back to article BOFH: Every silver lining has a cloud

"Code Magenta," the PFY mumbles quietly as he wanders past me on the way to Mission Control. "Code Magenta!" the Director's PA repeats in hushed tones, unable to keep her nose out of things that don’t concern her – "What does that mean?" "It's a systems code about operational availability," I lie. "We have various codes …


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  1. nichomach
    Thumb Up

    Take that... smug cloudy-woudy bastards! Bravo, Simon, excellent work!

  2. Martyn 4


    Good as ever. I needed that to get through the rest of the day.

  3. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Thumb Up


    is a warm 100 watt soldering iron.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      I prefer

      the miniature blow-torches micro-flame makes, but a 100W soldering iron will do

      Flames, because, well, that's what a microflame produces

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Excellent Stuff.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Oh yes ......

    ...Simon is back on the top of his game.

  6. Steve X

    hole punch & 100w soldering iron

    Brought tears to my eyes, that did.

    And coffee to my keyboard.

  7. Bitman
    Thumb Up


    I love the sound of >kzzertt< in the morning!

  8. sandman

    A happy dream

    With apologies to anyone who has to go and sell stuff, but I have sometimes dreamed of treating vendor sales people in a similar manner. The time it took to convince the CEO that the latest shiny is not compatible/has enormous hidden implementation costs/doesn't fulfil the requirements in any way, etc, is time I'l never get back.

  9. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik


    Systems is NEVER kept in the basement. It's usually the first or second floor. So that people can worry about all the excessive UPS systems coming crashing on them all the time...

    1. Nigel 11

      Yes, never.

      It's a bad idea for your systems to be anywhere that might get submerged in what might euphemistically be called water under the influence of nothing more than gravity.

      There's a BOfH to be written in which a competitor's subterranean datacentre gets cross-connected with a six-foot main sewer, at the same time that all of the blast-proof security doors mysteriously slam shut. Or something like that.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember

      Someone ought to mention that to our Network team then. Although I had to laugh at the thought of their on-call bod trying to string power cables above the inch of water from the burst water main that had already claimed their floor-mounted UPS units...

      1. Nigel 11

        TRue BoFH territory

        "the inch of water from the burst water main that had already claimed their floor-mounted UPS units..."

        I wonder, did the on-call bod have enough of a clue to make absolutely sure that the *uninterruptible* power supply had indeed managed to interrupt itself in this circumstance?

        Splish. Splash. Kzeeert, as the ripples reach the UPS "on" button height and convince the thing to make one last heroic effort at uninterruptibility.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          water not good

          Reminds me of the time when I was called over on a Saturday when our -basement- demo center was apparently flooded when some numb nuts left a fire hose open.

          There was about 30cm of water standing under our raised floor (we're talking about 20 rows of racks with 10 racks in each row, all live). Since power was fed into the racks from the ceiling there was no immediate shorting danger I had to warn off anyone trying to turn off any hardware, because when you turn it off, they cool down and it has the nasty tendency to condense water on the vital components. Took us the rest of the day and night to get the water out....

  10. <shakes head>

    one of the better ones

    Nice to see a bit of classic BOFH, i did wonder if he was going soft. Not enough death and maiming.

  11. Tim Greenwood

    Note to self

    Don't read BOFH whilst eating a pot of yoghurt.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    One Day...

    These must be the same sales guys that convinced our business managers that their staff management software was worth M£1 when in actual fact the business users were quite happy with spreadsheet to work out rosters or better still a diary.

  13. Chris007


    'nuff said

  14. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Take your damn' title and shove it. Sideways.

    "performing my own testicular surgery with a hole punch and a 100watt soldering iron"

    Megacoffeesplurge moment - and that's coming from someone with a 4" vasectomy scar (Long story which will cost at least a pint)

    1. neb


      around perchance?

    2. maclovinz



  15. Ryan 7
    Thumb Up

    Oooh yes

    Back on form :¬)

  16. Charlie van Becelaere
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Ah. Nice way to start my Friday. Well done, Simon, well done.

  17. Dave P 1


    An order has been placed for the 100 watt iron. Obviously the 25 & 45 watt irons I have will not do.

    Hole punches: check!

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Treat yourself!!

      Have a stapling gun as well

      1. LaeMing


        It just isn't a self-administered home vasectomy without a staple gun.


