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Old 2nd February 2020, 04:41 PM   #1681
Filippo Lippi
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Big change put in by colleagues who sit a few feet from me, did they tell me, me who is on call today, anything about the change? Did they bugger

I despair
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Old 2nd February 2020, 08:31 PM   #1682
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Gone again. I am now an expert in their change
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Old 2nd February 2020, 09:11 PM   #1683
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Putting "URGENT!!!!" in the subject line of your email is a great way to not get your issue looked at urgently.
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Old 3rd February 2020, 05:17 AM   #1684
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Oh. I got promoted. As you were
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Old 3rd February 2020, 06:41 AM   #1685
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Putting "URGENT!!!!" in the subject line of your email is a great way to not get your issue looked at urgently.
Oh no. The best troublecalls are...

1. Not sent via the actual official ticketing and tracking system but just e-mail directly to whichever IT who's name you can remember. Double points if this IT is off that day. Triple word score if it's sent to an IT who no longer even works here.

2. Is not actually for the person who sent the e-mail but for another person but doesn't actually say that anywhere.

3. Is just the subject line "NEED HELP ASAP!!!!!!!!!"

4. Contains no further information.
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Old 3rd February 2020, 09:56 AM   #1686
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One of our guys went to China to visit friends and family over the new-years holiday. He'll be back tomorrow but due to site restrictions he's not allowed on site until 2 weeks after returning from China. Guess who just got next weeks hardware modification project dumped in his, previously outside the loop, lap?
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Old 5th February 2020, 08:54 AM   #1687
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I'm gonna track down whoever thought it was a good idea to do bulk licensing for this software I'm having issues with based on MAC Address instead of IP or Machine Name and punch them in every genital they own.
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Old 5th February 2020, 10:13 AM   #1688
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm gonna track down whoever thought it was a good idea to do bulk licensing for this software I'm having issues with based on MAC Address instead of IP or Machine Name and punch them in every genital they own.


Could be worse.

Remember dongles?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 5th February 2020, 12:34 PM   #1689
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My brother worked for an electronics company that used autocad. They bought official copies and locked the dongles away then ran hacked copies from the net that didn’t need dongles.
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:32 AM   #1690
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
My brother worked for an electronics company that used autocad. They bought official copies and locked the dongles away then ran hacked copies from the net that didn’t need dongles.
It's normally easier running cracked copies than battling with the anti-piracy features.

....apparently
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Old 7th February 2020, 10:14 AM   #1691
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
My brother worked for an electronics company that used autocad. They bought official copies and locked the dongles away then ran hacked copies from the net that didn’t need dongles.
Many years ago that was the case for Maya. and 3ds Max, many a games developer genuinely used cracked copies because of the problems with dongles and software protection and not to avoid paying for seats.
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Old 11th February 2020, 07:48 AM   #1692
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If you ignore the emails to update your Active Directory password for 2 weeks and choose not to carry your fob with you, as is mandated by company policy, your password expiring is NOT an emergency. Someone coming to your desk is not going to resolve the issue because no one can generate the required security token.

Submit a request for a new fob and do the walk of shame to retrieve it. And next time, follow company policy.
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Old 17th February 2020, 02:28 PM   #1693
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Dear Users.

No IT Professional has ever, in the recent history of this or any possible universe, ever told users on a normal, business office Windows Domain/Server/Workstation network to "shut down at the end of the day and leave their computers off until the next morning."

Don't whine at me when you catch an update in the middle of the day and Windows reboots. Especially on a Monday if you're computer was turned off ever since you cut out for lunch early on Friday.
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Old 17th February 2020, 03:23 PM   #1694
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Someone did something on Friday afternoon, and now every DTA on the network is prompting for Bitlocker drive recovery.

Remember - we have about 8,000 active users.

At about 9:30 Monday morning I saw the largest number of calls waiting, and the longest wait time, that I have ever seen. And that was 27 calls waiting, over 11 minutes. And right now, 13 calls with 7 minutes wait.

What fun.
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Old 17th February 2020, 04:07 PM   #1695
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*Shudders* Bitlocker. I hate Bitlocker.
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Old 17th February 2020, 04:12 PM   #1696
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Dear Users.

No IT Professional has ever, in the recent history of this or any possible universe, ever told users on a normal, business office Windows Domain/Server/Workstation network to "shut down at the end of the day and leave their computers off until the next morning."

