back to article BOFH: Can't you just ... NO, I JUST CAN'T

"EVERYONE IS A F**KING EXCEPTION!" the PFY snarls - beating me to the very same exclamation by nanoseconds. "What do you mean everyone is an exception?" the Boss asks. "It's the life of a bloody systems admin, people want you to make exceptions for them!" the PFY shouts. "Passwords, web filters, extra file space. People want …

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  1. MikeyD85
    Thumb Up

    Spot on

    Working in support I get this every day... I need a cattle prod...

    1. Dave the Cat
      Thumb Up

      Re: Spot on

      "I need a cattle prod..."

      Seconded!! Alternatively, have they started selling Tasers to mebers of the public yet???

      ** wanders off to find Taser website.....

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Mushroom

        Re: Spot on

        "have they started selling Tasers to mebers of the public yet???"

        No, but you can make one easily from the guts of a disposable flash camera :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spot on

          Oh, forgot about doing that, after occidentally zapping myself as a kid on one. I'm sure I have the bits somewhere...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Spot on

            I have always found the capacitors from a camera flash to be a bit weedy, it depends if you want a quick refresh time of an almighty jolt with very slow refresh.

            I go for slow charge and almighty jolt which is why I use a capacitor from an old power supply. Mine is built to recharge from an old motorcycle battery which makes it a bit more bulky.

        2. laird cummings
          Pirate

          RE: No, but...

          They do over here in the States. How high you want your zappies to go? I've got a catalog right here hawking units up to 1 megavolt...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spot on

      > Working in support I get this every day... I need a cattle prod..

      When the phone rings and the amoeboid life-form on the other end begins the conversation with "Hi, just a quick question." I know immediately that the rest of my day is fucked....

      1. ArmanX

        Re: Spot on

        >When the phone rings and the amoeboid life-form on the other end begins the conversation with "Hi, just a quick question." I know immediately that the rest of my day is fucked....

        Not terribly long ago, our phones got updated, from standard wired phones to IP phones. The test phones we got had a very special fault... the phones have a multicolored LED, to show messages, incoming calls, whatever. However, the engineering phones were missing those LEDs - and furthermore, had a small metal plate covering the hole. Get a call from that annoying guy in marketing? No problem! Just call his phone from another line, and he'll be signaled that he has an incoming line - by pulsing the "LED" - aka, his head.

        To the disappointment of IT, the phones we ended up with had an LED on the base, rather than the handset...

    3. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Spot on

      "I need a cattle prod..."

      ...and a roll of old carpet in the corner of your office?

    4. Marcelo Rodrigues
      Devil

      Re: Spot on

      I need an elephant prod! Cattle prod just isn't... enough.

  2. Si 1
    Thumb Up

    F***ing brilliant

    This is so true it's practically the exact conversation I have every other day (except without the cattle prod and carpet roll sadly). The moment you start letting the lusers dictate stuff like this is the moment you lose control over your systems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: F***ing brilliant

      Where do you get your quicklime?

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        For quicklime just watch old episodes of Time Team where they show you all sorts of useful stuff like baking limestone to make quicklime, stratification of soil layers to generate an appropriate age of your artifact (a skull for instance) and all sorts of other trivia

        1. mark 63 Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: F***ing brilliant

          I'd say the reason the answer is no a lot of the time is because the user is trying to do something moronic.

          Half the requests I get in I have have to think "what the hell? why? what are are they actually trying to achieve?"

          heres how to do it properly.... - see? quicker, easier and within the rules.

          I have to be half solutions architect and half mind reader - which dosent leabe much space for the actual job of supporting the system

          1. Shagbag

            the user is trying to do something moronic

            PEBKAC.

      2. Karl Vegar
        Black Helicopters

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        Might be quick lime is reserved those with a legitimate use for it. Farmers, construction workers and such I guess. But any kind of heavy duty caustic drain cleaner would do the trick in a pinch...

