A Long Descent Into The Cargo Cult

After departing this morning on a mission my failures had made urgent, the first stop was Thot Computacion.

The mission was get out the door by 8:00 and thusly the walk continues. This place gets a return trip.

Hard to tell if this is an eviction, renovation, or ransacking, but this is the only storefront on its block with an open door.

Ah, they moved and left an open door and a telephone number. No, the telephone number was not answered when called. Double checking their website reveals they still advertise La Avenida General Riviera 3387 as their place of business.

Closed as well at this hour. Gets a return visit later.

Closed as well. And that exhausts the contenders on La Avenida General Riviera.

A few meters from the address advertised as "Sampler"  is INTERWEB CYBER-KIOSCO, and no. Their networking setup didn't appear to be more than consumer gear. Of the firms listed they felt NNet was the most promising because "They sell so many different things on Mercado Libre".

Optics are weird.

On the way to the next cluster of stores, there is an Obelisk.

And a church.

And THE Tres Cruces Cruz. There apparently are not and never were. Another warning sign I should have heeded.

Here we have the location where Fast Import claims to do business.

It is now 9:30 and the hereto highly recommended NNet is open.

And so they are. The other customers are picking up their online orders from Mercado Libre. When I present my shopping list to the clerks, they promptly recommend Technolyn S.A. and give directions. The reversed the number of blocks between turns, but anticipating that I got the address and the trip was uneventful. If you need a blender and Kingston SSD in the same trip, NNet probably isn't a bad place to go. Cheaper than Tienda Inglesa.

The interior of Technolyn S.A. is as dark as the exterior suggests. Yes they have 42U racks on display in the window. With the exception of one narrow walkway the floor was stacked with boxes of merchandise. A wide variety of cables, PDU's, and other materials were on display. When the idiot I first talked to said they have 2U rackmount boxes, they lost interest in the conversation because I wanted 12 and they only had 2, I made the decision to check out a couple other stores and return when hopefully someone less retarded was available.

Another Church

The address of Ok Computers. Gate to the door open, but no response at the door to attempts at communication. No signage indicating that this is the location of a store calling itself "Ok Computers", and attempts to contact them online have repeatedly been ignored. I have to assume they aren't in any business at all.

The address listed for Tecno 18. On La Avenida 18 de Julio, which everthing printed about Uruguay proclaims as the principal calle de Montevideo.

The gals at the Pharmacy were very glad to helpfully confirm that Tecno 18 was indeed closed forever and not hiding upstairs.

Girl Power Gas Station. At this point I returned to Technolyn, found someone less retarded. They showed my the one 2U server chassis they had in the store, explained they might have two more in their warehouse but needed to check their condition. I let them photocopy my shopping list, including the other stores I would be visiting and explained I would like a quote for everything this afternoon, because they like apparently everyother self declared place of commerce is closed Lunes y Viernes por Carnaval. When I asked the proprietor if he could suggest other vendors that might have the required form of chassis, he replied "No, in Montevideo that is very hard to find." On the way to the next Tienda it broke out in a downpour, so I hired a car to take me to my desk and put in writing to the one business I found so far with a single 2U chassis, that I would like a quote this afternoon.1

At the start of this exercise I though I had made a grave error in my priorities. At this point in the exercise I realized that I had no idea what grave was when I started walking today. The one store so far that looked like it almost knew what it was doing had a single 2U case and a bunch of whole racks. If this was learned in December we could have started slow boating materials over or pulled out and tried a different Orcistan. In January we could have spread the load between multiple Lords of the Republic.

It is by Mircea Popescu's grace I have the opportunity to be in South America, and the biggest failure here is mine. My choices and decisions has lead to a situation where my Patron wants me to house his hardware, and not only can I not provide the most basic supporting materials this is being discovered at the worst time. Everybit of this failure is mine.

Now let us return to the lesser failures:

I returned to Thot, recieved a simple "No tengo" and no recommendation for other suppliers.

