back to article BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

"What do you mean 'why's it not working'," the PFY asks. "I mean WHY ISN'T IT WORKING? What's happened?" the Boss snaps, expecting an excuse that will be both technical and understandable to someone with his level of tertiary education. "Nothing's happened, it's all the same as usual," the PFY responds, suspecting – as we all …

  1. Morrie Wyatt
    Boffin

    Sorry, must have missed it.

    After that process description, the boss's eyes must have been fully glazed over, his brains dribbling from his ears, and drooling like a komodo dragon with a head cold.

    And it didn't get a mention.

    1. Martijn Otto

      Re: Sorry, must have missed it.

      *** DUMMY MODE ON ***

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, must have missed it.

        That process did remind me of the NtNoN version of the lifejacket instructions..

        "press the yellow button, unzip the toggle pocket, unscrew the air valve anticlockwise and yell “inflate you stupid bastard"

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Ahhhhh

    BOFH back in full obfuscating form, so all is well... in spite of our gubbermint 'stuff'.

  3. sysconfig

    Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

    Now I understand why we had to wait so long for this episode! How the heck do you invent such names? You're a genius! *still laughing*

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

      I know how he comes up with this stuff:

      trial application insanity filter! it's an electronic MadLib ;-}

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

      But as a font can it be worse than Adrenaline Bubble Outline?

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Why, dear gods, WHY did I click on that link?! That font made my eyes want to take up drinking.. as in applying over-proof rum directly to the eyeballs.

        That font makes Comic Sans look inoffensive.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          That font makes Comic Sans look inoffensive.

          Hey now, be nice. NOTHING makes Comic Sans look inoffensive.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

            @sisk - You didn't click on the link, did you?

        2. mathew42
          WTF?

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          I take it you didn't click on the buying choices tab. $490 for an app license to use the font.

        3. Lord_Beavis
          Trollface

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          Why, dear gods, WHY did I click on that link?! That font made my eyes want to take up drinking.. as in applying over-proof rum directly to the eyeballs.

          That font makes Comic Sans look inoffensive.

          I think I found a new font for my work email...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Ze goggles, zey do nothing!

      3. TeeCee Gold badge
        WTF?

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Holy shit! They expect people to pay for that?

        I mean, why not just find a sadist who'll gouge out your eyes with hot spoons for free?

        1. Anonymous IV
          Joke

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & Monarco Retardo

          The Boss didn't realise that these were the names of the next two Ubuntu releases?

          How in heaven's name did he get his job?

          1. Fatman Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & Monarco Retardo

            <quote>How in heaven's name did he get his job?</quote>

            Do you really want to know????

            It is most likely because the Boss had a few friends in the company.

        2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          ...why not just find a sadist who'll gouge out your eyes with hot spoons for free?

          Because with the sadist option, it probably could be traced back to you when you send it toward your victim of choice, but combining that font with an anonymous email... yeah, that could do some untraceable damage.

      4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Must be a mac user... "what do you mean you can't read the font? It looks fine on 'my' computer...".

        Also speaking of Ubuntu. The Ubuntu font has become one of my usual fall backs just lately, it just works without pretence. But I digress.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          For some real class, how about Doves Type?

          I'm writing a lot of internal work stuff in Doves these days (my boss is a bit of a printing / typeface geek and decided to buy the font for no reason other than he liked the story, and it's quite easy on the eye) and not having bold or italic options really concentrates the mind on how to convey the mesage clearly...

          M.

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

            That's, uh...

            You know, that's actually quite a nice typeface. I'd rather like to read the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (on the topic of Sherlock Holmes, at least,) rendered in that very fetching font.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

              You know, that's actually quite a nice typeface

              I sincerely hope you mean Doves Type, not that previously mentioned abomination?

              M.

              1. ShadowDragon8685

                Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

                Yes, yes I did mean Doves Type.

      5. Disko
        Mushroom

        ZOM*G MY EYES!!!1!!!11!¶||!

        Ok that's it, from now on I'm going to have to browse the web with a welding mask on. Either that or I'll have to borrow Kanye's shutter shades. Thanks Phil.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Why o Why in God's name would anyone and I mean ANYONE design that font or use that found, it makes Comic Sans seem normal or even Quark Neon seem passable..

