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home :: spleen

Jul 15, 2007

Noisy Neighbors

Excuse me while I vent spleen upon our noisy South African neighbors who insist on a party everytime their Rugby team plays. The party in and of itself is not a problem - the problem is their idiot friends who seem to revel in getting drunk and running up and down the street re-enacting scenes from some teen-drama at volume at midnight (who cares if Jenny is to drunk to drive; let her go and plow a power pole, leave us in peace and reduce the dead-weight in the gene-pool!)

Grow the fuck up and have some consideration for your neighbors you bastards!

Oh and we beat the the bastards too. Go the All Blacks!

PS yes yes I'm being passive aggressive - I should go and talk to them reasonably about the issue - but frankly if I have to explicitly explain civilized behavior to people then what has the world come to ?

PPS I'm turning into a grumpy old man faster than I thought ;-)

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.07.15-20:34.00]

May 26, 2007

Agile Infrastructure

A buzzword has been creeping into software development over the last few years - Agile.

For software development its all pretty good - the client gets what they want faster as usable code released more frequently takes precendence over traditional the Waterfall style model.

There is a spleen-worthy catch (or two) however -

Enterprise Architecture

If you're putting in point solutions or you already have a well established framework within which to fit your Agile-goodness then you're all set. If you haven't got the Architechture nailed (and I don't mean diagrams with lines connecting things up implying it'll all automagically fall into place) then you're going to be winging it.

At an operational level you'll have a bunch of systems and technologies going in with some questions about how it all hangs together - this kind of bottom up thinking will inevitably lead to a requirement to review whats just gone on and how it could be improved (which your integration partner will gladly charge you for when it should have all been planned out before anything went into production).

Ideally your Software Architect, Infrastructure Architect and Integration Partner would all sit around a table and plan how it'll all fit together before a single server is purchased. Throughout the process you need to involve the business itself in the process so that you actually build and deliver something that they'll actually use.

At an architecture level they need to determine what technologies will be used, the application framework will deliver, how it will scale, how it will move from dev to uat to prod, how easily other apps can be added into the framework, what training and resources are required, will applications be delivered externally, how will they be authenticated, if you have a CRM can the information be fed back into collaborative workspaces for the client or will there be islands of client metadata, how will these applications be managed and supported, will physical or virtual servers be used, what security will be in place, how will backup, recovery and dr occur, will systems be clustered or load-balanced etc etc.

Once all the pretty diagrams are in place they need to get to the nitty-gritty of how it will work in operation - what hardware to buy, what software, what network infrastructure, how the dev/uat/prod environments interact etc etc

Infrastructure Architecture

I reckon Agile & Infrastructure are two things that just don't go together - you can't make infrastructure up on the fly if you want anything more than basic services to support point-solutions. Infrastructure needs to be planned and documented to support whatever you want to build on top of it - once its in place then Project Managers, Analysts and Developers can be as Agile as they like.

Probably the single biggest factor (IMHO) in enabling an agile infrastructure would have to be Virtualisation. No more worrying about when and where hardware is going to come from and who will pay for it with the ability to provision new boxes in about 15 minutes flat. If it looks like you're heading down the Agile route convince the powers that be to invest and believe in a virtualised infrastructure.

It all seems pretty obvious that this stuff needs to be thought about but as an operations person if you start asking these questions you run the risk of not being 'Agile' and being perceived as the negative aspect of the development plan ('we can't deliver because the Systems team won't give us servers' or 'they won't give our integrator access to extend the Active Directory schema'). Of course Project Managers should ensure the 'big picture' is part of their plan but you'll often find PM's have tunnel-vision - they just want to get their project out the door and into the clients hands - how their application fits into the grand plan is out of scope of their project (its someone elses problem).

So plan and implement your foundations (see The Great Pyramid of Agile) before the buzzword-compliant methodology comes into play or you might find yourself playing perpetual catchup and being forced into a position of recreating the mistakes of the past by forcing in quick fixes.

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.05.26-01:28.00]

Feb 12, 2007

Elevators & Small Change

Bumper crop of spleen venting this month -

The Ministry of Transport (after all they certify the lift) should legislate to prevent an elevator stopping on level 1 or 2 of a building. Why the hell can't people walk up or down a flight of stairs and leave the lift free for those of us that actually need to hit the 10th floor ?

But wait there's more -

Why must people wait to be served before pulling out their wallet to pay ? There's nothing quite so aggravating as seeing someone reach the teller, barman, bus-driver, ticket booth etc and fish around for the some means of payment. Don't get me started on people that pay for bus-fare with a $20 note . . .


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.02.12-02:08.00]

Feb 07, 2007

Cisco Documentation is Useless

There will be a special place in hell reserved for hardware/software vendors whose products should interoperate but whose documentation is so piss-poor it becomes a Sherlock Holmes like effort to make everything work.

