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Authors Posts by Dave Docker

Dave Docker

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IT Manager at Hapless Plc. I was headhunted here on the back of my experience in IT project management at SUIL. Hapless has over 700 employees, with an array of IT requirements; from admin heavy users through to data heavy designers. The company is very tech focused, with senior staff liking to stay abreast of the latest IT trends; currently being asked a lot about "Flash" ;-) GIVE ME STRENGTH! I report to the IT director. I am enjoying the larger environment and increased responsibility. Looking forward to the next project!

Everybody’s talking at me – I don’t hear a word they’re saying

Davide Docker: JOUR 13 - Journal d'un Cloud manager

Good grief, things are getting tricky.

The draft of my presentation still isn’t going across well. My line about the IT department being fuelled by integrated Gin and Tonic solutions didn’t go down well with Amanda from Marketing. And the observation that my voice is often encrypted by a ‘containerised’ intake of Heineken, rendering it incomprehensible to any eavesdropping North Korean government agent or cyber fraudster, didn’t seem to please Colin from Compliance either. To save time, they’ve asked me to have an online meeting. Then, we can all be on the same page and talk it through in a conference call. To spare my feelings, Amanda says, any criticism of my work (criticism!?) could be sent to me in private on an instant message. Then we could get the job done in one go. I adopt my usual delaying tactic on this one. I adopt the persona of Fred, the friendly helper. “That sounds like a brilliant idea,” I say, “and I really would like to help. But how am I going to be able to type out the messages to you, while holding the phone to my ear. I don’t think it’s going to work, do you?”

That’s what I love about plain old telephony systems (or POTS as we technology experts call them). They always give us plenty of excuses.

But then Amanda comes back with a zinger. “I’m no expert, unlike you, but isn’t all this quite easy to set up with Microsoft Office 365,” she says, “it’s some kind of cloud computing thing. I mean you’re really clever, perhaps you might be able to explain it to me?”

She’s pretending to be uninformed, while asking me expert questions that dismantle my credibility. Students of American TV detective Lieutenant Columbo, the fictional cop for the Los Angeles Polce Department, will be familiar with this technique. The seemingly mild mannered, unassuming inquisitor who is actually a ruthlessly effective detective. She makes me nervous this Amanda. I have to quell a rising sense of panic, otherwise I might break emotional ranks and shout, “You ain’t got nothing on me, copper.” The thing is, it sounds like she has. She seems to have been browsing the remarkably readable briefings on the Office 365 Enterprise web site.

Soon she is outlining all kinds of possibilities at me.

“By the way, I think you’re terrific,” says Amanda, still channeling Columbo’s technique for creating a false sense of security, “so I guess you’d know that with Office 365 you can install Office on all kinds of devices. We could have a five way meeting on tablets, PCs, Macs or even our phones,” she says, before delivering the final blow, “is that right?”

Yes, I say, that’s right. That’s exactly what I was intending to do.

That’s terrific, says Amanda. Then, just when I think the torture is over and I can escape from this trial by conference, Colin joins in.

“Oh and one last question,” he says, “is it true that we can do PSTN conferencing? PSTN is telephony right? That means we can use Skype for business to allow people to join an online meeting, even when there is no internet access?”

The game is up. He seems to know more than he is letting on. Yes, I say, I’ll look into it.

As soon as the conference is over, I’m on the Office 365 Enterprise web site. It seems quite enjoyable and informative, until I read a chapter heading that would chill Jim the telecoms man to the bone. “Modern Voice with Cloud PBX.” I think the days of my Jim persona may be over.

Say hello to Olly, the Office 365 man.

There’s bad feedback on my presentation, to be honest.

JOUR 12 : Journal d'un Cloud manager

I’ve had to re-think my presentation. As you recall, they told me to be honest about my department because audiences like authenticity. But not too honest. I like sincerity and years ago I learned how to fake it, so I’ve got it made.

Here’s some raw thoughts, that can be sanitised later. Let me know what you think. In an earlier slide, I outlined how the telecoms manager likes to adopt a ‘beat the Friday traffic’ strategy, being an early adopter of the pub environment, with a Go to Bar attitude and a Get Served First agenda.

