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: Computer room deluge

"Water!" the PFY gasps, entering Mission Control from the computer room. "Where?" I ask, to which the PFY responds with an urgent wave to his entry point. "F%**" I say moments later as I survey the steady stream of water coming down the computer room wall. "Where's it coming from?" "Dunno," the PFY says, shaking his head …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Jul 2007

BOFH: Printer cartridge? What printer cartridge?

"Simon, Stephen, this is David and uhh... " the Boss says, petering out as his memory fails. "Carl," David says. "Carl. And they'll be running the new Multifunction Printing Device rollout." "I... What multifunction printing device rollout?" the PFY asks. "The Multifunction Printing Device Project? There was a whole …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Jun 2007

BOFH: Talking to tradesmen

"You're stuffed," our friendly Sparky says, stepping back from our switchboard and putting his clamp meter away. "Stuffed - and that's a technical term?" the Boss asks sarcastically. "Yep!" the Sparky replies. "So what does it mean then?" the Boss continues. "It MEANS," the PFY says, "that there's no more capacity in the …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Jun 2007

BOFH: PFY rescue mission

The world is full of great duos focused on a common goal - Hillary and Norgay, Armstrong and Aldrin, Sooty and Sweep - and so is the world of computing. There's nothing like having a good backup guy, and for me the PFY was that man. My go-to guy, the PFY could be trusted to know what I was looking for almost before I did …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Jun 2007

BOFH: PFY spreads his wings

Sometimes things get a little crazy - no one knows that better than me. Take bastard rivalry for instance, with the PFY and I staking the company's wellbeing against a paltry couple of pints... "Ten quid says the server will clap out once the temperature hits 80," the PFY says. "You're on!" I blurt, knowing full well that I …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Jun 2007

BOFH: Lost licences

"I've lost some documents!" the Head of IT gasps, bounding into Mission Control with beads of sweat dotting his puffy red brow. "Documents?" the PFY asks. "Yes, I scanned our licence agreements into the computer and now they're gone!" "Gone from your computer?" the PFY sighs, firing up the backup software. "No, no, I put …
Simon Travaglia, 25 May 2007

BOFH: The revenge

>SQUEAK< ... "Impressive," our recent ex-new-Boss says nervously, edging towards the back of the room. "How did you... find us?" "Simple," the PFY says, entering from the door behind him, cattleprod in hand. "One of the laptops you took wasn't exactly what it looked like." "Bitlocker?" the ex-new-technician asks, halting …
Simon Travaglia, 18 May 2007
Click here for the full BOFH range


"...and this is Simon and Steven. Simon, Steven, this is David, he's our new hardware technician," the new Boss says, entering Mission Control. "New hardware technician? What about our old one?" "I was under the impression we didn't have an old one." "That's right," the PFY says defensively. "Because we didn't need one." " …
Simon Travaglia, 11 May 2007

BOFH: Somebody know this body?

"Ah, Simon, Steven, there's a man here from security wants a word with you?" the head of IT asks nervously. "Really?" the PFY says. "What's he want?" "Found a body," security says, stepping into Mission Control from behind the head. "A body?" the PFY says, in his well-practised innocent manner. "A body," security repeats …
Simon Travaglia, 04 May 2007

BOFH: Fishbowl this

"You want to WHAT?!?!" the PFY gasps, beating me to the draw by microseconds. "Move the computer room?" the Boss responds, surprised that there's any objection to his latest brainwave. "You've got to be kidding!" "Not at all," the Boss asks, still not aware of the enormous upheaval he's proposing. "I've been talking with …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Apr 2007

BOFH: Geeks on heat

"So let me get this straight," I say to the PFY. "You want me to give you a reasonable amount of time to make a suave first impression - and engage her in some meaningful conversation about one of her interest topics - then bust in with some huge problem that only you can fix which will make you look like someone pretty bloody …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Apr 2007

BOFH: What do you mean the system's being audited?

