Pseudo-Random Bits of IT Humor

I have a collection of IT humor that I’ve accumulated over the years. I thought I’d share some of the shorter ones with you. I hope you enjoy them!

From the choice-of-metaphors dept:

“Installing [Exchange 2000] is just about as hard as firing a rocket
launcher into your data center. Just point and click.”
— Chuck Yerkes

From the tip-of-the-iceberg dept:

The purpose of IT is to seamlessly and transparently provide the other
9/10’s of the iceberg for people who need to work with chunks of floating
ice. This would explain why sysadmins are so often equipped with only poles
and kayaks and told to go out and keep the shipping lanes clear.

“Twin turbo diesel pushers of several hundred horsepower each? Why do
you need that? That’s just a little chunk of ice! Now stop web surfing
and go out there and push it out of the way in your kayak. By the
way, since the ice is getting smaller, we’ve cut the pole budget for
this month. Yours is shorter now, but you should be able to get by.”
— Strata Rose Chalup

From the overheard-on-IRC dept:

Is it just me, or does it seem appropriate for Novell to
give out pens with puzzles in them at a trade show?
Only if the pen doesn’t actually work until you solve the

From the things-never-change dept:

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray,
Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right
answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion
of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
— Charles Babbage

From the funnier-with-context dept:

I went all Charles Babbage on him.

From the packet-pushers dept:

“VTP is an incarnation of the Devil. He came down on the Earth and put
VTP so that engineers could make mistakes and kill their networks.”
— Greg Ferro

From the #yourrouterjokes dept:

From the business-is-good dept:

Honestly, security experts don’t pick on Microsoft because we have some
fundamental dislike for the company. Indeed, Microsoft’s poor products are
one of the reasons we’re in business.
— Bruce Schneier

From the must-be-this-old-to-get dept:

Yup. Dog was crawling around under the desk and pulled on some of the
cableK@J ^T ^$9a NO TERRIER

From the afterburner-style-anti-spam dept:

*** AB is now known as |
< |> Greetings.
< |>
< |> You will doubtless be pleased to know that the account of the
spammer you’re reporting has been been ground into fine metal
shavings, distributed amongst some 27 or so small glass vials, and
launched independently into the heart of the sun.
< |> We apologize for the inconvenience of this spam, and hope that the
rest of your day remains spam-free.
*** | is now known as AB

From the RFC-FTW dept:

“Contrary to Microsoft, Cisco engineers actually read the RFCs and implement them.”
— Ivan Pepelnjak on Microsoft NLB

This Is Not The Flash You Are Looking For

A while back, I was trying to install an IOS-XE update on an ASR1001 and run into something weird.

asr1001#request platform software package expand file ?
 bootflash: RP-relative file path
 flash: RP-relative file path

OK, sounds good, right? Nothing obviously weird, until you discover that only bootflash: actually works… Let me show why this is really confusing.

asr1001#request platform software package expand file flash:?

asr1001#request platform software package expand file bootflash:?

It looks like either one should work, doesn’t it? Let’s see what happens if you choose incorrectly.

asr1001#request platform software package expand file \
     flash:asr1001-universalk9.03.11.00.S.154-1.S-std.bin to flash:test
/usr/binos/conf/ line 1991: cd: flash: No such file or directory
Verifying parameters
  FAILED: Specified package file flash:asr1001-universalk9.03.11.00.S.154-1.S-std.bin does not exist

This can lead to a bunch of wasted time replacing images, verifying checksums, and scratching your head. Then you finally try bootflash…

asr1001#request platform software package expand \
     file bootflash:asr1001-universalk9.03.11.00.S.154-1.S-std.bin to bootflash:test
Verifying parameters
Validating package type
Copying package files
SUCCESS: Finished expanding all-in-one software package.

Yep. Pretty annoying. Check out the directory listings. (I’m doing the directory listings in this odd way so they fit my WordPress theme better, just in case you were wondering.)

asr1001#dir bootflash:test/?

asr1001#dir flash:test/?