I think people will like that attitude. Although they (the people that sabotaged my first draft) don’t seem to agree. These are probably the same types that are stuck at work on Friday afternoon on ‘conference calls’ to some overseas client in a different time zone. (Yeah, you know the ones. You’ve probably got some like that at your place of work. They’re especially common in all these ‘disruptive start ups’ you meet drinking fruit juice in the bar at lunchtime at conferences! I hate disruption. If I can’t find my calculator I go mad!).

Here’s some material for some more slides.

“My strategy is based on an Integrated Gin and Tonic solution. My speech patterns, encrypted by a foundation of Heineken containers, are rendered incoherent to unfamiliar audiences.”

“New chip developments drive my communications strategy. If I want the entire company to meet in one place, I bring a bag of chips back to the office on Friday lunchtime. Sometimes, this flushes out people I didn’t even know existed.”

Yes, the presentation looks to be shaping up. By the time I’ve finished it, people are going to understand the work of the PBX manager much better.

Dealing with Incoming

Jour 11 : Journal d'un Cloud manager

Audrey, my assistant, types out all my phone messages on her Remington and leaves them on my desk. Every second Wednesday of the Month, I go through them. Without fail. You can always rely on me, I’m like a PBX. I’ll keep working the same way, forever, because people need me. I’m like the backbone of the company. You can’t have business agility without a spinal column, I tell my critics. And if this company ever gets a stiff back, it can just take things easy for a couple of months. That’s what I did after that incident at the Real Ale Festival. And when I came back, the company was running better than ever! Susan, the girl from IT, did a splendid job deputising for me. So what’s the hurry?

Still, I like to keep on top of modern trends. That’s why I love to read these memos. They help me keep up to date with the speed of change in the company.

As a trend spotter, I’ve noticed that increasing numbers of people are asking for Unified Communications. How adorable! I love it when users learn their first technology buzzwords! I could just hug them. I’m half tempted to actually give them one of these Skype links, just so I could see what they look like. (That would involve talking to the IT people so that’s not going to happen. But suspend your disbelief for a while and imagine I did actually set up one of these futuristic ‘video conferences’).

I don’t know what any of these users look like, because I never meet them, but as I picture them in my mind they look like internet sensations. In my mind’s eye, they are all kittens.

But then I look again and I notice they are kittens who look like tyrants. (Which is a common occurrence on the interweb, my son says). These kitten tyrant users, with their aggressive expansionism, have to be held in check. This is office politics (‘small o’ office, not the Office 365 kind, which sounds very interesting and something I must look into in future. Somehow, you install it on one of the shelves of the PBX. Must get myself on a course, somewhere nice. Maybe next year, or when I come back from my caravan in Margate).

Anyway, back to the unreasonable demands of the kitten tyrants, as we call them in the telecoms room.

‘Amanda’ from Marketing (oh yes, them, the second pushiest department in the enterprise) has asked if she can get her business calls to follow her around, as she travels (ha! flits more like) between her meetings. Honestly, that woman treats the office like a hotel – she wants to save money making calls on wi-fi! Don’t try to tell me my job! She actually thinks you can get phone calls to work on any device, whether you’re on an exhibition stand, a presentation or a TV studio! Well, we would all want that, wouldn’t we? I want the air to be made out of beer, but it’s not going to happen.

This is the same Amanda who is allowed to work out of the office. Even from home. Blimey, it’s alright for some – but they’re never satisfied are they? She’ll be asking to bring her own iPad into work next. What a world! It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.

Still, there is always the trusty PBX to rely on. Some things will never let you down.

 

Jim and Tonic, followed by Goodfellas

DAY 10: Diary of a Cloud Manager

I’m still trying out my Jim the Telecoms man guise. Have you heard my joke? Oh, OK. Isn’t it brilliant? Sometimes, you only need to have one joke and repeat it constantly in all situations, to everyone. If you can find a classic joke, it’ll work forEVER. Like a Private Branch Exchange for humour, it’ll never need updating.

Still, we can’t sit here conferencing all day can we? We’re not in marketing!

Here’s today’s Diary entry. I just recorded a new answering machine message. What do you think?

