Tales from the Machine Room

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Have you ever been in a supermarket?

If you're asking yourself "what the fuck does this mean?", just follow me for a bit.

Now, if you have been in a supermarket at least a few times, you too probably had the impulse of punching lots of peoples in the faces.

I'm talking about the kind of peoples that, apparently, don't have anything better to do in their life than being a pain in the ass for everybody and without even making a real effort to do so.

Picture this: you're in row at the cash waiting for your turn, not trying to jump the queue like some jackass always try to do, you're almost there, just one person more, and this 'one person more' has a trolley with 7 things in it and is trying to push it into the "fast lane" ignoring the sign above his head that clearly state "MAX 5 ARTICLES/TROLLEY DOESN'T FIT" and the cashier that has already repeated the same thing at least 5 times. But no, he won't care. In the end, after pissing off basically everybody with his whining "it's just 2 extra items" he manages to have all of them scanned, then he can't find his card anymore, then the card reader keeps telling him that his card ain't valid anymore, then he tries with the other card and then he try to pay cash (with the sign saying NO CASH also), in the end, after half an hour, the jackass manages to walks away, leaving his fucking trolley behind 'cause it doesn't fit in the aisle of course! And you steel yourself not to throw the bloody thing on his head, it's your turn, in 40 seconds you have all the items scanned, paid for and you can walk out. Or better, you could do that if the same jackass wasn't now clogging the exit because he needs to check his bill 'cause "that product was in offer but they didn't count it".

Now, if you get something like this 3 times out of 5 maybe you should pick a different supermarket. Or better yet, pick a different nation to live in. But in the meantime, you understand when I say that sometimes I have the impression that I am the only one that try to do his shit with the minimum hassle for everybody else and without pissing off the universe.

This 'attitude' of mine make so that every time a 'ticket' enters the queue (in those days when I am/was scheduled for that kind of activity), the ticket has to be read and, possibly, acted upon right away.

Of course there are times when the ticket cannot be processed immediately, but at least it has to be read.

And, since I am an idiot, like my mom used to tell me, I sort-of-expect this to be the standard modus operandi for everybody else too. Why do I have such unrealistic expectation? I don't know.

All this to introduce today's story of course.

Once upon a time there was, and probably still is, a bunch of dumbasses, that will be simply named $dumbasses. They had a system hosted by us. This system needed to communicate, for some unspecified reasons, via VPN with another system that was hosted by $ImmenseHosting.

This "need" was communicated to us only a few weeks after the system was installed and apparently working. One nice day we got a ticket that more or less said "create vpn between $server and $system, contact $ImmenseHosting for details" and that was it.

Exactly when that ticket arrived I don't know, since it wasn't my 'duty' that day and apparently none of the peoples that were on 'duty' felt like "contact $ImmenseHosting" or anybody else about it, the ticket was simply left to languish in the inbox for about a week, then $dumbasses began to call every single phone number they knew about.

DumBoss showed his "leadership" demanding explanation to my collegues. Explanation that, as far as I know, were never given. He proceeded then to ask me directly to handle that. Why me? Remember what my mother used to say? Well...

The result was that I picked up the phone and started asking questions about this vpn and the like.

It turned out that $ImmenseProvider mandated that every 'change' to a production environment had to be requested using an Issue Tracker of some sort and then "approved" by a "control group". Group that were getting together only once a week. And obviously, we didn't had credentials to that Tracker application, so first step was to request access. Request that had to be done, you guessed it, through the Issue Tracket itself. So it was back to $dumbasses, but it seems the person I talked to decided to wait even more and the clickety-click commenced only after another few days had passed.

Now, I'd like to point out that what they requested us to do, was something they could have requested directly to $ImmenseProvider (saving time) and then informed us of the results instead of "dumping" the whole thing on us.

Anyhow, after another week (at this point the time spent in waiting for somebody to do something was about 3 weeks), we got a phone call from $dumbasses that wanted "updates" on the issue and when did we planned to finish it. We, that is, ME, noted that we were merely waiting for $ImmenseProvider to provide us with the credential to begin the first part of the job, that is, enter the ticket in their ticketing system.

$Dumbasses was much displeased by our "inactivity" and began to whine about it, I pointed out again that the problem was firmly in their hands since we couldn't proceed unless we were given access to a system we do not control. A Conference Call with everybody and somebody more was requested and after several hours was concluded with nothing really done or decided. But after a few days we finally got the credentials for that Issue Tracker.

During what can be called "my career" (wait, I'll stop laughing in a moment or two), I've seen several "issue tracking" or "ticketing" systems. Some better than other. But there is no way to describe the immense pile of whatthefuckery that appeared on my screen passed the login screen that day. Sometimes I dream about it. In those dreams I have a flamethrower and a chainsaw. Or I'm simply giving up and initiating Third Impact because there is nothing left to salvage anymore.

First of all, the interface of that thing was a mixture of english and german and whoever attempted a translation of that thing was confusing the syntax of the two. Second, I had the impression that somebody had gathered a pile of paper-based form and fed those to the developers to copy and implement. And whoever tried to translate a paper form into a computer form knows that it won't work very well. Ever. And that was exactly the problem with that thing. It wasn't working well. At all,.

After cursing for several hours and going forth and back to Google Translate, I realized that this things required two 'dates'. The first was the "max begin time". That was "when exactly you want us to start looking at this". And that date couldn't be before $today+5. Then there was a "deadline date". That is "day you expect us to have done something to solve your problem". And that one couldn't be less than $begintime+10.

So 15 days were the minimum for everything. And since every change had to be approved, if the approval wasn't on time, it was game over for you.

