Tales from the Machine Room

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Have you ever been in a Casino? Those places that are full of lights and colours, like a town faire, where everything is designed to make you stop and waste time, because the longer you stay, more are the chances that you are going to lose some money. And the idea behind a Casino is to help people part from their money, and they do this by leveraging people's stupidity.

Even peoples that fancy themselves as "extremely intelligent", in reality are quite stupid on many things, sometimes the very things that are supposed to be their field of expertise.

In fact, we could say that the way Casino, and also many, if not all, forms of 'gabling', operates, is nothing shorts than a form of a scam with the clear intent of extract profit from people's stupidity. Now, in some countries (Italy for example), the State is the only one allowed to manage and organize gambling in any shape or form, from regular Lotteries down to betting. Basically the State is scamming its own citizens... for profit.

We could start a very long discussion about this, but normally the "explanation" is that "some people really wants to gamble", and if is not the State, somebody else would fill the gap, maybe in a not-so "clean" way (e.g. criminality), so, better if the State does it. Right? ... Right?

We already saw what happens when some Government decide to try Proibitionism: it doesn't work. The Governement will do what its citizens want. If an enough number of them decide that the Government isn't doing what it's best, the Government will have to change or be changed. Even in places when the Government is the expression of the richest part of the population. Those peoples (the ones wiht the money) aren't stupid, they will sooner or later understand that start a fight with the remaining 99.9% of the population isn't going to do any good to their finances.

So... "leveraging the stupdidity of the population", or to say it better "to indulge their desire to part from their money in any possible way", is a perfectly legal and legitimate activity, at least when the law say it is.

And after this "legal" introduction, we talk about $arewestupidorwhat, a company that was providing several different services, some of which had their own IT system. Nothing incredible, mostly based on a few servers and databases with a dedicated Storage unit.

Now, the problem here was that the storage was quite old and started to report several problems, mostly due to some components that were reaching their end-of-life. $arewe decided to replace the whole thing with a "new" one, yes, the 'New' is in quote because $arewe were very keen in saving money when possible.

Anyhow, the "new" storage was installed and after a very long week-end spent moving stuff from the old to the new, everything seems to work.

And here I need to open a small parenthesis: WHY THE FUCK do we keep up with this bullshit of "after-hour, in-the-middle-of-the-night" ? Anyone really thing that there is less traffic when the sun is on the other side of the planet or X days have pass since the last lunar phase? People! Internet never sleep! It's always 9 am somewhere on the planet and your fucking system is always reachable at any time of day or night (unless you're so stingy to physically turn it off) and the fact that you spend your week-end watching netflix should make you rethink your idea about those kind of "maintenance" done during the week-end. It costs more and is a pain in the ass for whoever has to do it (especially when they are not compensated for the extra-time).
Ok, closed parenthesis.

Things seemed to be more or less ok for a few months, until, one day, a message showed up in my inbox. The message was from the manufacturer of that Storage and announced a mega-update to the firmware of that thing, with a very long list of bugfixes and 'security enanchement'. Hence, I routed the message to $arewe with my suggestion to apply such updates asap.

A few days passes and I heard nothing about it. So I started rattling their cage. After a few shakes, SL of $arewe picked up the phone.

SL - What is the problem?
Me - The problem is that we need to apply those updates to your system and this will probably require a few restart so we'll have to consider some downtime.
SL - ...what if we do not apply the updates?

What immediately jumped at me was that he didn't started discussing times or dates, he went straight for the "not doing"... that was suspicious.

Me - Those are mostly security updates, since lately we are hearing a bit too many times of peoples finding data leaks and the like, I'd say that is better to install them.
SL - Yes but... Do we also need to register the thing with the producer?
Me - I don't know that, but since this is an "industrial" product, having the full support of the manufacturer would be a lot better.

SL doesn't seem very convinced.

Me - What is the problem in registering the product?
SL - Let's just say we'd like to avoid it.
Me - That could void the warranty. So replacement parts and other things, not just security updates, could be a problem. This is a production system we're talking about. And most of your system is based onto it. Doesn't sound very smart to me.

Sl is silent for a bit..

At this point I started poking some questions and the sad story came out. Well... $weare were very keen in saving money when possible, even when not advisable, so they decided to buy a second-hand storage from a local reseller. Since it wasn't a new one the cost was very low. So low in fact that the shipment was a significant percentage of the total cost.

So, SL & Co decided that the best thing to do was to drive there personally and pick it up themselves. What they did. And then delivered it to us for the installation.

Nothing strange here. But then... The reseller must have make a mess with the paperwork because they notified SL that "since they didn't picked up the machine, the order was canceled and the money partially refunded".

Of course, SL & co decided that a storage that is cheap is good, but one that is almost free is even better. So they said nothing to the idiot and got the refund. But then, since the product was never "received" it couldn't be registered to the manufcaturer...

At this point the whole story degenerated into a ping-poing of responsability, and since this isn't my field, I washed my hand of the whole thing. From my part, SL&co could have gone fuck themselves.

