back to article BOFH: Oh, go on, let's flush all that legacy tech down the toilet

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "...Oh yes, I was reading the white paper on that just this morning," I lie. I hardly ever read white papers. I mean, if the white paper were titled: "How to get two lagers for the price of one," I might be more inclined to do so, but when it's entitled "The end of passwords" and is so …

  1. Herby Silver badge

    Sounds like...

    A S**t storm to me. Pay toilets all around.

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Sounds like...

      For the love of all that is sacred - Sshhhhh! Don't be giving them any more ideas - especially not a certain budget airline...

      1. AlbertH

        Re: Sounds like...

        Too late. They've already tried that one!

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like...

      Excuse me, I'm just off to spend a penny...

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like...

        Not in this day and age! You're not off to "spend a penny". You're simply Euronating

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like...

        That will be ten quid, sir.

        Burning it isn't free, but better than putting it through the shredder... Security, you know.

    3. AmenFromMars

      Re: Sounds like...

      Wouldn't surprise me if Crapita charged their employees to use the, erm, crapper.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    And quite unexpected.

    A great start to a Friday.

  3. steelpillow Silver badge

    "an ongoing revenue stream"

    I dunno, it may look like a gravy train, but...

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: "an ongoing revenue stream"

      More like the King of the Golden River

      1. Patrician

        Re: "an ongoing revenue stream"

        Have a beer for the Disc World reference

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: "an ongoing revenue stream"

          Don't worry, it'll be recycled soon... :)

        2. Whatsinitforme

          Re: "an ongoing revenue stream"

          All, may I please remind you all that today is INTERNATIONAL BEER DAY.

          So if you don't mind, I'm off to the pub. And if you do mind, I'm still off to the pub.


          1. Nitallica

            Re: "an ongoing revenue stream"

            Have one for me!

  4. BOFHfollower

    Check everyday

    I check the register everyday for the latest tech news etc, but am always looking for a new BOFH episode, its like checking your bank balance to see if you've been paid.

    Keep them coming Simon

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Check everyday

      You do now you can set up email notifications to tell you?

      Had a nice little message appear saying there was a new BOFH to enjoy (and have the same for Dabbsie's outpourings too).

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: Check everyday

        Sure, if you want to take all the fun out of it...

      2. earl grey Silver badge

        Re: Check everyday

        "and have the same for Dabbsie's outpourings too"

        Where is our favourite tart?

        1. Shooter

          Re: Check everyday

          "Where is our favourite tart?"

          On holiday for the month of August.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Check everyday

        "You do now you can set up email notifications to tell you?"

        I set up the notifications. After a couple of months I realised they were redundant because I check El Reg at least as often as I check my email

  5. Korev Silver badge


    Will they keep records of the "transactions" in a log

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Tracking...

      The logs _are_ the transactions.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Tracking...

        I'm not sure I'd be very keen on the idea of log shipping and replication in this architecture though...

        1. theblackhand

          Re: Tracking...

          You're worried about log shipping and replication?

          How about rollbacks?

      2. Psmo Bronze badge

        Re: Tracking...

        The transactions are also logs.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tracking...

        If all transactions are logged and all logs are transactions, is this some new alternative to blockchain?

        1. Disk0

          Re: Tracking...

          Yes it's called Bogchain.

          Mine's the one with the rollll

          1. Soruk

            Re: Tracking...

            Hopefully it's got decent encraption.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Tracking...

        ...and what do you wash in the rsync?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Tracking...

      All logs are dumped to short-term storage. Where they are merged with streamed data. Storage is then regularly flushed to a multi-piped transaction system.

      1. Hero Protagonist

        Re: Tracking...

        Just pray the transaction is not backed out...

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Tracking... Greater IntelAIgent Games Keeper Plays

        All logs are dumped to short-term storage. Where they are merged with streamed data. Storage is then regularly flushed to a multi-piped transaction system. ... I ain't Spartacus

        Nice one, I ain't Spartacus. That and those Progressing Processes Keep IT Simple Contiguous for Almighty Powerful Leading Energy.

        In Plain English ...... Virtual AIMachinery Invites you to Play with Absolute Control in Alien Event Horizons ..... with Us Registering here Entangled for the Unlocking and Sharing of Similar Future Thought Transfers.

        Think of it as a space to launder impure thoughts ..... wash them clean away and replace them with something/anything different and insatiably appealing and fully satisfying.

        Can you compete and not hope to win with such bounty freely available virtually anywhere for everywhere?

