back to article BOFH: Attack of the Global Corporate Overlords

"There's going to be a takeover!" the PFY gasps, crashing into Mission Control. "I thought you saw them off the premises," I reply, "although quite what you sawed off you never made clear. Thanks for that." "No, the company – it's being taken over!" "Really? Says who?" "Says everyone. It's all over the building!" …


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  1. cosymart

    New keyboard please!

    Lotus fucking Notes!!! Just love this, does anyone use this for real? Mind you the last I heard was that IBM consultants still used it.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Yes, people use it.

      We were recently take over by a large, US-based multinational. They use Notes, we use Exhange. We have been fighting since the takeover NOT to use the damn thing, and even harder since our Exchange licenses came up for renewal. Much as I hate MS, anything is better than Notes!

    2. Cow Parsley

      Lotus Notes...

      Oh yeh its still used and its absolute pants....A Certain Smug Consultancy use it....

      1. Annihilator

        @Cow Parsley

        "A Certain Smug Consultancy use it...."

        Although I'm sure you're hinting at one in specific, to be honest that could apply to all of them. Though the smugness should probably disappear if they're forced to use LN.

        1. Guus Leeuw

          Re: @Cow Parsley

          Certain Smug Consultancy: CSC... Jeez

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lotus f'ing notes

      Yep, we use it here, it is pants, but still better than outlook. Humph, I realy miss kmail.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Lotus F***** Notes!

      I hope our lovely central IT services read that. We got Notes foisted on us and as we dont have anything like a BOFH in central IT they accepted it. Three years latter they are doing a "fast track" review of the failures of the current mail and calendering system. If they give me the 250 grand they are coughing up for this review Ill tell em where the problem lies.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      More frequent than you know

      A certain large American university with an international presence is using Notes (at least some of their staff is) until this evening when they finally migrate to a modern solution.

    6. Richard 120

      Lotus Fucking Notes

      3 million users.

      Not one of them by choice.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        On the upside..

        .. you have absolutes that Outlook cannot produce. The reasons banks don't like the Redmond solution is not MS hate, it's because LN produces pretty solid message security and integrity. As security still appears to be a feature that you will only ever find at MS in a Powerpoint sales slide pack I can understand the hesitance.

        I'd much rather move straight to a groupware solution and skip the fight with Exchange :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fred Flintstone, you are correct...

          ... And the fact that malware doesn't execute in a preview screen like it would in a well-crafted Outlook message.


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Sounds familier

          Taken over by 'merkins - check

          Fucking Lotus Notes - check

          Taking weeks for them to do something we used to fix im minutes - check

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What wrong with Notes?

      It ain't all that bad! #brainwashed

    8. The Beer Monster

      The company formerley known as...

      Norwich-k**king Union.

      Bloatus Goats all over the place...

    9. Anonymous Coward

      We actually use Lotus fucking notes....

      With a CRM package and project management package custom built add ons.

      We also created an NCR system based on notes which works.

      I hate administering it, especially local password changes and if the client gets in a mess...... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhrhsdufjdshfid

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Still in use by Warwickshire County Council... for the time being. We're due to migrate to Outlook at some point in future, probably after the WinXP/Off2k3/IE7 --> Win7/Off2010/IE8 upgrade. The email bits of Notes are horrendous, but we have hundreds of custom Notes databases (including 1,000+ user guidance documents on CareFirst) which will somehow need to be migrated to an alternative solution (probably SharePoint, which runs our intranet) before Notes can be switched off. Oh, and despite undergoing a huge redesign, apparently our website is still powered by Domino...

  2. nichomach

    You are made...

    ...of WIN! Seriously, best in ages, well done!

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Unfortunately, all-too-familiar for many of the people reading this I would wager, myself included..

    Right now I'm completing the submission of half-year performance reviews for my staff under pain of death. Yes, I'm judging their performance from 1st Jan until 30th Jun. I'm using clairvoyance to divine how they'll perform during the last 20% of that period - probably pretty badly if they figure out its meaningless...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      End of year reviews

      We used to do end of year reviews in sept/Oct.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're missing the real reason for reviews

      A performance review is generally an excuse to deny people the bonuses they have been promised, so don't feel too bad - it doesn't matter much what you write. The layer above you is doing exactly the same to ensure enough funds are preserved for the people at the very top - who need this "economy" to preserve their habitual massive payouts.

