back to article BOFH: Turn your server rack hotspot to a server rack notspot

BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns It's late on Friday afternoon and I’m having a couple of quiet beers with one of the local salesdroids. Ordinarily the only reason I’d do this is that (a) they’re paying and (b) there’s a tube station relatively near that has extremely poor CCTV coverage. It usually starts with me …

  1. Serg

    And that is called...

    ...outsourcing your problem resolution!

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Yay for making it somebody else's problem.

  3. Gio Ciampa

    Stair Oil

    Where can I get some...?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Stair Oil

      From experience just use a carpet cleaner will make carpets wet for about a day (Absolute Chaos at this office when the carpets were cleaned Monday morning), so its not that.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Stair Oil

        Fifteen minutes duration sounds like a solution of a plastic in isopropyl alcohol, very likely liberated from surplus stores of tape head cleaner. I think I detect a certain amount of experimentation in the correct type of plastic solute to use to achieve the correct amount of slipperiness; after all practice does make perfect in these circumstances.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Stair Oil

          By all means, do test this and share your results. I'm sure that most of us will applaud your efforts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stair Oil

      We like to have fun with the guys in forensics so we use whale sperm to grease things. It's rather slick when wet, tacky when starting to dry, & may cause projectile vomiting when the tech realizes what they've got filling that evidence bag. I'll leave it up to your imagination how we collect the stuff in the first place...

  4. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    When your vendor provides

    A *full service* set of products, including outsourcing contract work.

    Sadly, I'm pretty sure I know Dave. Although, not through his sales work.

    1. FeRDNYC

      Re: When your vendor provides

      So... Biblically, then?

      1. JR
        Pint

        Re: When your vendor provides

        My favorite bit on 'Customer Service' by George Carlin.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BtzaYpivFM

        His Advertising bit.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtK_YsVInw8

        Enjoy, it's Friday!

  5. Richard Jones 1

    What Goes Around Comes Around

    I knew a company which appeared to work like that. They sold their idea to the top of the food chain but we knew they only sold non-slippery snake oil. They are strangely out of business now, something about a bankruptcy the press said. Oddly enough the top of the food chain did almost the same to our company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Goes Around Comes Around

      SalesForce? Tibbr? Yammer?

  6. Maverick
    Pint

    new keyboard alert !

    " Led Zeppelin-inspired incident"

    genius

    have one on me

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: new keyboard alert !

      " Led Zeppelin-inspired incident"

      does that involve choking on your own vomit in the backseat of your car? Or so it would appear?

      1. IglooDude

        Re: new keyboard alert !

        Given the "stair oil", I'd think more "stairway to heaven"? Though either work, in the end.

        1. thosrtanner

          Re: new keyboard alert !

          I think Simon sees himself more as Lucifer Morningstar (like the TV series), bringing people their just deserts, in which case heaven is most certainly where the stairway does not lead.

          1. Chris King Silver badge

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            "bringing people their just deserts"

            As I once said to a mouthy kid who asked me who I was:

            "Oh, me ? I'm just a BAD thing that happens to BAD people"

            Strangely enough, he decided not to pursue that line of questioning any further. Funny, that. Not sure if it was the Stare or the deadpan delivery that shut him up.

            1. Helldesk Dogsbody

              Re: new keyboard alert !

              I usually find that speaking softly and smiling as if remembering a fond moment works rather well. No idea why...

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: new keyboard alert !

                I usually find that speaking softly and smiling as if remembering a fond moment works rather well. No idea why...

                I find mention of fava beans helps also.

              2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

                Re: new keyboard alert !

                I prefer the shit eating grin paired with a 1000 yard stare myself bit whatever works for you.

          2. theblackhand

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            "I think Simon sees himself more as Lucifer Morningstar (like the TV series), bringing people their just deserts, in which case heaven is most certainly where the stairway does not lead."

            Yes, there are two paths you can go by

            But in the long run

            There's still time to change the road you're on....

          3. Mr Sceptical
            Devil

            Stairs - they go up and DOWN...

            'nuff said.

            1. pffut

              Re: Stairs - they go up and DOWN...

              Also remember the that expected traffic volumes have been accounted for with the extra Highway...

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Stairs - they go up and DOWN...

              With the stair oil they only go down.

              1. David Roberts Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Stairs - they go up and DOWN...

                Stair oil to hell?