So, just remember to use bootflash and you’ll save yourself some headache and confusion!


SolarWinds Thwack Community

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.13.49 PMAugust has come and gone, and with it my Thwack Ambassador status. You might be wondering what that means. Perhaps you thought @amyengineer with her sparkly bat was the ambassador of thwack. This is not the thwack you are looking for. This thwack is the SolarWinds Thwack Community. SolarWinds, as you likely already know, is a software company that provides a variety of network and system management/monitoring tools. Their tools are good, easy to use, and reasonably priced. Their marketing is amusing and occasionally inspired (see The Joy of Whiteboarding with Rob Boss). The Thwack Community is an open forum for discussion of network management topics. Forums exist for the SolarWinds tools as well as general discussion. A Thwack Ambassador is given the job to spur conversation in their assigned topic areas in order to encourage participation in the forums. This is done through weekly blog posts on Thwack and my assigned area was network management. I’ve included the intro to each week below, but if you want to read more, you’ll have to follow the link to the thwack website. :)

The Discussions

For week one I asked, “What is a well managed network?

What is network management and what constitutes a well managed network? Is it monitoring devices and links to ensure they are “up?” Is it backing up your device configurations? Is it tracking bandwidth utilization? Network management is all this and more. We often seem to confuse network monitoring with network management, but monitoring is really just the start.

This post generated the most discussion and it was interesting to see the variety of views expressed from different perspectives. One user even created a nice outline of what we decided made up a well managed network.

On week two we discussed “Thinking in terms of availability.

Network monitoring tracks the state of the network and is primarily looking for faults. At the most basic level, we want to know if devices and interfaces are “up.” This is a simple binary reachability test. Your device is either reachable or not, it’s either “up” or “down.” However, just because a device is reachable does not mean there are no faults in the network. If a circuit is dropping packets, performance may be impacted and can make the circuit unusable even though it is “up.” Time to stop thinking in terms of reachability and start thinking in terms of availability.

The comments to this post were mostly people nodding in agreement, though one reader brought up the idea of acceptability, as well.

During week three I reminded everyone that “Useful alerts help you be proactive.

You may need to have an alert sent if an interface goes down in the data center, but you almost certainly don’t want an alert if an interface goes down for a user’s desktop. You don’t need (or want) an alert for every event in the network. If you receive alerts for everything, it becomes difficult to find the ones that really matter in the noise. Unnecessary alerts train people to ignore all alerts, since those that represent real issues are (hopefully) few. Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Keep your alerts useful.

This post had a nice little discussion talking about ways to make the alerts useful, like including severity in the subject of the alert.

Finally, in week four I asked, “What’s on your network?

There is a credit card commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” I’m going to ask, “What’s in your network?” Sure, you might be able to tell me what’s in your network right now, but can you still tell me about a device when it’s down? Its model and serial number? The modules or line cards installed? Which interfaces are in use and how much bandwidth they use?

This question focused more on documentation, which received the obligatory head nodding and a little snark. There was also a side thread that brought up the lack of communications between teams (silos).

Closing Thought

I hope you found these discussions of interest, and maybe got you thinking a little more or a little differently about something. I can’t help but think of a rant posted by @etherealmind titled, “You Are Not A Precious Snowflake. IT Infrastructure Is The Same Everywhere.

Vendors keep telling me that every business is different and customer have different needs. We all buy the same products from the same companies, use the same deployment methodologies and best practices, have the same problems and deliver the same results to the business. You aren’t a precious snowflake.

I was looking at the discussions and thinking that we are all talking about the same sets of problems and appreciating the same sets of solutions, yet I’m sure the organizations we all work for are wildly different. I’m sure you’ve noticed this when talking with other IT professionals, too. In reality, our infrastructures are not all that dissimilar. I think that’s actually a good thing, but it is something to ponder…


#vBrownBag Book Contest (not) Still Going!

The contest is still going until June 30, 2014 over! There hasn’t been a huge number of entries, so your odds are very good. Get your entries in!

