Passion for hardware

No, not this kind of passion you perverted fucks:

I’m talking about the thing that drives us to do this work. As a sysadmin, we’re mostly invisible, and then extremely visible when things go wrong. It’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it. So I’ve been thinking about what drives me to do it.

It’s the passion.

Ever since I was young, I mean.. 5-years-young, I’ve been taking things apart and learning about how they work.  It’s been a rocky road of trial and error, but somehow, even from an early age, I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. And I’m doing it right now. What drove me to learn new things (and fix many old things), is still the driving force. The thing that gets me out of bed every morning to face new challenges at the office. Sure, the level has changed. The stakes are higher. Back in the day I might mess up and break a 1000 euro computer. Now it’s a 40 000 euro computer, or a 100 000 euro piece of SAN equipment. But it’s still just the same. The toys have just gotten a lot bigger.

Today at work, I took delivery of a new Sun (frack it, Oracle) blade server which I then assembled, updated and set up. After that, I did the same to a brand new IBM xSeries server. And I’m happy as a clam. Most people don’t understand this. They think it’d get boring after a while. And it might. But it is not this day (had to slip that Aragorn quote in there, sorry). As long as I have a yearning to learn more, and a passion for the hardware and the things I work with, my job will never be dull. And most of all, it helps you go through those shitty days when the fecal-matter has  hit that spinning thing.

Ok, so this was a really short post, and mostly just an excuse to post that picture. But it was something I devoted some thought to today, and this is why I had to type it up somewhere.


Societal Rage

So i was heading up the escalator at Pasila train station here in Helsinki.. The custom here, is that if you don’t want to walk up the escalators, you stand on the right and ride it up. If you are in a rush, you take the left “lane”. Simple things, nobody gets hurt.

Enter fat fucker. A woman walks up next to me on the left side, taking a few steps and then stops, blocking the left lane. So people, supposedly in a hurry, walk up to her, and ask (and i’m not shitting you) politely  if she could let them pass. Her reply? “No. And you’re not allowed to pass people on the left!”. I start giggling like an idiot, and she starts giving me the evil-eye, which i promptly ignore and continued laughing. People pass her anyway, which was a feat on its own, because she was a fat bastard. I bet she does this every morning, and gives everyone the same old reply, just to.. i don’t know? Make someone elses day just a little bit more difficult? Channel your own rage about being fat on other people? Maybe a little of both. I just find it hard to believe why someone would intentionally just try to piss people off. Makes no sense and just causes a stir.

Had someone been extra stressed out that morning, that fattie might have accidentally tripped and fallen down 10 meters of escalator. And i will add a picture here of my probable emotional reaction to that hypothetical scenario:

Sufficed to say, if you act like a prick, you deserve what’s coming next. I’m not encouraging violent acts, by any means, but i’m also not saying i might not enjoy them. Convoluted enough? Good.


The Failure of Politics (updated)

In Finland we now have a record six party rainbow coalition government. I wish rainbow would imply certain things, but alas, it does not. I basically had three points that were very important to me during the last parliamentary election:

  1. We don’t stop building nuclear power (if needed), but also don’t stop developing alternative energy.
  2. Women retain the right to abortion
  3. Same sex couples allowed to marry and adopt children if they want to

And let’s see, yes, all of these are now scrapped and fucked over. Basically, during the negotiations that took place in order to form the new government, the Christian Democratic party imposed some terms, that needed to be accepted for them to enter into the new coalition. Now, as a reminder to my esteemed readers, the Christian Democratic party (henceforth CD) has a 4.03% share of the votes (6 representatives in the parliament, out of a total of 200), which is the lowest they have had since the 1995 elections (when they had 2.96% of the votes). This is pretty much one of the smallest parties in the entire parliament, which is how it should be in my opinion. So how come they get to make demands? Basically they said that they will enter the coalition as long as discussion on same-sex adoption rights and marriage rights are put on hold at least for the next four years, and that abortion-laws are reinspected (and supposedly made stricter).

Yes, welcome to the 1950’s.

I wonder what kind of deals were made behind closed doors that made the other five coalition parties agree to these draconian deals. I am amazed that anyone could feel these issues are unimportant or minor! They are, in my opinion, some of the defining points of a modern, western society. And since do minority beliefs dictate majority rules? I am just shocked.

I honestly wonder, if the had of the CD party wasn’t a woman (Päivi Räsänen), would they want to remove women’s right to vote? Or maybe they could try to get stoning as a valid legal punishment?

And what is the problem with gay people? People, this is the 21st century! Honestly, Räsänen, IIRC, pulled the “i have a lot of gay friends”-card when the issue was brought up, which of course makes her exempt from critique. After all, how can a person who has gay friends have anything against them! I have a black friend, therefore i can’t be racist no matter what i do! What a can of worms. As an aside, a poll conducted last year shows a majority of us Finns support same rights for same-sex couples. So i stress again, when the majority of the people are of a certain opinion, how do the opinions of 4% factor in?