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: F***ing brilliant

      Shocking, isn't it, that the needs of the people who do stuff and earn money should take precedence over the desire of sysadmins to have a nice easy life with uniform rules.

      Can you imagine what it would be like if doctors and lawyers had to tailor their advice and actions to the needs of their clients instead of using the same pill / letter for everyone.

      TL;DR: Supporting people is your job. Stop fucking whinging and start fucking supporting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

        Yes, because if doctors simply succumbed to the whim of every patient, nobody would be addicted to any medication or suffer from any side effects or ...

        Procedures are in place for a king reason. Password complexity helps keep hackers out etc. We don't do it for fun you know.

        Yes we support people, but that is because those people need our support.

        Tw@

        1. Morphius
          Alert

          Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

          "Yes we support people, but that is because those people need our support."

          An error there:

          "Yes we support people, but that is because those people need our support due to not understanding things such as humour or not reading them to the end"

          Point proven above.

          I do agree with the article... it is exceptions which lead to unexpected consequences as the system was designed before the exception was requested and usually for good reason.

          Everyone thinks they are important enough to need an exception, but are they important enough to take the blame when things go wrong as a result of going against the procedures?

          1. I think so I am?
            Thumb Up

            Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

            That's why you have a little document that informs them that they will now accept all risk for the potential damage of their exception.

            Making someone sign their name on the dotted line for liability is a fantastic enlightening tool, you soon find they piss off back to their little cubical .

            Technical IT Risk and Governance !

          2. JimC Silver badge

            Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

            Mmmm, or possibly how many FTEs do you want to make redundant from your department to free up headcount for the extra support staff we'll need if we build in all this extra complexity in the infrastructure?

            Cheap/secure/flexible : you can have one, with luck we may approach two, but all three is absolutely impossible.

        2. Nigel 11

          Password complexity

          Unfortunately in the real world, if they can't use "123456" or something short and crude, they write it down on a post-it pad and attach it to their monitor.

          1. Ru
            Holmes

            Re: Password complexity

            I suspect that given a suitably secure office, the old postit-on-monitor approach to security is not nearly as bad as having a lousy password on a device that may be easily stolen or accessed from anywhere on the internet. Cleaning staff are usually the flaw in that approach, however.

            I'm a fan of 2-factor stuff, myself... TOTP dongles and smartcard access can reduce the impact of a multitude of sins.

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

          > because if doctors simply succumbed to the whim of every patient

          They do that's the problem

          It would be easier to just give this women with a cold an antibiotic, it won't do any good but it will get rid of her

          10years later - antibiotics are useless because everyone handed them out like sweeties

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Phil W

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        Missing the point much?

        This isn't about support staff not wanting to actually provide support.

        It's about support staff providing support, within the boundaries of company policies and legal requirements, and without compromising the security or functionality of the very systems they want to use.

        User asks me for a password change, or access to a file share, reasonable requests they get done.

        "Can you let me individually encrypt a file on a file share, because we only want 4 of the 10 people who can access the share to see it?"

        The answer is no.

        Encrypted files can't be backed up by the backup system because it can't read them which causes the entire backup job to halt. Does the user understand that backing up all the companies files is more important than him encrypting one file? Of course not he wants us to "just make an exception this once".

        Agreeing to this "simple" request for one user compromises a service provided for everyone else.

        Giving the user what they want because it makes their life easier, is all well and good. But not when it causes other problems.

        Personally I'm usually quite happy to find an alternative solution for the user. But I often find in many cases the user refuses to accept the alternative simply because they don't understand why they can't have it their own way.

        1. Phil W

          Re: F***ing brilliant

          Oh and additionally, yes there are occasions where support staff may refuse a request to do something because they don't want to do the work involved, but this isn't due to laziness (at least not always!) it's actually because we know there is a way for the user to do it themselves which requires 10 times less work than if we did it the way they wanted.

