Dizzy walks down a long aisle in the office building of his current customer. Of course, other people are here as well, walking from one office to the other or most frequently to the little kitchen that provides coffee and a water-heating device for those that prefer what Dizzy refers to as British coffee. He notices that people actually greet each other when they pass by, but strangely enough, most people don t greet Dizzy. After he walks around a little more, the pattern is emerging and he sees that the reason for not being greeted is the lack of a suit. Obviously it s like this: if you wear an expensive suit, you only greet people with clothing in your price level. If you wear an average-priced suit, you may greet your level but you must greet the high-priced level. In case you don t wear a suit, you have to greet everyone but you may not expect to be greeted back.
Arriving at the kitchen himself to fetch a coffee, he also notices that it looks like his own place. Tons of unwashed coffee cups and glasses are placed on top of the dishwasher, but none inside. Obviously, nobody in his right suit would ever think of putting his used dishes in the washer. That s what other people are for, people like wait a minute, there is no one whose job it is. From his e-mail account at this company here, he knows that often the secretary ends up doing the job and always sends an e-mail to all offenders, which includes everyone in the company “ even people who never visit the kitchen like mister Postmaster, mister Root and mister NoReply.
While Dizzy still thinks about the ability of people to put dishes in little machines, a suit comes in, holds his coffee cup under the can and presses the button. The can makes a slurping sound and the guy almost lets go of the cup. Dissatisfied with the half filled coffee cup, he looks at Dizzy as if to say, Sorry loser, but now you have to make new coffee. Then, he walks out of the door in no particular hurry. Dizzy goes through the motions of setting up the coffee maker, although he knows that he probably won t see any of the results in his cup.
Next stop on his list is the office of the firewall administrator of the place. He s living in his own little office and is in general a fairly nice guy. Actually, this guy s job used to be something totally different and the company pays someone else to administer the firewall for them. It s called outsourcing. But since the outsourcing partner usually requires a three-digit number of forms to be filled and send by snail mail to them, this guy named Frank usually just modifies the live system. The result is that he s generally seen as the firewall guy, the company still pays the outsourcing partner an enormous amount of money, and nobody cares. Dizzy knocks on the door and opens it. Frank sits, as usual, at his desktop computer writing e- mails in Outlook.
Hey Dizzy. Just a sec, Frank says and keeps typing with what appears to be machine-like precision, since he never uses the backspace key. Then he holds down the left CTRL key, raises his right arm and smashes down on the key labeled with the down-and-left arrow.
Okay, what can I do for you? , Frank asks.
I m here because of the web shop. Could you e-mail me the current firewall rule set, so I can determine what we need to get this shop working?
Are you talking about this SAP thing?
Yep, that s what it is.
Well, I could export the rules for you, but I don t feel like e-mailing them around in clear text and you know how it is with this company and PGP.
Oh yes, Dizzy knows that. Every time he sends them e-mail in PGP, it doesn t work. It s not because of some special agreement, software or hardware failure, but because the company refuses to buy a commercial PGP version. When they once decided to buy one, it was exactly the time when the product was discontinued and before the new company took it over. Therefore, their distributor told them that there would be no enterprise support available and some manager decided that people who need PGP could use the GNU version, GnuPG. The result is that lately a lot of managers have to deal with security-relevant data and therefore have to deal with GnuPG. But since they are not on speaking terms with this thing called the command line, the e-mails to Dizzy are either incomplete, contain text in the middle of ASCII-armored PGP data, or are simply not encrypted with his public key. As if this wasn t enough of an information security nightmare, only people who apply for a special permit with the HR office get GnuPG installed on their machines. Therefore Frank, who would be able to handle it, doesn t have an installation here.
Let me just put the rules on a USB stick for you, Frank says. He starts to dig in one of the drawers and fumbles around with a lanyard that is all tangled with cables of no-longer-used Logitech mice, printer cables and headphones. When he finally gets the lanyard separated from the remaining mess in the drawer and pulls at it, a USB stick appears at the far end. He takes it and starts to crawl under his desk. A few seconds later, several message boxes show up on the screen telling the user , who is at this time is still under the desk and therefore not able to see them, that Windows discovered a few new things like a USB Device, a removable disk drive, a flash memory and whatnot. When Frank tries to get back on his chair , the far corner of his desk intercepts the path of his head, which produces a dull knocking sound and a yelp from Frank.
Finally home safe in his chair, he clicks around in the Checkpoint graphical user interface and exports the firewall rule set into a crappy-looking but childishly colorful HTML file, which he saves on the USB stick. When this operation is done, he groans and looks under the table as well as at the corner that just tried to penetrate his skull. Dizzy walks over and just says, Let me. It turns out that getting under the table to fetch the USB stick is easily done, but the smell from Frank s feet makes it very unpleasant to breathe. Back up and in fresh air, Dizzy turns to the door and with a, Thanks man, see you Monday at the weekly meeting. moves towards the door. Looking back, Frank just mumbles a Bye more in the direction of his screen than toward Dizzy and starts the process of finding the little box with the X in the middle for every single window on his screen before finally shutting down the computer and going home.
