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: 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

BOFH: On the PFY's Scottish estate, no one can hear you scream...

Episode 3 "Obviously we're after sustainable," the Boss burbles. "Yes, sustainable is good. I'm thinking of a mix of solar and wind generation - low carbon footprint building materials, potable and non-potable water storage and filtration in the workspaces, natural and borrowed light..." "Sounds fantastic," the Boss burbles some more …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Mar 2014
iPhone 2.2.1 update

BOFH: He... made... you... HE made YOU a DOMAIN ADMIN?

Episode 2 "Yeah, so we just need you to upgrade these machines," the Beancounter says. "Upgrade them to what, Windows 8?" I ask, suppressing the gag reflex. "No I mean upgrade them with the updates." "Oh, so you mean upDATE them, not upGRADE?" "It's the same thing!" he simpers. "Not at all. An upDATE is when the system stays …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Feb 2014

BOFH: Attractive person is attractive. Um, why are your eyes bulging?

Episode 1 “What brings you down here then?” the PFY asks the Director after he popped through the door unannounced. “Oh, I wanted to give you a heads-up on your new manager.” “Really, has Roy left?” the PFY asks, knowing the answer only too well. “Yes. He messaged me over the break saying he wouldn’t be coming back. Something about …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Feb 2014

BOFH: It's DANGEROUS to go alone. Take THIS

Episode 13 “I can’t smell anything,” the Boss says, leaning back from his half-consumed plate of the last of the onion bhajis at the staff cafeteria. “Well you wouldn’t, would you?” the PFY says. “Why not?” “Because we’re professionals.” “I’m a professional!” the Boss says defensively. “Please,” the PFY says sadly - but almost …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Nov 2013

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
shutterstock_interview_sidey

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

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