Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Channelling the BOFH

I'm on group mailbox duty this week, which always gives me a bad attitude.  Or at least a worse one than I had already.

To explain - every week, one member of the team is mailbox muggins, which means we get to monitor the team's mail drop box, action requests for systems access, sort out faults with same, and generally put up with every crap inquiry that some clown from any other business unit can heave over our fence.

This is in addition to the team member's own duties, and is expected to be done in a reasonably timely manner, usually when it's inconvenient.

I'm kind of channelling the BOFH at the moment, and I'm taking it out on the users, which only seems fair.

First request - user wants engineer access to a system.  I know this particular person and what they do, and not only do they not need engineer access, I don't trust them with what they might do with it.  I authorise it for read-only access and send it off.  Chances are they'll never notice anyway, because they wouldn't have a clue what to do with the thing.

Second request - another (l)user wants engineer access.  I used to work with this person at another company, and I'm not terribly pleased to find myself working with them at this one.  Just to be a pain in the arse I deny the application due to no business case for write-level access, and if he applies for read-only later in the week I'll have to come up with something like a trailing whitespace on his username or something.

Third request is one of those "what in the name of dog alone would you want that for?" requests.  I don't think most people know that system exists, let alone know what it does.  What *does* frequently happen though is that people mistake this system for others because it has a couple of common words in it, and it's the top one in the list, so plenty of people just pick it without taking the time to read and understand.

I did briefly consider knocking the application back, but I decided that that would be wasting a perfectly good opportunity for some fun, so I provision the access as requested - the user is actually entitled to have access to the thing.  I approve the request, with the comments that the user needs to log into two different servers to update their temporary passwords before the account can be used, that there's no replcation between the servers so they both must be done manually, the temporary passwords are a 24-character mixed-case alphanumeric with special characters (different on each server, naturally) and cut-and-paste doesn't work into the terminal server window, so it's all got to be hand typed.

The merriment will start in a couple of days when he discovers that what he applied for is the wrong thing, and he has to start again.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Got windex?

This dood does.  He's just lucky he's got laminating too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yet another reason I can't stand Australia Post

Yet another monumental fail for Australia Post, the most useless cretins of all time.

Here's something I ordered on  Monday afternoon.  It was with AusCretin fairly late in the business day, but was in Melbourne the next morning, and I had it in had by midday Tuesday.  Awesome.  That's how it should be.  I would have been happy with Wednesday, honestly.

So why can't the useless pricks exhibit some sort of consistency?  Here's another item, inhand with them late on a Thursday, but doesn't arrive locally until SIX days later!  (And yes, I goddamn well do expect mail sorting and shipping to be a 7 day a week function).

The highlight of the latter example was picking it up.  You've all no doubt experienced the nice little come-and-stand-in-line-for-fucking-ages card before.  You can elect to have a representative collect your item for you, if you can find someone silly enough to subject themselves to Peabrain Central and the zombie inhabitants.

Here's an example of the card.

If you front up with the card in hand, the Peabrain zombie will insist on seeing some ID.  The fact that you've got the card is not enough, oh no.  If you hand the zombie your driver's licence face up, they will immediately recoil like a schoolmarm from a tarantula when they see the address is different.  If you try to anticipate and compensate for this behavior by handing over the licence with the change-of-address sticker on the back facing upwards... they will immediately turn it over and lock up with the same logic failure.

If you've found someone silly enough to take the card in for you (apparently the handbrake is), you will note that the three fields to be completed are:

Name of agent
Signature of agent
Signature of addressee

A logical, normal person would read this, sign the bottom line and assume all was well.  Not so fast you don't - not at Peabrain Central.

The Peabrain zombie will reject the attempt to collect the item on the grounds that the addressee didn't complete the Name of agent line.  This is despite the fact that they have precisely zero way of determining who actually wrote it in, as long as it wasn't in their presence.  Nor do they have any way of determining that the Signature of addressee is genuine - I mean, how could they?  What are they comparing it to as a reference?

The first (and last) time that the handbrake experienced this little bit of twisted logic, she simply walked over to the desk, filled the card out herself, and walked straight back to present it.  The zombie objected, and rapidly found out that this was a poor idea and not conducive to general harmony in the workplace.  After the handbrake had reduced her to tears and started in the store manager, it was agreed that yes, that would be sufficient, and that no, they had zero grounds to prove otherwise.  (Note: do not piss off people who have worked in call centres.  They have heard every form of abuse going and are quite willing to be on the long end of the stick should the occasion demand it.)

Since this experience, the handbrake just fills the whole thing in herself, takes the card in, and despite the fact that it adds precisely zero value to the process, at least there's no shouting involved.

On the occasion above, I attended Peabrain Central myself, with the handbrake in tow (i.e. wanting to be taken to Saturday morning breakfast).  I presented my card and ID, went through the usual farce over needing to reboot the zombie to clear the logic lock over addresses, and was presented with two parcels.

I queried the zombie on this, and they pointed out that there were two barcode stickers on the card, which I had not previously noted.  The second parcel was addressed to the handbrake, so I handed it to her.  She stood there for about 5 seconds, which in retrospect was the time taken for her internal reactor to go supercritical from a standing start, and then laid into the zombie with vim and vigor.  The grounds for the attack being that it's apparently OK for me to collect a parcel addressed to her with zero authorisation other than I had an ID with a matching street address, but she can't do the same thing with something addressed to me unless there's a totally unverifiable entry on a card beforehand.

