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: Resistance is futile - we're missing BEER O'CLOCK

Episode 12 "It's quite possibly the worst sound I've ever heard!" the Boss snaps. "So you've not heard duelling banjos played on the bagpipes?" I ask. "Or... anything.. on the piano accordion?" the PFY adds. "It's unprofessional!" he continues. "No it's not, having NOTHING would be unprofessional - this just implies a lack of …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Nov 2013

BOFH: One flew over the PFY's nest

Episode 11 "He's what I refer to as a... megalotechno," the psychiatrist explains happily to me. "Completely devoted to IT - it's so rare to capture one alive. We've tried to study him of course but he's much too geeky for our standardised aptitude tests." "Mmm," I murmur non-committally, following him through pale green corridors and …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Nov 2013

BOFH: GOATSE? No, I said goat fetis... you know what, forget it

Episode 10 "It's happened again!" the Boss blurts, tripping into Mission Control in a flurry. "Yes, well, if you frequent those kind of websites you really should expect that," says the PFY evenly. "I... What kind of websites? Expect what?" "Oh, so we're not talking about your goat fetish?" "What bloody goat fetish!?" The Boss snaps …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Nov 2013

BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

Episode 9 Sometimes it feels like my life consists  mostly of waiting. Long, long periods of waiting. I don't know how much of my time has been spent watching little dots slowly ticking over a monitor as a kernel loads, the moria-like spinning of /-\| characters on the screen while a RAID card configures or the slow crawl of a …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Nov 2013

BOFH: Welcome to Helldesk, ma'am, may I take your bags?

Episode 8 "You're looking stressed!" the PFY says to the Boss, who's behaving more irrationally than usual. "What?" the Boss responds. "Stressed," the PFY says. "You. Look. Stressed." "Oh. Yes," the Boss says, looking around in a semi-dazed manner. "Have a stack of Service Desk Candidate's CVs to look through." "What for?" "For …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Oct 2013

Nasty BOFHses. It burns us! It burns...

Episode 7 "Where's my car park gone?" I ask Security as I wander into the building in a very irritated manner. "What car park?" Security asks "My Car park. Basement level 2. Right beside the lifts. Now apparently somewhere inside a large concrete room." "Oh, that. Well we can't really talk about that." "How about a hint?" "I... …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Aug 2013

BOFH: Backup server's failed? We have a backup backup server

Episode 6 I bloody hate SRTs (or Server Room Tourists as they're more commonly called). "And... what does this one do?" the new Boss asks, pointing at a server front panel. "That would be the frontend of the company portal," the PFY nods knowingly. "And this one?" he asks, gesturing to the panel below. "The redundant frontend for …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Aug 2013
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

BOFH: Don't be afraid - we won't hurt your delicate, flimsy inkjet printer

Episode 5 "There's a problem with my printer," a user whines down the phone at the PFY. "The multifunction - what, is it jamming again?" the PFY asks. "No, it's my desktop printer." "Put it in the bin and use the printer in reception," the PFY says in a manner that bears all the hallmarks of professionalism. "No, no, it's just not …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Jul 2013
Beginning SQL

BOFH: Go on, beancounter, type DROP TABLE asset;

Episode 4 "Don't put that there," I snap - calmly, but firmly, as a Beancounter goes to drop a chunk of IT detritus on my desk. "What?" he asks, feigning innocence. "That. Don't put it on my desk, it doesn't belong there." "But it's IT equipment!" he bleats. "It's IT crap and it doesn't belong on my desk - any more that real crap …
Simon Travaglia, 31 May 2013

The BOFH is BACK: And it's cloudy with a 90% chance of beatings

Episode 3 "I just need you to go through it for me once," the user whines down the line at me. "You mean once more?" I reply. "Once more?" he snivels. "Yes, as I already went through this with you a few weeks ago. You said you understood, you even wrote something down." "Really - are you sure that was me?" "Positive." "How can …
Simon Travaglia, 24 May 2013

BOFH: My HELPDESK HELL - lies, phones lines and statistics

Episode 2 "I'm just a bit worried about these statistics," the Boss says, lurching into Mission Control with yet another swadge of meaningless numbers. "Told you so," I respond. [FLASHBACK TO A WEEK AGO] "I'm a bit worried about these weekly statistics," the Boss says, lurching into Mission Control with a swadge of meaningless numbers …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Mar 2013

BOFH: Climb the corp ladder - and use your boss as a bullet shield

Episode 1 "It's like progress bars," I say to the PFY during a discussion about the relative merits of the company management as we ride the lift to the CEO's office to fix some laptop crisis. "All too often the bar itself bears no relationship whatsoever to the amount of time you're going to wait. In the same way the salary of a …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Feb 2013

