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a.s.r. FAQ



Archive-name: sysadmin-recovery
Posting-Frequency: monthly 
Version: 0.4 (April 1, 1996)
URL: http://ugrad-www.cs.colorado.edu/~crosby/asr/faq.html

alt.sysadmin.recovery FAQ  v0.41  (May 1 1996)

This is the frequently asked questions for alt.sysadmin.recovery, a newsgroup
for practicing and recovering system administrators. 

Html versions of this document may be found at 
http://ugrad-www.cs.colorado.edu/~crosby/asr/faq.html 
or 
http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se/~ingvar/asr/

1) ABOUT THE GROUP

1.1)  What is alt.sysadmin.recovery?
1.2)  Notes on reading ASR
1.3)  What is not welcome on alt.sysadmin.recovery?
1.4)  What does BOFH mean?  How about LART?  Cow-orker?
1.5)  Where can I find the BOFH?
1.6)  The BOFH hierarchy
1.7)  Official ASR mottos
1.8)  Official anagrams of ASR.
1.9)  Hail Eris!  Sysadmin Religion
1.10) Songs to drink to
1.11) Man pages
1.12) ASR organizations
1.13) So what's with the INTJ and stuff?
1.14) I hate this group!  Where do I complain?
1.15) ASR Luser of the year

2) ABOUT OUR FINE PROFESSION

2.1) I want to be a sysadmin.  What should I do?
2.2) So, I've just "volunteered" to be a sysadmin.  What do I do?
2.3) Where do sysadmins rank as a profession?
2.4) How are new sysadmins made?
2.5) What's a typical day in the life of a sysadmin?
2.6) Why can't I find my sysadmin?
2.7) What sort of music do sysadmins listen to???

3) OUR LITTLE FRIEND, THE COMPUTER

3.1)  Are there any OS's that don't suck?
3.2)  How about any hardware?
3.3)  Where can I find cluefull tech support?
3.4)  What can I do to help my computers behave?
3.5)  What's with the AOL disks?
3.6)  What can I do with all these CD Roms?

4) OUR BIG HEADACHE, THE LUSERS

4.1)  Where can I find stories about the little bastards?
4.2)  I'm work for tech support.  Where can I find cluefull customers?
4.3)  General luser interaction
4.4)  What is the best way to deal with lusers?
4.5)  Revolvers, cyanide and high voltages:  The pros and cons of 
      various luser education strategies.
4.6)  How can I clean up the mess made by a lusers brain splattered across
      a monitor?
4.7)  What is the penalty for murdering a luser?
4.8)  How much should I charge for holding their hands?

5) DEALING WITH BEING A SYSADMIN

5.1)  Caffeine and other Recreational Pharmaceuticals
5.2)  The excuse server
5.3)  The insults server
5.4)  Should I slit my wrists across or downwards?
5.5)  Sysadmin Tools
5.6)  Psychiatric Assistance

6) OK, SERIOUSLY FOLKS!   HELP!!!!!

6.1)  Serious info about being a sysadmin
6.2)  DOODZ!!!!!! W3R3 CAN 1 F1ND SUM K3WL WAREZ???????????

7) OTHER RESOURCES

7.1) If you like ASR, you'll love...

-----

1) OVERVIEW

1.1)  What is alt.sysadmin.recovery?

Alt.sysadmin.recovery is for discussion by recovered and recovering sysadmins.
It is a forum for mutual support and griping over idiot lusers, stupid
tech support, brain dead hardware and generally how stupid this idiotic job
is.  Think of it as a virtual pub, where we can all go after hours and
gripe about our job.  Since the concept of "after hours" (or, for that
matter, "pubs") is an anathema for your average sysadmin, we have this
instead.

1.2)  Notes on reading ASR

Some have warned that reading ASR while drinking beverages is to be avoided.
[due to the effects of beverage on keyboards on computers]

ASR, is by its nature a fairly free-wheeling group.   Nevertheless, it is 
also a very busy one.  We would like to ask, therefore, that you respect
this.  Please try and keep subject lines relatively up to date, so people
can kill threads.  Please avoid 1 line "me toos", yes, we know you are
smart, young, old, had trouble in school, enjoyed school, never went to 
college, user vi, use emacs, hate vi or emacs, read Robert Heinlein, have
a cool home page and practice martial arts.  Please don't tell us about it.
Also, please keep threads out of here that might explode--hot topics like 
gun control.  (Anyone else do that, I WILL personally ensure that David
Rhodes, Robert McElwaine, Canter and Siegel and Serdar Argic _all_ get 
accounts on your system.  I'm serious.)

