Feeds

Simon Travaglia

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
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: Attack of the Global Corporate Overlords

"There's going to be a takeover!" the PFY gasps, crashing into Mission Control. "I thought you saw them off the premises," I reply, "although quite what you sawed off you never made clear. Thanks for that." "No, the company – it's being taken over!" "Really? Says who?" "Says everyone. It's all over the building!" …
Simon Travaglia, 20 May 2011
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: Every silver lining has a cloud

"Code Magenta," the PFY mumbles quietly as he wanders past me on the way to Mission Control. "Code Magenta!" the Director's PA repeats in hushed tones, unable to keep her nose out of things that don’t concern her – "What does that mean?" "It's a systems code about operational availability," I lie. "We have various codes …
Simon Travaglia, 13 May 2011
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: People get annoyed when you try to debug them

"You know what I hate?" the PFY asks one morning, looking up from a sheaf of bright pink pages. "Oooh!" I say "I know this! Short people. Short MEN to be more precise. Short men in authority positions. Short men in authority positions and Mac users. Short men in authority, Mac users and the fact that NO programmable remote …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Apr 2011

BOFH: In distributed denial

"Is there... something wrong with the internet?" our user asks quietly. "No, no, pretty sure it's working fine," I say, looking over to the PFY's Bittorrent machine which is sucking up so much bandwidth it’s in danger of affecting the QoS of the phone system... "It's just that I can't seem to connect to my home email," the …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Mar 2011
bofh_sidey

BOFH: This buck's for you

“What’s this?” the Boss snaps, pushing several sheets of paper over the desk at me in an annoyed manner. “Ah! Memo two thousand and eleven dash one dash one,” I reply, “workplace resiliency.” “Yes, I can read the title, but what is it?” “It’s a memo outlining the things we should be addressing for systems and networks …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Mar 2011

BOFH: There's no 'I' in team, but there's a 'u' in suck

“Team Conference!” the Boss chips quickly in the door of Mission Control before moving on to other offices. “Welcome ... to ... THE MACHINE!” I murmur to the PFY. “Say what now?” the PFY asks. “The Machine. Like in Princess Bride. You’ll notice how management’s been conspicuously quiet over the past couple of weeks?” “I …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Feb 2011

BOFH: Who's been naughty and who's been nice?

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the workplace, Not a creature was stirring, not even a cobbled-together robot, fashioned from the remaining pieces of several other cobbled-together robots. Dressed in an elf suit. Two stockings are hung by the Boss' door with care, In the hopes that a bonus cheque soon …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Dec 2010
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: Pain fear games

“I don’t understand” the PFY says “We’re not invited to any parties?” “Apparently not. The rest of the department are, but this is one Christmas you’ll not be visiting any of the other departments!” “But we always go to departmental Christmas functions!” the PFY protests “We get things going and keep the momentum up. We get …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Nov 2010

BOFH: Look out!

“So what do the following have in common?” the Boss seethes “My desk drawer, the complaints box at reception and the boot of the deputy CEO’s car?” “They’re all places you can take a dump?” the PFY asks, pouring a little petrol on the flames of the Boss’ annoyance. “WHAT!?” “You’ll have to forgive my assistant” I interject …
Simon Travaglia, 19 Nov 2010

BOFH: BOFH vs Bot: Ultimate Smackdown

I love these quiet moments before the storm. Well, technically speaking, it’s between storms, but the fact remains that there’s a certain amount of solace in not actually being in a storm at this point in time. In these calm periods my mind enters a peaceful, dreamlike state where I find my thoughts drifting in anticipation …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Nov 2010

BOFH: You just can't go around killing people

Bot Wars IV - The Screenplay [Black Screen] Several screens of multi-coloured static flash by before the words: INITIAL TESTS INDICATE UNIT OK appear in large tasteless block letters on the screen. Another burst of static crowds the screen before a Camera image appears with the top half of the PFY’s upside-down face …
Simon Travaglia, 05 Nov 2010
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Join the club

“You make it sound so... nasty,” the PFY says to the Boss as he fingers through several sheets of complaints. “What – trying to maim a supplier’s employees just because you don’t like their product!?” the Boss snaps. “THEY STARTED IT!” the PFY retorts. “How?” “They sent us their product!” “And in response you’ve been …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Oct 2010
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Pepper-packing bot plot

