Simon Travaglia

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Simon Travaglia is the author of BOFH, the Bastard Operator from Hell, the long-running series about a rogue sysadmin. He lives in New Zealand.

BOFH: There are no wrong answers, just wrong questions. Mmm, really wrong ones

Episode 12 "Look, all we want you to do is take this simple test which will tell us your personality type and the things you respond to," the Boss burbles. "Angry, and Free Beer!" the PFY chips, strolling into the conversation. "Oh good, I was hoping to catch you," the Boss says, turning to the PFY after a fruitless 10 minutes trying …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Sep 2016
PRIVATE investigator on the phone, smoking a cigar, looks around suspiciously. Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: The case of the suspicious red icon

Episode 11 So I'm in the office by myself while the PFY is out doing... something... I guess... when one of our atypical difficult users comes in. "Just one question," he starts, interrupting the thought I started when he walked in on potential loopholes in the gun laws. "My browser has an icon which is red." "What's the icon?" I ask …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Sep 2016
Command line icon

End of life for Linux 3.14

Version 3.14 of the Linux kernel is no longer being supported. Kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman took to the Linux Kernel Mailing List with the following: NOTE - the 3.14.y kernel series is now end-of-life. It will not be receiving any more updates and should no longer be used at all. Please use 4.4 if you want a LTS …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Sep 2016
Two beer glasses clash and splash frothy beer into the air. Cheers! Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Episode 10 "I TOLD you, I HATE working on printers!" I seethe at the Boss. "It's just a bit of configuration," he wheedles, trying to make me feel better. "It's not a bit of bloody configuration, it's translation - from IT into printer manufacturer speak." The Boss is in a pickle. The printer company cretin came crawling around and …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Jul 2016
Smiling man wears VR headset against backdrop of city. Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: I found a flying Dragonite on a Windows 2003 domain

Episode 9 Hell hath no fury like a Boss who has taken umbrage - and in this case he happened to hear the PFY discussing how he'd "upgraded" the Boss's Pokémon Go to a full augmented-reality app with a "feature" that made large moving vehicles invisible - just before giving him a virtual reality headset and suggesting that there were …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Jul 2016
Man shreds documents. Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Episode 8 "We were wondering.. what you were doing with... the storeroom?" the Boss asks. I notice a salivating consultant in the background and immediately recognise this for what it is - a land grab. Every now and then someone thinks that because computers are getting smaller there must be a stack of room available for them in our …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Jun 2016
Techie wields circular saw while standing over the innards of a workstation. Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: What's your point, caller?

Episode 7 "Well I'm... pretty sure I didn't get it!" the PFY says, motioning his mouse aimlessly around the screen for a bit while lazing back in his chair. "Have you tried rebooting your machine?" So it's going to be one of those problem-resolution-free afternoons... "Really? What about the network connection, is it plugged into the …
Simon Travaglia, 03 Jun 2016
Ozzy Osbourne performing live with his bassist Blasko in 2013. Photo by Harmony Gerber,  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

BOFH: Thermo-electric funeral

Episode 6 "So all I need is the data from yesterday and maybe the day before," the Boss says, handing over his pride and joy. "Ooooooh!" the PFY says. "A *ONE GIG* USB stick! Did you get it from a pound shop in a box of 10?" "I paid 85 quid for this when it first came out!" the Boss says proudly, as if owning IT antiquity was one of …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Apr 2016

BOFH: If you liked it then you should've put the internet in it

Episode 5 "Wah wah wah wah wah..." "Wah wah wah wah wah... "...You know - the Internet of Things," the Boss says. "The internet of what things?" I ask. "You know, everything," the Boss says, tossing me the proverbial geeky talking stick. "Everything?" I ask, watching the stick fly by and fall to the ground. "Yes, you know, the …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Apr 2016
Angry man yelling on phone while reading vintage printer paper report. Photo by SHutterstock

BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

Episode 4 It's yet another one of those Fridays where ALL I NEED TO DO IS MAKE IT TO 4pm.. And in the red corner there's a senior beancounter who thinks that HIS problem with the 30 quid inkjet printer that he brought in from home is somehow MY problem... "So it's still not working?" I ask. "It's WORKING," he replies, "but the colour …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Apr 2016

BOFH: This laptop has ceased to be. And it's pub o'clock soon

Episode 3 You know what it's like. The Boss asks you some technical question, you give him a non-technical answer and he suddenly thinks you're lying to him – or worse – that you don't know what you're talking about. He needs it explained to him in a manner that sounds technical, but isn't too technical for him to stack overflow. ON A …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Feb 2016
Kevin Steen hitting Adam Cole with a superkick at the Ring of Honor tapings held at the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto. Pic by Tabercil, licensed under CC 3.0

BOFH: In-depth IT training needs a single-malt distillery

Episode 2 There's a bit of a scramble on. Bastard Junket Watch, a website entirely devoted to plausible-sounding technical events, has sent up the email equivalent of an emergency flare. An event company which knows very little about IT (and cares even less) is hosting a five-day "Service Delivery for Technical Professionals" course …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Jan 2016

