back to article BOFH: What's Near Field Implementation? Oh, you'll see. Turn left here

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So I'm down visiting a particularly painful user in the coloured pencil office who apparently believes the old adage about the squeakiest wheel getting the most grease. He's obviously overlooked the counterargument to this that the squeakiest wheel is gas-axed off and thrown in a skip …

  1. Whatsinitforme

    BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

    He even admits it himself....

    This guy would've been given the near field implementation after his third keyboard back in 1998.....

    1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

      Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

      The BOFH has always been userfriendly.

      He's just picky about who his friends are... ;)

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

        And the users (are they ever an overlapping group?)

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge

          Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

          There was a BOFH a while back where he considers the four kinds of user. One of these kinds, he's well disposed to - namely the ones who don't need much work from him to get them on the right track.

        2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

          If there are multiple bodies then they may well be overlapping.

          Why dig more than one grave?!?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

            It's called shingling.

          2. hmv

            Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

            The trouble with that is that I keep forgetting where the previous hole was. Did I say I? I meant someone else.

        3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

          They were until he found a new field to bury them in.

          1. Soruk

            Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

            Should have made him into a scarecrow. He was clearly outstanding in his field.

      2. SolidSquid

        Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

        If they're not a user anymore then he doesn't have to be friendly to them

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

      Or, you can just consider it as delegated.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

      Back in 1998, keyboards were a lot more expensive (except Apple keyboards, so reassuringly expensive they come with a computer attached.)

    4. stiine Silver badge

      Re: BOFH really is becoming more userfriendly

      I think you'll find he was making money selling the keyboards.

  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    years ago we used to have user certification - till our supply of ketamine ran out.

    Well when you're out of drugs, there's always hammers. An underrated and yet surprisingly multi-purpose tool...

    1. Nick Kew

      Hammers? You've been reading Dabbsy.

      El Reg should introduce him and Simon. Then he'd really have something to bemoan.

      1. Mark 85

        El Reg should introduce him and Simon.

        I've always believed they're the same person.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Possible, but their writing styles are different.

          Is it because the genres are different, with Dabbs specializing in commentaries and Simon in the BOFH?

    2. BebopWeBop

      Ahh percussive user maintainence has arrived again.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime

        When all you have is a hammer every user is a nail.

        Time to get hammered ----->

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    That's a lot of well-informed questions for someone in the coloured pencil department. No wonder he had to go.

    1. Criggie

      "Coloured Pencil" is an upgrade from the former titles of "Crayon wielders " or "Crayon-eaters"

  4. phuzz Silver badge

    Ah yes, the coloured pencils department. Always the first to shout that IT is crap, and they should be allowed to buy and maintain their own hardware, and yet always the first to burst into tears when they fuck up their email and haven't been running the backups that they were specifically instructed to run.

    (Yes, I managed to make a user cry. I'm not proud. Although I was proud when I managed to recover the 'lost' emails from a corrupted PST)

    1. deadlockvictim

      Colouredy Pencil Office

      Well, to be fair to the arty dudes (and, in my experience, they are always dudes) in the Colouredy Pencil office, they are using Macs.

      These may have played nicely with non-Mac servers but not all sysadmins are well versed in the, em, peculiarities of getting them to play nicely with the rest of the network. Trevor Potts wrote about this many years' ago. So, often the macs and their attendant hardware are left separated.

      Added to that, it is not uncommon that they want/need expensive hardware (I've seen very pricey scanners from Scitex, for example, in my time), so I feel their pain.

  5. Captain Scarlet

    How did they get the PFY

    Hell Desk should be going "Eh" then passing it on to the "Service Manager" who would then close stating they didn't purchase it but can with the correct form and Cost Code.

  6. TKW

    Affect. Argh!

  7. Florida1920


    Me, I miss the cattle prod. Was it considered too violent for El Reg?

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    " wine has no affect on "

    What effect does wine have? What things does it affect?

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: " wine has no affect on "

      "What effect does wine have?"

      The effect of running Windows application on Linux I believe.

      But don't believe everything you read on the internet.

      1. IceC0ld

        Re: " wine has no affect on "

        not just the WINE, daughter, in need of Photoshop, for some school project, we can't afford that, so told her to search for GIMP ..........................

        in hindsight, I SHOULD have told her to search under G.I.M.P

        but since then she is very quiet around me, and just stares quite nasty daggers TBH

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: " wine has no affect on "

          First time in a while that I've had an eruption fron the caffiene volcano!!!

    2. IceC0ld

      Re: " wine has no affect on "

      It says that too much wine gives you cancer, not enough wine gives you cancer, wine is a cure for cancer, wine has no affect on cancer and that too much wine around this time of year will result in your baby's star sign being cancer.

      that paragraph is an absolute classic, and if I could, I would memorise it and use it a LOT to the moaning swine who hate IT wheneverTHEY fuck up

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: " wine has no affect on "

        When will this be copied by California?