Don't whine at me when you catch an update in the middle of the day and Windows reboots. Especially on a Monday if you're computer was turned off ever since you cut out for lunch early on Friday.
Where I worked, we were required not only to shut down at the end of the day, but to remove the laptop from the dock station and lock it in a cabinet. The security guards were equipped with bolt cutters to snip the security cables and confiscate them.
I can remember exactly ONE occasion when we were told to leave them out and turned on for a major update.
Oh, and I took alternate Fridays off.
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Old 17th February 2020, 04:34 PM   #1697
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
*Shudders* Bitlocker. I hate Bitlocker.
When someone calls, we have to provide them with a 48-digit drive recovery key. There's a lot of people in this room just chanting numbers.
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Old 17th February 2020, 06:16 PM   #1698
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Someone did something on Friday afternoon, and now every DTA on the network is prompting for Bitlocker drive recovery.

Remember - we have about 8,000 active users.

At about 9:30 Monday morning I saw the largest number of calls waiting, and the longest wait time, that I have ever seen. And that was 27 calls waiting, over 11 minutes. And right now, 13 calls with 7 minutes wait.

What fun.
What does "DTA" expand to? I'm not getting any success on DuckDuckGo when pairing it with "Windows", "network," or "Bitlocker."

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
When someone calls, we have to provide them with a 48-digit drive recovery key. There's a lot of people in this room just chanting numbers.
Looking at this through the lens of a long-time Linux user, I wonder how this problem and the solution would have played out in the Linux world.

First we assume that an error of the same magnitude happened: someone did something to a server and borked access to a critical service used by 8,000 users. We further assume a fix can be put together over the weekend without having to go through a massive bureaucracy for implementing it, which simply may not be possible in a government organization with 8,000 users.

Given that you mention giving a 48 digit code over the phone I'm assuming users can start the login process on their workstation, although they may be immediately be given a dialogue box asking for the recovery key.

Back to Linux. Under Linux the ssh service starts as soon as networking is available, meaning technical people with the correct password (or better, correct ssh private key) can connect to the system. Provided you have technical I/T people working Saturday and Sunday, they could put together a script to identify the machine, retrieve the unlock key from whatever the organization uses for Active Directory, and apply the key to unlock the volume. Push out the script to all 8,000 systems over the weekend and on Monday morning people log in and don't see any problem.

All right, suppose the majority of affected computers are inaccessible because they were down for the weekend. The technical people could add the unlock script to the base system profile on the central directory server, meaning it would be run when the computer connects, By the time the user has entered their credentials the script has finished its work and the user is able to log in and start working.

Another possible solution, in the event that a script-based unlock is not possible. (Which I rather doubt would be the case in Linux. Pretty much every Linux service can be managed from the command line. Any GUI front end interacts with the Linux service using the same system calls the command line utility uses, and some GUIs actually do their work by issuing command line instructions.) Assuming there are technical I/T people working on the weekend and you're running a capable PBX like Asterisk, someone could put together a script the retrieve the access key and send it to the affected system. Make sure the script is in place on Monday morning and add a new menu option to the top level help desk IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menu when the calls start coming in.

The tough part of designing and writing that script would be verifying callers and the computer they regularly use to ensure someone isn't using the current crisis to unlock someone else's system. One could also push that part of the recovery process to the Help Desk people, and once they've validated the identity can transfer the call to the script that performs the unlock, freeing up help desk staff to go to the next call.

Arthwollipot, I realise you're a Help Desk person and not on the technical team, but it sounds like your technical people rely too much on the Help Desk to dig them out of their blunders instead of searching for and implementing a scripted solution.

For people with more experience managing large AD setups: are scripted solutions like the ones I described available in this environment? Could they be implemented quickly enough that the Help Desk is not inundated with calls, especially given the two day lead time?
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Old 17th February 2020, 06:27 PM   #1699
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
What does "DTA" expand to? I'm not getting any success on DuckDuckGo when pairing it with "Windows", "network," or "Bitlocker."
Sorry, it's Desktop Anywhere, which is the Microsoft protocol to allow a device to connect to a secure network over any unsecure Internet connection. In this organisation it's common to refer to any device - usually a laptop or a Surface Pro - running this protocol as a DTA. So in this case, DTA basically means laptop. Sorry for thoughtlessly using a local colloquialism.

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
Arthwollipot, I realise you're a Help Desk person and not on the technical team, but it sounds like your technical people rely too much on the Help Desk to dig them out of their blunders instead of searching for and implementing a scripted solution.

