The phone rings once

Time was, the phone on my desk rang once and once only. I looked at it. The phone on my colleague’s desk rang once, and once only. I looked at it. I picked up my phone and dialled a number. “Have the phones in your department been ringing once, and once only?”.

“Yes, how did you know? Strange, isn’t it?”.

I picked up my sword, and went to war.

Metaphorically, that is. Actually, I dialled another number and said, “Look out, we’re being war-dialled“, and called in the super-sysadmin heavy cavalry.

Most of you are not Facebook-friends with me. The few who are may have seen this exchange:

Emlyn Now I’m a lecturer with an MBA. There’s something wrong with this picture.
32 minutes ago · Comment · LikeUnlike

[Redacted] at 21:51 on 15 June
the backgroun? ;p

Emlyn at 21:55 on 15 June
Heh, the paranoia was professional, not personal 😀
Write a comment…

Emlyn My Information Systems class today reminds me that I used to be a super-paranoid Linux sysadmin with a sideline in martial arts.
33 minutes ago · Comment · Like


I used to be a warrior. As a sysadmin, you’re out there alone, riding that digital pony around the boundaries of your turf, you against the bad guys, ain’t that the truth. You depend entirely on your skills, your knowledge, your ability to sense that there’s something wrong with an FTP or SMTP entry in your logs, or a login attempt that’s failed a few times too many. This isn’t some kind of heroic fantasy, it’s a cold, prosaic truth: let the bad guys get inside your firewall and it’s a very expensive cleanup job you’ve got on your hands. I used to do that, and (to the best of my knowledge) my servers were never compromised. Within months of my leaving, they were down, because my successor wasn’t paranoid enough….

Now I’ve got an MBA. The way things are these days… well, don’t get me started. Let’s just put it this way, I kind of miss those days and nights when I patrolled the digital palisades, me against the bad guys,,,


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