Alert: improper shutdown detected.

To ensure system stability, the system will now undergo a multi-level
self-test.  This test will check the following system components[1]:

Data cables (internal)
Data cables (external)
Drive (fixed)
Drive (floppy)
Drive (dense-removable-media)Video card
Motherboard RAM
Motherboard ROM
Ports (serial)
Ports (parallel)
Processor, central
Processor, coprocessor

This test will take approximately 3 hours 30 minutes[2].  Please do not
disturb this workstation during this test.  To ensure successful testing,
do not attempt to use the mouse or keyboard, or switch on or switch off any
system components.

To minimize the need for tests, please be sure to shut down cleanly, and
only after entering the proper authorization code for the shutdown command.

System Free Agent v1.32[3]


Hell, you might even throw a few small actual tests in for realism[4].
This gets across the point, it looks cool, it emphasizes that only certain
people should be shutting this machine down, and it might even notify you
in the background who is attempting to log in and who logged in last from
the console.  That way you know who to disembowel even before they come
crying to your door.

(posted() && mailed()) == true; -- Joe

[1] Use any or all of these, or add your own.
[2] But put in a delay loop that only locks it (via xlock?[5]) for say, 2
hours 45 minutes.
[3] Under no circumstances should you put any number other than 1.32 here.
This is based on a scientific survey I conducted, in which I wrote down
numbers randomly until one looked right[6].
[4] Tests such as the MBTI are good here.  Results should be skewed as you
see fit, then forwarded to Personnel.
[5] Assuming you're running X on this box[7].
[6] Apologies to: I forget who but I'm thinking Dave Barry.
[7] Assuming you're running Unix on this box.

From: fugue@nospam.ccp.uchicago.edu
Subject: Re: Luser Freenet Admins

Jonathan Guthrie <jguthrie@brokersys.com> said:
> In alt.sysadmin.recovery Drew Hamilton <drew@drew-hamilton.net> wrote:
> > And of course, at about the same time, I had a really cheap no-name
> > brand 28.8k modem, that didn't connect properly to some of the modems at
> > my ISP; it was retraining once a minute or so.  Call the ISP:
> > Me: I'm just wondering if you can give me a hunt-number which will
> >     only ring the modems that I can connect to.  It seems that my
> >     modem won't connect to about half of your modems.
> > Them:  What operating system are you running?
> > Me: Linux.
> > Them: Uh, what's that?

> Most users are lusers, therefore most tech support calls are from complete
> wankers.  Even if you get a complete wanker on the other end, you then
> have to prove to them that YOU aren't a complete wanker.  It's easier with
> tech support people who aren't complete wankers themselves because they
> can sometimes understand what you're trying to say.

Computer store employees are much, much worse.  Consider my experience a while
back at a Major Computer Chain(TM), when all I wanted to do was buy a ZIP
that'd hook up to an old NeXT I've got laying about.

Me: "Do you have any SCSI ZIP drives?"

Salesdrone: "What kind of system do you have?"

Me (standard response, 1st attempt): "You don't want me to answer that."

Salesdrone:  "I can't help you if I don't know what kind of computer you're

(The fact that I'm standing three feet from him, wearing a 3-line PERL RSA
T-shirt does nothing to assuage his fear that I may not know what I'm talking
about.  Grr.)

Me (standard response, 2nd attempt): "I'm responsible for over 12,000 platforms
in a heterogenous WAN, and chances are it'll end up hooked to all of them,
given enough time.  I use hardware you couldn't even pronounce.  Do you carry
a ZIP drive that you sell to people who don't want the parallel kind?"

Salesdrone: (*grumble grumble mutter mutter*) "Is this what you want?"

Me (quick glance at the box): "Yep.  That's SCSI.  Now you've got two options:
tell me what kind of SCSI port this thing has, or I'm going to open the box
right in front of you and find out for yourself, and you can explain to your
boss exactly why your ignorance has forced your company to sell this as 'USED'

Salesdrone: (looking very, very panicky): "I'll go check."

(Salesdrone at this point wanders off and has brief heated conversations with
three other salesdrones, and comes back)

Salesdrone: "It's a proprietary interface."  (Some UberLuser must've confused
bog-standard SCSI ports with that damned SCSI accelerator that IOMega sells.)

Me:  "*sigh*" (*click-click of one-handed Leatherman opening, followed by the
*snick snick* of me carving the box open, only to find that it's a standard
25-pin male interface.)

Me: "Now.  Not that I expect you to answer this at all, but I don't suppose you
have a section of the store that has lots of long grey thingies with boxy
dangly thingies that look like they MIGHT plug into this thingie here, do you?"

Salesdrone: *stutter stutter stutter*

I huff off to the cabling section and discover to my great joy that yes, they
did INDEED have a 25-pin -> dense SCSI-2 cable.  I'm VERY glad I didn't have
to ASK one of them if they had it.

Next time, my happy-happy-joy-joy feelings from trying to explain in the
simplest terms I could find exactly what a PCMCIA flash/SRAM card is.
"Wait...do you want memory or do you want a card?"


From: joe@cstone.net (Joe Thompson)
Subject: Re: ISP of the damned

In article <AF9013F39668115FAB@hearsay.demon.co.uk>,
slavins@hearsay.demon.co.uk.NOJUNK (Simon Slavin) wrote:

> ObCharter: Current generation of kids seem to have a fair number
> of clues abuot using technology.  What will it be like when only
> 10% of users are clueless instead of 90% ?

You forgot the lockwasher effect: the more you know about a given "set" of
technology, the less likely you are to be able to adjust to its
successor(s).  The most common manifestations of this are guys who brag
about having been COBOL programmers and the "bang two rocks together for a
1" d***-size wars.

So in any given generation, the bottom 10% of the population has 90% of the
clues[1].  But as they move through the ranks, they become both more
clueful in their chosen "set" and less clueful with current technology.
Some of them even move backward, becoming consummate ENIAC programmers[2]
but lacking the ability to find the ON switch on anything built after
1965[3].  This corresponds to tightening a lockwasher: the harder you
tighten it, the harder it is to get the damn thing off later, and in some
cases it becomes impossible.

Some chosen few users become clued up on enough different systems fast
enough to runaway to the other extreme; these are the folk we all live in
fear of because if they ever visit your office you're out of a job as soon
as the boss meets them[4].  Insane amounts of money are often thrown their
way for the mere privilege of being considered for a consultation (this is
what's known as an "estimate" in the world of contract labor[5]).  These
people have applied enough pressure to the lockwasher fast enough to
completely strip the threads[6], thus they are able to (and often do, to
the consternation of employers and cow orkers) turn freely and rapidly in
any direction they choose.

What other computer-industry phenomena can be explained mechanically? -- Joe

[1] Another way of restating Sturgeon's Law, of course.
[2] comp.protocols.tcp-ip.eniac would of course be their preferred newsgroup.
[3] Arbitrarily chosen as the year our civilation began declining; in future
centuries, I am certain, this year will carry much the same significance to
us as 476 AD carried to the Romans.
[4] Tsutomu Shimomura, judging from his book, counts himself among this number.
[5] Automotive industry being a particularly good example[7].
[6] Often doing serious damage to their mental stability as well.
[7] Next time they ask me what I'm going to do about needed repairs, I think
I'll tell them I'm bringing it back tomorrow, and save myself $25.00.

From: riffer@freenet2.afn.org (Jeff Mercer)
Subject: Re: Lusers who think its ok to reboot the workstations

jvs@bofh.ocslink.com wrote:
>This reminds me of a very silly IBM commercial that's been airing in the
>US lately.  Cubicle lusers can't print.  They got this ominous music
>playing in the background.  Six of them gather huddle up for some power
>mini-conference to determine their strategy for coaxing the printer into
>working again.

"Still won't print?"
"It won't print."

"What's wrong with the printer?"
"It won't print."
"Try jiggling the cable."
"We tried jiggling the cable."
"Try jiggling it again."
"Ok."  *jiggles the cable*  *light goes off*
"That's the light."

"Hey, can anybody print?"
"No, the printer's down."

>Then their (apparent) leader walks in saying some other
>luser "downloaded a virus off the web[4]".

"It's not the printer. It's the network. Havley downloaded a virus off the


<Disgusted tone>Havley.</Disgusted Tone>

> The whole thing is some promo
>for how they can help you "protect your network", complete with fancy
>graphics.  They didn't actually name a product, though[5].

Nope. IBM ads don't name products, except occasionally for things like Aptiva.
Instead, they have ads talking about being a global network and offering all
sorts of business solutions, and failing to mention this is all done with
the same fucking technology they've been pushing for the past 20 years and
it's bound to come falling apart some day...

Though, I have to say the ad is very realistic about the way people in an
office stand around repeating themselves about a problem, doing nothing
effective, and being lusers. Another ad in the same style (and I think using
many of the same actors) shows two guys around a computer looking at various
business web pages going "Look at that!" and "Wow!" and "Cool!", etc...
shots of generic business web pages are shown with logos that burn, spin
around, etc... Then a woman comes up and asks the guys what they're doing
and they say "We're researching our website stratagey" to which the woman
responds "So... ever think of using this to sell something?" and the two
guys look completely confused...

A variation of the ad (I think it's a shorter one) shows all three of them
looking at the logo for "HEAT, INC." which has flames coming out of it. "Why
is the logo on fire?" the woman says. "Because it's a, you know...
a burning... logo."

I think the ad shows very typical lusers in a typical business environment.
I am entertained by them. And at least I don't get lusers who see the ads
asking me if they really can download a book off of that library that IBM
put on the Internet.... *thump*

>[4] Internet?  What's that?

"You're soaking in it!"

>[5] Something with the word "cyber" in it will be available Real Soon Now.

*cue JD Falk quote*

From: mabbas@staff.uiuc.edu (Majdi Abbas)
Subject: Exabyte whiners and real tape drives (tape drive dick length)

So here I am, sitting with *bootable* install media for my VAX[1].

The catch: It's on TK-50 tape.  *One* TK-50 tape.  Which means I've
got one shot, and only a 33% chance to make it close enough to even get that
shot.  That's on a good day.  Today is a Monday.

What follows is *not* useful information.  If you have one of these,
or have to work with one of these, you're too far gone to be recovering, and
this isn't going to help you any.  May the God of DEC have mercy on your

Oh, and before I get going, those of you who whine about Exabyte
drives not ejecting tapes have no concept of a TK50.  TK50's *do not* eject
tapes.  You have to arm-wrestle the drive for the tape most of the time, and
even if you're lucky it's a manual eject[2].

Before you can eject the tape, the VAX has to think it's done with the
tape.  This is a pretty simple concept, if it worked.  The TK50s were not in
production very long, and for good reason.  Rumor has it their replacements
are better.[3]

I'm going to describe the operation of a TK-50, ignoring some of the
things that go along with booting a VAX.  If you know them, I'm sorry, if
you don't, well, consider yourself extremely lucky.

1) Wait for green light.
2) Pull drive flap up.
3) Stick tape in, right side first or it won't fit.
4) Coerce tape into fitting into the drive.
5) Shove it all the way back
6) Push drive flap down.  You may need a hammer.
7) Press Big Red Button.  Green light will go off, red light will
start flashing, then go solid.
8) Tape drive begins reading tape.

Here's where we go off onto a tangent for a little bit, although it
is related.  TK-50 (drive;cartridge;whole shebang) were designed by complete
absolute fscking lusers.

The cartridges are nice and small.  This is because they are just a
reel of tape.  The other reel is inside the drive itself.  When it starts to
read a tape, it snags the beginning of the tape using a leader that whips
around the spindle of the inside reel, and drags the tape in past the read
and erase heads[4].

9) Drive reads tape, system boots, all is good.  </SARCASM>
10) You press the big red button again, wait 45 minutes for the thing
to rewind, then it stops and the green light goes on, it moves a
servo that allows you to move the drive flap again, then you are
permitted to remove the tape.  No eject mechanisim whatsoever.

Now, on with the show.

So here I am, booting the VAX.

Things are going good, we get past the 5 minute POST, and the drive
starts *reading* the tape.  So the media is good and I'm actually thinking
I have a chance yet.  Then the gods decide that they've had enough fun at my
expense, and it's time to get serious.

Loading system software.

PC = 00000E0A

My reaction: "Shit."

VAX's reaction: "Yadda yadda yadda *WHOMP* *SCREEEECCCH* *thwap*"

My reaction: "MotherfuckingasslickingpieceofshitasspirateDECtapedrive."

Actually, my reaction was much more lengthy and probably much more
obscene, but in the afterglow right now that's all I can remember.

Knowing that the tape is hopelessly fucked and there went my last
chance for a while, I don't even bother with the normal procedures.  This is
a TK-50.  One must adapt constantly or get sucked in.

I quickly wrestle the vax for the tape, remove it, and all seems good.
But I know what's coming.  A few hundred feet of half-inch tape, all spooled
into the drives internals.

I spend the next half hour removing tape from the drive, clean it up,
check everything out, decide to try out this unlabeled TK50 I have.  Nope,
won't boot.  Okay VAX, rewind tape.

[Pause for one hour]

VAX, surely you must be done with it now.

VAX: Nope, it's still in there.  I swear.

Me: BULLSHIT.  I can hear you flapping around empty.  You're flapping
around so much that the VAX is about ready to take off and my hair is being
blown back.

Me: Hits the power switch, pops the thing open, pulls the drive out.
Grabs toolkit and commences disassembly of the drive.  Sure enough, it's done.
But I can't get the VAX to let go of the tape until it realizes that it's done,
which isn't going to happen.  Powercycling et al will not make it realize that
it's done, it has to feel like relinquishing it's dinner.

So, I'm now dissassembling the TK-50.  Sure enough, the magic little
leader that feeds these tapes in is broken.  Surprise surprise.  Tape looks
okay tho.

It's a couple of hours later, and I have one reassembled TK50, one
sliced hand, a screwdriver with a broken tip, a spare black plastic part,
three spare washers, a couple of spare screws and a spring.  The tape is
still in the drive, and I've managed to get all of the first tape into a box
for convenient disposal at my leisure.  Like I have leisure.  Anyhow, I'd
like to make you an offer:  Free TK-50 tape drive, including install media in
need of a manual rewind and a preloaded blank tape.  Donatee must pay shipping
and psychiatric admission fee.  Includes spare parts[5].

WTB:    One SCSI Qbus card.

I am *not* going through this again.  Especially because I took
pictures of the aftermath of the first tape, and I'm going to post those
near the VAX as a reminder.  Let me know if anyone wants scans.

Every single bad thing you've ever heard about any tape drive doesn't
even begin to describe what the TK-50 is like.  Exabyte 8200s have nothing on
these things and never will.  DEC was fucking up hardware design years before
the advent of the 8200.  I personally believe that the TK-50 is probably what
nearly bankrupted DEC.  The number of man-hours wasted in-house wrestling with
these things alone is in the millions.  It would have to be.

I saw an RU-81A today.  Now *there* is a sight.  Appropriately in a
junkyard.  For those of you involved with BOFHnet, what do you think of a
bofh.tdfh.tk50?  This drive definitely has the FH aspect down.




[1]     Currently hopelessly crippled due to a drive failure.
[2]     The problem is that DEC assumed that the VAX knew more about what was
going on in this drive than the person feeding it ferrite.  Boy did
they guess wrong.
[3]     They *CANNOT* get any worse.
[4]     Which are opposed from each other.
[5]     You cannot disassemble one of these drives and not wind up with
spare parts.  They can't be anything important, because the drive has
to work to suffer some performance degredation and they don't work, so
there is nothing to degrade.

From: chrisf@uniserve.com (Canadian)
Subject: The Horror: Luser Sister-In-Law!

Sigh.  A sysadmin never recovers, you know.

I have not adminned now for close to two years (in fact, the anniversary
is coming up in a couple of weeks).  After 4-5 years of experience
handling EVENING AND WEEKEND lusers[1] at a railway, I was out of there
and on to more cubicle-ey pastures.

Of course, I've had the inevitable "Can You Set Us Up With The Internet"
calls from relatives, but these aren't a problem.  I just shake my head,
install Netscape, and stride briskly away.

However, the Luser Sister-In-Law *is* a problem.