"So if we go to your website and build this software, download and deploy it through a group policy over our domain - the machines will all report on the OS, software and version information that they have installed?" the PFY asks. "Yes," Sonya, our friendly root-of-all-evil sales rep says, with the Boss nodding happily in …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Apr 2007

BOFH: The PFY punts for smut

"We should get a server for podcasts," the Boss announces, breezing into Mission Control under the influence of a new idea. "What for?" the PFY asks. "So we can deliver podcasts and video to our staff and customers." "What podcasts?" "Podcasts about what's happening in the company." "Where are these podcasts at the moment …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Mar 2007

BOFH: The new geek on the block

>Swipe< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >BEEP-BEEP-BEEEEEP!< >Swipe< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >BEEP-BEEP-BEEEEEP!< >Swipe< >bip< ... >bip< ... >bip< .... >bip< >BEEP-BEEP-BEEEEEP!< "There's something wrong with the door," the Boss announces. "Which door?" the PFY asks, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Boss is standing …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Mar 2007

BOFH: The wild smut chase

Scene: The rooftop of the building at dusk "Ahhhh smell that," I say to the PFY as we look out at the London skyline. "The fresh London air tinged with a touch of diesel, a hint of autumn chill, and a liberal dash of the kebab shop down the road." "Greatest city in the world!" the PFY says. "And you know, standing up here, …
Simon Travaglia, 09 Mar 2007

BOFH: The takeover

"It's a takeover," the PFY murmurs, entering Mission Control after his recce of the top floor - or more accurately, the spade work he's been putting in with the CEO's PA. "A takeover, I should have guessed," I say, thinking back to the feverish activity which has been occurring in Beancounter and PR Centrals. "Who?" "No idea …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Feb 2007

BOFH: The Brotherhood

The boss is late and everyone's noticed. And when I say everyone's noticed I really mean no one's noticed, but it has been two days and when someone's been on a weekend junket then doesn't show within a day or so word gets around... ... It's day three before the boss finally wanders into work with the unpressed clothes and …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Feb 2007

BOFH: The craptop

One of the stranger urban legends that people harbour about geeks is that we have a deep seated enthusiasm for all problems technical - that the thought of a non-booting PC is our equivalent of a three pipe problem and that we're silently chomping at the bit to discover some problem to pit our skills against. True, I enjoy a …
Simon Travaglia, 09 Feb 2007

The Bastard guide to work from work

"What's your opinion of this?" The Boss asks, handing over a brochure for a laptop. "Seems OK to me," the PFY says "Reasonably cheap, good enough specs. I'm surprised you're looking at getting one though as there's no fancy bells as whistles." "Oh it's not for me!" The Boss gasps, digging out yet another brochure from his …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Feb 2007

BOFH: Immortalised in print

"I...uh...was wondering if you'd check this over for...uh...accuracy," the head of IT says, handing over a stack of about two inches of paper. "What is it?" I gasp, fearing the worst - that it's a business case for a new and inventive way for the company to flush its IT spend down the proverbial crapper. "It's a personal …
Simon Travaglia, 26 Jan 2007
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BOFH: The mystery of the vandalised office

It is a cold morning when my assistant and I arrive at our rooms to commence yet another day of solving the problems of the masses. "Good Lord," Watson cries upon entering Mission Control. "Whatever has happened?!?" Entering after him I note overturned chairs, upended drawers and tabletops cleared to the floor... "Curious …
Simon Travaglia, 19 Jan 2007

BOFH: It's a funny old world isn't it?

It's a funny old world isn't it? Strange the way things pan out. Take for instance the New Year's truce forged between the PFY and myself. On one hand we reached a landmark accord which allowed us to work in harmony with each other and the users and on the other hand I'm now locked in a dark basement room that the PFY tricked …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Jan 2007

BOFH plays Pass the Password

2007, what a landmark year! A time for striving onward in the pursuit of excellence and a time for putting behind us the upsets of the past year. Upsets like me getting trapped in a lift and having to spend several hours contemplating a bucket-based toilet system in full view of the CCTV camera... ...And upsets like The PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Jan 2007

The Bastard's guide to airport security

Ah, the strange twists of fate which conspire both for and against us. Against us when I believed that my trusty co-worker would treat me with the respect I deserved from my years at the coal face of IT and cut me a little slack when it came to me stealing his Christmas presents. And locking me in a lift. And for us when The …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Dec 2006

BOFH: Looting Christmas treasure

"Check it out!" the PFY gasps, pointing at a large basket of goodies sitting on the secretary's desk. "Bonus!" I cry, looking for a card. "Is it for us?" "No, it's for the Boss," Cathy the secretary sighs before putting the basket into a large cardboard box beside her desk. "The third present he's got today." "But he's only …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Dec 2006

BOFH: The most important user in the world...

