Category Archives: humor

This list comes from my friend Steve Barger, a brilliant monitoring engineer as well as a gifted artist and webcomic author (You can read his weekly strip, “UpgrADe!” , here).

Looking ahead to the coming year, Steve has come up with 12 important items that anybody working with monitoring tools should keep in mind:

  1. Never monitor something that will never break.
  2. Going from Point A to Point B is always blocked by a firewall.
  3. To say that problems will not occur after you monitor them is bad karma.
  4. Give customers the opportunity to tweak their own monitors and alerts.
  5. You are the only support person between a customer and a 2am alert.
  6. Up on every good shelf is a manual…use it.
  7. Never underestimate the power of a false alert.
  8. Going into a meeting without knowing your customer’s monitoring strategy is unwise.
  9. To every system there is a threshold, to every customer there is a limit.
  10. Let the tools do their jobs efficiently so you don’t have to spend extra time on yours.
  11. You should never allow a good alerting opportunity pass you by.
  12. Down on paper or up on a whiteboard, strategies must be implemented to be effective.

Steve mentioned that more good advice can be found on this site.

About a million years ago (in computer time), I was sitting in a large hall with a couple hundred other computer professionals, watching a demonstration of a revolutionary new software – Dragon Dictate, which promised to allow you not only to dictate text into a word preocessor, but to also interact with the computer, issuing commands.

The demonstrator showed off ways to issue menu commands in WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3 and then he opened up the (then familiar) black and white command window with it’s blinking “C>_”.

“You can even use it at the dreaded DOS prompt,” he announced. “dir. enter.”

Dutifully, the screen scrolled a list of files.

Before he could say another word, a voice from the back of the hall shouted out:


The screen cleared and began displaying the “xx% Complete” message indicating the progress of formatting the hard drive. The presenter was too stunned to speak for a few moments. He recovered around the time the screen behind him reported 30% complete.

“I… uh… I don’t think… Well, honestly, I am certain I can’t demonstrate anything more. But I also don’t believe I can offer a better demonstration than that anyway. A guy at the back of this room shouted out something, which was picked up by my microphone.”

By this point, he was gaining speed, “He had clearly never “trained” the program to recognize his voice, but it still did, and exceuted his instructions. If it can do that, it can certainly pick up your voice giving instructions in a typical office environment. Thanks for coming everyone. I’ll take questions over at the side table.”

With Siri being all the rage these days, that event has been on my mind. Then this cartoon came out, and I had to write about it:

(courtesy of Sherman’s Lagoon, Jim Toomey, and King Features)