Twas the Night Before a SysOp's Christmas

Two different variations on the perennial Christmas favourite
Date Received: Thu, 17 Dec 1998

"Twas the night before Christmas" I thought with a frown,
I was stuck at the office. The network was down.
The routers were hung in the closet. All crashed.
Their tables had holes in their data. All trashed.
Remote distribution, it seems, just for fun,
Had erased DLLs Windows need to run
On 84 desktops way down in accounting.
I sat stunned at my desk, my blood pressure mounting.

When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter,
I saw that a server had something the matter.
There was smoke coming out from the main hard disk drive.
"No Problem," I thought. "I'm set up with RAID 5."
But I found out the system I thought was unstoppable
Had disk drives that turned out completely unswappable!
"No problem," I thought, "I've tape backup to thank."
And then I discovered my backups were blank.

The UPS burped, and lights all went out.
I started to scream, I started to shout
But nobody heard as I vented my rage.
My gurus were all on vacation those days.
And nobody's tech support answered the phone.
I was nose deep in trouble, completely alone.
When out at reception, I heard a soft knock.
As the hands just touched midnight on my desktop clock...

"What's you problem?" he asked.
"Never mind, friend, I know.
I checked out your network five hours ago.
I did some proactive analysis, so
I knew this time bomb was going to blow."
Who was this guy? Who did he think he was?
He was dressed in red coveralls, white beard, black gloves.
His eyes had the twinkle of technical genius.
His smile cut down personal distance between us.

He spread out his tools, and went straight to his work.
"Whoever configured this network's a jerk,"
He said with a :-) as he quickly rebooted,
Uploaded some software, and smoothly rerouted
The LAN to a WAN that he quickly supplied
With a bandwidth at least 20 gigabits wide
That went via wireless, I think, LEO,
To tech support elves waiting at the North Pole.

"Now bridging, now routing, now Ethernet hubs!"
He chanted as each piece of hardware he rubbed.
"Cheer up, my good friend! Lose that mindset so tragic!
Technology often looks just like some magic
To people who don't understand what we do.
Now a switch, emulation, now middleware glue!
Look at the protocols, check one or two,
Debug a bit, test a bit, presto! We're through!"

My data was back! Every system checked out!
Tears of joy wet my face as I wandered about.
"How can I thank you? You must be Saint Nick!"
He said, "Really, my friend, it's not such a great trick,
If you don't give up hope, focus on what you're doing,
And read all your issues of NETWORK COMPUTING."
And I heard him exclaim, as his reindeer were coursing,
"Merry Christmas to all! And consider outsourcing!"

Programmers' Christmas

Date Received: Mon, 22 Dec 1997

Twas the night before implementation and all through the house,
   not a program was working, not even a mouse.
The programmers all hung by their tubes in despair,
   with hopes that a miracle soon would be there.
The users were nestled all snug in their beds,
   while visions of inquiries danced in their heads.
When out in the computer room there arose such a clatter,
   I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
   but a super programmer (with a six pack of beer).
More rapid than eagles, his programs they came,
   and he cursed and muttered and called them by name.
On update! on add! on inquiry! on delete!
   on batch jobs! on closing! on functions complete!
His eyes were glazed over, his fingers nimble and lean,
   from weekends and nights in front of a screen.
But a wink of his eye and twitch of his head,
   soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
   turning specs into code; then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger upon the "ENTER" key,
   the system came up and worked perfectly.
The updates updated; the deletes, they deleted;
   the inquiries inquired; and closings completed.
He tested each whistle, and tested each bell
   with nary a glitch; it all had gone well.
The system was finished, the tests were concluded.
   The last minute changes were even included.
And the users exclaimed with a snarl and a taunt,
   "It's just what we asked for, but not what we want!"

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