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Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Episode 35 BOFH 2000: Episode 35

Couple of problems with the Firewall machine overnight," the PFY says as I wander through the door to Mission Control. "Looks like it stopped a denial of service attack by crashing."

"Always good to know that there's a backup plan for kit if we need it," I respond. "Are we back up and running?"

"Yep, looks like our utilisations at it's normal point on...WHAT the HELL are you wearing!?!?!"

"What this old thing?" I reply, fingering the finely blended wool and nylon mix that is my one and only suit.

- Only been worn three times.

"No, THAT!" he cries, pointing in horror.

"This is called a TIE. Predominantly used to engender respect for the wearer - which more often than not is undeserved."

"And you're wearing one - because?"

"Because, as they say, today is the first day of the rest of my life."

"Uh-huh. And you're going to brown-nose the new boss perhaps? I thought you said he was a shocker - ex military with no experience of comput.."

"Yep. They're the best sort..."

"Ah excuse me..." a timid voice interjects.

Our conversation is interrupted by the departmental secretary informing us that the Head of IT has some form of rare and virulent food-based illness which prevents him from being in to show the new Boss around...

What a coincidence...

"I'll do it!"

. . .

"Hi there" I burble, greeting the new Boss-type with a good firm handshake, making specially sure to hold it for just a tad to long to be comfortable. "I'm Brian, the Head of IT. First off, I suppose you want to look over the kit we have about the place."

"Hi, I'm Dave - Uh, I actually saw the computer suite during my interview - with the, uh, Head of I.T."

"The other Brian?" respond, covering well. "Yes, a bit confusing I suppose. Still, you'll be dealing with me from now on, after.. well, you know."

"Well actually I don.."

"Yes, a bit of a tragedy, but then again, we knew it was on the cards when we found that hole in the microwave dish shielding. They tell us they've repaired it though, so I'm sure you've nothing to worry about. Anyway, I'd best show you around to give them a chance to pack up his stuff before you move in. Had a CT scan recently have you?"

"No, why?" Dave asks nervously.

"Oh, no reason!" I respond."But probably best to sit on the LEFT hand side of the room till we're sure."

"The left hand side as you're looking in or out?" he asks.

"Yes, that's right. Now you've no experience of computing till now?"

"No, I was in the armed forces, but decided to break into Computing when my 20 years were up."

"But surely you've used computers there?"

"No our work revolved around troop movements, armoury inventories, that sort of thing, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. How hard can it be? We'll have you running like clockwork in no time."

So it's decided then...

"Did HR Issue you with an Access ID card?" I ask, as we enter mission control.

"Yes."

"Right, I'll just get one of the Systems and Networks guys to validate that.."

The PFY rolls over with the bulk eraser, and a short >BZZZZZeeerrrt< later Dave's building access is severely curtailed...

"Right, we need to get you to your office. Right this way..."

I walk Dave down to Brian's office - the plausibility of my story going up as the bin appears to have been used to store the 'overflow' of the food which upset him so much yesterday.

"Oh dear," I sigh. "They haven't got round to packing up his things. Actually, perhaps you could help? Just chuck all the personal stuff in a box."

"B.b.but isn't this YOUR office?" He asks.

"Ah, not any more. They decided I should work down the corridor, you know, after everything. So if you could just pack up that stuff and remember to stay away from the left wall.."

"Stay AWAY from the lef.." Dave mumbles as I close the door.

"Doing some tidying for Brian," I tell the secretary as I wander past to mission control tapping my temple. "Obsessive about it apparently.."

The PFY and I have a 10-minute microwave laugh break, I outline my plan then head back for round two.

Dave's sitting in the dead center of the room, unable to decide which is left and what proximity he should have to it..

"Right well, I suppose we'd better get your manager's pack from the secretary, with your business cards, signing authority and company credit card..."

"Ok" Dave accedes, happy to be leaving the danger zone.

"So I guess you've never ordered supplies online before..?"

"Never.."

"That's a piece of luck, as I'm in a position to step you through the process."

Two hours and several large Internet purchases later Dave leaves the office with a bit of a sweat on, from what he believes to be microwaves. I make sure that the secretary gets a couple of glimpses of him wearing an aluminium foil "earthing hat" before filling him in on some of the background of computing..

"..and that's why they call it rebooting.." I explain, pointing Dave in the direction of the stairwell and slipping him a pair of steel-caps. "So if you could just give us a hand and sort out the 4th floor machines, I've got a fire alarm to test."

"Always willing to muck in!" Dave cries obligingly, rising to the challenge in a shot rather than return to his office. . .

Later that day I explain the whole sordid thing to security - How Dave - who wasn't all that stable to start with (confirmed by the secretary) had had a Shell-Shocklike flashback to a war Nam, Korea or some other disastrous war zone like Leeds and had gone on a machine-wrecking rampage through the building.

"I'm surprised someone like that can even GET a gun licence," the PFY comments, ensuring that Dave's next working day will be eventful.

Almost makes me wish I hadn't told him it was virus combat costume party day tomorrow. Black out face paint optional... ®

BOFH2K: 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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