So until this government is dissolved (fingers crossed), or four years passes, we’re stuck with these fucking 19th century views of the world. It never seizes to amaze me how in 2011, we’re still making government policy based on ~1800 year old writings that have been redacted, translated, re-translated, re-redacted, and ultimately, probably written by a bunch of goat-herders who just enjoyed a really good batch of mushrooms, or a nice big spliff.

I wish Räsänen would just sit down and take a nice big hit, and stop being dumb.

Edit Seems like, after the negotiations were done, the adults stayed in the room and made a deal of their own, ignoring the views of the CD. Of course, not long after, CD chairperson Räsänen came out saying “No, we were not duped”. Whatever dudes, whatever.

Edit 2 – Added the poll about same-sex rights.

I don’t like Estonia – My review of our trip to Saaremaa

Last week the company went out for a small kickback session to Saaremaa, which is an island north of the Estonian coast. “Small” is a bit of a misnomer, because we were away for three days. As with any trip with Finns, the trip involved copious amounts of alcohol and shenanigans.

So a short background blurb here: The last time i was in Estonia was .. 10 or more years ago. And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The trip started on Wednesday morning with me waking up at seven, returning the keys to the old apartment, then rushing back home to leave the car at the parking lot, then taking the train downtown, then the bus to the terminal. Luckily i made it with time to spare. Board the ship, which left at.. 10? Anyway. The trip’s to Tallinn have been getting shorter and shorter, but none the less, the ride felt agonizingly extended. We were seated in the Business Lounge, which is *barely* ..bearable. With bears. The ship was a Superstar by Tallink. A fairly decent sized boat for such a short trip. The Business Lounge consisted of rather comfortable booths, Satellite Internet-access (which resulted in a funny message that was like from a movie. get to that later), and an open bar + buffet (with a decent selection of spirits, i might add!). So if you do find yourself traveling to Tallinn (too bad for you), at least book in the Business Lounge. It’s not that much more expensive and worth the money.

The shitty part about traveling by ship to Tallinn, is that you have to sit in line and deal with the drunk schmucks that make up most of the traveling populace. See, in Finland, alcohol is by alcoholic-standards rather expensive. If you were to work a regular job, and not spend all your money on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, you could maybe afford to buy your drinks here. “Booze-tourism” is what drives the Helsinki-Estonia “tourism”, for the most part. The other part is, i guess, business men of all sorts and your occasional recreational (*cough* whores *cough* ) traveler. These people are in addition to drunk, rude, inconsiderate and in my fucking way. They act like traditional Finnish travelers in that they block all corridors, talk loudly and act like a general nuisance to the rest of us. And if you have the audacity to question or oppose them, you will get your head smashed in or a knife in your neck.

Once in Tallinn, we had a chartered bus take us to Saaremaa; a four hour drive. We arrived at a very nice looking manor in a rural area. Cows and sheep in the backyard, all very nice and calming. The following days included lots of drinking, some recreational games, lots of drinking and a 8 km walk to the coast where we had some salmon soup on the beach.

The way back felt even longer. I slept part of it on the bus floor. We got back and hit a spa to chill until the ship leaved. This was probably the best part of the trip. There was a bar that served drinks straight to the jacuzzi. This was pure win, and it cost next to nothing. The best part of Tallinn seems to be that the prices are consistently cheap (although rising all the time, since Estonia joined the EU).

Back at the terminal i am once again confronted with typical Finnish stupidity. The boat leaves in over an hour, and there are 200 idiots standing in line. THE BOAT IS NOT LEAVING WITHOUT YOU UNLESS YOU ARE CONSIDERABLY LATE!

This same fucking phenomena repeats at airports as well. As soon as there is even a whiff of  a plane closing in on the terminal (even if it’s still two hours away), these stupid fucks will line up even when they have a numbered seat and a guarantee that the plane is not leaving without them.


While this kind of behavior is nothing unexpected from this idiot population who votes for a populist right-wing POS party, i’m still annoyed. I mean.. i can understand if you have a train or something to catch. But half the boat can’t be late for public transport. And on top of that, who among these has anywhere important to be anyway. Oh yeah, i guess they have to sample the forty gallons of booze they are carting home. Time is of the essence!

I bloody overheard conversations of how to get the maximum amount to fit in a certain model of car, or how many cents they could save by getting this brand as opposed to that brand of some liquor. Two hints: Cut your hair, and get a god damn job.

Ok so rant mode is almost over. There are a few essential details which annoy me (tongue-in-cheek):

1) The country is still a disorganized mess, trying to find some direction to go to. They now have the Euro, which is nice and all, but it is not a saving argument. The general attitude is “eh, let things roll and don’t bother with details”. While this may suit some people, it doesn’t suit me.

2) The language is an incomprehensible mess (like Finnish), and i’m not sure who copies who, since the two languages are very close

3) They have the same national anthem as we do (why?)

4) Finnish people go there en massé to get booze, which annoys me to no end, and makes me not want to go there

So in conclusion, i don’t like Estonia, and i won’t be going there any time soon again.