back to article Smear campaign

Men as a gender can be a smelly lot. There are cultural reasons underlying some of our questionable standards of personal hygiene but we are also victims of our own DNA. Like stature, baldness and the length of our ah… noses, there are many challenging aspects of our bodily functions that we simply inherited. For example, I …


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  1. Miek

    "But these are not your everyday smears and streaks removed with a lens cloth: I need a windscreen ice scraper to shift this gunge. The man responsible (for it could only be a man) must be doing motorcycle maintenance or serving kebabs while sitting at my desk." -- Solution, try smearing Vaseline over your screen at the end of the day to say a big thank you to the guy working nights.

  2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Ultrafine metal gauze over the screen wired up to the mains. Your eyes'll soon get used to it, and as soon as Greasy McBastard tries to swipe an icon he'll end up deep fried in his own lubricant.

  3. SirDigalot

    so what are the chances...

    of Greasy McFingerson reading this article and "contemplating" in a draw or under the desk...

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

    of dactylography, to identify the miscreant?

    1. AdamT

      Re: And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

      or of looking in the event log (or equivalent) and seeing who logged in?

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

        That would depend on you having enough permissions to read the logs.

      2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox

        Re: And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

        > or of looking in the event log (or equivalent) and seeing who logged in?

        But that would be too easy, and not nearly as much fun!

        1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox

          Re: And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

          Also, not sure if you can even do this if not an administrator...

      3. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: And have you not yet tried the wonderful new science

        >> looking in the event log (or equivalent) and seeing who logged in?

        "Casual User 01"

  5. auburnman

    Your midnight compatriot is obviously pawing at something he desires on the screen. Assuming the office is quiet at nighttime I'm going to presume it's naked ladies. The next obvious inference from there is that he's wanking.

    In your chair.

    Have fun at work next week!

    1. nichomach


      Well played, sir, well played!

      1. moiety

        Re: *choke*

        I was going to go with a heavy cold, but you are the clear winner.

  6. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Work in a school

    with 400 snotty little things (especially the lower years where they are still wetting themselves) who have no idea that the screen doesn't need to be touched, or that using a hanky to rid bogies that have been extricated with due care and attention with a finger might be a good idea before touching the keyboards.

    I've worked in many primaries where you are literally afraid to touch the keyboard (and staff have their own!) or screen and even on ones where the smears can build up to the point where you can't read the text because it's all fuzzy - in a SINGLE DAY before the cleaners can get round again!

    The adults are no better and I admit that even my personal, private laptop that NOBODY touches on pain of death often has to be screen-wiped because of visible fingerprints (quite clearly mine) that I have no idea how they got there.

    And MS's next bright idea? Let's all use touchscreens to start programs and do word-processing. *REALLY* not looking forward to next year's upgrade to Windows 8 on the touchscreen PC's we bought (which, fortunately, have no XP touchscreen driver, so we just didn't tell anyone that they *are* touchscreen)...

    P.S. We use a company called BugBusters who will come in and sanitise all your work surfaces for a decent price. We currently use them 2-3 times a year, on top of the amount of personal cleaning, cleaner-cleaning, and "look what you've done, now wipe it off" cleaning that our computer screens get.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip of the day (or is that night)

    "This guy has fingertips like those of an elephant"

    ... that'll be the pr0n 'finger' tip


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, dirty dishes...

    I got fed up with washing the dishes twice (once before using, once after) because my lazy git flatmate wouldn't clean them that I started doing what he did, i.e. just leave the dirty dishes. We wound up without any empty surface in the kitchen until he did a cleaning frenzy because his mum was visiting....

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Ah, dirty dishes...

      The essential first step of every recipe in student digs is to locate precisely the utensils you require in the pile of dirty stuff, and wash ONLY THEM. At the end of the meal, the kitchen has been returned to the base state, and, most importantly, you haven't done an unfair amount os washing up.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Ah, dirty dishes...

        I used a different approach - I forbid my roommates from doing any kitchen cleaning (as they never did it to my satisfaction anyway). That meant I spent half an hour or so each day washing dishes and the like, but 1) they were clean and 2) I had the twin pleasures of holding the high moral ground and being a pompous martinet.

