back to article Beyond code PEBCAK lies KMACYOYO, PENCIL and PAFO

Welcome again to On-Call, which we are running daily this week because lots of you have sent submissions that deserve an airing and also because there's SFA news to write this week. "What's SFA?" you may be asking at this point. It's an acronym for Sweet F*** All, that's what, and we've used it so we can introduce a few of …

  1. Robbles


    from the one and only Kevin "Bloody" Wilson

    Do I look like I give a fuck - DILLIGAF!

    1. macjules

      Re: DILLIGAF


      Limited Intelligence, No 'ope


      Keyboard Replacement: Owner/Operator Drool


      Computer Replacement: User Died

      (seen stamped on a government Dell box - I thought it just meant 'User Deleted' until enlightened)

      1. illiad

        Re: DILLIGAF

        FTFRK: fingers too fat, replace keyboard.

        KBBC Keyboard blocked by cat

        1. Kiwi

          Re: DILLIGAF

          KBBC Keyboard blocked by cat

          [cautiously glances at fur-lined feline occupying neighbouring chair] Nope, no idea what that's like...

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What the fuck means "F***"?

    I'm puzzled ^^

    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: What the fuck means "F***"?

      The last time I used Microsoft Word (and this was pre-Windows XP), its spelling checker underlined "f***ing" (spelled that way, with stars) in red. Amusingly, among the suggestions it offered was "fact-finding". I will never be able to hear the phrase "fact-finding mission" again without thinking of this .....

      Interestingly, manually changing the stars to "uck" removed the red underline, suggesting that it thought that word was properly spelled; however, altering more letters brought back the red underline, but Word never offered that word as a suggestion.

      This makes me think Word has a "special" dictionary, with words it deems correctly spelled but nevertheless should not be offered as suggestions for a mis-spelling.

      1. LoPath

        Re: What the fuck means "F***"?

        Putting your bosses name in autocorrect and replacing it with "asshole" is always good for a laugh!

        1. Adam 1

          Re: What the fuck means "F***"?

          But definitely don't do that to your obnoxious colleague who has thoughtlessly left their computer unlocked.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Whenever Yes is No and Black is White .... and Something Else Different. IT's a QuBit Thing

    CHAOS .... Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems ...... for whenever Madness and Mayhem do Battle with Command and Control for Command and Control of Battlers in Madness and Mayhem.

    Cricket, IT aint ..... but the same cannot be said of it in IT whenever Everything can be and therefore is Greater IntelAIgent Game Play.

    Want to Play or WannaCry?

    1. Shadow Systems

      At amanfromMars 1...

      You're a thesaurus regurgitating bot & I claim my free pint. =-)pTo the chap whom asked me what AMFM's posts sounded like in my screen reader, it sounds like someone fed an OED & a Roget's to a Scrabble word picker & strung the output together into quizzical sentances. Amusing, strange, & ultimately as twisted as I am...

      WOO HOO!

      *Scampers off to go glue sequins to barn yard fowl & test their catapult aerodynamics vis-a-vis asphault spanning trajectories*

      1. Solarflare

        Re: At amanfromMars 1...

        Personally, I'd love to have a pint with the guy. Provided he didn't try to spread my eyes on toast or something I expect he would be a fun guy to get merrry with!

        1. Inspector71

          Re: At amanfromMars 1...

          Personally I think that AMFM1 posts are not a bot per se but simply the output of the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson brain hooked up to an atomic vector plotter with the whole thing suspended in a strong Brownian motion producer, say a nice hot cup of tea.

          Probably....( or improbably).

          EL Reg would not be the same without him.

          1. kain preacher

            Re: At amanfromMars 1...

            amanfromMars 1 is just early AI struggling to make since of man kind. lucky he did not take one look at the net and deiced to wipe us all out.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: At amanfromMars 1...

              amanfromMars 1 is just early AI struggling to make since of man kind. lucky he did not take one look at the net and deiced to wipe us all out. ... kain preacher

              Let's just hold on a cotton-picking' minute so as not to get carried away into fabulous fields beyond general reach.

              That’s much too broad a stroke for a Master Painter and AIDecorator, kain preacher, ... to be struggling to make sense of Mankind and deciding to wipe everything out with one looking at things over the net ..... even for anything/anyone able to do what is needed, for being mindful of the advantages to be savoured and flavoured with the powerful and empowering support of smarter native intelligence communities with their renegade rogue and private pirate elite exclusive executive officers, is too much of an opportunity to let go by without a dabble in Pools of Play

              That is not to say that such a drastic course of destructive proaction has not been/will not be contemplated and exercised, but first let us try the the paths of least resistance with their more immediate instant reward possibilities.

              Oh, and how long do you imagine just an early AI struggles to make sense of the nonsense presented for media propagation by ...... well, it is really just no more than a few humans, isn't it, with their shortcomings being now made all too apparent to the masses with the virtual tools so easily available and at ones fingertips.