Their point of view was that they didn't "stole" the thing, they simply accepted a refund they technically didn't had rights to. I'm not sure what the reseller point of view could have been on this.

My point of view is that if the other guy is an idiot, that doesn't make you a smart person, just an asshole.

As such, when DB asked my opinion on how to 'solve' the problem, my answer was that they should've first rectified the situation, then register their fucking storage. Because keeping the storage 'in limbo' was just not to be considered.

And a few month after that... Wannacry showed up.


Now, the most attentive readers should have realized that, first of all, there is a delay in the pubblication of new stories, second, many of them tend to repeat the same themes.

For the first thing, I started with some "backlog", but this quickly run out, so now if I don't write anything for a week, I don't publish anything for a week. And lately I don't have much time free for writing, because I'm busy with other things that require my attention. So get used to it because isn't going to improve.

For the second, yes, I realized that too. The problem here is that many things that happens are quite similar because the peoples involved are mostly similar and the "field" in which things happens can't be that large. Having moved from an environment that was mostly user-based to one where is more "manager-based", and they are more looking at the monetary part of the job, the problems I have to deal with have changed to reflect that. I can't do much about it.
This in fact reconnect to the first problem, sometimes I start writing somethng and then I realized is very, very similar to something I've already wrote. So much similar that is practically the same.

Also, lately I tend to muse more on things that more "generic" and less "tales" (see the post related to time and place of work sometimes ago) mostly because those things allow for a large discussion and are not connected to things done directly by me.

What the heck does all this means? That the rythm at which I publish stuff will grow slower and I could say that I'm sorry, but would be to lie.

And with this, we'll see next time, that I have no idea when it will be.

25/08/2021 14:22


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.

16 messages post new

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 30/08/2021 08:20 - reply

Si però con l'addendum posto sotto "wannacry"... Ne hai una pronta, diàmine...

-- Anonymous coward


By Rann posted 30/08/2021 09:26 - reply

Sento la mancanza delle tue vecchie storie, coi vari CL e UL e le loro utOntaggini. Ti sei reso conto anche tu che tutte queste storielle sui mannagger - raddoppi di consonanti voluti, qui - sono l'una il clone dell'altra, perché i mannagger ragionano tutti secondo il classico sistema BC (Braccino Corto) e quindi se possono ladrare da qualche parte lo fanno, e a fanculo le conseguenze. Non hai qualche "blast from the past" divertente da aggiungere al mucchio? Qualcosa che ti è sfuggito nelle passate pubblicazioni? Tutte queste storie di mannagger tirchi e disonesti ormai non fanno più storia, fanno solo sbadigliare.

-- Rann

Messer Franz

By Messer Franz posted 30/08/2021 10:00 - reply

> non ho molto tempo per scrivere per via di varie cose (anche progetti personali)

ok, giusto, la vita è tua.

MA se si tratta di cose come il capanno degli attrezzi poi vogliamo il resoconto.

Se invece si tratta di trappole mortali per manager poi vogliamo sapere se hanno funzionato, dove procurarci il materiale e le istruzioni di assemblaggio....

-- Messer Franz


By Thomas posted 30/08/2021 11:01 - reply

Non è altro che una variante del modus operandi, tipicamente italiano, del:

"il fornitore si paga solo quando inizia a scocciare veramente tanto, e se non si fa proprio sentire vuol dire che gli va bene così".

-- Thomas

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 30/08/2021 12:18 - reply

" ..ma se noi non li applicassimo questi aggiornamenti? " è la risposta di default che ricevo. Perché ti sorprendi?

-- Anonymous coward

Anonymous coward

@ Anonymous coward By Anonymous coward posted 31/08/2021 17:55 - reply

" ..ma se noi non li applicassimo questi aggiornamenti? " è la risposta di default che ricevo. Perché ti sorprendi?

Basta sottoporre una bella lettera con su scritto "assunzione di responsabilità piena e totale per non aver consentito l'installazione di aggiornamenti di sicurezza".

Chiedendo data di nascita e codice fiscale insieme ai soliti dati come nome e cognome.


-- Anonymous coward

Luca Menegotto

By Luca Menegotto posted 30/08/2021 15:09 - reply

Leggo l'addendum e... 

Beh, la vita è fatta di priorità. Per cui, BigD, grazie per la cortesia di avvisare - non era necessaria - e per la compagnia che mi hai tenuto in tutti questi anni!

Ad maiora!

-- Luca Menegotto

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 31/08/2021 22:45 - reply

Forse la faccio un po' tragica, ma se anche tu molli il colpo, davvero l'unica cosa interessante rimasta su internet rimane il porno.

Sì, ok, l'ho buttata giù un po' dura per farti capire che sentiremo fortemente la tua mancanza. Lo so che sul web c'è tutto, però uffa, mi manca CL che fa i buchi col trapano sul portatile per inchiavardarlo alla sua scrivania. Ecco, mi manca molto. 

-- Anonymous coward

Daniele Levi

By Daniele Levi posted 01/09/2021 17:06 - reply

Oh, che peccato! Certo nel web ci sono anche altre cose interessanti (a cerare si trova :-\)...), ma DB è DB, non c'è dubbio.