I suspect the store manager didn't enjoy that particular customer interaction too much either.  It's never fun being forced to defend a stupid company policy which makes no sense.  At least it gave the handbrake a keep appetite for breakfast, which in turn gave her an opportunity to chew on the manager of the local coffee shop, but that's another story.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Want your own personal rocket ship?

2100kv motors on 4S = well over 30K RPM unloaded.  No wonder the thing goes like the clappers.

Well worth a watch in full screen... he has a 1080p60 camera on board.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Australia Post strikes again

After taking 9 days to shift a small (and I mean sub-paperback book sized) parcel from Perth to Melbourne, yesterday afternoon I received this notification from Australia Post:

Great... now I've got to waste at least one more day before I can get my gear.

But wait... that's not my local post office.  It's not even the right suburb.  Bosch?  Closed?  WTF?  And I know that area pretty well, and I reckon I know what that address is.  Yep, I'm right.  Post office my arse.

Ring up AusPost and put it to the nice lady I spoke to that the address I'm being directed to is a large commercial manufacturing and warehousing facility for a German electrical multinational, and that it seemed unlikely that to present myself there would result in the intended and desired outcome.

Much tapping of keyboards immediately ensues, along with hushed consultations with other staff.

AusPost - Am I *sure* that's not a postal depot or something?

Me - Pretty sure, I drive past it about once a fortnight and it still looks like a factory to me.

AusPost - Any chance it's closed?

Me - Probably not since the weekend, and I expect the mate I saw on Sunday who works there would have mentioned it if so.

AusPost - Ah.

More tapping of keyboards.

AusPost - We suspect it's been mis-scanned... since we can only see the same information as you can, we can't locate it either.  We'll have to do a lost item search.

Me - Awesome!  Might Sir inquire as to how long that will take?

AusPost - Well, normally a couple of weeks, and you'll have to get the sender to report the item lost - only they can initiate that process.

Me - Excuse me?!?  You've obviously got the item, it's apparently in Melbourne, you're the ones who lose it through mishandling, and you've sent me a notification for it... but I now have to go back and get the sender to report it lost?  How does that add any value to the process whatsoever?

AusPost - That's the way it works....

Me - It seems very much that that's the way it bloody well doesn't work to me!  Look, the item was being delivered to my home address, right?

AusPost - Um... I'm not sure.

Me - Why FFS?  If I look at the tracking history for the parcel on the web, it clearly shows the delivery address - are you telling me that I can see more as a customer on the web than your own internal systems do?

AusPost - Erm...

Me - In the name of preservation of sanity, let's take it as given that it was being delivered to my home address for the moment.  On every single occasion past, when an item requiring a signature couldn't be delivered, it ends up at the AusPost at my local shopping centre.  So it would seem likely to me that that is what has happened on this occasion too, yes?

AusPost - Erm... yes, probably.

Me - Excellent, we progress.  Now, if I was to ring up Fuckwits'R'Us and put the question to them as to whether my item was there, all I will get is some peabrain who wants a tracking number, which will then tell them the item in question is sitting at a manufactory 10 kilometres away.  The peabrain won't see the slightest issue with that and I will be back precisely where I am now.  And that's assuming there is actually a documented contact number for Peabrain Central, which I bet there bloody well isn't, because your organisation carefully removed them all some time ago.  Do you think that your ongoing assistance today might extend to ringing them up and exploring the idea of them actually looking for the thing?

AusPost - Um... erm... can I put you on hold for a while?

Me - That was inevitable at some point, so I have been mentally preparing myself.  Please proceed.

While she talks to Peabrain Central, I ring up SWMBO at home, get her to grab the come-and-collect me card from the letterbox, and skedaddle up to the post office.

AusPost - OK... we've found the item!  You can collect it from the local post office.

Me - Excellent.  Excelsior.  Could you please communicate to Peabrain Central that my wife is standing in their shopfront now.  Her name is xxx.  She's blonde, is wearing purple glasses, she'll be the one with the tendrils of smoke coming out of her ears.  I suggest approaching in line of sight.

So, ultimately, I have my parcel.

The english language does not contain words to express my feelings that the fucking shop sent me the wrong gear.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cracked stab #2

Cracked one of my long rods for the second time the other weekend - carbon tube came loose from the base stud.  No catastrophic failure or anything, I only noticed it when I went to do it up and it obviously spun the tube on the stud slightly.

I've already glued this stab up once before with 24 hour epoxy and clamping, but apparently my glue-jitsu was insufficient to the task.  I'm suspecting the gelcoat surface of the inside of the rod is just too slick to stick to.

I finally wrestled the stud out and the last batch of epoxy was still bonded to the alloy stud OK, so I cleaned it all off and scrubbed the inside of the tube out with a wire wheel on a Dremel, then cleaned everything with acetone.

This time I have busted out the 72-hour cure epoxy and I'll see how it goes.  I made up a clamp to hold everything from moving for the full cure time, although to be honest I think it was more just preventing any form of movement, because the mating surfaces are a concentric circle thing.

The excess I left to cure up seemed to cure pretty well so I'll see how it goes.

If this doesn't work then I've got NFI what I'm going to do with it.  I could try to scrounge up some industrial grade adhesive, but even the smallest container of of it costs about as much as it would to just replace the rod.

Rag head photo bomb