back to article BOFH: Selling the boss on a crypto startup

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "So what's causing it?" the Boss asks, looking down at his screen. "No idea," I say. "Surely you have some idea?" "It's an intermittent problem. Intermittent problems are the hardest to diagnose." "Yes but you fixed it last time." "No, last time it was working when I arrived." "No, …


  1. Korev Silver badge

    "You're not proposing to murder someone just to stop spell-check defaulting to US English are you?!?!" the Boss splutters.

    Seems a bit lenient...

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Doesn't everybody just remove that dictionary entirely as a self preservation measure on new installs?

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Oh yes but software likes to be helpful so next time you start up it downloads the dictionary for you.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

          Indeed, the spirit of Clippy still resides deep in the code.

          1. Red Ted

            Ah, so "Deus ex machina" is the ghost of Clippy? That does explain a lot.

            1. steelpillow Silver badge

              "HI, it looks like you're selling off some dodgy crypto to your bosses. Can I help you with that?"

            2. trindflo Bronze badge

              I'd argue "Diabolus ex machina"

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        No because that will cause it to change all the printers to US Legal, a format so evil, even the US legal system doesn't use it anymore

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Is there a US illegal?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Yes. ISO A4 :-)

        2. VicMortimer

          I saw the first bit of it I'd seen in a few years the other day.

          Ford used it to send me a recall notice to let me know my car might roll away unexpectedly, and that they'll helpfully let me know at a later date when they have parts to be able to fix it.

    2. tezboyes

      If human sacrifice was a requirement of fixing that level of issue, well there wouldn't be anyone left alive for it to be an issue for ...

    3. Aussie Doc


      ...To be honest, I like the boss's way of thinking.

  2. bpfh Silver badge

    Just remember…

    When management get in on at the ground floor, there are 2… or maybe 3… floors below that. Especially when the operators run the lift control server. After all, the IT gods are unhappy, and random crashes and machinery failures do happen…

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Just remember…

      They sure do, especially that dodgy switch on the lift door that seems to detect when the assistant beancounter has come up with a bright idea for making more money that you just know the manglement will implement without thinking about it with the result theres a shed load more work and faffing about for the rest of us.

      And then you get the help call from one of the manglers saying the lift does'nt line up with the ground floor again and can you sort it.

      Few times up and down the shaft with it and it soon lines up and you learn to ignore next week's complaints about the funny smell thats come back again....

  3. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

    maybe a PC in the colored coloured pencil office

    That was rather subtle, I have to say I enjoyed that, good show!

    1. Jad

      I see things like that as signs of a mistake ... would have been better to have "coloured" set with a wiggly blue line underneath (suggesting US English dictionary spell-check)

      1. bpfh Silver badge

        Gaaaah “US English”

        There is just English. And American.

        1. johnck

          Re: Gaaaah “US English”

          I thought it was English and Simplified English

          1. tezboyes

            Re: Gaaaah “US English”

            Legacy English?

          2. Marshalltown

            Re: Gaaaah “US English”

            ". . . Simplified English . . ."

            Not really. Just simplified English speakers. Consider the hell of being in third grade, living in California, having relatives who spell "coloured" "colored" and others that spell it vice versa. You learn to use the dictionary very young, and argue with the teacher about spelling work as "labor" or "labour," and with the dictionary you prove to the teacher that both are accepted spellings. But the teacher doesn't like smart ass little nine year olds, and you spend more time writing sentences on the chalk board than any one else in history.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Gaaaah “US English”

              "and you spend more time writing sentences on the chalk board than any one else in history."

              Even more than Bart Simpson?

          3. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Gaaaah “US English”

            Full English for preference.

    2. Ol'Peculier

      Seems a slight dig at the Reg's style guide now specifying US spelling.

      Whatever, it made me snigger.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Does it? Or do the US authors use US English, and the UK ones use realUK English?

    3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      make your minds up... why use color instead of colour, or license instead of licence?

      Do you really need to be *that* different or subtle?

      Or do the Brits need to grow stiff upper lips and start using the bastardized versions instead?


      peace out, let's all go to ye olde pubbe and have a good time, no good will come from fighting amongst ourselves...

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Reminds me of the old joke: "What's serial?" - "Something the Brits have for breakfast."


        Make mine a bitter...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "What's serial?" - "Something the Brits have for breakfast."

          So who invented Corn Flakes? Or Kaptain Krunch?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            I prefer the term "discovered"... there's a natural order of breakfast consumables.

      2. ADC

        Pedant alert...

        Well someone has to...

        > ...or license instead of licence?

        These are different things, not spelling. Licence is the noun, license is the verb.

        Icon for the coming flame wars... --->

        1. GlenP Silver badge

          Re: Pedant alert...

