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Christmas Cheer

Who Works During the Holidays? 451

While sitting here at my computer, plugging away at tending the bin, I started wondering who else might be hard at work, instead of enjoying what most in the world (especially in America) would consider "the Holidays". I've stumbled into working this season for the second year in a row, and I find myself not bothered much by it at all. If you had asked me even 5 years ago if I would give up my Christmas vacation for work, I would have laughed and answered with a resounding "No!". Have any of you fallen into similar behavior? As an aside, what Holidays do many of you find yourselves working, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, or some other Holiday, what drives you to work when others are enjoying their time off?
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Who Works During the Holidays?

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  • Ski Resorts (Score:3, Funny)

    by clandaith ( 187570 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @07:59PM (#2750283) Homepage
    I am the computer guru for a ski resort here in Utah. We work everyday of the ski season, usually mid-Nov. to late April.

    We are the location that some people take their vacations. So, I'm at work.

    • It might piss people off, but my job is what I would be doing if I was independently wealthy. I work during holidays because it's just too much fun to miss.!
      • Amen! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SaDan ( 81097 )
        For those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs we truely enjoy doing, it's like we're on vacation all year long!

        I wish everyone would enjoy their jobs as much as I enjoy mine.
    • by vinn ( 4370 )

      I'm in the same boat - I work at Copper Mtn in Colorado doing telecom/datacom/misc IS stuff. I've always wondered what kind of a freak family gets together to ski on Christmas, but there seems to be enough to fill all of our lodging.

      I heard Little Cottonwood canyon got dumped on, how's the snow? What resort are you at?

      PS. Wanna trade comp passes?
      • freak families? Not everyone celebrates Christmas, remember. Plenty of non-Christian folk use Christmas-time as vacation - my best friend (who is Jewish) goes skiing over Christmas every year.
  • depends... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Does school work count?
    (my thesis project never sleeps)
  • Being a high school student......i can say i work on holidays. Not just on school schiznit but i also have a job!!!! AARGH!. Seriously, today i had to work on a project for school and also spent about 6 hours on the job. Well i work at home but still..... My dad who is self employed, worked too. I suppose it is the same type of pattern for many of those who are self employed.
    • Amen, all vaction means for high school students (not you lazy "ohh I'm so board with notthing to do with my month of winter vacation" college student) is more time to write papers.
  • Money (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kamran ( 109309 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:00PM (#2750287)
    I find the need and want for money, more than an ample substitute to work whilst everyone is on holiday, especially if the company you work for will give you the holiday time later as well :)
  • Its the only time I can get work done and not get bothered at work. And I was able to move my day off to New Year's Eve, so four day weekend! Whoo!
  • While we do get to take off everyday that the Federal Reserve is closed, Christmas Eve is not one of those, and we had to have somebody in for a few hours on Christmas Eve.
    • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @09:26PM (#2750567) Homepage Journal
      My current contract is in the financial sector as well. Even when the Federal Reserve is closed, someone still has to be on call for the batch jobs that are still running.

      Fortunately we have 2-3 (or more) people assigned to support each system, so we can rotate the hot pagers around. I have to carry it this Christmas/New Years, but had Thanksgiving off. (Like I said someone has to carry the pager!)

      When working contracts in manufacturing, major holidays were the busiest times, as it was the only time the manufacturing lines were down long enough to do non-emergency system upgrades and enhancements.

      About the only contracts I've ever had that didn't require holiday work were pure programming jobs for the Telco and Property Management sectors.

  • by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:01PM (#2750296)
    Why the Hell else would I be posting to Slashdot on Christmas, if I weren't slacking off at work?
    • Euro (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Deu ( 410420 )
      I am suprised no one mentioned the Euro, I work for a Bank in Ireland and althought no one is working tonight. The are people in the rest of the holidays. The way some people are going on about it you would have thought somebody just happend to mention to them about it on Friday. We aren't Even one of the major banks here so I would have thought all across Europe more People will be either working or oncall. More in line with what happened for Y2K than a normal festive season
  • token jew at the ISP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zzyzx ( 15139 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:02PM (#2750299) Homepage
    For 2 years during my tech support days, I was Seanet's token jew employee. I was the only person who would work that day, manning all of the phones. In 1995, it was all worth it. Seanet is located on the 68 floor of what was then called the Columbia Tower. That day a thick fog had rolled into Seattle. When I got into the office, the view was amazing. You couldn't see the city below, but you could see the Cascades (and the occasional top of a building) poking through the clouds below. I spent the day watching that, blissfully unbothered by customers - apparently no one wanted to call an ISP on Christmas.
  • I'm a physician (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ccmay ( 116316 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:02PM (#2750300)
    I get no choice. Until people quit getting sick on their days off I will have to keep taking care of them.

    That said, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are traditionally covered by our Jewish colleagues.


