back to article BOFH: The case of the Boss's hidden USB inkjet printer

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns >beep!< … "There he is!" the PFY says cheerfully. >beep!< "?" "How are you doing?" I ask, ooooooooozing concern. >beep!< "?" "I'm Simon, this is Stephen, remember?" >beep!< "?" "You had an accident," the PFY explains loudly and slowly. "A fall. Don't you remember?" >beep …

  1. Trollslayer

    Good training manual

    For others of course.

  2. Maverick

    excellent special treat on a dead Monday!!

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Christmas tree

    I'll have to remember that one the next time I'm hooked up to a life support system....

    And it really is christmas... when you get 2 BOFH in one week

  4. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    I was expecting .....

    ..... an MI moment where it was suddenly revealed that the saleman and PHB are actually in a fake hospital room in the basement. And that when they reveal where the contract is hidden they're then quickly drugged, transported to a local hotel, and left in a compromising position for the hotel staff to find! Photographic evidence would of course be obtained for future .... err .... contract negotiations.

    Icon: For the burning MI fuse!

    1. baud

      why use a fake hospital room...

      … when you can use an actual hospital, so that you don't even have to provide the beeping machines and to dispose of the bodies once you're done.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Feels like X-mas

    It would seem that some new shiny surveillance gear should\would be under the tree for Simon and Stephen. These cold war antics of putting radioactive material in the printer toner, then tracing it with a geiger counter could have been done from the comfort of mission control. Besides, as much as it's a danger to the 'Boss' it is also a danger to our heroes, and that is just not acceptable, now is it!

    Here's one for the New Year! Thanks!!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Feels like X-mas

      "These cold war antics of putting radioactive material in the printer toner"

      Don't need to be cold war. I'm mildly radioactive at the moment for medical reasons - but the extra exposure is still less exposure than a few hours of intercontinental flying.

      1. Dave 32

        Re: Feels like X-mas

        Darn it. I hate incontinent flying. Why, oh, why, do they only put one bathroom on a plane with 400 people, and then serve free sodas?

        Oh, wait, you said intercontinental, not incontinent. Never mind.


      2. HelpfulJohn

        Re: Feels like X-mas

        I am mildly active all the time.

        Mostly my first two fingers and either thumb.

        I'm mildly radioactive, too, for reasons of existing in this cosmos. I once watched the whizzies coming off of me and exciting a cloud chamber in the Science Museum. A lovely illustration of the universality of matter.

    2. Muscleguy

      Re: Feels like X-mas

      There was a case back in my old alma mater, after I'd finally left where a jilted lover allegedly injected a radioactive substance into her former paramour and boss's office chair. He was subsequently diagnosed with a groinal cancer (can't remember which one), an investigation was launched and she was arraigned on charges. But despite motive and opportunity she could not be totally fingered for it.

      I was once rather painfully injected in a foot vein with a radioactive tracer substance by a clearly over nervous young medic seemingly scared of the lead encased syringe. I had been inducted into the mysteries of the lab hot room and had a personal finger monitor turned in regularly for counting.

      I don't think the tracer would have borked it subsequently. Designed to be cleared quickly. It was a bone scan and functioned to rule out a generalised problem.

  6. BebopWeBop

    "I don't know. Have you tried switching the machine off and back on again?"

    Good to see the Helldesk training kicking in

    1. HelpfulJohn

      I've been told that this procedure is sometimes quite ineffective when dealing with humans.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But how could a life support machine report on a haematoma? That surely had to be reported by physical examination ;-)

    1. iainw

      Re: Wonderful!

      an expanding subdural / extradural / cardiac tamponade / haemothorax / retroperitoneal etc etc would all tank your vitals.

  8. Mintyboy

    Nice to see that the De-Fib has an 11 setting...

    Lets Rock....

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      It doesn't; that's Jane from accounting comming back from the Christmas party, but she is dating the PFY and decided to play along after two years in a row of having to do "last minute accounting" at the end of the year.

      Don't worry, she is actually a certified nurse, you can get certified on anything doing online courses nowadays!

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        I'm certified .... or would be if I could be bothered to apply. I've been told on many occasions that I'm certifiable!

      2. Ordinary Donkey

        Sadly after the end of work party, Jane from accounting had to be rushed to hospital as well. Nothing the bofh did, she just necked the boss' £15,000 bottle of super rare whiskey and had to go get her stomach pumped.

        Fortunately, Marge the cleaner was only too happy to step into the vacant role, eager to show her appreciation after yet another cleaning company had taken over the contract and re-hired her at an even lower salary. She even took the time to look up how to say 'scrotal defibrillation technique' in convincing Latin.

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          otalscray efibrillationday echniquetay!

          Well the boss was a pig!