As a revisit the rest of the Avenida General Riviera tiendas, I can't believe I missed this the first time. The escuela de informatica para adultos gave up, quit, and the cursed ground on which they tried is one again for rent.

Techno Paz. The first person I talked to could not stop imagining I wanted a rack, like they had their wifi stuff in, but only 2U in height. The other fellow there promptly shooed her away and had me put on the phone with the owner. No boxes were seen, but he had confidence he could "find some" in Montevideo. This is the exact sort of statement I am developing a strong allergy to.2

Game Gear, the most helpful visit of the trip. The fellow at the desk made it clear what I was looking for there and proceeded to try to help find who might have some. I gave him my lsit of stores without telling him which I had visited, and based on his accurate descriptions of the places I been I had a lot less faith in the places I would be going next. He knew why I wanted rackmount equipment3 and explained that here people tend to do the factory authorized distributor thing for servers, though he has had customers do the tower server thing when all their business needs is a one off. He recommended the already contacted Technolyn who I was awaiting response from, and an outfit called Banifox. He suggested I didn't have to visit all the stores, but I fucked up and now I have a mission. We managed to eliminate The Miami Shop and Newtek Computers via telephone.

If you need to build a desktop computer in Montevideo, you can't find better customer service than Game Gear provides.

Banifox is almost the opposite of Technolyn. It is a big well lit warehouse space. Product is carefully merchandised for maximum gloss. They have one 4U rackable cabinet. As is apparently Uruguayan tradition I missed earlier being blinded by the beef, I sought clarification and one means one item on hand. Not that they stock one sku for the type of item.

At this point it was time to hire a car and skip to the South end of the city and walk back home through the last few candiates.

I was greeted at infoland with "We only work with big businesses." I reply with "I am a big business." There is a bunch of Argentine style back and forth about applying to be a customer. I am dumbfounded until I finally read her business card a few blocks away. "Microsoft Gold Certified Partner"

Wasn't on the list, but confirmed anyways. Art Computer does not sell rackmount boxes.

Compusys spends more merchandising space on dolls with big heads than the rest of their classes of merchandise. Also does not have 2U boxes.

This store does do the hide upstairs thing. After consulting the doorman across the street and being pointed to the right door, I was greeted enthusiastically. As though customers finding World Master is a rare joy. Their enthusiasm deflated completely when my ask was rackmount boxes.

More than the other failures of mine, this one hurts. Living through a dim reflection of my own failure repeatedly today as unwittingly reenacted by the locals was unpleasant. For me I can see where there'd be humor in this exercise if this were December, I had just arrived and this inadequacy in the locals was uncovered then. Instead here I am eating my own dogshit because February is a third of the way done, the rack is sitting empty, and I have most certainly more than disappointed the man who was kind enough to not only give me a chance but bankroll it.

The cargo cult is a thing. That I did not probe to see just how deep it was until now, that failure is all mine.


  1. After sending a reminder just before 17:00 I revieved at 19:07 the following:

    Hi Aaron,

    Please excuse me I didn’t answer you before.

    The only thing I can inform you is that we have only one complete 2U cabinet. The other one is uncomplete.

    For the rest of the items please contact my workmate Pablo who has your list.

    I’m going on holidays for the next two weeks so I won’t be in the office on Wednesday if you come.

    Regards.

    Renata

    With no contact information for Pablo. 

  2. He did finally send an email at 19:18 local time after promising a call:

    Hi Aaron, I may be abble to find for you same 1 U and 2 U cases. But as
    you may know it is Carnaval here and nobody will be working until
    Wednesday.

    So, talk to you then.

     

  3. Airflow, heat control, etc  

7 thoughts on “A Long Descent Into The Cargo Cult

    • I've been told the 4U are more common here, but I have not seen enough of the product to believe they are around in useful quantities.

  1. That freaking holiday ethic they've got down there, what a bitch (among the various other bitches).

    Anyway, as much as it may suck, a lesson truly learned is an inviolably valuable thing. Thanks for letting us all ride along.