"I... what?" the PFY sniffles, reading through his email. Once in a while - not very often mind - I could swear the PFY had been to a customer service course or maybe worked in one of those soulless fast food chains. Like today for instance: "Hi there, I need someone to come up and change the toner cartridge in my machine …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Dec 2006

The Bastard and the IT training budget

"I... what?" the PFY sniffles, reading through his email. "Hmm?" I ask. "My attendance at a Linux forum has been canceled because.. the IT Training budget for this quarter has been exceeded?!" "That's ridiculous," I counter. "It's about 10 grand a quarter and we haven't used any of it!" "Well that's what it says," The PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 09 Dec 2006

BOFH: IT services review

"What's this about?" the PFY asks, tapping his screen curiously. "What?" I ask, looking up from the internals of my desktop machine mid-harddrive installation. "The review of IT services." "What review of IT services?" "There's a review of IT services across the company," the PFY says. "What does it mean?" "Ahhhh..", I …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Dec 2006
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BOFH: When non-IT people make IT decisions

It's going to be a bad day, I can just feel it. All it'd take is the Boss to walk in with... "Hi, could you cast your eye over this?" the Boss asks, placing a large folder on the desk in front of me. "I...I'm rather busy," I lie. "But I told the guy we'd look over it," the Boss says. "And everyone loves a man of his word …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Nov 2006

BOFH: Dessert storm

"Oh this is bad," the PFY says. "Yep, this is bad," I concur, looking at the pile of rubble a floor below what used to be the floor of our 'Operations Rest and Recreation facility' - or to be more technically correct, the cleaner's room the floor below Mission Control that we had walled in by an accommodating builder when the …
Simon Travaglia, 10 Nov 2006

BOFH: Data wiping hell

It's early-ish morning and the Boss is stalking around the workplace on a mission. What that mission entails is anyone's guess but his stalking is purposeful, which means sooner or later he's going to end up here. The PFY and I know it's only a matter of time, but why rush into confrontation? I quietly lock the door of …
Simon Travaglia, 03 Nov 2006

BOFH: Goes virtual

"Why," the boss asks us early one morning, looking thoughtful "don't we use virtual servers?" "What do you mean?" I ask, dreading the possible problems the Boss is about to bestow on us. "Virtual Servers - you know, ones which aren't real." "Oh, we've got a stack of those," the PFY adds. "Downstairs in the virtual bunker, …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Oct 2006
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BOFH: Armageddon

"We've, ah, got a bit of a problem," the head of IT says, entering Mission Control. "What's that then?" I ask, always willing to help management out - particularly if they've just come in. "It's about that Top 500 IT-Savvy companies survey we did a few weeks back." "What's that then?" "The editor of the magazine would like …
Simon Travaglia, 20 Oct 2006
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BOFH: Let the games begin

"Mmmm?" the PFY asks as the Boss hovers for another stretch in front of his desk. "It's this purchase order," the Boss says. "Mmmm?" the PFY repeats. "You spent 400 quid on your desktop to buy a...er...graphics card...with ...dual...head capability." "Yes, a Tasmanian graphics card, that's right." "I was under the …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Oct 2006

BOFH: The mystery of the impenetrable data safe

"Check it out," the PFY says, pointing at the pair of fat blokes who are levering a large crate into the Boss's office on a heavy duty trolley. "What do you think it is?" "I'm not sure - It's carefully packaged and very heavy so whatever it is is probably bloody expensive,” I reply. No sooner is it in the Boss's office than …
Simon Travaglia, 06 Oct 2006

BOFH: Pulling a computer survey swifty

"Look at this," the Boss says, handing me a well-fingered computer rag. "What, the magazine?" "No, the survey they mention on the front cover." "The Top 500 IT-savvy companies in the UK for 2005?" "Yes." "And what should I be looking for?" "Our company, of course." "In there?" I ask dubiously. "EXACTLY!" the Boss says …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Sep 2006

BOFH: Unconventional interview

"Ah, could we borrow you for a couple of minutes?" the Boss asks quietly, interrupting the PFY's riveting (if somewhat longwinded and one-sided) discussion of RS6000 boot flags. "Of course," I yawn, getting up quickly for fear that the PFY will mistake my patience for interest and tell me what each of the hundreds of …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Sep 2006
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BOFH: Retirement plan

So the PFY and I are having a quick three hour lunch at the pub across the road when George, our faithful cleaner, walks in looking a little bit despondent. "Everything all right George?" the PFY asks, noticing his unhappy visage. "What? Oh, no, not really." "What's the matter?" "They're, uh, forcing me to retire," he …
Simon Travaglia, 08 Sep 2006
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BOFH: Out on the lash

