back to article BOFH: Risky business

"All I'm saying," I say, trying not to lose my rag, "is that you don't have to keep all your email messages in their entirety." "Yes, but I need my email as a record," the PR droid burbles. "That may be, but you don't need a record of the 50 messages between you and the woman from the office across the road saying 'what do …


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  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    ..... Doing Mothers Proud, SMART Children who Listen and Learn

    Real Cool Dude :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward


    That one was particularly excellent, it's been a while hasn't it? Good to see BOFH back on form.

  3. Zebidee



    Mines the one with the 'should do better' sign on the back.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And that's why...

    I'm about to be no longer a project manager.

    Here's a clue: when the paperwork takes longer than the implementation, it's probably not a project.

    The one with 'so you want to build an airport' in the pocket, thanks.

  5. DaWolf
    Thumb Up

    great stuff

    "Implementation plan: Click the mouse button on the ON radio button then click OK. Contingency plan: Click the mouse button on the OFF checkbox and Click on OK"

    well played!

  6. Huey

    The Originals

    Just at the start of that I'd thought we were going back to episode 1 (I wasn't sure but in true geek style I had to check)....

    "Well, let's see, you have 4 Meg available"

    "Wow! Eight Meg in total, thanks!" he says, pleased with his bargaining power

    "No" I interrupt, savouring this like a fine red at room temperature, with steak, extra rare, to follow; "4 Meg in total.."

    "Huh? I'd used 4 Meg already, How could I have 4 Meg Available?"

    I say nothing. It'll come to him.

    Thanks for the Friday giggles Simon keep em coming!!!!

  7. BigglesZX
    Thumb Up


    Bloody brilliant, as always.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Jason 24
    Thumb Up

    Most excellent...


  10. Ron1
    Thumb Up

    Ah, the Friday BOFH fix...

    ...sadly not every Friday...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me...

    ... of pretty much every project manager I've had the misfortune to work with over the last 15 years...

    ... anon just in case any of them are reading this...

  12. mark 63 Silver badge


    great episode, from the "i need my emails" throught to the "fighting back the nasea"

  13. Anonymous Coward

    If only it weren't true...

    "Bear in mind that these are the sorts of people whose sense of achievement is measured in reams of paper and time wasted" - it would be funnier if it didn't sound so much like real life...

    Beer, because it's Friday and we all need one (or ten) after dealing with project paperwork...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Admin overheads: it's funny because it's true.

    Although my strategy involves amiability, apparent openness/receptiveness to HR's concerns, and complete agreement with their requests for more form-filling.

    Those requests are then promptly ignored, until such time as even HR have forgotten what they were asking me for: such is the price of paperwork.

  15. Craig 28

    Got to ask

    What was the contingency plan for banging on the door? And what was risk 3 and its contingency plan? I'm guessing just ignoring it would work for the banging but still, I'm curious.

    1. Z 1


      Plan 3 probably involves an overcharged cattleprod, black plastic bags and shovels

      1. Dex


        .....forgot the quicklime!

    2. mittfh

      Contingency plan?

      Well, she's locked in a plant room. There's plenty of kit there that could "accidentally" go wrong. It's underground, so there's presumably some form of ventilation system, which could "accidentally" break down. In either case, asphyxiation would soon reduce / eliminate the door banging...

      1. Trevor 7

        re: Contingency plan?

        Try electrocution from exposed wires going to the lights illegally taping into the mains on the provider's side of the meter. After all the sort of person growing their own drugs didn't want the company spotting their personal little "project".

  16. Z 1

    Bloody brilliant

    Spot and a nice reflection on reality. I hate bureaucratic PMs nosing in when you want to change something that involves clicking one button.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    needed that...a bit surprized there was not a single kerZAPPPPP in the whole thing.

  18. Il Midga di Macaroni

    BOFH is back!

    The Dynamic Duo have returned. The BOFH is none the worse for having been dead for a few episodes, and the PFY is none the worse for having been given the poisoned chalice.

    Individually, they can do each other an incredible amount of harm. Together, they can not only wage a holy (and successful) war against the bureaucracy, but cover each other's tails too.

    Simon, just in case you're still sober enough to drink it after all the other readers have said this, have a beer on me.

    Come to think of it, I'll have one myself too.

  19. ShadowDragon8685

    They're back. ^_^

    It's good to see the Bastard is back and up to his usual stuffl with the PFY at his side, as is proper. Knight and Squire, riding forth and kicking ass, taking names and chewing bubblegum - but they're all out of gum and notepaper.

  20. Adam West

    Never fails

    I only read BOFH to read the comments section, so I can see some idiot post the words "back on form" every time a new episode is delivered. It's like a rock of stupidity in a sea of otherwise mundane posts.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Never fails

      Yes. It's just like the responses to Woody Allen's film output over the last decade or so.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re Woody Allen's output

        Right, but the hugh difference is our BOFH is excellent entertainment!

      2. Rob

        Well said...

        ... bloody Woody Allen....Grrrrrr

  21. ben 29

    Create a new account here

    Yup Beer is called for - that was a BOFH to warm the cockles of a rather cynical heart.

  22. nichomach
    Thumb Up


    Well done, Simon!

