back to article BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So I'm doing some documentation – which we all know is a waste of my valuable time because everything I do is self-documenting – and the Boss walks in. "How's that documentation coming along?" he asks, looking at a long list of items on his personnel disorganiser. "It stopped the …

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  1. Maverick
    Unhappy

    all the hours that I spent on technical documentation not wasted then?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      If it was measured as a KPI then no obv. Although I have some grim experiences of 'self documenting code' (and to be fair some good ones) over the years

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Pint

      "You know this is a technical document, right?" "Made for technical people?"

      All my documentation starts with a disclaimer "This guide documents $COMPANY standards and is intended for the use of staff already trained on $TECHNOLOGY". Y'know, when the manufacturer guide says "This is how to partition your disk as required", I document* the partition sizes to be used, but not how to do it.

      * Though just printing out the config of a gold build and writing BOFH-type guides instead might be a better use of my time. "How to securely decommission a server (with a rubber mallet and a cattle prod)".

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    cliffhanger of note

  3. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The meeting has been a blend of the kind of misogyny and racism you'd expect from a major political leader rather than someone who lives in the 21st century.

    Oooh the BOFH goes political.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      ...because PC attitude and the BOFH are inseparable, much like oil and water! And what is this anti-alcoholic nonsense? Who are you and what have you done with the real Simon?!?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        obligitory

        RE: PC attitude

        I dunno, *MY* smug sense of superiority is not because of their skin tone or because of the arrangement of their plumbing.

        Its because they're *USERS*

        Anon, in case the joke icon wasn't enough.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: obligitory

          I think you'll find it's LUsers*

          *Local Users

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: obligitory

            And on the top rungs of the corporate ladder we find Type A and Type B Users* who have the very best kit but require someone else to operate it for them.

            * A/B-Users

      2. Morten_T
        Joke

        "...because PC attitude and the BOFH are inseparable..."

        I think you mean 'PC altitude' - roughly 4th floor, right over £1 coin superglued to the sidewalk as the PHB tries to pick it up

    2. Dr. G. Freeman

      Not really,

      Wasn't specific on which political leader, and sadly the quote can be applied to oh so many of them. So, it may be about a politician, the joke isn't of itself political.

      (yes, I've had to explain political humour to HR recently, for my "not my fault, I voted for Kodos" poster)

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        I voted for Cthulhu. Why vote for the lesser evil?

        1. Ron Christian

          Wow, so did I. So why didn't he win?

      2. ma1010 Silver badge
        Coat

        I know who you mean!

        ...not my fault, I voted for Kodos.

        <sad old geek mode>

        When I read that, the first thing I thought of was the character "Kodos the Executioner" from the original Star Trek series.

        </sad old geek mode>

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: I know who you mean!

          @ma1010

          Don't worry, mate - that was my first thought as well and I'm still in my twenties, so you're still in youthful company.

        2. kkt

          Re: I know who you mean!

          It's NOT about Kodos the Executioner?

    3. Alan W. Rateliff, II

      Oooh the BOFH goes political.

      We missed the small print which reads "this week's episode edited by Kieren McCarthy."

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "this week's episode edited by Kieren McCarthy."

        Would that explain the typo? I'm gonna be a Bastard Proof Reader From Hell and not actually point out where it is.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    Technical, English and Idiot.

    I am fluent in all three of those languages, but in Idiot only because of deep exposure to their culture.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

      Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you through experience.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

        That, a million time that! Get that man a beer!

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

        "Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you through experience."

        See how you can't start a subject like this without dragging in Trump and Brexit?

        In this case the icon just means "flames".

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

          I often write instructions in Idiot.

          They generally feature lots of pictures with arrows and circles added in 'thick red'.

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

            Me too. Unfortunately the users then try to click/press on the pictures in the documentation rather than the corresponding one in the program...

            1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

              "I know only 3 languages, Technical, Plain English and Idiot."

              Neat, very neat phrase indeed. Must use this one on more annoying students and/or management (annoying is the default mode for management).

              Might have to extend that as I also can do "Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands" (==Plain Dutch) and "Idioot" (take a wild guess)

              1. ArrZarr Silver badge

                Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

                I have "Fully bilingual in both developer and client" written on my CV, honed after years of translating between the two.

