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: The Christmas party

Episode 39 "...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
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BOFH: The unwanted software compo

Episode 38 "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

Episode 37 "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
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BOFH: Taking out a contract

Episode 36 "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

Episode 35 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

Episode 34 "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

Episode 33 "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
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BOFH: The Mandelboat virus

Episode 32 If there's one thing a lifetime in computing teaches you, it's how to cover up your mistakes... "Oopsy," the PFY says in a casual tone mid-keypress - the sort of casual tone which, by its very casualness, means it's not casual at all. "What did you do?" I sigh, fully expecting to hear that some poor user now has a vast amount …
Simon Travaglia, 03 Oct 2008

BOFH: Remote access malarkey

Episode 31 "...And so you can just log in to my machine and look at it whenever you like?" our user asks indignantly. "Uh-huh," the PFY says, fixing the user's printer settings while he's talking. "And I don't have to give you permission or anything?" "I'd have assumed that was implied by ringing the helpdesk?" the PFY says. "Yes but …
Simon Travaglia, 19 Sep 2008

BOFH: Back in the saddle

Episode 30 “How are you doing?” I say cheerfully, extending my hand in greeting to the two cabling guys that the beancounters got to shift some data cabling around – without telling us. “Clint and... John isn't it?” “Ay?” One of them says. “I'm Steve and this is Dave.” “My mistake,” I say. “I was obviously thinking of Clint Eastwood and …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Sep 2008
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BOFH: Lock and reload

Episode 29 "We should sue!" the PFY snaps angrily, thumping the Boss's desk with vigour. "We can't let them get away with this!" "Really?" the Boss asks. "I'd hardly have thought you'd want to sue a fellow professional?" "PROFESSIONAL!" the PFY gasps. "They're cowboys! What sort of outsourcing company wouldn't put in a redundant network …
Simon Travaglia, 05 Sep 2008
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BOFH: Burying the hatchet

Episode 28 There's something about a newly refurbished building that just appeals. Whether it's the contrast of old and new (i.e. the ancient glass fronted axe cases in the stairwell which no-one in their right mind would install these days, versus the almost ubiquitous security cameras which everyone seems to be installing these days) is …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Aug 2008

BOFH: Smash + grab

Episode 27 The long-awaited weekend has almost arrived! The migration of the server room to the new site and the transfer of our 'crucial' services to the successful tendering party (ie our ghost facility) is about to commence. "But I still don't see why we need to pay a data transfer fee!" the Boss whinges. "Because they'll need to put a …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Aug 2008
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BOFH: Server room secret panels

Episode 26 “It's a little... uh... large, isn't it?” one of our beancounters says as he scans the computer room in the new building during a site visit. “Optical illusion,” the PFY counters. “Machine rooms always look oversized when there's no kit in them. Take my word for it, once we install the racks and the cable trays the place will …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Aug 2008

BOFH: The PFY wants a reference

Episode 25 "So let's just get this straight," I say to the PFY as he hovers about my desk. "You want me to write a reference for you lauding you as a veritable workplace IT savant who can leap laser printers in a single bound, bend RFPs in his bare hands and generally manage an IT project with the ease of a veteran?" "Yes." "So you can …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Jul 2008
bofh_sidey

BOFH: The admin gene

Episode 24 "Woah!" the PFY breathes, looking up quickly. "Woah what?" the Boss asks, looking around cautiously, as I re-enter the room from the passage to the server room. "Nope, it'll be OK," I say to the PFY, ignoring the Boss for a moment. "What'll be OK?" "Are you sure?" the PFY asks. "It was quite noticeable." "What was …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Jul 2008

BOFH: The all-clicking, all-whirring Roboboss

Episode 23 I've got a particularly vexing game of multiplayer Enemy Territory on my hands when the new Boss rolls in and spoils everything. I say new Boss, as the previous one that everyone liked left for greener pastures and then his replacement left on medical grounds after accidentally pushing a paperclip into the live pin of a power …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Jun 2008
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BOFH: Shafting the consultants over the new layout