  23. neil 15

    Keeping emails

    Reminds me of going into the QA managers office at a client a few years ago and asking what all the box files that covered every bit of wall space contained. The bloke had printed out each and every email he had sent or received. Apparently he 'needed' a hard copy.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    get your prioritys right!!!

    what are the F##### winning lottery numbers!!!

    pint all round down the pub if we win :)

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Better idea...

    ... of BOFH's than mine which was to stuff all of the project paperwork into every available orifice of the Project Bod and watch them slowly drown in risks, contingencies and flippin critial paths.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Every oriface

      That's about the most exciting use I have ever heard of for those hell-damned pieces of paper.

      Does that count as extreme pr0n? Thumbs UP, 'natch.

  26. Ty Cobb

    @Adam West AKA Batman

    Never fails, someone whinges about the comments or the BOFH episode

  27. Hnelson

    An A for effort, an A+ for creativity

    There's a special level of hell for users that abuse mail stores. Those that used up too much mail store were tortured with not being able to send/receive email until such time as they migrated their mail off the server. I'm ROFL on this subject because the entertainment it's provided me over the years of torturing upper management over excessive email storage.

    I'd have to go with the bullhorn, because there are times one needs it to let the users know that they're pulling a boner and need some instruction.

  28. Don Rickert

    Dear Simon...

    ...thank you.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ah Friday

    Day is half done, new BOFH and oh look.... It's beer-O-clock. I like these kinds of Friday's :-).

  30. Kit-Fox

    All those corpses

    As the title suggests all these corpses & dead bodies following simon & the PFY aroudn must be pretty numerous, considering the amount of people locked in tape safes, random rooms etc.

    I do so hope they have a contingency plan for the incoming zombie apocalypse? Come on Simon, we need to know, how will you deal with the zombie hordes of your victims?

  31. Rick Giles
    Gates Horns

    *Shudder* To much like real life

    The bit about the email is to much like what I have to deal with on an almost daily basis. No, you don't need the email from 1998 with a 4 MB attachment in it for a procedure / policy the company no longer uses. Save the fraking document to the file server and delete the email. And don't put it in a PST file either because we aren't going to worry about it when you get a new PC or lose your HDD.

  32. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Late to the party

    I actually had to do some work on Friday so missed this till just now.

    But it was worth the wait .

  33. JS808

    Wow that struck a nerve - or two

    Overpromoted bureaucrat with the authority to waste way too much of the company's time and money on marginal-to-useless paperwork?

    Story of my company nemesis.

    Bonus 1: she's not only weighs in on "projects", she's also a beancounter

    Bonus 2: she's 9 friggin months behind on her accounting, yet she still somehow finds time to whine to everyone about large amounts of non-accounting-based paperwork

    Bonus 3: she spends so much time on the phone talking to employees, yet asks everyone else to make more important calls to other companies/accounts "because she doesn't have time to do it"

    Bonus 4: she's friends with the CEO (for some unexplained reason) so the chances of her leaving before retirement are pretty much zero

    Grenade, because that's the least she deserves

  34. pw

    Usual exchange grumbles

    "Don't use more than 100mb" idiots complaining because their mail servers are so terrible. In the real world, microsoft, google, etc, will happilly give you gigabytes of email space for free. Amazon will sell it to you at 15cents/gb.

    Whether I need 3gb of email is irrelevant, filtering out the stuff which is now no longer relevant costs time, that time is worth a hell of a lot more than 50 cents per month.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Typical clueless user

      Storage is *not* the only parameter that determines mailstore size.

      For example, a top of the line mail server still has to deal with the speed of backups and restoration as the bottleneck. Larger mail systems with lots of databases take a long time to backup/restore, and if they're too big then if something goes wrong you need to wait longer before your email becomes available (see: SLA agreement), which may *also* cost you time and money. Then there's mailbox performance which degrades based on the size of the mailbox (well technically the number of items in the mailbox), and unless you actually like slow-responding email then there should be limits.

      So your mailbox size is relevant despite your wonderful analysis on the price/GB of storage space on amazon.

      (not that I approve of 100 MB mailboxes in 2010 that's pretty small)

      PS: Google/Microsoft etc are rich, have great/expensive infrastructure and are making money off the data they collect from you so they can offer a few gigs for free

  35. tony trolle

    sadly sounded a bit like me

    New Lotus notes system 100 shift tech support staff no fixed desk, just kept some useful emails each. oh we used up our department allocation in 5 weeks. Well haft the team never logged in and the allocation was way,way too small.

    So we lost our emails, after that about 80% stopped logging in.

    It was another straw, I just gave up and quit.

  36. Mips
    Jobs Horns

    If only ... was as simple as that.

  37. rpics

    disposing of her..

    by locking her in that room leaves me somewhat, unfulfilled...

    In the old days the bofh would have had fun first. Perhaps by searching her email for references to 'dating, home video, personal photos' etc and sending the contents to various key people, from her account of course.

    People like her need to be tortured before being disposed of..

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Double hit

    "...the projects office is pretty much staffed by those people who couldn't get into the workplace safety industry because they're too petty."

    Absolutely brilliant. I do appreciate the useful aspects of both workplace safety and planning/recordkeeping for large projects, but the unusually high proportion of whiny, nitpicking, hair-splitting, hyperventilating pettifoggers in both areas is astounding.

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