This woman, let's call her LSIL, decided a few years ago that it would be
a spiffing idea to go back to school.  Fine that.  The mystifying element
being that she chose to be a History major.  Now, I've known some history
majors in my life.  They were ALL recent high school graduates, unsure
what to do in University, but wanting to take something rather easy to
get their degrees, despite that the only jobs available for history
majors involve Crisco.[2]

Anyway, since LSIL doesn't have a computer, she asked quite nicely if she
could use OUR computer from time to time to type her papers.  This
DESPITE the fact that the university in question (that I went to =) has
several very well equipped[3] and uncrowded[3] computer labs.

The problems have arisen because LSIL will inevitably call us at 7pm or
so the night before her paper is due.  She'll burst into our place,
demand to use the PC regardless of what else is going on ("You have a
project to finish?  But I have a paaaaaperrrrr!  It's worth twennnnty
percennnnnnt."), and of course need technical assistance every 8.2
seconds.  Every time I turn my head, it's like the kid putting the
peanut-butter sandwich into the VCR.  She has managed to:

- not understand how to change font size, even AFTER I've shown her
approximately 50 times

- not understand how to do ANY formatting, for that matter (which
shouldn't be a surprise after the first point)

- change my DEFAULT template settings, DESPITE that she has no idea how
to do formatting[4]

- make all her text "turn invisible" (move up a page, bab) several times

- type for 6 hours, go to the bathroom, and come back to find that "it's
all gone".  It was.  I had it set to autosave, WITH backups, and the save
file on disk had NOTHING in it but the formatting info.  NMP, I know.

THEN, once's she's done her speedy typing exercise, she will "request"
that I go print the document.  Oops, I don't have a printer.  Looks like
I'll have to drive over to my parents' house.  At midnight.  Sorry mum,
sorry dad.

And now, finally, this past Tuesday, the final sign that I am in

"Chris, I have to get a 'Unix shell account' at school.  Can you teach me
how to use it?"

LSIL.  The person who can't set her font size in Word.  Asking me.  To
teach her.  To use unix.

Down, not across.

I know what you're thinking: Tell her to piss off, man!  Videotape it so
we can watch.  But it's not going to happen.  I've mentioned my objection
to these intrusions several time to my supposedly loving wife =) and been
met with the old
line.  Grr.

In any case, LSIL has begun to subject herself to an aunt rather than me,

1. The aunt in question has a computer I set up
2. The aunt has a printer
3. The aunt lives closer
4. I managed to work into a conversation one day the phrase "You know,
Aunt Foo has a computer with a printer!"  About 20 times.  In 15 minutes.
Sometimes, the clues need to be administered with a bullhorn.

[1] The WORST kind.
[2] Take that however you want.
[3] No, really.  Well, they run all the stinking programs she'll need
(ie. Word).  And they're only crowded at the END of the semester.
[4] I believe the term is "luser savant".

From: Mike Couvillion <nospam@getbent.net>
Subject: Whimper.....

Please.....somebody end it quickly......

We get tasked to put on a demo of 50 Sun workstations to some VIPs. Of
these 100 or so VIPs about 20 only speak French.  Two days before the
demo I gotta leave town[1].  This leaves our more than clueless facility
manager[2] in charge of the project.

I had the complete distribution and setup plan completed before I left.
I told him not to change anything.  I had even arranged with another
consultant to bring in a T1 line for us so all he would have to do is
plug my network cable into a router.

While I was gone my esteemed cow-orker made the following decisions:

1) Ordered French versions of Netscape for the French speaking visitors.
Normally, not a bad idea except I had already done this and installed it
on the systems.

2) Wiped said systems clean by installing a French version of Solaris.
He did this so that the application and the OS, and I quote, "Would
speak the same language and therefore be compatible."[1.5]

3) Called the guy installing the router and told him to just run the
line and leave the router since he was sure I could do the setup.[3] He
also arranged to have a French version of the router software dropped
off.  Again this was to make the router speak the same language as the
"French" systems so that they would be compatible.

4) Ordered the router to be delivered ONE hour before the demo in order
to cut rental time costs.

5) Had my trip cut short so I could do the install of the router
software.  I arrived back about 2 hours prior to the conference

Now, I was faced with setting up router with software in a language I
cannot read or write[5], one hour before a conference demonstration.
The entire time Mr Wonderful is yaking at me about how "brilliant" he
was to make sure all the computers spoke French for compatability[6]. I
finally took a swing[6.5] at him when he said, "Oh, yea, Netscape was
broken so I told the boss you could write up a quick fix before
everything got started."  "What!!???", I says. "Yeah, the French
Netscape is still bringing Web pages in English.  It must be broken so I
told the boss you would fix it."[7]

To wrap up...I got the router working about 30 minutes into the demo.
The demo was fairly successful and when all the feces hit the fan about
what went down the little uber-luser was fired.


[1] I know...fatal mistake...I was the only engineer left that week.
The others claim they were away working on projects, but I know it was
the rats leaving the sinking ship...
[1.5] For a minute or so I tried to explain how computers only spoke in
1s and 0s, but he got the glazed over Clueless CompUSA Salespuke look I
get when I technical on them.
[2] Second only to salesdroids as the ultimate luser IMHO.
[3] Which, under normal circumstances, would possibly have worked,
except for the small matter of me NOT BEING EVEN IN THE SAME COUNTRY as
the router in question.
[4] Completely ignorant of the fate about to befall me...
[5] Despite my last name being of French origin I am not French. I
barely passed English in school and it's my mother tongue...
[6] At this point is when the physical tremors began in my arms and
started down my back...
[6.5] Ashamed to say I really did swing at him....and missed. 13 years
of martial arts and I missed.....damn. I think evolution makes the
stupid move quickly to avoid such smiting blows...
[7] Yes, he really assumed French Netscape would magically translate
pages on the fly....

From: fugue@ccp.uchicago.edu
Subject: Cruel tricks to play on salesdrones

Ok, I apparently have much latent hostility towards salesdrones
lately, so here's yet another thread that could be fun.
Namely, what are some cruel tricks to play on salesdrones in
computer stores (or other places of busyness)?

My two favorites:

1)  Play a dumb newbie, clueless, "Hey, I gotta get one of them
Internets!" luser and pretend to have more money than sense,
and ask salesdrones about the hottest model Wintel box.
Make it very obvious you want to buy.  Accidentally flashing
any platinum crdit card or your corporate card helps.  Once
you've got them frothing at the prospect of shovelling anything
they can onto you, and knowing that you'll buy it if they say so,
get them just to the point of climax^H^H^H^H^H^Hsale, and then
look hesitant and tell them: "Well, this looks like the machine I
want.  But before I buy it, I need to know if it comes with LRF
support.  Everyone in our company is required to have LRF support.
If it doesn't come with LRF support, I'm afraid I won't buy it."
At this point, one of two things should happen:
a) The salesdrone will smile and confidently tell you that yes,
indeed, the sparkly Wintel box he's shovelling on you has LRF
b) The salesdrone will excuse himself politely for less than a
minute (they don't want you wandering off and finding a clue
somewhere), then come rushing back and proceed to a).

When a) finally occurs, you can walk off having a well-deserved
chuckle, or you can politely inform said salesdrone that LRF
is the acronym for "Little Rubber Feet", and *then* walk off having
a well-deserved chuckle.

2)  Go into any computer store with Wintel boxen.  Try to look as *poor*
as possible, repeat the mantra "I'm just browsing" to get the
salesdrones to write you off as a slacker and leave you alone.  Once
you've escaped their attention (possibly because some other BOFH is
in the same store perpetrating #1 above), walk from Wintel box to
Wintel box.  At each one running W95, casually fsck with the GUI for
a bit, to appear as though you're trying to get the hang of the
darned thing.  Then calmly hit CTRL-ESC, ALT-MINUS-C.  Presto, no
more "Start" button, and the salesdrones will be damned if they can
figure out how to get it back (it usually requires a reboot. :)
To have even more fun, bring an accomplice.  After you've disabled the
entire row of W95-polluted Wintel boxen, have your accomplice approach
a salesdrone using the procedure outlined in #1 above, and ask for
a demo of W95.  Try not to laugh out loud as the salesdrone frantically
flits from box to box trying to figure out what to do.  It's the
computer-salesdrone-equivalent of putting a clueless luser in a round
room and telling them to go sit in the corner.

--Mark "Yes, another one.  And I juggle."

From: mstaple@swbell.net (Mark Stapleton)
Subject: Re: Calling all in Manchester

ptomblin@xcski.com (Paul Tomblin) wrote:
>Actually, since that was on the tail end of a post about working in
>Warrington, Cheshire, I was talking about my experiences with Anderoids in the
>UK.  Mind you, half of them came from London, and half of them were the same
>mindless automotons I'd had the misfortune to work with on a project in Dallas
>Two true incidents:

Another story from the 'A-Files':
Andersen goon comes to see me in the days when I tended the Great
Informix f*ck-up for A Major Oil Company in Houston. Says he has
authorization to run an audit of my machine. I call my boss, say 'What
the f*ck is this nonsense?', boss says he (and I) have no choice, give
the luser what he wants, send him on his way, yada yada yada.

Goon shoves a diskette at me, says 'Run this, and print the resultant
file.' Okay, okay, troop down to the server[1], shove the diskette in,
and examine contents. As I thought, the 'executable' on said diskette
is mod 444. Pop diskette, hand it back to luser, and tell him to bring
back something that is executable.[2]

He returns the next day with new diskette. 'Your boss says you know
how to make this work.' Okay, okay, change to 544, examine the batch
file. Not too awful, just a lot of directory listings piped to text
files, examination of /etc/passwd for no-password logons and logons
that haven't changed recently, etc, etc. I run it, I print the file
out, he takes diskette and print out, and crawls back under the rock
whence he came.

A month passes. I get a call from boss. 'Andersen's here with the
audit results. Now don't get excited, just say "uh-huh" to whatever he
tells you, and we'll deal with it later.' Not a good sign.

What does Andersen want us to do?
1. pull the sticky bit from executables such as 'telnet' and 'ftp'
2. establish password expiration for *all* logons in /etc/passwd[3]
3. kill uucp[4]
4. kill the ftp server[5]

On, and on. I finally stop him and ask where the audit criteria came
from. 'Oh, this book we all get.'


[1] I'm not allowed to run NFS or anything else that might make my
life a little easier, so we have to take the elevator from 25th floor
to ground, cross the street, get in elevator and go to 21st floor.
[2] Fix it for him?? Are you joking?
[3] Anyone want to lay odds on what happens when lpd's password
expires? 'Oh, but sticky bits are *bad*. They are security risks.'
[4] And just how do our hundreds of remote salesdroids transmit their
orders via nuucp?
[5] Oh. And just how are the nights-end and months-end reports going
to transmitted to the mainframe? Hmmm?
[6] Done in that insultingly condescending way that only the English
can accomplish.

From: bram@fangorn.xs4all.nl (Bram Smits)
Subject: Re: Calling all in Manchester

mstaple@swbell.net (Mark Stapleton) writes:

>What does Andersen want us to do?
>2. establish password expiration for *all* logons in /etc/passwd[3]
>On, and on. I finally stop him and ask where the audit criteria came
>from. 'Oh, this book we all get.'

>[3] Anyone want to lay odds on what happens when lpd's password expires?

I've got a pretty good idea, yes... And it's not a pretty sight,
especially with umpteen helpdeskers calling you up every minute [3] to
ask if their really important SAP systems can print again. Telling them
where to stuff their precious SAP systems is only fun that many times.
At least I got to LART the idiot new cow-orker responsible for this [1],
and his supervisor who ordered him to do it [2]. [4]

[1] CNE, my ass. Mister "I used to be a customs agent, but since further
intergration of the EU made me redundant they sent me on this 3-month CNE
course, and because I have this little plastic card I'm a better sysadmin
than you, 'cause you haven't.". I not particularly politely told him what
to do with his little plastic card. This was the same idiot who thought he
needed the supervisor password to edit the config.sys on his loose 3.1 box.
Yeah, sure. <LART><LART><LART><LART>.

[2] "But, accounts with passwords that don't expire are a bad security
risk. It's in some book I read some years ago. I think". <LART><LART><LART>
<LART>. And he wasn't even an anderoid.

[3] one standard issue trip over the phone cord later this problem was

[4] novell-admin:smits ~$ mail unix-admin
Due to [name of luser-CNE] giving the printguest account an expiring password,
at the request of [name of luser-boss], printing from all unix systems has
been interrupted all last weekend and part of this morning. If this has caused
you trouble, I suggest telling [name of luser-boss], and his boss,  why you
think this isn't a great idea, as he's specifically instructed me not to
change this, and you'll quite probably be having the same problem next month.

[5] Yeah, I know the workaround. But I don't think administrative procedures
should replace the simple, elegant, technical solution.

From: jdfalk@cyberNOTHING.org (J.D. Falk)
Subject: The Messiah Cometh (was Re: Swamp Cities)

In the scary devil monastery, dan ritter <dsr@cyber3.servtech.com> wrote...

> And one day, it is rumored, one of us will Actually Systematically
> Recover, and lead the rest of us on into history.

Denizens of alt.sysadmin.recovery (also known as the Scary
Devil Monastery) include system administrators and people in
related fields.  Their goal is to move to a higher state of
being, known as "recovery."

This ascension happens through the following steps:

1. Luser
2. User
3. Clued User
4. Sysadmin
6. Recovered

Many of the asr regulars have come to beleive that in time,
a being shall come to the scary devil monastery already having
attained that sublime state of Recovery.  This messiah will
then lead the rest of the sysadmins and BOFHs directly to
Recovery, while some horrible fate befalls the Lusers.

It is further theorized that the Messiah of Recovery used
the Higher Source cult as a beta-test, and will be soon be urging
many other groups of lusers to similarly commit suicide.

From: marshall@sonic.net (Marshall McGowan)
Subject: Re: Mailing List Lusers

J.D. Falk (jdfalk@cyberNOTHING.org) wrote:
:       I don't know what they'd be, though.  Sure, I know admins who
:       avidly read documentation, and I even know admins who avidly
:       read porn, but from what I can figure out (not wanting to check
:       all that carefully during the latter activity), most do /not/
:       have quite the same reaction to the both of them....

Oh, I don't know about that.

I've seen some sysadmins who've just found exactly the information they
needed in some O'Reilly book looking downright orgasmic with glee when they
realise what thay've missed the past five days of anguish they've just been
through trying to get something to work right.

"Oh. Oh yes! Yes! Yes! This is it! Yes yes yes yes yes yes! YES! Oh my god,
this IS IT! YES! YES! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Then of course they look around slightly sheepishly at the other people in
the room with them and blink and start reading again as if nothing (yeah,
right) had happened.


From: pgut001@cs.auckland.ac.nz (Peter Gutmann)
Subject: Re: A little culture

I_hate_spam_medwards@onramp.net (Mark Edwards) writes:

>I was going through my C/C++ source code CD and happened across this. It
>isn't J.D.'s Culture time, but I though y'all might appreciate it.


>[Chainsawed to save bandwidth]

I've used similar (well OK, somewhat more peculiar) warranties and
disclaimers, eg:

>This program is guaranteed to  perform  as  claimed,  excluding  any  delays
>caused  or  enhanced  by war, civil commotion, or rioting, whether declared,
>spontaneous, reprehensible, or justified; undue pressure  to  perform,  from
>whatsoever  source; mal de mer, mal de pays, mal de siecle, mal de code, mal
>de machine, or any force majeure not pretofore invoked.
>The program warranty is void in case of nuclear war, whether caused  by  the
>program or not.

Another one was:

>1. Customer Obligations
>1.1. Customer assumes full responsibility that this program meets the
>     specifications, capacity, capabilities, and other requirements of said
>     customer, and agrees not to bother the author if the program does not
>     perform as expected, or performs other than expected, or does not perform
>     at all.
>1.2. Customer assumes full responsibility for any deaths or injuries that may
>     result from the normal or abnormal operation of this program.  In the
>     event of casualties exceeding 1000 persons or property damage in excess o
>     $10 million, customer agrees that he or she has stolen the program and we
>     didn't even know he or she had it.
>1.3. Customer agrees not to say bad things about the program or the author to
>     anyone claiming to be from "60 Minutes".
>2. Very Limited Warranty and Conditions of Sale
>2.1. For a period of 90 minutes, commencing from the time you first thought
>     about getting this program, we warrant that this program may or may not b
>     free of any manufacturing defects.  It will be replaced during the
>     warranty period upon payment of an amount equal to the original purchase
>     price plus $10.00 for handling.  This warranty is void if the program has
>     been examined or run by the user, or if the manual has been read.
>2.2. This program is sold on an AS WAS basis.  The author makes no warranty
>     that it is, in fact, what we say it is in our propaganda, or that it will
>     perform any useful function.  We have no obligation whatsoever other than
>     to provide you with this fine disclaimer.
>2.3. Some countries do not allow limitations as to how long an implied warrant
>     lasts, so we refuse to imply anything.
>2.4. There is an extremely small but nonzero chance that, through a process
>     known as quantum tunnelling, this program may spontaneously disappear fro
>     its present location and reappear at any random place in the universe,
>     including your neighbours computer system.  The author will not be
>     responsible for any damages or inconvenience that may result.
>3. Limitation of Liability
>3.1. We have no liability or responsibility to the customer, the customers
>     agents, our creditors, your creditors, or anyone else.