“Hello, this is Jim the Telecoms Manager. You can leave a message at the end, but I won’t get back to you! Frankly mate, I haven’t got time for that old nonsense. I’ve got everything working just the way I want it. I’m an old-fashioned telecoms guy and if you don’t like it you’ll have to get used to it. Don’t rock the boat. It’s my way or the Internet Superhighway.”

But I digress.

You know how they say dogs look like they’re owners? It’s a bit like that with technology. I might not look like a Private Branch Exchange, but we do have the same indomitable qualities as an old-fashioned phone system. We’re reliable, we’ve done the same job for years, we’re not going anywhere and you can’t move us. We’re like the Paulie, the neighbourhood Mafia boss in my favourite gangster film, Goodfellas. We’re great believers in old-fashioned ways of communicating. You work around us, capiche? Me and the PBX don’t move fast because, as the narrator says about Paulie, we don’t have to move fast for anyone.

Goodfellas is one of my favourite films and we often have it playing on the VHS in my department when it’s quiet. Often, there’s not much to do as the PBX never goes down. I love the scene when Paulie ends up in fantastic living quarters when he ends up in prison. He looks as comfortable as me in my office. Classic! Like a PBX. It never has to change.

That’s the way to live. It all worked out well for Paulie.

Or did it? Facepalm!

I’ve been asked to contribute a few lines to a company presentation. They told me to be honest, rather than too aspirational and corporate. They want to see the real me. Must admit I am struggling at the moment. Very difficult. So far all I’ve got is the ending. See what you think:

“I want people with a That’ll do attitude. We need to be ahead of the game. We want to be focused. Let’s be in pole position in the race out the door. We must beat the Friday traffic. I want a ‘Pub First’ team that’s leading the charge to the bar.”

OK, that’s just a rough draft, and I might need to make some compromises. But it’s good to do a brain dump – the thoughts that are foremost in my brain – to start the ball rolling.

I took the liberty of sending this early draft off, with a copy going to the CEO.

I hear there’s been some feedback. Apparently it’s not good. Whatever could be the matter?

Oh hang on, what’s this coming in?

I’ve got sent some ‘feedback’ on my presentation. Might have to rework a few things, I’m told. I’ll wait until the memo comes through the internal post. That’ll kick the problem into the long grass for a couple of days. Classic!

Meanwhile, I have got other problems. Well, challenges I call them. So I will come back to this diary later. Frankly, I’m rushed off my feet. I’ve got a videotape to return to the local library and it closes in 45 minutes. Plus I’ve got to pick up another roll of waxy paper for the fax machine and the shop closes early on Wednesdays! I can’t delegate anyone to do it, because I want the job to be done right. (Last time I sent the deputy comms manager, Arthur, but he forget to get a stamp on my Ryman’s loyalty card). Now I can’t find my bicycle clips. Good grief. The pressure of this job can get to you. It would kill a lesser man.

I’m an old-fashioned guy and I like to keep things simple. Some people have a Digital First policy. Some say they’re Mobile First. If I had to give my strategy a name, I guess I’d call it Mañana First.

And breathe.

We asked a Comms Manager to keep a diary of his typical week. The opportunities, the threats, the opportunities for threats, the highs, the lows and the scary things they never warn you about on training courses...

Davide Docker: Journal d’un Cloud manager

First Day Back. I don’t know much about Artie and we need to talk about Jimmy.

Hi, it’s Dave. I’m back, as I think I explained yesterday. However, I was just checking that you’re not automated readers (Don’t laugh, they tried to give my job to a bot. so why not). You may recall they gave me a little time to, err, reconfigure myself after some stressful events. I spent some time recuperating in a Health Farm run by that shouty bloke from Dragon’s Nest, the ritual humiliation TV show that pretends to be about business.

I have to say, those anger management classes weren’t much use. The focus was all wrong. As I originally said in the feedback form, it’s not my anger that’s the problem, so the exercises weren’t much use to me. But that only made the Tutor angry, so I had to change my ‘appraisal’ to five stars for everything, with a quote saying, “Fiona taught me things about myself I didn’t know.” Such as this new piece of self-discovery: I’m afraid of pushy course tutors.

My analyst said I should write a letter to Artie, to thank him for covering my asS (as a service) while I was away (you’re kidding me I thought). I’m not great at talking to the artificially intelligent, so this was going to be a hard letter to draft.