Però ho una speranza: anche in passato c'è stato uno switch off per poi arrivare un reboot, giusto?

O magari una rarefazione delle novità, ma qualcuna ogni tanto tipo -per intenderci- quello che sta facendo The Grand Tour?

Un grande CIAO

-- Daniele Levi

Massimo m.

By Massimo m. posted 01/09/2021 21:38 - reply

Ti seguo dal 2002, sono passati quasi vent'anni, ma ogni lunedì  mattina, e a volte a metà settimana, controllo se hai pubblicato qualcosa. da vent'anni il tuo sito è l'unico che controllo regolarmente.Spero sia solo un arrivederci, ma se non lo fosse, ti ringrazio per tutto il lavoro che hai fatto sul tuo sito per farci divertire, e ti auguro il meglio.

aggiungo ancora: se il dr Cox nel 2002 avesse letto il tuo sito, la battuta sarebbe stata : "se togliessero tutto il porno da internet , rimarrebbe solo un sito: soft-land.org, e sarebbe sufficiente "

-- Massimo m.

Davide Bianchi

@ Massimo m. By Davide Bianchi posted 02/09/2021 08:15 - reply

aggiungo ancora: se il dr Cox nel 2002 avesse letto il tuo sito, la battuta sarebbe stata : "se togliessero tutto il porno da internet , rimarrebbe solo un sito: soft-land.org, e sarebbe sufficiente "

Troppo buono. Adesso la battuta sarebbe "se togliessero il porno, Google andrebbe in fallimento in due giorni".


-- Davide Bianchi


By KidPix posted 02/09/2021 11:17 - reply

Sito tuo, vita tua, decisione tua. Noi siamo solamenti lettori, e ringrazio per tutto quello che ci hai dato (risate) quando hai potuto/voluto!

> a meno che non siate talmente spilorci da spegnere il server di notte

Ricordo tristemente quando ero in Italia (tipo prima del 2008 circa) e feci il conto corrente alla Poste per avere "servizi bancari piú facili".

Tra le varie cose fantastiche c'erano la possibilitá di fare bonifici online solo in orari d'ufficio, tipo 8-18, poi semplicemente il sistema non andava piú. Mi chiedo forse se non avessero un impiegato che controllava i bonifici a manina?

O la carta quasi-bancomat che potevo caricare solo facendo la fila alla posta e versando fisicamente i soldi, altro che bonifici.

Che bei tempi.

Sono andato poco dopo chiedendo la chiusura del conto immediata, rimasero anche abbastanza sopresi che non volessi comprare servizi finanziari da loro invece...

-- --
At first, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers.
Then, I saw mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers.
Finally, I see mountains again as mountains, and rivers again as rivers.
Zen saying

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 04/09/2021 15:25 - reply

Ma "scopare il mare" da dove viene?

-- Anonymous coward


By allarovescia posted 06/09/2021 11:14 - reply

l'espressione scopare il mare probabilmente deriva dalle vela addizionale che i velieri a vele quadre aggiungono a ciascun lato della vela, spesso con prolunghe per allargare i sostegni, e arrivavano ad essere laterali allo scafo fino a blandire il mare da cui il nome di scopamare.

Ovviamente sono vele che funzionano con il vento di poppa (gia' non performante) e quando si e' con pochissimo vento e spesso inutili perche quando il vento e' poco, soprattutto su di una caravella o una caracca non ci si muove per la poca efficienza aerodinamica.

Da cui l'inutilita' della,  complessa, manovra di montare le scopamare per cercare di ottentere il nulla.

Ovviamente dal 1400 lo studio della fisica dei secoli sucessivi ha cambiato la forma di scafi e vele e di questo tipo di imbarcazioni a palo con vele quadre che subivano molto la direzione del vento (e di conseguenza la velocita' della nave, quelle moderne sono praticamente sempre controvento) sono scomparse e di conseguenza il tipo di velatura.

Permangono pero' i modi di dire come battere chiodo eccetera indicando che la cultura e i modi di dire o fare non cambiano facilmente nelle societa' umane

-- allarovescia


By Mylos posted 21/09/2021 09:21 - reply

Molto fuori tema - ma nella sezione in questione è impossibile piazzare commenti, quindi devo farlo altrove. Ho notato che hai pubblicato (finalmente) una nuova raccolta di storielle di amici, intitolata "I racconti dell'Open Space". Bellissimo, fantastico; ma sono arrivato in fondo al pidieffone e ho notato che... è monco! L'ultima pagina inizia con un titolo, e per il resto è bianca e in fondo c'è un misero "Continua...". Dov'è il secondo pidieffone? O è tipo una di quelle schifion che danno sulla rai, che non finiscono mai?

-- Mylos

Davide Bianchi

@ Mylos By Davide Bianchi posted 21/09/2021 10:12 - reply

Dov'è il secondo pidieffone?

Dovresti domandarlo a lui... 



-- Davide Bianchi

16 messages post new


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