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BOFH: We who are about to dial salute you

A grisly end for he who disturbs the pax bofhica

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Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Episode 7

BOFH 2004: Episode 7

It's quiet. Damn quiet.

And I like it! Apart from the boredom that is...

The PFY's skipped off to an extended lunch with some woman he was "accidentally" stuck in the lift with for a couple of hours yesterday, and I have the place to myself.

Peace.

Quiet.

Boredom.

>clickety<
>Ring<

"My mail's just come up with an error when I send - is there something wrong with the server?" the user whines.

"I doubt it, mail's still coming and going like it normally does," I respond, looking at the mailer logs.

"Not for me," the user snaps.

"Right, so the problem seems to be isolated to you, which means we should ask the technical fault diagnosis questions."

"You mean like: 'What has changed?'" he asks.

"No, more like: 'Who have you pissed off?'"

"What?!"

"Did you bring a car to work today?"

"Yes."

"Cut anyone off?"

"No."

"Park in someone else's park?"

"No."

"Fail to hold the lift door open for someone with a geeky look about them?"

"No."

"Say something nasty - however quietly and discreetly - about a technical support person?"

"No."

"Laugh when someone else did?"

"No."

"Date someone that a technical support person has had a recent failed relationship with?"

"No."

"Date someone that a technical support person is trying to have a failed relationship with?"

"What?! No."

"Run off at the mouth about some technical standard or the other which you don't subscribe to?"

"No."

"Push in front of someone at the lunch queue?"

"No."

"Push in front of someone geeky looking at the pub?"

"No."

"Spill your beer on someone geeky looking at the pub?"

"No."

"Only shout half-pints when it was your round at the pub?"

"No. And I don't go to the pub anyway."

"You don't go to the pub?! That could be it!"

"What?!"

"Yes, you're right, you're a user and it's next to impossible for a user to offend a technical person with their absence. Nope, you've got me stuffed, I have no idea why your mail client's not working!"

"It wouldn't be something to do with the O-something Service pack that the support guy installed this morning would it?"

"By service pack you mean something that looks like a cheap electronic clock with a couple of large waxy sticks connected to it by wires?"

"What! No, he installed something on my computer."

"Right, good point. Open your browser will you?"

>clickey< "Ok."

"Is your favourites tab full of links to porn sites, and has your hard drive been running non-stop since the 'Service Pack' was installed?"

"No, and.. uh.. No."

"Hmm. Perhaps they DID install a Service Pack…"

"That's what I told you!" he whines again.

"Yes yes, well done. What mailer are you using - Outlook Express?"

"No, Outlook."

"Which is updated by the Office Service Pack, not the OS Service pack."

"I...."

"Tricky."

"Yes, but when will I be able to send my email? It's important!"

"Of course it is - all our clients are important to us. Ok, I'll have to give you a call number to track this while I look into it. You'll need to quote this number when you call back, so write it down."

"OK."

"7PQ8339017B," I say, reading the serial number off my deskphone.

"7PQ8339017B."

"No, P."

"7PQ8339017P?"

"No 7PQ8339017B"

"That's what I said the first time!"

"Ok, read me what you've got?"

"7PQ8339017B," he blurts.

"Ah, I see the problem, it's 7PQ8339017B!"

"That's what I said!"

"With one B and one P."

"But not in that order," he says.

"In what order?"

"The BLOODY NUMBER!" he shouts. "7PQ8339017B!"

"Look, I can see that you're getting a little upset about this, so why don't I give you a shorter number," I say, calmly.

"Right. What?"

"17."

"17," he repeats.

"No 70, 7-0."

"70."

"And that's a shortcut to the first number?"

"Yeah, we don't get that many calls. OK, can you call me back in five minutes?"

. . . Five minutes of relaxation later . . .

>Ring<</p>

"I'm calling about my call."

"Which call was that?"

"Call number 70."

"Seventy? That's not a call number!"

"You said you'd give me a short one, 70!"

"Ah. You don't have the 11 digit one do you?"

"NNGggg.... Yes, I WROTE it down. 7PQ8339017B."

">clickety< Ah right, you can't get to the website www.screaminglygaycontacts.com. Huh, there's no username logged against it. Hang on, I'll just put yours in. >clickety<"

"THAT'S NOT MY CALL!"

"Sure it is - it's the number you gave me."

"7PQ8339017B?"

"uhhhhhh, yeah."

"What about 7BQ8339017P?"

">clickety< Ah, user can't send mail. Short call code 17."

"Nnnnggggg... Can you take my name off the other call please?"

"The first call you logged?"

"I DIDN'T LOG IT!!"

"Oh, right. Well, I've assigned it to the helpdesk group, so you'll have to talk to them to get them to cancel it."

"I DON'T WANT IT CANCELLED, I.."

"Just want to get to the website, I know. Although frankly I think you should probably be doing that sort of thing from home..."

"IT'S NOT MY BLOODY CALL!"

"But you gave me the call number?"

"It was the number you gave me when I logged my call!"

"About not being able to get to the screamingly gay site. Yes."

"No, about my mail!"

"Your mail? What mail?"

"BASTARDS!" he snaps, slamming the phone down.

"Who's bastards?" the PFY asks, back from the pub with a 5 degree lean.

"We are, apparently. Guy's mailer won't work."

"That the user you blacklisted this morning cos you were bored?"

"Probably."

"Service Pack Job?" he asks.

"I think so."

"The CD version?"

"He called you a bastard," I murmur.

"Not the CD version then. Got any clock batteries?"

. . .

Boredom. The silent killer. ®

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