        Also, this seemed to shame my roommates into dividing up some of the other chores, so it all worked out in the end. And there was no arguing over piles of dirty dishes.

  9. Pie

    After reading all these comments, I am so glad I don't have to share a computer....

    BTW top tip, foil over a dish makes a nice clean surface to eat on, saves having to wash up the plate before...

    1. Ralph B
      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Top Tip

        I guess the point was that you didn't actually eat the foil.

        1. Ralph B

          Re: Top Tip

          There's your problem. Even if you don't want to, you will eat some of it - either through it dissolving into acidic foods, or through abrasion with the food or your utensils (particularly a problem for foil.)

          1. Tom Wood

            Re: Top Tip

            Oh noes, the microscopic foil particles are coming to get us!!!1!!!1! And not do us any. harm. whatsoever.

            Which is just as well, because takeaway curry and beer both come in aluminium packaging. And it's Friday.


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Top Tip

              Ban DHMO! You can die in only two inches of it!

  10. Erroneous Howard

    Winds me up.....

    .....when I am showing someone something on my laptop screen and then THEY start prodding it to point things out. I've actually remarked that "it isn't a touchscreen you know" and found myself wondering if they prod everything in their life so hard....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    3M microfibre cloth.

    1. Richard Ball

      Re: Solution

      Yes, but that would turn instantly into a 3M microfibre cloth covered in snot.

      Seems a waste of everything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Solution

        They are machine washable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Solution

          I'll add that to my list of standard IT equipment installs - a mini washing machine

        2. Amonynous

          Re: Solution

          So stick the snotty/greasy little buggers in the washing machine and save the price of the cloth. Where exactly do they sew the care label on kids anyway?

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Solution

          > They are machine washable.

          Yeah, but they make way too much noise on "spin".

          Or did you mean the microfibre cloths?

  12. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Somtehing worst than greasy fingers...

    Is when the cleaning staff, well, "cleans" my desktop monitor.

    They use a... I don't know what it is, would say rag, sponge, paper towel, really don't know.... with some kind of liquid.

    The next morning I usually spend at least fifteen minutes getting the opaque, nasty and disgusting residue from the screen.

    My solution: put a letter-sized warning on the screen, kept in place with scotch-tape.


    1. David Pollard

      Re: Somtehing worst than greasy fingers...

      "My solution: put a letter-sized warning on the screen, kept in place with scotch-tape."

      But doesn't this stop you reading it?

  13. Arrrggghh-otron

    Mashing the screen makes me want to kill...

    I hate it when you are showing someone something on your computer and they then proceed to mash their fingers into your perfectly clean (non touch) screen so they can point something out. They then proceed to drag their finger around the screen for no apparent reason while wittering on about whatever it was that has, by that point, left my mind as I am so enraged by their screen sullying antics, that I want to break their greasy fingers.

    I've even had people dragging biros around the screen writing side down, apologizing for the ink marks, yet still continuing to use the pen in the same fucking way!

    If you really really have to touch a non touch screen, all you have to do is turn your hand over and touch the screen with the tip of your finger nail... almost never leaves marks.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Mashing the screen makes me want to kill...

      What a computer really needs is some form of pointer device (like an on screen arrow) that could be used by the observer to accurately indicate what they were talking about. It could be moved around by some form of physical control, maybe kept near the keyboard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mashing the screen makes me want to kill...

        If I need to physically gesture at my screen, I tend to use a drumstick. It doubles up as both an excellent pointy stick and a handy drubbing device should underlings, minions, stray users and greasy buggers that want to naff up your screen get out of hand and need a little discipline to bring them back into line!

        1. Darryl

          Re: a drumstick

          Chicken or Turkey?

          And wouldn't that add to the grease output considerably?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: a drumstick

            Buggerit and my lack of ability to edit posts and remove dubious mis-types.

            Proceed with the mocking...

      2. Goobertee

        Re: Mashing the screen makes me want to kill...

        @Yet Another Commentard

        >What a computer really needs is some form of pointer device (like an on screen arrow) that

        >could be used by the observer to accurately indicate what they were talking about. It could

        >be moved around by some form of physical control, maybe kept near the keyboard.

