BOFH: Oh, go on, let's flush all that legacy tech down the toilet

Leads? Detective Bastard Operator From Hell has nothing to Go On

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 6 "...Oh yes, I was reading the white paper on that just this morning," I lie.

I hardly ever read white papers.

I mean, if the white paper were titled: "How to get two lagers for the price of one," I might be more inclined to do so, but when it's entitled "The end of passwords" and is so vendor-centric it may as well have the words ADVERTISEMENT in the title, I'm less inclined.

"I watched the video," the Boss gushes.

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"Ah yes, the one about how there were 57 quadrillion data security breaches in the past year and each one of them cost a couple of billion dollars each?"

"I... uh... don't think those numbers.."

"Did you know that 37 per cent of statistics are false and the other 84 per cent are just random numbers?" I ask.

"I..."

"Don't go on," I say. "Do you know how long you've been talking to me?"

"I.. 10 minutes?"

"Seventeen minutes. And did you know in that 17 minutes I could have been dealing with the little orange icon on my desktop which tells me that we have a disk array with a status of degraded?"

"Oh, I.."

"And if that status changes from 'degraded' to 'failed', the machine that sends a pulse to all our toilet smell dispensers to spray freshener will go offline?"

"I didn't even know we had a machine which sent a pu.."

"And if it goes offline our bathrooms will start to resemble a cross between the cargo hold of a French fishing vessel and a composting facility?"

"I hardly think th.."

"And people might start going to the toilet across the road! What's that loss of productivity going costing us? And what about if our neighbours get sick of us using their toilets and lock them and one our staff gets run down on the way back from a street dump in a convenient alleyway? What if it was our dispatch scheduler? No one would get the deliveries!"

"I think you're looking at extremes now," the Boss burbles.

"How many customers are in our database?" I ask the PFY.

">tappity< There are 213,164 people in our database - going back to 1982," the PFY says.

"Some of them won't be customers any more," the Boss counters.

"But they may come back in the future because of our legendary dispatching service!" I say. "Little knowing that Graham the dispatcher is now a poo-smelling smear in the middle of the road because he forgot to take your latest memo with him."

"Half of those old customers are probably dead!" the Boss shoots back.

"And their relatives still remember the stories about how good our deliveries were," I say. "Maybe they're planning a huge order because of the goodwill we've built up over the years. What's the average customer spend with us?"

"Ah.... >tappity< 73 quid," the PFY replies.

"Times the number of customers?"

">tap< >tappity< 15 million, 560 thousand, 972 quid," the PFY says

"This meeting alone has potentially cost the company 15 and a half million quid," I state.

"That's just ridiculous!"

"Is it? I've not even factored in the cost of us being fined for all the street dumping."

"Or the injuries to people who slip in the street dumps," the PFY says.

"All because you want to adopt a plan to increase a software developer's stranglehold on our technology?"

"I think security is a valid issue."

"And we need to protect ourselves with new technology?"

"Yes - because old tech is an attack vector."

"So we should... disable legacy tech to make us all safer?"

"YES, THAT'S THE POINT!" he snaps.

"Leave it to me!"

... The next day ...

"Uh... the toilet doors seem to be locked and Security doesn't know why!" the Boss says.

"Oh, we denied access to the toilets - because of the old tech issue."

"You what now?"

"Well we looked at the whole security thing and it turns out that our toilets are old, and the floors are slippery so we've discontinued using them. For security. But we do have a toilet replacement policy." I say, handing over a plastic bag. "Now you might want to line that with paper for when you take it home."

"Take it home?!"

"Well, you could use our new subscription based service which is a far more secure toiletry experience using newer technology."

"What newer technology?"

"Well, faecal recognition software for door access."

"You mean facial recognition."

"No faecal. It examines your droppings to determine whether you have a valid subscription or not - which in turn determines whether it lets you exit or not. It's the ultimate in biometrics. You can fake a fingerprint but faking the old brownware is a lot harder."

"Subscription? We don't pay for toilet use," the Boss says.

"You didn't pay for toilet use. Obviously it means an ongoing revenue stream that you'll have to pay the new waste management company for, but, you know, new technology, Security. Et cetera."

"What?!" the Boss says, shaking his head. "What about our old toilets?!"

"Oh, we've discontinued support for them - so, you know: no paper, no soap."

"No water," the PFY adds.

I feel safer already.

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