    • Same said for network, server and application outages. Ops centers are always staffed.

      And the fun starts too, everyone gets thier new wireless device on xmas, and we see that everyone and thier brother decided to use the service. Humm, no cpu at max alarms, good good.

      But on the good side, we are just on call, nothing we cant fix remotely. God I love unix and vpn.
  • For once, I'm not working at all on Christmas. No cell phone, no email, no nothin except for tryin out a cool new video game with my cool new Joystick :)

    Been a long time since I actually did that on a holiday.
  • If you can, then you on't need my services!

    I'm at a national ISP call center, waiting for any of the phone agents to tell me they can't figure out what's wrong with a caller's connection. Should that happen, I will swing into action, with advice, references and, if necessary, escalation to a higher tech level.

    Been waiting 4 hours for something to happen....shift is half-done.

  • That's the thing about working in a home office. You're always at work, even if you're sick, even if it's a holiday. Especially at my home, because it's small and we're in the middle of a perpetual remodel job. My main computer and desk are not removed from the chaos of life, and so my work life and my home life are hopelessly intertwined.
    It's not so bad, though. My fellow staff members are kind of like members of the family, always right there in IRC, every day.

    news editor / reporter
  • by Llanfairpwllgwyngyll ( 81289 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:04PM (#2750314) Journal
    "Holidays"... what are they?!

    # man -k holiday
    holiday: nothing appropriate.

  • I'm here at work, out of choice, not because I couldn't go home.

    I just don't know what else to do with my time. Everyone else is off with their families, or out of town on holiday. I enjoy my work for the most part, especially when I can do it without interruption, which is tougher during the week. If I were at home, I'd just be banging away on the computer.

    The alternative is to go home and celebrate Christmas with mom and the sibs, but Christmas is pretty much ruined for me. I don't like the commercial aspect of it, and I don't like that mom would expect me to attend church if I went back there. I'd rather just visit on a few non-holidays, get together because we want to get together, not because it's been prescribed by the churches and every shop with lights in the window.

  • I put myself through college working in a Water Plant on the 3PM-11PM shift. Law dictates that the plant is staffed 7 days a week (16 hours/day for this plant). I did that for years and can't really say that I enjoyed it.

    Since graduating college I have worked my way up to a network/system admin for the local community college (the one I attendded). Even though we are on Christmas break, I worked and extra day into the break for system maintenance and went in briefly on Christmas Eve to tend to a slight emergency.
  • i got out of bed and had a rant on irc. had dinner with family, then headed too the study to work on my secret coding project. there bugger all else to do, tv is 25 year old xmas special repeats. i couldn't think of a better way to spend my holiday than coding whilst listening to bbc lord of the rings (i should convert it too ogg vorbis).
  • Not me! (Score:3, Funny)

    by BoarderPhreak ( 234086 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:08PM (#2750333)
    I'm freshly, um, err... "Free."

    ...and I don't mean "free" as in "beer." ;)


  • So, obviously I have to work :)
  • Usually don't work, don't really like it. Last year I went home for Christmas (Norway). This year, I'm not (going to Las Vegas for New Year, though). Only reason I'm at work is that there are stuff I wanted done before the New Year. Start the new year with a clean set of sheet, so to speak:-)

    Happy Holidays, and God Jul og Godt Nytt Aar.
  • and as of several years ago (they seem to have changed their policys) they were open 24/7, and one store in each region was open on all the major holidays. So 2-3 years ago, I worked christmas day and new years really wasn't that bad, since nobody wanted to make copies those days, I just sat around doing nothing (the people who had partied to hard the night before, were sleeping on the job). I brought some CDs w/ movies and ROMs on them, and spent the day having fun w/ my co-workers..including giving the shift supervisor a good beating, in WWF Wrestlemania for the SNES.
  • by MissMyNewton ( 521420 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:12PM (#2750350)
    Unfortunately, holidays are usually fabulous times to do server and infrastructure-type things that would normally be disruptive.

    As I result I've done a LOT of server and network upgrades over Thanksgivings, Labor Days, Memorial Days, etc.

    I'm sure lots of others have too.

    Holidays are just usually too useful to let pass by without getting something done. In the end, the headaches saved (in lieu of turkey and mashed potatoes) are usually my own.
    • Yup... Holidays are a great time to do upgrades when the staff/users are on extended vacations. I'm doing two workstation upgrades this week, actually.

      Even when you're at work during the holidays, it doesn't feel like it. Most of the people are out of town, and those who are there aren't really there to work like they normally do, so it's a lot of fun.
    • Agreed. Typical vacation times really do make wonderful times to update machines or make other drastic changes to systems.