Oh, the "When I was a kid I had to bang two rocks together to get zeros has
got especially old.  Give it a rest.

1.3)  What is not welcome on alt.sysadmin.recovery?

Not welcome on alt.sysadmin.recovery are:  holy wars, advocacy, user 
questions, users (unless you are a sysadmin in another life), David Rhodes 
or general cluelessness.  

Particularly not welcome is ANY real sysadmin related stuff.  We 
are here to escape!

Warning:  If you are a user, you may well see your sysadmin posting messages
about how stupid YOU are.  You have been warned.

1.4)  What does BOFH mean?  How about LART?  Cow-orker?

BOFH

Bastard Operator From Hell.  Our role model.
(The Bastard Operator from Hell was originally a series of stories written
by Simon Travaglia, simon@waikato.ac.nz.  See 1.5.)

LART

Luser Attitude Re-Adjustment Tool.  Something large, heavy and painful--
See the sysadmin tool section.

Cow-Orker:

Those people who live at the same office as you do.  (WARNING:  Orking Cows
is dangerous, and illegal in the state of Utah)

C|N>K

This, along with variants, is similar to ROFL in other less cultured groups.
(hint: C is coffee, N is nose, K is keyboard.)

1.5)  Where can I read about the BOFH?

http://prime-mover.cc.waikato.ac.nz/Bastard.html
A UK mirror may be found at http://pertinax.gp.umist.ac.uk/bofh/
A US mirror may be found at 
http://www.jungle.com/msattler/culture/humor/geek/bastard/index.html


1.6)  The BOFH hierarchy

ASR is such a cool newsgroup, we even have our own hierarchy!  Try that,
soc.singles!  
This is the bofh.*  hierarchy. 
For more information, see http://starbase.neosoft.com/~peter/bofh.html

1.7)  Official ASR mottos

The official ASR motto, our catch phrase, is the immortal:

"Down, not Across"

It is our mantra.  We recite it to ourselves as we deal with the day
to day realities of a life that is far more nasty, brutish and short
then even Hobbes could ever imageine.

Some other mottos include:

"What was your username?" *clickety click*
"I need a drink."
AAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

The official asr position: 

Hiding in a corner, under a desk, in fetal position, arms covering head
and quietly whimpering.

The official asr luser position:

6 foot under.

1.8)  Official ASR anagrams 

Every now again, some luser will come in and ask for an explanation of
ASR anagrams.  I haven't the faintest idea why.  Heres some good ones:

alt sysadmin recovery 
rancid mystery loaves
steady micron slavery
comedy striven salary
trendy mosaic slavery
convert already missy
scary devil monastery

1.9)  Hail Eris!  Sysadmin Religion

By popular acclaim,  Eris has been declared patron goddess of ASR, with
Murphy as patron saint.  The Illuminati Trilogy (Robert Anton Wilson 
and Robert Shea) will tell you more of her secrets.

Of course, don't let this put you off.  ASR is a very tolerant group, and 
we will accept anything you worship, provided your beliefs fit the requirements
for a good sysadmin god, the most important one being that sacrifice of lusers 
be an integral part of worship.
(Quetzalcoatl is very nice in this respect)  

(Look, I don't CARE if I spelt it wrong; I've seen about 73 variant spellings)


1.10)  Songs to drink to

ASR has many talented budding creative artists who have come up with a
collection of deep, heart wrenching statements on the nihilism of this
sysadmin existence.  Including such gems as the cynical "I'm a sysadmin
and I'm OK", the reflective "My favorite things", _The Best of ASR_ will 
be coming out soon on Sony, 12.99 CD, 7.99 Cassette.

Until this happens, you can find these songs at 
http://ugrad-www.cs.colorado.edu/~crosby/asr/songs.html  

1.11)  Man pages

The ASR man page collection is a comprehensive reference to many of the 
things we have to deal with in our profession.