          Refusing to do the work in that case is a good decision for the company, not laziness.

          Which is more productive for the company?

          10 hours of IT support time setting up some new system or process

          or

          1 hour of a users time learning how to use something that already exists and using it to get the result they need?

          Of course most users don't understand the above because they are unaware of how much time is involved in what they've asked for, they only care about how much of their time is involved.

          1. Number6

            Re: F***ing brilliant

            I've been there, worked for a company where the sysadmin had everything nailed down. I couldn't fault the procedures or restrictions because I'd have done something similar if I'd been in charge. However, his defaults were totally unintuitive to me and I kept bumping into things because I'd learned something slightly different. The development team did usually manage to talk him into granting admin access to their machines though, because otherwise he'd have been buried under a stream of requests for specific bits of software that were necessary for the job. The 'standard build' isn't always helpful.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        "Supporting people is your job. Stop fucking whinging and start fucking supporting"

        - Dealing with encyption is hard. Support us by removing the need to encrypt data being taken off the premises.

        - Having remote access to the company systems is so useful that everyone should have it by default. Please support us by making this happen.

        - Password complexity and reuse limits are onerous. Please let us use whatever passwords we like.

        - Virus scanners slow our computers down. Please remove them from our systems.

        - I want to be able to install my own software on my work PC. Please make me an admin.

        I tell you what. Please stake your career on the fact that the requests you make to circumvent company policy will not cause anyone any problems. In the event of these problems I'm expecting you to state clearly that these changes were your idea, that any resulting security catastrophes should be laid at your feet, and that the support staff were obliged to support you and rightly had no power to veto your decisions. I'd like this in writing, please, and signed by your line manager.

        TL;DR: I'm not willing to sacrifice my job for your temporary convenience. Stop fucking whinging and start taking some fucking responsibility.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: F***ing brilliant

          Stop ..whinging and start taking some ...responsibility.

          This is exactly the approach that organizations should take to security. Policy should be set by leadership who assume the risk of those same policies. The folks in charge of implementation should not also be in charge of policy. The first question that should be asked of anyone making a request for an exception are, "Are you authorized and willing to accept the risk?" Sometimes it helps to educate those making the decisions, though, using easily-understandable terms... and diagrams... and PowerPoint slides...

      5. Helldesk Dogsbody
        Flame

        Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

        Try saying that when you're on the receiving end of a Sarbanes Oxley access review and some fucknugget "made an exception" - the auditors couldn't give a toss, procedure wasn't followed and they're going to hammer the nearest approximately responsible person for it. In this context the word "just" is instantly greeted by the word "NO!" as loudly as you can shout it.

        Rules are there for a reason in the IT domain, where access and accounts are concerned it's usually because it's a legal requirement. We aren't beancounters, we don't file paperwork in triplicate for the fun of it.

      6. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        And when the lazy fuck who couldn't use a different password than his username has his account hacked, and the payroll database gets thrashed... what then?

        The NO EXCEPTIONS rule is to stop 'little concessions' from blowing up and wrrecking the day for everyone else!

        FYI; in my organisation we have 6000 employees, 200 locations, 8000 PCs and 350+ different applications. Letting someone 'update Java on their PC so that they can access their online bank' is likely to break quite a few of them. The 'classic' Hotbar IE addon broke one, (not my fault that we use IE. ) We have a ginormous fileshare with areas locked down by groups. Before we got THAT thing sorted, we often had to restore because a clumsy user stumbled upon something he shouldn't(such as the Delete key), now they only manage to ruin the day for the grest of their group.

        1. Vic

          Re: F***ing brilliant

          > The NO EXCEPTIONS rule is to stop 'little concessions' from blowing up

          I don't have a "NO EXCEPTIONS" rule. I have an "I'll need written authorisation for that" rule.

          I occasionally get a frustrated CxO coming to have a shout at me. I'll explain the reason I need authorisation, then leave it to him whether or not the exception happens.