Isn’t it always the way that the moment you get down to doing something important that requires a large part of your concentration, some idiot rolls up with an inane problem that just can’t wait? Like now, for instance, when the PFY and I are trying to quietly drill a small inspection hole in a recently delivered crate to see …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Oct 2010

BOFH: Lock shock

“No, I’m pretty sure you don’t work for the company,” the PFY says, tapping away furiously on his keyboard. “What’s up?” I ask, as the PFY mutes the phone while the bloke on the other end has some form of protracted verbal seizure. “That idiot from accounts who wanted us to pick up the bill for his home broadband has got a …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Oct 2010

BOFH: Robot wars

“I could have been killed!” the Boss whimpers, rubbing a couple of prominent bruises. “I think that’s a little far-fetched,” the PFY sniffs. “What was it going to do, 360-degree-camera you to death?” “It had a circular saw in its hands!!” “Really? It had hands!?” “Well, its claw then!” “IT’S GOT A CLAW!?” “WHATEVER THE …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Oct 2010

BOFH: Die, Robot

“A Security Robot?!” the PFY gasps. “Really?” “Really,” the Boss nods. “And we have no say in the matter?” “It’s a security thing.” “But our technical budget pays for it.” “Our Capital budget, yes, but the operational expenses will come out of security’s budget.” “So what sort of robot will it be – something like Robocop …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Sep 2010
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Lies and the lying liars who lie about them

“And how long will it take?” the user echoes from the handsfree speaker on the PFY’s phone. “To restore access to your email? I’m not sure. Have you tried closing down Outlook and restarting it?” the PFY responds. “Yes.” “What about restarting it in Safe Mode?” “I tried that,” the user says – a little too quickly. “Well, …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Aug 2010

BOFH: Little ups and downs

"I... uh..." the Boss says, wandering into Mission Control aimlessly, searching for the right words to bring up whatever's on his mind. "Yes?" I ask, letting him off the hook. "The lifts" he says cryptically.. "The lifts?" I repeat.. "The buttons on the lifts" he says. "They have buttons - yes - well spotted," I say. " …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Jul 2010

BOFH: Risky business

"All I'm saying," I say, trying not to lose my rag, "is that you don't have to keep all your email messages in their entirety." "Yes, but I need my email as a record," the PR droid burbles. "That may be, but you don't need a record of the 50 messages between you and the woman from the office across the road saying 'what do …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Jun 2010
bofh_sidey

BOFH: The poncy director's cut

EXT: COUNTRYSIDE A lush pasture with snow-capped mountains in the distance. A fluffy white rabbit hops into shot, stops and nibbles on some grass. [Dissolve to...] INT: BOSS'S OFFICE The BASTARD, PFY and BOSS are clustered around the screen of the Boss's desktop machine. PFY See, he just pushes his machine off the desk! …
Simon Travaglia, 21 May 2010

BOFH: On the couch

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as likely to get workplace trauma counselling as the next guy – especially when the company’s tame shrink is an ancient old boiler who was probably there when time was invented. Still, as luck would have it she fell to her death from her slippers a couple of weeks back and the company was forced to …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Apr 2010
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Forgive and forget

They say the secret to a good relationship is to be able to forgive and forget - and so I'm working hard on the forgiving bit with the PFY. He, for his part, is working on the forgetting - which I'm told is a perfectly normal by-product of ECT - even though a lot of private hospitals frown on the use of it unless it's …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Apr 2010

BOFH: The PFY Chronicles Part The Third

It's a wonderful day today - nothing could spoil my mood, with the prospect of a long Easter weekend with nothing more to do but eat junk food and catch up with hours of TV watching. My good mood swells even further when I stumble upon a wadge of banknotes taped to the underside of a drawer in my former supervisor's desk. …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Apr 2010
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: The PFY Chronicles part 2

Things are quiet at Mission Control. No, quiet would be an understatement. The room seems unnaturally large and cavernous, and there's an echo that just shouldn't be there... I could swear I heard the words "sleep no more" coming from the PC speaker, but I'm sure I'm imagining it. My contemplations are interrupted by two …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Mar 2010
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: The PFY Chronicles

It’s a bleak morning in Mission Control. Even the Boss’s normal expression of guilty ignorance is replaced by one that could almost be mistaken for loss... "Dead?" he asks quietly. "I'm afraid so," I respond. "But... he was doing so well." "He was, but then that dodgy life support machine switched itself off." "I thought …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Feb 2010