      Here where I am, though, the department morons spent all last week reconfiguring the web server, mail server, and department firewall. They were nice and didn't commit the changes until 5:00pm on Friday. Then they left. The firewall is blocking access to all critical systems, the web server is rejecting requests randomly, and the mail server simly won't accept or transport mail--period. The guys resposible haven't answered phone calls, e-mails, or knocks on their doors. They all seem to have left for the holidays and who knows when they will be back.


    • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @09:48PM (#2750631) Homepage Journal
      As I result I've done a LOT of server and network upgrades over Thanksgivings, Labor Days, Memorial Days, etc.

      Whoa! Working for a phone/wireless data company, I can tell you that is the WORST time to do work. We have black out periods where we cant even touch the hardware/software. And every major holiday is a black out period.

      We have police, fire departments, public saftey, delivery services, etc all counting on reliable communications for these critical times.

      The best time for us, is late, really late, like 3am eastern time. You can only do so much with clustering, if you have to patch or fix a service/service, its either customer or convenance, and customers pay the bills.
      • I can imagine, but 95% of companies are quieter during holidays.

        Phone networks are a special case; I know that I have practically zero chance of making a call on my mobile phone between midnight and around 2am on New Year's Day morning, simply due to the network being swamped.

    • by Judg3 ( 88435 ) <jeremy.pavleck@com> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @10:01PM (#2750649) Homepage Journal
      I agree to. Up until I quit awhile I go, we almost always worked holidays. My ex company dealt with the buying and reselling of real-time stock data, and as such are regulated by the SEC.
      Heck, back in May of 2000 we worked the entire month because they were trying to fix one of our UPS'es. Come in Saturday at 2am, shutdown all 2500 servers. Come back Sunday at 6am, and start em back up.
      Thats a month I never wish to relivev again, unless I'm hourly then!
    • I don't know, man. Some of us think the turkey and mashed potatoes, during holidays, keeps us sane at work a few days later. If I had to administer a server at work right now, I'd be missing out on family, friends, social interactivity... the stuff that keeps me going.

      But if you're talking about remotely keeping tracks of things from home, and checking email a few times a day, even on Christmas... guilty as charged. :)

    • Interesting to think about how this has gone over the years.

      Old job: O/S, Software, Major maintenance, rewiring networks, etc. Fun stuff. Usually involved pizza and playing lots of video games when there wasn't anything to do.

      Past job: Work on stuff, but slowly since most people you need to interact with are out of the office

      Current: Take off Thanksgiving week because Xmas/NY will be end of year adjustments and closings. In two days it's gotta be done or people will be really sore. Fiddle around with VB or review projects for next year for a couple days.

      I miss the old days.

  • by alansz ( 142137 )
    As one set of research grant deadlines for major U.S. Federal agencies fall early in the year (NSF: Jan 15, NIH: Feb 1), most Decembers find me plugging away.

    For those of us in academia, especially on the tenure-track, "holidays" often mean "when you're not teaching and can get around to writing up your papers or grant proposals", although I'm pleased to say that I'm also getting to travel to see my family (hooray for the laptop and the spread of home broadband).

    - Alan, Asst Professor of Clinical Decision Making
  • ..because the internet doesn't take a holiday.

    I've been at work since 8am, and will be here for another hour (it's 7pm here..)

    • Same here, but I'm just on cover from home, and I volunteered for it.

      Christmas is always very quiet, except the last couple of years where we had some pretty ugly weather and it knocked out power to a few places, but that's about it. My boss is fond of quoting that 80pc of network outages are caused by network engineers doing things. At Christmas, when no one's doing anything, everything's stable!

      So I spend Christmas with my family, logging on occasionally, unlikely to get called in. And I get to take off out of the country for New Year while someone else takes the reins.

      Not a peep so far, and I fly to Scotland on the 27th...


  • who's working? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psych031337 ( 449156 ) <psych0 AT wtnet DOT de> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:21PM (#2750383)
    military personnel
    police personnel
    fire sqads
    paramedics, doctors and nurses
    lots of personnel in the transport industry
    lots of people in the IT/comms industry (yes, average/. user, that probably means you, among others)
    people in charge of basic supplies (water, electricitiy,...)

    If you compare all these groups you might find that this easy brainy job IT job in front of a keyboard yields best pay and comfort and the smallest risk. So stop whining if you have to work over the holidays - others are doing for you all the time.
    • Check my profile.

      This is the first of any Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Years/July 4th/Easter I've had off in 14 years. Think about that for a minute. And a majority of those were 13 hour rotating shifts.

      Not whining, I chose this career, but it does get old at times.
    • Yep. I was a medic in the Air Force for eight years, and worked in the base E.R. for most of that time. I ended up working Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter -- the big "family" holidays -- most years since the folks who were married with kids always wanted those holidays off. Never bothered me very much, but it was funny sometimes.