Episode 22 So we've got some external consultants here blundering through the requirements for the new building as a QA thing.. "It's not that we don't trust you," the Boss explains. "Far from it. It's just that senior management would like some assurance that everything you've asked for is a requirement and not just a nice-to-have." "A …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Jun 2008

BOFH: Dealing with engineers

Episode 21 It seems the cunning machinations from last week have come to no avail - someone at the coloured pencil office still wants the PFY to give them a hand installing some macintoshes. "I hate going to see the designers," the PFY whines. "They're a bunch of overfed smelly beatniks who think that buying expensive desktops makes them …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Jun 2008

BOFH: Testing the obscenity filters

Episode 20 "Hi, I'd just like some help setting up my Macintosh for access t..." >SLAM< . . . >Ring< "Hello?" the PFY says. "Hi, we must have got cut off, I was ringing for a bit of help setting up my Mac..." >SLAM< . . . >RING< "Is there something wrong with your phone?" the voice asks. "I don't think so," the PFY says. "But …
Simon Travaglia, 30 May 2008
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BOFH: The Batcave

Episode 19 "You know," I say to the PFY as I pore over some building plans. "I don't think the beancounters are as big a set of idiots as we've given them credit for." "How's that then?" the PFY asks. "This building they've bought - I've done some admittedly rough sums based around the floor space and previous sales in the area, and I …
Simon Travaglia, 23 May 2008

BOFH: The PFY's comeuppance

Episode 18 Some things you just don't want to waste half a day doing. Like talking to the company's shrink about whether the PFY should be referred to the authorities or not... "Okay, so my name is Catherine, I'm just gathering some background on what occurred a couple of days ago and would like to ask you some questions about Stephen's …
Simon Travaglia, 16 May 2008

BOFH: Shiny new computer room

Episode 17 "I think I have some good news..." the Boss chirps happily as he skips into Mission Control. "Good news?" the PFY says. "Very good news!" he gushes. "On a scale of one to ten?" "Ten - at least!" "Really," I say. "And what could possibly register as a ten?" "You're going to get a new computer room!" he blurts. "A new …
Simon Travaglia, 09 May 2008

BOFH: The Boss gets Grandpa Simpson syndrome

Episode 16 "...And we used to do pretty much everything from the switches on the front panel – bootstrapping, diagnostics, machine code reprogramming – all on toggle switches!" the Boss burbles happily "...those were the days!" "I'm sure they were," the PFY says dryly, rolling his eyes out of the Boss' view. "Oh, that was just the tip …
Simon Travaglia, 02 May 2008

BOFH: PFY's mum pays a visit

Episode 15 "And this is... uh... where I work >click<" the PFY says, opening the door briefly before closing it again and walking off. Curious... Moments later, the PFY is back and the door opens again briefly with a quick, "Ahh, my desk is the one over there. >click<" Curiouser... A short time later the door reopens once more and the …
Simon Travaglia, 25 Apr 2008
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BOFH: Licensing model

Episode 14 So the Boss had sensed a touch of animosity between us and one of our main software vendors after a recent bill and decided to grab the bull by the horns and invite them in to press-the-flesh and explain the new charging model they applied to us - without notice. Apparently, their reasoning ends up being that the new licensing …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Apr 2008
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BOFH: Lift laughs

Episode 13 "You HAD to push the button, didn't you?" the PFY snaps angrily at the Boss in the dark of the elevator. "I only just TOUCHED it!" the Boss snivels. "It's not like I actually PRESSED it!" "Now, now," I say. "No use crying over fried control panels. We need to take a look at how bad it is before we start getting upset. And …
Simon Travaglia, 11 Apr 2008
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BOFH: The London Underground vending machine conspiracy

Episode 12 >crash!< >stomp< >stomp< >stomp< >stomp< >clump< "Nice trip in then?" I ask the PFY as the Boss looks on warily. "Straight through was it, no stopping every ten seconds then?" "The tube was fine," the PFY snaps back. "Something else the matter then?" I ask. "Did someone get up on the wrong side of the traffic island?" "I …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Apr 2008
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BOFH: Fun with automatic doors