Dizzy has one more stop before going into the server room and starting the installation of this SAP ITS system, and this is getting the CD with the software. He walks for what feels like an eternity until he reaches the elevators in the middle of the building. Requesting a vertical transport using the little silver button in the wall, he waits and looks at the boring office carpet until a soft bling sound announces the arrival of the transport box. He steps in and presses the button for the fifth floor. A second before the doors slam shut, an expensive leather shoe appears in his vision, shortly followed by another suit guy stepping into the elevator. He smiles at Dizzy a self-approving smile, probably because he thinks it s a major accomplishment that he caught this ride. Then, he looks at the control panel and says, Oh, it s going up? Sorry, and with that steps out onto the floor again. Another eternity later, the elevator actually ascends with only Dizzy on board.
Arriving at the offices where the SAP consultants dwell, he s not surprised to find the place deserted. Of course, it s Friday. Those people obviously earn enough in three days, so they can take Monday and Friday off. Dizzy tries the door and finds it unlocked. He simply walks in and looks around for something that could be a compact disc. He finds all kinds of chocolate, some no-longer-consumable fruits and a half empty bottle of Diet Coke. Opening one of the lockers, he sees B4- sized envelopes, one of which has been labeled ITS using a black marker. He opens it up and to his surprise actually finds a CD in there. Well, we can install from that today and patch the thing Monday Tuesday, when those guys with their SAP service login information show up around noon , he thinks as he walks out of the office heading for the server room.
Arriving at the basement , Dizzy needs to find another guy named Gino. He s the one literally holding the keys to his kingdom. Gino is probably half Italian or something and spends so much time in the server room that everybody already forgot who else has keys to it. The rule goes that if you need to get into the server room, you need to find Gino. Unfortunately, this gets a little complicated when Gino is already in the server room, which happens to be the case right now. Through the fireproof windows, Dizzy can see him fighting with something behind a Sun E10000 system. Knocking on the door wouldn t make any sense since the air conditioning, in concert with all the machines, drones out everything else. Therefore, Dizzy makes a spectacle out of himself by jumping up and down and waving with his arms around. About three minutes into the performance, Gino looks around the Sun server and notices him. He throws his arms in the air as if to say, What the and walks over to the door to let Dizzy in. This goes on without a single word spoken and Dizzy walks over to the bank of rack-mounted Windows 2000 Servers labeled with the famous three letters IBM. He flips the LCD console open and gets the rack-embedded keyboard (complete with trackball ) out of its compartment .
Figuring out which of the black boxes is the one he s supposed to install the front end element of SAP s ITS on is a different matter. The boxes are labeled, but none of the names like MPRDW01 rings a bell. So Dizzy walks over to Gino and shouts over the noise, Hey, what s the name of the web server for the web shop? Gino smiles and says, httpd? Both of them laugh . Then, Gino looks at the server bank and appears to think the question over. Finally, he says, Try MPRDSP7. Check if it shows the default page. Dizzy nods and walks back to his screen. He thinks that Gino has said something else, but he couldn t hear it and wants to get on with the task at hand so he can get into his car and drive the several hundred kilometers home.
The server mentioned turns out to be exactly the one Dizzy was looking for and even has a DNS entry with the hostname ˜webshop already assigned to his IP address. But selecting the server on the LCD screen is something different than finding out where between these several hundred boxes the physical representation of this web page is located. Dizzy opens the Explorer, clicks on the CD drive with the right mouse button and selects Eject from the context menu. Somewhere to his left, a CD-ROM drive opens at about Dizzy s face level. He walks over, puts the CD in and gives the tray a slight push so it closes again. Back on his LCD screen, he navigates the CD contents and finds a file called instgui.exe. He starts the file and is presented with a setup dialog window including a picture from the SAP Building 1 in Waldorf, Germany, taken at dusk with all windows illuminated. While Dizzy starts reading, he realizes that a lower part of his body expresses an urgent desire to find a bathroom. So he decides to take a leak before getting busy with the installation process these Krauts came up with.
On the way to the place of relief, his body lets him know how tired he is already. His feet are heavy and he is by no means feeling like watching a progress bar crawl from left to right in this noisy server room. Getting back, he finds the door shut again and Gino is no longer visible around the Sun server. Dizzy changes his viewing angle from left to right to cover as much of the room as he can, like one does in ego shooters, but he only sees rows of computers. Then he decides to give Gino s office a try. Only a few people know that Gino even has an office. He goes there only in the morning to turn on the lights and his workstation screen and in the evening to turn both off. Luckily, Dizzy knows where Gino might be found. But his mood darkens when he sees no light coming out of the office in question. Maybe that s what Gino said earlier , Dizzy thinks. Well, I can t do much about it, he says to the open office door and the dark room behind it. Then, he turns around to get back to his office to collect his laptop and head home. He plans to inspect the firewall rules some time over the weekend , since he has all the time in the world to get everything ready Monday when the suits are not there yet.