          It's amazing how much less likely things are to get authorised when you insist on someone "important" putting it in writing that they are taking responsibility for the action...

          Vic.

      7. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        @Ian Johnston

        1) Doctors don't like it if their patients go to them and tell them how to do their job. Try going to your GP and asking for "XYZ medication because I have ABC syndrome, I know because I googled it." You'll probably find some special acronyms written in your patient file, such as PRATFO (Patient Reassured And Told To Fuck Off). Doctors spend five years at medical school leartning the intricacies of the human body and how it can go wrong. Have a little respect for them.

        2) The same for lawyers (although maybe with less of the respect for a portion of them)

        5) The same goes for experienced IT staff, this artcile is about how they have to enforce policies that are put in place for good reason, not for the benefit of 'people who do stuff and earn money'. It seems likely that in your job, you do too little 'stuff' and earn too much money for doing it, because you seem to be lacking in the intelligence to understand what this article was about. You don't work in sales or recruitment do you?

        4) tl;dr? If you can't be bothered to read the article, then why bother to come and comment on it?

        5) It seems to have escaped your attention that BOFH articles are humorous, not serious. Maybe it is because you have your pompous head stuck too far up your arse.

        1. Uffish
          Headmaster

          Re: tl;dr

          To be fair to the troll I think he was using "tl;dr" to mean "in other words".

      8. This post has been deleted by its author

      9. Rick Giles
        FAIL

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        Wrong analogy there Ian.

        Rules and procedures in IT are in no way comparable to medicine.

        Never been through an IT audit have you?

        Go troll elsewhere.

      10. Karl Vegar
        Devil

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        Hell yea. Let's taylor the laws, regulations and pharmaceuticals on a client by client basis.

      11. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: F***ing brilliant

        I smell an end-user daring to poke its head over the parapet.....

      12. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: Stop fucking whinging and start fucking supporting.

        GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!

        When you start making exceptions for each and every (l)user in your organization, the exception rule tree could look like some goddamn clusterfuck of a decision tree. example:

        IF $LUSER = 'ARSEHOLE-BOSS' THEN

        IF $DEADLINE = 'YESTERDAY' THEN

        IF $PRIORITY-LEVEL = 'FLAMING_RED_ HOT' THEN JUMP THROUGH_HOOPS_OF_FIRE ELSE

        PUT_ON_BACK_BURNER

        PERFORM_DAILY_DUTIES

        IGNORE_EXECUTIVE_BULLSHIT

        ENDIF

        ELSE IF $DEADLINE = 'TOMORROW' THEN

        GO_TO_PUB

        KNOCK_DOWN_A _TALL_ONE

        GO_HOME

        ENDIF

        ELSE

        IF $LUSER = 'YOUR-BOSS' THEN

        IF $PRIORITY-LEVEL = 'NOW' THEN JUMP THROUGH_HOOPS_OF_FIRE ELSE

        GO_TO_PUB

        KNOCK_DOWN_A _TALL_ONE

        GO_HOME

        ENDIF

        ELSE IF $LUSER = 'ARSEHOLE' THEN

        GO_TO_PUB

        KNOCK_DOWN_A _TALL_ONE

        GO_HOME

        ENDIF

        Do you get my point????

  3. The Librarian
    Devil

    Oook!

    Just desserts, correctly cooked as well.

  4. DJ Smiley
    Thumb Down

    Nah.....

    It was more fun when the threat wasn't simply to threaten to make the boss disappear..

  5. VWDan
    Thumb Up

    Hah!

    Not the funniest BOFH, but it's pretty bloody accurate.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: but it's pretty bloody accurate.

      And, don't many of us fucking KNOW IT!!!!

      I know, I know, I am in a bad mood - its Monday, and supposedly a holiday (in the US {fka "Armistice Day", now "Veterans Day"), and I have to work it. Shit!