BOFH: Key performance undertakers

The PFY and I happened to stay out a little late at a Christmas do and unfortunately ended up in the company of some industry commentators - never a good move. Given that the PFY and myself know the perils of drinking with reporters - people who drink for a living and for whom seven pints of overproof cider counts both as an …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Dec 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Made of win

“We should enter one of those Innovation in IT awards!” the Boss burbles one day, sidling up to the PFY and myself in a pseudo-ingratiating manner. “We should what now?” the PFY asks. “IT awards. We should enter one – it’s a great way of raising the company’s profile.” “Oh, the company’s going to some awards?” I ask. “No, …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Nov 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Slab happy

Isn’t it annoying when senior management simply has to have access to every door, room, system and application in the enterprise - even if they have no idea what to do with the access once they get it. Like our new IT Director (after the previous Director tragically stepped over the protective railings and into the path of the …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Nov 2009
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: The stupidity criticality

"I just don't understand him!" the PFY snaps. "Yes, well, you've got to remember we’re talking about a new Boss, so we're really looking at one of three types of people," I reply. "A - a grizzled professional who's seen and endured the stupidity of users. B - an idiot with no idea who just keeps his head down and waits till …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Oct 2009

BOFH: Baitin' switch

"OK, let's just take a look then," our recent office addition says, clicking on the network management tool. "Ah, there's your problem - your port is only set to 10 megabits per second, half duplex. If I just change that to auto you'll notice a short outage while your machine's network interface readjusts itself to 100 meg …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Oct 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Weapon of choice

“...and it turns out that he’d ordered the 157-H43 instead of the 157-H44 unit," one engineer says, walking into Mission Control. "And as we all know...” “...the H43 has the tab on the other side!!!” the other engineer finishes. They both burst out laughing. Good times. The PFY has heard more than his fair share of …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Oct 2009

BOFH: Trussssst in me

Things have taken a strange turn - the Boss is trying to broker some form of peace between us and the Beancounters... "I'm just trying to understand the animosity," the Boss says. "It's historic," I say. "It goes back centuries." "It can hardly go back centuries - computers have only been around for half a century, and you' …
Simon Travaglia, 11 Sep 2009
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: Hammer time!

"Ooooh, watch this!" I gasp happily to the Boss as he and I observe the PFY, from the relative safety of the webcam monitor in Mission Control. "What?" the Boss asks. "He's going to take a look at her PC!" "Isn't that part of his job?" "No this isn't a work machine, this is a home machine!" I snigger. "Still, if it's a …
Simon Travaglia, 24 Jul 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: A spot of bother

It's a bloody Friday afternoon. People should know not to bother us when all we're wanting is a slow glide to the weekend... >ring< "Our system isn't working." "Really," the PFY says, putting his newspaper down with a sigh. "What system is that then?" "The one which does the ticker tape thing at the bottom of my web." "So …
Simon Travaglia, 03 Jul 2009
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: Stick this

"You've got to think of it in terms of sticks and carrots," I say to the PFY, "because users are complex - but stupid - stubborn animals, like donkeys." "Meaning?" "Meaning they respond to both rewards and punishment. So what you've got to do is find a balance between rewarding them for good behaviour - like not calling you …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Jun 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Snout, meet trough

"How can you be broke?" I ask the PFY as I carry our lunch back to the table in several pint glasses. "I dunno." "But you were only paid yesterday!" "Yes, but I had expenses!" the PFY sniffs. "What could you possibly blow a month's cash on in a day?" "A Home Theatre PC ensemble," the PFY responds defensively. "Ah. OK, I …
Simon Travaglia, 29 May 2009

BOFH: Spontaneous Legal Combustion

The following concludes episodes 4b, 4c and 5b, which are available exclusively to Register Platinum Cookie readers (with access to the content opulent Register Website). For the benefit of general (Lead Cookie) readers, the following flashback snippets have been approved for distribution: Boss: You Bastards! (Episode 4b) …
Simon Travaglia, 01 May 2009

BOFH: Grand Theft Auto

"So what I'd like to know," the Boss seethes, "is what the hell took you so long?" "What do you mean 'so long'?" the PFY asks, sounding a little hurt. "You left here FIVE HOURS AGO to pick up a replacement toner cartridge!" "Yeah but..." "TWO OF YOU! IN MY CAR!" "You offered it!" I add. "But in any case we needed to be …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Apr 2009
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Defiling the profile

