back to article BOFH: Skip diplomacy

"Hurry up and get the door open!" I gasp as the PFY fumbles with his swipe card at the back door of the building. "Ok, ok," the PFY whispers back. "I'm working as fast as I can! >swip< Got it!" >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >click< "Right, I'll hold the door, you pick up that lot." "Okay," the PFY says, hefting up a bunch …


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  1. PC Paul

    Non-whiteboard markers

    That poor active whiteboard could have been saved if only they knew the secret..

    ...draw solidly over the permanent pen with a normal whiteboard marker, leave a few minutes, then rub off. You may need to do it a few times. Always works for me.

  2. Graham

    Sheer genius

    Must've been one hell of a big skip though!

  3. Andrew Moore

    Brilliant as usual

    'his encounter with the dentist from Marathon Man'

    "Is it safe?"

  4. amanfromMars Silver badge

    AI Hot XXXXLine ......Dr Livingston, Eureka

    I Presume Be Prepared seems a Good Motto, Kemo Sabe. Right Pukka Royal to IT ITself ....... for Progression of Programming at Virtual Levels with AI Pragmatic Operation of Reality Networks.

    Mother Feeds/Virgin Source...... which appears to Be an Amalgamated Effort in AI ControlLed Psychotic Episode.

    A Touch of Best of Class Turing Magic?

    Does the Man/Machine Interface Taunt or dDaunt You or does IT Simply Pass By as an XXXXPerience never Savoured?

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Pimping up the Volume

    Skip diplomacy, install meritocracy?

  6. Dan


    lol having all done "extra fun" ITIL training this week in our office, I can truly appreciate the reference to ITIL manuals lol And most of us struggling to stay awake in the training really drives it home =)

  7. Michael Sheils


    Well done with how you dealt with the PFY's reprogramming.

    And camaraderie is highly overated.

  8. Mike Smith
    Paris Hilton

    Rang a bell!

    That took me back to the collapse of the Accident Group.

    Remember them? The "where there's blame, there's a claim" crowd. Aye, and where's there was a claim there was a thieving gitbag looting his company while crying poverty to avoid paying our National Insurance contributions.

    When the crash came, the IT department was looted in a manner that made the US entry into Baghdad look like a couple of kids nicking sweets from the corner shop. Laptops, mobile phones, desktops, flat screen monitors, you name it. It all went. In about twenty minutes. Security stood sternly at the front desk, clipboards poised, ready to nab any tea leaves, while the loading bay saw a steady exodus of soon-to-be ex-staff all carrying bulging swag bags.

    We had a pretty fair library as well. Just before we were finally kicked out of the building, I had a scout round. Apart from the usual suspects - One Minute Manager and the like - guess what remained on the shelves? Yup, loads of ITIL material. No-one even wanted to use it as ammo to throw at the directors.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    When's BOFH gonna toast Paris

    'Nuff Said

  10. andy rock

    @ PC Paul

    how on earth did you find _that_ out!?

    please tell me you got that from Anthea Turner's 'Perfect Housewife' TV show and not trial and error! :-)

  11. Michael Born
    Dead Vulture

    And the fun keeps on comming...

    I gotta say another outstanding episode for the BOFH!

    To be honest, I can think of most of the companies I support having to use the 'Skip' mentality when it comes to their IT kit, especially printers, as I have to deal with them day-today!

    When it comes to camaraderie, most of my 'colleagues' are worthy of my having some fun with their eye-lashes, a tube of super glue, a wheelie chair and a multi-story car park!!!

    I think I may have to start siem radical re-programming of my own - Keep 'em coming Simon!!!

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge


    "And camaraderie is highly overated." ... high love rated? Nice, although comrades all know that themselves.

    Yes, I'm sure it is and can be in a passing instructional phase/encounter. AI Fond of Memory Driving Source.

    Real Heavy MetAI, Mr Shiels. Titan Rain and Venus Shower Reining at their Reigns? A Change of Drivers will Change Focus and Direction. The Same Driver will Bond them though in Future Immaculate Services Hosting too.

  13. Guy
    Thumb Up

    RE: Non-Whiteboard Markers

    I can confirm that technique, been using it for years, very effective.

    I want to know where that skip is, I could make a fortune flogging that rubbish on E-Bay.

  14. Guy

    Just messing with these icon things

    Phwoarrrr!!! Look at the icons on that!

    Hey El Reg, Nice Icons you've got going here....

    I'm torn now though, should I get my coat or iHate (To start a flame war?)

    It's Friday, I'll play nice.

  15. Brendan Sullivan
    Thumb Up


    So many times I could have used a skip like that. Like every time my boss got on me to clean up my 'office' (which was actually spares storage and hardware repair).

  16. Rob Smith
    IT Angle

    Skip like that...

    My wife claims that 'I' need a skip fro all the stuff that i savage from the office...

    Well if I did, I miight be able to get our cars in the garage

  17. Mark Nelson
    Thumb Up


    Why bother just do an office move and it all gets lost. Lots of fun buying new stuff.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first home PC

    Me: "New 386SXs? Wow! So what are we doing with the old 286s then?"

