BOOM!!! POP!!! BLAM!!!

That’s the sound an electrical transformer makes when it explodes in spectacular fashion…

Here’s the story. At around 16:00 on Tuesday, I was sitting in my office pretty much doing nothing, waiting for 17:00 to come so that I could go home, when suddenly the big electical transformer that supplies the whole block EXPLODED, as in loud pops and bangs and lots of white smoke coming out of it. Said power box is right outside my office, so as you can well imagine I nearly made a nasty mess in my pants when it happened. Off home we went (no point in staying further). Eskom did a temporary fix that evening (temporarily restoring power), with the repair crew arriving the next day to sort out the problem. Out went the power again at 09:00, and a few minutes observing the repair crew (too much “eish” and not enough work) was enough to persuade us that there would be no power for the rest of the day. So, off we went to Westmead and hired a generator so that we could at least put our servers back up (there are a lot of people outside the company reliant on those servers), then we were all given the rest of the day off.

At least I had something to do while at home, as Telkom had installed my ADSL on Tuesday. With the servers back up, I was able to VPN into the network and get some work done. That, and play some games when I’d done all that I could have done. 🙂

We’re now looking at buying a permanent generator for the servers. We had quite a few power failures last week as well (Eskom’s so-called “load shedding”), and we just can’t go on like this…

To make matters worse, somewhere amongst the power failures our Exchange server decided to die (it obviously decided that it had enough of Eskom). As Murphy would have it, the backups didn’t work. It’s currently being reinstalled as we speak, but a lot of people have lost a lot of mail as a result of this. At least I wasn’t expecting anything important.

Oh, and if you’re ever contemplating post-graduate studies, head over to rooijan‘s blog and read his latest post there. It’s put me off ever doing it. 😉

Why is Telkom so useless?

This is the sad story of trying to get ADSL…

My ADSL was ordered on the January 7th – the closest date to my return from Australia that I could get to a Telkom store. (Was told that actually physically going to a store was a better alternative to ordering over the phone or online). After giving them a few weeks, I phoned their call centre on the 29th (last week Monday) and was told that it would be installed on February 3rd and that a technician would call me later in the week to confirm a time to do the installation. So, I’m thinking “OK, great!” – but the week goes past and I hear nothing. I called them again last Friday (was planning to call them the day before, but that was the day that I was sick) and was now told “no installation date has been set”! So, I went from having an installation date to not having one. Typical bastards. On Monday this week (the day that my ADSL was originally scheduled to be installed), I phone their useless call centre again, just to see what was going on, and I got the same excuse.

Right, I thought. Flame time.

Off I went to Hellopeter and left a complaint. The Telkom staff that actually know what goes on (I’m surprised such people exist) read those comments and respond to them, and sure enough they phoned me up, promising to find out what the problem was. Not too long after that, I get their excuse – they apparently needed to upgrade the infrastructure in Kloof (and I have noticed some Telkom vehicles in the area around my place lately, so they were obviously doing something). After another call to their call centre this morning (and spending 15 minutes on hold listening to their rubbish canned music), I was told that the estimated time for installation is now the 18th.

Now, why couldn’t they have told me that they needed to upgrade their infrastructure in the first place? And why couldn’t their call centre tell me what I needed to know? Seems like it’s a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Telkom is so useless, it’s almost like they WANT to go out of business when Neotel starts up.

I’m hoping that they’ll keep their promises this time, but then again, this is Telkom that we’re dealing with. My friend Craig has also ordered ADSL at his place in Glenwood about three weeks after my order was placed; at this rate he’ll have his before I get mine.

I’ll keep you all posted as to further developments.

This just isn’t my week.

To make this week even worse, I ended up with some food poisoning after dinner at the Ocean Basket on Wednesday night. Both my mom and I had the same dish, and we both woke up in the early hours of the morning feeling extremely sick. As usual, I was the worse one off, and consequently I spent much of yesterday lying in my bed feeling like I was about to die. I’ve pretty much recovered now though.

