DNS Hijacking by ISPs (or: How I Learned to Stop Being RFC Compliant and Love the Paycheck)

Disclaimer: I work for a cable provider, but not one of the ones listed. I speak for myself alone here on this blog, from my own view of professional sysadmin ethics, now and always. Sherman, set the wayback machine! The time? September 15th, 2003.  In 2003, Verisign(since monikered as Verislime I might add) decided they […]

Solaris tar command… I hate you.

Apparently, the tar command on Solaris does not strip leading slashes. Meaning you can clobber original files if you carelessly untar them, which could be disastrous in some circumstances.  Like, say, if you clobbered /etc/ or /var/ or something. Add this to the lack of a z or j option(gunzip and bunzip built in) and […]

The extended outage

Ah, the extended outage. The dreaded dear-god-when-will-something-go-my-way-damnit outage. Every seasoned admin has had one, whether by accident or (faulty) design. This is the outage that impacts your customers for a long time, bringing pressure on you to “Just fix it”. As if it were, you know, like slapping a spare tire on the car or […]

Customer perception for systems admins

When I was first learning system administration, a senior admin told me “Good administrators are invisible”. I did not really understand that at first, but now it’s one of my prime tenets. For the most part, we become visible when things break.  If you have to be visible, manage your visibility.