Charles Robinson

Charles Robinson has done a little bit of everything in the IT world since getting an internship at age 16. He currently holds a position as an IT Security Analyst at a company in Wisconsin. He has maintained comedic writing as a hobby throughout, writing for various websites, blogs, and now The Daily WTF. When not neutralizing hackers or writing, he enjoys drinking beer, gaming, and attending heavy metal concerts.

The Ballad of Bart

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Alvin had the fortune of working with an exceptional talent while he was employed at Virtucon. Bart knew how to do everything from desktop support to software development to database administration to IT security. Not only was he proficient in all of them, he also knew them better than those with many years of experience.

Bart had been with Virtucon since the early days, racking up nearly 20 years of tenure. During this time, he 'mastered' everything and asserted himself to the point that no changes could happen without his approval. His changes were auto-approved because of course any idea he had was a good one. This led to myriad problems for fellow IT people like Alvin, who were hired after Bart.


Calculated Security

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Carl C spent some time in the late 1980's at a software firm that developed avionics and global positioning systems for military and civilian customers. In their employ, he frequently visited Schlockdeed Corp, a customer with a contract to develop a new generation of jet fighters for the US military. Due to the top secret nature of their work, security was a big deal there.

Whenever Carl entered or left the facility, he had to pass through the security office to get clearance. They would thoroughly inspect his briefcase, jacket, lunchbox, and just about everything short of a full cavity search. Despite the meticulous nature of daily inspections at Schlockdeed, some of their "security measures" bordered on the absurd.


A Mean Game of Pong

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Mark J spent some time as a contractor in the Supply & Inventory division of a Big Government Agency. He helped with the coding efforts on an antiquated requisition system, although as he would come to find, his offers to help went unappreciated.

Ameprod game console, displaying a Pong game
By Wojciech Pędzich


A Dark Cloud Looming

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Buford was a contract developer working at a mid-sized financial firm. He had just wrapped up a lengthy project and was looking for something new to sink his teeth into. Tanner, the manager in his area, tasked him with moving their implementation of Jenkins into "this great new thing they call The Cloud."

Tanner recently returned from a conference with a bunch of swag from a company called PuffyCloud. They claimed to have the easiest cloud-based implementation of Jenkins in the business. "It's pretty much just a copy-paste job according to this whitepaper they gave me. Take a look, create some user stories, and have it done by the end of the next sprint," Tanner instructed.


The Hardcode to Success

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Rodrigo was but a simple software development intern eager to prove himself. He would always volunteer for the menial tasks that nobody else wanted to do. "Nobody else" mainly consisted of Justin, Rodrigo's supervisor. Justin wasn't a big fan of doing stuff so he was glad to have an intern that was ready and willing.

Justin got a request from the network administrators to create a system status application to interface with their servers. They wanted to receive alert emails every hour on the hour if anything on the servers had a conniption. If everything was ok, maintain radio silence. To do this, a simple app would need to be created to pass system health check results to Pushbullet, which would take care of sending the alerts. Rodrigo didn't even wait for Justin to finish. "I'll do it!"


SLA-p the Salesman

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A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is meant to ensure customer issues receive the attention they deserve based on severity. It also protects the support company from having customers breathing down their neck for frivolous issues. All of the parameters are agreed upon in writing ahead of time and both sides know the expectations. That is, until a salesman starts to meddle and mess things up, as happened at the place Dominick worked for.

Dominick was a simple remote support tech who fixed things for clients well ahead of the SLA. On the rare occasion there was a priority 1 issue - something stopping anyone in the company from doing work - they had 24 hours to fix it before large monetary penalties would start to rack up. One Friday a priority 4 issue (5 business day SLA) came in from the CFO of a new client. The ticket was assigned to Dominick, who had higher priority work to do for other clients, so he decided it could wait until the following week.

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Old Lennart

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Gustav's tech support job became a whole lot easier when remote support technology took off. Instead of having to slowly describe the remedy for a problem to a computer-illiterate twit, he could connect to their PC and fix it himself. The magical application known as TeamViewer was his new best friend.

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The New Guy (Part II): Database Boogaloo

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When we last left our hero Jesse, he was wading through a quagmire of undocumented bad systems while trying to solve an FTP issue. Several months later, Jesse had things figured out a little better and was starting to feel comfortable in his "System Admin" role. He helped the company join the rest of the world by dumping Windows NT 4.0 and XP. The users whose DNS settings he bungled were now happily utilizing Windows 10 workstations. His web servers were running Windows Server 2016, and the SQL boxes were up to SQL 2016. Plus his nemesis Ralph had since retired. Or died. Nobody knew for sure. But things were good.

Despite all these efforts, there were still several systems that relied on Access 97 haunting him every day. Jesse spent tens of dollars of his own money on well-worn Access 97 programming books to help plug holes in the leaky dike. The A97 Finance system in particular was a complete mess to deal with. There were no clear naming guidelines and table locations were haphazard at best. Stored procedures and functions were scattered between the A97 VBS and the SQL DB. Many views/functions were nested with some going as far as eight layers while others would form temporary tables in A97 then continue to nest.


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