        I've seen some presentations that make me wonder if they people who did them are "some kind of special stupid"

        Gotta love the BOFH and I've seen fonts that were only Upper and Lower case....

        1. skeptical i
          Devil

          Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

          Why design it? Someone has an old copy of Fontographer and nothing better to do.

          Why have it? It's free.

          Why use it? When put into a customer's advert, poster, tee-shirt, or other promotional product that needs a "cool" headline to draw in da yoofs, customer will say "oooooh, I like it!".

      7. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Turkeyshoot Mascara & MonarcoRetardo

        Well at least it isn't Comic Sans.

  4. DrStrangeLug

    There's a difference

    Lol, the

    "no-changes-on-a-Friday window"

    which always translates into

    "no-changes-on-a-friday-unless-somebody does their 'baby wants is rattle' impression and cries loud enough and then you'll have to fix it I dont care how long it it takes and yes the person who asked for the changes does get to go home on time but you dont."

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: There's a difference

      The no major changes on Friday is my mantra. I've even said it to one of our directors when he proposed a Friday for some mission critical work.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: There's a difference

        You need to amend that as once the bosses catch on, they will redefine "major". I suggest "absolutely, positively NO changes on Fridays".

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: There's a difference

          Golden time at my bacon getting place of operation has to be widespread panic on every front, otherwise it can wait until 8:00am Monday (which I hate). Because Friday represents the end of the week and probably the most productive day I dissuade my superiors from these actions.

    2. Ian Bush

      Re: There's a difference

      "no-changes-on-a-Friday"

      That's close to what we call it, but not quite ...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the person who asked for the changes does get to go home on time but you don't

    Hah, that will be the day. The change is logged as well as the forced override against our explicit advice with the name of the person forcing that change, and the network will fail just as we have leave the building and put our mobile on silent because they were too cheap to add a 24/7 clause to our contract.

    If we need the overtime we may "discover" the panic messages later, come in on Saturday and maybe rig the access logs so we'll have worked on Sunday as well, but you can be damn sure that anything the board wants to play with on Monday will still have problems, and the name of the person who ignored the advice of us superbly qualified magicians/technical people is on record so no guessing what will happen next.

    Generally it only takes two managers being demoted to car parking duties for the rest to get the hint.

    :)

    1. DrStrangeLug

      I'm not worthy!

    2. Blank-Reg
      Pint

      I bow before your masterful PHB handling skills. I am unworthy at your castigation of useless middle managers. Tell us your secrets, oh great one!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

        Sadly our lot have developed a response to all of that. They try to get to the board first and say that we're "obstructive", haven't got a "can do" attitude, try to push for admin access for themselves, tell the board that they, the customer, aren't happy with the service we provide etc.

        It doesn't matter how stupid the argument they sling mud and sadly a lot of board members are too thick to see what's going on.

        In the end you rely on your boss having the courage to stand up for you and getting the right points put across.

        My current bug bear is this "we're the customer" rubbish. I pointed out that they've misunderstood the relationship, The truth is that we were chosen by the board to provide a service and that our ultimate responsibility is to provide a good service to the betterment of the company which is not always doing whatever half cocked idea passes fleetingly through the head of some manager.

        OK, that's my rant for today :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

          Sadly our lot have developed a response to all of that. They try to get to the board first and say that we're "obstructive", haven't got a "can do" attitude, try to push for admin access for themselves, tell the board that they, the customer, aren't happy with the service we provide etc.

          Oooooh, yum. Such a *rich* source of fun things to play with. Can I have your job for a while?

          Getting to the board first doesn't matter really, but if it bugs you, be very helpful in sorting out communication and access control. The moment you have that in hand your manager is history. It's rather hard to get to a board member when your phone, email and physical access have failures that originate in what you tried to force on Friday :). Especially VoIP diverts are hard to get right, but maybe it's a hint of things to come that calling any board member gets you the recruitment company instead..

          However, also do not underestimate the power of "facts" stored on a computer as that "doesn't lie". Your average end user (aka board member) has no clue that such records are not immutable and can be edited at will. Since your manager knows full well he gave the order against logged objections, he will do everything possible to avoid the raw "facts" as stored being tabled, which is why it is so sad that by a stroke of sheer luck, the email of the board still sort of works, not very stable, but enough to email the change control note upwards as root cause.

