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When I got in this morning, my badge didn’t work so I couldn’t get through the turnstile. Of course over the holidays they’ve eliminated the security guard at the front door, so there is just a phone on the wall. You can’t even get into the waiting room where there are chairs and a coffee table. I called the security number, and they said gave me some jargon about how I’ve got this but not that, and I need to get my boss to straighten it out. I called my boss but he wasn’t there, so I left a voice mail telling him that I couldn’t stand around in the lobby for hours so I was going home and he could reach me on my cell phone. But on the way out to the parking lot, I spotted one of my cow orkers heading in, so I asked him to look around upstairs for somebody else who could help me. So I decided not to head home. Rohan got one of the secretaries to come down and get security to buzz me in, but not to activate my pass. I’ve got a temporary one that will work inside the building, but probably won’t work on the front door.

So I get to my desk and I can’t log in. Flipping over to a virtual console, I log in as root and find NFS errors on both bulworth and titan, which are very important servers, one for home directories and the other for ClearCase views. I try to reboot but it hang on unmounting the mvfs views from the ClearCase server. So I power cycle. After it boots, I can log in, but I can’t get to any external web pages, because whatever administrative cock-up made my badge not work has also eliminated all trace from me from the corporate directory, so my “global id” is gone, and with it my “netpass”. No global id also means I can’t get to the SMB file shares, so I can’t get stuff out of the document repository.

Oh, meanwhile I couldn’t get into my ClearCase views, so I had to reboot the system the views live on as well.

And just to make this a 100% fun day, Firefox has crashed twice while trying to write blog entries.

Right now I’m using a borrowed netpass to read some web sites (and post to my blog) and I can do some other stuff. But I’m told it will be at least 3 days before everything starts working 100%. I can see this is going to be a productive week.

Fnording fnordity fnorders

(I’m not an expert on the Illuminati, nor do I want to be. This is likely an oversimplification or just plain wrong.) In Illuminati conspiracy lore, as far as I can make out, there is talk of a word that we non-members of the conspiracy are pre-programmed to not be able to see. Illuminati members put it in plain sight all around us both to have a jolly joke at our expense, and to signal to other members that they are part of the grand conspiracy. On Usenet, that word is often represented as “fnord”, although of course that’s not the real word because if it was we couldn’t see it.

I have discovered a phrase that seems to have a similar effect. If you put it in an email or usenet post, or even a web site FAQ, people who aren’t part of the “in group” evidently are unable to read the phrase, nor anything that comes after it. The “in group” are the people who “get” computers. I’m not talking about the guy who thinks he’s “1337” (elite) because he managed to get the latest, most drool-proof version of Linux mostly installed on his computer, or the person who can find the on button and the “E” icon for Internet Explorer on his computer 3 times out of 4, I mean people who really “get” it. They don’t have to know everything, but they know how to find out what they don’t know and have the capacity to learn.

The phrase in question? “And if that doesn’t work, try”.
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