        A few years ago I was a faculty member in a university Computer Science department. The department head from MIS wanted to give a demo, needed to point, and excused himself to go get his red dot laser pointer. Before he ran, I suggested using this arrow thing you mention--but he didn't understand how it would work for just pointing.

        Fortunately, he's beyond the point of breeding.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mashing the screen makes me want to kill...

      There's few things that liven my day up more than wiping my fingers over the colleague who spends an age keeping their screen spotless.

      Extra points if I can find an excuse to prod his screen just after he's removed the final microscopic blemish.

      One of the joys of management is to f'k with minion's heads.

  14. Z-Eden

    This is one of my pet peeves. People jabbing, physically, at your screen when they want to show you something. It drives me up the wall. Also, why is it, only the most grubbiest bastards that do it the most. You know the type; their scent makes your eyes water at 20 metres, you can see them picking their noses and gums (usually in order) making a beeline for your desk. Before you know it, your screen is covered in various biologic substances, you want to vomit as their foul breath washes over you and you have this powerful urge to spray Dettol into their faces (and probably have them scream "It Burns! It Burns! The Hygiene!").

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My boss had one of those grand and a half Mac cinema displays, fingerprints on it drove him up the wall to the point that he started threatening to dust it for fingerprints. We discovered that nose grease is particularly smeary with the added plus that you can't dust for noses.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      If there's one thing worse than a touch screen for attracting unwanted liquids, it's a retina display.

      How many times have I had to scream "GET YOUR FUCKING EYEBALLS OFF MY COMPUTER!"

      Get your own pr0n.

  16. phuzz Silver badge

    I find threatening to remove any digits that touch my monitor usually works.

    Or at least once I pull a large pair of scissors out of my drawer...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Looky no touchy

    Try and touch my monitor and you get a slap on the wrist

  18. Alan Esworthy

    Yessir! I rap encroaching fingers with a pencil, but our basic approach is the same and it works!

  19. Spiny_Norman

    Oh yes!

    I spend most of my working life working from home so can keep laptop & second display clear & pristine as they *have* to be. A couple of months ago I had to spend a couple of days in one of the corporate data centres & my colleagues laptop crapped out so he had to use mine AND HE TOUCHED THE SCREEN REPEATEDLY leaving fingerprints. To this day he has no idea how close he came to death although he did wonder why I kept cleaning the screen while was using the laptop...

  20. Christine Hedley

    Back when smoking was still allowed in offices...

    ... I'd see some incredibly grubby keyboards. Not everyone was like that, I think what made the difference was smoking whilst actually using the keyboard: the chap next to me chain-smoked pretty much all day long and all his key-tops were covered in a not-so-thin layer of brown smeg. He was no Pigpen-type character, he just had this perpetual fog around him (even as a smoker myself it was a bit much!) Then again, I shouldn't judge since my keyboard would end up full of crumbs due to me working while I was eating. I dread to think that the collective detritus eventually grew into, especially after being periodically watered with spilt coffee.

    Smeary screens are a bit of a mystery, though. Do people really jab at them with snotty/greasy/unmentionable fingers? Maybe they try to taste the icons and lick them.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the days when the first thing I had to do in the morning was to upend the keyboard and give it a good shake to remove the bits of rollie and beard left from the nightshift operator (an aging hippy, who despite being white, lived in St Pauls, Bristol in the 80s).

    Finger marks on the screen have always been a problem, have had to grin and bear it more often than I'd like when some muppet jabbed their finger at the screen to emphasise some point leaving greasy finger marks on the screen.

  22. stu 4
    Thumb Up


    I used to use a MBP 17 matte macbook. It cost me a fair amount of cash, though I use it for work rather than the crappy work laptop I have been issued with.

    You know the one with the lovely matte screen - with no glass in front.

    The number of people who will endevour to 'point out' things on a screen when around your desk and are seemingly unable to avoid poking their 1.greasy. 2. solid fingers into my screen is truly astounding. Seemingly unable to point without making LCD rainbows all over the pressure point, as their apparently monocular vision helps thrust another of their grotty digits into the LCD matrix.

    Having now replaced it with a MBP15 retina - I admit to finding the glare of the glass less than welcome - however the fact that my depth perception limited colleagues hit glass with their digits is far less disturbing at least - I need only worry about cleaning the grease off and not having to replaced a cracked screen.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



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