See http://www.winternet.com/~eric/sysadmin/manpages.html

1.12) ASR organizations

There have been a few organizations formed around ASR, notably the bofh.org.*
domain.

bofh.org.uk:

If you would like to have an address in this, you can find the
requirements at http://ugrad-www.cs.colorado.edu/~crosby/asr/bofh.uk
In short, you should send mail and a rant to apply@bofh.org.uk

bofh.mi.org:

The Michigan chapter.  Send mail to apply@bofh.mi.org with a proof of
michiganess and a nice rant.


1.13) So what's with the INTJ and stuff?

These are Keirsey scores.  See http://sunsite.unc.edu/personality/keirsey.html
to find out yours.

1.14) I hate this group!  Where do I complain?

Probably you want the guys who run the net.  Address mail to:

    Usenet Central Administration
    1060 W. Addison St
    Chicago, IL 60613-4305

They should be willing to help you out.


1.15) ASR Luser of the Year

Yes, the awards are just in.  Luser of the year this year goes to Judith 
Kraines, county controller in Reading, PA.  From News of the Weird:

* Reading, Pa., county controller Judith Kraines complained at a
commissioners' meeting in January about having to type letters
and do other business on a typewriter because her computer was
old and no one had been able to get it to work for two years.  "If
we had a computer," she said, "letters would go out faster."
Three days later, she announced that the computer she was
complaining about in fact had not been plugged in to any
electrical outlet and that when the plug was inserted and the
computer was turned on, it worked fine.

-----

2) ABOUT OUR FINE PROFESSION

2.1) I want to be a sysadmin.  What should I do?

Seek professional help.

2.2) So, I've just "volunteered" to be a sysadmin.  What do I do?

See 5.3

Also look at http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/admin-expressions.html,
which can provide you with useful vocabulary for your sysadmin career.

2.3) Where do sysadmins rank as a profession

Somewhere below janitors.

2.4) How are new sysadmins made

The devil probably has something to do with it.

See http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/where-sysadmins-come-from.html

2.5) What's a typical day in the life of a sysadmin

For an excellent, if somewhat optimistic, picture of a sysadmins life,
see http://lynx.dac.neu.edu:8000/~tfarrell/writings/life.of.a.sysadmin.html

Perhaps Abby Franquemont-Guillory summarised the life of a sysadmin the best, 
when she described us as:

"disgruntled, disenchanted with things we used to really get a kick out of, 
foul tempered, hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, overworked, with no real 
social life to speak of."

2.6) Why can't I find my sysadmin?

See http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/sysadmin.html

2.7) What sort of music do sysadmins listen to?

This gets asked a lot.  Probably all I can say is "loud", and even that isn't
a given.  A survey of the readership of ASR was taken, which may be found at
http://ugrad-www.cs.colorado.edu/~crosby/asr/music

-----

3) OUR LITTLE FRIEND, THE COMPUTER
 
3.1)  Are there any OS's that don't suck?

No.  

See http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/hall-of-shame.html
and http://www.io.com/~pde/os-suck.html

3.2)  How about any hardware?

The PDP-10 was pretty nice.  Pity they stopped making them in '83.

3.3)  Where can I find clueful tech support?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Basically, I think there is some device the telco puts on the phone that
ensures that whoever is on the other end of a service call is always
a drooling moron with the IQ of a potted plant.  Note that this applies
both ways (see 4.3)

3.4)  What can I do to help my computers behave?

Some go for the carrot approach, others the stick, others both.  If you
favour the carrot, try offering memory upgrades or faster processors.
For sticks, try bullwhips.  Many computers are easily fooled, so placing
a picture of yourself in front of a computer will often cause it to think
you are watching and it will be too scared to misbehave.

Remember that if computers are networked, they can talk to each other.
That is useful in that you can make an example of one and the others will
watch (and hopefully learn).

3.5)  What's with all the AOL disks?

There is a large amount of speculation on this subject.  Some have
suggested that AOL is a secret alien plot to use up all the resources
and overwhelm the earth with disks, to make mankind easier to conquer.
Whatever the reason, they are useful as coasters and as scratch floppies,
if nothing else.

See http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/aol.html

3.6)  What should I do with all these CD Roms?

Shove them in a microwave for a minute or so, and watch the fun!

See http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/unwanted-cds.html

-----

4)  OUR LITTLE ENEMIES, THE LUSERS

4.1)  Where can I find stories about the little bastards?