And so it is - as circumstance would have it - that the PFY and I find ourselves single and bored on a Friday afternoon. "Pub?" the PFY asks as the clock approaches 4pm. "To prime ourselves in expectation of the Friday evening female advertising executive onslaught?" I ask. "I like the way you think!" "DENNY CRANE!" the PFY …
Simon Travaglia, 01 Sep 2006
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BOFH: The computer whisperer

"I can't believe it, I've been trying to get that thing to boot for hours!" the Boss says, shaking his head as the PFY steps back from his desktop. "Yes," I respond. "I have to admit the PFY has a bit of a silicon thumb when it comes to dodgy hardware - in fact, we call him the computer whisperer." "The computer whisperer …
Simon Travaglia, 18 Aug 2006

The Bastard and the Mouse

"... and so I'd like to get one of those new five button mice," The Boss finishes, after what seems like an eternity of blather. "Sorry, I think I slipped into a coma - why did you want one again?" I ask. "Because they can do so much!" "Yeah, that's where I'm a bit in the grey. I mean a one button mouse - I can see the …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Aug 2006
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BOFH: Bastard gets fired

"BUT I DILIGENTLY BACKED MY FILES UP!" the user wails. "TWO YEARS AGO!" I respond, not feeling the slightest bit of sympathy for my caller. "It's still a backup!" "No, what you wanted was an archive, not a backup." "But the system let me backup the files and didn't warn me not to!" "The system would also let you send your …
Simon Travaglia, 04 Aug 2006

BOFH: Office politics

So, I'm approaching Mission Control one morning and can't help noticing a disturbance in...the force...It's almost as if a million souls were suddenly installing OS2. Ignoring the feeling, I slip inside to find the Boss and PFY discussing something heatedly. "...so if you could just reinstall Office on his machine that would …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Jul 2006

BOFH: Lawsuit ahoy!

"Whew," the PFY says wiping the tears from his eyes as he steps into Mission Control. "I don't think I've laughed so much since you slapped an old scanner one top of our shredder and convinced on of the Bosses that it was a self-feeding photocopier." "Yes," I nod. "Who could have known he'd slip in late at night to copy some …
Simon Travaglia, 21 Jul 2006

BOFH: Go on then, subcontract us...

"I have a little job for you," the Boss burbles handing a wadge of paper to the PFY. "A...computer room fit out," the PFY says with disdain, eyeing the papers in the manner generally reserved for the observance of dog excrement on one's footwear. "What's the catch?" "No catch - I thought you'd find it interesting." "I didn' …
Simon Travaglia, 14 Jul 2006

BOFH: Champion of culture

"I don't know what to say," the PFY sniffles as the Boss breaks the sad news to him. "Will it be...quick?" "It'll over in no time," the Boss reassures him. "And how is everyone taking it?" "Apart from you, pretty well actually," the Boss replies. "But why?" the PFY bleats. "Its time had come - we all knew that. It's just …
Simon Travaglia, 07 Jul 2006
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BOFH: Double whammy

"It's a capacitor - uhhh, electrolytic," the PFY says, gazing into space, deep in concentration. "What?" the Boss asks, looking vacant. "Nah," I reply. "There was no bang, and besides it's got that siliconny edge to it." "A Power Transistor?" "BINGO!" I cry. "WHAT!?" the Boss snaps. "That smell. Something's cooked in the …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Jun 2006

BOFH: Dr Bastard's lab challenge

So it's time for the annual challenge between the PFY and I to create the ultimate item for Doctor Bastard's lab. I've been looking forward to this for some time as I have a couple of items that I've been perfecting that are bound to be of use to my fellow bastards in years to come. "Are we ready?" the PFY asks, cheerfully …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Jun 2006

BOFH: Union 'negotiations'

As fate would have it, I've been asked by the unions to see what I can do about getting the computer support staff an across-the-board salary increase. After lengthy protestations about my unsuitability for the job I'm eventually convinced that I may have something to offer by the impassioned pleas of the union delegate. The …
Simon Travaglia, 02 Jun 2006
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BOFH: Blast from the past

"That's...odd..." the PFY says early one morning, looking at his screen distractedly. "What's odd?" I ask, coming to the point quickly so that I can get back to recounting the story about myself, some raspberry vodka and a handful of female reps from an anti-virus show booth... "The Financials Database - it's just sent me an …
Simon Travaglia, 26 May 2006