back to article BOFH: CSI Haxploitation Cube Farm Apocalypse

“Can you just come here for a moment?” Ray - the brand spanking new Boss with the IQ of a pot plant - asks, ducking into Mission Control. The PFY and I follow – after all it’s a Friday morning and there’s an hour or so till the pub opens for lunch. “Can you tell me what happened here?” Ray asks, once he’s led us to the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Classic BOFH

    Someone else has noticed the infinite resolution CCTV and pointless shiny UIs that make these CSI style programmes unwatchable!

    Classic BOFH :)

    1. Annihilator

      And X-Files before it

      I recall a similar X-Files spoof was written many many years ago, I think as part of a PC mag I read at the time but can't remember the specifics. It's hardly a new observation, shows have been bending the realms of IT possibilities for years! :-)

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


      but you forgot it is not an infinite resolution camera! They use "image enhancement" to sharpen the image. That's the magic!

      I keep asking why, when matching fingerprints, the computer shows each record on the screen. Just think how much faster it would be if it didn't have to do that, and say, just did a relational database search on a hash of the loci!

      Only topped by the real-time IR satellite images down to a resolution of about 5cm that appears in Behind Enemy Lines. I'll also swear that the first missile fired at the F/A 18 is in the air for nearly two minutes, whilst following highly evasive manoeuvres.

      1. Richard Taylor 2

        you spoil sport

        ahhhhhh - but then...... it's probably the only indication they have that the contractors who set it up actually did the work. Think on it - you can have a lowly paid secretary sit in front and audit it :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Super Troopers always nailed it for me:

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        Even funnier ...

        .... when you know that they guys who produced the fake UI we see on the idio box are also the guys behind real AFIS s/w used by police forces around the world!

        Anon, 'cos I know how they deal with the evidence.

    3. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Not to mention...

      ... that their machines are always beeping and tweeting away merrily like some sort of bluetit in a shrubbery.

    4. Alister

      enhance square echo two

      ...and why do they always use the keyboard when they're doing these things? If it's a GUI can't they do it with the mouse?

      "enhance square echo two..."


      "and zoom in..."


      It's like a touch typist updating their CV, FFS.

      1. midcapwarrior

        because they are linux users

        CLI or die.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The one that always really bugs me is that the output on the laser printers always comes out printed side up... Clearly they've just printed a blank page!

      Maybe I'm too much of a geek though!

      1. Dr. Mouse

        That's not as bad as...

        when they print on an inkjet and it just spits the page straight out. Highly irritating!

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Maybe Simon's been browsing TVTropes much

      Easily explains his sudden pickup of Tech tropes like EnhanceButton and ViewerFriendlyInterface. Could also explain why he's been putting off writing BOFHs a lot- TVTropes is known to be extremely addictive.

  2. Captain Underpants

    There's only one thing that could've made this better...

    ...and that would be if Moss from The IT Crowd had featured somehow :D

  3. LesB
    Thumb Up

    Applause, etc

    One of the more entertaining boss destructions

  4. nichomach

    Really needs...

    the words "MATCH FOUND" in foot high letters to appear somewhere on a screen, but awesome nonetheless. Sherlock seemed appropriate...

  5. neb


    that is all...

  6. Tony Batt

    Obviously never seen bladerunner

    “Yes, I think things started going downhill when my assistant pointed out that no one in the audience was retarded enough to believe that even the best image enhancing software could pull the license plate of a vehicle 27 blocks away from the reflection in a shop window caught by a 640 by 480 CCTV image in an off-licence.”

    1. Tony Barnes
      Thumb Up


      That's the first thing I thought also!

      Though heavily deserved, can't stand CSI, utter, utter, shite...

      Top BOFH!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Suspension of belief required

        When watching most TV series you are required to suspend belief. CSI is no different to the rest. How many cop dramas have you watched where the murder is solved by a single cop (or a pair of partner cops who don't quite get on) relying on intuition and some dodgy questioning? But they fail to show the hundred uniforms doing the door to door investigation, or the forensics teams in white overalls doing a painstaking fingertip search of somewhere over a number of days.

        What makes a TV show fun is not necessarily the accuracy, but the characters. Gil Grissom for example is a very compelling and interesting character which make CSI Vegas very much worth watching. I've never found as compelling a character in the other CSI series and therefore don't watch them.

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre


          ...belief, surely?