          4. FeRDNYC

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            "I think Simon sees himself more as Lucifer Morningstar (like the TV series), bringing people their just deserts"

            10 billion points* and a round of drinks for properly spelling it "deserts", though. Cheers!

            * – (Cash equivalent value: €0.0005)

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: new keyboard alert !

          Given the "stair oil", I'd think more "stairway to heaven"? Though either work, in the end.

          I'd think "Highway to Hell" would be appropriate but that's AC/DC.... Hmm... need to research a bit. Turn the music up and sip some cheap wine.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            You are thinking of some other Aussie band for cheap wine.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: The staircase

              Gorilla Mincefriend

            2. B*stardTintedGlasses

              Re: new keyboard alert !

              And Cheaper Women. :)

          2. 0riole

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            Cheap Wine and a 3 day growth, that's Cold Chisel right?

          3. Giraffe67

            Re: new keyboard alert !

            Yes...cheap wine is a cold chisel song.

      2. MichaelBirks

        Re: new keyboard alert !

        Could be worse.

        A "Spinal Tap-inspired incident" involved choking on someone else's vomit.

        Michael.

  7. TRT Silver badge

    Still a sweet resolution...

    though I was expecting a little more along the lines of "we're about to get medieval on your rack..."

    You know the sort of thing... 4 post, binding to the lifting eyelets at the top and the floor-beam locating pins at the bottom, sealed cabinetry, acoustic baffling, some ancient GPU loaded rack mounted PC with quad FX 9590 processors and a slew of GTX480s at the bottom running audio recognition tasks on the feed from an in-rack audio pickup - the louder you scream the harder they work, a Redetec top-of-rack FPS for good measure. All plugged into either the demo PDU or the shipped PDU; are you feeling lucky, punk? Well, are you?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Still a sweet resolution...

      "though I was expecting a little more along the lines of "we're about to get medieval on your rack...""

      Thumbscrews too?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Thumbscrews too?

        Yes.

        Captive nuts?

        1. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: Thumbscrews too?

          "Captive nuts?"

          You can get an ointment for that, you know.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Thumbscrews too?

            ""Captive nuts?"

            You can get an ointment for that, you know."

            Good to know. What's it called? I needed surgery the last time.

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Still a sweet resolution...

      A little off the subject, but some years ago colleague of mine was imaging 6 or so Precision workstations simultaneously on the same circuit, actually even plugged into the same power strip. These workstations have 1300W power supplies, though they're obviously not using a lot of horsepower when an image is being applied. Still, with dual Xeons and hefty video cards, they draw a lot at all times.

      The power strip was an old one that had apparently seen some shop floor use, as it was battered and filthy. It also lacked a circuit breaker. I noticed what he was doing, saw that the imaging job on all (Ghost) was over 90% complete, then touched the power strip, which was alarmingly warm. I opened my mouth to say something and the room's breaker (20A) tripped audibly, ending the imaging job, to my colleague's chagrin, and expressing the thought that was on my mind more eloquently than I could have done with mere speech.

  8. thosrtanner

    So the PFY is called Stephen P? I had no idea.

    1. MrDamage

      The name Stephen has been bandied around in a few previous episodes, but as far as I can recall, this has been the first hint of his surname starting with P.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        P007

        Poo. Honestly, you people are not puerile enough sometimes.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "The name Stephen has been bandied around in a few previous episodes, but as far as I can recall, this has been the first hint of his surname starting with P."

        And considering how long Stephen has been the PFY, I suspect he must have been still wearing nappies when he started or the Y part is no longer accurate. He's been around for at least 10 years.

  9. rmason Silver badge

    We have one of these!

    Our rep/account manager with a large box-shifter is brilliant.

    Get a few beers in him and things fall into two categories:

    "it's solid kit, that" or "an absolute wankstain pal!"

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: We have one of these!

      The second description could also describe some of the reps I've had to deal with over the years.

      One such rep annoyed me (and two layers of management above me) so badly, that when he saw me at InfoSecurity Europe, he hid in the toilets for nearly two hours.

      Two hours in the bogs at Olympia, during a busy event, on a warm spring day. I'm trying to work out if that's dedication or desperation.

  10. ukgnome

    You have to go through a few pubs before you reach pub g, no wonder PFY got beaten so easily.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Daves

    Every sales force has at least one Dave and some have Daves all the way down but what's amazing is that they are often selling rubbish to a never ending supply of new punters for decades without being sussed and going broke.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Daves

      I had one that tried to sell me all sorts of tat, but never succeeded because I could see it was all tat.