          Naturally, you cannot "fix" the manager's email until you fixed that of the board, unless he wants the board to know that he considers himself a higher priority without giving a reason for it, but just in case he insists, you would naturally be happy to pass on the "I screwed up and want to correct it before if affected you" message (at least, that's what it will imply when you're done with it and release it to the queue).

          As for admin access, yes please. As seasoned professional you will have other accounts with admin rights such as "accounts" and "sanitation". Only the manager's account is called "admin", so when things start to go mysteriously wrong they will always originate from that "admin" account. All you need to set up next is a cascade failure that will happen as soon as he logs in, preferably something with dramatic and notable side effects such as zapping the shareholder presentation the chairman has been practising the whole week for next week's AGM.

          Naturally you will save the day by first spending 4 hours in the pub with PHB developing a "recovery strategy" to recover what was nuked "by the manager making beginner mistakes at admin level". Once you have drunk and lunched enough on the company's expenses you amble back and copy all the data back from the USB3 stick you have had in your bag since Friday when you set it all up, and presto, you're the hero.

          When can I start?

          :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

            Very good J.

            In fact some of that worked but sadly I'm no BOFH and haven't quite got all of my God like powers over all of the IT system yet......

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

              No admin access? Tisk, I've usually managed that by the 3rd day on the job. Job requirement don'tcha know?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

              Very good J.

              1) note, of course, that this is only from a perspective of being able to walk away with a new job in sight. I know that is hard for some people.

              2) this is all as fictional as the real BOFH stories. Not that I wouldn't be up for it, but as I am not called The United States of America I *do* worry about collateral damage.

              3) J? Who is J? Or do you mean Jay, in which case why the insult? As that is the second time you use that, does not denying it somehow confirm it? When did you stop beating your wife?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

          try to push for admin access for themselves...

          That, right there, is your problem. And it's an easily enough problem to solve. One bit of network devastating malware traceable back to the machine of a manager with admin access should clear that one up. If it doesn't then repeated infections all traced to the machines of managers who should bloody well not have admin access, along with a couple techs making it clear why this keeps happening, will.

          Why would the managers keep getting infected? Because social engineering is too danged easy when people don't understand the threats, that's why.

        3. Disko
          Thumb Up

          Re: @AC "Hah, that will be the day......"

          Half coked you say...?

    3. asphytxtc
      Pint

      Bravo!

      *round of applause*

      Have a Friday beer on me!

    4. fruitoftheloon
      Happy

      @AC...

      AC,

      quite a while ago (I had hair) I worked for a then well-known consulting company, churning out graphics and fiddling with Excel.

      They had a fabulous rule re out-of-hours work (which was very regularly needed), in that ANY CONSULTANT could ask you to work on anything, for as long as it takes (regularly overnight!) until it was sorted.

      BUT the relevant Consultant had to stay within sight of you until you were happy that the job was done.

      We did crazy hours, a 24hr stint was not unusual - and earned very well for it in the process, and no Consultant ever removed the urine...

      I still think it was a most effective approach.

      Regards,

      Jay

    5. Fatman Silver badge
      Joke

      "Getting" the hint...

      <quote>Generally it only takes two managers being demoted to car parking duties for the rest to get the hint.</quote>

      Nahhhh!

      Around here, we just send them on a new career trajectory, using one of these:

      http://www.timeref.com/castles/trebuchet.htm

      "put their ass in the sling, and give them a fling...."

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "Getting" the hint...

        "When did you stop beating your wife?"

        For the record, I have never stopped beating my wife.

        1. fruitoftheloon
          Happy

          @Sir Runcible: Re: "Getting" the hint...

          Sir Runcible,

          On occasion I love beating my wife too!

          It doesn't happen as much as it used too (regretably), card games are one of the few arenas where such happens in our abode...

          Regards,

          Jay.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: @Sir Runcible: "Getting" the hint...

            @Jay,

            whilst I can sympathise with your situation, I have never beaten my wife - it was a play on the original implication that I actually started beating my wife at some point.

            My answer was 100% truthful, you cannot stop something you never started :)

    6. ShadowDragon8685

      Is that Simon posting as an AC? Because that's grade-A Bastardry there.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    trial application sanity filter

    I'll be using this one in a Monday morning meeting! That will be happy times ;-}

    BOFH on Friday, time for a pint!