          1. Dr. Mouse

            Yes, suspend disbelief

            But appart from that an accurate post.

            I have to say, in spite of the obvious inaccuracies, I love CSI (Vegas, not the spin offs). Grissom is a great character, his integrity and dedication to scientific process is an example to all of us. I know they "spice it up" but it's a great programme.

  7. Alan Ferris


    That is all

  8. TheCynic

    oh dear

    New Keyboard please - mine appears to be covered in Tea

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    "reverse polarising the bit pattern"

    Trek-speak applied to (CSI-)IT!! Brilliant stuff!! I should try this here some time

    1. Real Ale is Best

      If you were refering to:

      "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."

      Then that was Doctor Who, not Trek.

      1. G C M Roberts

        As my memory serves me

        it was the Ghostbusters cartoon series, where everything was fixed by reversing the polarity :)

    2. Paul 129

      I rember this quote

      Yes I can suspend belief.

      It would be nice if sci fi script writers understood science.

      "Reverse the polarity" OMG dont they rectify anything, yes you can phase shift that by 180 degrees but it wont do anything, wow to achieve that they would have to reverse the polarity of everthing in the ship.

      Normally thats fine on TV show but then one day the following happened

      Turn on TV

      -old CSI rerun on (only partially pay attention to it cause its normally pretty lame pap)

      "So you want me to run up a GUI interface using visual basic to track the killer’s IP Address?”

      -Jaw drops, ROFL. worst technoable ever!

      Wife doesnt understand why I just go to pieces whenever the show is on now.

      Damn you CSI!!!!! I can't get that line out of my head!!!!

      1. B4PJS

        RE: I rember this quote

        I'm sure I saw that line on 24, not CSI...

        24, the TV series sponsored by Dell..

  10. Elron
    Thumb Up

    Genius your heart out!

    1. Chris007

      pedants corner


  11. advocate


    Happy fridays

  12. Scott Gower

    Another boss gone

    BOFH bosses have the lifespan of a mosquito in a flyswatter factory.

  13. b b

    Classic CSI reference

    “So you want me to run up a GUI interface using visual basic to track the killer’s IP Address?”

    I still twitch when I remember that scene.

    1. Bill B
      IT Angle


      I'm sorry, I've never watched CSI. Are you seriously saying that this was actually in the program???

      1. Jhokur

        Indeed it has

        CSI: NY -

        1. sisk

          That did it...

          I'll never be in the room while my wife watches her crime dramas without busting up laughing again.

          A GUI to track an IP....Do these people know NOTHING about IT???

      2. Daniel Evans

        @Bill B

        Said with all seriousness:

  14. Sid_the_Kid

    Oooh! Don't you just love...

    ...techie obfuscation?

    I wish I could ad-lib it to that level. :-)

    Excellent work, Mr. Travaglia

  15. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I just cut and paste that entire story... be used the next time my boss asks me to work late on the weekend.

  16. brimful

    Copy 1Tb data to 2Gb

    "Or that you can copy the entire contents of a 1 Terabyte hard drive to a USB stick with 2GB stamped prominently on the side in 14 seconds.".

    Yes you could. you could convert it to a Jpeg with maximum loss and zip it. On the other side, unzip the file, and convert to maximum gain jpeg, and the convert to 1Tb data.

    Mathematically it can be represented by

    data -> jpeg mximum loss -> zip............ unzip -> jpeg maximum gain -> data


    Mine's the one with the super compression algorithm in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Just to be pedantic:

      1) USB 2.0 has a max data speed of 60 MB/s (480Mb/s). This means to fill a 2GB memory stick running at the maximum possible speed requires 33s.

      2) I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on hard drive speeds and assume this 1TB drive is on SATA 3. That gives you 6Gb/s (including protocol overhead) which amounts to about 600MB/s of raw data. That is over 1600s just to read the contents of the drive, which is almost half an hour.

      3) If you use lossless compression, then depending on the entropy of the data, there is a very very good chance that a 1TB drive will not compress down to 2GB.

      4) If you use lossy compression as you suggest, then the transformation needs to be represented as: data -> jpeg mximum loss -> zip............ unzip -> jpeg maximum gain -> horribly corrupted data. The data corruption will be worse if it isn't image data since jpeg is specifically designed to compress images in a way that the loss doesn't look bad to the human eye.

      Next time you try to be pedantic and claim that the BOFH has made a mistake, please think carefully, the mistake is most likely yours.

