A woman, client of a client, contacted me this afternoon asking me to change a password on a server because she wants to store the user names and passwords in an Excel spreadsheet and she can’t figure out how to convince Excel to treat cells in which the first character is a mathematical operation symbol as just plain text. It’s good that she contacted me via email because I said stuff she would find offensive.
Ya gotta be just shy of half a moron to store passwords on any electronic media without strong encryption. Anyone who can sneak an executable onto her machine, or in any other way gets hold of that file, can now break into a certain limited portion of the server about which the client company (the client of my client) has many fucks to give while I have none. If they screw up and get that stuff messed up, they lose money while I make it. Me worry? Nah. Make all the mistakes ya want, I’ll bill more.
Any younger people who read that last sentence won’t get the reference. That’s okay. It’s a shitty product whose advertising tag line I borrowed anyway.
Another client has some servers that have not been upgraded in so long that they no longer can be upgraded (so must be replaced), and every damn one of them exposed to the public internet as things like web servers and mail servers must be in order to be useful. They’re not moving as quickly as I would like on buying some new hardware so that I can migrate all of their custom software and content to machines that are up to date and can be secured, so I’ve created some firewall rules that will block attempted exploits of the Shellshock bug. The problem: I know how to slip right past those firewall rules so many, many others know how to slip right past them, too. It’s just a matter of time before someone does and there’s nothing that can be done about it short of unplugging the ethernet cable to get the thing disconnected from the rest of the world. And disconnect my client’s revenue stream, which would suck for both of us if it meant he could no longer afford to pay me.
The ugliest part: I’ve just debugged a problem that was gimping that client’s revenue stream and found that their retrieval of vital content from a remote server was triggering that firewall rule. I fixed the firewall rule, but it took my reading the source code of the futilities that retrieve that content. My eyes are almost bleeding from it and I’m pretty sure that my brain is leaking. The code looks like it was written by monkeys who were drinking liquor and snorting cocaine at the time, and would have had no more idea what they were doing while sober than they did while stoned to the bejeezus.
I’ve been known to drink liquor and snort cocaine, and to enjoy it quite a lot, too. All things in moderation, including moderation. But I’ve never been known to write code, design circuits, or do any other kind of “knowledge work” or operate dangerous machinery while under the influence. A guy who did just that once nearly killed me with his inattentiveness. I suddenly found myself with three phases of 277/480VAC power in my right hand, and couldn’t let go of it. Electrocution hurts. If it had been up to that coked up idiot to save my life I would have died. Instead, I braced my body and while observing that the sounds I was making were not at all like what you hear when someone gets electrocuted in the movies I pulled the cables so hard that I broke off the studs to which they were bolted. I’m glad I had the strength to do that. Adrenaline puts cocaine to shame, let me tell ya.
The sound you make when being electrocuted is that of upper body contraction. Your throat is very tightly constricted while your diaphragm very rapidly forces all of the air out of your lungs. Screaming would sound a lot better. Electrocution sounds like being squished but without the crunchy sounds of bones breaking.
Oh, yeah. After I yanked those cables completely out of the equipment cabinet I took a few steps, and then when temporal normality returned I threw the cables onto the floor. The coked up idiot was running toward me… I looked past him and saw that the two circuit breakers he’d closed to light up my life were still closed so the power was still on. The right thing to do would have been to open one or both circuit breakers (one would have been enough) to turn the power off. And, of course, save my worthless heathen life. Later when I asked him why he’d closed those circuit breakers he explained that he’d forgotten what we’d just agreed we were going to do less than ten seconds earlier. Coke doesn’t tell you that it’s messing with your thinking.
Whoever wrote that code I spent all night reading wasn’t doing much thinking, so I hope liquor and cocaine were involved in it. Otherwise he’s just a dumbfuck and there’s no sobering up from that. One way or the other he wrote a massive pile of futilities. A futility, in Heathen-speak, is a utility application that is too fucked up to be fixed and must be rewritten from scratch. A fucked up utility for which rework attempts are futile. Which is not to be confused with a craplication.
Nobody cares to know all about programmer jargon anyway, am I right? But there’s the link in the previous sentence if you’re curious about it.
I’m curious about my pillow. Be well, friends and neighbors!