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BOFH: What the Microsoft break-up really means

***DUMMY MODE ON***

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Episode 21 BOFH2000: Episode 21

So I'm doing some equipment audits, which basically means wandering around peoples’ desktops while they're away and making sure that what the service database says they have, and what they

REALLY

have, correspond with each other.

Not a challenging task by any stretch of the imagination...

And as per usual, it has to be done early in the morning so that I don't get exposed to the mindless questions of the using masses. (There's only SO many times you can be asked how to change the desktop wallpaper, a password, or tweak the screen brightness before you feel like stuffing the person's pay-cheque into the shredder)

I'm just finishing stuffing someone's pay-cheque into the shredder (pre-emptive strike - the best defence being a good offence and all that) when an early rising user walks in, wondering why their desktop machine has its cover off.

"Just taking an inventory of the hardware your system's configured with," I respond to their inquiry.

"But you already did that last year!" he blurts. "We do it every year," I reply, "so we can keep track of all the upgrades that have occurred and equipment that's been added."

"Well I hope it goes smoother than last year - I'm sure that my machine ran a lot slower after you'd run that hardware checking program on it."

Sigh.

"Sometimes the cataloguing program notes systems anomalies like overclocked CPUs or misconfigured memory configurations, which will eventually lead to Access Violation problems and frequent Bug Checks," I respond, "so we rectify them."

*DUMMY MODE ON!*

Of course, I could tell him the real reason - that the cataloguing software noted that the system concerned REALLY DID have a serious memory anomaly - it had 64 Meg when 32 would do. No sooner noted than rectified with the aid of a common household DIMM removal tool. (I could be Father Theresa, my life is so devoted to helping people).

"Oh. Ok. Well how long will it be till you're done?"

"Oh, I'm finished now," I cry happily, suppressing a momentary feeling of guilt as the last of his pay packet disappears into the slot of death. "I'll just pop the cover back on your box and you'll be back in business!"

"Actually, while you're here, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"By all means!"

"Well I've been reading about this break-up of Microsoft - will any of my programs be affected by it?"

"You mean will the change in the corporate structure of company affect the software made by that company and currently installed on your machine?"

"Yes."

My feelings of remorse disappear quicker than a hardware warranty after clock-chipping and I'm back to normal self.

"Well, it's hard to say. You see, what the ruling in effect means is that Microsoft has become far too powerful and has begun monopolising the market – it's the US government's form of a practical joke really."

"Huh?"

"Well they encourage people to build a big company and pay huge amounts of tax, and yet when they do so, they say it's bad and tell you that you have to break it up to be less competitive"

"But weren't they using unfair business tactics?"

"The term 'business' makes the term 'unfair' redundant in that sentence."

"You sound like you AGREE with them!"

"Can't stand them, to be honest, but that's hardly the point. Now back to your question - will it affect your desktop?"

"Yes"

"Unfortunately it probably will. Because of the split up, you'll probably have limitations on the size of documents created with the applications. It shouldn't affect you a lot - as long as you don't have any documents over 20k in size"

"But MOST of my documents are over 20k in size - I do the employment contracts."

"Really?" (This just gets better and better.) "Well what will happen is that they'll probably set a limit on the amount of pages of data you can edit at one time. Probably one."

"ONE PAGE! All of my documents are longer than that. How do I get around it?"

"Well.. I don't know if I should tell you this..."

"Oh please, it'll kill me to have to split all my documents up."

"Well.... ..Ok, I spose I can tell you. You have to DELIMIT the documents"

"How?"

"Just go into DOS, and type DEL *.*"

"HEY! Doesn't that Delete them?"

"No, the Delete command is REM - They changed all that years ago - you've been using Windows too long."

"Oh."

"And while you're at it you'll probably want to delimit everyone else's files too, plus all the ones on the server -I think the delimit command gets replaced with the new Operating System we're installing later today."

"Oh, Ok, I'll get right onto it."

"Good. And while you're at it, you probably want to delimit the NTLDR, the boot.ini, and everything in the Profiles directory on the disks too - just to be on the safe side in case they want to split out the Multination Characterisation of the Interface to the Base Operating System."

***DUMMY MODE IRREVOCABLY ON***

"Du-Ok."

Like shooting fish in a barrel. ®

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

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