How we do things in Academia

22 06 2012

This is a story I head last weekend when a friend was visiting. I’ve changed some of the particulars, to preserve privacy…

Our school landed a great post-doc student – we were able to lure him away from a well known college into our program, and things were going swimmingly. Unfortunately, Princeton University had their eye on him as well, and made a better offer. The student transferred to Princeton, and we were left with a dilemma.

We sat down and pondered the situation. There was certainly a budget for luring away post-docs, but we just didn’t have enough to lure him back to our campus and give him his own lab and department.

We did, however, have enough to get him transferred to Harvard.

The Ten Commandments from IT / Sysadmins…

24 11 2010

Thou shalt not release software to production on the eve of a weekend or a holiday.
Thou shalt not use corporate email servers to distribute full page pictures of your kitten, or your child, or your horse, or your hamster.
Thou shalt not browse porn from your work computer or laptop. Ever.
Thou shalt use corporate / IT mandated applications for corporate related work, regardless of whether you think RandomFinancialTool is better.
Thou shalt choose Microsoft products ONLY when all alternatives have been thoroughly reviewed and considered objectively, and using the criteria of “But it’s not compatible with Microsoft products” is usually a red herring.
Thou shalt not rely exclusively on the ‘genius’ or ‘vast experience’ of a single person within the company or organization. They might be wrong. How would you know?
Thou shalt consider a laptop expendable and subject to imminent destruction.
Thou shalt understand that IT and sysadmin staff are employed to HELP the users do their job. We may know what we’re talking about.
Thou shalt not page a sysadmin at 2am because you’ve forgotten your password. Next time be more careful.
And last but not least…..
Thou shalt respect us. We’re people too.

Fun with Server Uptimes

12 10 2010

At ${dayjob}, we were doing a system audit when an alarm came up on a pair of servers we rarely had any interraction with. One of our new monitoring tools was showing these servers were not answering correctly, and should be investigated.
Investigate I did, and found… four machines in a full sized rack that were doing absolutely nothing.
It turns out these were used for 3 customers we no longer supported. The applications were still there, the appservers were running, just… no one had connected to them in almost a year and a half.
What’s more entertaining is the uptime on these boxes:

09:23:08 up 992 days, 19:15,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

The current plan is to let them roll over to 1000 days, throw a little party for them, and shut ’em down.
(For the true geeks, these are dual opteron Rackable servers with 8gig RAM running CentOS 4.4)
Update – Just found the database servers these machines have been using. Also idle, but the uptime is even more impressive:

 09:43:08 up 1304 days, 19:49,  1 user,  load average: 0.22, 0.09, 0.02

Whose Line Is It Anyway Outtakes

11 03 2010

Having a rough day? Skim through these outtakes from Whose Line Is It Anyway. I almost hurt myself laughing… warning, these are outtakes for a reason – a lot aren’t even remotely suitable for mixed audiences…

Outtakes 1
Outtakes 2
Outtakes 3
Outtakes 4
Outtakes 5
Outtakes 6

An Awesome Motorcycle Safety Video

18 09 2009

Silly net meme. Fast typing!

4 09 2009

452 points, so you achieved position 347 of 82048 on the ranking list
You type 562 characters per minute
You have 106 correct words and
you have 0 wrong words

I ran it through twice, improving the second time (from 95 up to 106). It takes a full minute of fast typing to make it work, and I feel silly chalking off my day in one minute increments just to get a higher ranking 🙂
The silly little “past this code!” thing is:
106 words


Lovely Listings…

25 08 2009

I think Lovely Listings is my new favorite blog. Someone is collecting awful pictures from real estate listings and posting them, with great commentary.
Chalk out an hour to get caught up. There’s some doozies in there.
Updated to fix broken URL. Sorry!