Since my possibility were reduced to "fill this fucking thing and wait", that's exactly what I did.

After about a week, $dumbasses came back with more questions about "what are you doing" and "if the vpn is ready" etcetera.

My answer was that we were still waiting for any updated on our ticket. And if they had a better idea we were accepting suggestions. $Dumbasses wasn't very happy about that and another conference call was requested.

But since we weren't customers of $ImmenseProvider, we had zero possibility to act, so the discussion was quickly concluded and we went back to wait.

The 'deadline' for the ticket came and went without a pip, after a day I began my part of prodding and pocking, asking questions like "how is that we get grilled if we don't do anything immediately while those bozos have been doing nothing for 3 weeks?". The result was that $Dumbasses sent a few e-mails to the tech support of $ImmenseProvider. The answer that was received was that... the change didn't got approved (for unknown reasons) and as such the ticket had been closed. Since we weren't customers they did not informed us. End.

At this point I stopped $dumbasses' lamentation to inform them that the best thing to do was to complaint to $ImmenseProvider or with whoever decided to put $ImmenseProvider in the picture. Or to move everything to them and remove the need for a VPN.

I've never heard anything anymore about that, so I don't know if the problem was solved or how. But sometimes this story came back to my mind. Especially when I'm in row at the supermarket and the guy in front of me can't remember the code of his stupid debit card.

19/05/2017 16:45

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Comments are added when and more important if I have the time to review them and after removing Spam, Crap, Phishing and the like. So don't hold your breath. And if your comment doesn't appear, is probably becuase it wasn't worth it.

6 messages this document does not accept new posts
Guido By Guido - posted 03/07/2017 08:17

Mi fai venire in mente un collega appena arrivato (che per non sbagliare chiameremo $CL) - sul computer aziendale c'era windows 10, decide che non gli piace (e posso anche capirlo) e decide di spianarlo.

Mi chiede di masterizzargli una qualche distro linux su una penna usb - considerato che in fase di colloquio disse che lui usava abiutalmente gentoo gli misi debian.

Passano 6h al termine delle quali si decide a chiedermi lumi su un errore (dovuto al fatto che io gli avevo passato una net-inst e dalla rete aziendale non si esce). Gli spiego l'errore e che deve ripetere l'installazione da casa (o da una rete che acceda ad internet). Questo venerdi'.

Lunedi' si presenta in ufficio con una iso di slack sulla pen drive chiedendomi di "masterizzargliela" sulla suddetta (e io che chiedo a me stesso ma non dovrebbe essere in grado di scriversi una iso da solo?). Non faccio commenti e gliela butto sulla penna usb. 

Passsano cinque giorni e risiamo di nuovo a venerdi' quando si decide a chiedermi qualcosa di piu' facile. Al che per non saper ne' leggere ne' scrivere gli passo ubuntu.

Ci mette un'altra settimana per installarlo, e altri 10 giorni per installare il resto della roba (piu' altri 10 per configurarsi i sorgenti).

... e poi la capa brontola me che dovevo dargli una mano...

who uses Debian learns Debian but who uses Slackware learns Linux

Davide Bianchi@ Guido By Davide Bianchi - posted 03/07/2017 08:32

Mi fai venire in mente un collega appena arrivato (che per non sbagliare chiameremo $CL) - sul computer aziendale c'era windows 10, decide che non gli piace (e posso anche capirlo) e decide di spianarlo.

Se la policy aziendale e' che ognuno si installa quello che gli pare vada, ma allora si arrangia. Altrimenti si tiene Windows e non rompe i coglioni, lo sapeva quando ha firmato il contratto no?

Davide Bianchi

Guido@ Davide Bianchi By Guido - posted 04/07/2017 11:55

Se la policy aziendale e' che ognuno si installa quello che gli pare vada, ma allora si arrangia. Altrimenti si tiene Windows e non rompe i coglioni, lo sapeva quando ha firmato il contratto no?

Le policies aziendali sono quelle che dici tu. Intendiamoci a me sta benissimo che ognuno faccia quello che vuole (sono il primo ad stare dalla parte di linux), a patto che ne sia responsabile. Non sono io il sistemista (non ufficialmente almeno) qui dentro. Quello che mi fa girare le scatole e' uno che fa casini e poi rompono le balle a me...

who uses Debian learns Debian but who uses Slackware learns Linux

doomboy By doomboy - posted 03/07/2017 16:24

Mi piace l'idea del third impact! 


Però non lo tradurre "terzo impatto". non si può proprio "sentire" cheeky


Davide Bianchi@ doomboy By Davide Bianchi - posted 04/07/2017 05:29

Però non lo tradurre "terzo impatto". non si può proprio "sentire" cheeky

E come dovrei tradurlo allora?

Davide Bianchi

Anonymous coward By Anonymous coward - posted 26/07/2017 22:19

"Nel corso di quello che puo' essere chiamato "la mia carriera" (pausa che smetto di ridere), ho visto diversi sistemi di ticketing. Alcuni migliori di altri. Ma non c'e' modo di descrivere quello che mi comparve davanti quando, finalmente, superai la maschera di login di $ImmensoProvider. Me lo sogno ancora alla notte di tanto in tanto, di solito in quei sogni io ho un lanciafiamme ed una motosega. In altri casi decido che l'unica e' iniziare il Terzo Impatto perche' non c'e' piu' nulla da salvare."

Mi ricorda molto la reazione che ho ogni volta che mi tocca aprire il ticket system (o qualunque altro tool di gestione) nel posto dove lavoro.

Anonymous coward

6 messages this document does not accept new posts

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