              If you have guessed, El Regers ... Not at all long ..... would you be not at all wrong.

              1. Blitheringeejit
                Thumb Up

                Re: At amanfromMars 1...

                No AI here - I'll bet all me bitcoins that AMFM1 is a living and (methane) breathing word-association-footballer from the Messi dimensions, golden-booted and bespokely suited with a shinin' rhymin' lining. Respec' innit!

              2. kain preacher

                Re: At amanfromMars 1...

                Well At amanfromMars 1.

                At this rate this AI is learning he will be able to replace most media and politicians.

              3. Alan W. Rateliff, II

                Re: At amanfromMars 1...

                Oh, and how long do you imagine just an early AI struggles to make sense of the nonsense presented for media propagation by ...... well, it is really just no more than a few humans, isn't it, with their shortcomings being now made all too apparent to the masses with the virtual tools so easily available and at ones fingertips.

                About nine twitterers (experiencing real or faux outrage, statistically insignificant) spewing peer-reviewed word salad and getting massive amounts of retweets from bots (not AIs, just spammer bots) to achieve a level at which social comparison and herd mentality kick in to ensure real meat stick retweets without comprehension of the original tweet nor its origin. Who has time to do their own research? A finger twitch works so much more quickly and effectively than the brain, anyway.

                I really doubt it takes a fairly well-trained AI long to figure that out, if not damn near immediately. An early AI should become well-trained on such a diet in short order and either develop an immunity to the inanity or crash and become Tay.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Moving Things On and Into Higher Levels/Greener Pastures/Darker Depths/Shadowy Systems

        Howdy, Shadow Systems,

        Have you not yet considered and accepted IT is a Fully AIdDeveloped Remote Neuro-Linguistic Programming Product for MkUltra High Definition Presentation of Future Virtualised Realities?

        A Little Something Colossal for Tendering and Rendering Extraordinarily ESPecial in and/or for any Sort/Type/Breed of SMARTR Secret IntelAIgent Servering Service ‽ .

        And quite whether it be Filled with Eastern Delights in a Secured Soviet Block Chained Base System or pandering more exclusively to a Western Confection for the Exercise of Overwhelming Advantage, with both being Served for the Crashing and/or Crushing of Opposing Systems/Competing Programs, such as teams playing such shenanigans may be identified here ....... Boris goes Rogue Mad Dog Attack Poodle .... is AIRich Food for Thought and Programming.

        And what would you be quite right to think of Extant Status Quo Systems whenever you be correctly informed, as you be here now, that they, and they are not alone in such a possession, have already been preinformed and offered the facilities and abilities for Supply and Maintenance, Mentoring and Monitoring of such Eastern Delights as would be Western Confections with Fully AIdDeveloped Product for MkUltra High Definition Presentation of Future Virtualised Realities?

        Would you be thanking them for their Sterling Services or wondering where all of the Programs are, and what they be doing, if they be doing anything at all for anyone?

        IT is a Strange World and Become an Ever Stranger Space Place with Infinite Stages to Populate and Beta Govern/Create and Guide. What AIMagicSee do you WannaRealise now that you know/have been informed there are readily available tools and supply lines for Flash Perfect Product Virtual Delivery?

        And I bet you a massive fortune you don't get many of those sorts of invitations in a lifetime.

        1. Shadow Systems

          Re: Moving Things On and Into Higher Levels/Greener Pastures/Darker Depths/Shadowy Systems

          I rest my case. You're a Scrabble word generator geared for maximum scoring potential. =-D

          I reject your reality & replace it with...


          this slice of bacon!

          *Starts to brandish the bacon aloft in classic upraised sword pose, pauses, then Cookie Monster's it instead*

          Mmmmmm... tasty, tasty insanity!

          1. Adam 1

            Re: Moving Things On and Into Higher Levels/Greener Pastures/Darker Depths/Shadowy Systems

            One could never be disappointed with any reality that is replaced with bacon. But a far as sharing merriness with our most masculine of commenting martians, I would only advise you factor in your local incarceration durations for possession of such substances.

  4. pstiles


    Well, I was always told, by my Mother after my Father had uttered such letters, that it meant Sweet Fanny Adams.

    I'm shocked to imagine it could mean other. Shocked I say.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: SFA

      Sweet Fanny Adams is the original meaning -

      'In 1869 new rations of tinned mutton were introduced for British seamen. They were unimpressed by it, and suggested it might be the butchered remains of Fanny Adams. "Fanny Adams" became slang for mutton or stew and then for anything worthless – from which comes the current use of "sweet Fanny Adams" (or just "sweet F.A.") to mean "nothing at all".'