      In general, I have found HR departments generally exist to get people in on false promises, and boot them out as soon as they grow wise to it by means of bad reviews to save on redundancy payments.

      In short, such reviews ARE meaningless - just not in the way you seem to think..

      (yes, I'm in cynic mode - I really need a beer)

    3. Gil Grissum


      It's meaningless. Good luck with that.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      must contain letters ..

      But you for got to say that their goals were probably only signed off in late March! That's how it works here! :(

  4. Phil Standen


    Yes, at least 2 very large financial institutions use Notes for real.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    The PFY really wanted to have

    a remove cattle prod app in this episode, didn't he.

    Signalling "kill them all" in Morse code with your facial tick is brilliant, just brilliant, must work on that!

    Mine's the one with the Morse code manual in the pocket

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Don't need a manual - at your service!

      Kill them all = -.- .. .-.. .-.. - .... . -- .- .-.. .-..

      That's a shockingly complex tic to develop :-)

      1. Gil Grissum


        Not really. I know a gent in particular who has that tick. :)

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      For tic-practitioners with no Morse manual:

      -.- .. .-.. .-.. / - .... . -- / .- .-.. .-..

      Hmm. The post is required, and must contain letters. It *does* contain letters, just not ASCII ones!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Thanks, I needed that!

        see title

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I cried a little at the memory...

    I started my career programming databases for lotus notes :'-(

    Thank god I put that behind me.

  7. Sartori


    Best in a very long time that! Brilliant :)

  8. mark 63 Silver badge

    the PFY

    How longs the PFY been a 'youth' for now?

  9. Alistair Wall

    how long's the PFY ...

    Anyone twentyfive years younger than you is a child and always will be.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too true

    An excellent episode!

    Many of us can relate to takeovers by certain multinationals.

    Jumping through hoops to meet their standards.

    Only the 20% rises were chicken feed when you were stuck on a pre-recession payfreeze for several years.

    Lotus Notes. What a disaster they made migrate to.

    How I missed the pre-takeover exchange server, which I co-erced our own old BOFH to open up IMAP so I could run Thunderbird on my Linux desktop.

    Thems the days!

  11. bugalugs

    " the FatCock software.."


    1. bugalugs
      Thumb Up

      then falls about

      imagining derring duo perbzzztsuading the Boss and Board of the wisdom of " their " painful decision to decline the merger.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lotus Notes

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how all Lotus Notes developers/administrators I have ever met have ginger hair and goatee beards, even the women...

    AC for obvious reasons...

    1. Mike VandeVelde

      Lotus Notes

      Hehe dirty blond with a full 5 o'clock shadow here (5 o'clock Tuesday, last month). Been loving Lotus Notes for 12+ years. Knocks the pants off Outlook/Exchange/whatever else MS needs included ever since they first started trying to compete, don't even mention PainPoint hahaha, just too bad so many people can't see past MS marketing. I have years of mail available, instantly full text searchable, been through so many client / server upgrades with no problems. But who cares about mail, it's the apps, full local replicas available for working offline, such great built in security you hardly have to think about it, runs on almost any OS. Swap out SBS for Foundations and live happily ever after. Sametime vs whatever they eventually turn Skype into. Stop hating haters and take a closer look!!

      Sad to see Simon take a cheap shot, but great episode anyway :-)

      1. peter_dtm


        biggest problem with LN is the outlook muppets who cock up the admin side of Domino servers.

        And of course the useless idiots who'd upgrade anything mikysoft says; but leaves the entire international company on LN 6.5 . Nor will they give training; nor will they use teamrooms - who the hell needs all those micky mouse shares and other strange OS level stuff.

        Outlook - years behind; ln 6.5 is still better than whatever patch/release of the worlds best selling virus company has forced everyone to upgrade to.

        No - I don't work in that line at all; nor for Lotus (but I did work for IBM back in the 90s - and we could simultaneously work on the same document from different offices/hotels).

  13. Anonymous Coward

    "No, the training's on how it's not permitted."

    Been there, seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt.

    The scene: A boardroom in California. Said boardroom is of the large, airy variety and contains a selection of hideously expensive leather chairs and a mahogany table large enough to account for Indonesian deforestation.