Episode 11 "Really, I thought they'd be right up your alley!" the Boss sniffs disappointedly. "They're just sliding doors!" I comment. "Yes, but they're intelligent sliding doors – they've got scanners and a computer interface and everything!" "That's as may be, but they're not secure doors." "Yes they are, they use face recognition …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Mar 2008

BOFH: Impatience

Episode 10 "You’re not listening to me!" the Boss snaps. "Hmm?" "You’re not listening to me!" "Course I am," I say distractedly. "What did I say then?" "The users are unhappy." "I… What about?" the Boss asks, temporarily foiled by my Geller-like guesswork. "Some user thing or the other – their stupidity, the computer doing what …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Mar 2008

BOFH: On the brink

Episode 9 “You don’t have to do this,” I say calmly to the PFY as the wind and rain washes and whistles around us on the roof of the building. “I do!” the PFY says. “I have to!” “You don’t – it’s not... necessary” I say. “It IS!” the PFY counters urgently. “I must!” “Let's just think about this clearly,” I say, speaking quietly so …
Simon Travaglia, 14 Mar 2008
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BOFH: The secret gentlemen's club

Episode 8 It's mid afternoon and the PFY and I are sneaking around the building in pursuit of the IT director because he's acting funny... [READER: DEGAUSS NOW FOR FLASHBACK REALISM!] ...10 minutes ago... "Right, so you just want this signed then?" the director asks, scribbling blindly at the bottom of the page. "Okay, now if you'll …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Mar 2008

BOFH: Vampires!

Episode 7 Today's going to be a bad day, I can tell. Not because of the evil machinations of the managing classes, nor the heat seeking stupidity of our users, nor even the Machiavellian plans of our suppliers... No, today is going to be bad because the PFY has had insomnia for the past week or so. His game playing marathons have upset …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Feb 2008

BOFH: Insecurity complex

Episode 6 It’s Mission Control late one morning and we’re giving the Boss a damn good listening to... “...and I’ve been talking to Jim from P.R and he says that we can probably do a little better on our machine maintenance because when he was working in a former company he managed to get a 48 per cent reduction in price by presenting …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Feb 2008

BOFH: The Silence of the Servers

Episode 5 "Ah the long, dark reaches of intrigue!" I say faux-casually in the dark, scaring the Boss half to death. "What the hell are you doing here?" he cries when he's collected himself, no doubt readjusting his underpants in response to the recent extra loading. "It's a computer room, I belong here," I say, getting up from the …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Feb 2008

BOFH: Carbon neutrality

Episode 4 "What're they for?" the PFY asks as the Boss rolls in a trolley load of brightly coloured plastic bins. "They're for our recycling initiative," the Boss responds. "Red for plastic, white for paper, yellow for cardboard and blue for polystyrene." "What about glass?" the PFY asks. "Glass is to be sorted by colour into bins in …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Feb 2008

BOFH: What GPS is for

Episode 3 The good thing about sales reps is that they're never too busy to come on site and explain a couple of their products to you if there's a potential sale in it. Better still when the IT consumables company replaces the grizzled veteran of "over a million 8 inch floppies sold" with Susan, a lovely young woman with a pleasant …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Jan 2008
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BOFH: Defusing the enthusiast

Episode 2 Isn't it always the way that at the beginning of the year, when your enthusiasm for work is at an ebb, that the Boss decides it's a good time to get someone in to talk about some piece of software that you just don't want to use? And isn't it also always the case that when you get someone in to talk to you they're not only an …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Jan 2008
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BOFH: Memory short circuit

Episode 1 There must be something in the water. I've got a shocking case of nominal amnesia which I can't shake and the PFY just isn't helping. True, being locked in a lift for several hours (until I'd fed sufficient pound notes through the doors to the PFY) just prior to the holidays didn't help, but I'm never really any good at getting …
Simon Travaglia, 11 Jan 2008