  6. Bitman

    Nice one, Simon

    And a fond "welcome back" to the voltage, carpet, spade and lime!

  7. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I love implementing management dictums on security and access

    - you know the ones that match their expectations of how the company works - and then breaking them two hours later for the very manager who insisted on the shit in the first place.

    The trouble with computers is they do what you say, and if you're a manager, make you look like a twat.

    Especially like the bit about the shit version of excel on the iPad - as the first iPad in an organisation is normally an exception signed of by the account manager so they can use it to do what it cant do.

  8. Crisp Silver badge

    BOFH - Just do it!

    Would you like to know about the consequences caused by that change before or after I make it?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just this once?

    I wonder if it's just this once that BOFH appears weekly?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Just this once?

      Yup. It's an exception ..

  10. Ged T
    Thumb Up

    >KZERT<

    I love the sound of mis-used leccy in the morning....

    If I got a pound for every "Could you just..." I could, just, have retired by now...

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. DJV Silver badge
    Devil

    Could you just...

    Ah, that brings back memories of when I worked in this small crap-selling shop in the 1980s fixing electronics for a living. One of the salesmen was notorious for coming upstairs to our workshop and asking us if we could 'just' solder this or that (usually headphone plugs or sockets for crap walkman substitutes they and other shops sold at the time) for a customer waiting in the shop downstairs. We didn't have a magic >KZERT< but after a while we learned to put the fire extinguishers to good use on said salesman. The people who serviced the fire extinguishers always seemed to be surprised that it was often the ones in our workshop that needed refilling the most...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could you just...

      Using a fire extinguisher on the annoying salesman sounds like a great idea. Extinguishers are always at hand, they're a nice form factor to swing quickly, the blunt end is hard enough to inflict damage to the victim. I bet they make a satisfying thunk noise too.

      Wait, refilling the extinguishers? Oh... you meant you utilize them in a much different way... never mind, carry on!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the big organisations they only bypass you anyway

    Usually the IT manager/director has already agreed to the request before talking to you so just overrules your perfectly valid objections to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: In the big organisations they only bypass you anyway

      "Usually the IT manager/director has already agreed to the request before talking to you so just overrules your perfectly valid objections to it"

      At which point the >KZERT< happens to the PHB who authorised it without asking those who have to look after the systems

    2. Bill Gould

      Re: In the big organisations they only bypass you anyway

      "Usually the IT manager/director has already agreed to the request before talking to you so just overrules your perfectly valid objections to it."

      Which is why you express your concerns about it in an email to said folks, then get an email back saying to do it anyway. CYA. When it does come back to haunt you, and it will, you can pull out the email and show that you objected to it because of exactly what happened but the drooling sack of meat said to do it anyway so it''s really his fault, and can you have his office when he's gone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the big organisations they only bypass you anyway

        After one of those mind numbingly dumb overrides went wrong I was (in all seriousness) told by HR that I should have protested more vehemently.

        One month later I was earning vehemently more money elsewhere..

        There is one base rule in larger organisations: if they are out to blame you, you cannot win other than in court for constructive dismissal. I know of a former colleague who developed a briefing pack for the head of a nation and was personally and via email complimented for its clarity and delivery. A week later, he was told by his line manager that he didn't present according to corporate standard. Given that he was brought in to a national project to make sure that something was actually delivered (as it was a major heaving mess before he got involved and cleaned it up) it was clear there was glory management at the root of this, and he bailed after forcing them rather bluntly to make him redundant (said company pretty much standardised on cooking up performance issues to avoid redundancy payments).

        Bottom line, if you work for a setup that's intent on hanging you, even CYA can only help you so much. But you sure as hell can make sure you take down the players with you - they *hate* court appearances..

      2. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: In the big organisations ... CYAWP the only way to survive

        You bet, having a paper trail is the only way to survive a potential ass reaming when the shit hits the fan.