      My favorite was the lady who walked in on Christmas day with a sore throat she'd had for two weeks. While I was checking her in, she told me, "I can't believe they make you guys work on Christmas." I refrained from answering, "Well, I guess you'd be pretty upset if you came to the E.R. and we had a 'Closed for the holidays' sign on the door ..."
    • Re:who's working? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by linuxlover ( 40375 )
      and most of the NEW IMMIGRANTS. because it is double pay during holidays :-))))))))
  • I'm actually at home... on the VPN. Working on not one, but TWO partner websites. Due the 1st. Ayep.

    And this morning? Went in and installed a brand new switch chassis, by myself. Nearly broke my hand when it slipped while I was trying to install it in the rack. But it's installed and running.

    And for the record, I do celebrate Xmas too.
  • Bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by null etc. ( 524767 )
    This post is fucking bullshit. After having tried to submit various *legitimate* posts to SlashDot during the last year, each with perfect spelling, great grammar, and insightful information, each has been rejected. But drivel like this shit gets through. How fucking lame, SlashDot moderators. Have a nice fucking holiday.
  • I know Asian restaurants (e.g., Chinese, Korean, etc.) are opened on Christmas but I think with limited hours (close earlier).
  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:26PM (#2750406)
    When I was a kid, I never knew when we would open presents was because my father was a firefighter who often pulled Christmas duty. Most years we celebrated a day or two early... probably because I still remember that one year we didn't....

    By the time my father was senior enough to regularly have the holidays off, I was working at Disney World and low enough on the pecking order (seasonal, HS or college age) that I always worked during the peak holiday hours.

    I've always found it interesting how indifferent people are to this. I'm not sure if it's a defense mechanism (against guilt), or something else. The Duke University book on Disney World even mentioned this - one researcher visited on Thanksgiving Day and noted just how disconnected most people were between their holiday and the way they treated the people who had to work.
  • My girlfriend is on her oil platform in the North Sea, making sure we stay warm and can drive our cars.
    (She works as a Radio / Helicopter landing officer)
    I was lucky and just cought the last chopper to the beach from another rig :-)

  • by farrellj ( 563 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @08:51PM (#2750478) Homepage Journal
    I'm always willing to work Christmas Eve and Christmas, as long as I can get my Pagan holidays off...the Solstices, Equinoxes, and Cross-quarter days (those inbetween the Solstices, Equinoxes).

    Blessed Be, and Brigit Bless
    Farrell McGovern,Druid.
    • Thats very respectable of you, you know.

      I don't mind religious types, and I don't mind their holiday(s). But what I do mind is being inconsistent, for example:

      Where I work we have a very outwardly Jewish girl, who makes a point of telling you that she is Jewish. She asked for (and got) time off for the first day of the festival of lights as well as the new year (Jewish New Year). That's fine.

      Now, Christmas is here and soon past, did she work today? No. She took today as well as yesterday off as well.

      That's not right.

      What we should do as a country is not recognize any offical religious holidays. Employeers should allow people who ask to take a personal day off for their chosen real/imaginary/weird holidays. This would make me happy - as a Catholic Christmas is a so-so event, but I'd really like to make sure I have Easter off (that's the big one off in my opinion). It's stupid that the world shuts down for Christmas and not for the holiday of individual choosing.

      Just my 0.02 cents.
      • I have a buddy at my university whose constitution is similiar, hes only jewish when theres something to be offended by. The rest of the time is a heathen like the rest of us.

        Lemme ask with your gal though, is there any work to be done *on* christmas ? My employer is shut down the 25th - 2nd so no work could be done if I wanted to go in, and we're about 90% Asian/hindu religions.

        and is she cute? ;-)

      • Speeking as a religous Jew this year someone might have had a good cause to take off today (25 Dec) its the 10th of Tevet, which is a fast day. Now this is a day when you can go to work but working while fasting is not fun. For me its a moot point, I lost my job in September and am about to go back to finish college.

        I however would take off for Rosh Hashana (2 days), Yom Kippor (1 day), Sukkot (2 days), Shimini Azzert and Simcas Torah (2 days), Passover (2 days at least) Shavous (2 days) and leave early on Fridays to be home by sundown during the winter. Thankfully I got to Brandeis where they give you all those off anyway. When I start working again it will cut into my vacations rather a lot I would imagine.

        And yes I did fast from sunup to sundown today.
    • Whoa! You mean Christmas is a religious holiday!?!?
      I had no idea! I thought it was all about the celebration of buying stuff. Word.
    • Blessed Be?

      the word blessed comes from the French word "blesse'" which means "wounded"... as in Christ's wounds. So, saying "bless" is itself a Christian reference.

