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BOFH: Call in the Specialist

The devil is in the e-tail

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The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Episode 37 BOFH 2000: Episode 37

"..Well I think in that case, perhaps we should get a specialist in!" The Boss counters in response to the sad news that neither The PFY nor I know a single thing about 'e-tail' - and are unlikely to want to learn in the foreseeable future. "In fact I might know just the man. Worked with him in Beirut you know!"

"The HEART of Electronic Retail!" The PFY comments dryly.

"That's got nothing to do with it! Anyway, he wasn't in computing then, he was repairing planes!"

"So he's more of a commuting professional that a computing professional?" I chuckle, unable to resist a quick aside now that there's blood in the water.

"Of course not! That was years ago! No, now he's VERY thick in computing."

"As opposed to being thick AT computing?" the PFY asks, not at all subtly..

"LOOK, HE'S THE MAN I TELL YOU! And I'm *GETTING* him in!" The Boss cries, making his executive decision.

. . .

"Cowboy!" I predict to The PFY once we're in the safe confines of mission control.

"He didn't sound THAT ba.."

"Mark my words, he'll have his own mini-screwdriver set - which he's had since the airplane days, AND which has been used to repair computers when he did THAT for a living - and will come complete with sets of acronyms and buzzwords that no-one's ever heard before."

"I still thi.."

"He's the sort that makes friends with Management and excuses for stuff-ups. He'll be gone in a week, the project will be deader than Beta Video AND we'll be blamed for its failure, for not working in with him!"

"Why don't we wait and se.."

"100 quid?" I ask, choosing stakes designed to engender a bit of forethought.

"Deal!" The PFY cries, largely bypassing the thought bit in pursuit of prospective readies.

. . .

I don't know what it is about The PFY that makes him such a sucker for a wager. Whatever it is, it can't be good for him however, and I feel it's my duty to take his money to ensure he learns.

. . .

And MY money's looking pretty good a day later when Jim, our new contracted expert turns up - as luck would have it, between jobs at the moment.

No surprises there.

"So, they tell me you're a bit of a wiz at this online retail stuff," I mention in passing, once we've got the introductory formalities out of the way.

"Online Retail?" He asks blankly.

"Yes, you know E-tail, E-Commerce?"

"No, I - OH! You mean Internet-Based Commercial Marketing, as we like to call it!"

"'We' being?"

"Oh, just us in-the-trade people."

The PFY can see his 100 quid disappearing down the tubes and decides to give Jim a couple of hints to help him along his way.

"You'll be wanting to see the commerce servers we've got, along with our certificated web servers and bank interface then?" he asks.

What a cheat!

"No, no, I find that stuff all takes care of itself, we need some flashy moving-type images to draw people to the electronic company marketing site."

"Animated gifs will bring people to our website from far and wide?" I ask, whilst showing the PFY the space I've just made in my wallet for his money.. "That's a little har.."

"Obviously a well-tailored portal would encourage confidence in customers," The PFY chips, just as The Boss shows up.

"See!" The Boss cries, hearing only some semi-positive statements. "I knew he'd be just the man for the job. Now, what sort of delivery time are we looking at?"

"Should be up and running inside a week," Jim responds, pulling a ridiculous figure out of his backside.

ONE WEEK LATER

"..because they don't seem to want to help install the software!" Jim burbles "But I SUPPOSE if I do it MYSELF we can have it all sorted out inside a week..."

"Oh I'm sure I can COUNT on these two to help you out" the Boss murmurs, in a tone intended to imply our lack of choice in the matter.

ONE DAY LATER

"It's fantastic!" The Boss cries, surveying the website which has more plagiarised content on it than your average WareZ zone. "Those moving pictures really DO draw the eye, don't they."

"Like a road accident," I agree. "It's only a pity Jim couldn't be here to see it. Where did he say he was again?"

"Oh, he left a message saying something about popping back to Beirut for a bit - apparently he's packed up and moved on - but not before completing this."

ONE MINUTE LATER

"And you're really going to let Jim take the credit?"

"For the website containing large amounts of copyright images and content, some of which is bound to result in legal action. Yes, I think so!"

"But he also gets paid for it!"

"True. But then he'll need money when he gets to Beirut..."

"But did he really go to Beirut?" The PFY asks suspiciously. "It all sounds a little shady to me."

"I can almost guarantee he's going to Beirut. Eventually."

MEANWHILE, IN A PACKING CRATE AT HEATHROW, INSIDE A CRATE LABELLED "LIVE ANIMAL EXPORTS"

"MMMmmmMMMMF!!!"

"MMMMMmmmMMMMMMMMM MMM M MMMMMMFFF!"

"MMMMMMMMMFMFMFMMMMFFF!"

Mind you, 100 quid is, after all, 100 quid. ®

BOFH 2K: 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.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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