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Episode 29

BOFH 2001: Episode 29

"..And what would you suggest would solve this problem?" the Head of IT asks, over his lunchtime meal.

"Some form of document management system seems appropriate?" The Boss suggests, providing conclusive proof that he's been talking to vendors without supervision again.

"Oooh, a licence to print money!" The PFY interrupts excitedly.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, we'll obviously be expected to take something unpleasant from the vendor in order to get this... i.e. a heeeuuge bill, content locked into the server or something.."

"No, no, it's all Open."

"Open to anyone who's bought the client to extract the documents from their database perhaps?" I add.

"No, open to everyone!" The Boss responds, obviously having done several weeks homework with the colour brochure. "They say it uses standard windows files. . ."

"Ah - the old 'Change-the-filename-to-something-obscure-with-a-custom-extension' trick so you can never find it, except via their interface. Yes, I like it!"

"What do you mean?"

"Well it's simple. Remember that time stores wanted to move all those archived documents offsite to get some of their space back?"

"Yes?"

"And they got that Document storage company in to pack it all up and store it in 'standard' boxfiles?"

"And index EVERYTHING so all someone had to do was ring them and tell them the document name and they'd deliver it?"

"Yes."

"And we paid them a fat wedge of money to do it, plus recall fees, etc?"

"Uh-Huh."

"And remember when our company had a huge falling out with their company?"

"When you set fire to their premises, yes."

"When I tested their environmental monitoring systems to ensure that our documents were safe from fire, yes."

"Whatever.." The Boss adds doubtfully.

"And remember, we ended up demanding all our documents back?"

"Yes."

"And they came back, each in its own brown envelope - with a cryptic number on it, taking up over twice the space as originally. Then we had to employ that student to sit in the basement and extract them and file them all again.."

"Last I heard he was still down there," the head of IT comments.

"So you're saying that this software is the same as that document storage company, and that they're trying to disguise it by saying it's open and offering all-expenses-paid trips to the US for 'training'???"

***JUNKET ALERT!!!***

"No, I'm saying we can learn from our mistakes!" I blurt quickly, before The PFY can put his foot in it.

"So there IS something in the Content Management Server?" The Boss gasps.

"There may very well be..." The PFY inserts, catching on at last.

. . . THREE LAGER-FILLED HOLIDAYS IN THE US LATER . . .

"So how's the Content Management going?" The Boss asks, trying to peek over The PFY's shoulder at the categorisation process.

"Good, but a few teething problems with which categories to choose from.."

"Really, can I help? I've been looking at one of those documents you bought back, and I think I've got the hang of it. Financial Documents can be categorised under department, supplier, purchase type, purchaser, purchase category, project, monetary expenditure, assets, physical location, intention, name.."

The Boss burbles on for a while and then wanders off excitedly to put a comprehensive list together for our benefit. The PFY, meantime, continues with his work with the devotion of a professional.

"IT'S AMAZING!!!" The Boss blurts, entering Mission Control with a smug expression on his face. "I've been looking at the datastore occupancy figures, and apparently there's been a huge amount of growth in the holdings just this morning and it's saying the machine needs some extra hard drives!!! I didn't realise it would be so popular!!!"

"Oh yes!" I agree. "And it's proving to be of most benefit to telecommuting workers, who can access their files direct from the Internet. Just look at the Internet usage figures!"

"My goodness! That's amazing! But how long do you think we've got before the disks run out?"

"Two, maybe three days. We're putting stuff in from older data tapes at the moment, which is why it's all going online so much faster. What are we up to at the moment?"

"The McHenry.. uh, Service documents."

"Really? Gosh, it's amazing what the company's got that you've never heard about! What's next?"

"Let’s see.... Well, there's about three or four tapes of the RustyNEddie, um, interactive processing stuff."

"Rustianeddy. Hmmm, I spose I should give that the old once-over to familiarise myself with it."

"Well, I'd probably allow myself several hours if I were you."

"That boring? Well I suppose I'll just leave it to you. Let me know if there's any problems tho."

"Sure thing!"

. . .

Barely a day later, it's all over. The Boss's presentation to senior management took a major nosedive when a random choice of "Financial" categorised documents turned up an image from the "Gurlz who do it for Cash" series - as categorised by The PFY. The Boss bought the 'hackers' story, but the machine had to go...

... to a storeroom, where the website's gaining customers like nobodies business.

You've got to love newfangled technology...®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2001, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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