Definitely not my week. First the problems with my switch (which hasn’t yet arrived), and now this…

In other news, the rest of the family leaves for Cape Town tomorrow to take my annoying little sister to UCT. I’ll be staying behind to look after the house, two dogs and two budgies. What fun.

Where’s my switch?

My e-mail this morning to Sybaritic pretty much explains it all.

I recently placed an order with you (order #10881) which
included a D-Link Gigabit switch (DGS-1016D); the order arrived yesterday. Upon
opening the package I noticed that the product was not shrink-wrapped. Initially
I thought nothing of it, until I opened the box and discovered that the switch
itself as well as the accompanying rack mount kit was missing.

What can be done about this?

(There were no problems with the other products in the


Let’s hope they do something about this…

UPDATE (14:41): They found my switch, and it’s on it’s way to me. Hopefully there’ll be a happy update tomorrow sometime.

Mixing madness.

Every now and then, I take it upon myself to mix a rave CD, which I do just for the fun of it. It’s quite a bit of work; the procedure goes as follows:

  1. Spend the weekend figuring out what we’re going to play – finding a decent tracklist that fits onto a CD and sounds nice is a challenge in itself.
  2. Find 80 minutes of your time when your little sister is unlikely to disturb you and record the mix, only to discover that it comes to 81 minutes and 32 seconds. As you can only fit 80 minutes of audio onto a CD, this is a little bit of a problem.
  3. Spend the next two hours re-recording sections of your mix, trying to make it shorter. Eventually you get it down to 79 minutes and 56 seconds. Good enough.
  4. Use your CD burning software to split the mix into tracks. The trick here is accuracy; I can get my track changes accurate to within thousandths of a second by now.
  5. Search the house for a CD to burn your mix to, only to discover that aforementioned little sister has used the last of your own private CD stockpile to burn her own stuff on. Throttle sister.
  6. Make mental note to self to buy more CDs.
  7. Make mental note to hide away CDs once you’ve bought them.

I won’t post a tracklist because most of you don’t share my taste for music and the friends of mine that do don’t read this.

Why, oh why, did I get paired with THIS guy?

Some time ago I was given a C# project to do. I won’t go into any details of the project for confidentiality reasons. What I will tell you though, is that I was put in a 2 person team with one Michael Cullen (a former CTI student). Now, I’m working and he’s not, so my role is to manage the project while his role is to do the actual coding. Now, Michael is one lazy little shit. He thinks that he’s a L33T script kiddie hax0r and would far rather spend his worthless time breaking things than doing actual work. It’s no wonder then that he’s been unemployed ever since he graduated from CTI at the beginning of this year. But to get back to the project, I’ve been trying to contact him for about a month now regarding the project. He doesn’t return my messages, and when he actually answers the phone (a rarity) and gets asked to come in to CTI to discuss the project, he never does. I get the distinct impression that he’s avoiding me, for reasons that should by now be obvious to you.

Let me tell you more about Michael. As mentioned, he thinks that he’s the greatest hacker known to mankind. Meanwhile, a 2 year old could own him, and then spank him silly with a big stick until he cries for mercy. He got called into disciplinary hearings at CTI countless times for trying to break into their servers or do something equally stupid (yes, we caught him every time – so much for his hacking skills, or lack thereof). He has absolutely no moral values whatsoever either. I was told about one episode concerning Michael when he was at school. I won’t go into too much detail, but it involves self-pleasure and Religious Education class. Disgusting child. And, it goes without saying that he has absolutely no social skills whatsoever (or he would at least had the decency to answer my messages).

I’ve had enough of him now, and I think that it’s time to teach him a very good lesson. I’m going to follow jerith’s lead, and post his e-mail address for all the world to see: Do what you like with it.

(It’s not in my nature to flame people, by the way. Not unless they give me a very good reason.)

As an endnote, see if you can tell me how many crew members from the USS Enterprise it takes to change a light bulb. Put what you think it is in the comments. I’ll tell you the answer next time I post something.