See the Stupid User Mini-FAQ, 
http://darwin.clas.virginia.edu/~jgt7c/mini-faq.html
Also check out http://www.tcp.co.uk/staff/simes/non-tcp/user.html

4.2)  I'm on tech support.  Where can I find cluefull customers?

See 3.3

A cluefull luser is an oxymoron.

4.3)  General User Interaction

Some tips for general luser interaction:
 -lusers, bless their little hearts, have simple minds.  Even if you think 
  that a lobotomized flatworm could understand your instructions, your
  luser probably won't.
 
 -since lusers will neither read nor understand any docs you write for them, 
  just don't even bother.

 -NEVER anthropomorphise lusers.  

 -lusers are much easier to deal with if they aren't breathing.

4.4)  What is the best way to deal with lusers?

240v across the heart, a revolver through the head, or even a simple little
broadsword thrust into their abdomen will improve your interactions
wonderfully.  See 4.5

4.5)  Revolvers, cyanide and high voltages:  The pros and cons of 
      various luser education strategies.

There has been a great deal of debate on a.s.r about the best way of
dealing with lusers, and at this time no consensus has been reached.

What we can suggest, however, is to be sure it is painful, clean, and doesn't
harm the computer.  That unfortunately leaves a lot of options out;
you can't just throw a grenade at them; it will hurt the machine.  

4.6)  How can I clean up the mess made by a lusers brain splattered across
      a monitor?

Be careful.  While cluelessness is not contagious, there are some nasty
things that can be picked up from lusers.  Blood transmitted diseses,
you name it.  Be sure to wear gloves.  Otherwise, luser guts will usually
clean up with warm water and soap.  I've found a little bleach sometimes
helps.  Be careful with the keyboards; I've found that blood causes the
keys to get very very sticky; Again, you can try gently washing it with 
soap and water.  

To get rid of the body, people have suggested using several garbage
bags and a large quantity of duct tape.  If you have to keep it for
a while, try and remove the guts; that will keep the smell down..
Alcohol and formalin works just fine as a preservative.

4.7)  What is the penalty for murdering a luser?

Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, lusers are treated like humans.
I therefore recommend you be discreet in your luser education campaigns.

4.8)  How much should I charge for holding their hands?

See the official ASR price list, at 
http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~moose/sysadmin/pricelist.html

-----

5) DEALING WITH BEING A SYSADMIN

5.1)  Caffeine and other Recreational Pharmaceuticals

Caffeine:  Much information about this can be found on alt.drugs.caffeine

See http://homepage.seas.upenn.edu/~cpage/caffeine/FAQmain.html

Booze:  See rec.food.drink.*.  Myself, I prefer coding after a six-pack
of Samual Smiths Oatmeal Stout, but you are welcome to your beverage
of choice.  Booze, particularly in large quantities, often makes dealing
with lusers much more interesting.  Ciders have been spoken of highly;
myself I stick with Woodchuck (at $3 for a 1.5Litre bottle, it can't be
beaten), but there are various other choices.  Unfortunately, really good
cider is hard to find in many places.

We had an informal survey into the ASR booze of choice, and the only thing
was resolved in terms of ASR beer preference is that yes, there is indeed
a lot of choice.  (Oh, and that ASR readers have excellent taste)

There are lots of net resources for this.  I recommend alt.drunken.bastards
Try http://www.mindspring.com/~jlock/ for beer info.  

For more interesting things, rec.drugs.* can help you.
See http://www.hyperreal.com/drugs/ for more info
(for educational use only, I'd never, etc etc)

5.2)  The excuse server

This is an important net resource, that lets you give the exact reason
why you can't do something yesterday.

See http://www.engr.wisc.edu/~ballard/bofhserver.html
Or telnet bofh.engr.wisc.edu 666

5.3)  The insults server

Once you have got rid of your lusers, you will probably want to tell them
what they really are.  For this, the insults server is useful.

telnet insulthost.colorado.edu 1695

5.4)  Should I slit my wrists across or downwards?