    • Thank you. I'm writing up the plan for how to do shared hosting and a report on the LACNIC IP address situation to live on the blog and in the record as opposed to napkin scribblings in the logs, notebooks, and actual napkins.

      Somewhere between getting off the plane and now I seem to have let my initial "I am trying not to die" panic turn into sloth as I let the locals colonize my mind and habits. Not with their overt "Ya Socialism" but with the toxic habits that follow from there.

      This was a hell of a wake up call.

  2. "We managed to eliminate The Miami Shop and Newtek Computers via telephone" << Yeah, but no. He who seeks, finds. You need to think of the entirety of south america as a slow-motion war zone where civilians are not necessarily going to showcase their stash to any random person off the street. Beyond the fact that USG spooks have ruined THE ENTIRE CONTINENT by setting these poor confused peoples at war with their own countrymen, these tepid businessman have to (in rotation) bend knee to local governments, revolutionaries, counter-revolutionaries and drug dealers.

    I suggest you go back to each of these establishments (MS, NC + each previously visited) and take the following photos:

    (FULL-FRONTAL "Back up until the entire doorway is in the frame AND WE CAN SEE THE ADJACENT BUILDINGS. Stand in the middle of the street. Nobody is going to 'drunk driver' you quite yet.")

    (INVENTORY "Photos of all inventory in the shop. If they ask why, tell them what it is that S.BISP does & ~'I can't find rackmount boxes anywhere, but my partner/manager/investor might want to buy up some of your inventory and re-purpose it as hosting equipment.' The shopkeep is more likely to 'suddenly remember' that they have them warehoused somewhere or to call for the person ACTUALLY IN CHARGE if you give them a chance to help. Not because of some magic property of 'helping makes the world go round, kumbayaya', but because you're rooting around in their brainstem with all the very pointed pictures mixed with the pointed requests mixed with lack of products in your bags and money in their pocket. If they have any instinct at all, this will tug at it.")

    (SHOPKEEP "Nicely ask the shopkeep if you can take a picture for your partner/manager/investor. Record his/her name & thank them. If they want to know WHY tell them that you're compiling a database for your partner/manager/investor that has an advanced graphical interface that will showcase their face next to an inventory listing & picture of the store 'sort of like google business, but more sophisticated and angled at corporate customers wanting to do business in south america'. Double check the facebook page / website / phone number with them as a BARE MINIMUM if they refuse. Make a point of writing down your phone number & handing it to each one of them so they can contact you in a moment of clarity. AT THE VERY LEAST ALL THE QUESTIONS & ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR WILL GET YOU REPORTED TO THE PERSON IN CHARGE, WHICH IS WHAT YOU WANT.")

    Then make a lisp list for each one of these stores:

    (NAME LATITUDE LONGITUDE PHOTO-ALBUM-ID PHONE-NUMBER LIST-OF-URLS LIST-OF-EMAILS LIST-OF-SHOPKEEPS)

    • If Mircea Popescu feels this is a prudent move, I can proceed with this level of detail. And I could check every location of "Zona Techno" and "Zona Laptop" as well. "Zona Laptop" is the store with desktop power cords, "Zona Techno" is the one without. Each store stocks one length of network cable. Both stores dedicate a full height section of wall space to merchandising bluetooth speakers.

      Many of the stores visited but especially Gamer Gear, Banicroft, Techno City, and Thot Computacion displayed boxes for AMD Ryzen processors (did not spend time verifying actual contents) and the sort of Reddit favored PC cases stuffed full of Red, Blue, or Green leds.

      Someone, somewhere figured out how to get shit into this country and proceeded to decide to serve an enthusiast gaming market that may or may not exist. The number of stores closed forever suggests attempts to satisfy the gamers are oversaturated given the poverty of this country. That they failed to try bringing in the sort of sheetmetal that makes business possible, and which there is a dearth of selling competition for…

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