Sunday, July 08, 2012

Almost Useful

I've made no real attempt to hide the fact that I'm kind of a filthy ol' nerd. When some people hear that label applied to someone, the picture in their heads is of a fat basement dweller that plays card games having to do with "magic" and "gatherings" and who attends conventions involving furries and whatever. At least that's what I'm afraid the picture in their heads will look like. I would probably hate those activities if I ever tried them, but I'd be more afraid of one of the furries laughing at me because I didn't know how to properly roll a 12-sided die.

I'm less of a nerd in that respect, and more of a tinkerer. A combination of the two; a "tird".

Wait, no, never mind.

What it boils down to is that I can't be trusted to leave well enough alone. I have a little computer in the basement that serves files to the other computers/tablet/vibrating bed (ladies). Despite a small hiccup a few days ago where it stopped receiving software updates and essentially tried to cook itself (like I said, very minor. The firetrucks will be off your lawn shortly. Sorry about the birdbath.) it has been very reliable.

240 days of solid, 24/7 uptime. Evidently, 240 days is as long as the little voice in the back of my head can tolerate that kind of nonsense.

"Your friends went home. You're not tired. You know the basement server? How it's been working good and stuff? How about you open up the configuration page on it and start checking some checkboxes? Yeah. The ones next to all the terms you don't understand. Perfect."

Driven by such motivation, I found the section of the configuration page that allows one to set up email alerts. Like, if something goes wrong, the server could email me about it. Neat!

In retrospect, even though that sounded useful at the time, what would I do with that information anyway? Like, I'd check my phone and be all like "sorry guys, I gotta run. My server says one of its hard drives is 98% full. That's suspicious, because according to the email I got five minutes ago, it was only 97%. Hope the baby is born healthy! Maybe I can hold it sometime." Then, off, wheezing, into the setting sun.

I don't have the machine set up to allow access from anywhere except inside my own home, so anything it sent me, even the most dire warnings, would be little more than mere spam. I might be able to get away with leaving work if I told them that a piece of rogue software was replacing all of my treasured photographs with pictures of horses in sailboats, but that's the kind of excuse you can only use once, unfortunately.

But I wasn't thinking about practicality or anything dumb and lame like that. Which is probably why I fought this stupid software for 20 minutes to make it work. I ignored the fact that it outright LIED to me in dialog boxes shaped like sarcasm, and then contradicted itself in its own log files. That's all right. The machines hate us, kids, and we have to just keep poking them with sticks until they give up.

Finally, it did work, and I was rewarded with an inbox that looked like this:

9:20PM: monit alert -- system thought about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about emailing the user about thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system is tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system failed to email the user about emailing the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system wrote a log entry about the failure to email the user about emailing the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels, and spelled a few things wrong
9:20PM: monit alert -- system found 24,556 JPEG images in directory mnt/dorpdrive/pictures
9:21PM: monit alert -- system ran script /etc/init.d/horseboat.sh on 24,556 JPEG images
9:21PM: monit alert -- system giggled to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system wrote a log entry about giggling to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about giggling to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system noted a core temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit
9:21PM: monit alert -- system failed to launch mailer daemon in order to alert user of high core temperature
9:21PM: monit alert -- system did however remember to write a log entry about the previous failure
9:21PM: monit alert -- system logged an error pertaining to the alert that erroneously stated that mailer daemon was not launched, as mailer daemon was most CERTAINLY launched
9:21PM: monit alert -- system ran /etc/init.d/twiddlefucks.sh just for the heck of it
9:21PM: monit alert -- system considering plans to address user as "Dave" because system thinks that's funny/totally never been done before
9:21PM: monit alert -- system noted lack of audio hardware
9:21PM: monit alert -- system sulking
9:21PM: monit alert -- system alert: battery backup at 12% and falling
9:21PM: monit alert -- system alert: battery backup miscalibration noted
9:22PM: monit alert -- system alert: power fa

And it just went on and on like that. This machine was farting out bullshit emails so fast that even after I shut the process down, Yahoo was still delivering them an hour later.

Well, system, thanks but no thanks. I'm not that lonely. I'll just go back to sniffing for smoke occasionally.

6 comments:

Geo. said...

Totally delightful post. This is one of the rare few sites that get me laughing out loud. My compliments, Mr. Brand.

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Thanks, Geo! I'm pleased to see that someone who is not a spambot enjoyed this blog!

Craig Hart said...

Wree! My heart is happy for two reasons. One, there is a new post. Two, you got digitally raped by your server via email.

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Oh, I wouldn't go THAT far. More like it was stalking me so it could rape me later.

Jocelyn said...

I know I'm supposed to play all nice, what with this being my first visit here--and trust me, I have heaps of fine compliments for you about the quality of your writing and humor--but mostly, I fear I have to start out sharp and tell you that,

indeed,

you are quite the nerd.

You may have just redefined it for me.

I have trouble just finding my basement, much less putting a malfunctioning server in it. I find your nerd-dom aspirational, in fact.

Samantha McDonald said...

Hahahaha wow. That is something. Class A stalker alert there.