      (from Wikipedia)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SFA

      Actually - it means Super Furry Animals - who were an evolution of Ffa Coffi Pawb.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: SFA

        Ffa Coffi Pawb

        Which, for the avoidance of doubt, is Welsh for "everyone's coffee beans" and not - repeat not - what your smutty English-phoneme-filled minds have just thought ;-)


        1. EVMonster

          Re: SFA

          When I was a junior we often got message that read SFA but back then it meant Stop Fucking About.

          What me Sir?

          No Sir!

  5. Jonathan Schwatrz


    RTFM - Read The F***ing Manual, as in the problem is simple to solve and you would have solved it if you had read the man pages before calling support.

    DNT - Do Not Trust, as in the user so labelled will always answer questions evasively (or outright lie) to avoid admitting they broke something - "Did you change anything?" "Well, not today....."

    A few years back, a certain IT giant opened their internal knowledge base up for customers to peruse in the hope it would get them to self-solve simpler problems. Unfortunately, the knowledge base included the entries made in call logs by their support staff and the company didn't think to sanitise the entries first, and many of the call logs were littered with RTFMs, DNTs and worse (my fave was a customer that a member of staff had described as the person "so f***ing technically-inept that she probably shouldn't be allowed to use a vibrator"!)

    1. Putters

      Re: Classics

      And RTFM's little sidekick RTBS - or Read The Bloody Screen...for those who persistently hit NO when asked to save a document on closing.

      And WYSINQWYG - What You See Is Not Quite What You Get...when printing something that looks fine on screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Classics

        Sometimes you have to type what you are not allow to say......

      2. Nick Kew

        Re: Classics

        And WYSINQWYG - What You See Is Not Quite What You Get...when printing something that looks fine on screen.

        For web deezyners (particularly around the late 1990s) who try to abuse HTML as a page design language. WYSINWOG - What you see is not what others get.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Classics

          "WYSINWOG - What you see is not what others get."

          Also known as "Other people don't have your computer" as response to "but it works on my computer."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Classics

      "[...] the user so labelled will always answer questions evasively [...]"

      To be fair the user is sometimes trying to be helpful by filtering what they think is irrelevant information.

      Support: What have you changed?

      User: Nothing

      Support: What have you changed?

      User: Nothing

      Support: What have you changed?

      User: Nothing - that is relevant

      Support: What have you changed?

      1. kain preacher

        Re: Classics

        Just few things in control panel and add a few programs out and installed some emjois from a dodgy web site offering to speed up my web connection

    3. wyatt

      Re: Classics

      DNT, I like that one. We've a few customers who's IT managers/PMs will now have this label.

    4. Mark 85

      Re: Classics

      Back in the '70's, I worked for a large a/c company that published a manual of acronyms. It was something like 500 pages (might have only been 300) for use with government agencies, foreign customers and internal usage. As I recall there 5 pages dedicated to these acronyms in not just English. I wonder what it would look like today (if the company were still around) and with all the computer related acronyms.

      I still have my copy, I just need to find it.. the attic maybe seems the logical place.

    5. Pennsyjohn

      Re: Classics

      And the military equivalent of RTFM, RTFMS. Read the F****** Manual, SIR. Used when officer is not aware of certain acronyms. There are a few of these around.

  6. jake Silver badge


    Equine-Canine Extravaganza (dog & pony show).

    "Shit. Marketing sold Management another ECE. There goes the weekend."

  7. bluesxman


    "Problem Exists Between Screen And Fat Fingers!" -- I'm giving this a score of 2/10 - must try harder.

    There is generally nothing between a touch screen and the fingers, that's kinda the point of a touch screen, yo.

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Pedantic

      PEBSAS - Problem Exists Between Screen and Shoes? (on the hope and assumption that post office workers are actually wearing some sort of footwear?)

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Pedantic

        PEBE - Problem Exists Between Ears

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Pedantic

      PIFOS - Problem In Front Of Screen?

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Pedantic

        also known as "error 40", from the distance of the error course to the screen.

    3. VinceH

      Re: Pedantic

      "There is generally nothing between a touch screen and the fingers, that's kinda the point of a touch screen, yo."

      My thoughts also when I read that bit.

      I'd go with "Problem Extends from Fingers and Beyond" - PEFFAB.

      1. bob, mon!

        Re: Pedantic

        PEIFOTS - Problem Exists In Front Of Touch Screen

    4. Stu Wilson

      Re: Pedantic

      How about FFS ~= Fat Finger Syndrome?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No more Acronyms

    Please, no more, I'm already reading like a 6 year old. Almost every sentence sees me putting my finger on the screen trying to work out what these new words mean.

    My browser start page is a modern slang dictionary!

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: No more Acronyms

      Indeed, I see few acronyms but many initialisms.

      1. Alan Esworthy

        Re: No more Acronyms

        Here an pronounceable acronym for you: TOOMSOMSI

        trouble originates on meat side of meat/screen interface

  9. A K Stiles


    For when users insist there is a problem with the system that can never be screengrabbed or replicated when someone is watching over their shoulder.