    • I'm a buddhist and I don't mind working xmas, it's just another day to me, and I don't mind working when the workload is light around the holidays. But what bugs me about buddhism is that we don't have ANY holidays. I guess I'm supposed to go to the temple on New Years, and a few times a year like obon, but hey, there isn't a temple within 450 miles of me. It's not fair, we don't get any religious holidays, not even buddha's birthday.
    • Ditto here, though I'm a Thelemite rather than a Pagan. Christmas is just another day unless you're part of the one-sixth of the world population that adheres to Christianity. The rest of us have our own holidays, and we often work the "official" holidays to get them off. Fortunately, the major Thelemic holidays are in early April and early October when competition for time off is not especially stiff.

      When I was a teenager, I always volunteered for Christmas -- it's the biggest sales day of the year for movie theatres, and one of the biggest in the restaurant business.

      I'm just glad I don't have to deal with a holy month like my Muslim colleagues do.

  • Christmas is just one of those religious holidays. Since I have nothing to do with any religion whatsoever, on this day I do whatever I want - I am at work at the moment.
  • by Bob_Robertson ( 454888 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @09:04PM (#2750505) Homepage
    I got lucky, doing network operations on the evening shift in a high-availability 24x7x365 shop for 6 years. "The Holidays" were my best time for making overtime pay, taking shifts for people with kids, or who were on trips.

    It earned me the brownie points to be able to take days off the rest of the year without anyone hesitating to say "yes" even when I wanted things like 4-day weekends.

    But I'm Japan now. Dec. 24 is the Emporer's birthday, so Monday was a holiday, but Dec. 25th is just another day.

    However, NewYears is a really big thing here. For three days there is actually almost nothing open for business. Not stores, not restaurants, not offices, banks, whatever. It's amazing! It's really a good idea to stock up on food, unless you like rice-balls from the local AM-PM which is the only thing open.

    But we're back to work on the 4th (Friday), back to normal. A one day work week! I wonder how long it will take them to legislate a one-day work week in France?


  • Well ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by debrain ( 29228 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @09:06PM (#2750508) Journal
    Does moderating Slashdot count as work?
  • I'm in the US Coast Guard, and I've worked 2 out of the last three christmas's (I hope I plurarlized that right).

    If I had a choice, I'd be home with my wife as its her first christmas away from her folks. Merry Christmas (and Happy Holidays) to all the other military personnel, netadmins, sysadmins, and every other *admin out there working on this time for joy.

    Merry Chrstmas
    ET3 William J Kenny III, USCG
    • I hear ya man, spent Xmas eve doing backups on the Morg's server and keeping the peace. No drills thank goodness on holiday routine.
      I betcha your rotation ain't 1in4 though.
      look me up in the global.
      ET3 Isaac Gorton
      (Just put in my package for ET2)
  • Home Depot (Score:4, Funny)

    by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @09:19PM (#2750547) Homepage
    My friend works at a Home Depot, and she had to be in until 6:00 yesterday. Christmas Eve. Who the hell buys bathroom tiles on Christmas Eve?
  • I did the Waffle House cook thing for 2.5 years, and when they say they're open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, well they also mean 365 days a year. Three Christmases I worked. You get paid double time, so it's not totally uncompensated. Personally I was always amazed at how crazy busy Chrismas is at the Waffle House, even on the third shift.
  • I mean, it's the only day you can actually get something done. Nobody to bother you, no distractions. Just you and the machine.

    Plus, most employers should give you a comp day, so you can take vacation when you actually want to.
  • What's worse? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I don't know which is worse, having to work a shift on a holiday or being on-call. Working a shift you know when you can be with friends and family. On-call you never know when you might have to leave, or how far you can travel. I prefer working a shift, but others say the odd of being called when on-call is slim so they like that. I don't know.
  • Euro (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rde ( 17364 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @10:52PM (#2750762)
    Here in Europe, we're getting a new currency next week. And gosh darn it, that mean's that I've got to be in work. For the last few weeks, I've needed to be in from 3am every day, and that'll continue until the end of the year. The bright side is we'll have a cool, new pan-European currency at the end of it.

    It's funny how you don't appreciate how much work goes into changing a currency until you've got to update the software on tens of thousands of terminals across Europe.

    Of course, this is a once-off. It'll never happen again. Just like the night of 31-12-99 that I spent in front of a bank of computers.
  • Some good points you raise. I caught myself almost hoping for this holiday disruption to come to an end... we have offices in San Jose, Toronto, London and Hong Kong so you can imagine the work around the clock and the effort keeping track of everyone's holidays. When I just found myself regretting the holiday, that was kind of a wake-up call. I do not really want a coronary at 43 (I'm 42 now).

    So... although I do not mind working this day or any other day, I am going to sit back and enjoy a few days off, really off. I shall not even check my email, my blackberry, my cell phone. I'll work on my private web site instead. Happy holidays; everyone!

  • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @11:19PM (#2750834) Homepage Journal
    This link [] at [] gives the domain registration info of The Register [], which appears to have been hacked on Christmas Eve!

