BOFH: PFY spreads his wings

And promptly has them clipped

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Application security programs and practises

Episode 19

Sometimes things get a little crazy - no one knows that better than me. Take bastard rivalry for instance, with the PFY and I staking the company's wellbeing against a paltry couple of pints...

"Ten quid says the server will clap out once the temperature hits 80," the PFY says.

"You're on!" I blurt, knowing full well that I had it up to 85 a couple of nights ago before orchestrating this wager.

. . . >click<

"And that's ten quid you owe me," I say smugly.

"Double or nothing that the SAN will falter under destructive diagnostics!" the PFY counters.

"No bet!" I say, recalling the PFY spending a bit of time in the computer room recently, obviously doing some orchestration of his own...

"Double or nothing I can make the Boss cry before lunchtime?"

"If it's double or nothing I'd want him crying before morning tea," I say. "AND no pretending to be his wife with the good news about the Nigerian Oil Company investment she put their retirement savings into - this has to be a technical cause."

"So it's a deal then?"


Half an hour and some tears later my winnings are voided...

"Impressive," I say. "How many hours of Photoshop was that?"

"None," the PFY responds. "It was a lucky find on MySpace."

"So they're real?"

"It would seem so. The Boss's daughter is a rising star in the... uh... entertainment... industry."

"Ok then, so how about shouting a couple of pints with your winnings?"

"It was double or nothing - there weren't any winnings," the PFY says. "But what the hey!"

Ten minutes later in the pub.

"Cheers," the PFY says, raising a pint. "Hey, isn't that Gary?"

I look to where the PFY's pointing, and sure enough Gary, a bastard acquaintance from the financial district, is having quiet pint in the corner. Responding to his wave, the PFY and I wander over and take a seat.

"A little out of your home region aren't you?" I ask.

"Yeah, but I thought I'd pop over and introduce you to my new assistant," Gary says.

"Really, who's that then?" I ask looking around.

"Me," the PFY says.

"You?" I gasp, realising the orchestration was a little more detailed than I'd thought.

"Yep, Gary's offered me a better deal."

"More money?"

The PFY rattles off a figure that the average Beancounter would be pleased to see as a departmental budget and I can't help but be a little upset.

"You earn more than that here!"

"Yes but there's more opportunities at Gary's place."

"But surely you're better off here?" I sniff.


"What about loyalty?"


"But I set you up with your first girlfriend," I gasp. "In fact, I also set you up with your latest girlfriend!"

"Yeah, well, that's over as of last night," the PFY sighs.

"Really? What a shame, I quite liked her. You don't still have her number do you?"

"You were saying something about loyalty?" Gary asks.

"It doesn't matter," the PFY says. "It was over."

"So you have got her number then?" I ask with what I now realise was unnecessary enthusiasm.

"I'm leaving," the PFY says, with some finality.

"I see," I say, noticing the glee on Gary's face.

And that's how it is with bastard rivalry - when you've run out of users to torture, you turn on your own...

"I have to say you're taking this well," Gary murmurs half an hour later as the PFY empties a few personals from his desk and tips the rest into the bin.

"Yeah, well, this day was bound to come - it's time for him to spread his wings and maybe do something important with his life," I admit.


What a load of crap! If Gary things I'm going to take this one bending over, he's got another thing coming. Several in fact.

...Two days later at 7am...

"Hello," Gary snorts, picking up his cellphone on the third ring.

"Gary, Simon here, just thought I'd ring and see how the PFY's doing?"

"Bloody fantastic," Gary gushes. "No hard feelings about me stealing your guy?"

"None at all - and I take it that you're ok with me stealing your UPS batteries?"


"Your UPS batteries. I happened to notice them just laying around doing nothing. In your computer room. Very early this morning."

"There would have been an alarm!"

"There SHOULD have been an alarm, yes, but there wasn't - which reminds me - I think the piezo speaker in your UPS is damaged. Looks like someone hit it repeatedly with the edge of a full drive tray that someone removed out of one of your RAID sets last night. They might not even have put it back into the same slot."

"I'd have been paged!"

"Oh yes, I think someone might also have opened the Telco pit outside your building, smashed the copper and fibreoptic cables repeatedly with an axe then filled the pit up with quick setting concrete."

"Is that all?" Gary sighs.

"I hear there might be a power shutdown in your area and I do believe that the tank on your diesel generator may have sprung a leak..."


"The power cut?"


"How long does it take you to get into work?"

"35 minutes."

"Oh, that's a shame, I think the cut is 34 minutes away..."

>sigh< "So I just send him back then?" Gary asks.

"If you like. Though you should probably warn him that the market's pretty buoyant at the moment so I don't know that we'll be able to offer the same as he was getting..."

...and I can't help thinking as I ease open the door of Gary's main switchboad, that this rivalry business might be getting more than a little crazy. But as a wise man once said...'What the hey!'


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