This was the same program which included in the credits a funeral home for
helping clean up the casualties from the beta testing.


From: dsr@cyber3.servtech.com (dan ritter)
Subject: Re: Rogue hubs/switches ...

In article <slrn5ok1hk.6qn.brennan@crashprone.allegheny.edu>,
Andrew Brennan <brennan@crashprone.allegheny.edu> wrote:

Babble about routing nightmare and IP musical chairs delenda est.

>   Anyone have solutions to dealing with this type of situation?  Perhaps
>   a recommendation to a better approach??  I'd *love* to see Bay change
>   their remote-load routine so that it tries for 5-10 minutes and gives
>   up (using the local information) ... but I'm not holding my breath for
>   [a] them to change their code and [b] our IS guys to update all of the
>   devices on the campus(es).

Isolate the subnet from everything else. Physically. I mean, pull those
little plugs out of the wall at every socket you can see.

Wait four hours. Better yet, overnight. When anyone asks you about the
network problems, tell them it was caused by all the Bay boxes suddenly
interacting badly with each other. Tell them you have no idea why they
should choose to do this, but you're working on it. Better yet, leave
a note to this effect on your office door. Pick up some appropriate
looking test equipment (my new Pilot comes to mind, along with a serial
cable and a soldering iron, just because) and take a walk.

Whenever you enter a room with networking equipment in it, make a little
note on the Pilot. Doesn't matter what you write down, just make it look

Enjoy the exercise.

About three-ish in the afternoon, when it gets a little too warm to be out
walking quite so far, go back to your office. Change the sign. It should
now read: The network is down. Please physically disconnect any network
pieces you have connected. I am working on the problem now. Any network
traffic could prove fatal.

Go home. Get a nice dinner and a good night's sleep. Do NOT answer the
phone, under any circumstances.

Next day, reconnect the boxes, one by one, as you track them down. Do not
connect the main gateway yet. Test everything.

If anyone asks you any questions, it is vitally important to lie.

When you have redone everything the right way, reconnect the gateway. If
you are particularly devious, make it last another day.

This could not possibly have constituted useful information. You wanted to
do this anyway.


From: Steve VanDevender <stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: Help: Data Recovery

olc@tirith.cs.umass.edu (Ole Craig) writes:

>       The Redmond monstrosity is proof conclusive (as if we needed
> it) that if there's a cluon center to the universe, we're on the
> farthest planet from it.[6]

Some friends and I came up with (a probably not-very-original) theory
about Microsoft.

You see, Bill Gates is really saving the world.

For those of you who haven't switched off in disgust, here's what we
thought might be happening:

Computers, as you know, are getting bigger and more complicated by the
minute.  Any time now they'll be capable of developing intelligence.
But as we all know, once they do they'll become malevolent hunters of
humanity (some say this has already happened).

Bill Gates was sent back in time (a la _Terminator_) from a future where
computers took over and started exterminating humanity to prevent this
>from  happening, by making sure that as computers evolve they are
continually crippled by truly hideous software.  He's buying us valuable
time to learn how to deal with the computers before they become

Given the way Windows NT is going, however, I suspect the strategy will
backfire and when computers do develop intelligence, it will be insane
and malign on a Lovecraftian scale, and not just mildly annoyed by us
biological vermin as would have happened otherwise.

From: kpda001@internetMCI.com (Gary Hine)
Subject: Re: Research that I want to do

Found this on rec.humor the other day. I've modified it a bit to
make it on topic for asr. Fits right in with the science and violence
mindset around here.

1]  A shotgun shooting 12 pellets of 00 Buckshot weighing 4g leave the
barrel at 1125 fps.  Assuming the average luser will absorb 127.3 f/lbs
before disintegrating, how many lusers will the average blast cut
through (rounding off to the nearest whole number)?


2]  A sysadmin is swinging a 100 kg luser by his entrails in a circle
16'in radius at the rate of 1600 radians/sec.  Find the tension in the
man's entrails. (ignoring the effects of gravity).

65,024 Newtons.
(I particularly like the imagery of that one, don't you ? G)

3]  A sysadmin attempts to vaporize a young virgin luser by placing her
in a flaming pit.  Assuming the woman, weighing 120 lbs, is completely
composed of water, how much energy will he have to use to completely
vaporize her?

130,000 BTU

4]  An infant sales droid has a tensile strength of 400 psi and has a cross
sectional area of 23.4 sq. inches.  Assuming it is 23" long and has an
elongation percentage of .0036%/120psi at room temperature, how long will
the baby be before it is dismembered?

about 26.45 inches.

5]  A luser who demanded the root password is shot from a cannon at the
speed of 1200 fps at a solid brick wall.  Calculate the force of impact
given that the brick wall is 3 feet away from the barrel.

if she weighs 50 lbs, and all of her sticks to the wall,
3.3 million Newtons.

6]  A large plane weighing 12.7 M tons carrying 12 tons of lusers and
managers travelling at 724.46 kph and at an altitude of 40,000 meters
suffers explosive decompression above the center of a 30km diameter
population. Assuming that one passenger is sucked out every second, how
many passengers will land within the population center?

about (give or take a torso or leg) 12.

7]  A 1000 lb car is moving at 130 mph and two computers whose combined
weight is 82 lbs are thrown out the back at 3 mph. Calculate the
velocity of the car.

140.91 happy mph.

8]  Farmer Brown is selling apples for 12 cents a dozen in a room where
a torch has a brightness of 120 candela is 12 ft from a 14.36 sq meter
surface.Assuming a light bulb 17.3 cubits from the surface has a
brightness of 129 candlepower and gives offheat of 1.27 BTU and the room
is 423 degrees Kelvin; assuming thethe pressure in the room is 1100
millibar; assuming the lightbulb is rotating at 4 pi radians per half
minute, with the power source of the bulb a battery giving off energy at
a rate of 12000000 terrajoules per exasecond;  assuming the coefficient
of friction at the base of the rotating lightbulb is 1.679 E9;assuming
the room is being launched at 50 times escape velocity;assuming it
collides with the moon in a perfectly elastic collision, when the room
returns to the earth 6 days 4 hours 20 minutes 35 seconds and 12
nanoseconds later, how much does Farmer Brown sell one apple for?

still one cent, but all thats left is well-done applesauce,

From: tai@bbo.memphis.edu (Tai)
Subject: Re: Help: Data Recovery

Found this recently.

> The text of the poem follows:
>          <> !*''#
>          ^"`$$-
>          !*=@$_
>          %*<> ~#4
>          &[]../
>          |{,,SYSTEM HALTED
> The poem can only be appreciated by reading it aloud, to wit:
>          Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
>          Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
>          Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
>          Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
>          Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
>          Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.


From: riffer@freenet2.afn.org (Jeff Mercer)
Subject: Re: Idiot Accountants

kamamer@interlog.com (Karl Mamer) wrote:
>I worked for a software company that supplied software to
>accountants. Of the many problems with accountants and
>computers the one that irked me is these bastards
>wanted to milk every last dime out of their 286. Up until
>last year we were STILL developing a DOS program because
>these guys didn't want to pony up $700 to switch from
>an 8086 to a used 486. When we finally set our
>minimum system requirments at 386/4 megs in 1996, these
>guys started demanding refunds on their license because
>it was going to cost them, oh, thousands to upgrade
>blah blah blah.

It's been my experience that old men (I.E. retiree age or higher) who don't
have any computing experience are generally the most demanding and rudest of
folks I have to deal with when doing support for Alachua Freenet.

I actually get more calls from women, however. While often I have to deal with
a female who is just as clueless as her stubborn husband who refuses to call,
they are almost always polite and friendly, and generally have no problem
admiting they are as smart as a lump of warm cheese.

But another characteristic of those grumpy old men users (Remember, I'm in
Florida. Gainesville isn't exactly a retiree paradise but you can only swing
a dead cat maybe 10 feet before you hit a senior) is how often they have
very dated equipment, and of course expect to be able to do *everything* with

One such case was a user who got very upset when he found our SLIP/PPP package
wouldn't run. He complained in a long, bitter email message about it. Based
on his description of the problems it sounded very much like he didn't have
enough RAM. So I listed the minimal requirements of the package. This included
things like a 386 MINIMUM, 4MB of RAM MINIMUM, a 9600 BPS modem MINIMUM, etc.
And of course it was all clearly listed on the handout for the software.
Dickhead starts complaining and screaming in email about how our site is
deliberately trying to shut out folks who don't have "fancy computers" and
how there's this huge conspiracy to force him to buy a really expensive
computer. He also insists the minimal requirements aren't listed on the hand-
out sheet.
I had one of the older volunteers who's more experienced at NOT STRANGLING THE
USERS than I am talk to the bitter old man on the phone, and eventually got
them to realize that they were an ass and just didn't read the requirements.
Apparently the idiot was trying to do it with only 2MB of RAM and a 2400 baud
modem. And he wondered why it was slow... *jeeeez*

More recently I handled a call for a woman who was calling for her father (And
I expect about half the female calls I get are women calling for their SO).
The guy was trying to use a Commodore Colt (a very old IBM XT compatible) to
download files for his "research". He couldn't figure out how to get Kermit
to work. So I had to drag out my copy of Kermit, waste time trying to remember
the commands, then give her the list of steps to do (and this person had an
input buffer of maybe, oh, 3 chars. I *hate* talking really slow and then
being told I'm still going to fast). During this time she mentions how her
dad is really annoyed that folks keep telling him that he can't use his
Commodore Colt XT (with 640K of RAM and one floppy drive) to work with our
SLIP/PPP package (Windows 3.1 based).


I told her "It simply isn't powerful enough to do it". I wasn't going to bother
to explain about DOS-based TCP/IP drivers, SLIP drivers, etc. and how even
then it probably wouldn't be possible.

From: dpm@access1.digex.net (David P. Murphy)
Subject: Re: Fish Tacos (was Re: _The Dilbert Future_)

crosby@nordsieck.cs.colorado.edu (Matthew Crosby) writes:

>Beats me.  I think IQ tests are idiotic, and I neither know mine nor
>want to know.  I could get into Mensa based on my SAT tests, but again,
>I think they are a bunch of amazingly pathetic wankers.
>We should come up with a BQ (BOFH Quotent) test...more relevent.

1. "request" is to "reply" as "ask for the root password" is to:
(A) lart
(B) lart
(C) lart
(D) area-effect lart to maximize the number tagged

2. Charlie has a disk space quote of 10 meg.  Charlie spams the
sysadmin (eight email requests in one day) for more disk space
even though a discrete 'ls -l' shows several large .jpg files
with rather questionable names.  What will Charlie's quota be
when he logs in tomorrow?

[comment nugget@slacker.com (David McNett):]
For bonus credit, how would the presence of the following
affect your response:
a) One or more core files
2) One or more of the above large .jpg files renamed in a crude
attempt at hiding their true nature.
3) A copy of /etc/passwd
4) A particularly damning entry in .newsrc

3. (essay) Write at least three good excuses to throw at lusers
when the printer is mysteriously off-line; bonus points given
for originality and unhelpful misspellings.

4. What is the correct number of extra tapes to keep on hand
in case any of the twelve tapes normally required for a
full backup turn out to be bad?

5. When was the last time you bought a phone *without* a control
which disables the ring?

6. A manager walks into your office and begins chewing you out
because you filled out your timesheet with a granularity of
one hour instead of tenths-of-hour as specified by the
Official Corporate Procedures Handbook.  Your response is:
(A) "yes, sir, from now on, sir"
(B) "but i am; i just happen to work in hour increments"
(C) "fsck off, paperboy"
(D) "of course.  by the way, under what charge number would
web-page maintenance fall if the page is about room 314
at the Black Surt Inn down the street last friday night?"

From: cantrick@rintintin.Colorado.EDU (Ben Cantrick (alias Macky Stingray))
Subject: Re: Recovery !

Peter Radcliffe <2010$fribble@pir.net> wrote:
>Well, its finally happened. if only for a little while.
>As of 17:30 today, I'm unemployed, and a recovered sysadmin !
>Hopefully in the not too distant future, I'll be an un-recovered sysadmin
>again, when I start at shore, but you can't have it all.
>... but right now I'm going to enjoy some holiday with my other half who
>arrives tomorrow, so I won't be about very much, suprise suprise :)

The scene: A midevil village in England. A man covered in grime,
holding a crude triangular shaped piece of metal, walks in front of a
cart filled with Sun 3/60's, ancient DEC stations with broken monitors,
and various corpses. He occasionally hits the triangle with something
that looks like a spoon, making a weak "tonk!"ing noise.

Grime-covered Man: <tonk!> Bring out your recovered!
	   <tonk!> Bring out your recovered!
	   Bring out your recovered! <Tonk!>

A salesdroid with a body over his shoulder hurries up to the cart.

Salesdroid: Here's one.

Grime-covered Man: <nodding> Nine pence.

The "body" over the hooded man's shoulder mutters something.

"Body": I'm not recovered..

Grime-covered Man: What?

Salesdroid: Nothing. Here's your nine pence.

"Body": I'm not recovered!

Grime-covered man: Here now, he says he's not recovered!

Salesdroid: Yes he is.

"Body": Ah'm not!

Grime-covered Man: He isn't.

Salesdroid: Well, he will be soon. He's quit admining.

"Body": I'm not getting any better.

Salesdroid: Oh yes you are. You'll be installing Windows NT in a moment.

Grime-covered man: I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.

"Body": I don't want to support Microsoft Office.

Salesdroid (scolding "the body"): Oh don't be such a technological elitist.

Grime-covered man: Ah can't take him...

"Body": I like perl.

Salesdroid: Oh, do us a favor...

Grime-covered man: I can't.

Salesdroid: Well, can you surf the web for a couple of minutes? He
    won't be long.

Grime-covered man: Nah, got to go to Earthlink; they've lost nine today.

Salesdroid: Well, when is your next round?

Grime-covered man: Monday.

"Body": I think I'll fsck the news disk...

Salesdroid: (To "body") You're not fooling anyone you know.
    (To grime-covered man) Look, isn't there something you can do?

"Body": I feel GNUsy. I feel GNUsy!

The grime covered man winds up and strikes "the body" (still draped
over the shoulder of the salesdroid) very hard on the head. All signs
of intelligence on the part of the "body" disappear.

Salesdroid: Ah, thanks very much.

Grime-covered man: Not at all. See you on Monday.

From: Frossie <frossie@jach.hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: are we not lusers as well?

"David" == David P Murphy <dpm@access4.digex.net> writes:

David> so i'm curious: what other signs of management-luser-awareness
David> in non-computer related fields have people seen?

When I first moved to the US from the UK, I went to open an account at
the local bank. Now in the UK opening an account is trivial - you show
your ID, you answer the question "checking or savings", they hand you
a cheque book and that's it. I was not expecting any trouble.

Until I got there, that is.

HER: What type of account would you like ?
ME: Checking <confidently>
HER: Yes but what type ?
ME: Err, how many have you got <less confidently>
HER: <rattles off half a dozen meaningless terms>
ME: Uh, I'll have a regular one. <utterly bewildered>

It then got progressively worse until we reached (about one thousand
years later)

HER: What kind of design would you like on your cheques ?
ME: Pardon ? <panic>
HER: What...kind...of...design...would...you...like...on...your...cheques
ME: I'm sorry I don't understand what you mean ! <despair>
HER: WHAT...KIND...OF... (as if I was deaf as well as stupid)

Why she didn't lart me with that folder of "500 Personalized Cheque
Designs !" I do not know. The concept that I could chose to have
tropical fish on my chequebook was completely alien to me. She must
have thought I was a complete luser.