    WHOIS query result:
    Domain Name: THEREGISTER.CO.UK

    Registered For: The Register

    Domain Registered By: DETAGGED

    Record last updated on 24-Dec-2001 by .

    Domain servers listed in order:

    WHOIS database last updated at 21:19:01 25-Dec-2001
    The NIC.UK Registration Host contains ONLY information for domains
    within,,, and Please use the whois
    server at for Internet Information or the whois server
    at for MILNET Information.

    Is it only coincidence that this falls on the second anniversary of the Hotmail/Passport outage [] that gave Michael Chaney [] his fifteen minutes of Slashdot fame?
    • Though I'm sure hackers work on holidays too, and I wouldn't dream of intentionally insulting either group!
    • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2001 @12:41AM (#2751007) Homepage Journal
      I directly accessed The Register [] using their IP address ( [] and found that the server was still up, but that the home page carries a last update timestamp of 24 December at 15:29 GMT—over a day and a half ago.

      So not only has the domain name [] been detagged [], it appears that the site itself has gone into hibernation as well. Does anyone have any other information about what's going on over there?

      EXTRA: I found this excellent post on Usenet, and append it here for your edification:

      From: Anthony Edwards ( [mailto])
      Subject: Re: some one does not like THEREGISTER.CO.UK
      Date: 2001-12-25 14:04:27 PST

      On Tue, 25 Dec 2001 20:09:06 +0000, in Rob Harvey <> wrote:

      >What's also interesting is that the whois doesn't show a "Registered on" date
      >which I believe means the name itself is pre-nominet and didn't have an expiry

      The Register's first issue was Number 1, 25 July 1994 (Nominet began in 1996 I believe). In those days it was an email newsletter, the first issue can be viewed at:

      In fact, issues 1-37 can be viewed at the above site, simply by placing the relevant issue number in "reg*.txt".

      However it appears that, at least up until 8 November 1996 (issue 37), the domain name was not in use. Indeed, the site was at , although it seems that John Lettice and Mike Magee also at that point owned the domain (albeit they don't now).

      One wonders what has happened to to cause the domain to become detagged. It is hard to believe that it is a simple financial matter, given the relatively small sums involved. I notice that the identity of the person who apparently requested the detagging (presumably via the Nominet Automaton) is an employee of Since all such detagging requests (from Nominet members to Nominet) have to be PGP signed, one imagines that request at least was genuine (but see below).

      Up until around September 2001, The Register's hardware was co-located at one of Level 3's UK facilities. Following a variety of technical problems relating to Cisco load balancing equipment, the site was moved I believe, although I am unable to remember who the new hosting centre is. I have a sneaking suspicion that it *is* now PSI, in which case I imagine there will be much embarrassment all round.

      On the other hand, there may be a little more to it. The Register have roundly slated the bulk email operation behind the recent Sainsbury's and Virgin Wines spam incidents, pointing out in no uncertain terms (and to Sainsbury's and Virgin Wines too, one imagines) that the email addresses used were definitely culled from Usenet.

      However, consider this:

      >Received: by jupiter (mbox topflite)
      > (with Cubic Circle's cucipop (v1.31 1998/05/13) Sun Dec 16 13:34:37 2001)
      >X-From_: Sun Dec 16 13:24:33 2001
      >Return-Path: <>
      >Received: from ([])
      > by (8.10.0-mysql/8.10.0) with ESMTP id fBGDOWC28607
      > for <>; Sun, 16 Dec 2001 13:24:32 GMT
      >Delivered-To: <>
      >Received: by (Postfix, from userid 0)
      > id 6D65261DC; Sun, 16 Dec 2001 06:24:28 -0600 (CST)
      >From: "Virgin Wines" <>
      >Mime-Version: 1.0
      >Content-Type: text/plain
      >Subject: Great Christmas wine at a bargain price
      >Message-Id: <>
      >Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 06:24:28 -0600 (CST)

      mail from: in the SMTP envelope, and a Reply-To address
      of However:

      Dig ( ...
      Authoritative Answer
      Recursive queries supported by this server
      Query for type=255 class=1 MX (Mail Exchanger) Priority: 10 A (Address) NS (Nameserver) NS (Nameserver) SOA (Zone of Authority)
      Primary NS:
      Responsible person:
      refresh:10800s (3 hours)
      retry:3600s (60 minutes)
      expire:604800s (7 days)
      minimum-ttl:86400s (24 hours) NS (Nameserver) NS (Nameserver) A (Address) A (Address) A (Address)

      One MX record, and when one tries to connect to it:

      ----begin telnet capture----
      $ telnet 25
      telnet: Unable to connect to remote host: Connection refused
      ----end telnet capture----

      Other Usenet posters have reported a similar inability to connect to (and the name of the MX itself is indicative of a rather interesting sense of humour): []

      So, the owners and operators of have cunningly managed, it would appear, to not only convince two of the UK's largest and more respected companies to use their service for what Sainsbury's and Virgin Wines apparently genuinely believed was a true, genuine, opt-in email marketing operation, they have also managed (by technical means) to ensure that their own bandwidth will not be wasted by such trivial communications as "message undeliverable" bounce messages either.