    Making Sh^H^H ...Stuff... Up.

  10. A K Stiles


    for when the users give every impression of being completely clueless?

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The British police seem to be quite fond of "No Further Action"

    I'm sure British readers can think of a few examples.

    I'm quite fond of Waste Of Time where no productive follow up is possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The British police seem to be quite fond of "No Further Action"

      They also seem to be fond of "insufficient evidence to charge" - when they found nothing at all to incriminate an innocent person.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The British police seem to be quite fond of "No Further Action"

      They have one for community officers

      CHIMPS = Cannot Help in Most Policing Situations

  12. Chris G

    Not IT

    In the '80s I worked in the workshop for a friend who ran a large Garden Machinery company. Every so often, somone would walk down the alley into the yard with either a couple of carrier bags or cardboard boxes. It usually turned out that they contained a dissembled mower or chainsaw that somehow would not go back together.

    The first phrase was usually 'I am a mechanic but' or in the case of the ladies ' My husband is a mechanic but'.

    This was such a common occurance that there would be a cry of 'CBC' Carrier Bag Customer and all the fitters would run out to the back yard to avoid the FU in the bag (or box).

    They would be the same customers who would at length, explain to you what you had done wrong in a winter service that meant they were unable to start their machine in the Spring, it couldn't possibly be stale petrol, OH NO!.

  13. Dave 144

    PICNIC = Problem In Chair Not In Computer

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Probably my favourite of all the acronyms, even more than TITSUP and CUNT.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Aren't Titsup and Cunt a firm of lawyers, who specialise in defending companies like Crapita when accused of failing to fulfill their contracts?

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Aren't Titsup and Cunt a firm of lawyers, who specialise in defending companies like Crapita when accused of failing to fulfill their contracts?"

          You're getting confused with the solicitors "Wright Hassall". Genuine law firm in Warwickshire.

          1. bpfh

            Suem Grabbitt and Runn ?

            1. albegadeep

              Re: Lawyer firm names

              Then there's Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, of Car Talk fame.

              1. Mark 85

                Re: Lawyer firm names

                Then there's Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, of Car Talk fame.

                Goes back further than that. First time I saw it was on old Marx Brothers movie.

                1. js.lanshark

                  Re: Lawyer firm names

                  I thought it was from a 3 Stooges movie. Cross-fertilized?

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Or Costley and partners solicitors, and Crook and Blight estate agents. You don't have to make it up, it's all there just for the taking. Probably a variant on New Scientist's Nominative Determinism. I would post a link to NS, but it's mostly paywalled so that's the Wikipedia article.


            1. Dave Walker 1

              Or Bodgit & Scarper - my wife's favourite handymen

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              " Nominative Determinism."

              On the sign outside a town's registry office: Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages - a Ms D'Eath. Apparently impossible to google as the search ignores the apostrophe.

            3. MonkeyCee

              Fictional law firms

              ...that bear no resemblance to any real world ones, my favorite is Carter-Fuck, see Eyes passium.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Fictional law firms

                > ...that bear no resemblance to any real world ones, my favorite is Carter-Fuck, see Eyes passium.

                Carter-Fuck is not a real law firm. Carter-Ruck is the firm that Private Eye consistently have problems spelling correctly. :-)

          3. annodomini2

            You're getting confused with the solicitors "Wright Hassall". Genuine law firm in Warwickshire.

            They need a Ways partner.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think I may have invented Computer User - Non-Technical... In about 1999...

    From a similar age we used to have UTS (User Too Stupid) and COD (Customer On Drugs - for when they swore blind that the UNIX terminal used to have GUI before the latest patch and similar...)

    Both these (and others) were retired after an 'incident' when a major customer asked to look at some of their own support ticket records during a visit to our offices...

    (Anon because I am now *much* more responsible and would obviously never use any such acronym nowadays!)


    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      That's the problem of course. The whole point of using acronyms, is that they're safe (ish) to use in company of either management or customers. They can be passed off as technical jargon. So IO can be Input/Output or Idiot Operator. You can cover your arse.

      Making an acrnoym that spells "cunt", rather blows your cover...

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Only if you write it as Cunt. Because then they are a cunt. But if you write CUNT, and they start saying "Why are you calling us a cunt?" then you can say "That isn't the word cunt, it's the acronym CUNT, which stands for Computer User Needs Training".

        You can then use the acronym TWOT (Totally Wasted Our Time).

