Meet the Director of Technical Operations



  • Central IT recently hired a Director of Technical Operations, a newly-created position designed to supervise the networking staff of 2 people. The position took on an ominous quality when the first candidate was tossed after an anonymous person sent in a newspaper article with the person in question being investigated for child molestation. 

    And this was AFTER an HR background check....

    The runner-up, who I'll call Bob (who never knew he had been passed over for Chester the Molester by the way) is an IT manager in most negative respects: He uses buzzwords he cannot understand and tries in vain to comprehend both simple and complex IT terminologies and structures.

    Before Central IT

    Bob used to work for a student loan company. One of my co-workers worked at the same company as he did and knew Bob well. My co-worker was tasked with implementing a server to run a software product that they were evaluating and, to accomplish this, she was liased with Bob in IT. Bob in IT saw the request and denied it outright without so much as batting an eye. "Having a server is a security risk" he said. So he gave her a wiki instead.

    Joining Central IT

    Bob joined Central IT and stayed close to the ground at first. He settled into his office and brought in some personal effects. Being the helpdesk manager at the time the CIO tasked me with setting up Bob's PC. Since Bob was bridging a Novell and Active Directory infrastructure due to an in-progress merger and consolidation between two institutions, he has both an AD username and a Novell username. His primary login was a Novell login screen which could be changed to login to our domain if necessary. This was only temporary until the Novell migration was done and the AD infrstructure was complete.

    For the first week I spent at least 5 hours explaining how the Novell login worked and how he could switch between the NDS and AD environments. "No no no, this will never do" Bob said. "This is a security risk." So he ended up removing the Novell client himself and sticking with the AD login. 

    Later his second week he called me into his office and asked why he couldn't access the Novell server that half (one) of his staff used. I told him it was because he removed the Novell login and he'd have to reinstall the client. "No no no" he said. "James can access both the AD and Novell environments just fine." I then pointed out that James had two machines, one on each environment. "Well that's what I need" Bob said. It took a few days of convincing but Bob finally decided installing the Novell client was more practical than buying another workstation for access to a system that was going away soon.

    Directing

    Bob settled in and, after a while, started becoming more comfortable in his role as director. He would use big words, like "SQL Server 2003" and "Quality Level Agreement of Services". When I asked him if this was the same as an SLA he was quick to point out that "All those acronyms mean pretty much the same thing", leaving me to wonder what other acronyms meant the same as another.

    On the topic of SLAs, our current web environment was locking up for 5 minutes at a time. We were running an ASP 2.0 site on a box with IIS 6 and, for some reason, IIS would spike to a 100% CPU usage until the thread was automatically terminated and retsarted. Rather than investigate the cause and fix it, Bob decided that a whole new VMWare infrastructure was necessary. "Have more than one website on a single server is a security risk" Bob would say. "Each website must have it's own VMWare Server."

    As part of the migration to the new environment Bob made a few changes "for security's sake". One, PHP was no longer to be used. This was a problem for us since we had a PHP chat application that enabled web users to talk to us. This tool was also a valuable marketing asset, as we could see a report of enter and exit pages, time spent on a page, etc. A meeting was called and I asked Bob why PHP was being elimated. "PHP is a security risk. PHP allows access to the suck-will (SQL for the informed) database and anything that allows strangers to access the suck-will database is a security risk." I pointed out to Bob that ASP running under IIS also allows access to the SQL (pronouncing it SEE-quill) database. "Yes, but IIS is designed to work with databases. PHP doesn't work with suck-will. It's a security risk" And that was the end of that.

    The SLA

    As we prepared to move to the new environment it was discovered (read in Computerworld Magazine) that an SLA was a good business practice. So, an SLA was drafted regarding the new environment. 

    Most IT people would regard an SLA as a legal agreement between departments or entities. I consider it a binding agreement about an established quality of service.

    Not Bob.

    Bob grabbed an  SLA from Tech Republic (complete with brower footer pointing out the exact URL it was taken from) and edited it to match our needs. The non-existant Wordpress blog was guaranteed an 8 hour turnaround from a level one incident. The suck-will server wasn't mentioned at all. The uptime promise for the web environment basically read "It'll be fixed sometime after you tell us about it, so long as it isn't a weekend or we aren't busy with something else."

    When it was suggested that the SLA be put in front of Legal Bob objected, stating that Legal did not have any say in how he directed technical operations. 

    Who knows...maybe it was a security risk.



  • I've always preferred to pronounce it "skwill" but nobody ever knows what I mean.



  • Squirrel is another good name.



  • I always say "S Q L" since it's technically not an acronym.

     P.S., I think this would all make a good justification for getting him fired. Especially the eliminating PHP thing, who knows how much revenue that decision cost the company. Failing that, I would probably just stop going to work and see how long it takes for them to stop sending me paychecks.



  • @citking said:

    The non-existant Wordpress blog was guaranteed an 8 hour turnaround from a level one incident.

    Ok, get some friendly users you can trust to not report you to put in tickets about the current Wordpress outage.

    Problem solved.



  •  I've made myself guilty of pronouncing SCSI as "Ess Cee Ess Eye", once.



  • @C4I_Officer said:

     I've made myself guilty of pronouncing SCSI as "Ess Cee Ess Eye", once.