      One wonders if an alleged spam operation with such a fascinating mindset might attempt a little social engineering hack, against a news site which exposed their antics so comprehensively. On 24 December, I doubt whether many of PSINet's key UK staff were operating. A telephone call to support, followed by a fax request to "detag our domain as we won't be using it any more" might produce an interesting result, might it not? Especially since one imagines PSINet UK have a handy internal Web front end tool for support staff to use to register/modify/detag domains, and that support staff on 24 December might have had other things on their mind, and when one considers how easy faxes are to fake (which makes it hard to understand why so many UK ISPs insist on them for such requests, rather than an email originating from the customer concerned's netblock, or a PGP signed email from the admin contact of the domain concerned).

      Anthony Edwards
  • And all the other servicemen.

    As an prior Security Force Marine I can't remember the number of holidays I spent in a guard shack. We used to draw little christmas trees and tape it to the bullet proof glass. It was against regulations but every year it seemed to get overlooked.

    A few Years ago I remeber hearing the base commander had driven all over camp Pendelton on christmas eve and brought a mug of hot Chocolat to every Marine on guard duty. There were probably to many for him to get them all, but the fact he took time out of his holidays to do that was something many of the marines never forgot.

    Semper Fi to all the Marines and other service men and women out there.
  • Many of us can remember working through many holidays during 1999 -- single handily holding off impending doom from the evils of Y2K...I think since then people have just figured that us "computer nerds" don't mind putting in a few extra hours over the holiday.
  • If you have livestock, they still want to eat and get cleaned up after. Every day. They don't have weekends, vacations, or holidays. Neither do you, unless you can afford to hire some grunts. In which case the grunts don't get the holiday off.

    Same for doctors, cops, firemen, etc.

    Oh wait, you meant only geek jobs that don't get the holidays off? Picky picky. :)

  • I'm in Turkey, where it isn't a holiday, so I'm working. Actually, they would've given me the day off, but since my family isn't here, there wasn't much point.

    A few weeks ago was Ramadan, where observant folks fast during daylight hours. At the end of that was 3 days of Bayram, which is when people go around visiting family and friends. Bayram is a non-work holiday, but I work in a data center, so it was work as usual.

    As a note, Muslim holidays are based on a lunar calendar, so they don't come at the same time every year - sometimes Ramadan is during the summer. So you can't really assume that December is a holiday pretty much everywhere.
  • Two come to mind immediately:

    1) People at warranty companies. NeW (the company that OfficeMax and Best Buy go through) and GE all boast 24/7 technical support on many items (printers and scanners, etc.) Obviously there needs to be someone there to pick up the phones. I have a friend that used to work at technical support and he would tell the usual horror stories, the usual idiotic customers and the usual rude customer. I'm not sure if customers tend to be better or not in Christmas, it could go either way (the stress from the holiday season and the product not working could cause rude customers, but then again the cheer and joy of the moment may cause more understanding customers... it could be a wash).

    2) A job at a wearhouse or major department store.

    This is a job I do not envy at all. I know a guy who works at Sears. People go there and buy large items for their families (usually sons or daughters) but pick them up later. Of course, Sears oversells all of these products, so on Christmas Eve when these customers come back to pick up the product they already paid for, its HIS job to tell them "oops ... we oversold that item, sorry. Oh yeah, there's no more left in the district." He told me that one guy actually brought the Sears worker over to his son and said "See him Son? He ruined Christmas for us."

    That's some messed up shit.
  • I worked in retail.

    I worked at Price Club, then PriceCostco, then Costco.

    XMas was a dark horrible time filled with dark horrible people who sucked the life from my weary, heavy heart.

    Some of the bastards worked me like a rented mule even though was struggling through finals and others were hideous pod people sprouted from Hell to shop and bust balls. The rest was 'bicker without ceasing' family.

    Now I actually have a job where the boss comes into my office on the 20th and says, "Jesus Christ Lou, go home, and don't come back until the third!"

    Alas this year he and his marketing wife had their first baby a few days before X Mas so I have to work tomorrow.

    That aside I really love the holidays now. Especially the part where my 2 year old boy hands me his homemade thing-a-ma-bob and says, "I _do_ love you daddy!"
  • I did! (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'm a volunteer firefighter and I ended up pulling a 12 hour shift christmas eve-christmas day. I figured : "Hey, I'm young, unattached why not?", and it wasn't that bad. I higly encourage anyone who has any interest in become a firefighter to look in to it. It's great fun, very rewarding, and a chance to help people. Personally, I think that this year's christmas eve was the best I've had in a while, It was very nice to completely avoid the commercialism that sometimes surounds christmas.