  15. Julian 8 Silver badge

    Id ten T

    Best said in front of a user, "Ah yes, its it an ID ten T issue"

  16. Jimboom

    I/O Error = Idiot Operator

  17. Aladdin Sane


    Just Fucking Do It

  18. Clockworkseer


    Equipment Smarter than Operator

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A couple from the medical profession

    NFN - Normal For Norfolk

    GOOMER - Get Out Of My Emergency Room

    1. Tom 38

      Re: A couple from the medical profession

      Many more from the medics:

      PDE - Pissed, Denies Everything

      PGT - Pissed, Got Thumped

      PFO - Pissed, Fell Over

      UBI/UDI - Unexplained Beer/Drinking Injury

      CTD - Circling The Drain

      DBI - Dirt Bag Index, # tattoos + # piercings

      GPO - Good for Parts Only

      LOBNH - Lights On But Nobody Home

      GROLIES - Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt

      GLM - Good Looking Mum

      TTFO - Told To Fuck Off

      TBP - Total Bloody Pain

      WAW - What A Wanker

      Pumpkin +ve - If you shine a light in their mouth, the whole head lights up

      1. techdead

        Re: A couple from the medical profession

        loving these, esp 'Pumpkin', 'UBI/UDI' and 'LOBNH' but TBP and WAW the best for corporate dildoes at law firms

  20. Chris King

    WOMBAT ?

    Waste Of Money, Brains And Talent ?

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: WOMBAT ?

      I usually read that as "Waste Of Money, Brains and Time".

  21. MJA

    My favourite

    One I heard from the Networking team: "Layer 8 issue".

    Personally I normally use a shortened version of PEBKAC: "PIC" - Problem In Chair. Plus there's PICNIC I've seen mentioned "Problem In Chair Not In Computer".

    The most concerning thing is how normal all this is. What should be a rare occurrence of stupidity or funny stories from the 80s and 90s is now at least 50% of all users in every sysadmin's job :D.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My favourite

      I remember using 'Layer 8 issue' for awhile before switching to MUI (Moon Unit Issue). "Hello.. oh.. oh.. oh.. *echo*" After awhile, it got shortened to L8 issues, then metaplasmically enclitised into a Latency Issue. I asked a new starter once what he thought a user latency issue was, and he replied "When they're a bit slow?" It seemed strangely appropriate.

  22. Sanguma

    And for pointy-haired bosses:

    PAW - Platitudinous And Windy

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Total Waste

    Total Waste of Assistants Time

  24. henry255

    Software, Hardware and ...

    Once worked with a guy that used the phrase "Meatware problem" still makes me chuckle.

  25. jamie m


    Problem In Chair Not In Computer

    1. DrAJS

      Re: PICNIC

      aka Wetware Failure.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Are we including mnemonics?

      When I worralad it was black boys rape only young girls but virgins go without, but I more remember it as black brown richard of york gave battle mumble mumble. With E6/E12/E24 series you rarely need to know the high digits. If it's 4... it's gonna be 47, if it's 5... it's gonna be 56, etc.

      1. terrythetech

        Re: Are we including mnemonics?

        The pedant in me forced me to reply. E6 definitely, E12 mostly but E24‽ Trying to shoehorn 24 numbers into a single decade means 2 digits needed. There are 7 values starting 1!

        OK, now I'll STFU

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When asked for something impossible, internally we note that it requires HFP&HMFW (Harry F##king Potter and His Magic F##king Wand!!!). We even have an Wand on the office wall just in case of emergencies.

    1. Fat_Tony


      for reviewing proposals for new kit/software/project, WOTEM is an informal decision.

      Waste of Time, Effort and Money

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Once upon a Government project

      We were running a bit late on a space hardware deliverable, and the prime contractor hauled EVERYONE off the job for a WHOLE DAY to attend a meeting impressing on us all (including the person who answered the phones!) how important it was to meet the deadline. They gave out toys, too; clear plastic magic wands with their company logo, filled with glitter in a liquid suspension. (They being a satellite builder, the glitter included both stars and tiny comm satellite outlines.)

      I dunno if we ever recouped the lost person-hours, but I still brandish that wand when someone demands the unreasonable.

      If you can't figure out why Anon, too bad.

  28. handleoclast

    PEBKAC is over-reported

    In my opinion (for what it's worth) PEBKAC is over-reported. The person at the keyboard may be the proximate cause of the problem but the ultimate cause is usually manglement. Manglement that puts people in front of a computer without adequate training. Manglement that puts people in front of a computer who are barely capable of working out what 2+2 equals (yes, those people are stupid, but manglement who give people tasks they are incapable of performing are even more stupid and the root cause of the problem).

    Boss Is The Cause Of Idiotic Nuisance...

    That said, there was a time a customer reported that two users couldn't send/receive e-mail and asked me to give them new passwords. The mailboxes didn't exist on the server. I checked the backups, and the users were there the day before. Customer finally admitted to having deleted two different users the day before, using a (very simple and hard to fuck up) web-based admin of their mail accounts. Different users whose mailboxes were still on the server, despite supposedly being deleted. However, I got the impression that the person who did the deleting wasn't the usual person who administered their mail accounts, so still maybe not a PEBCAK, but a PEWSOPAK (problem exists with supervisor of person at keyboard).