        1. Marshalltown

          Re: " wine has no affect on "

          Never, Calfornia definitely expects its wine to have an effect. Otherwise those vineyard circuit trips would not keep the local LEOs in doughnuts.

    3. ibmalone

      Re: " wine has no affect on "

      I think the affect wine has largely depends on your sommelier. Maybe it's a particularly cheeky number or strikes a sombre note.

    4. FeRDNYC

      Re: " wine has no affect on "

      I mean... the quote's correct, as far as it goes. Wine has no affect, period! It's not a person. Wine can't express emotions. (Just cause them! It's great at that.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: " wine has no affect on "

        There was discussion sometime list week about the variations of your/you're vanishing (because of idiots who don't know the difference between you have (your) and you are (you're).

        I can't countenance that horror.

        But maybe the affect/effect business can go. Because they are so contradictory and confusing.

        Affect -[ noun ] feelings or emotions [ verb] to produce an effect

        Effect [noun] the result of an action or various related meanings [verb ] to make something happen, i.e. produce a result or effect.

        And frankly, since " it does my head in" and I'm used to that sort of stuff, it's madness to impose it on folks just going about their daily business.

    5. Muscleguy

      Re: " wine has no affect on "

      I used to mark Physiology undergrad essays. I would always correct affect and effect and the same students would submit next month's essay with the same errors, and the one afer that.

      Some people don't pay attention, don't want to pay attention or are incapable of paying sufficient attention. This was punished by extra marks off for failing to pay attention.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: " wine has no affect on "

        Probably right to do so. Especially in Physiology/Psychology where the words have important and precise roles.

        In language terms however, while the two words have different roots, affectus and effectus, respectively acted upon and carrying out an action - and so different meanings, they sound pretty much identical because a and e tend to become a generic uh sort of sound. And since there is an overlap between the noun and verb forms ( you affect something, which produces an effect, and you can have an effect on someone's emotions) for most users of English the distinction is wafer thin.

  9. Woza
    Thumb Up

    Blackadder reference?

    Nice one!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Blackadder reference?

      I wonder, did you enjoy (as I did), 'Bag Interior' by the Blind Hedgehog Workshop of Siena?

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Blackadder reference?

        Sorry I've been sitting in the corner with my underpants on my head and 2 pencils stuck up my nose due to a very stressful week

        1. Borg.King

          Re: Blackadder reference?


          1. Frumious Bandersnatch

            Re: Blackadder reference?


  10. BebopWeBop
    Thumb Up

    Its been too long - but worth the wait (and its weight in gold)

  11. ShortLegs

    Ah yes, the user who thinks *his* problem is *your* crisis. As dumb as a cow, as stubborn as a mule, once they get the idea that it is IT related because: <reason>

    Has a lot in common with a wife/girlfriend, and acquaintances who think that because you "are in IT" you know all about TV's, A/V kit, ICE, because "its all the same".

    Pass me my cattle prod and LART*, I'm going in....

    *Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool, aka a pick-handle.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      I used to have a Jen-U-Wine BOFH t-shirt where the caption on the back was "Your PC is broken, and I've got a problem?"

      1. NetBlackOps

        Damn! I want one!

      2. rtharrison


        I have it pinned to the wall next to me.

      3. skswales

        #MeToo - but still have it

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Mine was retired when it became more holely than [Diety]ly.

          But then I did buy it more than 20 years ago.

    2. Peter Ford


      Pick Handle? fancy...

      I thought the LART was a piece of 4x2 with some nails hammered through one end...

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: LART

        Nine-inch nails, for preference. Either such a combo or a 5 lb lump hammer

      2. herman Silver badge

        Re: LART

        That is not a LART, it is a Clue by Four.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: LART

          When all all you have is a Luser, any percussive device is a LART.

      3. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: LART

        Our helpdesk used to sport a 4ft length of armoured undersea cable with L.A.R.T. painted onto the side with Tippex (R)

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Guus Leeuw

      For the record

      Dear Sir,

      we can finally do away with the moniker Anonymous Coward as it is now known that AC is, in fact, DSGiTechGuy.

      Best regards,


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For the record

        Or... am I?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For the record

          That's me, over there

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: For the record

            No, I'm Spartacus Anonymous Coward!

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              Re: For the record

              You're an idiot

  14. GlenP Silver badge

    Nothing New

    I've had too many users over the years, mainly senior management, who've bypassed IT and bought their own kit then expected us to support it.