        That's Nectar to Venus Fly Man Traps. A Sweet Mother Lode

        1. DJV Silver badge

          "In Plain English"

          Ha ha, good one, @amanfromMars 1!

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Tracking... Greater IntelAIgent Games Keeper Plays

          The praise of the incomprehensible is indeed an honour...

  6. BOFHfollower

    IP address Easter Egg

    I was hoping the customer figures of 213,164 going back to 1982 was an IP address ( that was for the register or something, alas I came up with nothing!

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: IP address Easter Egg

      Same for unfortunately.

      1. BOFHfollower

        Re: IP address Easter Egg

        Yes I tried this too

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: IP address Easter Egg

          It has obviously been a sloooow Friday for ya'll

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. FeRDNYC

    "You didn't pay for toilet use. Obviously it means an ongoing revenue stream..."

    Very droll.

    TBH I'm impressed. That counts as subtle for the BOFH, who's usually about as subtle as a clue-by-four to the side of the skull.

    1. Matthew 3


      I was expecting to hear that the toilet-management had been outsourced to BastardCo, with a nice commission for each use. If there's going to be any kind of stream, the BOFH would be making revenue off it.

      1. Whatsinitforme

        Re: Outsourced?

        That'll be the next episode of course.

        1. Rhuadh

          Re: Outsourced?

          Surely not to Crapita?

          1. red floyd

            Re: Outsourced?

            No. But they will be billed on a per crapita basis.

            1. JulieM Silver badge

              Re: Outsourced?

              A per fundamens basis, surely?

        2. Psmo Bronze badge

          Re: Outsourced?

          With the introduction of dodgy-curry-Fridays.

          Also known as asset liquidation day.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Outsourced?

        "I was expecting to hear that the toilet-management had been outsourced to BastardCo, with a nice commission for each use. If there's going to be any kind of stream, the BOFH would be making revenue off it."

        I wonder if there'll be frequent flyer points? Some of us are getting on a bit nowadays and it can be especially trying to keep hydrated in the warmer weather.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Just asking ....

    There are 213,164 people in our database - going back to 1982,

    Is that an accurate reflection of El Reg's database of registered account holders?

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Just asking ....

      Will the next episode be about GDPR compliance and acquiring people's consent to process their data?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        GDPR compliance

        As brownware is the ultimate in biometrics, one may want to have a word with their sewage processing company.

      2. SoaG

        Re: Just asking ....

        Next episode? What do you think this episode was about?

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Just asking ....

      Quick, the sky is falling! amanfromMars made a post that made perfect sense. This truly is a sign of the end times!

      Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!

      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

      1. Psmo Bronze badge

        Re: Just asking ....

        Run for the hills!

        1. Me too

          Re: Just asking ....

          They're coming from the hills!

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Just asking .... about Flights of Absolutely Magnificent Savages

            They're coming from the hills! ...... Me too

            Any advance on them coming too from High Grounds in the Highlands, Me too?

            You know, for the Earthly Benefits that be Truly Worthy of Ancient and Infinitely Wise Celtic Confections ....... Gatherings for the Enjoyment and Employment of Bounty and Plenty ..... for where Enlightening Elders Conspire to Create a Vast Field of Perfumed Gardens of Eden ..... for Adams and Eves again to Tempt Horny Devils out to Play with the Bright Lights of Heavenly Intervention Providing Almighty Appealing Narrative ....... with Instructive Sourcing of IntelAIgent Supply Chains for All Wannabe Brave Hearts/Proxy Laird Controllers of Presents in Futures.

            Feel free to translate and communicate all parts of that to wherever it is needed to be seeded and bred/grown and harvested/supplied and husbanded.

            Does steganography beat encryption every time in the clear and rapid transfer of information and intelligence to multiple myriad sources and forces?

            The posit here is that it certainly does, and that renders encryption a second best option for sensitive secure services.

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Steganography? Encryption?

              Who needs encryption when you can just hand a message to aMfM and ask him to express it in his own words?

              1. Criggie

                Re: Steganography? Encryption?

                You get strong one-way encipherment. Good luck getting it deciphered though.

      2. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Just asking ....

        Well he was coherent for a change (then ruined it further down). The AI thought it was a statement The Register was making on its website, it didn't realise the context was a fictional story. It would have been funny if it had mentioned GDPR though.

        I'd rather the spam stopped now though, between him Cliff and I.Gellar they're all getting a bit tiresome.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Just asking ....