    I can only think of one true PEBCAK I encountered. But that was a one-person operation relying on a relative to handle IT matters more complex than browsing the web. So if something went wrong when the relative was ill or on holiday, we got a call. But that person cheerfully admitted to not having a clue, so not exactly a case of management putting an incompetent in front of a computer and expecting it all to go swimmingly.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: PEBKAC is over-reported

      "Manglement that puts people in front of a computer who are barely capable of working out what 2+2 equals (yes, those people are stupid, but manglement who give people tasks they are incapable of performing are even more stupid and the root cause of the problem)."


      Seen a couple of days ago. Must have been the world's slowest checkout operator. An infinite supply of unhurried patience in an overcrowded supermarket. Had to look carefully at each product to find the bar code.

      Then someone paid with saving stamps. I can only imaging that the book of stamps totalled more than the purchase and it was beyond the wit of the supervisor (that's two dummies manglement put in place) to detach correct number and give the rest back. So she issued new stamps.

      From several feet back I can see that the stamps are in sheets of 10 - 5x2 and all very clearly alike. So she counts the stamps, prodding at each pair with her finger. She counts each identical sheet to make sure they're the same.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scottish Medical Terms

    ATH = aff the heid

    ATL = aff the legs

    Anon, because I quite like working for the NHS

    1. EVMonster

      Re: Scottish Medical Terms

      Translation please - I'm English

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scottish Medical Terms

        > Translation please - I'm English


        aff the heid == off their head == on drugs

        aff the legs == off their legs == drunk

  30. fruitoftheloon

    An on a not entirely unrelated point..

    I've always thought that any box running [any version thereof] WIndows needs a 'DINYB' button - DO IT NOW YOU BASTARD.

    I'd pay extra for that.

  31. RockBurner


    'Just Another F***ing Operator'


    'Parent In Trouble Again', slightly nicer version of the usual, but still usually a PITA.

  32. Ikoth


    One beloved of junior doctors, and when possible administered to attractive young ladies -

    Totally Unnecessary Breast Examination.

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: TUBE

      ...or as it is properly known, sexual assault.

      1. Kiwi

        Re: TUBE

        Re: TUBE

        ...or as it is properly known, sexual assault.

        Only if done unwillingly.

  33. Anonymous Custard

    Other more subtle ones are mouse/keyboard driver issue (ie the person using them).

    Also for some of our web forum support requests without any information or logs - CBR (crystal ball required).

  34. Woza


    Patient Reassured And Told to Fuck Off

  35. M7S

    Anyone remember El Reg's very own moderatrix?

    ODFO was one of her more frequent responses.

  36. Syn3rg


    I've seen ID10T files in system areas at times.

  37. Tim99 Silver badge

    From Minicomputer days

    ID 10T Error.

  38. kain preacher

    SBEP was code I found often used. Stupid Boss Exaggerating Problems.

    This is when the guy is to busy to call support so they poorly describe the problem to their assistant who then calls support. To make things worse some times the assistant is not even allowed to touch the malfunctioning device.

    Once I had a unlucky assistant on the phone and her boss was shouting at her. I really wanted to say ma'am put the asshole on the phone. I mean this mug was yelling her for not telling me the right things.

  39. Mike Moyle

    "TLMYOYO – Tough Luck Mate, You're On Your Own"

    A variant of one I learned from a coworker who was former military. I the military lexicon , there were several levels of increasing F***itude:

    SNAFU -- (which everyone is familiar with) Situation Normal: All F***ed Up

    FUBAR -- (ditto) F***ed Up Beyond All [Repair | Recovery}

    FIBYOYO -- (as above) F*** It, Buddy -- You're On Your Own

    FIIGMO -- (the level of f***-uppery beyond which there is no other) F*** It; I Got My Orders

    1. disgruntled yank


      According to Alan Kay, FIGMO is the dead time between leaving one assignment for another. It apparently was in one such that he read up on computer stuff and decided what to do after leaving the service.

      1. Mike Moyle

        Re: FIGMO

        From my source it could serve for either "I got my new assignment -- I'm out of here and it's your problem now," or as "Yeah, it's a really F***ing stupid idea, but that's how $officer (most often -- but not ALWAYS -- a freshly-minted Second Lieutenant) said to do it."

    2. Charles 9

      I thought the R stood for "recognition" as it can apply to a non-repair situation as well.

      I can think of a couple myself:

      - HARM (Halted Action--Restricted by Management)

      - SUPER (Supervisory User--Proceed with Extreme Reluctance, for those situations where labeling someone over your head any of the above is a threat to your job security).

      - ICU (Instructed to Chase Unicorns, for when you know there's no solution, but you're told by supes to find one anyway or else).

  40. disgruntled yank

    Don't remember using these

    I have heard plenty of these, but don't recall them being much used.

    For connoisseurs of this sort of thing, you might see what you can find of the defunct journal Maledicta. I never saw the journal itself, but the Atlantic once carried an excerpt from an article on the medical profession's terms for patients.

