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BOFH skills test: How are you with Marketing Blurb?

Trick questions. Lots of them

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The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Episode 20 BOFH2000: Episode 20

We've all seen it, and, some of us have even read it. Sadly, though, with the advent of gas-fired barbecues not many of us get to use it any more.. But today The Bastard would like ask some questions about your interpretation of their propaganda.

1.Reading the Advertising blurb for a product which may suit your needs, you notice the phrase: "Runs on most PC Compatibles". This means
A. Any X86 box will run it
B. Most X86 boxes will run it
C. Runs on DOS boxes
D. Doesn't run on DOS boxes
E. Doesn't run

2.In the same blurb you see: "Developed by a highly skilled team of programmers"
A. It was developed by a crew of like-minded supergeeks who we managed to lure away from the space program with large salaries
B. It was developed by a team of grad students working for us nights and weekends
C. It was developed by two grad students as a thesis paper, and we stole it.
D. It was developed my two high school students learning Visual Basic
E. The skills we were talking about were Juggling and Morris Dancing

3.You also notice that it claims to be "fully compatible with international standards". This means
A. It adheres to current industry standards
B. It adheres to ad hoc industry standards
C. It adheres to the new standard that they've just made up (See Microsoft Standards)
D. They'll stick to their story about standards, even under interrogation
E. The wrapper will adhere to your foot if you stand on it

4.Finally the brochure mentions "Fully Manned Personal Worldwide Support", which really means:
A. There's a support team in every country for 24hr support
B. There's a support team in one country, with 24hr support
C. They've hired one full man for Worldwide Support
D...and by "full" they mean drunk
E...and he only speaks Hindi

5.The accompanying Company Propaganda claims that they are experts in the "Fully Fault Tolerant" field. That means:
A. They have a large amount of experience in delivering 24x7 applications
B. They have a large amount of experience in using 24x7 applications
C. They know there's 24x7 hours in the week
D.. They know about Full Fault conditions
E... and they tolerate them in their software.

6.The Company Profile also mentions that they're "Firmly based in Silicon Valley", i.e.
A. They're based in the heart of the Computer world
B. They read Computer World
C. They've heard there's Computers in the World
D. It was a typo which was supposed to read
DEATH Valley
E. Nope the typo was supposed to read Silicon "Alley" - they back on to a TV Repair shop

7.Good Lord! It says down the bottom of the page in Huge, emboldened letters, that the software is Completely Free! This can only mean

A. It won't cost you a penny
B. It's crippleware
C. It's crippleware that also has a service connection charge
D. Did they mention you have to sign up for 24 months.
E. PANTS DOWN and BEND OVER, HERE COMES THE RED HOT SPIKE!!

8. "Contact us now and we'll get someone to call you". This means

A. They'll only call you if you respond
B. They'll only call you if they think you didn't get the blurb (i.e. don't respond)
C. They call on you regardless
D. They'll add you to their mailing list if you don't respond, hoping to wear you down
E. They know your name, they know where you work and live, and they're calling Readers Digest!!!

9."Can your business afford to pass up this Opportunity?"
A. No
B. Don't know
C. Yes
D. To dob them in to Readers Digest? I think not.
E. To ring the Armed Response Unit to inform them that a man wearing a "I hate Western Civilisation" badge, and carrying a large ticking parcel, mumbling to himself that "The Capitalist Pig Dogs will never take me alive", etc. No.

10."For More information Please put your name and address here". This means

A. They will keep you informed of items relevant to your business
B. They will keep you informed of items relevant to THEIR business
C. Both A and B, long after you've left the company, the country, your partner and threatening messages on their answerphone
D. The guy in the next cubicle's going to be getting a lot of mail soon
E. But not as much as every single beancounter will be getting once you make some calls...

How do you work out your score?
I know what you mean - some answers seem so... equal don't they? If so, that's -10 for a start!

Other than that, it's 0 points for every A (and - another 10 points if you think that's harsh), 2 for every B . . . 8 for every E.

-20-20 You don't deserve a Computer. In fact, it's surprising you can read.
But I do have some Leading edge 1 Meg SIMMs that you could buy at 20 quid a pop

20-40 About those leading edge 4 Meg SIMMs at 50 quid a pop... Not buying?
Worth a crack, though. Still, you need more work.

40-60 Yes, that's more like it. You're unlikely to be taken for a ride so easily.
Well done - though you're still giving them the benefit of the doubt.

60-80 Yes, you're right, the only benefit they deserve is a sickness benefit.
And to qualify for that, they're going to have to have had a nasty accident of some kind....

80-100 You cheating bastard! Take another 20 points for trying it on.

100-120 My Hero ®

BOFH is the Bastard Operator From Hell. He is the creation of Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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