BOFH: Beancounter bashing

Episode 44 "You know what your probblim is?" one of the Beancounters slurs, using the ISO certified phrase to indicate that the speaker's had too much to drink "...you're out of touch!" "Really?" the PFY says, tipping back his drink with one hand while setting his modified cattle prod to 'stir-fry' with the other. "How's that then …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Dec 2007
bofh_sidey

BOFH: The trivia quiz

Episode 43 BOFH: The Trivia Quiz Yes! It's time for the Bastard Trivia Quiz! Test your skill! Place your bets! General Knowledge 1. You're in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Where do you go? A. N B. S C. E D. W E. To lunch 2. Network utilisation figures are reaching an all time high for no apparent reason. This probably …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Dec 2007
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Balancing the budget...

Episode 42 "Got a bit of work on I see," the Boss says, peering around the large mound of cartons clogging up Mission Control. "No, no, things are very quiet at the moment." "So what's all this then?" "This," I say, tapping on a carton. "is a... laptop, one of a batch of... nine, while this >tap< is a top-of-the-line workstation, one …
Simon Travaglia, 14 Dec 2007
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BOFH: Xmas party: Get a wriggle on

Episode 41 "Get a jiggle on," I tell the PFY as I clamber into the work vehicle, "or we'll be late." "Take it easy," the PFY responds calmly. "Stacks of time. The place doesn't even open for another hour." "Yeah, but it'll take us that long to get there!" I snap. "I'm sure we'll be ok," the Boss says, clambering into the back seat. "It …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Dec 2007
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Friday madness

Episode 40 It's a Friday afternoon and the clock has stopped. All the clocks have stopped. It's been 2:15pm for the past two hours, I'm sure of it. "COME OOOOONNN!" the PFY whines. "It's no use," I say. "The seconds hand is moving but the minutes hand has just stopped!" "I want the pub," the PFY gasps. "I NEED the pub!" "Me too," I …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Nov 2007

BOFH: Spreading the festive cheer

Episode 39 "Ahhhhhh," I sigh cheerfully. "Smell that?" "You mean the whiff of cardboard, seasonal green and red ink and just a hint of glitter?" the PFY responds. "MMmmmm," I mumble. "Well, it's Christmas season again, isn't it?" the PFY concurs. "No... It's Christmas CARD season again," I say. "For the next three weeks we can expect …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Nov 2007
bofh_sidey

BOFH: Workplace accidents = 0

Episode 38 "Excellent," the new Boss burbles as the PFY updates the 'days since last workplace accident' sign (put there since the last IT decimation). "Ten days since the last accident." "I think you'll find that's a binary number," the PFY says. "Still... 10 days," the Boss counters to much rolling of eyes. "And that's only because …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Nov 2007

BOFH: How dangerous are your users?

BOFH Userometer Simon is resting this week. So we are republishing a quiz from 2004, this time with added interactive mojo. An online sysadmins resource Sure, your users may look about as likely to rebel as the pack of mindless sheep that they are - but can they be trusted? Are your users reading forbidden literature? Are they trying to climb …
Simon Travaglia, 09 Nov 2007

BOFH: Budget cuts

Episode 37 Things are dire in Mission Control. Our plans for company IT domination have backfired on us like a baked bean vindaloo with a boiled cabbage chaser followed by a double helping of pickled onion ice-cream. And 10 pints of fizzy lager... "So you're saying that we have no operating budget?" I ask. "None," the head Beancounter …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Nov 2007
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BOFH: A foray into HR

Episode 36 "It’s a somewhat unique situation," the HR droid says to the PFY and me as we meet in the IT director's office. "You see we've never replaced an entire department at one time and as such we need to be sure that due diligence takes place." "Due diligence?" the PFY asks. "Well yes. From a company standpoint we want to ensure …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Oct 2007
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BOFH: The bastard wants to know

Episode 35½ IT is a complex business and let's face it, hard to keep up with. At some stage in your career you're going to pass the point of no return where the next technological leap means as much to you as human rights to a defence contractor. But have you passed this point already? Are you just pretending to be the IT expert that you …
Simon Travaglia, 19 Oct 2007