              2. Grikath Silver badge
                Angel

                Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

                @ MHF Wilkinson : "management" is the fourth stage in the progression nowadays. Idiots can't help being what they are. Management tends to be deliberately obtuse.

                Forcing Manglement to speak proper dutch is a neverending source of entertainment at dreary meetings.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

                  I like the idea of forcing management to speak dutch and I'm in the UK

              3. Celeste Reinard

                Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

                O, I always thought that Plain Dutch was 'Jip en Janneketaal', laced with 'Bootwerker' (which roughly translates as 'Harlot'), while ABN was bankers lingo, hiding their incompetence (or general state of confusion, hence the empty stares when you ask something in 'Jip en Janneke') behind multisylabic 'Idiot', but I get your point.

                1. Uffish

                  Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

                  My moderately fluent version of French, after thirty years of working in France, is a mix of basic French from half-remembered O level and a book on irregular verbs (the 'Jip en Janneke') plus a lot of 'argot' (the 'Bootwerker'). Works fine but causes some amusement in polite society.

          2. tony trolle
            Pirate

            Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

            The joy of M$ Paint. also funny watching managers try and copy your work and do the same "highlights" in a PowerPoint presentation

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

            I often write instructions in Idiot.

            They generally feature lots of pictures with arrows and circles added in 'thick red'.

            Then you have to send out another copy because they lost the first set.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

        @Nick Ryan - can't ignore that, but I'm not going to argue.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

      Technical and English can be learned in schools. Idiot requires on the job training to learn it properly. Idiots always astound me by their inventiveness in using their stupidity. <sigh>

  5. IglooDude

    "You wouldn't expect to open a textbook on knot theory and understand the mathematical equations therein would you?"

    Well played, sir...

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      To be honest... While at Uni the math dept. there had some large boards out in the hallways on knot theory, and the Stuff on it lost me in about 30 seconds. I still maintain they had that stuff out there to ensure Peace and Quiet in their bit of the building. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment...

    2. onefang Silver badge
      Coat

      "You wouldn't expect to open a textbook on knot theory and understand the mathematical equations therein would you?"

      The correct response to that question is "I'm afraid not.".

      I'd get my coat, but it's rather tangled right now.

    3. wjake

      Knot theory is complicated!

      The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and back into the hole...

      1. Chris Holford
        Boffin

        -a bowline?

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Did you find out how deep the rabbit hole went?

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

    Smooth! I like the non-answer answer... And true, most PHB's shovel BS most of the time, they should wear gloves. Some also shovel hot air, not sure how they do it?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

      I see their role as:

      You insulate me from the BS that comes from above.

      I'll insulate you from the people desperately trying to make you understand deeply technical issues and tell you what you need to do.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

      It's true PHBs have to shovel stuff. If they're good at it, they shovel it away from the project critical path. If they're bad at it, they shovel it the other way.

      But hot air - that's easy. What do you think the fan was doing in the moments before the excrement hit it?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

        "It's true PHBs have to shovel stuff. If they're good at it"

        If they're good at it by definition they're not a PHB.

    3. fandom Silver badge

      Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

      That was weird, wasn't Simon implying that the Boss actually does valuable work?

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

        I suspect expert window lock tester is coming up in his future at some point.....

      2. Joe Werner
        Coat

        Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

        My thoughts exactly. But as commented above: if they are worth their pay they help the project / job / whatever, or at least act as a DMZ to deflect incoming interference from above. Oh, and make sure the techies in their jeans-and-dirty-t-shirt (or around here: outdoor trousers + t-shirt) are kept away from the upper floors... and yes, this sort of works for me at the moment.

        ... the GoreTEX one please, the one in expedition quality...

        (WHO are you calling an Anorak?!)

        1. sandman

          Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

          I had a great boss a while back who said to us: "You all know what you're doing, it's my job to shield you from the political crap." He did - resulting in a happy, productive department while he basked in our success and gained (as we did to a lesser extent, obviously) much in the way of bonuses.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

            I'm working on something similar at the moment with an old colleague. Really looking forward to it.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

              We have a new person at work, and his job is mainly to shield us from customers.

              That way I can get on with developing and support with supporting.

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