on the edge

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Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed

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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Fri, 21 Apr 2006

That went well

Got a call in the car this afternoon, with a customer in a panic and Friday peak hour traffic buzzing about me. Their building managers had announced they’d be “working on the power” over the weekend and gave them twenty minutes to prepare. According to the customer, they then immediately cut the power. (Based on what happened later, I think they probably got the twenty minutes and failed to act promptly.)

But not to worry, since they had finally got around to doing the necessary wiring and now all their equipment was protected by their UPS devices. So I commented on their good fortune. And then discovered that they’d lied. Perhaps the wiring was done but they hadn’t moved the machines over, or perhaps I’m going to find out next week that the wiring wasn’t done at all. In any case, the machines were not protected by the UPS boxes that are sitting there humming away in their offices.

Since it was Friday and since the building’s power will be on and off over the weekend, I told them to run around the offices immediately and yank the power cords from every bit of equipment and then call me back. I stressed the “immediate” bit several times.

When they called back, about fifteen minutes later, they asked if they should keep pulling the cords now that the power was back on. Clearly, “immediate” had a different meaning for them than it has for me. Eventually, as the power went out again, and the machines all went down again in the middle of starting up, they got around to pulling the power cords.

I told them we’d sort things out on Monday morning. Fortunately, they’re in the same time zone as me. But they have a shock coming. We’re going to get one machine, their main server, running and we’re going to prove that it’s connected to its UPS. And that’s all we’re going to do.

I’m going to explain that none of the others will go back into service until they are connected to a UPS. And I’ll make it clear that I will be able to verify this and that the deal is absolutely non-negotiable. We have stuffed about for years over this issue and I’m just not going to be the idiot who runs around in a panic because they are too lazy or too pig-headed or too stubborn about what they imagine are their own priorities to manage something so simple and so essential to their own well-being.

They are going to be angry with me on Monday. That’s OK with me. But this time I’ve been handed a lever to use to make them do the only sane thing and I’d be remiss if I failed to get something done.