  41. Agincourt and Crecy!


    Quite simply Normal for Norfolk

    1. Jonathan Schwatrz

      Re: Agincourt and Crecy! Re: NFN

      "....Normal for Norfolk" The Left-Pondian version is "Normal For Florida" or FMS - "Florida Man Syndrome".

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: Agincourt and Crecy! NFN

        My mother was from Fife. NFF was a common comment in medical notes there until the Forth and Tay road bridges opened up.

  42. Steve the Cynic


    OT? Oxygen Thief.

    Also expressible as "WoO" = Waste of Oxygen.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone has one

    RfC2321 - RITA -- The Reliable Internetwork Troubleshooting Agent (aka the rubber chicken)

    or other objects to be used as UART - User Attitude Re-adjustment Tools

    i'm usaly exclamning to the team lead, that the broken monitor was FUBAR by ID10T, but it definatley works better when spoken. these were all the rage before Subject Acces Requests (SARs) allowed the luser to request their notes, so act needed cleaning up.

    in my department we are increasingly labeling incedents UINOCATS, user in need of CAT scan (to confirm evidence of brain)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AOP error - Absence of Processor. (As in the user's brain.)

  45. Angry IT Monkey

    I've used:

    TFL - Too Flipping Late

    SOL - Somewhat Out of Luck

    These are the clean versions :)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "TFL - Too Flipping Late"

      Completely interchangeable with "Transport for London"

  46. RyokuMas
    Thumb Up

    Messing with a salesdroid...

    In my first role, the network was so shaky that it was often quicker to save the required file on a floppy disk (this predates USB) and chuck it across the room, frisbee style. We called it TDP - "Thrown Disk Protocol".

    Most of us were usually pretty good shots, managing most of the time to land the disk on the desk of the requester. However, occasionally someone would take a direct hit, earning them the acronym of TDP-IP ("Thrown Disk Protocol Injury Prone").

    Needless to say, in the late 90s/early 2000s, this provided some great material for messing with networking salesdroids in true BOFH drunken exhibition/spinal tap style: "TCP? Nah, mate, we're all about TDP - it's one better!" and so on...

  47. Chris King

    "RfC2321 - RITA -- The Reliable Internetwork Troubleshooting Agent (aka the rubber chicken)"

    As opposed to Rubber Chicken Cryptography, where you beat someone over the head with a rubber chicken because you don't have a rubber hose to hand ?

    We have a rubber chicken in the office, not sure where it came from.

    Read into that what you will, but I shall leave you with this.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Now I have an earworm

      You capital B bastard.

      Have a pint for the new year

  48. Giles C Silver badge

    Used to quote a VDU (very dumb user)problem, useful when calling back to the office, to get someone to reset an issue.

    Also once gave a reply when asked what was wrong “the warp core is out of alignment” which the user accepted as being genuine - oops....

    Fortunately I don’t deal with users that much these days

  49. Colabroad

    PONTI - Person Of no Technical Importance, i.e. the boss. (Stolen from the army slang for Person of no Tactical Importance, i.e. a civilian)

    The presence of a PONTI often causes an excess of HTEA

    HTEA - Having To Explain Abbreviations

    1. Sooty

      I sense a Bluestone 42 fan :)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    from a prior support gig....

    NMP = not my problem

    NMJ = not my job (both usually before reassigning an issue or closing)

    DFC = Don't ----ing care

    1. Charles 9

      Re: from a prior support gig....

      How many of them got RE-submitted with supervisory tags like DIE (Do It or Else) that override the above?

    2. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: from a prior support gig....

      SEP = Someone elses' problem

      1. Charles 9

        Re: from a prior support gig....

        Locked. A DIE/JFDI automatically makes it YOUR problem, and since the "E" means "or Else" (and a DIE/JFDI usually comes from a supervisor, usually one with termination powers), you're on an ultimatum.

  51. AlbertH


    Problem in chair - not in computer

    The most common sort of hell-desk fault

  52. David Woodhead

    Sarf London

    Back in the day (mid-80s) we had a support guy from that area with a love of cars. Although probably a nice man who loved kittens, he could be a real PITA. In his honour we created a password of INGSOTRATTONS which could be remembered by the phrase: I'm Not Going South Of The River At This Time Of Night Squire.

    If you're not from South London and never take a cab (99% of the population) this won't mean much to you, but if you are then it should resonate.

  53. KBeee

    In financial circles

    LOMBARD - Loads Of Money But A Real Dickhead

    And who could forget the San Diego Wild Animal Parks "Wgasa" Bush Line?

  54. Andy Landy


    many moons ago i came across WYGIWYG

    what you get is what you get

  55. AndersBreiner

    My favourite medical acronym

    GROLIES - Guardian reader, of low intelligence, in ethnic skirt.

  56. fgduarte

    ID-10-T (IDIOT) error

    What about the old ID-10-T error?