"What do you know about social networking?" the Boss murmurs quietly one morning, as I'm putting the finishing touches on my espresso. "You mean social networking as in 'I and a group of mates would like to be able to publish our outrageous drinking activities'? Or 'The wife and I have recently separated and I'm looking to …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Mar 2009

BOFH: Cable entanglements

"I've been thinking," the Boss says, wandering into Mission Control feigning nonchalance. "Surely with the number of movements in the building at the moment and the increasing copper price and all, we should invest in some data cable. Keep a stock of it on site. Ten boxes or so, what do you think?" "Excellent idea!" the PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Mar 2009

BOFH: Aspie no questions

"It's... it's destroyed!" the Boss sniffles as he tilts the remains of his home computer up for me to see. "True, but then he was just doing what you told him to do." "It told him to go ahead and start the machine up if he thought it was fixed!" "No, you said, 'OK, give it a bash' - a completely different thing altogether. …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Feb 2009

BOFH: A safe bet

"It's a Christmas miracle!" the PFY gasps, opening the safe door after our extended Christmas break to find... nothing. "Hardly," I say, reaching down to the floor of the safe to retrieve a business card from amongst the coins and cards than no doubt fell out of the Boss's wallet. "Secure Safe Services. Protected Storage …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Jan 2009

BOFH: Blackmail and fine wine

"So which of you is on call over the break?" the Boss asks. "Why are you asking?" the PFY asks. "Just thought it might be an opportune time to do a bit of housekeeping, you know, security audits... er..." "Our firewall has Intrusion Detection built into it," the PFY explains. "So we're safe then?" "As safe as a domain with …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Dec 2008

BOFH: The Christmas party

"...Which leads to the next item - the office Christmas function," the Boss says to the assembled masses of the IT department. "The office function or the building function?" one of the helldesk geeks asks. "Just the office," the Boss says. "The director and I have been talking and he's keen that we all do something together …
Simon Travaglia, 05 Dec 2008
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: The unwanted software compo

"So let me get this straight," the Boss says, looking at his email to the PFY's latest masterpiece. "You're proposing a software... amnesty?" "Yes," the PFY answers. "And what's a software amnesty when it's at home?" "It's a chance for people to turn in software they don't use any more," I explain. "So maybe you bought a …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Nov 2008
bofh_sidey

BOFH: The paperless cafeteria

"How's that paperless office coming along then?" the Boss asks enthusiastically as he enters Mission Control on his daily constitutional. "Paperless office?" the PFY asks. "Yes, you were saying the other day that we should go to paperless." "No I was saying how our printing and copying contract was extortionate," the PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 14 Nov 2008
Click here for the full BOFH range

BOFH: Taking out a contract

"But the notes I have say you built a new machine just last year!" the Boss snaps, looking at the PFY's list of parts. "Why do you need a new one so soon?" "It's technical," the PFY says "You wouldn't understand." "Try me," the Boss snaps back. "What do you know about Quad Core Processor Technology?" "Nothing." "L1 and L2 …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Nov 2008

BOFH: Radiating sincerity

When you've got a problem it's always good to have a couple of bastards to call upon in times of trouble. Sadly, Brand and Ross aren't taking calls at the moment, so I have to call upon a fellow IT bastard, Jerry, for his thoughts... "So how big is this pile of monitors?" he asks. "180 last count," the PFY says. "And you don …
Simon Travaglia, 31 Oct 2008
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Fine detective work

"What's this?" the Boss demands, tossing a tattered faux leather-covered book at me. "This?" I say. "It looks like someone's diary." "Your assistant's - but what's inside it?" "I don't know. I'm not in the habit of reading personal stuff," I respond, choking down a chuckle. "I suggest you do!" he snaps. "Why, what am I …
Simon Travaglia, 24 Oct 2008
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Unfriendly ghosts

"But why can't we visit the site?" the Boss bleats one morning when we shoot his idea of seeing the ghost facility down. "It's a defence site," I lie. "They host defence computers as well as stuff for companies like us. They're probably not allowed to show people through their server rooms." "We should just turn up …
Simon Travaglia, 10 Oct 2008