Sunday 31 August 2008

Tran and Nkomo go to lunch

I popped in on Tim Blair today and tried to do this:

And got this:

Same story over at Bolt's den of iniquity.

I used to have to deal with this sort of crap all the time, and it always seemed to occur on a Sunday when I was at the SCG watching the footy, or having a nap, or having a crap, or sitting in a nice restaurant about to start dinner, or whatever. It never happened when I was sitting around with nothing better to do than troubleshoot some infernal problem on a server on the other side of town.

The result of a few hundred of these sorts of things is that I now loathe mobile phones. I hate the blackberry even more. I hate them because to me, they were always the harbinger of bad news, like the priest turning up at the door is a messenger of death. A phone to me is a boat anchor that only transmits messages of doom.

People usually get sick of doing the 3am calls after a few years, so they outsource the management of their equipment. I went through that 4 times. When we managed our own kit (insourced), I had a simple $700 software application sitting on an old PC in the corner of an office which monitored about $20 million worth of stuff. Whenever something went down, the clunky old PC despatched an SMS to the person that owned whatever it was that had ceased to be. If it failed to come back on the air after a certain amount of time, it would send a message to their boss, and so on until someone fixed the flipping thing; whereupon we got another SMS to say that all was ok with the world, and you could go back to having sex with your significant other.

Then we outsourced, and that burden was supposedly lifted from our shoulders. We could have sex whenever we wanted, without worrying about the phone ringing a few seconds off the vinegar stroke.

What happened of course is that I'd be sitting at the footy, and my phone would vibrate, and there would be a message saying that some critical site halfway to Broken Hill was off the air. I'd look at it, smile (knowing that the outsourcer would fix it), and go back to watching the footy.

By about the 3rd term, I'd be getting worried as the "all is right in the world" message had not come through, so I'd ring the outsourcer and say, "What are you doing about critical site X?", to which they would usually respond with a, "Huh? We know nothing about that."

Although we were paying these boneheads millions of dollars per year, they had no monitoring system, and even if they did, they usually had no idea to fix the machine that was sitting halfway to Broken Hill now no longer doing what it was supposed to do. That meant of course that 5 minutes after I rang them to tell them that a critical service died an hour ago, I'd get a phone call from them asking how to fix it. Often as not, I'd have to go into the office and fix it myself.

Consequently, I have an even lower opinion of outsourcers than I do of mobile phones, and I have used 3 of the big international outsourcers and one of the bigger local players. They're worse than consultants, who borrow your watch to tell you the time, and then charge you for it.

But I hope that Tran and Nkomo are having a nice lunch somewhere, and not having to deal with this mysteriously dead server which is keeping Blairdom awfully quiet today. And I am so glad I am out of that game. My phone has not rung in the middle of the night for a few years now, and I am almost at the point where I can pick it up without first putting on a pair of gloves.


PS - I am sure this is all a conspiracy to stop Tim blogging about scorched. Cameron Daddo is probably running denial of service attacks from home, backed up by Georgie Parker marshalling zombiebots to flood Tim's links.


kae said...

It's been like that ALL DAY at Tim's.

Someone needs a rocket up them. Wake up! Tran & Nkomo.

Bolta's gonna be ticked off.

It's been boring as batshit.

But youse can come to my place and comment...

kae said...

Just got an email from Tim Blair...

Yo, Kae

My site is currently frozen due to tech issues (same with Andrew Bolt
and other News Ltd bloggers).

If you receive this in time, could you get the word out via your site?



So noone's defected.

Boy on a bike said...

Did you ask him if they outsource their tech support?

Paco said...

I can't understand it. Tim's been outsourcing his tech support to Premium Assistance for Computers Online for months, and I'm not aware of any problems at the op center in Albania.