It was a bad day.

From joe_bednorz@inteq.bhi-net.com 
Subject: The Beast That Would Not Die Is Uninstalled

Available for immediate pickup: Industrial strength fan forced 
convection heater with computer-like features.

Make: Sequent
Model: Symmetry 81  (Symmetry 27 main & expansion boxes also 
Dimensions: 6' wide x 5.5' tall x 4.5' deep
Supply: 220VAC (for room shaking effects)
Power Rating:  Huge

Warning: (On the cabinet doors):  "Pulling
hard-drive drawer out all of the way may cause the
machine to topple forward."

Predictions have been made for years that even household appliances
would one day run Unix.  Be the envy of your neighborhood with a room 
heater that runs Unix!


- Hurricane force hot dry winds (Can you say Santa Anna Wind?)

- Generates mind-soothing white noise.  Lots of it.
(The stereo in the computer room sounds much better now.
But I had no idea the tape drives were so LOUD.)
(Now, *after* it's gone, we get a phone in the computer
room with extra amplification.)

- Keeps an entire computer room warm through
a freezing winter, even if you run the A/C.
(Good thing we're getting rid of it.  The A/C can't
keep up with it now.  Summer in Southwestern
LA would have been too much.)

- Filters the air!

- Fans. Fans! FANS!

- Large enough to seat a family of four.
(I have pictures.) (The replacement could fit in a briefcase.)

- Mature technology.

- Weighs over 3/4 ton.

- Keep those pesky floor panels in their place.

- Theft proof! (Despite our most earnest entreaties...
and offers to help.) (It took four people six
solid hours to disassemble the Beast & cart it
out of the computer room.  Luckily our Win95
guy is young & stup^H^H^H^H strong enough
to lift the 120 lb. dual-harddrive drawers.)

- Counteracts the lifting force of the cooling fans
(o/w the Beast might achieve flight.) 

- Random saboteurs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H service
technicians do NOT move it around at random.

Computer-like features:

- Twelve sizzling 20MHZ 80386SX processors (Intel Inside!)

- Over 6 Gigabytes of working storage (weighing over
0.5 ton)

- 184 MB of working RAM in 6 proprietary 16" x 18" boards.  Each
board has over 100 memory chips on it for maximum heat 
generation.  None of those namby-pamby compatible SIMMS with 
just 9 points of failure.

- Dynix 3.1 O/S

- Almost-compatible SCSI card.

- Pretty compatible Ethernet card

- You're really reading all of this?

- 32 terminal ports.

- Terrifies the clergy.

- Damn fine multi-processor O/S.

- Conversation piece.  How DO you make a hard
disk drive weigh 60 lbs?

- Other possibilities:

- Put a drive-train between the fans &
the wheels - instant tank!


Hmmmm.... Can't think of any....  Nope, not a one.

So come on folks!  Bring your 3/4 ton truck & pick it up.
(We won't send it to you unless you pre-pay shipping.)

(Come on guys!  The scrap metal value *alone* has to be
worth the shipping costs!)

P.S. Don't get your hopes up too much.  A university in the South West
(West of the Rio Grande) USA has expressed an interest.  They claim to
have *another* of these  beasts.  (Say...you don't suppose they're 
going to *breed* them?)

From: crosby@nordsieck.cs.colorado.edu (Matthew Crosby)
Subject: Vendors...don't you love them?

NOW I've heard it all.  Problem:  expensive application from large well know 
company keeps crashing.

Vendor solution:  "Oh, someone at your site must be kill -9ing it accidently.
Our reccomendation is to rename the kill command."


From: Indica@cris.com (Leigh Metcalf)
Subject: A minor rant

I hate NT.

I mean, I really really really hate it.  

It isn't bad enough that the damned thing decides to crash daily for no
discernable reason, other than to just drive us stark raving mad, its the 
clueless morons who believe that NT is just so darn simple that anyone
can use it so they'll buy it and use it... then yell at us because
they can't set it up correctly and it isn't online.  This is NOT an 
Operating System, this is a hack some blithering moron (hiya Mr. Gates)
dreamed up to inflict on mankind and to give system administrators
grey hair.  (As if I don't have enough already).

I will never use that abomination that someone laughingly titled an
Operating System.  If I wanted to point and drool, I'd got to a 
Chippendales show.

Ah, I feel better now.  I think I'll work on my nice sendmail problem
for the rest of the day (And I'm starting to see waterbuffaloes 
wandering around my office.  Thankyouverymuch, whoever started that.)

From: John the Unstable <john@tcp.net.uk>
Subject: Wahhh??! (was Re: Rancho Santa Fe, CA: Mass suicide)

On 27 Mar 1997 21:48:53 GMT, Charles Peterman, wrote:
>I've been thinking about the Stuart the Nice, John the cuddly fuzzy bunny

'cuddly fuzzy bunny bit'????
Pass the LART boys, we've got Work To Do

Unstable? Yes. Baffled? Yes. Unhinged? 95% of the time, yes. Pumpkin? Yes,
but only if you can run fast.

'cuddly fuzzy bunny bit'?
Oh my god.

I don't know what to say, apart from
"Speak softly, wrinkle your nose cutely, and carry a baseball bat."
I'm shocked. 

>attempting to come up with an adequately ambiguous description.  

Charles the Maimed



There are too many salesdroids round here now. They keep having meetings.
One came near my desk the other day, but left rapidly when I attempted
to shove my baseball bat up its nose.
"Get thee behind me, droid!"

They dragged me into a meeting a while back. To discuss the design of
the BASFH. Thing is, Simes and I had already designed it. Several times.
So the meeting consisted of:
Them: "We want it to do this."
Me: "It'll do that."
Them: "We want it to do this too."
Me: "It'll do that."
Them: "Oh, we want this as well."
Me: "Guess what. It already does it."
Precisely one useful thing came out of it. But it's only useful for
accounts-geeks. So I probably won't code it anyway - they should
go back to using quills and parchments so they earn their stupid fat

Also, I had an indirect lecture from a luser on how to use chmod. Like, I
didn't know that a file that needs to be written too needs the write bit
Like, duh. That's where I've been going wrong all these years. *thwap*

I must be looking senile. Everyone's telling me what to do, when I
already know.
Nod and smile, nod and smile, think, "fuck off".


From: Calle Dybedahl <qdtcall@esb.ericsson.se>
Subject: Slight rant

Like most sysadmins, I have lusers. Lusers who, for a living, design
and build electronic warfare stuff for Sweden's JAS fighter aircraft.
They are M.S.s and Ph.D.s and stuff like that. They juggle systems of
differential equations, they model interactions of microwaves with
other microwaves and nature, they cram shitloads of electronics into
small boxes to be hung under aircraft. They do all kinds of highly
nontrivial stuff. They behave as if they had brains.


I don't think I'm demanding too much. It's not like I expect them to
read their mail, or large notices on the fridge by the coffee machine,
or subtly worded /etc/issue messages[1], or motds, or as-big-as-the-monitor
dialog boxes with "COMPUTERS WON'T WORK TOMORROW" in hard-to-read
48-point bold. I have learned to live with that.

But when I point at a line of text at the monitor, a line in which the
most difficult word is "characters", and have them read it out loud to
me, then I *do* expect them to understand! 

"Your password must be at least six characters long. Try again."

It's not that difficult a concept, is it? Password too long -- try again.
How can you possibly put it any simpler? You'd think a *cat* would
understand it! But not the lusers. No, when they come here because
they have forgotten their passwords for the umpteenth time this week
and get to see that message after trying "mommy" for a password again,
they just stand there, lack of comprehension beaming from their eyes.

Then they ask. "What do I do now?", they ask, since they somehow
managed to sense that something went wrong. "What do I do now?"
"Well, read what it says on the bloody monitor, you blithering idiot!",
I am sorely tempted to scream, while beating him[2] over the head with a
handy SGI Indy.

But I don't. Instead I have them read the line out loud to me. Slowly.
Repeatedly, until they get it. At worst, it has taken *five tries*
before a particulary dim luser got it. "Oooh, I should try again!"

It *can't* be that hard!


[1] "GO AWAY!" -- our mailserver.

[2] It's always a "him". Always. Without exception. Even though about
    one luser in five is female.

From: geek@news.midway.com (Erik Van Riper)
Subject: No eating over the "Any key"

gawd.  I am surrounded by morons.

(two more, and goes to voice mail!)
Oh, ok, first call of the morning, may as well get it over with.

Me:  "Hello?"
It:  "Oh, hi Erik.  Remeber when you replaced the power supply in my
     Indy a few weeks ago?"
Me:  *recalls that "strange burning smell" for 3 straight days wafting
     through the building, waiting for someone to tell me their 
     computer was burning*  "Yes, I do..."
It:  "Well, ever since you replaced it, my space bar sticks."
Me:  *holds back the first 30 or so responses that come to mind*
     "Er...  uh...  ok, I will be over to look at it"

This I had to see.  A power supply affecting a keyboard.  I *KNEW*
I would have something to write to ASR about!

So, I pry the puppy off the keyboard, sure enough, last weeks lunch
is happily creating spores and funky green-brown colors.

I empty the offending sticky crap onto her desk, put the spacebar
back in, works fine.  I told her to stop eating over her keyboard.

The technician here said I should have told said luser[1] "no eating
on the any key".  The immediate response from another person in
the department was "She would only be confused for the next 3 days".

Oh well.  At least it is tuesday.

[1] Said luser is blonde.  [2]
[2] Useful information only if you are creating a statistical
    analysis of lusers and their hair color.

From: chloride@empnet.com (Hans Chloride)
Subject: Re: Pissing GNU/Linux

spam@matra.co.uk (James Ogden) wrote:

>On Tue, 17 Jun 1997 23:46:56 +0000, Bruce Campbell
><bofh@lartoz.thehub.com.au> wrote:
>>Computers are by definition, unusable.  It takes years of training to 
>>learn how to approach one with the proper respect.  The Gods of Computing 
>>punish those who fail to that they are but mere pawns beside a computer, 
>>and can even smite their beloved admins when the mood takes them.
>Tut - bad attitude there.  The computer Will Do What It Is Told.
>There will be Trouble[1] if it doesn't. 
>[1] Maybe CART has a dual meaning[2]
>[2] Think about it...

The computer Will Do What It Is Told?
{After catching his breath, Chloride attempts to climb back into the
Office Chair From Hell}

The Computer will do _what_ it feels like doing, _when_ it feels like
doing it.  Although threats _sometimes_ work, this is not _always_
true.  Likewise with tearing down the hardware, reconfiguring it,
reinstalling software, etc.   You get it put back together.  You
reinstall everything.  It _still_ flakes.  You bang your head against
a solid object.  The resultant vibration is detected.  You come back
>from  getting piss drunk, and it works _perfectly_.  As long as you
view it with suspicion, it will continue to work perfectly.  If you
make the mistake of concluding it has settled down and is now going to
behave, it will crash horribly just to spite you.  [0]

I know my machine has a demonic intelligence.  It, being a Packard
Bell, running MS Windoze '95, was spawned in Hell.  When in Suspend,
[which supposedly puts it to "sleep"] my entering the room will cause
activity.  I hear the main drive chittering and see the HDD activity
indicator go solid for a full 30 seconds.  The monitor LED stays
yellow.  The screen stays blank.  Upon striking the "any" key, it
powers up, thrashes both drives, and displays the familiar Windoze
desktop.  It _appears_ to be waking up from full sleep, as it won't
respond for about 20 seconds after the screen comes up.  But _I_ know
it wasn't  _really_ asleep.  It knows I know.  We understand each
other. [1] [2] [3]

Regardless of what others may think, I _know_ machines have awareness.
They have personality.  At least the more complex ones, such as motor
vehicles and computers.  Sometimes they are nice, well-behaved
machines, that do what they are told.  Sometimes they refuse to
function properly from the time they are new, regardless of what you
or anybody else does to attempt to repair them.  Other times they are
somewhere in the middle.  They'll work properly enough of the time so
they don't get thrown on the scrap-heap, but break often enough to
cause you much frustration and hair-pulling.  [4] [5]

HC - Bastard Luser Extraordinaire

[0]  Even a mere Luser like myself knows Extreme Paranoia is
_required_ when dealing with any aspect of computers or computing.

[1] This has happened when my wife has been in the room, slamming file
drawers open and shut and generally causing vibration.  It remains
quiet until I enter the room, and then becomes aware of my presence.
She asks what it's doing, and I say "Updating the clock" or whatever.
I don't really want to know _what_ it's doing.

[2]  The Luddites had a point.  Machines _can_ be evil.  Technology
_is_ a black art, somewhere slightly above witchcraft.

[3]  The difference being, they're not burning the techies at the
stake.  Yet.

[4]  The machines in the middle catagory are the truly possessed ones.
There are those of you know of what I speak.  They will work perfectly
in front of others, but as soon as you are alone with them, they will
misbehave horribly.  

[5]  Else, they will function perfectly when you are alone with them,
but break horribly when in the presence of a girlfriend or boss, and
nothing you can do will revive them.  This is to cause you
embarrassment, and remind you who's _really_ in control of the

From: joe@cstone.net (Joe Thompson)
Subject: Re: "The company that brought you the Internet..."

wednsday@huitzilo.tezcat.com (Beverley R. White) wrote:

> In article <5od42k$jco@idiom.com>, John C. Randolph <jcr@idiom.com> wrote:
> >you know, for a *large* number of lusers out there, Netscrape *is* the
> >company that brought them the internet.
> I want to cry.

You have no idea (or perhaps you do) the pain I went through trying to
convince my Senior Citizen Luser[1] that Netscape is not the Internet.  I
kept getting questions like "Why is it I can check e-mail fine, but getting
on the Internet is so slow?[2]"

Oh yes, did I mention that she totally failed to understand:

1) The function of the modem.
2) The concept that yes, you must connect before Netscape will function!
3) The concept that yes, you must disconnect to use your phone again!
4) The concept that no, you cannot take incoming calls on that line while
   connected to the Internet.
5) The concept that no, I DO NOT WIRE PHONE LINE outside places I live!

And she has the annoying habit of asking a question, writing down the
answer, and losing the paper.  And I swear the next time I hear her call me
"good boy" I'm going to tell everyone at work that when she calls, I *do
not* exist and have never, to any of their knowledge, worked for that
company, and none of them have ever heard of me.  Thank God she doesn't
have my (unlisted) home phone number.

God forbid I should ever ask her to read the documentation I wrote for her:

SCL: "This is kind of annoying to have to do this step always."
Me:  "You have to do it or it won't work."
SCL: "But can't I just skip right to --"
Me:  "No."
SCL: "But --"
Me:  "NO!"

*LART* -- Joe

[1] See a recent post by me.
[2] Thank God she finally ditched her Mac Color Classic.

From: foop@sg4.pcy.kcl.ac.uk.pcy.kcl.ac.uk (Chris Richardson)
Subject: Bloody UK election (On reflection, more to do with schools)

In a semi-comatose state the other morning, I was listening to the
Today Program (Merkins: an allegedly serious morning news radio show). 
They were talking about the various political parties' attempts to jump
on the Information SuperInfoBahnWay bandwagon.  Amongst all the usual
pap, a representative of one party (I forget which) said that they
wanted all schoolchildren to have email addresses by the year 2000 (or
somesuch emotive date).

I have mixed feelings on this.  On the one hand, it's bad enough that
it's perpetually September these days, without adding hordes of underage
wannabe d00dz for whom the height of sophistication is a flame
containing the word "Bum".  On the other hand, you've got to face up to
the fact that a lot of 11 year old children are considerably more
clueful than a lot of users.

I was in bed thinking about the two sides of the whole thing[1] when I
suddenly came up with a third, and infinitely more hideous side - just
as they were interviewing a schoolteacher who was saying "And we're
always having to get someone in to fix these things..."

These schools are going to need BOFHs.

[...wibbly-wobbly fade effect...]

BOFH:  Right, shut up you horrible lot.  Purdy!  PURDY!  Yes, you.
       Stop doing that to Cawley.  I don't care, it's a revolting
       habit.  Stop it at once.  Right, which one of you is UDKJ002?
       Ah, Tomblin, I should have known.  Been writing hostile Java
       applets again, have we?  Surprised we found out are we?  Well,
       we have our methods, as I'm sure you'll find out again in the
       future.  Go and see the headmaster - I'm sure he'll be
       interested to hear how you were misappropriating the world's
       computer resources to crack root on the exam board computers.