    The time: Only a few months after that incident when some nosey woman in California struck lucky and successfully sued her employers for a shitload of wonga. The grounds being that she was offended by a naughty joke she overheard someone telling to someone else.

    The Actors: Me, another Brit working there as an expat and a load of Yanks.

    Me: <Some technical question>

    Yank #1: "We need <so-and-so> to answer that." Turns to colleague: "Why isn't he here, his input would have been valuable?"

    Yank #2: "Sorry. He's away on mandatory sexual harassment training."

    Me: <Look of mock horror> "My God. You need *training* for that over here? Doesn't it come naturally?"

    All the yanks looked at me as if I'd just climbed on the table, dropped my kecks and laid a steamer. The exception was the lone Brit expat who had tears running down his cheeks and most of a shirtsleeve stuffed in his mouth to prevent himself laughing and getting fired for it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Class Acts in Sub Prime Heartland

      :-) Is that you, Simon .... having some more fun in the comments?

    2. maclovinz


      But, so true.

      Yes, we DO need that over here....unfortunately.

      Pint.....because I'm taking a month off drinking......bleh.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      "All the yanks looked at me as if I'd just climbed on the table, dropped my kecks and laid a steamer."

      Brilliant! Just brilliant!

      As to "Lotus fucking Notes" -- you mean there is an alternative? I thought the higher the number the worse it got. 8.5 is worse than 8, is worse than 7 is...

    4. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      re: the training's on how it's not permitted

      "Been there, seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt.

      The scene: A boardroom in California. .."

      Awesome story. Funniest thing I've heard all day, although it's still fairly early on the East Coast.

      I guess you figured out pretty quickly that we don't do sarcasm very well over here.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Mike Fugennock

        I figured that out eons ago, that was important to producing the desired effect.

        They never invited me back. For some reason, such invitations are never correctly phrased as; "Would you like to feel like death on a stick for the next two weeks after flying 11 hours each way in cattle class for a half-day meeting in a time zone guaranteed to really screw you up?".

    5. Gabor Laszlo


      that is all.

    6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      That's worthy of a prize!!

      Brilliant start of the weekend!!

    7. Fred Bauer

      Not all American companies...

      My boss at a former company would make similar remarks about the sexual harassment training. (The same boss who had a small stack of "artistic" magazines in his bottom desk drawer.)

      'Course, then we were all let go when we "merged" with another company, and the other company had a group twice the size of ours, doing the same amount of work. I guess they figured they could handle the increased workload. (They really couldn't, and had to resort to cooking the books. The rest is history.)

    8. Anonymous Coward


      i'm gonna wet myself.....can't stop laughing...

    9. Jesthar

      "You need *training* for that over here?"

      *snerk* I salute you, sir. I am filing that one away for future use, if you don't mind - and as I'm a woman, that should confuse 'em! ;)

      Classic episode, Simon - have a salue yourself, too :)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    3 Letter reason why Notes is awful

    Lotus fucking Notes!!! Yes, some of us have to suffer this pile of poo but when the company first introduced it, it was arguably better than MS-Mail and cheaper than DEC All-in-One, the only problem was IBM bought it after that.

    Cheers Simon, must be Friday again.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    This is almost exactly what it was like when...

    ... HP took us over. LOL. OK, except there were no pay increases, no paid overtime and bonuses that were always just out of reach - in fact one of the first things they did was finesse a £600 pay cut and forever deny they did it to me. We spent the first few months doing all the corporate web-based training on such useful things like: how to answer the phone; why swearing at customers is a bad idea; keeping your emails; corporate ethics (yeah, right, Mr Hurd) and the like. I had to leave to keep my sanity :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Same thing happened to me but with IBM.

      Two of us administrated a site of 300 - 400 machines.

      How it worked,

      User Calls, either gets Bofh or myself or the Answer machine. We go out to show them how to press CTRL P.

      We would usually get to each incident within a couple of hours,

      Then IBM took over the IT support and Infastructure.. which meant for two short weeks I was working for IBM..

      User Calls . Goes through menu system that takes 10 mins, only to have to hold for an operator, who was situated somewhere in India. They would send us a badly written description of the problem, that was batched and sent out at the end of their day. (approx 2pm local time), every day we would get 50 emails like.. "Printer is Red, User wants it Green".

      When we get around to them, they have already changed the toner themselves from the stock room. Then we had to fill in a Lotus notes database with the ticket that we received, that had to be created each time with a copy and paste.

