suddenly I'm selling a chair endorsed by a certified IT professional with a background in health and usability research... And not a suggestible hypochondriac with the IT skillset of a potato
Well done once again, Simon!
"It's called Selection Bias," I say to the Boss. "What do you mean?" "I mean they're cherry-picking research that supports their opinion." "How?" "Okay, so say I think that playing first person shooter games gives you migraines." "It does," the Boss says. "No it doesn't," the PFY says. "It does - I get them every time I …
It's true. I was doing some photography last night* and my ears are still ringing.
* the fact that the photography was in a live music venue and I forgot my ear plugs is entirely coincidental**.
** That and the fact music photographers tend to be directly in front of the speakers half the time
>>I started to read Simon's stories during my formative years.
If I had discovered BOFH during my college years (when I worked as a computer lab assistant, teaching Word 6(66) to students who barely knew how to type and had waited 'til the eleventh hour to start writing their reports) I'd be in prison.
I foolishly let my eldest child read my BOFH archive plus "The Prince" and Kevin Mitnick..
She now works at a nice admin job managing real rocket scientists and sending stuff to crash on Mars. I was worried that my library might be a bad influence so I didn't give her siblings access, they all work in retail.
Suffice to say that I'm leaving my library to my grandchildren and seeding the books with fivers to encourage reading them.
AS: I especially like the Iodine-tinged lipstick. But getting back to bizniss:
" "She now works at a nice admin job managing real rocket scientists and sending stuff to crash on Mars."
So it's all your fault? "
Fault shared between Deimos and, Urban-Legendly, this: =============> ;
If need be, I select and test a sample on the basis of probable error and then write something like "14 out of a risk-based sample of 20 items were deficient." That the addressee of my report will think about an error rate of 70 per cent - well, that's part of the game.
Of course, to the best of my knowledge it might just as well be a total of 14 errors out of a population of umpteen thousands. But based on the approach it is simply not possible to draw any conclusions on the population.
We did this last week at the NHS, albeit due to incompetance rather than a carefully thought out herd-culling plan.
A "test" email was sent to all staff.
Many idiots were exposed as people who think the right way to express their absolute apoplectic fury at being sent an email is to hit the "reply-to-all" button
A coworker sent out an alert to our building about the latest scam circulating, including a screenshot of the original message, showing the link and with instructions that "if you receive this, DO NOT click the link, just delete the message." (obviously not with a live link, for obvious reasons)
Within 5 minutes he got back the first reply: "I can't click on the link! What am I doing wrong?"
Oh God yes.
A few years back I sent out an edited version of an email like this, ( I think it was of the "your computer has a problem, click here to resolve it" variety - something like that) that a staff member had received and sensibly shown to me. I sent it with roughly that message, and with with the link(s) deleted.
It is a small organisation, - a couple of dozen staff- and I spent much of the remainder of the day being interrupted by people coming up to me and saying "I got your message, but I couldn't get the button to click".
Something about computers scares normally intelligent people to being unthinking, unobservant, uncritical sheep.
Icon used in lieu of a proper despair icon
"hit the "reply-to-all" button"...
... telling everyone to stop replying to all.
Oh yes, they did. Lots of them.
Some of the addresses were automated ticketing systems. That replied to all. One or two people even replied to all, asking why the tickets had been assigned to them. Definitely a popcorn day.
I ended up deleting 322 of the things, and I suspect I got off lightly. I've kept the original for posterity :-)
"Send out an email warning users never to click on a link embedded within an email, with an embedded link saying "Click here for more information..." and then sack everyone who does."
Priceless! LOLing* here! :D
* Yes, I took "LOL" and made it into a verb. I am low enough to do this. :D
Well, it beats having an antivirus saying you have a virus... on a hard-pressed, holography-shiny, fully original Microsoft™ Windows XP™ install disc. A very popular antivirus package.
Better yet, the virus scanner trying to remove said virus, and locking the drive. I mean, the program froze, and I had to kill the program to open the CD tray, for the lack of a needle.
It was quickly fixed, though.
Microsoft used to ship their DOS and Windows floppies with the write protection tab set to Allow disk writing. So, if you didn't notice and flip the tab, and needed to reinstall one or the other or both (which wasn't uncommon, and wasn't much of an issue so long as you had a nice stack of back-ups), and your system was infected - often the reason for the reinstall - you'd infect your manufacturer floppies. I'm sure MS wasn't alone, but I do recall that my games and other software came with the tabs set to Block writing (lest they be accidentally over-written, if nothing else).
Which should be a lesson for USB sticks, today, the ones intended for read-only, though they don't all have a write-protect tab to lock.
My PFY days were back in the late 60's and early 70's. It got adventuresome at times. Eventually I got to be the proper BOFH when I got the boss fired (he purchased something that he wasn't supposed to).
Youth gives you all sorts of experience. The normal comment was a retort to "I only changed one card, and it doesn't work now". The response was always "Look at that card", with an implied "you idiot" at the end. Of course some of the people I was dealing with had computer skills of a potato, even though they were PhD's ("piled higher and deeper") or getting one. Things have gone through a metamorphosis in the years gone by.
