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A tale of three idiots - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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A tale of three idiots [Dec. 29th, 2006|12:53 am]
Douglas Spencer
A client of mine is moving offices, a distance of about two hundred yards. As well as new offices it involves new furniture, a new machine room, a new ISP with new IP addresses...

I got home about half an hour ago, having left here at about 9am this morning.

The new desks have a little shelf/clamp thing underneath for the PC, and a swinging arm thing on top for the screen. These desks are brand new and have been supplied, fitted and assembled by people who are specialists in the supply, fitting and assembly of desks such as these. They've been working in close cooperation with the people who have been cabling up the offices and providing floor boxes under each desk with good things like mains plugs and ethernet. The people who have provided the wiring and floor boxes are, likewise, specialists in doing this sort of work.

Approximately 94% of these desks have the swinging arm thing at the opposite end of the desk to the shelf/clamp thing, which means that there's no way that the cables will reach from the PC to the screen unless the swinging arm thing is swung right over towards the opposite end of the desk and the wires go straight down from there, rather than along the arm and down to the PC as they would do had the desks been assembled by some random non-specialist operator, such as one of the lesser primates plucked from the jungles of Madagascar. A significant proportion of desks have the floor-box at the very opposite end of the desk to the shelf/clamp thing for the PC, and some of the ones with the floor-box at the right end of the desk have it positioned so that you can't lift the lid without dismantling and removing the shelf/clamp thing for the PC.

This arrangement is sub-optimal.

Meanwhile, in the new server room, there are a couple of new cabinets for wiring and servers and things like that. They're the usual 19-inch wide rack-mount cabinets, a little over six feet in height, they've got removable panels on the side and a door on the front with a glass panel running the full height of the door. They, like the desks and the floor boxes, are brand new and have been supplied and assembled by people who specialise in the supply and assembly of items such as these.

The door of one of the cabinets has the glass panel only just attached to the door, able to move a clear half-inch in either direction perpendicular to the plane of the door. The glass is supposed to be held in place by a number of plastic clips around the perimiter of the panel, but only those in the bottom third of the door have been fitted correctly. As a result the door flexes alarmingly and the glass is prone to rub against the metalwork in parts of the cabinet entirely separate from the door.

This arrangement is also sub-optimal.

In other news, the firewall has been configured by a third party in anticipation of the new ISP and new IP addresses, and they've configured it to use the wrong IP address for the default gateway. This is probably because they've assumed that there's a typo in our email saying "the default gateway should be xxx.xxx.xxx.98", and they've instead put the default gateway on xxx.xxx.xxx.97. Correct behaviour in this instance is to say to the client something like "98 is unusual, we're wondering whether this is a typo, please check and confirm", rather than setting it up differently without consulting us and then buggering off for a fortnight's holiday. This means that I'll have to hack the firewall to fix it before the new offices have any Internet.

Firewalls are designed to be difficult to hack.

Needless to say, this arrangment is sub-optimal too.

Alert readers will remember that I'm doing my best to minimise my stress levels at the moment. I'll post updates about that process in due course.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: hawkida
2006-12-29 01:08 am (UTC)
Firewalls are designed to be difficult to hack.

So it will take a long time, keep you off the streets, and give you the chance to present a nice big bill, then?

Needless to say, this arrangment is sub-optimal too.

Or perhaps not...?
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2006-12-29 09:19 pm (UTC)
It became more important to get them online than to get the existing unit working ... so they're now running on a domestic-type firewall, and the client is going to call his firewall vendor on Tuesday to give then a hard time.
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[User Picture]From: abigail_42
2006-12-29 07:14 am (UTC)
Are you going to present this to the people who made all of this stuff so that your clients can claim some money back? Or is that up to them?
Oh well, if it makes you feel any better I looked after 2 patients all day yesterday - ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I nearly climbed into bed with them and went to sleep!
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: abigail_42
2006-12-29 07:23 pm (UTC)
Or maybe about cuts to staff since I am nodding off on the job!
To any managers out there I was just joking - my bum never hit a chair all day. ;)
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[User Picture]From: frandowdsofa
2006-12-29 09:20 am (UTC)
And they have of course taken into account the special needs of the people who will be sitting at the desks? and have the DSE assessments scheduled for first thing on their return to work? No-one touches my desk or chair without specialised knowledge, and me in charge.
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[User Picture]From: lexin
2006-12-29 11:45 am (UTC)
And they have of course taken into account the special needs of the people who will be sitting at the desks? and have the DSE assessments scheduled for first thing on their return to work?

I was wondering about that, too. I assumed it must be because of the trade union rep. thing I've got going, but perhaps not.

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From: ex_the_major316
2006-12-29 05:23 pm (UTC)
Oh dear.

Though I shouldn't possibly comment because my computer is sitting about two feet away from the monitors / keyboard / really useless mouse so that I have to step over it in order to get past the dining table. But it's only temporary honest mother! :)


Anti stress huggggssssss
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