Lastly i visited – after a long time of abstinence – a McDonalds again. We, the service staff and me, had an interesting conversation:

“I’d like to have two BigMacs to eat here.”
“With fries and a Coke?”
“No, like i ordered.”
“To take away?”

At this point in time i was thankful for the betablockers i am required to take every day because otherwise i would have exploded. But as it is, i shouldn’t object. In fact this is what software, in our so-called “best interest” is doing all day long: asking us silly questions.

Whenever i tried to shut off an AIX LPAR with the HMC GUI “immediately” i was asked do you want to change the batteries in a cache controller? in a separate pop-up. I haven’t counted how many times this happened to me, but i surely wasted a few precious hours of my life answering that silly question which i never ever answered with “yes”. An even bigger (and still growing) amount of such hours are spent clicking on yes at the Are you sure …-pop-ups.

Actually the biggest benefit of version 8.8 of the HMC code was to remove that idiotic question from the dialog. Welcome to 2016, where storage is rather SAN than some SSA-disks on a caching controller.

It might be only me, but i sorely miss an “expert-mode” in life in general and in my job specifically: no “are-you-sure”-questions, no making everything i do usable for 3-year-olds. As it is, i *am* grown up. When i order two BigMacs it is not because i forgot to order fries and a coke and whatever else is on the menu, but because i want two BigMacs – period! If i select “shutdown immediate” from the HMC menu – guess what i want! Hint: it doesn’t include being asked about prehistoric hardware nobody uses any more anyways. I bet I’d save more time this way, by not answering these pop-ups, than I’d use recovering from the one or two accidents which would happen because of lack of planning and/or thinking on my side.

Unfortunately the IT business is leading the way in “dumbing down” everything in the name of “making it easier” or “more accessible”. In fact the opposite is the case: things rarely get easier, just the necessary work to get things done well gets higher. In most cases the new version just lets you do shoddy work quicker, that is all. I haven’t seen a caching SSA-controller in the last 15 years, but even if i would have had such a thing and given the remote chance that i would indeed attempt to have the cache battery on the controller replaced: wouldn’t i have shut down the application before doing so already and wouldn’t i have done a varyoffvg just in case before even thinking about powering down the system? The cache on the controller would be empty long before the IBM service technician sets a foot into my data center, no? Now i can stop the system whenever i feel like it, because – thanks to the tireless work of IBMs HMC programmers – i am well protected by a pop-up that helps me do careless, irresponsible work in 1 instance while wasting my time in 9999 others. Thank you, IBM!

Speaking of the HMC: i am sooo glad for this appliance! How much i hate all the freedom to misuse anything and everything in my UNIX systems! It is such a relief to have a system where i am not even allowed to use the “cd” command, because i have to use a restricted shell. This way organising files is a lot easier: no more having to remember into which folder i put it – just a simple “ls” and there it is, along with hundreds of others. Or using a pipeline: instead of piping “lssyscfg”s output through some filter to get all at the moment running LPARs i do the following:

    ssh -n "hscroot@hmc" "lssyscfg -r sys -F name,state" |\
    grep ',Operating$' |\
    while IFS=',' read MS MSState ; do
        ssh -n "hscroot@hmc" "lssyscfg -r lpar -m $MS -F name,state"
    done |\
    sed -n '/Running$/ s/,Running$//p'

Two ssh-sessions, a grep, a sed and a while-loop. Somehow i feel that if this gets any easier i change careers and do rocket science.

If you find sarcasm in the last paragraphs: keep it. You will need the dark humor to survive the trials and tribulations of the modern IT and still come out with an unscathed mind.

Yes, there are dumb people and, yes, some of them are in IT. It is almost a given that a few of them are working as system administrators. But if a company (big enough to actually be able to pay IBMs prices) were careless enough to let the idiots run the SA department and still isn’t bancrupt already – do you think a pop-up will change its fate of impending doom? The answer might be the same as this one: is there any underage person who wants to view porn on the internet but will answer the question about his/her age truthfully to be turned away?

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