    Mate: "Bunging them in a skip."

    Me: "What skip? When?"

    Mate: "Oh, I see. How does at the back of Union House tonight at, ooh, 5:55pm sound?"

    Me: "See you later".

    At 5:55pm Mate puts an ICL PWS in the skip. I immediately remove it and put it in the boot of my car. Voila! Early recycling!

    It turned out I was the last of the team (I had 8 staff) to "obtain" a home PC in this way. I later found out my boss got the first one.

    (Hmm. Maybe I'll post anonymously for once.)

  19. Allan Dyer
    IT Angle

    @ andy rock

    I've been using that trick for years too. Independent discovery: bloody obvious, looked at whiteboard, thought, "I'll need some solvent to get that off, what's the nearest thing with solvent in it?"

  20. Gaius Baltar
    Jobs Horns


    Yet another fantastic BOFH angle and I'm sure an experience many of us have had, secretly dumping piles of kit into a skip late at night.

  21. A J Stiles
    Thumb Up

    More pen tips

    Another pen-related tip that always works for me:

    If you pick up a ballpoint pen and it won't write, despite obviously having plenty of ink in it, don't waste time making random scribbles. Just write a swear-word.

    For some reason, that gets them working every time.

  22. Bob H

    Skip fishing

    The broadcast industry has enjoyed extensive skip fishing for decades, many a spare room of broadcast engineers is filled with old and fascinating kit.

    Pay for mains distribution units for my home setup? No way!

    In fact I worked at a college where the phrase we said to our broadcast contacts was "well, if your throwing that out, remember there is a skip called <insert college name>". Some accounts departments get really fussy about it and WEEEEEE (however it is spelt) has really had an effect on donations.

    As for the smart boards, I've had them and they do suffer, even from real wipeboard pens.

  23. the Jim bloke

    Whiteboard markers

    can also confirm the whiteboard marker trick

    for a bit of a chuckle I used to swap the whiteboard markers for permanents before morning meetings somedays.

  24. Jerry

    This remeinds me of the laptop

    Written on with an Indelible sharpie! Loved that story, had to be about one of my middle management cookie cutter hose heads.

  25. Ed

    Whiteboard refreshing

    In addition to the whiteboard marker trick, which may take several applications in the face of an excessively zealous board cleaning crew (we had one board that was cleaned so well it virtually glowed white), there's another trick that'll work. Actually, 'trick' is the wrong word to use, because this is the real way to fix it...

    Whiteboard reconditioner is actually made to do this job. Now, it works best if it's used on a clean board, and if it's a really improperly cleaned board (such as our phosphorescent board mentioned above), it could take two coats. But it's generally a lot easier to use it than to use the marker trick, if you have an entire whiteboard which has a problem.

    Note that if it's just old whiteboard marks or indelible marks, whiteboard cleaner (basically, bottles of the solvent used in the whiteboard markers) tends to work much better than whiteboard reconditioner (which seems somewhat similar to the solvent used in the whiteboard markers with a fair amount of silicone liquid added.) Of course, this isn't a particularly bofhish solution.

    The bofhish solution is replacing all of the whiteboard markers with indelible markers, and relying on my secret stash of whiteboard cleaner and reconditioner to use the boards as intended...

  26. Alex Hawdon

    @ PC Paul, Guy and Jim Bloke...

    So you guys regularly accidentally damage an important communal resource in a fit of carelessness then manage to repair it with clever thinking / quick tricks before most people notice....

    Do you work in IT?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ...someone kill it... please!!!

  28. Richard

    Removing permanent marker

    Just use a can of deodorant, spray some on and the alcohol in it dissolves the ink, works on all materials not just whiteboards

  29. Peter Johnstone

    Easiest way to clean a whiteboard.

    I recall, when I was working for a newspaper, that some pleb had written on a whiteboard with a permanent marker. Another member of staff came up with a solution that was truly ingenious; he took the board down, turned it over and used the other side. Be warned you can only do this once!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does anybody here still remember SSA arrays? I'll give you £5 apiece!

  31. Scott
    Thumb Up

    Skips of Fun..

    Oh the skip for IT equipment. A few times cleared out the supply cupboard of out of date gear. First time we sent them to schools and they returned them asking us to make them work and install the the correct software onto them???....the second time we didn't make this mistake and threw all the old monitors, PC s and servers in a skip but to stop people jumping the fence and nicking them i was given a pair of goggles and a hammer...I spent all afternoon smashing all the gear up in the skip, the feelling of a hammer through a monitor is fun..

    "and no you can't have a go cause if you hurt yourself i'll get in trouble" was the response to the whole office as they slowly came out and asked to have a go at the demolition...

  32. Anonymous Coward

    I'll take my £5 please

    I don't just remember them, I still work with them on a regular basis. Several older IBM RS/6000s with SSA arrays. I actually decommissioned several recently. Took them out to the country and shot them up with shotguns for "Data Protection". Waiting to see the look on the IT Director's face when asked to approve my ammo purchase as a business expense.

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