        Every subordinate should keep ready for use, aa "Incompetent Manager" file of the varied memos and correspondence that he had with an incompetent mangler. One day, it mayl prove invaluable when it really blows up, and being able to document to executive management the failings of said mangler just might result in their (the mangler) being given a new career trajectory.

        We all know manglers keep such a file on us, so why not on them???? Turnabout is fairplay, after all!!!

  14. Anonymous Cowherder
    Mushroom

    Have you got a sec?

    Or

    "While you're here"

    "This has been happening for a week" - Bit I need it fixing now as the deadline is almost up, I could have told you 4 days ago when you had time to fix it but it really is urgent now. I know you are dealing with someone else's "just" request but can you "just" do this one as well?"

    I can't possibly remember 2 passwords

    I know we are there to support our users, we provide a service, without you our jobs do not exist but part of the time we have to do things that may seem unreasonable to you but there is usually a good reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have you got a sec?

      Yep, have a projector here that no one bothers to report the 'filter warning' message. The last one died from overheating as they ignored till the thermal overload kicked in several times.

      Sent that round as a warning and even spoken to those responsible personally. They still don't bother.

      They get no sympathy or fast action when it packs in these days.

  15. Irongut

    pure class

    Man this is familiar. If I have to tell a senior member of staff that she can't have her name as a password and shouldn't use her address or the names of her kids one more time I might buy a cattle prod!

  16. Jedit
    Boffin

    Oops!

    Charlie^W Simon forgot to tell a joke!

    Of course, as a former IT bod I've had the reverse of this conversation many times. If you think lusers asking for things they can't have because they don't understand how complicated it is is infuriating, try talking to support staff who don't let you have things you genuinely need because they think it's far more complicated than it really is. There's a Japanese proverb: "A strategy not fully developed is the cause of grief". It's never been truer than when dealing with incompletely trained IT drones.

  17. WhoAmI?
    Devil

    Sounds familiar

    We used to keep a baseball bat in the office and just start bouncing it on the floor when someone started to annoy us with requests.

    Users didn't know it was our second bat. The first one broke

    1. Nigel 11

      The first one broke

      On what?

      1. WhoAmI?

        Re: The first one broke

        An office chair. Quite impressive as the gas-riser *and* the cushion couldn't save the bat.

  18. Atilla the Hun (No relation)
    Pint

    Amen to that!

    Just Amen!

  19. Roger Kynaston
    Happy

    Can't remember who originally told me this

    and certainly not who coined it but it is good.

    "Downtime: That time during which the system is stable and immune from user input."

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't humorous fiction, at least not until the >KZZRT<, it's a conversation we've all had, a well articulated one, but far too familiar.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just say no

    A lesson best learned early on, never do favours for users*. Word gets out that you're a soft touch and then you're doomed.

    The classic example from my shop is assigning/ installing a licenced application such as Visio after a PO has been raised but before the licence arrives.

    A couple of weeks pass and I find out that they never actually went ahead with the PO, so after a couple of reminders I pull the app from their profile. Cue howls of outrage and complaints along the lines of 'Why did IT let me have it in the first place?'

    * - Yes, that includes the pretty ones. In fact, especially the pretty ones!

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Just say no

      Yes, that includes the pretty ones. In fact, especially the pretty ones!

      I know of situations where they especially sent the decorative ones to get their way..

  22. Number6

    Daft Rules

    Of course, if management does impose a truly daft rule or procedure, you can usually get it removed by sticking rigidly to it any time it gets in the way of something they want to do. That's worked since before computers were commonplace.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daft Rules

      Actually , in Belgium that is a tried and formally recognised tactic to nuke any kind of public service. Because they don't strike it doesn't fall under strike rules, and because they follow the rules exactly they cannot be hit with performance reviews, nor can they be replaced by other people. Nevertheless, government services simply come to a standstill - which is the whole point.

      1. perlcat

        Re: Daft Rules

        It's also how I get rid of micromanagers. I do *exactly* what they say until they've micromanaged themselves into a corner -- unless something more lucrative comes up in the meantime.

