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BOFH: Insecurity complex

Been there, done that, got the bullet holes

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Build a business case: developing custom apps

Episode 6

It’s Mission Control late one morning and we’re giving the Boss a damn good listening to...

“...and I’ve been talking to Jim from P.R and he says that we can probably do a little better on our machine maintenance because when he was working in a former company he managed to get a 48 per cent reduction in price by presenting vendors with competitive quotes from an alternate service agent.”

“Yeeees,” I say. “While it is true that reduction in costs is a definite possibility, when looking at such a large reduction in costs we have to bear in mind a few salient points.”

“Which are?” the Boss asks, listening attentively.

“Firstly, Jim was probably talking about reduction in the costs of the machinery he was in charge of in his former role – which was, in this case, probably photocopiers and automatic staplers...”

“And second?”

“In computing one vendor is unlikely to be able to economically source the spares of another, and...”

“And..?”

“And Jim couldn't tell the truth if you paid him to.”

“Weeellll, I think that’s a little harsh,” the Boss says, shaking his head in a sign of mild disbelief.

“It’s true!” the PFY gasps. “And he knows bloody EVERYTHING! If your server reboots because a chunk of memory has crapped itself, he’ll be telling you how it’ll be a seating fault, how memory seating is an art unto itself and that he learnt how to seat memory properly from Michael Dell himself.”

“At Michael's home, over a few beers,” I add. “Because that’s the other thing about Jim. Whatever you do, he’s done something better!”

“Three times better,” the PFY chips in. “For instance, say you said you had an exciting drive into work this morning.”

“Jim would say that was nothing,” I comment, “as he used to Rally drive.”

“In ‘Nam,” the PFY adds.

“For the V.C,” I offer.

“In a car with a jet engine.”

“Powered by a fuel he created from his own urine,” I finish.

“So you’re suggesting...” the Boss asks

“He’s a bullshit artist, yes,” the PFY concludes. “And one topic that he believes he qualifies for ‘world authority status’ on is computing.”

“It can't be that bad,” the Boss says. “He'll just be a user with more experience than most.”

“Less experience than most is probably more accurate,” I reply. “But that doesn’t stop him from professing his expertise to anyone who listens. But don’t take our word for it, bring up a topic, any topic at all. Religion, say!”

“Because he met the Pope,” the PFY says.

“And the Dali Lama.”

“Sadly he missed out on meeting Mohammed, but he has read all the books and went on a spiritual quest to find the source of the prophet’s teachings.”

“Before he was made a grand potato of the Kabbalah.”

“And he’s not one to let complete ignorance of a topic stop him from having an opinion.”

"Oh..." the Boss says worriedly.

"What?"

"Well, I thought you might appreciate the input... I invited him up."

"PREMO!" the PFY snaps dryly.

Moments later Jim arrives and proceeds to tell us how the viewing window in our door is a security risk.

"It's bullet-proof glass an inch thick!" the PFY lies.

"I know, but it's still a security risk. Because of ricochets," Jim snaps back.

"Good point," the boss blathers, picking up a pen and paper and making a note.

"Anything else?" the PFY asks.

"The door to your computer room has wire-strengthened glass."

"Yes?"

"It's not bullet-proof though," Jim says smugly.

"Yes - we wanted to avoid the ricochet risk," the PFY chirps sarcastically. "Anything more?"

"Is that an open riser?" he asks, pointing through the viewing window on the computer room door.

"Indeed," the PFY says, leading us into the computer room and to the riser door. "But as you can see, it's behind two secure doors and has this >clank< steel bar to stop people entering, this steel tray >bonga< >bonga< to stop people falling if they do enter and this video camera..."

"To let you know if someone enters the riser," Jim finishes.

"No, that's just so we can send something into those 'most hilarious deaths' TV shows. We've had some close calls..."

"You've had some close calls!" Jim gasps. "I was working on an oil rig in the north sea one time and the drill crane pulley broke and so I had to climb the boom and... "

>clank< >bonga< >Crash< >crash< >crash< >clunk< >thud<

"Do you want to say it or should we?" the PFY says. "Still plenty of room down there..."

"I... uh... t-t-there's been a terrible accident??"

"BINGO!"

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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