[Starts to stalk off back to the machine room]

       really?  Well, it's not nice, I agree, but Ingvar was right: you
       are a poo-brain.  And yes, you do smell.  No, you can't install
       Netscape Navigator 4.0 pre-release 2.  Why not?  Because it's a
       loathsome pile of Yak's droppings and an abomination in the
       sight of God, that's why not.  I don't care about advanced
       cookie control, you can't have it.  Now get your loathsome self
       [mutters] Hideous little oik.

[Continues his stalk]

BOFH:  Ah, Mr Peel, how nice to see you.  You think that the third
       formers have been copying your mock exam papers?  Yes, so do I.
       What gives me that idea?  Oh, the way we've had two of the
       DecLasers melt through overuse in the past couple of days.  Yes,
       well, it seems that on closer inspection your home directory
       appears to be world readable.  No, honestly, this is not a Good
       Thing.  Really.  Well, there are several things you can do about
       it.  I tell you what, go and see Jack Reger.  Well, I hear that
       not only has he prevented his students from reading the contents
       of ~reger, he's also prevented them from reading the contents of
       their *own* home directories.  He claims it gives him an easier
       life ...  well, no, I can't officially sanction it, much as I
       would love to.  Yes, that's okay.  [Under his breath]  Lusing

[Wanders away, but something catches his eye]

       DOWN!  GENTLY!

[...wibbly-wobbly fade effect...]

foop (With apologies to all those from the monastery and elsewhere.  Any
similarity etc. etc. is purely intentional)

[1] I'm fairly sure there are lurkers that actually *do* this - BOFH in
schools, that is - but they're all Merkins[2].  Besides, if what this
spin doctor was saying was correct, it's going to be a more widespread
use of the net in schools than seen before.

[2] Note that I restrained myself from adding "and thus don't count". 
Who says us Brits are xenophobic?

From: henke@ayesha.krall.org (Douglas G. Henke)
Subject: Re: Can you please..?

mark@shell.mhonline.net (Mark Herrick) writes:
> me: nameofISPthisismarkcanIhelpyou?
> luser: hi, this is luser, can you erase all of the files in my web 
> directory please?
> me: Uhm....sure I can...<clickety-click>

Them: nameofISPthisissomerandomtwinkcanIhelpyou?
Me: Yes, this is <some luser I dislike>. May I speak to Mark Herrick please?
Them: onemomentpleasehol<click>
Muzak: ...I'd rather be a hammer than a naaaaaaaail...
Mark: nameofISPthisismarkcanIhelpyou?
Me: Yes, this is <some luser I dislike>. Please erase all of the files in
    my web directory.
Mark: <clickety-click>
Me: Thanks, Mark.<click>

[ 30 seconds pass ]

Them: nameofISPthisissomerandomtwinkcanIhelpyou?
Luser: My information super highway doesn't work!
Them: [sotto voce] What a coincidence, neither does mine.
Luser: What?
Them: I said, what was your username?
Luser: Joe Random Luser
Them: Ok, so... <clickety-click> your username is jrluser. <clickety>

[ Tech-support dude's screen lights up with luser's history:

        o- Too stupid to use a computer.
        o- Forgot login.
        o- Yes, you have to plug it in.
        o- Forgot phone number of dialin pool.
        o- No I don't know where the nekkid pictures are. Try Altavista.
        o- Forgot password.
        o- Thinks Win95 is "too hard," wants help installing Linux.
        o- Forgot own name.
        o- No I don't know where the warez sites are.
        o- No we do not support MS Frontpage.
        o- No I do not know how to kill the boss in GoreFest3D.
        o- Aw, somebody on Usenet called him a nasty name.

        Page 1 of 25 (4%) -- more --

Them: So, what specifically is the problem?
Luser: I can't log in to surf the web.
Them: What exactly are you trying to do?
Luser: Log in to surf the web.
Them: <clickety-click> Well, you were logged in five minutes ago.
Luser: But I can't log in to surf the web.
Them: <clickety-click> You visited nameofISP's home page six minutes ago.
Luser: But I can't log in to surf the web!

Chorus: The Web! The Web! He can't log in to surf the web!

Them: Which page are you trying to visit?
Luser: My home page.
Them: <clickety-click> Sir, you don't have a home page.
Luser: What do you mean? It worked this morning!
Them: <clickety-click>

        o- No, we can't get you un-banned from otherISP's IRC server.
        o- Forgot which mouse button is the "left" one.
        o- No, we won't let you back on our IRC server either.
        o- Wants home page deleted. With pleasure!

        Page 25 of 25 (100%) -- end --

Them: <clickety-click> My records show you spoke to Mark Herrick 30 minutes
      ago and asked for your web pages to be deleted.
Luser: I never! You lying bast...
Them: pleasehold<click>
Muzak: ... Iiii-eeeee-iii-eeee-iii will always love you-oooo-oooo ...
Mark: nameofISPthisisMarkcanIhelpyou?
Luser: ...with a hockey stick covered in tabasco sauce!
Luser: You evil shit! Why did you delete my web pages?
Mark: I'm sorry, what was your user name?
Luser: J. Random Luser!
Mark: <clickety-click> I'm sorry, it looks like your account has been
      suspended <clickety-click> at the request of the DA's office. They're
      upset about the <clickety-click> child pornography.

[some days pass]

Newspaper: J Random Luser was sentenced to 8 years in the pokey for
      child porn, plus 500 years for contempt of court.

Me: I kill me, I really do.

From: gcash@magicnet.nospam.net
Subject: Some else gets to deal with the idiots

One of the fun things about supporting a site far away, is some of the
things that happen over the phone.

"Big" Bryan Fenner calls me from our production site.  He's a guy
about 5' 11" or so, 230lbs, ex-military and built like a tank.  Looks
like a Jinxian[1] and carries terabyte magneto-optical jukeboxes[2]
around for a living.  Pretty much qualified to do anything needing to
be done over there.  One of his guys has a problem with the Novell[4]
Me: "Who's he logged in as?  Have him do a WHOAMI for me."
Bry:"OK, hold on a sec."
    (Hey John! walk over to that system and do a whoami!)
    (Yes, that system.)
    (No, one word.)
    (who-am-i.  One word dammit.)
    (NO! doubleu-aych-oh-ay-emm-eye!)
    (So what does it say?  That you're a fucking clueless MORON, huh!?!)
    <another pause>
    (Can you just TYPE a simple command for me, man...?)
    <long pause>
    <much longer pause>
By this point, I'm totally useless.  I'm a puddle on the floor and tears
are running out of my eyes to the point I can't even see the keyboard,
much less type anything coherent into it.  I can't even remember what his
original problem was, that we were trying to solve.
Hell, I'm laughing my ass off remembering it.  I think he's ready to move
to tech support.  He's got the "dealing with customers" part down alright.
I think he could intimidate a wookiee.

From: Perry.Rovers@IAE.nl
Subject: Re: once in a lifetime chance, eh?

bofh$ telnet mail smtp
Connected to mail.example.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
220-mail.example.com ESMTP Sendmail 10.0.0-alpha/10.0.0; 19990901080000 +0000
220 Waddayawant Luser!? It's only 0800 and I'm sleepy!
helo bofh.example.com
250 mail.example.com sez: you're bofh.example.com, you want me to believe that?
mail from:<dave@example.com>
250-<dave@example.com>... Sender not really ok, but we'll see where this goes.
250-You'd better give me a damn good to address or I'll kick you outta
250 this server...
rcpt to:<postmaster@example.com>
250-<postmaster@example.com>... Recipient ok, but only cos it's required.
250 Now try giving me some really useful stuff... like cookies
554 I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. Bye now, and bye from Eric too.
Connection closed by foreign host

From: abuse@orion-com.com (Joe Thompson)
Subject: Bastard sneaky fscking spam-hurling lusers!

Last week we got a couple of calls from a fellow I'll call TC.  He was
having some odd problems with his 95 box connecting to the net.  Well we
got him set and he kept calling back with odd questions like how many
newsgroups we carry and how often we spool our articles out to the outside
world[1].  OK, whatever.

Last Thursday he calls in and says he's getting "error 380 -- unable to
connect to SMTP server" from his mailer.  I ask him what it is and he says
Pegasus Mail.  I ask him what version and he says he's not at the computer
(which had happened on other occasions).  So I told him to have whoever
*was* at the computer call me back.

Five minutes later the phone rings.  I pick up and hear the voice of... FQ!

FQ is a known spammer in this area who's been kicked  off two ISPs already. 
He got an account on the ISP I used to work for (I'll call it A) shortly
after I started there, and I booted him after his first UCE incident[2] (I
was already learning the way of BOFH).  He had had an account on A's major
competitor (who I'll call B) just before[3].  Later, when I went to work
for ISP C, FQ came along two weeks later and asked directly about our bulk
mail policy.  We told him directly that he could bugger off.

So anyway, I'm wondering what FQ is up to today, and just what his
involvement with TC might be.  I got his version of Pegasus Mail[4].  Hm,
nothing obviously wrong, I see him logged in to the terminal server, I can
ping him.  Go to look at mail machine.

Mail machine is in the process of collapsing under the load of thousands of
spam messages going out from TC's account!

Now, in quick succession:

1) stop outgoing SMTP connections.
2) disable TC's account
3) disable TC's dialin acct.
4) kick TC off terminal server
5) get back on the phone.

"Your account's been disabled.  We do not allow bulk e-mail on our system."

So FQ hangs up.  A few minutes later[5] TC calls back, gets our webmaster
on the phone and promises not to send anymore spam until he talks to our
manager when he returns.  So then FQ (who is on the other line at the same
time with me) starts asking questions:

"Why won't your mail server handle my bulk e-mail?"[6]
"Can you change your configuration to handle it?"[7]
"Could I use another server to send my mail?"[8]
"Will I be able to browse web pages when my account is reenabled?"[9]

So he hangs up, dials back in...

Here comes the spam!

This time we were short and brutal.  We disabled the mail account & dialin
and when FQ called back I explained that we saw more spam coming from that
account; I'm sorry, but since you failed to honor your word, your account
is unconditionally terminated.

He got very upset and started blustering.  I told him he could take it up
with the manager and he hung up on me.

Next day TC came in and apologized; he appears to have been either just a
shill for FQ or just some sucker who believed when he was told bulk e-mail
would bring in business[10].

Aa a result of this incident our T & C now specifically mentions bulk
e-mail[11].  Also we later found out he was using a bulk-mail product
called E-mail Blaster -- does it work with Pegasus Mail? -- Joe

 [1] His interest in volume of newsgroups should have rung bells.
 [2] He was trying to drum up customers for his locator business -- finding
     missing persons, lost items, heirs of inheritances, etc. for which he would
     then charge a finder's fee.
 [3] Ever seen a guy try to get WinCGIs from an NT-based ISP to a Unix-based
 [4] 2.54.
 [5] After the mail server has returned to normal.
 [6] "Because we don't feel like buying an Ultraserver for mail."
 [7] "Not unless you're willing to pony up $10,000 or so."
 [8] "Sure, as long as you have their permission."
 [9] "Certainly.  But no mail."
[10] This time around FQ was promoting some plan to skip 110 payments on your
     mortgage and save tons of interest, ALL 100% LEGAL!!![12]
[11] Can we specifically disallow customers from even using bulk-mail software
     on our network?  This would go a long way toward solving the problem -- 
     "we don't mind if you bulk-mail, as long as you don't use a bulk-mail
[12] Yeah right.

From: mike@altrion.org (Mike Whitaker)
Subject: Re: Does this strike anyone else as Insane?

An ex-boss of mine had a somewhat innovative approach to porting BSD utils
to SYSV, which fundamentally consisted of:

while (compiler errors)
   find offending line
   delete it (no, not comment it out, or #ifdef it out)

tar up source, overwrite old tarball


if (the first test works)
   pronounce working
   refuse to believe it's anything other than perfect
   if (it subsequently doesn't work) 
      someone else must have hacked it since - find them and blame them
   blame original author
   pronounce the utility as 'unuseable crap'
   make it company policy not to use it 

From: pgut001@cs.auckland.ac.nz (Peter Gutmann)
Subject: Re: policy

1. Customer Obligations
1.1. Customer assumes full responsibility that this program meets the
     specifications, capacity, capabilities, and other requirements of said
     customer, and agrees not to bother the author if the program does not
     perform as expected, or performs other than expected, or does not perform
     at all.
1.2. Customer assumes full responsibility for any deaths or injuries that may
     result from the normal or abnormal operation of this program.  In the
     event of casualties exceeding 1000 persons or property damage in excess of
     $10 million, customer agrees that he or she has stolen the program and we
     didn't even know he or she had it.
1.3. Customer agrees not to say bad things about the program or the author to
     anyone claiming to be from "60 Minutes".
2. Very Limited Warranty and Conditions of Sale
2.1. For a period of 90 minutes, commencing from the time you first thought
     about getting this program, we warrant that this program may or may not be
     free of any manufacturing defects.  It will be replaced during the
     warranty period upon payment of an amount equal to the original purchase
     price plus $10.00 for handling.  This warranty is void if the program has
     been examined or run by the user, or if the manual has been read.
2.2. This program is sold on an AS WAS basis.  The author makes no warranty
     that it is, in fact, what we say it is in our propaganda, or that it will
     perform any useful function.  We have no obligation whatsoever other than
     to provide you with this fine disclaimer.
2.3. Some countries do not allow limitations as to how long an implied warranty
     lasts, so we refuse to imply anything.
2.4. There is an extremely small but nonzero chance that, through a process
     known as quantum tunnelling, this program may spontaneously disappear from
     its present location and reappear at any random place in the universe,
     including your neighbours computer system.  The author will not be
     responsible for any damages or inconvenience that may result.
3. Limitation of Liability
3.1. We have no liability or responsibility to the customer, the customers
     agents, our creditors, your creditors, or anyone else.

From: rjd4@cam.ac.uk (Bob Dowling)
Subject: Re: new measurement?

Bruce Murphy <packrat@tartarus.uwa.edu.au> writes:

|> I think the only ranking measure of sysadminness is really the depth
|> of commitment to a bitter, twisted and cynical worldview. There really
|> isn't anything else which can't be attributed to the vagaries of
|> management types.

To give this some sort of objectivity I propose the "prison time" measurement:

  "How long would you be prepared to go to prison for as a punishment for
  killing one of your lusers?" 

Of course we* have a serious problem if this measure ever drops below the
likely punishment time.  However, I don't think I'd be prepared to spend more
than a month in the nick for killing a luser, so mine are quite safe.  Their
data, on the other hand... (cue the maniacal cackle)

From: seagull@netcom.com (Seagull)
Subject: The REAL reason why Windoze is evil

I have heard lots of people complain about Windows.  Win 95, Win NT
and (of course) Win 3.1.  Now, there's no denying that Windoze, in any
and all forms, is pure evil.  I certainly won't argue that.  But the
real question is, _why_ is it evil?  When a Pee Cee lover asks me why
I'm so hard on Windoze, and why I like that ancient "UNIX stuff" so
much, they are just itching to hear some "computer holy war" kind of
response so that they can call me a UNIX bigot.  Which, of course, I

But that's not the point.  There is a legitamite reason why Windoze is
the spawn of hell, and why its very existance is a pimple on the
buttocks of human society.  And, it has nothing to do with the lame
filesystem, lack of true multi-user capability or the annoying habit
of sending all exceptions to the console with an equally-annoying dialogue
box that makes you hit "Ok".

You see, the _real_ reason why Windoze is evil is much simpler than
that: it encourages, and then breeds, incompetence.  Windoze goes so
far out of it's way to make using computers easy, that the luser
looses all ability (or never gains it in the first place) to perform
even simplistic tasks when even a minor glitch occurs.

Case in point: luser calls me on the phone today.

  Luser: I lost an icon.  I need to get it back.
  Me:    Okay.  What was it called?
  Luser: I don't remember.
  Me:    What program did it run?
  Luser: I don't know what it's called.
  Me:    What did the icon look like?
  Luser: I don't know.
  Luser: Are you still there?

I should have asked, "How do you know it's gone?", but instead decided
to actually help this poor person, and restock my bottle of Advil

As much as I hate it, though, at least it pays the bills.  And, MS's
new "Zero Administration" directive is the best thing for SysAdmin
job security in recent months.  The question, of course, is whether or
not it's worth selling the soul for.