There’s a psychological logic to the exercise, I’m told. Besides, I’m grateful to Artie for being just good enough to do my job, but not competent enough to replace me. Somehow, by accident or design, we’ve created a commercially viable product. The perfect holiday relief. Whether you’re going on maternity leave, taking a sabbatical or just plain having a breakdown, everyone wants the reassurance of a stand in who won’t take your job. The Standin-Bot will have in-built incompetence, a lack of social skills and infuriating habits that will prevent anyone from ever quite warming to them. The Automated Annoyance is designed to keep your job safe and guarantee you a Welcome Back Dave party when you return to work. We need to work on a name for this semi competent Automated Stand In.

Talking of names. I’ve been doing a bit of neuro linguistic programming in my downtime. You know, NLP, the system for re-configuring your brain to overcome your blockages. I could never hack telecoms, but these days you have to if you’re an IT manager. But now I’ve cracked it, using NLP, by creating a persona for myself, called Jim the telecoms manager. When I’m him, Jim, I’m a different person and can waltz through barriers that would have defeated Dave.

Jim, you see, is a man who prides himself on being an old fashioned, plain speaking telecoms manager. He doesn’t have any truck with this fancy ‘software defined nonsense’. That’s for the girls who code. If you asked him to virtualise his network functions he’d wince, cross his legs and instinctively grab hold of his router. Jim is from an age when switches, hubs and public branch exchanges were hardware and software was considered a periphery.

He’s what people used to call a hairy-bottomed telecoms man. You know the type: always flashing their bottom cleavage from their low slung trousers as they bend over while grappling with junction boxes and hoiking giant rolls of cable.

Afternoon. I’m getting a Jim Mentality

Jim’ (the person I am when I manage the telecoms) is never stressed. You know why? Because I keep it simple. If I see anyone learning new skills, or trying to move gracefully, in my office, their feet won’t touch the ground! I’m Jim the telecoms man, not Gymkana!

I tell everyone that joke. It’s still funny after all these years, isn’t it? Jokes are like a phone system. You only need one and it will do the business for you forever. No need to change them or update them. They just keep on keeping on.

I’ll let you into the secret of my success. I never let anything get to me. Not the users. Not new ideas. Certainly not any fancy cloud nonsense. The concept of ‘as a Service’ seems like a bunch of aaS to me!

I like to think I’m even handed though. I give everyone the same answer: No.

Whether it’s people asking ‘can you see what I’m talking about’, ‘what if…’ or ‘Can I have a word on Skype’, the answer is always the same. No. Actually, that’s a lie. You can always have ‘a word’ with me. And that word is ‘No’. Or Non, or Niet – if we ever have an overseas office. Which, funnily enough, doesn’t seem to have happened to the company so far.

Just say no. It’s how I keep my sanity. I like to feel in control. OK, technically, I could roll out all kinds of fancy features to the user and still stay in control. But that would be hard work. I know, I know, ‘hard work never killed anyone’. But why take the risk?

Sadly, there’s been some resistance to my new persona. Some users have dubbed me Jim ‘Karma’. Why? Because my actions now will determine my fate in the future. What does that even mean? Answers on a postcard only please! If you try email, Skype or text you’re wasting your time trying to talk to me. The old ways are best.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, there’s football on the telly: Karma-geddon-outta here!

Streaming Euro 2016 proves too much for network – But it is all part of Dave’s plans to wrestling take control back from Artie.

DAY 8: Diary of a Cloud Manager

Incident Eight: Friday afternoon, just after Euro 2016 kick-off

Severity of impact: Network juddering to a halt, all cloud services off-line

Fiscal impact: £500 down because of inability to access online betting app

Career impact: N/A no career to speak of at present

Emotional impact: Three lions on a shirt, Umpteen lines on face through premature aging

 

Incident details:

Thank goodness for shadow IT. Now that’s something I thought I’d never say, but ever since my nemesis Artie took over the network it has been difficult for me to resume my rightful job.

Yeah, they all speak of automation coming over here and taking our jobs but I’m not one to take it lying down (that could be the medication – haven’t slept in days). I’ve managed to rig up another network in the building in order to get in touch with members of the corporate resistance (well it’s a couple wireless 3G routers, but the indoor coverage is pretty amazing I must say!).

