This my friends is the straight shit.
Walk into any modern supermarket, everything, and I mean everything, every single process you can identify, has a link in the chain that absolutely relies on a working internet connection.
Where “working” means the bandwidth is sufficiently high, ping and latency and dropped packets, sufficiently low, and a whole bunch of stuff like DNS and VPN and so on just basically work.
- chip and pin for sales / transactions
- store loyalty cards
- barcode readers in guns and tills to update store stock and ordering
- staff clock in and out and hours and wages
- live and updating prices, offers, BOGOF etc
- CCTV and security systems including lighting
- VOIP and telephony
- canned muzak and in store radio stations
- dumps of data for the local “you shop we drop” delivery vans
- etc etc etc
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Here in the UK, when you buy connectivity, doesn’t matter who you buy it off, you get the following choices… and I am talking about what you actually see on a rack etc
- xDSL or Cable, (but almost never cable in business environments), so basically a modem/router
- ISDN / kilostream, it’s already digital so router/switch
- EFM which is just a bunch of ISDN circuits all going into one RAD box with RJ45 out to router/switch
- ADVA/21cn fibre, so RJ45 out to router/switch
You’ll tend to progress through these as your size and needs grow, and for failover / redundancy, this is usually just another xDSL line, even if your primary circuit is 20/20 mbit fibre, the failover is usually going to be xDSL.
If you were going to start from scratch and rack that shit…
- ADVA fibre box
- main router, probably a Cisco, connected to 1and 4
- backup router, probably a Cisco, connected to xDSL and 4
- main firewall, probably a Juniper
- IP data switch
- VOIP switch
- couple of spaces
- local rack-mount servers and NAS boxes
You can picture this, but, in real life it ain’t gonna fucking look like that for long, in real life stuff is always being fucked with and messed around piecemeal, with no attention whatsoever paid to the larger picture or the longer term view, and this is as true for symbolical things like lines of configuration or code, as it is for real physical things like boxes and cables.
So, sooner or later this is what you are going to be presented with, the first challenge is FINDING the fucking box you are supposed to be pulling, from behind that waterfall of CAT5, then working out how to pull it and put in the new one, and oh yeah, this site is live 24/7 and can’t afford any downtime or service interruption.
At that point you rejoice that you are a fifty something don’t give a fuck red pill motherfucker, you just look at the cunt responsible for the above and say “I’ll unbox the new kit, I’ll liaise with the provider to bring it on line and test and sign off on it, YOU can install it, and YOU can patch it, if you can find space and cables”
So of course the remaining spaces on top of the rack are consumed, and some more IEC and RJ45 is added to the waterfall.
This split between what could/should be, and what you actually find on the ground, pervades through out anything and everything to do with IT.
Heap big thing go, white man speak with forked tongue, eagles soar in canyons.
Honestly, I might as well just say this to 99.999% of people I interact with, either in my day job as a cisco bod or my evening and weekend job as a general IT go to guy for SME / SOHO types.
Sure, they will all sit there are read gibberish about “DHCP server not found” or whatever the error message of the day is, but the reality is the only thing the cunts actually UNDERSTAND is is the little green blinkenlight saying everything is OK on, or not.
Yesterday I’m stood in front of a rack of new kit comissioning a 50/50 meg fibre service on an AVDA/21cn box and a couple of rather expensive 2xxx series Cisco routers, with the company IT guy there, not the CIO MBA type, the one alleged BOFH sysadmin type, and we are discussing this install and the technology and how it differs from the EFM/DSL system they currently have, yadda yadda yadda, and you know what impressed this guy the most, the bit where I point at the red CRITICAL LED on the ADVA/21cn box and tell him that as soon as the big Cisco boxes finish booting that light will go out and so we will know there is a connection between them.
We won’t know if it is a good connection data wise, if the right IP address range has been assigned or anything else, but we will know there is a physical electrical connection.
The last paragraph I might as well not have said, the guy stopped listening when I said the red light will go out.
He repeated this to me, so no red light means no problem with the fibre connection. With an unspoken question mark at the end of it.
I just look at him for a minute, think fuck it, and go yeah, that’s right.
And this is the guy everyone else in the company who uses any kind of computing or data device goes to for help.
I literally do not have the brain capacity to comprehend how completely dumb some of his users will be.
On the home front I have SME/SOHO customers who ask me to fix their kids computers, they are blue screening for a passtime.
Now these kids know enough to spec up water-cooled over-clocked up the fucking wazoo led fans abominations, and install every game known to man, and every gaming add-on, and most of the crack and bots and trainers.
These parents, even the ones whose day job is IT admin, are amazed at how leet and incredible with computers these kids are.
And yet these kids can’t simply type MSCONFIG in the start menu and uncheck all non Microsoft services and all startup apps, and instantly cure their system instability, so I charge their folks a hundred bucks to do this, and then run little Johnny’s machine for 24 hours to prove it no longer blue screens… ker-ching
Recently at work in my day job all the field staff got locked out of the company network for 36 hours, not good when you are a remote worker and ALL your data comes to you electronically, who the next job is with, what time they are expecting you, what you have to do.