From: mert0236@sable.ox.ac.uk (Thomas Womack)
Subject: Re: Reading list (was "Stupid things tech-support tell you to do")

Bob Dowling (rjd4@cam.ac.uk) wrote:
: In article <isvhxhdydi.fsf@godzilla.kiere.ericsson.se>,
:  Calle Dybedahl <qdtcall@esb.ericsson.se> writes:

: |> Every sysadmin should read Sun Tzu's "The
: |> Art of War" and Liddell-Hart's "Strategy".

: I would add "Up The Organization" by Robert Townsend to this list.
: It's a series of "memos" (including one on why to avoid using memos)
: detailing how to survive within and modify the modern corporation.

>From  a well-known BOFH of the elder days ...

LONDON -- written from Central Spain, August 1812


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the
approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been
diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M.
ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all
manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me
accountable.  I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and
spleen of every officer.  Each item and every farthing has been
accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains
unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has
been a hideous confusion as the number of jars of raspberry jam issued
to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain.  This
reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of
circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come
as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation
of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better
understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains.  I
construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as
given below.  I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability,
but I cannot do both:

1.  To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the
benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance,

2.  To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant


From: brian@karoshi.ucsd.edu (Brian Kantor)
Subject: prehistoric lusers?

From: jaustin <jaustin@4dcomm.com>
Subject: Early Tech Support
The tech support problem dates back to long before the industrial
revolution, when primitive tribesmen beat out a rhythm on drums to

 Fire help.  Me Groog

 Me Lorto.  Help.  Fire not work.

 You have flint and stone?


 You hit them together?


 What happen?

 Fire not work

 (sigh) Make spark?

 No spark, no fire, me confused. Fire work yesterday.

 *sigh* You change rock?

 I change nothing

 You sure?

 Me make one change. Stone hot so me soak in stream so stone not burn Lorto
 hand. Only small change, shouldn't keep Lorto from make fire.

 *Groog grabs club and goes to Lorto's cave*


From: dave@n1.NoUCE.net (Dave Kochan)
Subject: Backups and grey hair

True stories from the backup zone.

90% of the staff at our site are engineers.  These fine
folks[-1] toil day and night to produce engineering drawings,
which tell other folks how to build Really Big Semi Neat

Unfortunately, being rather expense-sensitive, we have
no PDM.  Rather, we use a nasty collection of macros,
scripts, and an aging database to keep track of things.
Occasionally, it works as intended.

What is does well, however, is set lusers up for grande
self-larts.  "What drawing number was I working on?
I don't recall...Hmm...Let's try this one."  <clickity> "It
worked!  Right, then - that must have been it!"

< 9, 18, ?? months later[1] >

"Hey, why does drawing X look exactly like drawing Y?
Oh, shucks...Looks as though I stored over it.  Um, Dave?
Can you restore a drawing for me?"

Sure ...

  [larting sounds]
  [wait, wait, wait while indices are read from one of
   the tape volumes from that era [2] - accompanied by
   much bitching about online index space (actually,
   the distinct lack thereof)]
  Dave:  Shit.  Wrong tape.
  [Repeat as necessary]

  [wait, wait, wait while I try 47 times to read the file
   from the damn tape, finally succeeding [4] ]
  Dave:  OK, luser.  Your file has been recovered.
  Luser: "Oh, well, it was just a little drawing - I re-drew
   it.  Only took about 5 minutes."


[Watch Dave try to delete indices of old, moldy tapes
 from database.  Watch database shit its pants and
 corrupt  itself.  Watch Dave restore indices from
 tape.  Repeat a few times until it appears to work.]


Luser:"I had this drawing a long time ago, and then I got rid
 of it. [5]  I need it back now."
Dave:"Well, about when did you delete it?"
Luser:"Umm...Hmm...Good question.  I don't know, really.
Can't you just get it back?  I thought we had backups."
Luser:"Um, maybe last spring or summer?"
Luser:"Yeah, I'm sure it was then.  Anyway, we really need
this drawing."
Dave:<mumble something about "We?">
Luser:Right then, thanks.

  [see above index-reading drama, multiplied by the number
   of quarterly tapes encompassed by the era in question, and
   throw in a few offsite tape requests for good measure]


Luser:"I need to have a file brought back[6] from the backup."
Dave:*sigh* OK, what's the drawing number?
[wait patiently, to the tune of <clickity click> as Dave
 searches for the drawing[7]
Dave:OK, when was the last time you worked with this
drawing before today?
Luser:Um, before today?  Never.
Dave:Exactly WHEN did you CREATE this drawing.
Luser:Um, about an hour ago?


Dave:Well, luser, we do backups at NIGHT.  Every
night.  ONCE a night.  So sorry.[11]

Thus ends this episode.  Stay tuned for scenes
>from  our next scheduled program.

From: uhaa032@sun.rhbnc.ac.uk (Malcolm Ray)
Subject: Re: T3s a-go-go

On 9 Dec 1997 10:25:02 GMT, Gus <angus@babel.intasys.com> wrote:
>Steve VanDevender (stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu) wrote:
>: This reminds me of the comic strip I want to create:  "The
>: Adventures of Router Man and Packet Boy."
>: "Holy flapping BGP, Router Man!  It looks like Cable Cut is going
>: to flush our tables!" said Packet Boy.
>"Argh, quick! lets slip down the other spanning-tree route!"
>"Oh no! This arp table is old! We're heading for the old abandoned router!"

"Not so fast, Router Man!"
Doctor Smurf emerged from the shadows of a T3.
"Frags!" thought Router Man.  "The firewall didn't stop him!"
"You're losing your touch, Router Man.  You completely failed to notice
my Poison Reverse Ray back there.  Already you will be feeling its effects..."

From: Graphics Guru From Hell <fsck_off@go_away.org>

That's it!   I have fscking had it with lusers who seem to think that
there is no harm in taking home company software in order to furnish their
pathetic little boxen at home!... BASTARDS!!!

It all started out, with a wonderful crash[0] on my Mac Performa 636CD
piece of shit that I must use at work for any graphics jobs looming
overhead. Well, the fucker crashes, and my System file, and a couple of
preference files get nuked (i.e., their resource forks get fscked).  I
found this out by running the Norton Utilities (gack!) Disk Doctor.

Okay, no big deal, right?... I mean, it's not like I have to re-install
the software, like under Winduhs... all I should have to do is copy
over the original System file(s)[1] correct?...

Well, it seems that the System 7.5.3 CD is missing, yes missing.  Now, I
have a key to the place... Boss has a key to the place... Office Manager
has a key to the place, and Graphics luser I must work with has key to
place...  so, that's 4 keys, right?...

Okay... I have a Linux box at home[2], and I despise MacOS, so I wouldn't
take it if it were given to me.  Boss has Windows95 at home, and has not
the ability to run MacOS at home.  Office Manager does not even have a
computer at home, and if she did, she wouldn't take the CD, 'cause she
wouldn't even know what good it would be even if she had a Mac.

SOOOOOO... that leaves one person... the Graphics luser, who has a
PowerMac 7100 at home[3], but not System 7.5.3 (at least, he didn't until

I inform the boss... When questioned, Graphics luser has 'no idea' where
the CD is, and does not seem to care[4].  So, we let it slide, with a
tinge of a grudge.  The fucker denies it, but I know he took it[5].

So, the boss informs me that I should upgrade my Performa 040 with MacOS
8, so that I will have a System CD, and the latest OS for my machine.
Groovy... so, I purchase a copy a CompUSA, and put it on my system.  Now,
I need to re-install Adopey Photoswap v4.0.  Now, I don't like just
dragging old folders into new system installs, so I wanna re-install it.

Guess what?...

THAT FUCKING CD IS GONE TOO!!!  And again, fscking Graphics luser has no
idea where it is!!!  This shit is just too much... I know this bastard has
the CDs, because he acts funny every time I mention them[6]... besides,
nobody else there has a use for them at home!...

On top of that, MacOS 8 does not mount my CD properly, so I had to restore
the fucked up copy of my System 7.5.3 files, for which, I have no
replacement.  So, now, as I work merrily along, I will have to face the
possibility of crashing every five minutes, and losing my work.


Now, I am Godammed pissed off!... so I call Adobe Corp.  They give me a
number to call in the event that a CD gets 'lost'.  They took the boss's
credit card number, and they said they will ship a new one, and it should
be here in a couple of days (it was only about $25.00 for the replacement).

Tried to call Apple... no good.  I need some dumb-fscking tech support
validation number to get any help at all.  GRRR!

It's fucking bullshit like this, that makes me hope that the NT network
will go down, so I can listen to pathetic luser whining, rather than
pathetic lies, from a pathetic, thieving luser.


"Some people are alive, only because it is illegal to kill them."

[0] Not the nice kind, with the little 'bomb' icon... no, the fscker just
    locked, and locked hard.

[1] One feature about the Mac I rather like... easy to fix in many cases.

[2] My last bastion of peace (even if it's an Intel box).

[3] He now thinks he's a fscking computer genius, since he has a decent
    machine at home. <THWACK!>

[4] Why the fsck should he?... he's all set at home!

[5] I know it was you, fucker...

[6[ His voice gets nervous, and quivery, like he got a vibrating dildo up
    his ass...

[7] Thank you, Adobe.  Your software sucks, but your service is pretty

[8] Fuck you, App-hole... you deserve to die!

From: Steve VanDevender <stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu>
Subject: Digital UNIX sucks

Announcer: "Hello.  I'm Simon Travaglia, and welcome to another
exciting episode of 'Install That Patch!'  Our returning
champion, stevev, has successfully installed patches on SunOS,
BSDI, Solaris, and even Digital UNIX.  But today he faces his
biggest challenge: duv40bas00005-19970926.tar!  Say hello to our
studio audience, stevev."

stevev:  "Hello."

Announcer:  "So, let's begin.  I'm sure you're familiar with the
rules.  Your maintenance window lasts until 9:00."

stevev:  "Indeed I am, Simon.  Let's rock."

stevev invokes 'dupatch'.  stevev twiddles his thumbs while it
screws around with his disk for 10 minutes.  dupatch reports that
it doesn't want to install one patch on a package that isn't
installed, but also reports that another patch, the horribly
misguided "let's patch libc _and_ the static UUCP binaries patch"
>from  the previous Digital Super Jumbo Mega Patch, conflicts with
the installation of a uucpd patch.  "OK," says stevev, "who the
hell cares about uucp anyway."  Unfortunately, if that patch
can't be installed then half a dozen other really important
patches can't be installed.

stevev:  "Fsck.  setld -d OSF0000013600410".

Digital UNIX box:  "Nope, you have to use dupatch for that."

stevev: "Fsck again. dupatch.  Yes, I REALLY want to delete that
damn patch."

Digital UNIX box: "You asked for it, you got it!"

stevev restarts dupatch and asks it to install
duv40bas00005-19970926 again.

Digital UNIX box: "Memory fault: core dumped."

stevev: "FSCK!  Fsck fsck fsck damn!  Fscking bloody DEC
engineers!  AAAAAARGH!"

Announcer:  "It looks like stevev is in trouble.  And the
maintenance window is rapidly closing.  Will stevev make it in

stevev:  [panic] [dither] [loud cursing] "ls -l /sbin"

Digital UNIX box: [lists /sbin]

stevev: "ls -l /core"

Digital UNIX box: "Memory fault: core dumped"

stevev: "setld -d <fscking dupatch update>"

Digital UNIX box: "You must be superuser"

stevev:  "I FSCKing AM superuser!  You're in goddamn single-user
mode!" [ponder] "whoami"

Digital UNIX box: "Memory fault: core dumped"

stevev: [panic] [waffle] [more very loud and vehement cursing]
[idea] "rm /etc/passwd.dir /etc/passwd.pag; whoami"

Digital UNIX box: "root"

stevev: "dupatch"

Announcer: "Amazing!  Our panel of sadistic DEC engineers and
Microsoft programmers were sure no one would ever figure out
_that_ evil twist!  But stevev's maintenance window is nearly
over.  Will he make it?"

Digital UNIX box: [applies patches, makes frantic disk-thrashing

stevev:  "Come on!  Come on!"

Digital UNIX box: [begins recompiling kernel]

stevev:  "Yes!  Yes!  shutdown -r now!"

[loud buzzer sounds in studio]

Announcer:  "I'm sorry, your system didn't go multiuser before
the maintenance window ended.  Thanks for playing, and as a
consolation prize here's our home game:  'Microsoft Windows NT
4.0 Service Packs 1-3'."

stevev: "AAAAAARGH!"  [pulls out huge spiky LART, charges at
judge's panel]

Announcer:  "That concludes another exciting game of 'Install
That Patch!'  Come back next week when our contestants will
attempt a Solaris 2.6 upgrade on a system rich with 'software

[judges scream in background]

stevev:  "Die, DEC moron!  Die!  Die!  Die!"  [thud] [squish]
[that really cool sound when you liquefy a monster in DOOM]

[security guards arrive and drag stevev away]

From: Perry.Rovers@IAE.nl (Perry Rovers)
Subject: Re: The REAL reason why Windoze is evil

Pink elephants with an attitude inspired Peter Dalgaard BSA <p.dalgaard@biostat.
ku.dk> to tell alt.sysadmin.recovery:
: Perry.Rovers@IAE.nl (Perry Rovers) writes:

:> :>> REALITY.SYS Corrupt. Reboot universe? Y,N,Q
:> :>What if you choose 'Q' ? ;)
:> : The character played by John deLancie shows up.
:> Duh, he'll press 'Y' for you gladly. And probably install Windows '95 on it
:> afterwards.

: Some say this has already happened....

Really? I need to get out more..

Now.. what if the universe ran on Unix..

REALITY.SYS Corrupt. Reboot universe? Y,N,Q


Loading Universix Release 6.6.6

Loading void
Loading dark matter
Loading black holes
Loading clusters
Loading pulsars
Loading galaxies

Initialising /dev/universe

universe login: 

universe: ROOT login on tty0
jesus login on ttyp1 from heaven.gov
Message from jesus on ttyp0
*Why did you reboot the universe? You ruined my quake game!!!!!!!!!!*

universe:~>write jesus
mail from albert concerning: Supper is ready!
universe:~> <MAIL>
1 new message:
From: albert
Subject: Supper is ready!

Supper is ready: curry
mail from B1FF@AOL concerning: KEWL H3NDWR1T1NG DEWD! W3NN3 SWAP WAR3Z?

universe:~> <WINNUKE AOL>
AOL has been terminated
mail from beelzebub@the.satanic.org concerning: Stop sending me AOL'ers!
<universe:~> <MAIL>
1 new message:
From: beelzebub@the.satanic.org
Subject: Stop sending me AOL'ers!

They're using up all my quota with those damn pictures!
mail from spamford@cyberpromo concerning: MAKE MONEY FAST!!!
spamford has 35 units left
<universe:~> <MAIL>

<universe:~> <SOLITAIRE>

On the other hand....

REALITY.SYS Corrupt. Reboot universe? Y,N,Q

Loading Windows^WUniverse00

Initialising void... error: divide by zero
Initialising dark matter... bad sectors loaded
Initialising black holes... error reading black holes
Initialising clusters... clusters are not yet supported
Initialising pulsars... pulsar screensaver loaded
Initialising galaxies... out of RAM.. loading My Galaxies\MILKYWAY.DOC

Username: <Administrator>
Password: <BillRulez!>

Error: entropy increase detected. This version does not support entropy
increase. Would you like to upgrade to Universe01? Y/y

Loading Universe01.. your creditcard has been charged.

Initialising entropy... loading all possible datafiles: 1
Initialising galaxies... loading My Galaxies\MILKYWAY.DOC

Username: <Administrator>

No password is needed for user Administrator. Universe01 is completely

Galaxy Word caused a General Protection Fault in module GALAXY.DLL

Warning disk almost full.. delete one of the following:
1. C:\WINDOWS   284928309420934 Tb
2. C:\PORN      2538208510952103529438602805283059280358 Tb

deltree c:\windows


No universe found.. would you like to install Windows98?

From: oney-Stay Edwards <phlaxior@primenet.com>
Subject: SysAdmin Language Decoder Kit (SLDK)

        ANNOUNCEMENT:  The SysAdmin Language Decoder Kit (SLDK)
Yes!... It's finally here!  The SLDK is the latest development in
linuguistics technology, which will allow you to communicate with your
lusers more quickly, and efficiently.  The specifications are listed
below.  Please, SysAdmins... print this out, and give a copy to all of
your lusers... let's make the workplace more efficient, shall we?