    Worst was an MD who bought a Sony Vaio laptop from Dixons (as it was then). 13 months later Windows had to be reinstalled, no he didn't have the driver disk(s), that was our problem not his. It turned out these particular laptops had been thrown together by Sony Japan from the parts bins for DSG.

    No drivers were to be had, DSG weren't interested as it was out of warranty, Sony Europe said it was Japan's problem, Japan said it was up to DSG as the retailer.

    His so-called "good buy" was in the bin after just over a year.

    The same MD bought an early wireless mouse for himself and one for his oppo, they complained they were getting random mouse movements with these expensive new devices. Their desks were literally back-to-back with just a partition wall in between and the mice had no way for changing channel or encoding.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing New

      I can see malicious use of one of those mice featuring in a future BOFH episode.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Nothing New

        Involving a sharp knife, some wire and a Pringles can for range improvement?

      2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: Nothing New

        Been there, done that, had Security escort the insultant away in a fancy wraparound jacket.

  15. Brett Weaver

    Friday Bofh

    Incisive, accurate, relevant, brilliant and fun. Cheers.

  16. ma1010

    Thanks, Simon!

    Always good to see a new BOFH!

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Been a long day

    Bug hunting (but got the bugger), and BOFH makes a delightful moment of relaxation to go with this ->

  18. chivo243 Silver badge

    painful user in the coloured pencil office

    This guy went about it all wrong... Our users get a doctors order.

  19. Fabrizio

    Coloured pencil department

    For all the other bloody foreigners out there that have no clue what this means: it's the Art / Designer / ... department.

    (Took me a bit of googling to find that one)

    1. Hazmoid

      Re: Coloured pencil department

      Also known as the Apple Fanbois, as they always insist they need the latest Apple desktop and screen ($1000 for a monitor stand, Cheap at twice the price)

  20. J27

    This story reminds me of when I used to work 3rd tier technical support for one of Canada's huge evil telecom companies (let's just call them Blue). My team was tasked with maintaining an ancient mainframe billing system. Most of it was setting up billing codes and explaining to people how the system could not do whatever it was they wanted (we were not lying most of the time, the system couldn't do much).

    But one of the things people could request was password resets, which was stupid because every single manager in the call center could also reset passwords (not only that, they could reset ANYONE's password, even top-level admins). So, even though we had a script for our screen scraping software that would automatically reset passwords this was not a popular job. Normally these resets would be handled whenever we were bored. But if a user ever called in to complain, we would put their requests down on the bottom of the list, in fact if they called enough they'd get on our list. The list of people we wait until 10 minutes before the SLA before we even read their call.

    That list was never very long, I'm not ever sure how people got our phone number because we didn't give it out (maybe searched the LDAP database). Oh, the real kicker is that because of corporate rules, because our queue was not 24 hours, our highest priority that we could get was 7 days. So if we didn't like you, you would be waiting nearly 7 days for that password reset.

    1. Unicornpiss

      I agree with the spirit of that..

      "So if we didn't like you, you would be waiting nearly 7 days for that password reset."

      While I 100% support the spirit of this, I am a firm believer in Karma, regardless of how it seems to always be a day late and a dollar short. So I fear if I practiced this policy, my next incarnation would be as the only English-speaking manager of a L1 Helpdesk located in India, middle-management at IBM, doing full-time Office 365 support, or as a technician whose job is to calibrate the jets in bidets. Or perhaps they're all the same job, really..

  21. swm

    I thought that this would end with the BOFH intercepting all of the keyboards and selling them on ebay.

    1. Ochib

      The joke is that the BOFH is selling the keyboards

  22. stuartnz
    Thumb Up

    Simon's Travails

    Make me proud to be a KIwi - that "wine/cancer" paragraph was pure, unadulterated genius. The sort of thing that actually makes me want to say "he's from HERE", apropos of nothing at all, since unlike his, my writing skills experienced neonatal NFI.

    1. Criggie

      Re: Simon's Travails

      I remember a time in the early 2000s when I was working at a high school, doing IT stuff, and something weird was going on with NTP.

      The details escape me but it was to do with a leap second, and I was incorrect, so in foolish youthful ignorance I posted about it on an operator's email list.

      Well bugger me if the authentic Simon didn't ring me up to correct me. Colour me star-struck, still remember the event almost two decades later.

  23. Andytug

    Near Field it

    Absolute classic.

    If anyone's looking for a Kickstarter idea, I'd like the ability to deliver a static shock via any user's keyboard remotely, please.

    1. Overcharged Aussie

      Re: Near Field it

      Static nothing, 220 Volts and hooked up to the Identity Management System to be triggered for getting the password wrong 3 times in a row. That will slow down the requests for password resets.

  24. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Ending the week with a good BOFH.

    Now about those keyboards...

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