      1. Ian K

        @AC 16:04

        <taps on AC's shoulder>

        <points upwards>

        See that thing there?

        That's the joke.

      2. Decius


        You aren't taking full advantage of read-caching from the hard drive, nor overclocking the USB slot. As for the corruption, that's why you use .jpeg compression: You run it through the image enhancement software back at the lab, and get more detailed evidence than was originally present!

        I can't explain why the .zip step, though. I recommend .lha instead.

        1. Stuart Gepp

          King of the pedants

          Where in the story did it say the disk was full. Maybe there was only 20kB on the 2TB drive.

          If this was the case you could copy the entire contents of the drive to the USB stick quicker than you could troll a joke response to a parody of a fictional farce.

        2. Alexander Vollmer

          Why zip?

          If you don't use zip your fly might be open and lha is underperforming last week, they should expel some redundant parts and strengthen service on the long distance flights.

          1. Mike Smith

            Depends on the error message

            That could only happen under a certain set of conditions. Only do that if you see this error message:


            S'OK, I'm going...

      3. Anonymous Coward


        ...seems to be lost on you. Unless you're being sarcastic about sarcasm. I'm so lost!

  17. TrixyB

    Fupping brilliant!

    That is all :)

  18. Richard Jukes

    Like a vegetarian sausage

    Mediocre like a vegetarian sausage, but nevertheless it is still a sausage. Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon. Cheers!

  19. Anonymous Coward


    ..... IT department manager.

    AC, because my IT manager reads these..

  20. Bill Cumming
    Thumb Up


    CSI may be the popular choice... but Red Dwarf done it better...

  21. bugalugs

    gotta watch out for those

    orange network warning lamps !

  22. Richard Rae

    Was thinking about

    publishing a CSI stupid idea top 1000, and realised that I'd have to show all the shows back to back, and 5 USA have already beaten me to it....

  23. Guido Brunetti

    Makes me remember the old times:


  24. Craig 28

    Dummy Mode really is forever!

    And forever may we have Simon to remind us of this!

    Glad to have a rest from the BOFH office politics and get back to just sticking the boot in, in new and inventive ways.

  25. The New Turtle

    Now this I LIKE.

    BOFH at his finest.

  26. M Anton
    Thumb Up

    One of the best ones from Mr T

    And for more CSi image manipulation bolx, this made me chuckle a few months ago; -

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't care

    Abby Sciuto s still cute!

    aC cos my wife reads this

  28. Lloyd

    Try watching Bones

    If you want improbable IT, it's a goldmine.

  29. DelM

    I know that quote...

    My sister-in-law is on CSI:NY and I'm pretty sure she had the line, "“So you want me to run up a GUI interface using visual basic to track the killer’s IP Address?”

    Her brother and I had a good chuckle at that one.

    Dunno' about the rest of the franchise, but the cast and crew of CSI:NY are a bunch of sweethearts. The writers are just as tech-clueless as you might expect, I guess.

  30. Semper Phoenix

    Ninja icon, lack thereof?

    Hi Sarah Bee and all at The Reg. Having just completed my re-read of all Simon's work, both here & at, I noticed mention in the fora of a Ninja icon. Is that available only for the Platinum cookie members? Please keep up the splendid work, which has kept me from running amok on a regular basis. Cheers :D

    1. ArmanX

      Oh, you mean this one?

      The ninja icon is the one I'm using right now. Obviously, you can't see it, because, well, it's a ninja.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can someone help me.

    I read this atricle from TheRegister and then I looked at my PC and I see that I have two flashing orange light on the back where the two network cables come out so I have switched the machine off but does this mean i have a virus and should I be telling IT about it because i have looked at all my colleague's PCs and they all have orange flashing lights on them as well so does this mean we have a company wide infection? I dont know how my computer got infected because i wasn't looking at anything REALLY dirty

    1. Steve X

      oh noes

      Get some pliers and cut the network cable to your boss's computer immediately, before you get blamed. It isn't enough to unplug it, that could let the virus leak from the unprotected socket. Then wrap your own computer in earthed aluminium foil, and call the IT department.

  32. Olafthemighty

    Sounds to me...

    like someone's OD'd on the BOFH Perpetual Excuse Calendar!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Don't name the puppy

    "...Ray - the brand spanking new Boss with the IQ of a pot plant - asks, ducking into Mission Control."