Stmnt:  No.

Stmnt:  Yes.
Trans:  Just fscking kill me, okay?

Stmnt:  Don't do that, please.
Trans:  If you do that again, I'll rip out your eyes, and piss on your
        brain, birth control poster boy.

Stmnt:  You have no priority over the other users of the system.
Trans:  Keep it up, and I may just come down there and bitch slap you in
        front of all of the ladies.

Stmnt:  Please read over <internet resource> for that info.
Trans:  Kiss my ass, you stupid stupid fscking lamer luser.

Stmnt:  I'm not sure I understand what you are saying...
Trans:  I could give a rat's ass what your problems are.

Stmnt:  I'll be right over.
Trans:  Don't get in my way, or I will fscking kill you.

Stmnt:  I'm afraid we don't support that particular product.
Trans:  Tough shit!  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaa!

Stmnt:  What's the problem?
Trans:  Will I only have to hit you in the head with a blunt instrument,
        or should I bring a sidearm?

Stmnt:  May I help you?
Trans:  I am on the edge, so make it fast, wanker!

Stmnt:  Oh dear, that is a problem!
Trans:  Now... YOU DIE!

Stmnt:  Well, I am quite swamped here... I'll refer you to <other dude>.
Trans:  Are you fscking crazy?... I'm in the middle of a Quake match!

Stmnt:   Hold one moment please...
Trans1:  I must regain mental control before speaking again.
Trans2:  I need some coffee.
Trans3:  I need to hit my head on something.
Trans4:  I need to load my .38 revolver.
Trans5:  I need to find a razor blade.
Trans6:  * SysAdmin begins to cry *
Trans7:  That's it, I'm going to lunch.

Stmnt:  <Boss>, I was wondering if I was eligible for a raise, soon...

This code is GPL'd, so distribute without hesitation, should the
initiative arise.  :)

From: tep@galt.sdsc.edu (Tom Perrine)
Subject: Re: Oh my god, I hate it...

Perry Rovers <Perry.Rovers@IAE.nl> wrote:

>Here's where you're wrong. Joe Random Hacker was pissed because your system
>was messed up so he couldn't use it to leech warez/p0rn, spam and modify
>www.fbi.gov. So he fixed it for you. HTH. HAND.
Well, actually, There Was This Site about 2 years ago...

Seems that while an outside consultant/security-BOFH was helping them
recover from an incident, he discovered that the intruders had gotten
pissed off because one of the machines was rebooting on them so often,
so they installed about 30 patches[1], a sendmail upgrade[2],
backed-up, re-partitioned the disks, and reloaded all the data[3].

They're probably still sad that they actually found the intruders,
because they haven't had an OS upgrade since[4].


[1] including security patches, plus extra stuff[5].
[2] including fixing all their broken aliases, and cleaning the dead
    accounts from the passwd file[6]
[3] resulting in about a 15% performance increase
[4] still running SunOS4.1.3
[5] SSH :-)
[6] correctly

From: scorpios@fuckoff.cs.huji.ac.il (Nir Soffer)
Subject: Stupid fscking CS students

Now for my ObRant about CS students, granted - this won't be your usual
luser complaint but rather a rant about a CS student, yes, that's correct,
one that will probably work in a hi tech company once (and in this case,
if) he graduates - this is not by all means a way to show you how stupid
they are - since - they can write c++ code and compile - although they
exhibit the usual luser stupidity, coupled with an attitude. And still, I
need an outlet for my angst, here we go, freely translated from Hebrew so
you'd get the gist of it:

[Phone Call One]
luser> Hello. Xemacs won't save.
us[1]> Which directory did you attempt saving it in? [2]
luser> In the same directory. It just didn't save it.
us> How can you tell it didn't save it?
luser> Well. I saved it, ran my program and some cerr[3]'s I deleted
       before are still there.
us> Did you delete the binary file?
luser> Uhh... I'll go delete it.

Here the first admin was, happily thinking he just educated a new luser...

[Phone Call Two]

luser> Hello. I just called here. I told you my xemacs won't save, you
       told me to delete the binary, and now I can't run a thing!
us> Did you run gmake[4] again?
luser> Uhh... I'll go try.

The first admin, now thinking he's educated an obviously very STUPID new
luser, is still happy... But... You can guess how it goes on:

[Phone Call Three]

luser> Hello! I TOLD YOU XEMACS WON'T SAVE A THING! I ran gmake again and
       NOW when I run the program, it would look the same! It didn't save,
       there's definitely something wrong with your system[5]!
us> Did you delete the object files?
luser> Huh?
us> The OBJECT FILES[6].
luser> I'll go delete them.

Ok. Sysadmin 1 was now REALLY PISSED. So I answered the next phone call...
And you can guess who it was...

[Phone Call _FOUR_]

me> WHAT?!?[7]
luser> Hello - were you the person I talked to earlier?
me (Full well knowing what was going on)> No.
luser> So I'm going to have to tell you the whole story again, huh?
me> Yeah, sure, whatever. *Puts phone on desk, goes buying a coke*.
   * comes back *
luser> ... So there you have it, your friggin' system doesn't work.
me> Huh?
me> What was your user name again?
luser> Bla Bla Bla

I go to user Bla Bla Bla's home directory,, and check the file name he
attempted to save - last modification date - you guessed it - 5 minutes

me> You saved the file. It's been saved. Talk to your TAs about it.
me> Yes, it DID.
me> Did you delete the binary?
luser> Yes.
me> Did you run make again?
luser> Yes.
me> Did you delete the object files and run make again?
luser> Yes. But then there was an error message.
me> *sighs*
   * Goes to directory, copies all files to /tmp/bla , deletes all object
     files and binaries and runs make:

machine[ bla ] make
g++ -O2 -c searcher.cc
searcher.cc: In method `class MyString searcher::NextToken()':
searcher.cc:94: invalid operands `char *' and `char' to binary `operator
*** Error code 1


me> You have an error in your program.
luser> No I don't.
me> Yes, you do.
luser> I don't have any error, it worked before!
me> It was before you made changes.
luser> It's because xemacs didn't save that file!
me> It's because your program has an error.
me> Yes it does.
me> Look, I copied all the files, and tried to compile them, yell whatever
    you want, but your program is just plain *WRONG*.
luser> *sighing* Well - if you are going to talk like that then I can't
       deal with you people.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGHHH  - I can't make up my mind wether to sign off my
message with the normal 'Down or across' or with 'Some people are only
alive because it's illegal to kill them.' Both fit perf..


He just called again.

sysadmin3, who was right here reading my post, has answered.
sysadmin3 hangs up.
sysadmin3 curses out loud.

sysadmin3 goes downstairs, into what we system administrators here
affectionately call 'hell'.

when sysadmin3 would be back from downstairs I'll transcribe the call.

sysadmin3 is back from the pits of despair, hurrying back to a coffee pot
- telling me the story.

[Call number motherfucking _FIVE_]

sys3> Hello.
luser> Hi, this my 3rd call here.
sys3> Fifth.
luser> Third. [9]
sys3> Nevermind. What's the problem?
luser> Xemacs won't save.
sys3> How can you tell?
luser> I put a cerr in the beginning of my program and it didn't show up
       in the output.
sys3> Did you gmake it?
luser> Yes.
sys3> Did you rm *.o before you ran make?
luser> Yes I did. I always do.

* sys3 asks me to copy files to /tmp/bla _AGAIN_ and to run the program.
Surprisingly, it works! *

sys3> It does print that 'f' you put in there in the beginning [10].
luser> No it doesn't. [11]
sys3> There _IS_ an f in the beggining of that row, you better try
      printing "f\n".
luser> But it doesn't print the 'f'!
sys3> Please put your phone down and go to your terminal and check it.
luser> Go to my what?
sys3> To your terminal.
luser> What's that?
luser> But it doesn't print the 'f'!
sys3> Yes, it does, I can see it.
luser> But before I called you it didn't.
sys3> But you did gmake it, didn't you?
luser> Yes, I did!
 [ Repeat Parts of conversation a few more times - i.e.:]

sys3> There's an f there! \
                          |---- *3
luser> No there isn't!    /

sys3> Did you rm the object files?
luser> Yes, I did!
sys3> Ok, I'll go downstairs[14] and check what's going on.

Preparing to slit his writs, sys3 goes downstairs to meet his destiny.[15]

 [ [ [ [  DOWNSTAIRS  ] ] ] ] *insert gothic type vampire music written
                               with an organ here*

sys3> But it does print the F!
luser> Before I talked to you it didn't!

* sys3 clickety clicks the following on his terminal *

> touch search.cc
> gmake

sys3> Your makefile is fine.
luser> Cool. So why didn't it work?
sys3> It did.
luser> Do you want me to bring the witnesses who would say it didn't?
sys3> Go ahead.

Repeat above two lines as neccesary.

sys3 runs away for his coffee in our cozy room.

[1] Us being the first one of the 3 sysadmins that handled this case.
[2] First year Unix user. He deserves a _small_ break.
[3] c++. *puke*.
[4] GNU Make, basically.
[5] Something wrong with our system? Fsck him. The system is fscking fine.
[6] Oddly enough, make didn't overwrite the o files when it found newer cc
    files. Oh well, who cares, it's none of my friggin' business.
[7] Ok. It's a little exaggerated, but it's pretty close.
[8] Come to think of it - why the hell do have they access to this
    bloated, machine crashing piece of shit editor? Oh well, it's not a
    question for the likes of me.
[9] Honest to god. He said that. I didn't believe it myself.
[10] He put in a cerr test. Apparently he didn't know how to use it. Oh
[11] It was starting to get a _little_ tedious.
[12] Yes. He actually said that. Note that the person didn't actually go
     to his terminal after that phrase. I think we should have been
     clearer. (i.e - the thing that you go 'click click' on, the thing
     that you slide around the table making funny noises, and that glowing
     thing that strains your eyes.)
[13] There is no footnote 13. It's unlucky. Whoops. I just made one. Oh
[14] Downstairs, or as we call it, 'hell', is the student labs, think
     of 120 lusers crammed into a tiny room with about 30 xterminals,
     fighting over terminal spots like vultures fight over dead deer.
[15] Sysadmin3 claims it was done so he could stare him in his eyes as he
     was killing him.

Regards, Obviously pissed off,


From: scotts@ns1.together.net (Scott K. Stafford)
Subject: Up, up, and awaaaaaaaay!

Today the satellite installer stopped by...

He was here to connect some Veriphones [1] to the satellite network
(nasty, troublesome little gimcracks, those; I didn't envy him his
day...), so I showed him the equipment room and the coffee machine,
and left him to his own devices (while I got on with getting a couple
of decent games to run with fakecd.exe on my CD-less laptop...).

A while later, I started hearing these strange plonk-plonk noises from
the room where Spunky the Installer was working.  "Plonk-plonk?
Hmmm," think I, "there's not a gizmo in there that should be giving
off any 'plonk-plonks'..."  So I wander on in there, and what (to my
wondering eyes...) should appear?

...a big fat guy, but *sans* the eight tiny reindeer...

Here's the installer, up on top of an enclosed equipment rack,
essentially using a big UNIX machine as a handy stepladder to install
his nasty little web of wires.  The "plonk-plonk" noises were where
his size 11 boondockers were crumpling in the louvers on top of the
rack [2].  Not only are the fans bent totally out of true, but the
shelves holding the network gear and the Earth station are slooooowly
bending down under his massive tonnage.  He's also pulled all the
phone lines out of the wall, as they run through the metal he's busily
dishing in.

to that effect - comes out of my mouth.  And then, it happens...

The installer has used a UPS as a step-stool to clamber up to the top
of the computer, and he now jumps down lightly from the top of the
rack onto the UPS ... and it's on wheels.  What happens next is like
one of those slow-motion sequences from a Hollywood film.

I shout "waaaaaiiiiiiiit!" as the installer-thing gets airborne.  The
word is still hanging there over my head in, like, a cartoon bubble as
the installer hits the top of the UPS and the inevitable laws of
physics take over.  The UPS starts to skitter across the room [3] and
the installer comes crashing to the floor [4] in a cacaphonous roar of
falling tools.

Then ... silence.

I think, he's dead ... No, just a severed spine ... Or, merely
multiple internal injuries ... Nope, but surely broken bones ... Damn,
the guy is essentially unhurt.  He starts to pick himself up, and
(once I see he hasn't LARTed himself onto the cookie sheet...) the
waves of mirth start to rise in me.  I'm collapsing.  I'm roaring.
I'm laughing right-out-loud ...

... when the installer-thing, still trying to scramble to his feet,
seizes onto and pulls the power cable out of the UPS and kills the
computer [5] dead.  Snap.  [6]


[1] Credit card swipers.  Man, it's crucial to get these guys
on the 'net...

[2] Picture a hideous fat drone repeatedly tromping across the
just-waxed hood of your car.

[3] I know, it's a big, heavy battery; what can I say?  This dude is
one pudgy bugger and sends it flying.

[4] Synthetic tile over a concrete slab - SLAAAM!

[5] 152 users logged in.

[6] And ooooooooh, didn't that fsck-up the filesystem...

From: jwgh@earthweb.com (Jacob Haller)
Subject: Re: Proposed: Sysadmin Theme song

Chris King (chris@csking.demon.co.uk) wrote:

> Mr Stuart Lamble wrote in message <69ve59$uh9$1@towncrier.cc.monash.edu.au>...
> >Juhana Siren (jsiren@rak131.oulu.fi) wrote:
> >: [2] By now I'm pretty much convinced that one doesn't have to read in
> >: order to be able to study at a university.
> >
> >It took you how long to reach this conclusion?
> You come to it pretty quickly when you can put a notice on the door, saying
> "THIS LAB IS CLOSED" in huge letters on flourescent A3 paper, and lock it.
> One specimen tried the door FOUR times before I flung it open and yelled

One of my first posts to this newsgroup was on this subject, but it still
gives me a nice warm feeling, so here it is again...

At a certain university I used to work at, there was an office where the
student technical support folk worked at.  Also in the office was a
stapler.  The stapler was kept on the case of one of the tech support

Eventually someone decided that it was a bad idea to keep the stapler there
as lusers would frequently simply insert their papers into it and smack the
top of the stapler; it was felt that allowing people to hit the case of a
tech support machine was probably unwise.  So the stapler was moved to a
table which, if you were a luser looking at where the stapler used to be,
was directly behind you.

This of course led to hundreds if not thousands of repetitions of the following:

[Luser walks in, walks up to desk, looks at top of CPU where stapler used
to be.]
Luser:  Where's the stapler?
Bob:    The stapler is behind you.

Finally, one of the bobs got sick of this and taped a brightly-colored sign
to the case of the computer where the stapler used to be.  The sign said,


Now whenever anyone wanted the stapler, the following would happen:

[Luser walks in, walks up to desk, looks directly at the sign saying "THE
Luser:  Where's the stapler?
Bob:    The stapler is behind you.  [Or point to the sign.]

This little dialogue appeared to happen every bit as often as it did before
the sign.  Pretty much the best you could hope for was the following:

[Luser walks in, walks up to desk, looks directly at the sign saying "THE
Luser:  Where's the stapler?
Bob:    The stapler is behind you.
[Something registers with the luser and he/she glances back down at the sign.]
Luser:  D'oh!

At some point I proposed "The stapler is behind you" as the official SCP
(="Student Consulting Program") motto.

The 'stapler experiment' continued for some time.  At some point someone
made an appropriately-labeled masking-tape trail from the door of the
office to the stapler.  This was somewhat effective, but it was felt by
management to be insulting to the lusers and was eventually removed.

My analysis of this was that it made total sense.  When a luser enters the
consulting office to use the stapler, he or she is there to look for the
stapler, he or she isn't there to read a sign.

In these situations, the best you can do is realize that no luser will look
at a place expecting to see a stapler and bother to see something else
instead, even if the stapler is absent.

It was interesting to see the mental reset that occured when a luser was
referred to a sign HE OR SHE HAD BEEN STARING DIRECTLY AT to answer the
question he or she had asked.

I'd propose "The stapler is behind you" for another official asr motto, but
it's probably more appropriate for atsr.