  18. bugalugs


    " 10 quid says that you've got a bunch of old tin in the basement that's just crapped itself and that your assistant is trying to kick back into life before someone realises.""No, nothing like that at all."

    call BoFH

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I wish...

    No, wait... If I wished for greater BOFH productivity, I'm sure arrangements could me be made for a cattle-prod operative to visit my home, even though I am hidden away in the tropics...

  20. Cantab
    Thumb Up

    Requiring all my willpower...

    ...not to burst out in hysterics in the middle of the library. Definitely a classic!

  21. C 2

    'The Cloud' isn't all its cracked up to be

    .. you only have to read the news to know that.

    I'm starting to wonder if the BOFH has developed some way to systematically deal with the bodies and the things they leave behind, like cars and so forth. Kind like the movie 'Arsenic and Old Lace'. Note, not all BOFHs are in IT nor are they all guys.

    Cheers to sales force reduction! .. preferably via >kzzertt!<

    1. Anonymous Coward

      quicklime, I think.

      I seem to remember this from a very old episode.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Cloud Mastery for Reign *

      "'The Cloud' isn't all its cracked up to be ........ you only have to read the news to know that." .... C 2 Posted Friday 13th May 2011 16:55 GMT

      You're reading the wrong news, C 2.

      * A little something for PO Box 1300, London SE1 1BD?

      [Quantum Communications BetaTest #XSSXXXX1105150435]

      A little phish, El Reg, which probes Intelligence for Future IT Fitness in the Live Operational Virtual Environments of Global Operating Devices.

      1. M Gale


        Oh you silly Martian, you.

        I still think you're like, some kind of Culture ship Mind that's gone a bit eccentric and is having fun with obscure Terran tech mags. Or maybe I've been binging on Iain M Banks books a bit too much.

  22. Gnoitall

    @Dave P 1 re: Soldering Irons

    Actually, I recommend a lower-wattage iron, since their operating temp is lower. Poorer cauterization, less nerve damage (so your...patient.... gets more of the full experience before the nerves die).

    1. Black Betty

      The "pain" of testicular surgery is for life.

      The opportunuties to perform it on the truly deserving are too rare to waste on dicking around with artistry. Just get it right.

  23. maclovinz


    A bit hung over....but....


  24. Why Not?
    Thumb Up

    This could run and run (hopefully)

    Simon thank-you for brightening my day.

    <PHB>Now why don't you do it more often? </PHB>

    Hoping to see more clouds in future the salesman strikes me as a 'player'.

  25. J 3
    Paris Hilton


    "Well I assume it's a pen he's fumbling around furiously in his trouser pocket for."

    Great line, gotta remember that... :-)

  26. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    End of the day

    ... for me. Had to do 'productive' things today but reading this has put everything beautifully back into perspective.

    Love the sound of a sizzling cattle prod and the smell of burning flesh!

  27. Dave Lawton

    Back on form

    Brought tears to my eyes, glad I'd put the coffee down before reading.

    Simon, More, please More

  28. The Gopher
    Thumb Up


    Once again, classic. 100w soldering iron, a hole punch and about 5 pints of say hmm absinthe, enough to numb the pain but not enough so you screw it up.

    I think I know what will be next a special document room, where all the documents are kept and you can only read them in there.. air tight box, and why is that cattleprod there? Oh here is why "bzzzzzzzzzzztt".... < door slams shut> oh and no mobile signal either..

  29. Anonymous Coward

    ah for a roll of carpet in the back of the van

    'nuff said.

  30. jon 72

    Brilliant Antex


    It may seem like a good idea at the time but

    never stir your cold coffee with a soldering iron.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Or try to catch it

      when it falls

  31. Duster

    You mean something like this?

  32. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    ...Rentum, osculum, tormentum, a decade twice over a day

    Nice Warlock reference in the byline there, shows how old you are (and I am)...

    Now that's more like the BOFH I've come to know and love. The kind that has colleagues knocking on my office door asking if I'm OK, in response to the maniacal laughter issuing from herein.

    ">Kzzzzeert< >Kzert< >thud< >thud<", has me in stitches and my colleagues looking worried. Great work Simon!

  33. Simon B

    Ahhhh, I've missed this :)

    Ahhhh, I've missed this. Had me smiling very early on, an excellent peice of writing :)

  34. Manjari

    Welcome back :)

    Good one after a long long time!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last Friday was my birthday ...

    so didn't sign in. This was a great late birthday present.

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