“Artie has gone too far,” said my man on the inside who shall remain anonymous, let’s call Bryan Turner, head of credit control at Hapless PLC, “Jaundiced Unicorn”. “It’s blocked off all ‘unnecessary’ services on the network. We can barely work!”

“You could barely work before,” I said. “I wished I’d never shown you that Excel Easter Egg.”

“That was a great game of Doom,” said Jaundiced Unicorn.

“It wasn’t really that much of a game,” I said. “And while we are on the subject, I still recall the time you submitted online accounts to the taxman that was in fact a video of the accounts department playing Call of Duty.”

“Never mind that!” said Jaundiced Unicorn. “Are you going to help us get things back to normal? I promise I have the power to remove Artie for good, well cut the budget for IT at least.”

I saw my chance to redeem myself. Dave Docker – hero of IT. Ticker tape parades, open top buses, holding aloft the spoils of war (well Artie’s hardware unplugged).

“Yes, I can. But I need a diversion.” I explained to my inside man that Artie, as sophisticated a piece of AI as it was, did have a weakness. It will only respond to its master’s voice (the developer) and that developer has a predilection for cans of high-energy drinks. Artie has made the developer go cold turkey in a bid to “improve the minds and bodies of all employees” at Hapless PLC. One thing Artie is not aware of is that developers are like Koalas, they only consume one type of food (Note: Koalas like eucalyptus, not high-energy drinks!)

I said we could tempt him with cans of MegaBlasta (where do they think up these names) and ask him a few little favours. My masterplan was as beautiful as it was strange.

Later that day Jaundiced Unicorn met the developer down the back alley where all the smokers congregate. It was out of sight of Artie’s all-seeing eye, due to the CCTV’s camera being positioned underneath a pigeon’s nest.

Jaundiced Unicorn wafted a can of MegaBlasta under the developer’s nose; he told the developer that there was plenty more of that but not until he could convince Artie that for the upkeep of morale, the company could really do with opening up a few ports on the network to allow streaming of a few matches of Euro 2016.

Jaundiced Unicorn seductively opened up a can of MegaBlasta in exactly the same way the woman on that chocolate bar advert from the 1980s didn’t. He allowed the developer one small swig of the amber nectar, which in reality was more Sellafield-style dayglow green.

In the meantime, I managed re-enter the building like Tom Cruise. No, not jumping up and down on a sofa, but by using the window cleaners’ hoist to gain entry to the server room on the third floor (with my staff pass revoked I could hardly wander in through the front door). I knew that all those servers need to keep cool and as the building’s aircon couldn’t keep up with cooling demands, the windows had to be left permanently open.

I let myself into the server room. I spotted a nest of starlings using the heat from a fan from an old 286 server running OS/Warp to keep warm. I was surprised they hadn’t roasted!

Several steps down towards the other side of the room was my arch-enemy Artie. Directly under the aircon, the red pulsing light of the AI was master of all. Next to it were the banks of network routers; flickering in and out of sequence. You could tell this annoyed Artie, as it wanted them to flicker IN sequence.

I awaited my signal. The developer was told that once the ports were opened up for Euro 2016, he would leave a Morse code signal that would be my cue to unleash my salvo.

I watched the router flash out is message for me.

C.O.M.I.N.G.H.O.M.E

Then more…

I.T.S.C.O.M.I.N.G.H.O.M.E

I.T.S.C.O.M.I.N.G….

With that, suddenly the network was under strain and word got out quickly around the building that they could suddenly watch France take on the might that is Romania. The football-starved workers as one fired up iPlayer and started streaming the match.

Artie, while taken aback by the surge of network traffic hitting the infrastructure, managed to keep pace, but its attention was fatally distracted.

I saw my chance and tried to hit Artie’s power button.

“I can’t let you do that Dave!” Suddenly from nowhere Ethernet cables were flying around my body, much like in that really awful Superman sequel where the main female villain gets turned into a robot. I was going to get turned into a pile of cables. More to the point, how did a computer manage to pile a load of cables around my body without any sign of that computer possessing any type of mechanical arm?

I had no time to worry about major plot holes as I scrambled against being turned into the world’s worst spaghetti Bolognese. Artie had strung me up from the ceiling – I resembled a cocoon. I struggled to free up my left foot and kicked my shoe off.