    Once is nothing, if it's before you've ever heard how it's pronounced.  And, if you aren't aware of what they're talking about when you first hear it pronounced correctly, it doesn't count.

    But if you hear someone with a greater amount of tech cred pronounce a technical term, if you keep using the wrong pronunciation, you will probably quickly 'remove all doubt'... (Accent can be an excuse.  But accent only works as an excuse if the accent in question would conceivably pronounce that term that way.)



  • @Dudehole said:

    I always say "S Q L" since it's technically not an acronym.
    "Structured Query Language" - looks like an acronym to me.



  • @PJH said:

    @Dudehole said:

    I always say "S Q L" since it's technically not an acronym.
    "Structured Query Language" - looks like an acronym to me.

    Generally, an acronym is an initialism that is pronounced as its own word.  Dudehole was saying that SQL isn't an acronym (meaning it should be spelled out) but he provided no support for this.  Since SQL is based on SEQUEL, it most likely is an acronym and should not be spelled out.  Who really cares, though?



  • @C4I_Officer said:

     I've made myself guilty of pronouncing SCSI as "Ess Cee Ess Eye", once.

     

    Until this post, I always1 pronounced it as S-CSI (you know, the TV show). As a defense, so did my Operating Systems 101 prof.

    1: Maybe once or twice IRL



  • I think "security risk" Bob should be introduced to the concept of "safety risk" too.  He can spend his time "inspecting" the office for things left on top of cupboards (might fall on your head) and the company carpark, looking for employees smoking in their private cars so he can lecture them on the health risks of smoking.

    This should reduce the amount of interference in IT operations by spreading his risk to the other departments.

    Perhaps start off with a semi-technical (semi-reasonable) goal of eliminating loose extension cords in conference rooms.  He can spend lots of time organising projector mounts, floor-mounted power outlets and the like.

    I look forward to heaing more about Bob.



  • @tgape said:

    @C4I_Officer said:

     I've made myself guilty of pronouncing SCSI as "Ess Cee Ess Eye", once.

    Once is nothing, if it's before you've ever heard how it's pronounced.  And, if you aren't aware of what they're talking about when you first hear it pronounced correctly, it doesn't count.

    But if you hear someone with a greater amount of tech cred pronounce a technical term, if you keep using the wrong pronunciation, you will probably quickly 'remove all doubt'... (Accent can be an excuse.  But accent only works as an excuse if the accent in question would conceivably pronounce that term that way.)

    This so reminded me about this.



  • @citking said:

    ...after an anonymous person sent in a newspaper article with the person in question being investigated for child molestation.
    I've got five bucks here says it was Bob who sent it in.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    @citking said:

    ...after an anonymous person sent in a newspaper article with the person in question being investigated for child molestation.
    I've got five bucks here says it was Bob who sent it in.

    Wow, I somehow completely missed that part on my first read of the OP.  The candidate was rejected just for being investigated for a crime?  If he wasn't ever convicted, that's pretty harsh.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    @citking said:

    ...after an anonymous person sent in a newspaper article with the person in question being investigated for child molestation.
    I've got five bucks here says it was Bob who sent it in.

    While I would like to give bob the benefit of the doubt.  after working with people similar to bob, in past jobs,  you're probably right.    However guys like this usually get their "due"  either when the higher ups realize how much bob has cost them or the company goes belly up.  I mean seriously, ripping out a fully functional tool just on a whim like that is not okay.  I'm more of a .net guy myself but no way I would replace a fully functional app that makes clients happy just to because its in app. I mean maybe if everything else was asp.net you might want to eventually "consider" bringing it in line.  But you would need more reason than "hurr... php".



  • @tgape said:

    But if you hear someone with a greater amount of tech cred pronounce a technical term, if you keep using the wrong pronunciation, you will probably quickly 'remove all doubt'... (Accent can be an excuse.  But accent only works as an excuse if the accent in question would conceivably pronounce that term that way.)

     

    One of our university lecturers had no idea how to pronounce ASCII, so some bright spark told him it was said "asshole". He spent the rest of the lecture going on about asshole codes and wondering why people were sniggering. I wish I was joking.



  • @moogal said:

    One of our university lecturers had no idea how to pronounce ASCII, so some bright spark told him it was said "asshole". He spent the rest of the lecture going on about asshole codes and wondering why people were sniggering. I wish I was joking.

    "Assy" would have been a lot more believable and pretty damn funny.  I'm not sure if an educator believing "cii" would be pronounced "hole" is hilarious or depressing.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @PJH said:

    @Dudehole said:

    I always say "S Q L" since it's technically not an acronym.
    "Structured Query Language" - looks like an acronym to me.

    Generally, an acronym is an initialism that is pronounced as its own word.  Dudehole was saying that SQL isn't an acronym (meaning it should be spelled out) but he provided no support for this.  Since SQL is based on SEQUEL, it most likely is an acronym and should not be spelled out.  Who really cares, though?

     

     These confusions re-enforce my belief that all communications relating to technology should be typed, in email, IM, IRC, whatever you like.



  • @Master Chief said:

    These confusions re-enforce my belief that all communications relating to technology should be typed, in email, IM, IRC, whatever you like.

    You fool!  Having a paper trail just allows Management to make us do our jobs!


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