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.
Cover of PUBG game with the PFY's head (complete with headset) superimposed on hero's shoulders

BOFH: Turn your server rack hotspot to a server rack notspot

Episode 3 BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns It's late on Friday afternoon and I’m having a couple of quiet beers with one of the local salesdroids. Ordinarily the only reason I’d do this is that (a) they’re paying and (b) there’s a tube station relatively near that has extremely poor CCTV coverage. It usually starts with me …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Feb 2018
open window in an office building... just the right size for a person to fall out

BOFH: We want you to know you have our full support

Episode 2 BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns "NGGGGAAARRRGGGHHH!" the PFY says, slamming his mouse onto the desk several times. "Problems?" I ask. "Yes, I'm trying to get pre-sales support for a product but I'm just going round and round in the website which sends me to a Virtual Agent that can only interpret my question in …

BOFH: Buttock And Departmental Defence ... As A Service

Episode 1 BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns The PFY is feeling a little unappreciated. APPARENTLY I’m not supporting him in his role very well and he feels a bit like a scapegoat. Apparently. Not that he’s mentioned it but the Boss’s PA, Rita, has been giving me a rundown on office gossip that she picked up from the smoking …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Jan 2018
 builder installs window latch

BOFH: The trouble with, er, windows installs

Episode 16 BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns "What you're looking for is plausible deniability," I say to the Boss. "I don't know what you mean." "Well you know the rule about hanging up on someone?" "No." "Always hang up when YOU'RE talking, never when they're talking." "They'll hear the handset going down." "Only if you' …
Simon Travaglia, 24 Nov 2017
Belt with antique looking cellphone strapped to it in a brass pouch

BOFH: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

Episode 15 BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns “I don’t know what to say,” the Boss says, looking confused. “It’s OK, there’s nothing to say,” I reply. “It happens every year – you’ve just not been here long enough to know.” The Boss has a dilemma. A pair of our main virtual hosts has some interoperation hardware issue which is …
Simon Travaglia, 10 Nov 2017
Tea mug wth buttered toast on a plate

BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

Episode 14 BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns There's trouble in the state of Mission Control. It has come to the attention of the Director that the PFY and I occupy a slice of priceless real estate complete with six full-height pivoting windows opening out to one of the few views which doesn't have a vast expanse of another …
Simon Travaglia, 27 Oct 2017
Man gets tie stuck in paper shredder...

BOFH: Oh dear. Did someone get lost on the Audit Trail?

Episode 13 So I'm walking down the corridor from Mission Control with about a ream of financial paperwork when I notice the Boss coming the other way with the IT Director in tow - never a good sign. I quickly slip down a side corridor towards the lifts but not so quickly that the Boss doesn't see me going. I get to the lifts just as the …
Simon Travaglia, 13 Oct 2017
Man and robot...

BOFH: Come on, PFY, let's pick a Boss

Episode 12 "I don't think your reviews are overly helpful," the Director sulks. "What do you mean? We read the resumes, attended the interviews; we asked some questions!" "I'm referring to your comments on the candidates." "Which ones?" I ask. "All of them!" It's appointments time again and we're looking for a new Boss after the last …
Simon Travaglia, 29 Sep 2017
Tea with biscuits.

BOFH: We're only here because they said there would be biscuits

Episode 11 "We just DID this!" the PFY snaps - before I can beat him to it. "Yes, but there have been significant changes to the company since then and these need to be reflected in the company branding, the logo, our mission statement and the website," the Director says. "There's going to be a meeting about this, isn't there?" I sigh …
Simon Travaglia, 15 Sep 2017

BOFH: Oh go on. Strap me to your Hell Desk, PFY

Episode 10 "So what do you think?" the Boss asks. "You've had more experience than me at this." "Hypochondria?" I say "Yes, I suppose you're right." "There's nothing hypochondriac about repetitive strain injuries!" the Boss snaps. "You mean OOS," the PFY counters. "And of course there is. Have you ever noticed how over-represented …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Jul 2017
man in pain at workstation

BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Episode 9 "I wasn't built for user support, I know that now," I sigh. "I know," the PFY replies, without looking up from his game. "At one time I thought I could do it but now I know I'm asking too much of myself. I don't like lazy people, stupid people or whiny people." "I know." "I can't stand tinkerers, tweakers, or people who …

BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Episode 8 I never cease to be amazed by the seemingly endless possibilities for forming a committee to not do something. It's as though whenever there's a critical mass of deadwood in one room they'll end up creating a committee to legitimise themselves, make some decisions to address the ills of whatever they've talked about, issue …
Simon Travaglia, 23 Jun 2017
Man with bun sucks on vape. Photo by shutterstock

BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

Episode 7 "Simon, Steven – a word?" the Boss burbles warmly. "What's up?" the PFY answers warily. "Nothing - just having an interesting conversation with a bloke from an outfit that deals with infrastructure obsolescence, code debt and I.T. asset leveraging." "Ah yes, I thought I felt a disturbance in the force," the PFY nods. "Come …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Jun 2017
James has entered the bastardly matrix. Illustrations from SStock, text from The Reg