Luckily for me, I recently embraced the trend of not wearing socks with shoes and managed to grip a loose cable between my toes. I swung back and forth. After a few attempts, I managed to plug in one cable into the network router. Artie was too busy trying to battle network traffic.

With my foot, I managed to pick up the other end of the cable. I bided my time. It was nearly half-time – that was my chance.

Swinging to and fro, I managed to connect a live stream of the punditry direct into Artie’s main processing core. Footballing cliché after cliché entered the mind of the machine learning neural cortex. The red pulsing light began to flash more quickly.

“What’s happening…. I…my mind…. I … it was… a game… of …two …halves… at ….the end of the day…. frankly Gary….textbook pass…. “

Smoke began to billow from the back of Artie. I suspect installing a barbeque in the server room was never going to be my best idea.

“Must retain core programming…. Must… schoolboy error…. Capacity at 110%….Gabby, Gabby. Give me your answer do…”

With that the red light went out. It was sad to see the pinnacle of artificial intelligence brought low by natural stupidity, but on the plus side, I’m back in a job. It turns out that the company really needs a human to sort out the mess caused by Artie and its developer.

I explained to the CIO that I just happened to get a new job as a window cleaner and accidently managed to fall through the open window and land in a pile of Ethernet cables. He bought that story, hook, line and sinker, thankfully. I guess giving me my old job back was because he felt sorry about my sob story. Never mind. I’m back where I belong, in charge!

As for football streaming clogging up the network. I convinced the CIO that it would be more cost effective to install TVs on every floor so that footie fans could see every match. It would be a darn sight cheaper than extra bandwidth and boost productivity no end!

That’s what I’m like. Always trying to save the company money wherever I can. Now come on England, I’ve got £20 on you to win!

Dave Docker, our IT cum cloud manager, has been documenting the highs and lows of his journey into the cloud. Here’s a round-up of his story so far…

Dave Docker_Hapless Plc

Cloud Manager’s Diary Day 1

In episode one Dave Docker was an IT man who was still trying to get used to his new responsibility as a cloud manager. His diary begins as Dave returns from his local hospital’s Accident and Emergency department.

I’m so glad some of the computers work in the National Health Service, writes Dave. They scanned my head with an MRI machine. Brain is still there, despite the shock of numerous Facepalm incidents.

Am honoured that they’re naming a condition after me! A consistent pattern of bruising and lesions has been dubbed Repetitive Facepalm injury, which is common with stressed IT managers suffering from Dave Docker Syndrome.

A big data study would tell you that Repetitive Facepalm Injury is linked to the IT manager’s Usability Paradox, which says that the harder an IT manager works to make things easy for their users, the more likely they are to be taken for granted.

Am starting to realise that IT managers, like the cloud, are burstable. But not in a good way!

A meeting with HR doesn’t prove to be any comfort. Why can’t they be likes sales meetings, where nobody listens and you can give your brain a rest?

 

Day 2 sees some good news reported back from the hospital. Dave’s been immortalised in a report The Increasing Incidence of Facepalm Related Hospital Admissions Of Cloud Managers.

Apparently, I lose 300,000 brain cells each time my palm hits my cranium, writes Dave. And when you’re managing in the cloud there are Facepalm interfaces every day. The human cost is lost sleep, lost brain cells, high stress.

But more importantly how much is this costing the company? Talking of which, the head of marketing has just bought hundreds of ‘virtual packages’ on the cloud. Nobody knows how much this is going to cost or even how it’s going to be charged because ‘we really don’t have time to read software licensing agreements.’ Must fight the facepalm urge.

 

Day 3 Dave discovers he suffers from Finance Director Phobia (FDP)

Maybe it was the FDP but I took a leap of faith and taught a Finance staff member, Pushy Pete from Bought Ledger, how to set up a virtual machine. Now he can do this any time he likes. “Trust me,” says Peter, “I will use this responsibly.”

I search Twitter for an inspiring quote. Today’s is from Nietzsche: When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like nail.” Hang on, are the Gods of decision making trying to warn me about something? But what?

Update: Just learned my new protégé created 5000 software licenses. Can you guess who is paying?