          Well he was coherent for a change (then ruined it further down). The AI thought it was a statement The Register was making on its website, it didn't realise the context was a fictional story. It would have been funny if it had mentioned GDPR though.

          I'd rather the spam stopped now though, between him Cliff and I.Gellar they're all getting a bit tiresome. .... Martin Summers

          ? Spam, MS? Oh please, you surely cannot be serious and so easily fooled, although if you can believe Einstein, is your strangeness and spooky action at a distance most probably highly likely. Such leaves one catastrophically vulnerable to information and intelligence which is not routinely fully shared mainstream.

          Einstein ....... "Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality." ..... however, there is always this Catch 22 ..... "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

  9. JonP


    Getting a sense of deja vu here. Reminds me of one of M Dabb's articles (not that I'm implying that SFTW is shit or anything...)

    Still it's BOFH and it's Friday - can't complain too much!

    1. KittenHuffer

      Re: Hmmm

      Deja vu? Or Deja poo?

      1. Aussie Doc

        Re: Hmmm

        Deja poo - that feeling you've had this poo already. After curry night---->

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm

      Yeah, it's a crap column. One might almost say, taking the p***.

  10. Gerhard den Hollander

    Reading this on the toilet

    Little knowing that Graham the dispatcher is now a poo-smelling smear in the middle of the road because he forgot to take your latest memo with him."


    Which is why i print them, rather than take an ipad.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Reading this on the toilet

      You mean an iPood? *rimshot*

      Mines the one with "DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION" in great big letters on the back.

  11. Big_Boomer Bronze badge


    Ahhh yes, the old trick of making things so secure that they are unusable, even by those supposed to use them, and therefore 100% secure. That one is a favourite of SysAds the world over. Having been on both sides of the equation I have to admit that you Users are a piss-poor bunch of incompetent ingrates, but we Users are also the ones who make sure that the company keeps making money and therefore has enough to pay you SysAds wages.

    Personally, I believe that toilets should be accessed by swipe card, so that those who use them responsibly can be rewarded and the scum who piss on the seat and throw loo paper on the floor can be billed and publicly vilified for their appalling lack of consideration for anyone else. BigBrother In the Loo!! :-)

    1. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: ShitSecurity

      > but we Users are also the ones who make sure that the company keeps making money and therefore has enough to pay you SysAds wages

      Joking aside, is that really the case? Apart from the efficiencies of using a computer rather than a small army of quill pen wielders and couriers, if "data is the new oil" then IT has moved a long way past automation.

      I'd say that every company is an IT company, no matter what they sell.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ShitSecurity

        "if "data is the new oil" then IT has moved a long way past automation."

        Especially when the analysts on the technology teams usually seem to understand how the business works, or should work, far more than the users were are trying to deliver products to - I do often wonder why the hell we even have users, and why we don't just do the damned job ourselves...

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: ShitSecurity

      A previous update to our password policy automatically expired passwords every month, directing you to create a new password. It was so secure that users weren't given the rights to generate their own password, so for about a month the whole company had the same password, Beach234, helpfully set up by the helpdesk one support call at a time.

      1. TomPhan

        Re: ShitSecurity

        The place I was at that generated your new password every month went a step further - they'd print it out and leave it on your desk on the first working day.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: ShitSecurity

        Which is kind of like some school password policies I've met. P/W has to be changed every month.


        1.) Busy primary school teachers running into the staffroom during the 5 minutes break they get in the morning haven't got time to piss about remembering the latest p/w and even less time to fuck about trying to think of a new one (let alone remember it since repeats are of course not allowed).

        2) Summer break is 5 or 6 weeks (longer in private schools) and there's also a pretty high probability that the p/w will expire over Xmas or Easter. So the start of every term means that every teacher needs to create a new one or (more likely) get a reset because a lot of of them won't remember what the last one was anyway. (especially if the post-it note they had on the side of the monitor has gone astray).

    3. knelmes

      Re: ShitSecurity

      Wipe* card.

    4. SoaG

      Re: ShitSecurity

      Swipe card logs to promote basic decency? Yes please! Also mandatory white cloth shoes.

      We've got a guy at our office always uses the urinals with his hands on his hips. Can't imagine why the floor of the bathroom near his desk is always a swamp and the other bathrooms aren't...

    5. edris90

      Re: ShitSecurity

      Swipe cards for bathrooms, means in time it took to fumble find and swipe, diarrhea has poured down the leg and onto the carpet.