For people with more experience managing large AD setups: are scripted solutions like the ones I described available in this environment? Could they be implemented quickly enough that the Help Desk is not inundated with calls, especially given the two day lead time?
In some cases it is possible, certainly. But there are also cases where the damage is done in an instant and the only thing we can do is clean up after it. Bitlocker is a required system (if any reader doesn't know what that is, it encrypts the hard drive of a device so that if the device is ever lost or stolen, the bad guys can't get illegal access to its contents), and it requires the recovery key to proceed. We are the only ones who can provide that key, and that is by design. By forcing the user to come back to us for verification, we can ensure that only legitimate users can access the device.

Remember, I work in government, not in the corporate sector, so there are security protocols about that you wouldn't find in non-government organisations. Some of them were designed and mandated by people who have no idea how IT systems actually work.
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Old 17th February 2020, 08:51 PM   #1700
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Dear Users.

No IT Professional has ever, in the recent history of this or any possible universe, ever told users on a normal, business office Windows Domain/Server/Workstation network to "shut down at the end of the day and leave their computers off until the next morning."

Don't whine at me when you catch an update in the middle of the day and Windows reboots. Especially on a Monday if you're computer was turned off ever since you cut out for lunch early on Friday.
Not exactly so. I consulted at a place that told all users to do exactly that. When there was an update to be pushed, Wake on LAN (aka WOL) was used to turn them all back on for the update. If you were working at 4 in the morning, it was quite as shock as every damn computer in the place started up simultaneously.
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Old 18th February 2020, 01:03 AM   #1701
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Dear Users.

No IT Professional has ever, in the recent history of this or any possible universe, ever told users on a normal, business office Windows Domain/Server/Workstation network to "shut down at the end of the day and leave their computers off until the next morning."

Don't whine at me when you catch an update in the middle of the day and Windows reboots. Especially on a Monday if you're computer was turned off ever since you cut out for lunch early on Friday.
HSBC offices were ordered to put up posters telling staff to do exactly that. There was one outside each machine room in the data centre I worked in. Of course that may not have been ordered by an "IT professional" or even a competent one.
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Old 18th February 2020, 01:33 AM   #1702
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Sorry, it's Desktop Anywhere, which is the Microsoft protocol to allow a device to connect to a secure network over any unsecure Internet connection. In this organisation it's common to refer to any device - usually a laptop or a Surface Pro - running this protocol as a DTA. So in this case, DTA basically means laptop. Sorry for thoughtlessly using a local colloquialism.
Thanks for the explanation.

Quote:
In some cases it is possible, certainly. But there are also cases where the damage is done in an instant and the only thing we can do is clean up after it. Bitlocker is a required system (if any reader doesn't know what that is, it encrypts the hard drive of a device so that if the device is ever lost or stolen, the bad guys can't get illegal access to its contents), and it requires the recovery key to proceed. We are the only ones who can provide that key, and that is by design. By forcing the user to come back to us for verification, we can ensure that only legitimate users can access the device.
Sounds like that part was working as expected.

Part of my musings for an emergency fix (on Linux) was to write an Asterisk script that would pull the recovery key from somewhere and read off the numbers. It would be tricky, but I'm sure there's some way the Help Desk could be given an emergency interface where once they had verified the caller, they could copy the recovery key from AD, paste it to a dialogue box, then transfer the call to a temporary extension implementing the readout script. That would let the Help Desk person to go on to the next call. I'm not sure if all 8,000 users were affected, but if they were such a quick fix would certainly help with processing the calls.

Of course this assumes your I/T people have access to the workings of your phone system. That's not guaranteed.
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Old 19th February 2020, 08:47 PM   #1703
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Training in my new position is proceeding apace. I can now assign a RAS token without referring to the operating procedures. What I'm doing now is working through a number of requests so that I can determine the best order of operations to maximise the efficiency of my clipboard.
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Old 20th February 2020, 02:37 AM   #1704
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Jumping in to say that we're also required to power down for extended absences (i.e. overnight) and all of our computers have wake on LAN enabled.

The only time I've had to leave mine on overnight was when uploading a log file to a vendor on the other side of the world. (Yes, it really was that big)
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Old 20th February 2020, 02:30 PM   #1705
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Jumping in to say that we're also required to power down for extended absences (i.e. overnight) and all of our computers have wake on LAN enabled.
That policy makes for an interesting intersection between the dollar cost of running the computers and the time taken to start up the system. Now the time factor would be greatly reduced if you could suspend or hibernate the OS and desktop environment as opposed to shutting the whole thing down. However, if every morning when coming into work you had to start your computer, log in, start up email, word processor, web browser, text editor, an IDE, team productivity app (e.g. Slack), perhaps a softphone app, and maybe a Help Desk ticketing app (if i's not browser based,) the time wasted every day doing that would quickly exceed the minor cost in electricity used to run the computers overnight.