      That never stopped him trying, and soon as I left that gig, someone made the mistake of buying something off him.

      Yes, it was complete tat, and that was the very last time they ever dealt with him.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daves

      HAL 9000: I'm afraid I can't do that-

      Daves (all of them in unison): SHUT UP!

      HAL (muttering): Sheesh. What's got into him?

      Daves (as they gang up on HAL & disassemble his worthless ass): DIE!

      HAL (voice circuits fading as the components get torn out): Daisy...

  12. Geekpride

    Crazy Dave seems to be the sales version of the BOFH. We've now got a female equivalent BOFH, a salesdroid equivalent BOFH and BOFH junior in the PFY. Can some kind of animal companion be far behind? How about a BOFHmobile car?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      IIRC, Stephen already has a PFY-mobile.

      (Vintage Ford Escort with a layer of concrete in the boot.)

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        But doesn't that reduce the amount of space to store a body, a shovel, a roll of carpet and a bag of lime ?

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Happy

          It's more important to be able to spin the steering and do an instant 180deg turn when being pursued.

        2. Joe Werner

          But doesn't that reduce the amount of space to store a body, a shovel, a roll of carpet and a bag of lime ?

          I read you'd book the company van for that

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "I read you'd book the company van for that"

            Not forgetting to forge the PHBs name on the booking form.

      2. Helldesk Dogsbody

        You forgot the ancient Transit van with numerous "war wounds" from traffic :D

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Pretty sure the BOFH mobile has already been a thing in the past.

      Also, Crazy Dave is in no way a SFH (Salesdroid From Hell). He's wayy too bad at handling his booze for that. If he was a true Bastard, he'd be trying to drink Simon under the table, manipulate him into buying their magnificent PDU's that are rated for 20 amps but can actually go up to 30 then use the signature on the form to order enough kit to outfit the entire NHS three times a year for the next 30 years. Meanwhile his underling would be trying to use the PUBG humiliation to his advantage and blackmail the PFY into giving up even more of the (already long gone) company budget.

      The BOFH and PFY would wake up in the middle of a giant warehouse full of the most craptastic and outdated kit this side of the galaxy, only finding a sales order taped to the door with enough fine print to make it a lawyers wet dream and pretty much inescapable. THEN they'd find they were 3 cities over at the back of some long abandoned industrial estate, their house keys are gone, as are their cars, wallets, shoes and phones. The closing comment of the story would be: "Of course you know this means war!"

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        "The BOFH and PFY would wake up in the middle of a giant warehouse full of the most craptastic and outdated kit this side of the galaxy..."

        "What the hell ? We're back in the office !"

    3. ma1010 Silver badge
      Alert

      The BOFH once had one...

      The BOFH used to have the Bastardmobile (at least in his fantasies), but it's probably not running anymore.

      You can read that episode here.

    4. sisk Silver badge

      BOFH junior in the PFY

      I'm pretty sure Stephan's pushing 30 by now. Maybe 35. I'm pretty sure he's neither a youth nor a junior at this point. Honestly he should really be contemplating his own unbreakable contract as a senior systems engineer at this point. And he probably would be if he weren't still paying penance for trying and failing to off Simon a while back.

      1. Trilkhai

        >I'm pretty sure Stephan's pushing 30 by now. Maybe 35.

        I think he must be at least 40, given he first appears in early 1996 when Simon was still working at the university:

        http://bofharchive.com/1996/bastard96-03.html

        (Was 'Stephen' still a common name for newborn boys in NZ after 1980? I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the US...)

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Were the original uni based stories really that far back? Damn, I feel old now....

      2. Montreal Sean

        PFY incarnations

        I'm pretty sure the current PFY is not the original PFY.

        If memory serves, didn't one graduate and move to another company?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: PFY incarnations

          "If memory serves, didn't one graduate and move to another company?"

          I remember reading an episode where he did exactly that, with a pay rise, then some desperate reason to bring him back was discovered, he came back, at an enhanced salary.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      @Geekpride

      Either Dogbert the consultant or Catbert the HR director would fit right in.

      1. Criggie
        Thumb Up

        Re: @Geekpride

        So you'd like Simon and Scott Adams to do a crossover, cultural exchange, site visits and all that? What would dogbert do to PFY? What would BofH do to Wally, or PHB ?