All this because of a periodic policy that all passwords must be changed every six months, and passwords;
- can’t be anything you have used before
- can’t be similar (2 or 4 characters transposed) to anything you used before
- can’t be less than 8 characters long
- must contain at least one lowercase letter
- must contain at least one uppercase letter
- must contain at least one digit
- must contain at least one special character
For security, donchaknow, and the autistic super intelligent hyper qualified 30 something dweeb in charge of corporate security is gung-ho on this shit, so he was deeply upset when I sent him an email (not from my company email, as exchange was just one of the corporate systems I could no longer access) congratulating him on creating a system so secure even staff couldn’t log in, and proceeded to tell him a thing or two about rainbow tables and human nature and post it notes etc.
So deeply upset he cc’d my line manager in his reply, detailing his qualifications and experience and years at the very top of his field.
I thought about name dropping the dork, not so much a “I know Bill Gates” but a “Bill Gates knows me” but security related, I thought about telling him I was fucking around with “security” on fidonet/BBS and mainframes before he was even born, and common throughout was the keyboard input and human nature, I thought about pointing out that the first password issued to me when I joined the company, issued by his department no less, was “password”, then, much like the LED admin above, I thought fuck it, tell the cunt what he wants to hear, so I apologised unreservedly… and added his name to the list of people I will not go one step out of my way to help or cover up for, ever.
Which kinda brings us to PRISM / ECHELON etc, NSA/GCHQ spying and so on and so forth.
Sure, all these fuckers are slurping up everything they can, always have, always will, but, 99.999% of the staff in these places are as dumb as a bunch of rocks when it comes to it, and if there is something you should be worried about, it is not them spying on your secret communications with 1968Amy, the Huddersfield transsexual whose cock you secretly like to suck, but it’s OK, its a transsexual not a bloke, so you’re not a fag…
No, what you should be worried about is when some bad bit of coding takes 2 + 2 = 22 and not 4, and suddenly you are in the frame for something you never did, because their box of rocks technical inability to actually mine this vast pool of data for anything genuinely useful also means they are technically unable to determine that in your case it is just garbage data, that field, your terr’rist threat rating, should read 4, e.g. low / normal, and not 22, e.g. do a DeMenezes on you and see how many 9mm rounds can be fired into your head in 3 seconds.
Probabilistically speaking you should relish the massive data capture, because the more they capture, the more noise there is, and the less signal there is.
Here in the UK we have a thing, it is constantly evolving and changing its name, but it used to be CRB, or Enhanced CRB, it’s a check done on your background if you work anywhere even remotely connected to kids or wimminz, no matter how tenuous the connection… work in the basement of a company that sells life insurance, and build office PCs for a living, and you’ll need an enhanced CRB, because technically you could access some of the insurance company data on their customers, and some of those customer be wimminz with children, who, you know, you might just fancy raping and killing…
So mine runs to 8 pages of shit, but being a badass biker boy in my yoof it is all motoring related, nothing in there at all about raping and killing baby girls, so I pass…. the insanity begins when they do a check and it comes back empty, blank, nothing whatsoever, at that point they get suspicious. And yes before you ask, no mention anywhere of the allegations the ex made, or being arrested on suspicion of being any of the things she said to win in secret family court.
Not because you did all your baby raping and killing in Rwanda, that could apply to me too, so the lack of that proves nothing, what is suspicious is that you have been HERE for x years, and not left any tracks in the system of either any crimes committed, or any crimes you were suspected of or arrested for?
If there are 6 million people on the DNA database, why aren’t YOU on it? hmm? hmmm?
Getting back to the LED blinkenlights.
- My check, yeah, plenty of records, but nothing related to violence against wimminz or kidz, GREEN LED BLINKENLIGHT.
- Convicted rapists check, RED LED BLINKENLIGHT
- some other fucker’s check, NO LED BLINKENLIGHT
You see, #1 is the only thing anyone is looking for, same as the IT admin guy, they are looking for a simple binary choice, and if they do any checking, as he did with me, it was to query what he was supposed to think, depending on which LED’s were lit or unlit.
How do I know da po-lice and the courts and state security services all think exactly the same way as supermarket staff? Kevin Mitnick could tell you, they are all human, I could tell you, none of them make their own intertubez or routers or firewalls, they all have guys like me hired in by companies like Crapita who get the contracts on the national scale.
My security vetting? Well, it’s the same as the will-he-rape-a-baby vetting, or indeed a credit check, it just needs a green LED to light up next to my name, and that just needs to FIND records, and NOT FIND anything too nasty or relevant within those records.
I couldn’t borrow 5k from a bank to save my life, I have no history of paying back loans, no green blinkenlight.
That my friends is the real state of IT in the world today, for 99.999% of the populace a simple traffic light would suffice.