  7. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    "Yes. This is important! The board have all flown to Edinburgh with the Director so they can see our videoconferencing presentation in action!"

    "And you just found out about this 17 minutes ago?!" the PFY gasps.

    The Boss ignores him.

    "Ah," the PFY adds. "So it IS as usual."

    This section would be incredibly funny IF it didn't describe almost every job I had to do...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I found very funny that people have to fly to a common place to watch a videoconf... of course some days in Edinburgh sipping expensive whisky at someone else expense may need an excuse...

    2. Maverick

      or rather

      "The board have all flown to Edinburgh with the Director so they can see our videoconferencing presentation in action!"

      which translated means a golfing weekend at company expense - at least until the storm hits!

    3. Birch

      Last minute

      "And you just found out about this 17 minutes ago?!"

      Reminds me of an IT manager I once worked with. When the usual rush and panic about creating the quarterly reports was in full swing he was faced with a director demanding action to fix a small problem as the report had to get out the next morning.

      His response was a calm, considered lecture on the lines of the Sumerians and Babylonians had calendars 700 years ago, Stonehenge was at least 6000 years old and was an effective calendar, settlements in China, Peru.... and so on... finally leading to "it's the 21st century and you're STILL surprised by calendar dates!"

      Needless to say the calm lecture did wonders for the boss's blood pressure :-)

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: Last minute

        I wish I had a boss this awesome. I hope your old manager doesn't mind if I use that line.

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Last minute

        Trouble is, most execs use the Mayan Long Count calendar.

        Ohshittheworldisgoingtoendifwedon'tfixthisnow, ohshittheworldisgoingtoendifwedon'tfixthisnow, ohshittheworldisgoingtoendifwedon'tfixthisnow, ohshittheworldisgoingtoendifwedon'tfixthisnow...........ah............it didn't after all.

      3. JoeF

        Re: Last minute

        Here on the left side of the pond, there was a small computer company called SCO which had huge lawsuits against IBM, Novell, etc. In one of their briefs, IIRC, they claimed that they were surprised by Christmas coming up...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Last minute

          "a small computer company called SCO"

          You mean a small litigation company. I think by that time they'd mostly lost sight of being a computer company.

        2. Diogenes

          Re: Last minute

          they claimed that they were surprised by Christmas coming up...

          My neighbour's builders were unaware of Easter and ANZAC Day , and tried to add these into teh schedule later.

  8. Marc 25

    Invoke Excuse of the day Flipchart

    <flipchart>

    <echo> immutable.. configuration sequencer

    </echo>

    </flipchart>

  9. Ironclad
    Coffee/keyboard

    Courier 24

    ..new keyboard please

    Busy draining my old one of cold cappucino

  10. Rick Brasche

    it's not so funny

    when it's practically a true story. only difference were the details and the "explanation" give to the PHB. :(

  11. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
    Pint

    [title goes here]

    Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    Obligatory Dilbert cartoon here.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Only vaguely related - however it being friday and beer o'clock and whatever...

    Clever use of IT for shirking: Reddid skin that looks like outlook

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So....got someone who thinks they're important demanding something be done right freaking now because they didn't bother to let you know about it last week when it first came up and it needs finished in 17 minutes.

    Simon, do you have spies in my office passing on ideas for BOFH stories? Because I gotta say this one sounds a lot like my life.

  14. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    How about some of these?

    Williams Video Game Fonts

    Or just Wingdings anyone?

  15. ecofeco Silver badge

    Oh hell yes

    Got a few scars from this exact scenario my self.

    My other favorite? Can you fix this and I'll be leaving in ten minutes but I'll leave my computer on.

    When it's something that requires them to be logged in on their account. The ones we don't have passwords too. (oh we could change them, but sometimes the users disappears for hours or even days and then will phone in unable to log in... while we're working some new fire that needs putting out)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh hell yes

      Haha, we tell them "sure, let us know when you're back... "

  16. Hazmoid
    Trollface

    I always have this poster on my wall

    "A failure to plan on your behalf does not constitute an emergency on my behalf"

  17. John Klos

    You people are d*cks...

    Maybe, just maybe I should know better than to be drinking something while reading these. Now my laptop has beer all over it. I blame you.

  18. BenBell

    ....and they all lived happily ever after - all the way to the overtime bank :)

  19. ysth

    OpenOffice?

    OpenOffice? What's that?

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