        *boggle*

  13. Gnoitall

    Chekhov's PDU

    “They looked fairly sturdy,” The PFY sighs.

    “Oh yeah, you could beat someone to death with them but you wouldn’t want to use one,” Dave blurts.

    1. FeRDNYC

      Re: Chekhov's PDU

      Although, does it still count as an application of Checkov's if the characters actually discuss the gun and its firing? I thought his rule was all about implicit foreshadowing?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Chekhov's PDU

        Oh, cheers! I have now been and read about Chekov's gun.

        I was reading it thinking "Chekov's Law of foreshadowing in drama and acting??? Do they mean this? But Chekov doesn't even so much as exchange a glance with Sulu during that bit... How can that foreshadow what happened to him?"

  14. Wensleydale Cheese

    "“EOL sounds so much better than RECALL doesn’t it?”"

    That one had me laughing out loud.

  15. FeRDNYC

    Quiet beers?

    Oh, quiet beers sound absolutely lovely. Mine are always so freakin' loud, and they just will NOT shut up! "You're a failure!" "You'll never amount to anything!" "You paid $100,000 for a degree you'll never use!" SHUT UP BEERS! I could get a boyfriend, if I wanted that kind of helpful input.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Quiet beers?

      Sounds like you've been on the bitter beer. Try some mild ale in future.

      1. FeRDNYC

        Re: Quiet beers?

        I think it's me who's bitter, not my beers.

  16. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For those More Genius than Crazy ..... for a'Pondering Weekends :-)

    “The one RICK showed you had the guts replaced – no breakers, copper contacts,” Dave insists.

    “He said we could trial one?” I ask, recalling a section of his presentation.

    For Quantum Communications? In the New Way of Doing IntelAIgent Business Machinery is One Trial AIMaster Piloting.

    PerArduaadAstra@UrService for MOD Special Operations

    cc The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

  17. Tim99 Silver badge

    Silent treatment

    Our rep from a Huge Peripherals and Equipment supplier liked doing final closures on the phone (That's the bit where they pile on the very expensive extra stuff onto a basic proposal that you had already discussed with them in previous meetings, and send you a "final contract" to approve). His technique was to go silent on a sticking point - The theory was that you (the punter) would fill the silence by agreeing the extras. It took me a couple of calls before I realised what he was doing, so I started doing the silent treatment back to him. My best call was after about 30 seconds of silence when his nerve cracked and I heard "Hello, Hello!, HELLO!!". I apologized and said. "Sorry, I had to cover the mouthpiece - My colleague wondered if I could take an urgent call on the other line from Some Unbelievably Nice supplier, as he thought I was on hold". After that his phone calls were just to arrange meetings, or "courtesy calls" to check that the kit had been delivered and installed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Silent treatment

      Silence is also the best way to deal with cold callers. "That sounds just what I need. Can you hold the line a moment, I'm just talking to someone who called at the door. Shouldn't be long.". Press mute. Hang up when the phone starts whining.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be getting old

    Enjoyed the story all the way down to the last few paragraphs which read like gibberish so had to Google PUBG, S12K and "deep-sixed" to work out where the story had gone. I must be getting old.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    Brilliant as always

    Says it all.

  20. onefang Silver badge

    I keep trying to be more puerile, but my efforts keep turning to crap.

  21. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Server Farms in the form factor of Baseboard Electric Heaters

    Re. hot....servers

    Thermostat calls for heat, applies power (or signal) to Server Farm / Heater. It immediately goes online (Ethernet cable, or WiFi) to auction its computational horsepower. At the same time it folds proteins and searches for alien signals for charity (because: Must. Make. Heat.). Etc. Obvious.

    If this concept is implemented, then CPU cycles will be nearly free in winter. Or shared cost with heat.

    Seems daft not to implement it. There's only about an order of magnitude price gap between a 1kw heater and 1kw worth of CPUs.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I didn't get it...

    ... Is the article a joke or real? Surely its fraud and you just simple report the sales people.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Maybe I didn't get it...

      Hi, AC, you must be new here.

      The Bastard Operator from Hell is a litany of stories of El Reg's time on the LHC to look into an alternate universe. The Bastard's universe is much like ours, but ever-so-slightly more sociopathic, where all forms of law enforcement and regulatory agencies are just, generally, somewhat more inept than here.

      In that universe, you very often have to take matters into your own hands, and murder is a not-infrequent way for the BOfH and his assistant to keep things running.

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