I suspect that researchers are a special case anyway. Often (not always) people who have a very narrow focus. They studied their subject or its underlying knowledge through A levels, degree, MA and beyond with massive commitment and an unswerving trajectory. There are, of course, plenty of researchers with normal skill sets, social lives and outside interests. But those who don't will be represented in a high proportion, because they are the ones who have scaled those heights.
Thinking about this further, I've also met a number of highly skilled, even quite techy, people who don't seem to realise that the same, pretty standard, problem solving techniques they use to sort out issues in their specialised jobs will actually still work when applied to such things as their computer problems, getting the VCR ( old skool), dishwasher or microwave oven etc. to work.
Ah. I contracted at an international pharmaceutical firm once. I was the second person at the company with the same name and working second line support so all my email would be only from my cow-orkers on a very small prototyping site.
I started getting lots of email for the other Pkennedy. So I set up a rule that forwarded any email from AU users to him and replied to the sender that this had happened. There was no way to exclude him from the rule...
He thought this was a good idea so he did the same a couple of weeks later when he received his first email that should have gone to me... on a Friday evening. Then emailed me to tell me as he left the office.
That weekend the email servers crashed under the load of an exponentially increasing load.
"......The antivirus coordinator at a place I once worked sent out an IT security CD to all staff - with a virus on it." LOL! Many years ago, a support employee of a leading IT super-vendor in Singapore sent an email to all his customers advising on methods to avoid getting infected by one of those new PC virii. Unfortunately, the email was infected with the then unknown "I Love You" virus, and that email from a trusted source was probably responsible for the speed with which the virus subsequently infected a large number of corporate customers around the World. Such was the state of innocence/ignorance in those days that those infected said they had trusted the source but hadn't questioned why he would send an attachment titled "I Love You"!
Marketeers (aka Spawn of Satan) did and do tend to send "eye-catching" emails with stupid subject lines and even attachment names. We currently have one in our spam folder with a subject "oops...something went wrong", from a genuine clothes retailer, as it happens. You would have no idea what to expect from it, maybe a price change, or a billing error...... Perfect for a payload email to piggy back on to. Just click on this link........etc.
I once worked for a company (AC for obvious reasons) that sent out a mailshot as a large email attachment (containing a virus). Then a couple of days later sent out another email apologising for the virus. Yes, you guessed it the second email also contained (a different) virus.
I had a boss who went on a trip to - mmmh - let us just say an Eastern European country. He took his lap top along - this back in the day of three-and-a-half-inch stiffies. So, he returns, with his lap top and his stiffies, and a newfound sense of maintaining computer "security." The Monday after his return my antivirus lights up like Christmas. What's this" Infected by virus, but how? Well let us purge the hard drive, restore from my back up, and to work. Strangely, several other office systems have the same problem, but never fear, we have backups. Next Monday - omigish! Same tale! In fact very same virus. And the same machines are infected. Scan network logs - no sign of intrusions. Hmmm. Read up on virus. Interestingly the virus is believed to have originated in a certain Eastern European country to which the boss recently traveled. Coincidence? He's out of the office so can't be buttonholed.
I really need that beer just thinking about it.
Week three, same story, except my system is healthy. I had changed passwords - against company policy. There is a sticky on my screen advising of this breach of protocol and inviting me to the boss's office for an official ass chewing. My system was inaccessible for his new, weekly "security scan" using "free software" from Eastern Europe!!! He was quite taken aback when I marched directly into his office demanding he hand over the offending software for disposal with prejudice.
After explaining that the disk he was using was apparently infected with the EE virus, I cut it up in the paper cutter and recycled the remains. I blush to admit that - as a "good" employee - after ascertaining that the floppy disk was the immediate source of the contamination I asked no further questions, and handed the boss my new password. Next week - arrgh! Same story. This time I scanned all floppies he had with him during the trip and - to his inexpressible grief - destroyed several disks of porn all infected with the very same EE virus. Then I scanned his desk top. Same problem - but worse, his recent backups had overwritten clean copies with virus laden ones. Bad. Then - OK, where's the lap top? Wide eyes - WHAT? The laptop - come on. Scanned that - holy cow!! Not just the EE virus but an entire culture dish of nasties. Reformatted and reinstalled the operating system after a thorough session with fdisk deleting all partions, after scrubbing the drive. The problem never recurred, and after that I never again heard about changing my passwords.
For these cases of virus infection we had the FORMATTING MALLET.
It was a two-hander 50-pound sledgehammer. It took some balancing and bracing to swing that beast. We managed to use it, just once, on a perfectly healthy hard drive. Eye protection required.
I wonder how long could I ignore the term. It's been roughly 6 years dully ignoring it.
But hell it is slow today. I thought it was wrong, but oh no, it is completely fine!
Archaic aren't we? And the term is more recent in American English than British English.
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