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Episode 31 BOFH2000: Episode 31

So The Boss has volunteered my services to the Beancounters to upgrade some software an PC-based unix system to its latest (and last, if there's a God) revision -from the current version they have - which was probably installed on the Ark.

And as is always the case with vendors of old, dodgy software, there's more clauses to the Warranty than there is Warranty (or Documentation), so it looks like a suck-it-and-see job.

I hate it.

I offer to slap Linux in and rebuild their system for them, but apparently some equally crap chunk of interface software absolutely HAS to have this EXACT flavour of Unix to run, or it'll just sit mindlessly in the corner like most of its users.

Eventually I come across the licences for the software, which probably cost more to print than the product is worth - and notice that the licences are for the old version of the software, and not the new version they were delivered with.

Sigh.

So I've got to choose whether to back the whole lot up on floppies using a brain-dead version of the only backup package the system has - cpio - and then perform the upgrade, or give it a miss altogether.

So I'm packing up my kit when The Boss rolls in.

"So what's it look like?" he asks, peering at the documentation and pretending he can read multiple syllable words. "Looks tricky.."

"More than tricky" I respond, "A pig's breakfast - The licences aren't valid and the documentation is shite!"

"Nonsense, it's just a misprint!" he cries when I show him the evidence. "It's bound to be a typing mistake!"

To top my day off, the user of the machine concerned arrives for his twopenn'th of information.

"How's it going?" he asks nervously.

"Fine!" the boss cries, "Just about to get started! Well, I'll leave you to it!"

He trundles off with the user for a cup of something which I can only hope is toxic..

And I'm left wondering what Lassie would do... would she dial the suspiciously short US 24hr freecall number? Would she ring the local "Value Added" (pfft) Reseller and ask what the hell's going on? Or would she just relieve herself on the cabinet and wander off?

So I'm relieving myself on the cabinet (with the Power OFF, of course) when the user returns to the office. ..

Slightly shocked by the look of it.

"Thank goodness you're here!" I cry, adlibbing like a daemon, "Quick, get a fire extinguisher - I think I'm holding it at bay!!!"

He rips out of the office like a madman while I escalate things a bit by kicking the tower over and jumping on it a couple of times until the lid pops off, to "stifle any lingering flames".

When he gets back I empty half a cylinder of dry powder into the floppy and CD openings just to make sure that it doesn't "spontaneously re-ignite".

. . .

"Better safe that sorry!" I mention to my helper as I empty the other half of the cylinder into the cooling fan inlet of his machine's power supply.

"My system!" he gasps. "YEARS of work!"

"Oh, don't worry about it, it's all backed up," I reassure him.

"Really?!"

"Nah, couldn't be stuffed. But hey, they hard drive's still OK!"

"You think so?"

"Almost definitely - there it is there, hardly a scratch on it, except for those heel marks."

"What heel marks?"

>CRUNCH< >CRUNCH< >CRUNCH<</b>

"Those ones!"

. . .

So I'm in The Boss's office and he's not buying the fire story for a minute. Neither is he buying the: "my dog ate the backup tape" story.

"You're for the high jump now!" he cries, grabbing the phone and punching in security's number. "You're as good as gone!"

"Gone?!" The PFY cries, arriving in the nick of time. "That's great! I can't believe my luck!"

"?" The Boss hmmms.

"Well *I* get to be in charge! I get to make decisions for myself! Crash the systems when I want, leak your dodgy Website browsing to the HOD, randomly disconnect network connections f.."

I non-maskably interrupt the PFY with a quick >SLAP!<</b> before he can get all the way to meglomaniacland. Still he does dribble on a bit about making the user's lives a misery in his own way, making IT Management look like the prats they are, and so forth. Another NMI brings him back to the real world..

"Well, maybe I was a bit hasty in my initial estimation," The Boss adds nervously, thinking carefully about the devil he knows.

"No, no!" I cry, realising the vast untapped fear potential stored within the PFY, "I think you were more than justified! I'm a walking technical timebomb! I'm a menace to myself and others. I can't be trusted near equipment! Like your monitor."

"My monitor?"

>CRASH<</b>

"Yes!"

"An accident," The Boss cries, "could have happened to anyone! Look! See!"

>CRASH< a laptop joins the debris.

10 minutes later every piece of kit in the place is in pieces on the floor as the Boss strives to prove that I'm not a completely malicious bastard after all, and just prone to workplace accidents like him. It's all rather fun really.

Even more fun when security rocket up in response to the sounds of crashing on the phone call they just received in time to see the boss "accidentally" push his bookshelf over.

"Thank Goodness you're here!" I cry, using a line that's served me well in the recent past. "He's gone completely mad you know. A walking timebomb - a menace to himself and others! Why only this morning he directed me to urinate in a mach..."

The rest is just history, like The Boss. The wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the denials - it's worse than a Presidential Impeachment.

Still, best get 6 or 7 cups of coffee if I'm to complete that upgrade.... ®

BOFH: Kit and Caboodle
That's right, the whole shebang

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

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