Downward.  For more information on interesting methods, see the 
alt.suicide.holiday faq: 
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/suicide_methods/faq.html

5.5)  Sysadmin Tools

There are a number of tools that make being a sysadming important.  Most
important are chemical by nature; see 5.1.  A particularly useful tool, 
revered by many of ASR, is the noble chocolate covered coffee bean.  Since 
these may be hard to find, here are some places where they have been spotted:

Manchster, UK:  Coffee shop at Piccadilly railway station
Christchurch, NZ:  Discoveries, on Victoria St.
UK:  Sainsbury's.
Madison, WI, US:  Copps Food Center.
Toronto, CA:  The Country Kitchen, Eglington Station.
Bar Harbor, MA, US: Ben and Bills Chocolate Emporium (these do mail order)

You can also make your own.  Melt some chocolate, place some coffee beans
in it, and Bjorn Stronginthearm's your uncle!

For a stronger caffeine hit, try 

    D&E Pharmaceuticals & Nutritionals
    206 Macopin Road
    Bloomingdale, NJ 07403
    1-800-221-1833

With a large selection of legal stimulants.

Next in line is a good LART.  A 2x4 works fine, but a real professional
needs something a little more effective.  Unfortunately, this is a very
personal thing, and no consensus has yet been reached on the group.  
Everything from a simple, 7.65mm Walther (for the Bond fans only, it's not a
very good gun) to a 155mm with depleted Uranium rounds has been suggested, 
some even going for exotic things like Thermite, nukes or flamethrowers.
For further info, look at the rec.guns home page 
(http://www.teleport.com/~dputzolu/)

You can find a lot of cool stuff at Military Surplus stores.  (Sadly, they
don't sell the _really_ interesting surplus stuff like tanks or F16s)
Try US Cavalry, 1-800-777-7732.

When you can't use the LART (eg, you don't want to damage a computer),
water pistols and Nerfs are excellent substitutes.  Nerfs, for those of
you outside the US, are a range of foam weapons.  Don't leave ~ without
it.

The leatherman is another useful tool.  The Perl of swiss army knifes, this
shouldn't be too hard to find.  

Finally, there are some tools a sysadmin is forbidden from having.  Adequate
computing power is first on this list, but the most important is called a 
"life".

[ FAQ maintainerss note:  could someone send me some info on this?  I've 
heard of it, but never had one.  I have been told it is a simulation 
environment
of cellular automata.]


5.6)  Psychiatric Assistance

If you are reading this, you need it.  Contact your health insurance, and
look at the Mental health net. http://www.cmhcsys.com/welcome.htm

-----

6) OK, SERIOUSLY FOLKS!   HELP!!!!!

6.1)  Serious info about being a sysadmin

Well, if you REALLY need help, don't ask here.  Go over to whatever group
is appropriate for what you are adminning (eg: comp.unix.admin), and
ask there.

6.2)  DOODZ!!!!!! W3R3 CAN 1 F1ND SUM K3WL WAREZ???????????

Sounds like you want the Warez-net.  Here are a list of some participating 
sites:
ftp.japan.com
warez.satanic.org
pcwarez.compumedia.com
warez.phantom.com
ftp.warez.org

These places also have a good collection of gifs.
(You need to log in with _your own_ name and password)

For more information, look at the Warez-Net home pages at
http://www.hvu.nl/~koos/warez.html
http://www.afn.org/~riffer/warez.html  
http://jumper.mcc.ac.uk/~mcawolf/warez.html

-----

7) OTHER RESOURCES

7.1) If you like ASR, you'll love...

...alt.folklore.computers

Once a wonderful place, where great hackers strove to discuss mighty deeds
done on real computers, this newsgroup has sadly decayed somewhat in recent
years.  With the advent of the minions of the Dark Lord and the even Darker
Lord fighting over their respective toy OS's, the flames have overcome 
the real discussion.  Though the fight is still going on, many of the eldar
hackers have despaired of the net, fleeing the shores of AFC for good.
(some have come here).  Sic transit gloria mundi.
Still worth a read, just be sure to have a kill file.

...the jargon file

Not _particularly_ sysadmin related,  this is rather a document on the 
general computer lore.  May be found at http://www.ccil.org/jargon/jargon.html

...alt.fan.pratchett

For some reason, there seems to be a large amount of synergy between the 
followers of the eternal Mr. Pratchett and ourselves.  You be the judge.

...alt.fan.mailer-daemon

"a hilariously poorly propogated newsgroup that hardly anybody is ever 
likely to read."



-- 
Matthew Crosby                                         crosby@cs.colorado.edu
Disclaimer:  It was another country, and besides, the wench is dead.





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