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BOFH: Let the games begin

'Building the perfect games beast on the company dime'

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Episode 34

"Mmmm?" the PFY asks as the Boss hovers for another stretch in front of his desk.

"It's this purchase order," the Boss says.

"Mmmm?" the PFY repeats.

"You spent 400 quid on your desktop to buy a...er...graphics card...with ...dual...head capability."

"Yes, a Tasmanian graphics card, that's right."

"I was under the impression that your machine had a...graphics card...built into it."

"It had a graphics card, yes, but not a very good one. This was a top line model with the ability to drive two screens."

"But you're only using one screen!"

"Yes, I wanted to buy one with the capability to run two screens. Much the same as you buy trainers with the capability of being run on," the PFY says, pointing at the Boss' casual Friday shoeware. "It doesn't mean that you'll actually do any running on them though, just that at some point in the future you might. Anyway, why the sudden interest in our desktop hardware?"

"It's this printout I found on the printer last week," the Boss replies holding up - if I'm not mistaken - a copy of "Building the Perfect Games Beast on the Company dime" which the PFY downloaded recently - a copy of which must have got mislaid when the Print Server "packed a mental", to use the PFY's technical description, late last week. "And it touches on several recent upgrades you've requested - like faster disk and extra memory."

"I think you'll find that the resource needs of the workplace often bear a striking resemblance to those of the advanced gamer," the PFY counters.

"And the joystick?"

"AH! Now that is to control the security cameras as I shall now demonstrate. Hang on, I'll just save my space shuttle simulator."

"So you are playing games!"

"Calibrating my reflexes, yes," the PFY sniffs. "You need to get used to the pan and zoom activities otherwise you spend all your time searching for a video target instead of following them..."

"And so how is this...calibration...going?" the Boss asks dryly.

"I'm coming along nicely!" the PFY chirps. "Here's some footage I shot with the external cameras earlier in the morning. And here we see a young woman walking outside the building...and she drops her purse...and here's a test of the zoom...a closer zoom...a wide shot...then back to Zoom...and she's moving on."

"And this wouldn't be referred to in here..." the Boss asks, shuffling a few sheets of paper from the bottom of the Games Beast report. "...Violating the public's privacy for fun and website profit."

"The time will come," the PFY says. "When we're going to need someone to track suspicious individuals outside the building, and when that time comes we're going to want to be sure that someone can capture a stable and focused image to be used as evidence. Here, you try, see how hard it is."

"I'm sure it can't be...woah!"

"See, the joystick runs away on you and requires a very gentle hand," the PFY says.

"That still doesn't mean that you need a...Tasmanian graphics card!" the Boss says, returning to his main point. "And I think you should return it and use the on-board one."

"It doesn't even do proper 3-D rendering!" the PFY blurts. "Anyway, there's licensing to worry about."

"What licensing?"

"The two head thing. If two people are looking at the screen - like now - you need a dual head license which comes with the card."

"That's preposterous!" The boss snaps. "What if I looked over your shoulder when two of you were working on your machine."

"We'd have to spend another 400 quid," I say. "But luckily the licenses are transferable, so you could just get me a dual head graphics card and we'd be sweet."

"Ridiculous, I sometimes have four or five people looking at my PowerPoints!"

"Then you're violating the license!" the PFY gasps. "You could go to prison for that!"

"But only if someone talks," I add.

"Is this some form of blackmail to let me keep your screen card?" the Boss asks. "Because if it is, it's not working."

"What?" the PFY asks, suppressing disappointment at a plan spoiled. "Of course not!"

"No," I add. "We were just advising you of some legal considerations. It's up to you what you choose to do. But if you don't mind we won't be a party to the crime - time for a couple of quick lunchtime lagers..."

"Well, if that's the case I should be able to use your newfound 'tool' to keep an eye on you from here to see that you get back in on time," the Boss adds.

...

"It's my fault," the PFY gasps. "I didn't realise what he'd actually want to use the cameras for."

"No, it's my fault," I say. "I should have realised that he couldn't be trusted."

"So what you're saying," the head of security says, "Is that you believe your manager has been...filming individuals in unguarded moments and sending them to a website?"

"...a candid film website," the PFY says. "The one we saw was of him zooming in on some poor woman's bum when she dropped her purse outside the building."

"And you believe that he's doing it right now?"

"Sure to be," the PFY sighs. "Don't you just hate seeing people go off the deep end like that."

"It's a bloody tragedy," I concur.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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