BOFH: I want no memory of this pointless conversation. Alcohol please

Episode 1 "Why does it always have to be so difficult with you guys?" the new Boss asks. "What do you mean?" the PFY says. "Difficult. Why is it that whenever we have some suggestion and take it to you, you spend all your time thinking of reasons why you can't do it – or why we shouldn't do it – or something like that. Why can't you …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Jan 2016

BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Episode 18 "You know what Google has that we don't have?" the new Boss asks, wandering around Mission Control like the lord of all he surveys. "No conscience?" the PFY asks. "A sh*tload of cash?" I respond. "Much better PR?" the PFY adds. "A global presence?" I suggest. "A tax-avoidance philosophy which is second to few?" "NO!" …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Dec 2015

BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Episode 17 "And so then when you've done your part of the task you simply change your task icon to the 'completed' state, click update, then activate the next task in the project chain, which will send an alert to the next team member that they have a task to complete for the project," the instructor burbles happily. "What if I'm doing …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Nov 2015

BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

Episode 16 "What do you mean 'why's it not working'," the PFY asks. "I mean WHY ISN'T IT WORKING? What's happened?" the Boss snaps, expecting an excuse that will be both technical and understandable to someone with his level of tertiary education. "Nothing's happened, it's all the same as usual," the PFY responds, suspecting – as we all …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Nov 2015

BOFH: I'm not doing this for the benefit of your health, you know

Episode 15 "Is he still there?" I ask the PFY, maintaining direct eye contact with him so that I can truthfully claim that I didn't see the Health and Safety guy hanging around the hallway to Mission Control like a bad smell. There's a new push in the company to make the place safer and unfortunately the push concerned doesn't involve …
Simon Travaglia, 25 Sep 2015

BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

Episode 14 "You're the one who wanted it," I tell the Boss in response to his fuming. "I didn't bloody want it at all!" "Yes, you distinctly said you wanted some call screening that would filter out the timewasters who hadn't read the FAQs from the helpdesk queue." "Yes, but I di-" "It had to be FIFO, had to be able to distinguish …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Sep 2015

BOFH: Power corrupts, uninterrupted power corrupts absolutely

Episode 13 "THE POWER'S OUT!" the Boss shouts, blundering into Mission Control like a robotic vacuum in super-random turbo mode. "THE TRANSFORMER DOWN THE ROAD HAS EXPLO... hey, why are your lights still on?" "They're on the UPS. Aaaaaaaaaaaand... wait for it..." I say, after a slight flicker; "... on the generator, too." "Why is your …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Sep 2015

BOFH: An architect and his own entirely avoidable downfall

Episode 12 "Well, you know what they say," the Boss says, faking sadness. "The candle that burns twice as bright..." "... Should be thrown into the pool of diesel from a safe distance?" the PFY responds. "No, the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long." "Is that a thing though?" the PFY asks. "I mean, if you're talking …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Aug 2015

BOFH: Why, I LOVE work courses. Please tell me more, o wise one!

Episode 11 "... and so we thought that you might like to attend this two-day workshop in effective leadership techniques," the Boss burbles, rounding off the professional goal-setting exercise that company policy obliges him to do with me and any other contractor with a contract that's rolled over for more than five years. "Well to be …
Simon Travaglia, 14 Aug 2015

BOFH: Knitting bobble hats on the steps of the guillotine

Episode 10 "Good news!" the Boss blurts, rocketing into Mission Control in a frenzy, “I’m going to be heading a new working party to improve website usability." "You poor bastard!" I gasp, "I didn't even see it coming!” "See what coming?" the PFY says, lugging a box of recently replaced hard drives out of the server room. "The boss …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Aug 2015

BOFH: My diary is MINE and mine alone, you petty HR gimps

Episode 9 "Wow, that's like the Matrix!" the Director's PA gasps. "Yes, it's what we call a terminal session," the PFY chips back drily. "It's so... green." "Yes," I sagely nod. "It's a monochrome terminal session, green on black." "I don't know what that means." "Back in the day - when IT required more skills than it took to use …
Simon Travaglia, 31 Jul 2015

BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

Episode 8 "It's just a small change!" the Boss whines. "It's not a small change, it's a Friday afternoon change," I say. "We don't do those. We do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon changes if you want, but not Friday. If it's urgent we might do a Friday morning change, but it has to be pretty urgent. Lives must be at …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Jun 2015

BOFH: Step into my office. Now take a deep breath

Episode 7 "Oh this takes me back to the early days of ST225s!" the Boss burbles. I am getting a personally tailored lesson in being careful what I wish for. On one hand, the PFY and myself wanted a new Boss who at least knew which end of a keyboard he could shove up his arse when he asked for the ability to type Norwegian potato …
Simon Travaglia, 05 Jun 2015