          1. skeptical i

            new holiday?

            E-fibrillation Day? Is that when the post-holiday credit card statement hits the inbox?

        2. Great_Cthulhu

          Inguina hausit remedium secundum cor impetum

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "you can get certified on anything doing online courses nowadays!"

        Some of us are even certified Popes (yes, really)

        1. Ordinary Donkey

          I am a certified Private Detective.

          But not a licensed one, that would have been much harder and it wasn't like I actually wanted to go into the business.

          1. BebopWeBop

            According to my partner, I am a certified nut - not that I ever set out to be but she does give me licence.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      I’ve just given you the 11th upvote, no one else is allowed to ruin it....

      An early one for NYE—>

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I have just swerved my mouse hard right before I clicked. I then looked for the inevitable comment and was not disappointed.

  9. Kurgan

    Radiocative ink, soviet style

    I have read some times ago that in URSS the secret service has used radioactive markers in ink, and also on other objects, or on floors, to be able to follow objects or people. Only difference, they where definitely not "mildly radioactive".

    1. macjules

      Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

      You mean Polonium?

      1. Shane McCarrick

        Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

        Thalium- its actually pretty mild.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

      Not just the KGB. Using marked inks/nobbled printers is pretty common, even companies use it.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

        "Using marked inks/nobbled printers is pretty common, even companies use it."

        Just about _every_ colour printer stamps its information on the paper, whether you enable Bates stamps or not.

        Look at your sheets under UV light.

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

          Yes, I remember being briefed on a watermarking project at HP. They even nobbled attempts to copy dollar bills.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

            Ah, EURions. One of these days, I'll put EURions on the backdrop of a photo booth before renewing my passport, just to see what happens and how many processes break.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Radiocative ink, soviet style

          "Look at your sheets under UV light."

          Doesn't work with my 10yr old xxxx printer with after-market ink.

          I guess that's what they meant when they said after-market ink wouldn't print right.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. imanidiot Silver badge

    You'd think they would learn.

    Did the boss really expect to get away with it?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: You'd think they would learn.

      Well, to be fair it's not like his predecessor could have warned him, is it?

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: You'd think they would learn.

        I think that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

        I wonder how before people start quoting me?!?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: You'd think they would learn.

      Chances of BOFH or PFY not finding out about the printer within an hour of it being on premises: if it's wifi, then happily announces itself to all local networks, and honeypots. If it's not wifi, because the lusers think they're being clever, then the driver download request gets picked up by the network traffic sniffer. All this assuming that the Boss can setup a wireless printer or plug a USB device in correctly, other than an official IT department keylogger USB stick, without the help of the ITdepartment. Yeah, right.

      In which case, I'm surprised the skunk works printer hasn't already been adapted to give unsuspecting users the cattle prod treatment. Presumably this is for a future episode when the brave fools return from hostiple with a cunning plan…

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: You'd think they would learn.

        And even when the luser installs the printer drivers from the provided DVD to stay below the radar, the several GB crapware abomination will a) phone home to register, and report another successful installation to help evaluate customer satisfaction, b) update itself as several components of that crapware are now at least weeks out of date, and finally c) enable printer sharing while also opening a few printer management ports with really crap default passwords.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward

    I will not be surprised if the BOFH uploaded his own customized ROM and drivers to said printer, in order to enable him to see what others printed, and to make some "modifications" to some print jobs in the queue.

  12. bpfh

    Ahhhh finally!

    A good old kzzzzert!

    Been missing that. Please sir, more please!

  13. Chris G

    Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!!!!!

    A horrible fact about Christmas is how many sets of tree lights have tiny electrical faults that can ignite the oily, resinous needles on a Christmas tree causing a conflagration out of all proportion to the size of the tree.

    I am sure the BOFH knows that an air bubble in the saline drip line has to be avoided at all costs because of the danger it could present to the patient.

    1. Alan Ferris

      Re: Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!!!!!

      It would have to be a big air bubble. Lethal amount of air is recorded as 7.5ml per kg of the victim. Good luck

  14. herman Silver badge

    Olde Skool

    Old fashioned neon christmas lights running on hundreds of volts DC is my favourite surprise for unsuspecting guests who like to touch pretty blinky lights...

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Olde Skool

      Geissler tubes make nice tree ornaments too.

      1. Aussie Doc

        Re: Olde Skool

        Must say, I like the way you two think.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch

          Re: Olde Skool

          Pah! My Christmas tree is a Tesla Coil. Amateurs!

  15. Ghostman

    They could have said---

    "Sorry, you were in the hospital, but now they've sent you to Hospice. We've had requests for organs to transplant, and some folks are in a hurry."

  16. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Great Episode!

    True Xmas spirit, BOFH style!

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