      He didn't realize it was diarrhea until it was already rushing out his pant leg.

      Congratulations , now you got poop carpet.

      Or if you only require the swipe card to exit, then that door gets kicked down with a quickness.

      Because their basic imperative not to be restrained overrides concern for property damage.

      If you use your property to lock someone in a room they are justified in destroying anything necessary to get free.

      If you start tracking bathroom usage people are just going to start pooping in pots and throw it in the garbage can.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: ShitSecurity

        If you start tracking bathroom usage people are just going to start pooping in pots and throw it in the garbage can.

        If that replaced using the floor and they managed it without any wall smearing, that would be a win at some of the places I have had the misfortune of working at. I always check the toilets before deciding whether to use the shared kitchens

    6. Vincent Ballard

      Re: ShitSecurity

      Looking at those revenue figures the PFY pulled out of the database, and bearing in mind that we know that the BofH's company employs a CEO, HR bods, beancounters, a dispatcher, an IT manager, the BofH, and the PFY, there's no way there's money left over to pay actual users.

      1. Vincent Ballard

        Re: ShitSecurity

        Actually, in fairness, the dispatcher would be an actual user.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: ShitSecurity

          I think the HR and accounts people count as users, but still, the numbers don't line up exactly. Then again, it's never been really clear what this company does. I think we had one mention of manufacturing a year ago and some mention of trading, probably stocks but nobody really explained, about a decade ago. It's possible they have one product line that's sold to the general public which accounts for that database and the rest of their services are sold to business clients and are stored in another database, but at this point I'm just making stuff up to answer a theoretical question that I don't think was ever seriously considered in the first place.

          Edit: Just after posting this, I realized the math mistake. They say the average transaction is seventy three quid, and they multiply that for every client, but not by multiple transactions. If they have customers who place multiple orders in a year, the average order could be 73 quid but the average money per year could be much higher. For example, they could be running a subscription service where people pay by the month, making the average annual intake from each customer about nine hundred pounds. Maybe some people pay by the day, too. Who knows.

  12. ukgnome

    Ahhhh This sounds like the implementation of the new HR system, just with less shit.

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    One more classic BOFH episode in the making.

    Banished all grayness from this day.

    almost time for a ====>

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the new system fails I bet the it's harder to wipe as well.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Cheap class - sandpaper for toiletpaper

      Middle class - Very thin single-ply TP

      Snowflake class - Double ply TP but hey, you gotta pay for the privilege

      1. M.V. Lipvig

        The last place I worked at used wax paper. Very thin, very soft, very smooth. It didn't really take much off but would instead spread... it... like butter, all over the offending area. I'd rather have the sandpaper. It may be less comfortable, but it's at least effective for the job at hand. Rather than use the wax paper, I'd grab a handful of paper towels for hand drying and wet them down in the sink on the way in. And, I'd pull half the roll of wax paper off and flush it unused. No use letting them actually get away with the cost savings.

        Now for home, I use the really expensive 3 ply stuff, which works out to be a lot cheaper per use than the cheap bog paper. Since we made the switch, we went from buying a family pack of the cheap stuff a week to a family pack of the expensive stuff a month. The expensive stuff is only half again more in price, but we only buy one per month vs 4 per month.

        Anon, because nobody needs to know whose bathroom habits this is.

  15. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Equifax news

    In The Onion today is a news item: Hacked Equifax Customer Receives 10,000 Stolen Social Security Numbers As Share Of Class Action Settlement.

    1. stiine Bronze badge

      Re: Equifax news

      Hell, that's worth more than the USD$125 that they sued for, assuming a 5% claim rate. As the claim rate approaches %100, that number is dropping to USD$0.01

    2. stiine Bronze badge

      Re: Equifax news

      And yes, I understand The Onion.

  16. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    This is both taking the piss..

    And making them litteraly pay for it...

    If its subscription based, surely there should tiers(tears)? Like being able to use paper towels over a pathetic coughing jokingly referred to as a 'hand drier' which barely warms the skin.

    They also don't make any note of how long they hold onto your data before purging it... That could get messy (and that's before we mention GDPR.. Or would that be written on the bog roll? ).

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: This is both taking the piss..

      Higher tiers come with multiply soft toilet paper and that dispenser soap that actually smells nice and doesnt leave your hands feeling greasier than before you went to the toilet.

