Last minute mayhem

Worked a short day today, what with it being X-mas eve. Came in a little early to deal with a couple of “Middle East Crises” as I like to call them. We have a reseller who deals with Middle Eastern customers, and the reseller is woefully untechnical, and often overstates issues in an attempt to obtain free products or services. His crisis this morning was that two Jordanian servers were offline and could I please also install another optional server component while I was in there.
One server was operating fine, but some esoteric firewall rules were setup so that it was impossible to open port 80 on any internet servers — OK, crisis #1 averted. The second server was also operating fine, but had an outdated version of our software on it, and Squid had been configured without any kind of cache folders — unusual for a caching server. The cache_dir options were conspicuously left out of the squid.conf file, making the server performance somewhat lacking, if not completely unacceptable. I relayed the information, and did *not* install the optional server component. I pointed out that, as a reseller, his technical team was responsible for the installation of this monitoring server, and it would be an excellent training exercise for them, when their future customers asked for this component. Crisis #2 averted.
With work finished early, I sped off to the mall. Not because I had last minute shopping to do (which I did), but because I love to watch people … and this is a prime example of humankind at its worst. Think Toronto rush-hour traffic is bad, think again. From the King St. entrance at Conestoga mall, it took 25 minutes to get to a parking spot on the far side of Zehrs. On the way out, it took another 35 minutes to get back to the King entrance. While inside, I saw lineups that stretched entire store lengths, people fighting over who had the last this-and-that, and general mayhem as people wouldn’t give up spare seats in the food court to individuals. Most of the frustration came from bad drivers — those who wouldn’t obey stop signs to let the oncoming congestion clear, and who wouldn’t let anyone in or let pedestrians cross. I found it entirely fascinating, and not the least bit of a problem, since I went in prepared for the worst.
Going to R’s parents’ place tonight to do some X-mas dinner. They apparently have X-mas a day earlier, just to get it over with, and they don’t have to wait that extra day for present opening. Santa comes early for them.

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