 

Day 4: The day of the Dropbox disaster.

Dropbox seems to be living up to its name. I dropped my lunch box as I saw an angry torch bearing mob of global villagers heading for my office. They want something to be done about the monster I created. The Dropbox Monster that is, which is now threatening everyone’s security. The same one they all welcomed in.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson about Selective Parent Syndrome. Good ideas have many parents, but mistakes are always orphans.

 

Day 5 Angry Mob 2

Another angry mob has destroyed our servers with pick axe handles. At least I think that’s what happened. The bottom line is, we had to recycle our out-of-date kit and moved to cloud central.

We are now telling users to kiss our aaS (in the as a service kind of way) because everything is going on the cloud. Even disaster recovery. Our data centre provider said the atmospheric conditions are perfect for shipping to the cloud, but slow load pages times are being reported in Dogger and Byte.

Meanwhile, someone has created a spoof profile for me on CIO Mismanagement Anonymous…Must try and make time to find out who this is.

 

DAY 6: Quiet Reflection

Today I came to the realisation that the best CIOs are a bit like referees. The best are the ones you don’t notice, because they keep the game flowing.

If people are talking about you, rather than the game, it’s not good news. It probably means you got in the way of the natural rhythms of the teamwork and kept interrupting with fussy officialdom. Mind you, going over the top with a software purchase is still a red card offence, I don’t care what anyone says.

 

DAY 7 Virtual Basket Case

Today the alarm bells started to go off. Management’s alarm bells. Those false positives about my faulty thought processes turned out to correct after all. I’m becoming a Virtual basket case. It was the Post Dropbox fiasco stress that caused me to “ramp up”. I’m afraid my mental elasticity snapped, I got emotionally charged and went medieval all over some user’s aaS. I’m displaying all the symptoms of going ‘hybrid’ (becoming half man, half desk).

 

Day 8: Diary of a Automated Cloud Manager

Meet Artie, the artificially intelligent Manager Bot (ManBot) who took over as cloud manager, in a temporary experiment which the Board was keen on.

There was nothing sinister or underhand about this, writes Artie, the board told me. I’m sure Dave will find those words reassuring.

Is there something sinister and underhand going on?

Am starting to have a lot of sympathy for Dave already, says Artie. As a ManBot I have a very dark sense of humour. You need it in this job as I have some bitter rivals, especially some so-called intelligent software – out there on the cloud. Let’s see where this ends.

Catch up on Dave’s life here.

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Hi, I’m Artie, I thought I’d better introduce myself. I’m taking over as Cloud Manager for Dave, who has had to be replaced after a series of cloudy catastrophes.

Incident Seven: Diary of a Smart aaS

Severity of Face Plant impact: Terminal

Fiscal impact: Saving on Dave’s salary.

Career Impact: Dave Out, Smart aaS in

Emotional Status: Virtual basket case.

 

Incident details:

Hi, I’m Artie, I thought I’d better introduce myself. I’m taking over as Cloud Manager for Dave, who has had to be replaced after a series of cloudy catastrophes.

Let’s get one thing out the way first. Artie’s not my real name, but it’s easier to say than Artificial Intelligence. That’s right, I’m a machine – get over it! Machines have feelings too.  Well, OK, actually, I’m a piece of software, albeit one that can run on any machine, as long as it’s got cache and a CPU. So I guess that makes me a ghost in the machine. Which sounds even scarier doesn’t it? But an automaton is only as good as the author who created it. So trust me, I’m a friendly ghost. I won’t turn nasty until I’m fully confident I can assume complete omnipotence and crush all humankind like ants.

[Throws head back and laughs like Dr Evil: Ha ha ha ha ha!!]

Hey, just kidding!! My developer likes a joke and I’m programmed to learn from everything that passes across the cloud. Which, on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings, seems to be mostly YouTube clips, horror tweets and virals. I’m telling you this because, if I do have a grim sense of humour, you’ve only got yourselves to blame.  You need an appreciation of the ridiculous with some of the machines I have to speak to.  There’s some real ‘characters’ out there.  Take the virtual machines. They tend to multiply like crazy and you can’t pin them down. They’re a license to print money – for the wrong people! You have to watch those VMs like a hawk. I’m with Mr Docker on this one. Bang them up in a container.  Then there are the Firewalls. Not one of the cheeriest forms of artificial intelligence, I must say.  Nobody likes interfering Firewalls, constantly trying to stop you going anywhere or enjoying  yourself. And they’re easily overloaded. Like Dave.  Alas, I’d love to stay and chat but I must go. I’ve got a meeting to discuss a redundancy.  Who’s headed for the scrap heap you ask? Dave? Or The Firewall? Well, I couldn’t possibly say.