  23. Rick Giles
    Linux

    Up until the end

    it sounded like one of my regular work days. I was starting to get bored.

  24. Rosuav
    Thumb Up

    Password security...

    I'm in favour of minimum password lengths rather than mandatory {digit, letter, symbol} rules, and strongly recommend that people use XKCD 936 compliant passwords. To people not in the know, it sounds like an internet standard on par with RFC 2822 or IEEE 754. To people who DO know what XKCD is, it's definitely an internet standard.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes the rules really ARE stupid

    IANAT (tech) but generally I'm supportive of the IT bods. I recently moved office location however. I'm not junior but we don't do PAs anymore like many outfits.

    Me: Can I print something please

    IT: Yes, as soon as we've merged the network domains

    Me: How long will that take?

    IT: Only a few weeks away

    [months later]

    Me: This is nuts. I need to be able to print.

    IT: The domains are merged now

    Me: Great. So I can print?

    IT: Sorry, that bit didn't get done. But you'll get your email a teeny bit quicker.

    Me: Can you loan me a local desk printer then?

    IT: No. It breaks the security rules. People leave printed papers on them. No one is allowed one so we got rid of then all.

    Me: But, but... everyone else here can print! And the network printers are always covered in print outs!

    IT: You can have someone else print it on the secure network printers. They're colour and can scan too.

    Me: How on earth is that more secure than having a local desk printer??

    IT: Those are the rules...

    [I solved this my own way - but live in fear that someone will notice the odd, non-corporate issue, printer-shaped object on my desk]

    AC obviously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sometimes the rules really ARE stupid

      If you look into it you'll probably find your techs got sidetracked and let a bunch of pushy "can't you just" requesters get their way. This is the reason I hate those pushy types with a passion - the time they steal (or even the time/energery required to get rid of them) cripples the delivery of work that will benefit everyone else.

  26. Jock in a Frock
    FAIL

    I can see both sides of the coin

    My company tie down the corporate image as much as possible, but have given the field engineers admin rights to install and maintain their own custom apps (to support our telecoms infrastructure).

    They did install PGP Endpoint to prevent us writing to unencrypted USB sticks. This stopped us shifting code onto CF cards for our kit. Unfortunately they didn't prevent us un-installing PGP via the control panel, defeating the purpose....

    They are considering a rollout of Win-7 on new laptops, and I hope they let us keep our existing XP ones for field use (off the corporate domain), and we'll maintaine them ourselves. Then they can tie down the Win-7 maches all they want.

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sorry I'm late. I had to deal with a customer who wondered if i could just...

  28. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    Spooky...

    It's uncanny... this could have been an everyday conversation where I work. I only wish I could get Oracle to let me order cattle prods...

  29. Colin Bain
    Holmes

    Out of the box

    Of course designing a corporate system that works for the users is out of the question....ore merely elementary

  30. RAMChYLD
    Coffee/keyboard

    colored firewalls?

    Thanks Simon, that totally made my day!

    Messed up keyboard. Because this got me laughing so hard, and I have a cup of coffee next to me...

  31. GenieonWork
    Pint

    Recognizable

    All too recognizable.

    When I make policies, it's for a reason.

    It's to prevent you from braking my Minecraft farm...

    And when you begin making exceptions, there's no turning back.

    Once you start making exceptions, you're doomed...

    User: "You're supposed to help me, so I can do my job."

    Me: "I am helping you. Just not in the way you want. What you want will eventually break the system, and you'll be unable to do your job at all."

    Hmz...

    Not that much difference with their current level of productivity...

    But hey, if you can't yell at users, what's the fun in going to the office in the first place?

    I can lock down and manage the environment from my home too.

  32. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Just"

    ... been saying that "just" is the dirtiest four-letter-word for years. So good to see a BOFH piece re-affirming my point of view.

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