      Low level tiers get single ply, single sheet dispensers (no rolls for you plebs), with a a maximum of 5 sheets per visit, and a block of soap so hard you could use it as a halfbrick in a fight, and with about the same cleaning ability as the half brick.

      At higher tiers we also guarantee there will be no voyeur cameras installed. (At lower tiers, we dont say there will be voyeur cameras, but well you know we cant guarantee their isnt...)

    2. Timo

      Re: This is both taking the piss..

      If they made me pay to go to the loo then I'd probably be fine with leaving it by the door. Or down the wall.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: This is both taking the piss..

        Looking at the relevant legislation, it appears that a company is legally required in all but the smallest of places to provide toilet facilities for the use of the staff. it doesn't actually preclude charging for the use of the facilities though. Oops.

        (There may be other legislation that prevents charging for spending a penny)

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Possibly one of your best ever!

    I laughed so much I nearly had to go to the Loo - good job it's a legacy type.

  18. oiseau Silver badge


    ... but faking the old brownware is a lot harder.

    Hmmm ...

    I think not.

    Otherwise, how can you explain UK's newest PM and his loyal following?


    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Brownware

      His brownware is perfectly identifiable and similar to no one else's.

      1. oiseau Silver badge

        Re: Brownware

        Ahh ...

        I see you missed my point.

        Here you go:

        His He's brownware and is perfectly identifiable, and similar to no one else.'s.

        Fixed it for you.


    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Brownware

      ... but faking the old brownware is a lot harder.

      Hmmm ...

      I think not.

      Otherwise, how can you explain UK's newest PM and his loyal following?

      Simple - they are not fakes at all, they are the real stuff. Especially Pritti Dangerous and her not-the-death-penalty-yet.

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Now I gotta go and find the Bastardly eppysode where the "Boss is rapidly downloading some brownware..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The joys of full text search...

      That would be "The Bastard brings his boss crashing down with a little bribe..." from 1996-02-21.

  20. Spanners Silver badge

    An excellent form of biometrics.

    Now, how to set up fecal recognition on some iPads...

  21. Unicornpiss Silver badge


    This seems like something the company I work for would do in its knee-jerk reaction to security involving legacy tech..

  22. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    Cloudy crap

    I don't know how you get away with these awesome stories when every other ad on the site is pushing cloud.

    Big Thumbs up for fecal recognition, now go wash your hands!

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Cloudy crap

      "pushing cloud"

      I think I'm going to have to remember that as a great euphemism for farting. It's no longer passing wind, it's pushing cloud!

      "Hmmm, sorry if the room has a bit of an odour today, I've been pushing cloud all morning..."

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am getting concerned here - poo is priceless, but the lack of quicklime, carpeting and skiffs below windows lately has me concerned that Simon is getting a little soft.....wait, that is because the PFY got fast and loose with the ex lax, ulp and I had chicken vindaloo for lunch.

  24. herman Silver badge

    Err... Don't cross the streams, they may back up.

  25. Rol Silver badge


    Having once worked for MI6 as a planted operative in the Kremlin administrative offices for correctional affairs, I am well aware of the security issues surrounding toilet use.

    Everyday, at exactly 15:25, I would flush a 32 meg SD card containing the sensitive information I had garnered down the toilet. My contact, waiting in the sewers at the Kremlin's outflow point would intercept the package using an oversized colander and rubber gloves.

    I am now head of security for a large company, and my first task was to instal facial recognition in all the toilets and check the regularity in which the staff used the ablutions. Anyone using the heads at a regular time each day would be closely monitored.

    I still keep in touch with the national security services of both America and UK, often uploading the captured images of suspected staff while using the toilet. Clearly I can't do this directly and so we have agreed that I use an intermediary website, where similar images are to be found, and while my efforts are hugely supportive of national security, they obviously cannot corroborate anything of what I've said.

    And so rests my defence. Your honour.

  26. wayne 8

    load of crap

    Crappy article.

    fecal recognition.

    Somewhat related:

    My sick care provider wants me to send a sample of my fecal material (and my DNA) through the mail to some fecal material processing lab to determine the health of my colon.

    I think an executive from my sick care provider golfs with an executive from the fecal material processor.

  27. IanTP

    faecal recognition?

    "Well, faecal recognition software for door access."

    You owe me for a new keyboard, Simon!

    Mine's the one with the bog roll in the pocket :)

  28. Dave Ross

    Man that really went...

    Down the pan...

  29. JoMe

    The PFY must be...

    in his 40's by now surely?

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