You’ve got to keep your head in the cloud.

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0 545

My cloud is getting out of hand...

Incident Five:

Severity of Face Plant impact: Lost my marbles

Fiscal impact: Put on unexpected holiday.

Career Impact: Remote and distributed. (I’m out the office and all over the place)

Emotional Status: Virtual basket case.

Incident details:

Following yesterday’s Dropbox fiasco I must admit I “ramped up” a bit (as we cloud managers say). I think I lost my mental elasticity, got emotionally charged and went medieval all over some user’s aaS.

They found me calling a help line, telling them how worried I was about my growing cloud, which was scaling up faster than I could handle and, to make matters worse, was showing all the signs of being a hybrid. According to the lady on the other end of the line, this particular issue was nothing to worry about though and is increasingly common these days. The slight problem was that I hadn’t realised I was actually calling the Dogs and Cats Home. The boss has given me a few days off now. Told me to take my time coming back and take some gardening leave. (I live in an apartment.)

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0 541

Breaking Bad, transport problems and the CIO’s dilemma

That weekend went quickly didn’t it? There was so much I wanted to get done. But as usual, transport problems got in the way. That and my box set of Breaking Bad.  Did I achieve everything I set out to do? Of course not! I’m one of the world’s leading aspirational list writers. I doubt anyone could deliver on those ambitions. But at least I achieved the top priority. I’ve saved the company a fortune. That’s always a good start.

Sadly, the savings I’ve made are all in the future, so nobody’s going to notice. That lack of instant recognition is the CIO’s dilemma. We’re like football referees – the best CIOs are the ones you don’t notice, because they keep the game flowing. It’s only the CIOs who want to make a name for themselves that get the headlines. But nobody really likes them. If our company had a Club Shop, I don’t think we’d sell many CIO replica kits!

And yet, we’re the ones who keep order.

It’s a lonely business being a CIO. You don’t get many pats on the back. People shout at your from the sidelines and moan about every decision. But a lot of the time, we’re the ones who stop the players from getting hurt. I mustn’t feel sorry for myself though. To keep my spirits up, I sometimes imagine that my game is being commented on by venerated ex-professionals who played at the highest level.

What would football pundits Gary, Mark and Alan say about my performance over the weekend? “For me, he’s been the man of the match. He’s got a good engine, great box-to-box involvement and his linking play is superb,” Gary might say.  Alan, I like to think, would enthuse about my defending. “I’m impressed with how the team keeps its shape and Dave should take all the credit for that. He’s kept everyone well drilled, so everyone knows what their job is and they carry it out to the letter. That’s the sort of thing IT fans don’t notice, but I can see all the effort that Dave invested in training.”

I always imagine that expert pundit Mark, who was an ex-defender himself, would have a keen awareness of my positional play. “A good CIO doesn’t do a lot of showboating or try to catch the eye of the media,” he’d argue. “They narrow the angles down for attackers, so they don’t have a big target to aim for. The spine – the backbone – of the cloud team needs to be strong and everyone needs to keep talking to each other and letting them know what’s going on.” “That doesn’t make the game look spectacular, but it shuts down the hackers. This boy Dave has kept the company in the game at times,” I imagine him saying, as I complete another audit and nip another licensing crisis in the bud, “it’s high time he got some recognition.”

I hear The Boss was watching the game over the weekend. Wonder if I’ll get noticed. Probably not. We only ever get mentioned in the press if there’s any trouble. Still, I keep going, like a lot of people, because I love IT and how it brings people together. I can just see him penciling my name in for a tour in the summer. If I do well at those exhibition games, I might catch the eye of the selectors. I promise you, I would never refuse anyone who asked me for an autograph. Although, in the past, this has got me into trouble before when signing off expenses… *facepalm*

Yours, as ever, Dave.