Contest Details

ShowCover.aspI have copies of both the CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library and Networking for VMware Administrators to give away. These are courtesy of Cisco Press and VMware Press, so a big thanks goes to them!

Here’s how you can win one:
Send out a tweet with your CCNA R&S question, including the hashtag #vBrownBag and @scottm32768. If your question too long for twitter, you can post it as a comment here, then link to it on twitter. The best questions by the end of the month (June 30 2014 23:59) will win. Myself and others related to the #vBrownBag podcast will make this decision. In the event we cannot reach a decision, we will use the contents of a hermetically sealed envelope kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s back porch. Or maybe just choose winners at random.


#vBrownBag CCNA R&S Questions & Free Books

Last week was part 1 of the #vBrownBag CCNA Routing & Switching session. For part 2 this week, the we will cover topics that commonly confuse people. To that end, if you have questions of your own or have a suggested topic, we would love to hear them so we can cover the topics you want. As long as they are at least somewhat related to CCNA R&S studies…

Free Books!

ShowCover.aspI have copies of both the CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library and Networking for VMware Administrators to give away. These are courtesy of Cisco Press and VMware Press, so a big thanks goes to them!

Here’s how you can win one:
Send out a tweet with your CCNA R&S question, including the hashtag #vBrownBag and @scottm32768. If your question too long for twitter, you can post it as a comment here, then link to it on twitter. The best questions by the end of the month (June 30 2014 23:59) will win. Myself and others related to the #vBrownBag podcast will make this decision. In the event we cannot reach a decision, we will use the contents of a hermetically sealed envelope kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s back porch. Or maybe just choose winners at random.

I will compile these questions and answer them. If you get them to me before the podcast recording, I will try to answer during the podcast.


#vBrownBag Cisco Certification Series

The #vBrownBag folks over at are currently running a Cisco Certification Track. They started last month and have had a several episodes covering related topics ranging from the Cisco Learning Network to setting up a virtual lab. Last week they had their first session talking about a specific certification, the CCENT.

The next two weeks for the US episodes (June 4 and June 10) will be Edward Henry (@NetworkN3rd) and myself talking about CCNA R&S prep. That will be followed by the infamous Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) leaving the #SDNicorn long enough to talk CCNA DC prep. Last on the schedule is Lawrence Kohan (@LawrenceKohan) with a three part series covering prep for the CCNP R&S exams.

It looks like a good lineup, so I hope you can join in live to ask questions Wednesdays at 730PM Central for the next couple months!


Cisco Live 2014 Day 1

Pedometer Stats

Todays stats for the Official Unofficial Cisco Live Pedometer were:

Steps: 7611
KCals: 411
Miles: 3.6

Not as much as I expected for today. Maybe things are closer than I at first thought.

VIRL & CML Update

I had a chance to talk with some of the CML/VIRL team today and learned a few things of note:

  • VIRL (Virtual Internet Routing Labs) is back as the personal/developer edition and will be available through the Cisco DevNet. For free. Yes, you read that right!
    • I believe this will support up to 15 Cisco VMs and as many other VMs (Linux guests, etc) as fit in your RAM, but I need to verify the 15 number is still accurate.
    • The quid pro quo for this deal is they will be collecting data. They will be completely up front about this, the data they are collecting, and will transmit it in clear text. The data they will be collecting is going to be things like what kinds of virtual devices you launch, how many, what specific features you use, and that sort of general statistics. They will not collect any configuration information.
    • No NX-OS at this time. The virtual NX-OS is just not ready, yet.
    • Still no L2, but they have a prototype already for adding this in the future. It will be coming, just not right away.
    • This will be community supported.
  • CML (Cisco Modeling Labs) is the corporate version. This is licensed by the node, can scale much larger, and will have Cisco support. I have not seen pricing for this, but expect it to be priced for corporate use.
  • I have no release dates for either of these, but it does sound like they are pretty close to being able to ship it.

I’m really looking forward to this. It’s going to be a great tool for both validation and learning.

There was more to the day, but those were the bits that are probably most interesting for the moment.