10 ways to keep users from confusing SysAdmins with a normal person

The following was writen by Steve Mitchell ([email protected]) in the newsgroup alt.sysadmin.recovery


  1. Send/read mail, news, and www pages with telnet. Or, use only dd with the ethernet device and raw file systems.

  2. Look at pornographic GIFs with your favorite hex dump utility instead of a graphics viewer. Comment on how "hot" this particular pic is. Ask them to close the door when they leave.

  3. Write out your will. Put it on the server as the motd.

  4. When booting a user's workstation, shout out all console output 1/2 second before it appears. Do this with your eyes closed and fists clenched.

  5. Always refer to a server's current uptime instead of the rest of the office's idea of the time of day. Or, use seconds since Jan 1, 1970.

  6. Make a big production out of throwing away all your old manuals. Tell the users that the manuals have contracted a virus. Wear a surgical mask.

  7. Walk around the building with a screwdriver in your teeth, pirate style. Also carry your workstation's mouse with you. Do not allow users to talk to you unless they hold your mouse over their head in both hands. Put the other end of the mouse in your ear.

  8. Shut down your servers from home. Time your arrival at work so they start taking logins just as you enter the door. Walk in dressed as Jesus.

  9. When troubleshooting software, make extensive use of senses such as smell, touch, and taste. Use condiments.

  10. After figuring out a user's problem over the phone, keep asking them pointless questions while quietly fixing it remotely. Then say "Hmmmm." Ask them to hold the phone up to the monitor so you can tell the computer something. Announce that it should act better now.



Last Modified : Dec. 4, 1995

Heather Garvey / [email protected]