      We both quit the same day.

  16. Jon Massey

    Painfully close to the truth

    In the midst of being bought out right now and this is far far too close to reality!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Multinational takeovers

    I've been through the rough takeover and forced indoctrination recently and can atest that the larger a company is the less they know how to do business, see the recent Sony troubles for proof of this.

    The company i'm reffering to has the initials CB which we have come to call...

    Carry on Building

    Cowboy Builders

    or as they are actually know

    Carillion Building.

    AC, just incase someone in the IT dept has there head screwed on facing the right way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not all of them are usless.

      Some know what they are doing. But they get dicked about by the Execs and bugger off. Leaving you to deal with the Indian Script Techs.

      No I dont workfor them. But I get regular updates.

  18. Number6

    Culture Shock

    Yes, being taken over by an American Corporate. At the time we reckoned no more than five years and sure enough, they closed us down just under five years after the takeover. The last couple of years were pretty dire, too.

    A friend is currently about two years into a similar cycle and his decription matches my experience.

    1. pepper

      seems to be the common thing

      A big(for us, dutchies) medical concern was taken over by a US company a couple of years ago, now they want to get rid of it and close it all down.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Juxtaposing Seperations

    Admins on Thin Clients!!!


  20. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Another epic tale I couldn't get to read till this evening - up to my eyes in unmarked cable trays :(

  21. The Gopher
    Thumb Up


    What can I say a master class. The facial tick doing that.. Yes I'm sure you buried them in enough BS to drown their grandkids..

    LN never been near it, some people seem fanatical about it, just like some people seem fanatical about MS Sharepoint and Outlook - hmm yes but I don't like activeX controls if I can help it, no wait that's not true, I just don't like IE if I can help it.

    1. romanempire

      LN is OK except for F5

      Have used OL and LN at various clients over the years and its taken a while for OL/Exch to catch up. Both systems can be a steaming pile if the designers/programmers don't give some proper consideration for real world usage. But the thing thats pissed most people off about LN is the F5 key.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Bloatus Gnotes

    Yes indeed some people are fanatical about LN. But they're a bit like people who have found Jesus and want to share this with the world...

    Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to use LN can have a good chuckle here:

    (not updated since 2006, I'm sure later versions of LN have even more UI clangers.)

  23. romanempire

    The main thing wrong with LN is F5...

    Have used OL and LN at various clients over the years and its taken a while for OL/Exch to catch up. Both systems can be a steaming pile if the designers/programmers don't give some proper consideration for real world usage. But the thing thats pissed most people off about LN is the F5 key.

    1. galbak

      F5 key is great

      Accidentally use it on someone else's terminal, then watch the fun when they try to use it, then read their password when they type it in.

      I'm going to miss that when we get our new owners (ASDA) computer system.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ah, my coporate life in grey colour

    Sounds so very true, except in my case it got shutdown inside weeks. Still remember the shock and horror on suits face when I asked if they had done a cost benefit analysis on the huge pile of processes they were dropping on us. The few issues process might catch versus the loss of productive time doing dead tree creation. Very obvious the that US corps believe everyone has infinite time for processes as well as their job. Just like your average petty bureaucrat everywhere. Performance pay/pay rises ? Isn't that over in historical/romance or science fiction section ?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost perfect

    Except the "extra week of holiday" - American companies don't seem to believe holidays/"vacation", and only give it grudgingly

  26. Hnelson

    WTF! Is this on rewind??

    As I read this, I remember quite well going through the pains and sufferings that the BOFH is dealing with now. Same concept.. Managers rejoicing that we were being merged into the collective, like a snake slowly moving in for the kill. Going from a NT domain with trust relationships to a stub in active directory was the worse in power usurpation. DOD networks were designed with decentralization as it's key point. Robust and independent . Answering to the "mother ship" took away decentralization and the biggest selling point: survivability.

    Anyways, it doesn't matter if its a gov, mil or com network; the taking over of your home turf and giving control to some snot nosed contractors thousands of miles away is heart breaking and maddening.

    I'll have to go with the T800, because that's where it's going.

  27. sandman

    Mandatory Training

    For some strange reason I just couldn't pass the Business Ethics course.....

    1. The Beer Monster

      Is that because

      you took the course in Thuthics?

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