BOFH: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back

Episode 6 "Ok James, I think it's time we released you into the wild," I say. "What?!" James gasps, no doubt thinking window, brief scream, distant thud, car alarm. "Into the wild," The PFY says. "We can teach you no more. From now on it's all practical experience." "What?" "We've found you a job, faked some credentials and you have …
Simon Travaglia, 28 Apr 2017

BOFH: Defenestration, a solution to Solutions To Problems We Don't Have

Episode 5 "The thing is," I explain to James, "the vast majority of management bright ideas aren't – they're just stuff which keeps the Boss occupied till lunchtime firing off urgent emails about problems we don't have." "Then after lunch he'll send maybe three or four more emails," the PFY adds, "at least two of which will want updates …

BOFH: The Boss, the floppy and the work 'experience'

Episode 4 "Ah! Simon, Steven - this is James," the Boss burbles, pushing a young lad forward like a ritual sacrifice candidate. "James is doing a 2 week placement with us as part of his further studies." "James!" I say, holding out my hand. "James is here to make some modifications to the software that imports people into our security …
Simon Travaglia, 31 Mar 2017
It's beer o clock for sysadmins. Photo by SHutterstock

BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Episode 3 Backups. Backups Backups Backups. Backups Backups Backups Backups Backups. What more can I say? "So do you have a backup of that?" the Boss asks. "No." "We don't back up your laptop." "But you told me you back up everything?" "Everything on the server, yes." "YOU SAID you backed up everything but desktop machines." " …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Mar 2017
Man with clipboard, hardhat and concerned expression next to a pressure gauge in an industrial setting. Pic by Shutterstock

BOFH: Elf of Safety? Orc of Admin. Pleased to meet you

Episode 2 There's a small-scale war going on between me, the PFY and the folk in Health and Safety. Now your normal, run-of-the-mill person would rather perform a root canal on themselves with a hammer action drill than take on a Health and Safety role in any organisation. The position itself has all the prestige of an unflushed turd …
Simon Travaglia, 24 Feb 2017
shouting at laptop 2 via shutterstock.jpg

BOFH: Password HELL. For you, mate, not for me

Episode 1 "Okay, I'll just need your username and password to verify this," the customer rep tells me. "You know my username." I respond "I just told you." "Yes, but we need to verify that you have access to your account." "I told you the answer to my secret phrase question." "The secret phrase is only used to verify your identity, …
Scientist says nope. Photo by SHutterstock

BOFH: The Hypochondriac Boss and the non-random sample

Episode 14 "It's called Selection Bias," I say to the Boss. "What do you mean?" "I mean they're cherry-picking research that supports their opinion." "How?" "Okay, so say I think that playing first person shooter games gives you migraines." "It does," the Boss says. "No it doesn't," the PFY says. "It does - I get them every time I …
Simon Travaglia, 25 Nov 2016
Man with YOLO tattooed on his knuckles prepares to punch the viewer (of the pic). Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

Episode 13 "So I just need a bit of help with the O.I.A.A.P." the new Boss blurts, bowling into Mission Control with a folder tucked under his arm. ... "The Overarching Information And Architecture Project," the Boss says, too green to know whether our blank expressions are genuine or whether we're being obstructive. "You know you're …

BOFH: There are no wrong answers, just wrong questions. Mmm, really wrong ones

Episode 12 "Look, all we want you to do is take this simple test which will tell us your personality type and the things you respond to," the Boss burbles. "Angry, and Free Beer!" the PFY chips, strolling into the conversation. "Oh good, I was hoping to catch you," the Boss says, turning to the PFY after a fruitless 10 minutes trying to …
Simon Travaglia, 30 Sep 2016
PRIVATE investigator on the phone, smoking a cigar, looks around suspiciously. Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: The case of the suspicious red icon

Episode 11 So I'm in the office by myself while the PFY is out doing... something... I guess... when one of our atypical difficult users comes in. "Just one question," he starts, interrupting the thought I started when he walked in on potential loopholes in the gun laws. "My browser has an icon which is red." "What's the icon?" I ask, …
Simon Travaglia, 16 Sep 2016
Command line icon

End of life for Linux 3.14

Version 3.14 of the Linux kernel is no longer being supported. Kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman took to the Linux Kernel Mailing List with the following: NOTE - the 3.14.y kernel series is now end-of-life. It will not be receiving any more updates and should no longer be used at all. Please use 4.4 if you want a LTS …
Simon Travaglia, 12 Sep 2016
Two beer glasses clash and splash frothy beer into the air. Cheers! Photo by Shutterstock

BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Episode 10 "I TOLD you, I HATE working on printers!" I seethe at the Boss. "It's just a bit of configuration," he wheedles, trying to make me feel better. "It's not a bit of bloody configuration, it's translation - from IT into printer manufacturer speak." The Boss is in a pickle. The printer company cretin came crawling around and …
Simon Travaglia, 22 Jul 2016

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