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BOFH: Dumping old crap

Your room, your responsibility!

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Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Episode 12

"Are we actually USING this office?" the Boss asks one morning, tapping on the door to the engineers room.

"It's the engineers room!" I reply.

"We don't have an engineer..."

"True," the PFY says. "But why the interest?"

"We're looking for somewhere to house the new Mopier thing. And the A1 plan printer."

"Well we do use the room for storing broken stuff."

"Storing it! Why don't we throw it out?"

"We used to, but there was a bit of an incident last year with improper disposal which led to a little bit of legal trouble. That, in turn, led to a new and all-encompassing disposal policy."

"And who set that policy?"

"One of your predecessors."

"And what happened to him?"

"He was disposed of - but don't worry, we followed the policy and he ended up being recycled and now sells ink cartridge refill kits at car boot sales..."

"I...Well what do we do? I need the room!"

"We could get rid of the rubbish I suppose," the PFY says helpfully.

"Get a bin?" the Boss suggests.

"Can't do that - the bin company's getting a little tetchy about us dumping stuff that might have mercury, selenium or other dodgy metals in it. It costs more to dump - if they'll let you dump it in the clean/green recycling centres. Sometimes they'll charge you extra to send it off to dismantlers."

"So what do we do?"

"In the old days we'd save cash by giving old kit to some unsuspecting school, telling them that it was reasonable hardware useful to learn off."

"And?"

"They're onto that one now and won't have a bar of it - besides, computers aren't the major capital investment they once were. Of course, on other occasions we'd pack in boxes and ship it to vendors, saying that it was delivered to the wrong place. Or, we'd leave it on street corners, give it to Oxfam, throw small bits of it out the window on the Underground."

"You're kidding!"

"Oh no. The PFY was also fond of slipping it into people's bags at the pub or wrapping it up nicely like a present and leaving it in a rental car or a taxi."

"That's very good, did you think of that?" the Boss chuckles.

"No, I'm afraid we can't claim that. The original idea came from an engineer at one of the vendor sites who was trying to get rid of crap in their store. You'd send a desktop away for repair and it would come back with four 10 meg NICs, three extra 20 meg hard drives and a 'redundant' power supply."

"Desktops have redundant power?"

"No, he'd drill holes in the cabinet and screw it in. Wouldn't connect it or anything."

"Why?"

"Apparently he was pocketing the money they paid him to get them dumped."

"They PAID him to get rid of them?!"

"Oh yeah, there's big money in environmental disposal companies."

"Really? How do they get rid of it?"

"Grinding down, precious and semi-precious metal extraction, then sorting into recyclable compounds."

"Really?"

"Nah, they just dig a big hole and tip it all in. But their customers feel good about themselves."

"I...well I suppose you should give one of them a call. We can use it as a publicity thing."

"Suit yourself."

...

"So that's..." I say, tapping away on the Boss's desktop calculator "...two thousand six hundred and thirty eight quid, 44p."

"What, to take a room full of rubbish away?!!" he gasps.

"Uh-huh. Told you there was big money in it."

"It'll have to come out of your server budget."

"That's for BUYING servers!"

"It's the same thing. Besides the gear was in your room so it's your responsibility to get rid of it."

"I...guess it's a pleasure doing business with you."

"Business?"

"Yeah, you got me thinking about it and I'd be a fool not to get into the disposals business. Care for a quick drink to celebrate the opening of my latest company?"

"I...No. Promised the wife that I'd pick her up from the airport."

"Really? Ah well, maybe next time."

...

And so it is that the PFY and I are supping a quiet celebratory ale in the pub across from the building as the Boss' car emerges from the parking basement...

"Car's riding a bit low I see," the PFY says.

"Yes, it'll be one of those reactive suspension foibles I guess."

"And not the half ton of crap sitting in the boot?"

"That might have some effect, but it's only temporary."

"Temporary?"

"I'm assuming he'll need to clear some luggage space at Heathrow..."

"And don't tell me - you made an anonymous call about Ostama Bin Liner ..."

"Yeah, I need the time to shift all the rest of the crap into the Boss's office"

"His room, his responsibility?"

"You bet!"

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