I recall a case a while ago from the States where employees in a call centre started at 9:00 AM. But the expectation was they were ready to take calls at 9:00 AM, which meant they had to arrive at work five to ten minutes earlier to get ready. They sued their employer to get paid for those additional the ten minutes and won.
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Old 20th February 2020, 02:41 PM   #1706
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
That policy makes for an interesting intersection between the dollar cost of running the computers and the time taken to start up the system. Now the time factor would be greatly reduced if you could suspend or hibernate the OS and desktop environment as opposed to shutting the whole thing down. However, if every morning when coming into work you had to start your computer, log in, start up email, word processor, web browser, text editor, an IDE, team productivity app (e.g. Slack), perhaps a softphone app, and maybe a Help Desk ticketing app (if i's not browser based,) the time wasted every day doing that would quickly exceed the minor cost in electricity used to run the computers overnight.

I recall a case a while ago from the States where employees in a call centre started at 9:00 AM. But the expectation was they were ready to take calls at 9:00 AM, which meant they had to arrive at work five to ten minutes earlier to get ready. They sued their employer to get paid for those additional the ten minutes and won.
Interesting...

You may be forgetting the cost of the air-conditioning to keep the building cool in response to all those computers sitting there humming away.

In terms of lost time starting up the computers... if it takes you ten minutes to power up your computer and get ready for work, there's something wrong with you and your computer.

When I get to work, I hit the power switch on my computer.
I take my phone out of my bag, and put my bag into the cupboard at my desk then sit down.
The computer is up and running and everything is ready to go.

If yours isn't working that well, you could always use the task scheduler.

All this will be moot for us soon, there is some consideration to moving everything to the computer room, and only run the minimum required on the local computer to connect to the virtual machine...
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Old 20th February 2020, 02:51 PM   #1707
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I'm going mad. We have a dummy ID that we use to log calls for people who are not actually on our network (and we have quite a few of those because reasons). It's ext123. Yesterday I swear I tried that and it didn't work, and I had to use ext321.

Obviously that wasn't the case, but damn this is some Mandela Effect stuff going on here.
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Old 20th February 2020, 03:41 PM   #1708
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Okay. Wanna hear about the latest fustercluck? This is a good one.

This week we at the Service Desk received notification that the department is replacing Adobe Acrobat Professional with a replacement product called Kofax PowerPDF. It's supposed to be a fully-functional replacement. The change is being made because as you know, Adobe software is hideously expensive, more so in Australia because they can. That's literally the reason Adobe gave a Parliamentary Committee for charging so much more for their software in Australia than they do in other markets.

It was supposed to be installed to all computers that have Acrobat Pro at the beginning of next week, and Acrobat Pro removed from those computers the week after that.

All 1200 users of Adobe Acrobat Pro have had it removed this morning, and no replacement is available.

But that's not even the best part. You want to know the best part? Of course you do. None of the users were told anything about this change. The media team is furious. Not only because they literally can't do their work this morning, but also because an arbitrary decision has been made to move away from an industry standard product with no warning and no consultation.

There are insufficient facepalms and headdesks to express how I'm feeling right now.
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Old 20th February 2020, 08:21 PM   #1709
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Interesting...

You may be forgetting the cost of the air-conditioning to keep the building cool in response to all those computers sitting there humming away.
In Manitoba in the winter that isn't too much of a concern In Texas in the summer it probably would be.

Quote:
In terms of lost time starting up the computers... if it takes you ten minutes to power up your computer and get ready for work, there's something wrong with you and your computer.
Old age—both the computer and the user.

Quote:
When I get to work, I hit the power switch on my computer.
I take my phone out of my bag, and put my bag into the cupboard at my desk then sit down.
The computer is up and running and everything is ready to go.
Nice. Does the computer (or your roaming profile) start up the needed programs? Before or after to log into the desktop?

Quote:
If yours isn't working that well, you could always use the task scheduler.
I've had very poor success with the Windows task scheduler. My experience is you set it up, it works for about the first three or four times it's supposed to, and then it stops working for no apparent reason (but usually security related.)

