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: 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

BOFH: Getting to the brown, nutty heart of the water cooler matter

Episode 6 "..and so we just mix all the ingredients together like this, tip it out onto a surface like so, and roll it into a roughly cylindrical shape. Now we just push in the extras and then pop it into the freezer for a few hours till it's nice and hard and easy to handle. And we're done," the PFY says with a flourish. I can't …
Simon Travaglia, 15 May 2015

BOFH: Explain? All we need is this kay-sh with DDR3 Cortexiphan ...

Episode 5 The PFY has crossed the line. Even though he knows better, he's attempted to explain something technical to management. I don't know why he did it – he's aware of the risks, and yet he still did. "KAY-SHING – not CASHing" he says, speaking slowly so the Boss can understand. "But surely it's the same thing?" "It IS the same …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Apr 2015

BOFH: Never mind that old brick, look at this ink-stained BEAUTY

Episode 4 *Crash!* "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I appear to have accidentally nudged it off the table" I say, as tears well up in the owner's eyes. "I've had that since university!" he gasps. "I didn't think they made 150 DPI scanners in the neolithic era – or had scanners," I sniff. "It was perfect," he wails, dropping to his knees …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Mar 2015

BOFH: Mmm, gotta love me some fresh BYOD dog roll

Episode 3 "Oh, Bring Your Own DEVICE!" the PFY blurts in mock realisation. "Of course Device!" the Boss snaps "What did you think it meant?!" "Bring Your Own DRINK" I say, nudging a half consumed case of chilled Newky Browns from under the desk that the PFY and I have been working on for the past half hour. "Bring Your Own Dog," the …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Mar 2015

BOFH: The ONE-NINE uptime solution

Episode 2 "So what's the problem again?" the Boss asks, lurching into Mission Control like a Dalek with stepper motor problems. "We're not sure - it's not internet connectivity because we can get to other sites ok, but we're definitely having problems with the email site." "We shouldn't be!" he snaps back, presumably thinking that a …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Feb 2015

BOFH: The Great HellDesk geek leave seek

Episode 1 "Well that would be on the form, surely?" the H.R. person burbles smugly over the phone. "It sort of is," the HellDesk user replies, "only it's hard to see because the characters are all blurred." "They'll be blurred because your browser doesn't support downloadable fonts," H.R. replies in a know-it-all tone. "What browser …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Feb 2015
Stained glass angels

BOFH: A miracle on PFY Street

Episode 17 Christmas! Who doesn't love Christmas?? Most of the company as it happens! It's true, many of the staff here have an element of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when it comes to Christmas - and not just because of the PFY and myself. The last day is always one full of trepidation, alcohol and a little sprinkle of emotional …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Dec 2014
Chicken Jalfrezi and rice with a beer. Pic by Shutterstock

BOFH: Capo di tutti capi, bah. I'm having CHICKEN JALFREZI

Episode 16 We have new Director, just in time for Christmas! It appears that, through some convoluted twist of fate, our former Director took a dagger in the back for "creating a hostile workplace environment". APPARENTLY his misogynistic leanings "fostered a culture of a male hierarchal structure" and he's been made an example of by H …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Dec 2014
Santa Claus on his laptop

BOFH: Santa, bloody Santa

Episode 15 "HE PUNCHED HIM IN THE FACE!" the Director shouts, gesturing both wildly and furiously at the absent PFY's desk. "Well yes," I say calmly, "but let's be reasonable about this - he WAS asking for it." "HE WASN'T BLOODY ASKING FOR IT!" the Director shouts again - in serious danger of bursting one or two major cranium-based …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Dec 2014

BOFH: Everyone deserves a little DOWNTIME

Episode 14 Isn't it always the way that when you're hours from the office sporting only a smartphone with a dodgy data connection that something critical claps out back at work. And then something's wrong with the VPN so you have to gain access through a convoluted chain of remote desktop, ssh and telnet links just to end up with a …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Nov 2014
Cthulu springs from desktop printer

BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Episode 13 Cthulu springs from desktop printer "This is exactly what I'm talking about!" I snap at the PFY. "Specifications created by people with absolutely no knowledge of what they need so they specify the absolute top-end kit just in case!" "What's that, then?" the PFY asks, looking up from his game disinterestedly. "The bloody …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Nov 2014
Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil

BOFH: An UNHOLY MATCH forged amid the sweet smell of bullsh*t

Episode 12 Keeping up with the changing face of IT is a pain in the arse at times. Half the time I'm looking at some bleeding edge technology wondering what the hell it does, who would want it and whether it's worth the effort. All too often the answers are "No idea", "no one" and "no". Still, it grates a bit when a consultant is …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Nov 2014

BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Episode 11 "Yes, but with our antivirus software you can be guaranteed that we will track and locate 98.97 per cent of all known viruses," the caller says. "Tell me, where did you get the 98.97 per cent from?" "What do you mean?" "Well you say 98.97 per cent - not 99 and not something like 96, so you've obviously got a reason for it …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Nov 2014
big red wheelie bin and pallet full of rubbish in London street

BOFH: Stop your tiers – when it comes to storage, LESS is MORE

Episode 10 "You'll never guess who I just saw in here!" the PFY blurts, entering Mission Control with a mainstream IT mag in hand. "One of the Royal Family using a tablet?" "No." "A movie star or football player with a new bendy iPhone?" "No." "A vendor-sponsored review of new technology with a shameless suckup review of their …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Nov 2014
Confused computer keyboard

BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Episode 9 "Ahhh... Just found some... uh... anomalies with the asset inventory checklist," our friendly neighbourhood Beancounter says to the PFY. "What anomalies?" I ask. "You didn't fill it out," the Boss says. "I bloody did!" I gasp. "You wrote at the bottom 'all present and correct' and signed your name," the Beancounter …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Aug 2014

BOFH: We CAN do that with a Raspberry Pi, but think of the BODIES

Episode 8 BOFH "So what we'd like to do is have the lights turn on in the foyer when people come into the office," the Health and Safety rep says. "Yep, put a PIR+Daylight sensor unit in," I say. "One of the sparkies could do that for about a hundred quid - or £150 if he's got a holiday coming up." "Yes, but what we'd like to do is …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Aug 2014

BOFH: The Great Backup BACKDOWN

Episode 7 "So I see that backup check went well?" the Boss asks, trying to drag me into a conversation that will have nothing to do with me, but sounds technical enough that I would be an idiot and say... "What backup check?" the PFY pre-empts me. NGAAAAAAARGH! "The backup check," says the Boss. "The Financial Director wanted to be …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Aug 2014

BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Episode 6 "...And I can't seem to import all of the data I need," the user explains. "And you're importing into Excel from what... a CSV file?" the PFY asks. "Yes." "And the import fails?" "I just stops. It says something about resources." "So perhaps you should get rid of some of the data in the spreadsheet?" "It's an almost …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Jun 2014

BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Episode 5 "Now remember - there are no wrong answers in this exercise," Janice, the huggy-feely HR type says in a non-threatening manner. "What about SH*TBAG?" the PFY blurts. "Well that's more of an outburst than an answer," I point out gently. "Oh," the PFY responds. "My mistake." Getting caught up in exercises designed to " …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Jun 2014

BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*

Episode 4 "Your first mistake was asking for input," I explain to the Boss as he scans the huge volume of new email in his Inbox. "You really don't want to do that." "No," the PFY echoes, "Never do that." "Why not?" "Never seek user input on a technical document unless what you're asking about is so vague as to be useless," the PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Apr 2014

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