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BOFH returns from the dead

Y2K1: He's mean, he's moody, he's less than magnificent

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Episode 1

The Bastard Operator from Hell

has returned from the tomb with the boss and PFY (Pimply-Faced Youth) in tow. BOFH newbies can tune into previous episodes

here

. So let's get cracking.

BOFH 2000 No. 1

It's still dark as I let myself back into my soon-to-be-EX workplace with a spare "backup" access card and stroll into the office after a short break of feigned death...

There's nothing like a quick fatality to put the life back into you..

Slipping into Mission Control quietly, I notice the PFY, bless him, has a tear or two in his eye as he reaches into my filing cabinet to put my belongings into a plain cardboard box... and a couple more when I slam the drawer on his hand.

"Now what have I told you about fingering my possessions?" I ask.

"B.. but.. you're... you're.. " he blurts, extricating his fingers gingerly.

".. Alive and well?" I finish.

"But.. what about...."

"Arty Murray?" I interject again. "Last I saw of him, he'd just plummeted through the shoddily thin sub-basement floor into the building's stormwater outfall pipe and was probably being washed toward the Thames.. Messy business.."

"How did you..?"

"Escape Unscathed? By a one in a hundred chance, a loop of thickwire Ethernet cable (which I'm sure I told you to remove from a cabling riser over a YEAR ago) was mysteriously stuffed in the faller ducting instead .. where I theoretically wouldn't find it.."

The PFY looks away guiltily as I continue...

".. Which hooked round one of my legs on the way down. Causing me considerable personal injury less than a yard of drop later. But don't worry, my extended absence (for recuperation) will of course be charged back to the company, as will the extensive medical bills from Doctors J Beam and Daniels. "

"OhI'mSoPleasedYou'reBack!" the PFY gushes with all the self-control of a Microsoft Fan in the Master Bedroom of Gatesland. "Things have been terrible!"

"Terrible?" I require.

"Everyone at IT's been reshuffled, they're going to put us under the Beancounters, and there's been a freeze on spending."

"So, business as per usual then?"

"I DON'T THINK SO!" The boss cries triumphantly, entering the office with all the grace and poise of a large tusk-bearing animal. After 10 buckets of lager.

"Why's that?" I ask politely.

"Because you don't WORK here any more!," he cries happily, pointing out the unexplained absence clause in my contract.

"Of course I don't work here any more - it was touch and go when I WAS working here. No, I have my sites set on greener pastures. By the way, any Y2K problems?"

"It's a nightmare!," the PFY admits. "You name it, it's failing - even the stuff that's only about six months old."

"Excellent, so my work wasn't in vain then!"

"You sabotaged our systems!," the boss burbles.

"Of course not. You said you wanted all our systems Y2K complaint ready."

"I said compl-IA-nt!"

"No, you distinctly said COMPLAINT. I know, I kept a copy."

"W... " the boss burbles, nudging his vocab up a fraction.

"Mine not to reason why! And if you think it's bad NOW, wait till Feb 29 - some of that microcode is almost viral!"

"You'll have to fix it!" the boss cries.

"I don't work here any more."

"Yes you do!"

"I can't, I'm dead - just like that email you sent to Salaries a couple of months back."

"How did..." the boss starts, answering his own question - obviously been around a bit too long, although that's bound to be sorted our by Feb 29 too.

Suffice to say, the conversation went downhill from there, with security helping me find my way back to the street and relieving me of my access card on the way. (Only three more left, which'll be worth gold after the card readers slip into erase-mode for leap day.)

So I enter the job market, and find a suitable position within a couple of hours. A couple of hours later I break out my suit from long-term storage and attend an interview.

It went fairly well as interviews go - I told them what they wanted to hear, laughed at their IT jokes that were so old they were printed in braille on the back of the UNIVAC, and generally impressed them with my computing worldiness.

Sickening, I agree.

"Just one question" I chime in: "How agressively do you persue new technology?"

"We believe in growth, and now we've got you, we can go 'leading edge'. Sure, it'll cost a bit more, and involve a bit of travel to track down the right solution, but we think it's just the price you have to pay to get ahead of the competition."

"Dosh and Travel, my favourite twinset... Quicker than you can say "I'm on the team!" I'm on the team.

. . .

"And here's your workstation - it cost a bomb, and it's the latest and fastest, I believe."

"It's a Digital VT1000 'X' terminal! They don't even make them any more."

"Yes, refurbished to top-of-the-line our consultant told us."

"It's Mono!"

"Too fast for colour, he said."

A quick scan of the computer room (full of VAXes, Sparc-1s and a couple of NEXTs for show) and facts-of-life talk later appraises him of the shafting that they've been getting.

"What should we do?"

"Well there's a lot of work, I won't be able to do it on my own. We'll need an IT manager too..."

. . .

"Yep?" the PFY answers shirtily (I'm so proud - taught him everything you know).

"Hi, it's Opportunity - knocking. And give the boss a yell too - I hear there's a vacancy he might be interested in before the end of February."

Just like old times - back in the driver's seat once more... ®

BOFH belongs to Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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