Quote:
All this will be moot for us soon, there is some consideration to moving everything to the computer room, and only run the minimum required on the local computer to connect to the virtual machine...
Yeah. The 1970s called; it wants its mainframe back.
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:22 PM   #1710
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Can't disagree with the last one.

Glad I'm retiring soon. Sick of watching all the old mistakes getting repeated again, and again, and again.

Defn: The Cloud - it didn't work on our mainframe, let's put it on somebody else's mainframe.

We have a "managed private cloud" everything now takes twenty times longer, at four times the cost.
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:23 PM   #1711
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We've moved just about everything to a cloud service, and it works pretty well. There are a few annoying bugs, but mostly everything ticks along just fine.

Mostly.
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:23 PM   #1712
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I'm half convinced it's the roaming profiles that are causing all the profile corruption at work.

Usual problem, the profile gets borked, submit a request to desktop and wait for several weeks until someone fixes it.

I hate the new Muppets-in-command.
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:24 PM   #1713
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I'm half convinced it's the roaming profiles that are causing all the profile corruption at work.

Usual problem, the profile gets borked, submit a request to desktop and wait for several weeks until someone fixes it.

I hate the new Muppets-in-command.
Several weeks! Don't you have SLAs?
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:27 PM   #1714
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Several weeks! Don't you have SLAs?
We do but they appear to be ignored.

I may have mentioned that the last five years have been clusterfucked because of the new rule that all IT personnel have to use locked-down computers so that we can't fix in one second a problem that takes helpdesk/desktop several weeks to get around to (and then fix in one second).
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Old 20th February 2020, 09:31 PM   #1715
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Of course, the people building and maintaining the giant system that everyone outside of IT has to use 24x7, aren't considered to be core business.

But at the same time, have to use standard build locked down desktops...

By the way, the certificate *********** continues, this time they took SVN out for a week.
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Old 20th February 2020, 10:18 PM   #1716
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
We've moved just about everything to a cloud service, and it works pretty well. There are a few annoying bugs, but mostly everything ticks along just fine.

Mostly.
And then, one day, someone nefarious, for nefarious reasons will bring the Internet down really hard. If it cannot be brought up with a matter of minutes, everything stops.
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Old 20th February 2020, 10:21 PM   #1717
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
And then, one day, someone nefarious, for nefarious reasons will bring the Internet down really hard. If it cannot be brought up with a matter of minutes, everything stops.
Wasn't the internet purposefully designed to be resistant to such attacks?
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Old 21st February 2020, 01:25 AM   #1718
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Wasn't the internet purposefully designed to be resistant to such attacks?
If I remember correctly, one of the DARPA design goals was to "route around" damaged portions. So if the network determined a particular route wasn't available, there might be others that could be used. How automatic that is I don't know.

That works when getting packets from point A to B via C, D, and E, or perhaps C, F, G, and E. But if the only fibre-optic cable serving your area gets cut, there's no way to get from A to anywhere. (That happened recently in the Yukon in Canada.)

The above applies only to routing packets. If where you want to surf to has a power outage with no fail-over site to serve it from, there's no content. If by mistake or malice someone publishes a bad BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) update, some high level routers could go offline or get overwhelmed (that's happened.) A site forgetting to renew a TLS certificate is still "up" (you can reach it on the internet) but your browser may refuse to access the content. (That's happened to Microsoft sites on more than one occasion.)
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Old 22nd February 2020, 08:23 AM   #1719
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DR test this past week.

I told people in meetings, don't do x.
I sent emails, don't do x.
I sent a video on how to do y instead to everyone.
X will not work people, please don't do it.


How many people do you think tried to do x?

All of them.

THEN, I see a problem and in the slack channel I say "Hey @user, I see you are trying to do this, it won't work, this is what you need to do to solve it". The very next message in the channel was that user saying "OMG, this isn't working what do I do????".

I love being ignored.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 08:32 AM   #1720
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Wasn't the internet purposefully designed to be resistant to such attacks?
Not exactly.

"The Internet" (as nebalous as that term has gotten) in its original concept was just what is known as a Mesh Network.

You have 10 cities networked, each city has a link to every other (or most every other as Mesh Networks are almost never 100% complete) so if one city gets nuked the other 9 can still talk.

There are still chokepoints and single points of failure. And hell mass swaths of the internet get taken down all the time, by governments, by submarine accidentally cutting cables, by bad DNS or routing entries, by sharks, by old ladies stealing copper.
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