BOFH: Cannot terminate PFY instance... ACCESS DENIED

Episode 14 "Have you seen this?" the PFY says, looking up from our revised contract document. "What?" I ask. "Did you realise there's a penalty clause in our contract for early termination? We have to give the company 2 YEARS notice of termination of contract?" "Sounds about right. It works both ways though - they have to give us the …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Nov 2012

BOFH: The Great Patch Mismatch

Episode 13 "It's just a minor ROM patch." the service engineer bleats "It'll only take five minutes." "Yeah... Nah," the PFY says. "It's minor - just addresses a couple of memory leaks and and cookie issues in the web interface." "Yeah. Nah," I repeat. "It's just the interface - the UPS will be completely unaffected!" "Nope," the …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Nov 2012

BOFH: Hasta la Vista... luser

Episode 12 "But I installed Service Pack 2!" our user whines at the PFY. "Installing SP2 on Windows Vista is like putting out a burning turd. Best possible outcome, you've got a steaming turd!" the PFY snaps. "But it's so slow!" "Uh-huh." "I've got 3 gigs of memory," he sniffles "Adding memory to Vista is like adding paper to a …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Nov 2012

BOFH: Can't you just ... NO, I JUST CAN'T

Episode 11 "EVERYONE IS A F**KING EXCEPTION!" the PFY snarls - beating me to the very same exclamation by nanoseconds. "What do you mean everyone is an exception?" the Boss asks. "It's the life of a bloody systems admin, people want you to make exceptions for them!" the PFY shouts. "Passwords, web filters, extra file space. People want …
Simon Travaglia, 09 Nov 2012

BOFH: Tenacious B and the Printer of Destiny

Episode 10 "The printer's jammed again," the Director's PA says, ducking into Mission Control for a brief status update. To be fair the PFY asked for this level of information when he suggested she notify him of any problems. As far as poorly thought-out pickup techniques this one has far outlasted his patience. The moment an orange …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Nov 2012
Cornish maiden bearing platter of genuine Cornish pasties. Photo: Cornish Pasty Association

BOFH: Uninterruptible patsy supply

Episode 9 "What the fuck just happened?" the Boss garbles, crashing around Mission Control like a madman after dashing down two flights of stairs from the 4th floor boardroom. "Uh.... UPS failure," the PFY says calmly, glancing up from his monitor briefly. "Well aren't you going to do anything about it?" "I am," he responds. "I have …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Oct 2012

BOFH: Our Excel-lent new boss and the diagram plan

Episode 8 "Okay, I get what you're saying, but what does it mean precisely?" the Boss asks. "It means that we're giving the app support people a VPN connection so they can login remotely, and we'll put them on their own VLAN with firewall pinholes to permit them to access the App server and Database server, as well as having limited …
Simon Travaglia, 10 Aug 2012

BOFH: Shove your project managementry up your mailbox!

Episode 7 "So it's agreed then. You'll codify the project and I'll reach out to the developers for the SDK that you need?" the latest IT project manager asks. "By 'codify' you mean I'll write the program and by 'reach out' you mean email?" I respond. "Yes." "Why not just say email?" "I... because I might phone them." "So why not …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Jul 2012

BOFH: The back-up backdown smackdown

Episode 6 "So is all the data gone?" the voice whimpers over the hands-free. "Did you take a backup like I told you?" I ask. "No." "Then yes, it's all gone," I say. "You either put a backup client on your laptop and back it up to the backup server or connect an external disk and use that - but if you use nothing..." "I don't …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Jul 2012

PFY vs Bearded 80s Netscape Bore: BOFH

Episode 5 bofh_toppy You know what it's like. Some idiot in senior management buys a crap bit of software online - with functionality that's already built into Outlook, but is just slightly different - and it has to be installed right now. And the moment you double-click on the installer you know you're in trouble when it tells you …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Jun 2012

BOFH: Siri, why do users lie?

Episode 4 bofh_sideybofh "My bloody voicemail isn't working. Again." the Boss snaps. "You've forgotten your PIN number again, haven't you?" the PFY asks. "No, it's just not working!" "What's not working about it?" "It won't let me log in. It tells me there's a message but won't let me log in." "Because you're using the wrong PIN …
Simon Travaglia, 11 May 2012

BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Episode 3 bofh_pic You know, sometimes I wish someone just had the balls to say they want a new iPad cos it looks cool. That they have no clue of what the f$*# they’d use it for, but their kids think they’re great and they can’t be stuffed forking out the money themselves for one so they figure the company should just get one and …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Mar 2012
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BOFH: Moon landings, Pong and the case of the smoking server

Episode 2 "It's about your assistant," the Boss says, looking around carefully as he nods me into his office. "Yes?" "He told me something yesterday. Something disturbing." "Oh, I wouldn't believe everything he says, he's prone to making outrageous statements. I mean the goat lived and the charges against him were dropped." "What …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Feb 2012