As an example if your fancy new 1130AG access point won't power up the radios via a Power Over Ethernet connection supplied by an injector don't include a reference to a technote that isn't included in the box (definitely a WTF moment). Especially when the note is critical to the devices operation and would only take 2 to 3 lines of space to include in the original setup documentation.


In case anyone else runs into a similar problem heres the appropriate reference -

* Cisco Aironet and WLAN Controller Product Power Options

Of course for any of that to be useful you need to go through a painful 'discovery' process - first you have to determine why the access point comes up and pairs with the wireless LAN controller but the radios don't come up. Then you have to spot the error about power (either with a serial console session or in the controller log), scratch your head a little when it works with an ac-adaptor but not PoE, discover the reference in the skimpy setup document, look for the technote reference, discover its not in the box, search Cisco and get sidetracked with the whole IOS versus LWAPP (one will let you enable the radios via web interface the other will not and it seems entirely random as to wether the device will ship with IOS or LWAPP) and then twig that the injector is the problem and that the command needs to be issued to the access point from the controller (you can't issue the command to the access point itself unless you have LWAPP so you go through some hoops trying to re-flash the device before realising this isn't necessary).


Someone needs to give their documentation (online & print) team a good kicking.

Other than that the combination of the 4402 WLAN Controller and 1100/1130AP's works really really well :-)

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.02.07-19:58.00]

Jan 03, 2007

Cyclic Fashion

Aaargh - why oh why is 80's fashion making a comeback ?

Don't children (teens, tweens and young adults) realise how stupid their parents looked back then ?

Big hoopy-frame sun glasses & earings, grey jeans, wide belts, silly boots, stripey tops with pastel t-shirts. All we need now is a resurgence in perms, leg warmers and shoulder pads to complete the picture.

Lets hope 2007 sees a throwback to the relatively normal 90's.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.01.03-20:56.00]

Aug 22, 2006

Boy Racers

Another addition to my spleen-venting category -

There will be a special place in hell reserved for Boy Racers (Westies & Boguns too).

They used to be just a nuisance - now they're just down-right lethal.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2006.08.22-01:18.00]

Jun 08, 2006

Brain Dead Bottle Stores

The Kiwi palette has moved on slightly since the bad old days when you were either a Lion drinker or a DB drinker and if you had enough money and were a little bit fancy you'd drink Steinlager.

Now most liquor outlets have a decent variety of beers - imported and domestic. In fact theres even a good Belgian bar in Wellington now. A number of the micro-breweries have really really really tasty stuff. Even my favourite general consumption brand (Monteiths) is from one of the big two companies (DB). Monteiths have just released a rather fantastic seasonal Tripel beer which at 8% really packs a punch and makes a pleasant change to my usual Winter ale fix.

The one catch to all this newly discovered beery goodness is that idiot bottle-store owners and outlets insist on putting almost all beer into a walk-in fridge thereby chilling the hell out of it.

Why the f%@k would you chill anything other than a drought, pilsner, wheat beer or lager ?

If they can keep red wine on the shelf and chill white then why is it so hard to treat beer properly ?

Nothing worse than returning from the super-market with a stash of stout or ale and having to wait for it to warm up . . . .

I know I know I'm just a beer snob.

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2006.06.08-04:10.00]

May 16, 2006

Its a Double-U

This seems to be a uniquely Kiwi thing that I've come to despise but when anyone reads or describes a web address they invariably start with 'dub dub dub' (to which I'm always tempted to say 'three men in a tub').

Granted the 'www' prefix is largely superfluous in terms of routing to the correct site these days but it is still a 'double-u' not a 'dub'.

To dub is a copy/subtitle or bestow an honour or its a musical genre.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2006.05.16-00:46.00]

Dec 01, 2005

More annoying stuff . . . Kiwi Drivers

Kiwi drivers are by far and away the most dangerous on the road in the world - sure other countries have bad drivers but mostly thats down to inner city chaos (Rome, Paris, Delhi etc). In NZ (I'm generalising horribly) drivers will barely indicate, swerve all over the road in an effort to gain an extra car-length, tailgate, speed and generally have appalling skills and road-manners. Visitors be warned!

Interesting thread on this in

I do wonder how the 16/17/18/19 year-old morons with their super-duper Evo's and Imprezza's can afford them though. I wonder if in a few years time they'll wish they'd bought a $500 mini instead and saved the rest to put a deposit on a house.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2005.12.01-19:55.00]

Nov 13, 2005

Spleeeeeen (as Ren & Stimpy would say)

Probably one in a series of grumpy-old-man type rants

* People that press the 'cross' button at a pedestrian crossing repeatedly or after its already been pressed once under the the mis-guided belief that this will make the light change any faster than it normally would.

* People waiting for lifts that do the same thing.

* People that ride a lift up one or two floors and down two or three floor - use the stairs!

* People that overtake you (either walking or in a car) and then slow down to the point where there was no point them overtaking in the first place.

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-21:33.00]