    Merry Christmas! Be Safe!
  • I married on December 31st. Now add in IT work, when this is a great day for taking down things to work on them. Now think of how many times this work goes without a hitch.

    That's why I may have a halo at work, but sleep in the dog house. Oh, yeah, my wife is a programmer. You would figure she'd understand, right? Nah! Go figure.

  • Bob Cratchet got Christmas off. I, on the other hand, do not, despite it being an "official" company holiday and having made travel plans and requested vacation days (which were approved) in *September*.

    The conversation with my boss went something like this:

    Boss: "We need you to come in on Tuesday -- we have to upgrade a customer system in Taiwan and we'll need you there if something goes wrong."
    Me: "But I'm not customer service or support! I'm the Release Engineer! Besides, I haven't seen my family in a year! I'm flying out day after tomorrow!"
    Boss: "Well, some of the developers are coming in."
    Me: "Yeah? They're Chinese nationals on H1-B visas who are afraid you'll have them deported if they say no. Besides, I already cut short my Thanksgiving vacation for you!"
    Boss: [waving hand] "You can can work on Christmas; you can always see your family later."
    Me: "I can work on Christmas; I can always see my family later."

    Pathetic, eh? The worst part is that this isn't even an emergency; my boss just decided that the 25th was as good a time as ever. So, I sat at work for 7 hours and they didn't even need me to be there. To cap it all off, my boss finished up the day by thanking us for coming in, telling us he'll "need us in all day tomorrow", and finished off with his morale-building "don't forget, the economy is bad and you won't find another job" speech.

    I really, really miss the .com days where employers had to kiss your ass -- my girlfriend has been out of work for three months, and I'm fresh enough out of school that I'm not positive I could find another job right away (we'd be completely broke in two weeks with neither of us working). As soon as things recover a bit I'm out of this soulless excuse for a company.

    And maybe I'll call Microsoft and tell 'em about the company's somewhat lax policy towards licensing all the software we include on our systems.

  • Mom and dad (separated) both decided to have "the kids" on the 26th....

    Then it doesn't really matter anymore, I can just as well do some work-things...

  • ...but now I have a daughter that's 1.5 years, which is just old enough to understand opening presents and getting stuff, and young enough that everything is new and wonderful and amazing.

    This is the first time I've cared about christmas in probably 10 years. Of course, I'm also deleriously tired from being up till the wee hours assembling stuff christmas eve and being awakened at 7am, and having to stay up tonight assembling all the stuff she got from her grandparents. Oh well, every pleasure has it's price...

  • the holidays (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devonbowen ( 231626 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2001 @04:13AM (#2751272) Homepage
    enjoying what most in the world (especially in America) would consider "the Holidays"

    I'll give you the "in America" part but the "most in the world" part is incredibly wrong. While Christianity is the dominant religion in the world, it is no where near half. Most in the world today were working and trying to earn enough to feed their families like any other day.


  • I work in a company that provides technical support. Hence, despite Christmas, we are working. The bad news is that most of our support engineers are here in India, and so it is only 24th in US when it is 25th here. So, most of these guys have to work on 25th (Indian time), and usually they don't have much of a choice.

    And no, not everyone is India is a Hindu, there is a significant amount of Christian, Moslem and Jewish population here.
  • by T1girl ( 213375 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2001 @12:52PM (#2752129) Homepage
    Yesterday I got up early, made omelettes, cooked a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, set out the good china, served up the food, played board games with the kids, visited relatives, etc., having spent the previous three days baking, shoppping, wrapping, scrubbing, entertaining, refereeing, etc. Today I'm back at "work" at the office, sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a computer screen all day with few distractions. Last Christmas I had plenty of time to spend with the family because I was in the middle of being downsized, so I was glad to have a job to go to this morning, although I could have used a little more sleep.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  • enjoying what most in the world (especially in America) would consider "the Holidays"


    Most people in the world do not consider this time of year as 'the Holidays'. A minority do.

    Mathematically speaking there are 1.8 billion Christians in the world: less than 1/3 of the global population. There are 1.1 billion Muslims, 800 million Hindus, 350 million Buddhists, nearly 1 billion 'others' and 1 billion people without a religion. Within 25 years, Islam is projected to be the largest religion in the world.

    Religion is much more central to the daily lives of most people in the world outside of the secularized West, where the holidays are primarily a commercial event. Don't forget that the word 'holiday" is derived from 'holy day'.

    Before making broad, sweeping pronouncements such as the one you made above, make sure that you don't have basic facts wrong. Travel the world and see how other people live. It's one of the best ways I know of to learn and to think outside of our Western-centric box

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.