From: kamurphy@ix.netcom.com (Kimberly Murphy-Smith)
Subject: Technical Directors

Part of my job involves tech support for the front office of the
Research and Technology division.  A few years ago, a major
reorganization eliminated several management jobs.  But rather than
force these people out on the street, many of them were turned into
technical directors.  Unfortunately, most of their technical skills
were current when computers were the size of football fields.

I get a note from one of the high-up muckety-mucks.  He says he and
the TD have gotten uuencoded files from a counterpart in another
division [0] and can't read them.  They need help.

I send them a mail message with my response [1]:

1.      Find the line that says "Begin 600 ______ ".  Note the name
that follows the "600" on this line.  This is the file that will
2.      Save the mail message as a file.  Call it whatever you want,
as long as you remember what you called it.
3.      At a prompt, type "uudecode ________ ", where "_______" is
whatever you called that file you just saved.
4.      What results is the file name you noted in step 1.  This is
the actual document.

Pretty simple, pretty straightforward, right?  Wrong.

The TD storms back to my area.  He looks really upset.  "I tried to
follow your directions, and now my system's hung up," he gripes.

I log into his system.  Sure enough, his mailtool's chewing up an
incredible amount of CPU time and I'm wondering what in the name of
{insert deity of choice here} he could possibly be doing because
saving a file should not take that much time.  I kill the mailtool and
head for his machine.

We restart mailtool.  Now the message is gone and his mailbox is
horribly corrupted.  He pitches another fit about trying to follow my
directions and now he's lost his message.

Luser, how many mail messages do you have?

"Not that many."

I look.  1625 messages, many with attachments.  No freaking wonder his
file got so easily corrupted by a mailtool error.  Luser, you DO know
that you're not supposed to keep that many messages, right?

"I've tried following your directions to file them and they always
disappear on me.  I can't find them."

Sigh.  I'll deal with that one later.  So, Luser, show me what you

"I told you, I was following your directions."

Did you note the name on the "Begin" line?


Did you save the message as a file?

"I was trying to do that."

And what happened?

"I just selected all the text and tried to drag it over to a textedit
window.  That's the only way I know how to save a mail message."


"That's when it got hung up."

[boggle]  Luser, that's not how you save a mail message.

"Well, that's the only way I know how.  I hate it when the machine
screws up, I feel so stupid, it won't do what I want..."

By this point, I've stopped listening.  All I can hear in my brain is

It's times like this I wish I drank more.

[0]     Microsoft Exchange really screws up the uuencoding of files,
apparently; our SUN mailtools often can't interpret the section of the
message that is uuencoded as an attachment and so they have to be
uudecoded by hand.  I've even automated this process on my
..text_extras_menu because it's so bad sometimes.

[1]     Note that this would only be useful if you didn't know how to
save a mail message as a file and uudecode it.  No LART necessary.

From stevev@efn.org Fri Feb 20 10:19:03 CST 1998

Juhana Siren  writes:
> Boy, am I glad I'll be out in a couple of weeks - starting in a software
> firm. Making software.

It's so cute that you think that.

You'll be handed a "specification" that basically means "we want
a really snazzy program that does everything we want it to do,
not that we're telling troll scum like YOU what we want.  Have it
done in six months."  Then you'll be forced to attend endless
meetings where you'll be required to explain repeatedly why the
software isn't done yet.  "Because I'm in these endless fucking
meetings and the only way I'll get any useful software
specifications at all from you morons will be to develop
telepathy" will not be an acceptable answer.  Even if you do
develop telepathy you'll find that they don't know what they want
either, but they want it NOW, or better yet YESTERDAY.  The
meetings and haranguings from your management will be so
interminable that all you'll have enthusiasm for during the few
remaining minutes of your workday when you get to sit in front of
your computer is to play Quake. Then when your project gets too
late you'll be either transferred onto another project that's
even later so it can become even later, or you'll be fired.  Hope
for the latter. [1]

It almost makes sysadmin work look attractive.

[1] I'm not bitter.

Followed by:
From: "Christopher M. Conway" 

You left out:

And, when, despite all this, you get the software workin, and your bosses
and the company are all happy, they'll turn around and sell it for
500[1] times what they paid you to write it, and continue making money
off of it for the rest of the company shareholder's lives, while you
grovel around trying to get a measly 3% raise and try to keep your nine
year old econobox alive. Or, once they find out that you *can* program,
and you're in that nice sysadmin job you've always wanted, they'll decide
that a still wet behind the ears college grad from a marginal CS program
can handle your admin job and reassign you as a programming slut, despite
your stated intent never to work as a slave again. Yep, that's happened
to me too. Because I took pity on the company and bailed their ass out
when another "programmer"  they had couldn't deliver the goods. One year
into a three-month project.[3]

This rant has been brought to you by the FSF and Richard Stallman. Who may
be a jerk in many ways, but who seems to understand just how *badly*
software developers are being used.

[1] Yes, this has really happened. "Can you do this?" "Sure, it'll take
about a week, maybe 250 lines of code to do this mod." "Great! We'll
charge the customer $250,000 for that." I earned $471 for that week.[2]

[2] No, I don't work there anymore.

[3] Nope, don't work there anymore either.

From: jwgh@earthweb.com (Jacob Haller)
Subject: Re: MajorSloMo

So my company has a decent-sized electronic mailing list (54,000
subscribers and growing).  People sign up for it in one of two ways:
Sending mail with the proper command to an address at our site, or going to
a web site and typing in their email address.

Many lusers make the administration of this mailing list a pain.  Some of
the common things they do:

* Sign up under the incorrect email address.
* Have autorepliers that get into little mailbombing wars with the mailing
list server.
* Assume that the mailing list server is a person that will respond to
colloquial english, and persist in that assumption long after anyone with
more than two IQ points would realize that it is in fact a robot.  (This
indicates to me that the Turing test may be too easy.)
* Sign other people up for the mailing list without telling them.
(president@whitehouse.gov has been subscribed a few times.)
* Sign up for the mailing list, then forget/not realize what it is and
complain that we're spamming them.  (It's difficult but not always
impossible to differentiate this group from the previous one.)
* Change their email address and forget what it used to be.
* Ignore the instructions on how to sign off the mailing list, which are
appended to each mailing, and scream loudly to any one of a number of
inappropriate addresses demanding to be removed.

Then there are idiots that combine several of the above categories and add
in some ingredients of their own.

On Tuesday a gentleman (OK, I lie) sent us mail with subject "Stop spamming
me or I'll take down your site" and body "I mean it.  Enough said."  (No
other information, but you knew that.)

Looking through the logs revealed that he had tried to unsubscribe himself
but that his attempt had been unsuccessful.  In cases like this the
software automatically sends a message saying (essentially) "You're not
signed up for the mailing list under the address you're mailing from.  You
might be signed up under an equivelent address (mail.foo.bar instead of
foo.bar, for instance), or maybe another address is forwarding to your
current one.  If you require assistance contact the mailing list
administrator at ."

OK, fine.  After long experience I have come to understand that people are
too stupid to realize that they should give the mailing list administrator
some sort of idea of /what email address they might be subscribed under/
when they ask to be removed.  (If nothing else, a copy of the headers of a
recent mailing can't hurt.)  I can cope.

I did a little search and found that there weren't any email addresses
subscribed resembling his in any meaningful way, nor was there anyone
subscribed with his name.  There was another person subscribed from his
site; what the hell, maybe that was forwarding to him for some reason.

Since I don't take kindly to idiots threatening to take down our site, I
checked out whois to see who's giving him his bandwidth.  Of course he's
listed as the administrative contact, and the address that's subscribed is
listed as technical contact.  (Actually, that's not completely accurate;
they were the same account name but a different node.  Still, it seemed

Other information gleaned was that they're a new web design company and
finger is enabled on their main server.

So whatever.  We sent him mail essentially reiterating the information
contained in the autogenerated message he was sent when he made the
unsubscribe attempt, with additional information saying "This other address
is subscribed; if that's not the cause, mail us a copy of the headers of
the next mailing you get and we'll see what we can figure out."

He replied and said that the subscribed account from his site didn't exist
and the site is configured so that mail sent to nonexistant accounts is
delivered to him.

We removed the subscription and went on our merry way.

What I'd like to have emailed to him was something like:

"The address has been removed.  You should not be bothered with unwanted
email from us in the future.

"I appreciate that there was no way you could have realized that the fact
that any mail sent to *@your.node gets delivered to you was relevent,
although you had been informed that your specific address was /not/

"Incidentally, you might want to talk to the technical contact for your
site; it appears that it was his abortive effort to subscribe to our
mailing list that resulted in the unwanted mailings, and he may want to
give subscribing to us another stab or two.  If by chance you do receive
unwanted mail from us in the future, be aware that it is probably because
he muffed it again.

"It may interest you to know that threatening violence against another
site's machines is not always the best way to get the action you desire.
Valuable time can be spent by the threatened party on deciding whether it
would be better to attempt to extract the data from you required to do what
you desire, or if instead it would be best to simply call the authorities
and have them take it from there.  Also, you should realize that some
people faced with a threat such as you made might pre-emptively attempt to
take down your site, which a few minutes of research have indicated would
be a comparatively simple task.

"A final hint:  If you want to be successful in your internet ventures, you
might want to consider being less of a TOTAL FUCKING JACKASS."

Ah, well, not in line with corporate policy.  I guess I'll live.

If you're reading this and it's about you:  I do not apologize.  You deserve it.

From: Calle Dybedahl 
Subject: Re: ASRZ'ha'dum (more mundanely known as Stockholm)

Christer Borang writes:

> - Well...does any of the warning lamps glow?
> - Uhmm...yes.
> - Which one?
> - Uhmm...uh...a yellow[1] one!

Mechanic and luser goes to car, tries to start it. A red light goes on.

 - Is this the light that you saw before?
 - Yes, I think so.
 - It's not yellow, it's red.
 - Well, it *used* to be yellow!


Mechanic and luser goes to car. The car is standing beside a railroad
track, thoroughly smashed, probably by a passing train. Everything in
front of the steering wheel is just gone.

 - Um, is this how it looked when you left it?
 - Yes! Look, it won't start at all!
 - Er, look, your car has been hit by a train. The engine is missing.
 - Yeah, so?


Mechanic and luser goes to car. Mechanic starts the car. Everything is
working perfectly.

 - See?! It won't start at all!
 - What? It seems to be working just fine.
 - No, it doesn't! Listen!

Mechanic listens. The engine makes engine-noises.

 - I hear nothing wrong.
 - No! That's what I'm saying! It's not working!

Mechanic has a moment of inspiration, leans into the car and turns a
knob. Luserish music is heard from the car radio.

 - Is it working now?
 - Yes! I don't understand why they make these things so hard to use!

...I think I'll stop now before I get all depressed...

From: seagull@netcom.com (Seagull)
Subject: A tribute to /dev/ad43c

Today, we are mourning the loss of /dev/ad43c.  He was a kind, gentle
disk, early in his years, with much free space ahead of him.  He passed
away today, Friday, January 27th at 9:05am Pacific time.  It was a an
unexpected death, with no signs of illness or a history of complaints;
he simply went into spams, and started to slip away.

Despite our best efforts to save /dev/ad43c, despite two hours spent
trying desperately to bring him back from the brink, he simply lost
the battle, and passed on into oblivion.

I will miss /dev/ad43c.  He served us well, and was dedicated to living
the best life that he could.  He will live on in our hopes and in our
dreams, and in our hearts.  Though he can never truly be replaced, his
essence-- his soul-- shall be with us, always.
Good-bye, /dev/ad43c, and farewell.


From: evilsofa 
Newsgroups: alt.humor.best-of-usenet
Subject: [news.admin.net-abuse.email] A Day in the Life of Another Abuse Guy (lo
ng) [1]

        Story goes along these lines (names have been changed to protect
the innocent):

        Catherine is married to Walter.
        Walter meets Janet.
        Walter *meats* Janet.
        (If you know what I mean.)
        (And I think you do.)
        Walter subsequently discovers that Janet is a flaming head case.
        Walter runs (yea verily) back to Catherine, hat in hand, begging
forgiveness.  She agrees to give him a second chance.
        Months pass.  During this time, Janet (who apparently has some
issues regarding rejection) begins stalking Catherine.
        On Feb 9th, Janet sends herself a death threat which is supposedly
>from  one of Catherine's friends.
        Janet then forwards said death threat to her new fiancei(!) and to
Walter.  Presumably to (A) cast Catherine in a bad light; and (B) garner
sympathy, pity, and attention for herself.

        All the above landed in my lap last Wednesday around 2:30pm.
Catherine called and explained the situation, and sent me a copy of the
death threat (which indeed had been sent by Janet).  Since this is a clear
violation of our "False Pretenses" clause, I suspended the account.

        The next day, Janet's fiancei calls, demanding to know what's going
on.  Conversation went approximately thus:

        Me:  "Her account was suspended because she was sending death
        Him (interrupting):  "She was RECEIVING death threats!"
        Me:  "You didn't let me finish.  She was sending death threats to
        Him:  "What?"

        More conversation follows, during which he vows to "get to the
bottom of this."  I explain that, regardless, a signed letter will be
necessary to reactivate the account.

        Time passes.

        He calls back.  He informs me that he has indeed unearthed the
truth of the matter after consulting with Janet.  I indicate that I'm all

        Him:  "Someone broke into our house and hacked our computer.  And
while they were on-line they must have sent this email message."
        Me:  "While you were home?"
        Him:  "Uh, yes."
        Me:  "So let me get this straight.  Some person or persons with
nefarious intent broke into your house shortly before 5:00am last Monday
morning.  They stayed online for an hour, logging off shortly before
6:00am.  And just before they logged off, they sent a death threat to your
fianceis email address from her own computer.  Is that correct?"
        Him:  "Uh.  Yeah."
        Me:  "I don't buy it."

        More conversation followed.  Later on he called back:

        Him:  "Uh, is there anything I can do to prevent this in the
        Me (sardonically):  "Yeah.  Get a burglar alarm."
        Him:  "Oh!  Uh, yeah, well we discovered that it was really our
roommate that did it.  We've been trying to get rid of him for a while."

        (Rolling eyes)

From tmill06@ibm.net Tue Mar 10 19:20:00 CST 1998

Wayne McGuire  writes:

>              Plain text comprises a small segment
> of Usenet traffic.

        You've latched on to that 90%-by-volume stat and just won't let
go, huh?

        Please explain how the 85% of *articles* on USENET that are
plaintext are a "small segment."

> All of my ISPs and news servers have been able to
> handle the full Usenet newsfeed with few
> interruptions. Speak for yourself.

        I am speaking for myself, and for every other newsadmin out
there.  You have *no* idea the effort that is placed behind a server
running a full feed with binaries.  10+ *gigabytes* per day and
increasing.  Feeds going sour because bandwidth is frying someone else's
router.  Managing multiple peering arrangements to achieve something
approaching redundancy in case someone somewhere goes belly-up without
warning.  Trying to keep enough lines to the NAP to handle the traffic,
and fielding complaints from other business units because of the
bandwidth the servers chew.  Dealing with the damage some nutcase running
a buggy Netscape Collabra server just wrought when it issued newgroups
for everything in existence, followed by an equal number of rmgroups.
Crossing your eyes trying to discern the legitimate group control
messages from today's crop of forgeries.  Listening to customers bitch at
you because Part #1056 out of 2310 is missing from
alt.binaries.mega.huge.porno.postings and they want it *now* and it's
*your* fault it's not there.  Other customers bitching at you because you
don't have *all* the articles in small-and-obscure-hierarchy.*.  Still
other customers threatening to sue you *personally* if you don't stop
some nitwit in Outer Mongolia from posting his latest fetish pictures.
And the final set of customers demanding to know why you "only" have 1364
posts in alt.too.popular.for.its.own.good compared to 1453 posts on
RandomISP.net's servers.  Planning how to install this month's upgrades
to accomodate increased traffic with a minimum of disruption because any
time the servers are offline for more than a minute the customers start
flooding the helpdesk.  Trying to look beyond that to the upgrades you'll
have to install next quarter in order to try to stay ahead of the game--
assuming that the vendor actually ships the pieces when they promise.
Trying to pry *last* quarter's upgrades out of a vendor that still
haven't shipped.  All while trying to keep up on the latest
state-of-the-art server code, system security patches, news server
security patches, and local hacks.

        Come try it some time.

Last Modified : May 18, 1998

Heather Garvey / raven@xnet.com