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BOFH: Bloody computer room tourists!

To your left, our air conditioning server...

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Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Episode 28

Bloody Computer room tourists!

It seems the Boss has been asked by the Beancounters to "consult" on their appointment of a new technical support person after the tragic accident that befell the last holder of the position after he stole the PFY's car parking space three days in a row...

True, the PFY does take the tube into work and doesn't even need a car parking space, however the presence of another vehicle in the space made the PFY's lease agreement with a bloke in the next building a little troublesome.

Half a glass of water and one "faulty" switch mode power supply later it's all sorted out and there's a vacancy in Beancounter central.

Meantime the Boss is taking his consultancy role seriously by asking pointed questions designed to winkle out those people with less computing knowledge than himself (infants, the recently E.C.T-ed, etc). Part of the lead-up to these questions is the Boss taking the prospective candidates through the computer room to show them how he is "Lord of all he Surveys" and the magnificence of his earthly domain. Not wanting to be shown up as the chronic halfwit we all know him to be, he's instructed us to remain absent so as not to disturb his "review process".

In other words he doesn't want someone overhearing the fabrications he's constructing around his managerial persona.

Which leaves the PFY and I, acutely interested in the potential outcome of the selection process, having to keep an electronic eye and ear on the boss courtesy of the machine room monitor...

"I can't hear him," the PFY says. "The bloody financials server is running hot and the fans are overloading the mic input."

>Clickety<

"How's that?" I ask.

"A lot better, what did you do, change the fan modulation?"

"Yes, with the shutdown command."

>Ring<

>Clatter< >Slam< >Clatter<

"Right, request lines are closed, what's he saying?"

"Hang on, I'll put it on speaker"

"... and then I installed those two servers over there," the Boss burbles.

"!" the PFY says, remembering just who installed the machines concerned.

"You've done a great job," prospective beancounter support person 1 brownnoses.

"Yes, but that job pales in comparison to when we cabled up the fibreoptic to the whole floor in one weekend. Course, that was a couple of years back when I was on the tools."

"He's got his hand on a tool at the moment if thinks anyone will buy that!" the PFY snaps.

"So you're a real all-rounder then," PBSP #1 bumlicks.

"Don't like him," the PFY says, putting a cross next to the bloke's photo.

. . .

The next candidate is only slightly better - less of a brownnose and more of an idiot - which is generally par for the course for the beancounter support types. The Boss's stories have benefited from the fertilisation of the bullshit spread liberally on the previous candidate and have grown substantially in size. He's now responsible for installing two RACKS of machines and has cabled the entire building in fibreoptic. When he was on the tools.

After PBSP #2 departs fawningly, PBSP #3 rocks up and things take a turn for the better.

"It's a girl!" the PFY gasps happily.

"A woman," I correct. "And don't get your hopes up - there's a reason why the geeky world is dominated by sad chunky guys with beards, glasses, BO and poor social skills..."

"But still!"

"Let's just see how she pans out."

"...and so basically I install every machine personally myself."

"Really?" PBSP#3 asks with a tinge of disbelief in her voice.

"Yeah. Course, I get the Systems guys to do all the donkey work once I'm sure it's up and running properly - otherwise I'd spend all my time in here!"

"Mmm-Hmm."

"And this is one of our networking rack things."

"Krone, patch by exception?" she asks.

"Mmmmm and over here the fibreoptic which I installed a couple of years back."

"All by yourself?" she asks - in the tone of voice which usually precedes a "bullshit" coughing session.

"She's great!" the PFY sighs.

"Now, now, lets not rush into any snap judgements!"

"...and this is one of our more recent installations," the Boss chirps, gesturing behind him. "Tell me, can you guess what we use this server for?"

"Air conditioning?" she says dryly.

"I... Oh yes, yes of course, well done."

"I think I love her!" the PFY gasps.

"Well, I suppose that ends the, uh, technical side of the interview, so how about we just pop down to the pub across the road and have a bit of an informal chat?" the Boss says, chopping down into sleaze mode.

"The Bastard!" the PFY snaps.

"Just wait," I say. "This could be the true test of character. Oh look, she's stepping in close, doesn't go for the knee to the groin - damn it - bumps the pen from his hand."

"Why?"

"Just wait. And he bends down to pick it up... and she slips out of the room.."

"Oh," the PFY says disappointedly.

"And slips a wedge under the computer room door..."

"Oooh!" the PFY says happily.

"Before pressing the halon release..."

"WE HAVE A WINNER!" the PFY blurts happily.

A borderline psychotic, loose in beacounter central. So it all worked out for the best then... ®

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