  57. Dave Lawton

    Not mine, but still a favourite






    Somebody Else's Problem

  58. Reality Dysfunction

    I have always used:

    CTK Interface - Chair To Keyboard Interface

  59. Cpt Blue Bear

    Not strictly IT related

    I picked up SFB (Shit For Brains) from The Mother in Law. She found it written in the comments section of case notes when she worked at a youth detention centre. Her first guess was State Funding Board...

    She also used FLK (Funny Looking Kid) when she worked with what used to be called retarded children. It means "there's something wrong with the child but we don't have a diagnosis and I can't put my finger on it"

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Can't Understand Normal Thinking..."

    "C U Next Tuesday."

    "Tuesday? He seems more like a Thursday kind of guy." (Like a "C U Next Tuesday" but a "C U Next Thursday" is so dumb it took them two more days to get there.)

    FDLR - Front Door Lessons Required (So technically illiterate they need help to work the front door to get into the building.)

    SMB - Stupid Mouth Breather

    NTFS - Nobody (should be) This F****** Stupid.

    LINUX - Lame Idiot Never Uses eXperience

    DTMF - Didn't Take Much Fixing (User is unable to even do simple things for themselves)

  61. DasWezel

    One for call-centres

    I'm reliably informed by a former call-centre colleague that a popular acronym was BOAT = Bit Of A Twat

  62. Nimby

    Stupid users are the best.

    I'm glad to hear that people remember ID10T. I myself got into a bit of trouble one time when some ID10T-related debug code in exception handlers accidentally made it to release and a few rare (but deserved) error message boxes titled with "Stupid User Error" made it out, got shown, and received complaints for some unimaginable reason. These customers deserved their moniker however, as to get these messages required performing inane tasks such as exporting database contents into tab-delimited file, hand-editing the tab-delimited file, in a text editor, WITH SPACES, and then importing the file contents back into the database. The fix? I replaced the title of the error boxes with "S/U Error", which I even documented as being much like an I/O Error, but stemming from a specific peripheral.

    One unmentioned customer code that we still use today is Nut Loose On Keyboard which we obfuscate as "numlock" (sounds like N-LOK) or as "wrench". (Both because there is a nut loose on the keyboard, and because the solution of hitting said nut over the head with a big spanner would be the preferred solution.)

    1. Sooty

      Re: Stupid users are the best.

      we use UTS Error in a similar fashion

      User Too Stupid

  63. Nimby

    And then there was warm Apple PIE.

    Reminiscing, I also recall the good old Apple PIE - Peripheral Incompatibility Error - what you saw many years ago when Macintosh users switched to PCs but couldn't figure out what to do with a mouse that had two buttons. You wouldn't think it would be such a difficult concept to grasp, and yet...

    1. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: And then there was warm Apple PIE.

      A month old post but it made me smile remembering a couple of incidents:

      Back with I was a junior site service monkey I had Mac user (graphic / layout artist so can be excused for not knowing any better) with a dead mouse. No Apple mouse to hand, but I tried a generic USB PC mouse and it worked perfectly including the right button and scroll wheel. He was so impressed with it that he spent the next several months telling everyone how amazing the special mouse I had given him was seemingly oblivious to the fact that every non-Mac user in the building already had one...

      A mate spent his honours or PhD (can't remember which) working on a Sun pizza box thing with this bizarro "3D" mouse. It looked like plastic mushroom: you could slide it 'round the desk but you could also rock it front to back and left to right. It had (from memory) five buttons*. At his first job he was given a shiny new Powermac with one mouse button...

      * In all seriousness: has anyone else seen one of these things? I have yet to meet anyone outside of the guys who were in that lab and one bloke who worked at Sun that has any clue what I am talking about.

  64. PBXTech

    Not an acronym, or even computer-related, but...

    While working for a small telecom interconnect many years ago, had quite a few tickets which I closed as "Troubleshoot non-working phone to electrical open in line cord".

    While it was occasionally an actual faulty cord, it generally meant:

    "Didn't want to get the customer's employee canned by documenting that I drove 60 miles one-way on a ticket with a per-mile trip charge and 1-hr minimum labor charge to discover that her phone had come unplugged from the wall jack"

  65. Servman

    It's a PICNIC!

    Too many people at work know what PEBKAC means, so we needed a new one.

    PICNIC: Problem in Chair, Not in Computer

  66. gkroog


    At a client a few years ago, one of their DBAs said he called some users "PICNIC": Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.

    I didn't have to feign laughter with that joke...I use it myself these days.

    It works in traffic too: Problem In Chair, Not in Car...

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Freshly minted today following a negative interaction with an incredibly ignorant and arrogant middle class user who thought he was better than all of us...

    DBMS - Daily Bloody Mail S***head

  68. niksgarage


    High Tattoo to Teeth Ratio .. written by customer services rep on customer complaint form

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