    I was concerned when I saw that they had named the new Boss. Maybe he'll turn up again after a few weeks in a mental institution.

    Beer icon, cause I needs one today.

  34. Uniquitous
    Thumb Up

    Nicely reminiscent of the original tales.

    All it lacked was *DUMMY MODE ON*

  35. Robert E A Harvey

    return to form

    My word yes.

    err.. I have a list of $MEGACORP management who need to be taken away. Do you do requests?

  36. Gil Grissum


    Pure genius Simon. PURE GENIUS!!!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Awesome episiode

    One of the best of the entire series. :)

    Oh, and it's *disbelief* that has to be suspended - you have to be able to not watch stuff that's inconsistent with reality and prevent yourself from *disbelieving* something that's improbable, impractical, or impossible.

  38. JoeF

    Better compression


    Much better: Drop-Zero compression: just drop all zeros. Nobody needs them, anyway. Then just count the number of ones.

    I leave the decompression algorithm as homework for the reader :-D

    1. brimful

      But but but

      How would you achieve maximum zoom with increased maximum enhancement and nab the murdering b*stard without converting to jpeg first?

  39. Midnight

    The title is required, and must contain ph'nglui and/or fhtagn., for anyone who missed the Visual Basic GUI reference.

    You can start banging your head on the desk about fifteen seconds from now.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      See, that's what I don;t understand

      Anyone dumb enough to (1) watch and (2) believe CSIwhotsit is never going to be bright enough to be in a position to specify development software.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Your title wins

      the outernet.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    The bit about CSI that I really like...

    is the way that the murder scene is always a spotlessly clean apartment. So clean in fact, that the detective can see a single hair on the floor in the middle of the room while still standing in the doorway.

    The reality, according to a friend who is a SOCO, is junk everywhere piled so high you can't get past, inch thick grease throughout the kitchen, inch thick layer of dust and old dog turds everywhere else. Now that would make a good programme!

    /Sherlock because ... well, you be the detective

  41. Bill Cumming

    Doesn't help that...

    ...Every action / drama show on US TV in the past 2 years have been heavily sponsored by microsoft...

    So instead of CSI Las Vegas or New York using a secure police network to share info they "Send it to their sky-drive account..." or use "Bing" to search for suspects...

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      The new Hawaii Five-O is just as bad

      @Bill Cumming: "...Every action / drama show on US TV in the past 2 years have been heavily sponsored by microsoft..."

      That figures. Hawaii Five-O uses what I think is a Microsoft Surface thingy

      Those things cost so much it probably left nothing in the budget for razor blades for McGarrett or Danno.

    2. Snapper




      That is all!

  42. flying_walrus

    re: bones

    can't watch bones anymore. It's too full of "See how awesome my prius is? it knows how to park itself!" and pointless video calling on phones with overly large SPRINT badges -- or entire episodes which are just the trailer for some new show with bones spliced into the beginning and end

  43. SigKill

    Back to the root...

    ... beer.

  44. Drummer Boy

    No heat without fire!

    I just wish I could stand in the middle of our data centre, with no aircon and it be silent and not cooking the chips as well!!!

    They must remove all fans from their product placed Dell servers, and have water cooling thereby not needing aircon either, plus they must all be equipped with SSDs.

    I wish I had their computing budget!!

  45. elmerfudd

    Funky IT jargon

    My personal favourite is still Under Siege II (Dark Teritory). <Terrorist looking at Segal's PDA> "Hmm Encrypted. A gigabyte of RAM should do the trick." And Voila..... *Sigh* <facepalm>

  46. Barney Carroll



  47. Anonymous Coward

    Cracked Much?

    “run up a GUI interface using visual basic to track the killer’s IP Address?” - Taken directly from a recent article.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    I'd watch CSI but... TV's Tachyon Field Burst Condenser Matrix is on the fritz again.

  49. Zippy the Pinhead

    I was hoping to read that they

    Had to hack the Gibson! lol

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Looks can be deceiving...

    Whoever said that the USB stick actually had 2 GB on it? For all we know, it could hold many times that amount, and just have '2 GB' stamped on the side. In fact, it seems like something Simon would do...

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Ah..... the memories

    "That’s just a risk we’d have to take!” I say, tapping away on my cellphone. “Right, I’m jacked into the web!”


    Oh the days when IT managers would actually fall for this technobabble.

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