          There's a restaurant in Llandudno that says "Licensed" on one side and "Licenced" on the other, obviously covering all bases.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Pedant alert...

            I'm surprised it hasn't burned down, with neither version being in Welsh...

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert...

              Nid wyf yn y swyddfa a hyn o bryd.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Pedant alert...


        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Pedant alert...

          Don't forget the Yankee version licenzed.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Pedant alert...

            What, not licensized?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert...

              That's the GW Bush version :-)

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Pedant alert...

                We were once set the task of transforming various words into different parts of speech. The only one my class partner and I couldn't work out was "idolise" - I guess we must have been tired, because we actually did know the answer, but what we put down on the answer sheet was "idoliseify", which has a nice ring to it all the same.

        3. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Pedant alert...

          Is it strange if some of us non-native users of English are confused?

          I “try” to stick to British conventions (as I worked there for five years, and consistency), but it can be effing hard.

          BTW, I think my spellchecker gives the option of English (Jamaica). Could be interesting.

      3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Big Brother

        > "Or do the Brits need to grow stiff upper lips and start using the bastardized versions instead?"


        1. dajames Silver badge


          Er, no, really not. Not according to Fowler

          Wikipedia link to entry for Fowler's Modern English Usage.

          I know most of us in Rightpondia like to spell everything that ends with an "-ise" sound with an 's' because it saves thinking, but when the ending is an "-ize" suffix to verb a noun-form it is a borrowing from Greek, in which it would have been spelt with a Zeta. The usual transliteration of Zeta into the English alphabet is 'Z'.

          The OED records both spellings, but prefers '-ize'.

      4. ukgnome

        it depends if you like the 14c or the 15c and if you care for classical correction.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Since the US didn't exist in either of those centuries, I think that perhaps the argument from that historical linguistic angle is rendered rather moot. Standardi[sz]ed spellings of things didn't really emerge until the arrival of mass literacy (in the 20th century in the UK, and still a work in progress in the US)

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Literacy is declining in the US. You don't need it in theocracies or corporate states or at state fairs.

      5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        In English licence/license, etc. have distinct meanings when written: "c" is the noun, "s" the verb. Yes, I know you can't hear the difference but that's the explanation. More details are available from the classicists.

        US English contains some deliberate abberations. Some of them good, some of them stupid: defense but fence. If we're going to use "z" surely, it should be "vizualize"? British English reintroduced French spelling for some words (colour, autumn, etc.) after US independence. Although it's been clear for hundreds of years that English spelling is illogical and inconsistent, it doesn't stop people from using this as an argument for more arbitrary changes.

        My biggest beef with US English is that it seems more susceptible to the bullshit coined in the various marketing departments. This often leads to unnecessary verbosity – creating nouns from verbs where nouns already exist – or confusing terseness as in the current fad for dropping prepositions from intranstitive verbs (protest this, appeal something, etc.).

        But language moves on and both countries are fortunately admirably resistant to prescriptive dictums such as those trying to force data as a plural on us.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          But language moves on and both countries are fortunately admirably resistant to prescriptive dictums such as those trying to force data as a plural on us.

          The "data/datum" argument is a bit of a subtle one. "Datum" is unambiguously talking about a single piece of data, however "data" as a singular mass noun kind-of makes sense as well (as in saying "this data" to mean "this mass of data", as opposed to "these data" to signify countable data, and "this datum" as a single one of them.)

          I short, it's because data is both the plural of a countable noun (datum) and the plural and singular of a mass noun. So "fewer data" and "less data" are both valid, but one means having fewer of the countable data (e.g. one less datum), and "less data" means less of it (e.g. 50% of the data is less than 60% of it, but 5 data are fewer than 6 of them).

          Confused? The English language is just getting started...

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Oh, I know the reasoning behind it and can counter it with "spaghetti" and "date/dates", which have the same etymology. In English, the collective noun "data" makes more sense giving us the option to be more specific when necessary. To persist with it is to pursue more pseudo-scientific linguistic meddling. I think I want a t-shirt with that on it!

            1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              "Spaghetti" and "date" have the same etymology? Man, you really do learn something new every day.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Medium and media have the same problem as datum/data.

            Worse, I have a book on XML Schema by an author (or maybe his editor) who obviously thought they were clever enough to know "schema" followed the same pattern and was a plural noun. It isn't. Schemas seems to have become acceptable as a plural alongside the original schemata. But the frequent use of "schemas are" sets my teeth on edge. Oh well, I don't need to read about XML very much these days.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Dammit. My fingers seem to want to refuse to type the book's annoying "schema are"! If that's what the downvote was for, you were quite correct.


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