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Episode 9

More wonders from the House of BOFH™

BOFH 2002: Episode 9

"I am so tired," the contract marketing consultant dweeb simpers as he plops down the large box of backup tapes he's been poring over and helps himself to a hot chocolate from the Operator's espresso machine.

When I say hot chocolate, I mean used coffee grounds laced with crushed chocolate laxative tablets and cocoa powder. Following a spate of people helping themselves to the coffee machine paid for out of our own personal funds (well, the claims the PFY and I put in for overtime in the 'Creative Accounting' section of our timesheets) - we've decided the best defence is a good offence. The coffee is a particularly good blend, roast from only the finest pencil sharpenings, again mixed with our preloved grounds and crushed diet pills. True, it comes out a little light, but a lot can be achieved with liberal application of an inkjet refill package...

"Tired?" The PFY asks, only encouraging the mutant to continue. "Why?"

"I've been up half the night at a bloody photo shoot." he whines.

"As opposed to us, who've been up the whole night recovering the data you lost," The PFY adds.

"It was an accident!" the dweeb cries "An easy one to make too! The Del key is so near to the enter key!"

"And the OK button on the delete confirmation message was so near to the Cancel Button?""

"I got a bit flustered. I'd been up for 12 hours and the pressure takes its toll!"

"What pressure was that then?" I ask.

"The pressure of deadlines. We have to get our copy out on a schedule, and it has to be to the printers by lunchtime."

"And if it's not in by lunchtime?"

"The printers and publicity launch would have to be moved back a whole day!"

"Sounds like a couple of phone calls to me," I interject.

"I don't think you really understand the world of PR," he chuckles condescendingly "There's a lot more to it than a couple of phone calls."

"Yes, you're probably right - what would I know about the real world?"

"Not a lot, I'd bet," he adds. "Cloistered away here in a dark office, miles from the real world surrounded by machines instead of people.."

"You're probably right," I agree, while The PFY shakes his head sadly in the background. "I think we're sometimes liable to forget who the real customer is."

"Yes!" he answers, confirming my suspicions. "When it boils down to it, you people are there to look after us - not vice versa. We're the real producers in the company! I mean sure, you have technical ability, but you can get that sort of thing anywhere - there's LOADS of technical people looking for jobs at the moment."

"Yes, there is a bit of a downturn, so I suppose we're lucky to be in work in the first place."

"You bet you are!" the marketing dweeb continues, digging the hole that much bigger, "Without us you'd be another geek on the streets. In fact, you should be thankful to us for making the work that keeps you in a job - instead of always telling us that we can't do things!"

"You mean like telling you that you can't just publish the address of some webpage and then get us to create it with zero days notice?"

"Yeah!"

"Or getting us to reschedule our morning maintenance downtimes till out-of-hours so that it doesn't affect your worktime - even though none of you turn up till 11am anyway?"

"But we MIGHT turn up before 11 - and then we wouldn't be able to do our work!"

"Yes, I think you're right. In fact, I feel that on behalf of my assistant and myself I'd like to ask you to pass on our thanks to you and your group. It's not often I come to realise my real place in the worl.. Oh bugger!"

"What?" the dweeb asks

"Oh, I've bloody gone and deleted all those files we recovered!"

"How?"

"It's that bloody DEL key - You're right, it's very close to the Enter key. I've never noticed how close it was before. And you'd think I would have, after 18 years in computing!"

"It's OK, just don't hit OK on the confirm box!" he gasps.

"Too late!" I blurt. "I got flustered!"

"SHIT!" the dweeb says. "You'll have to recover it again as fast as you can!!!"

"Sure," I cry. "I'm sorry. The most recent tape's still in the drive, so I should be able to... BOLLOCKS!"

"WHAT!?" the dweeb cries.

"I clicked the FORMAT button instead of RECOVER - They're so close together!"

"It doesn't even ask you if you're sure?!!!?" the dweeb squeaks.

"Well it did, but I got flustered and thought it meant sure that I wanted to recover!"

"BUGGER!" The PFY cries from the other side of the room "Who put all these backup tapes on the scratch tape desk! I've just bloody erased them!"

"WHAT?!" the dweeb squeaks, turning the sort of crimson that reeks of cerebral haemorrhage in the near future..

"OH NO! " I say to The PFY grimly. "This doesn't look good for us -losgin all those files!"

"What are we going to do?" The PFY nods. "I mean, with the job market like it is an all, we're sure to be replaced by one of those droves of computing professionals from the real world who knows more about computing than we do. We'll have to do something!"

"Pub lunch?" I suggest.

"Good idea!"

"You can't be serious!" the dweeb cries.

"Of course we are," I counter. "I mean after all, you can't put back your deadline with a couple of phone calls, and we can't get your files back without a low level disk recovery, which is bound to take a day or two. So, we may as well have an early - and long - pub lunch, as it won't make much difference anyway."

"Well can you start the recovery now? I mean I could make some calls and see if I can put the deadline back a fewdays."

"Or a week to be on the safe side," The PFY cries slipping his jacket on. "And we'd probably need an advance cash payment of overtime of.... 500 quid...each."

"No, no," I sigh, slipping on my coat as well "I'm sure that's not how it happens in the real world. I'm sure in the real world contract Marketing Consultants have huge Malpractice insurance to cover situations like this. No, I'm afraid we're just old school."

"Uh.. Malpractice Insurance?"

"Yes, you know, if they delete information belonging to a company which is subsequently found to be unrecoverable. I'm sure you've got that, being in the real world and all."

"Uh.. Yes."

. . . .

So The PFY and I are sitting in the pub with 500 quid apiece in readies contemplating the recovery plan we'll need to put in play.

"So I'm guessing the easiest way would be to step through all the incremental tapes since the pre-2k upgrade snapshot?" The PFY asks.

"Yes, that's one option."

"Or would it be better to do a disk/file recovery - even though we don't know if we'll get everything back intact?"

"Nah, I think we'll go with Plan A: Bring the recovery staging area back online in a week's time and just copy the files over from there. Fair enough?"

"Gravy!" ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2002, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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