back to article BOFH: Time for the MMOCC. You know, the Massively Moronic Online Christmas Call

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns In times of uncertainty it can be good to have an expert to call on, a safe set of hands with a keen ear for a well-used metaphor. Someone who can pull back the curtains, put their nose to the grindstone, and really circle the wagons of meaningless drivel in a way that galvanises a …

  1. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Happy

    Everyone needs a cattle prod at christmas time.

    1. Shadow Systems

      "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

      I've been saying that for years but then my family reminds me that it's on My Skippy's List. Damn their memory! =-)P

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

        Well, at least a buzz of some sort.

        BOFH on Crimble day? much better than my neighbour's roast turkey.

        Happy winter solstice to all at and reading El Reg.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

          "Happy winter solstice to all at and reading El Reg."

          A bit late mate, that was four days ago. Merry Christmas! :-)

          1. Precordial thump

            Re: "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

            One hundred and eighty six days ago...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

              Bloody contrary Southerners! :-)

            2. Outski Bronze badge
              Pint

              Re: "Everyone needs a cattle prod at Christmastime."

              Happy Boxing Day Test Match, well done CA & the MCG :o)

              (unless, of course, you're from the Land of the Long White Cloud, in which case you probably enjoyed the events across the Ditch as much as we did)

    2. TRT Silver badge

      And the BEST thing about cattle prods is that one can maintain social distancing. In fact, I've found them to be rather helpful in illustrating and maintaining said interpersonal separation.

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Joke

        Probably a little less painful (for me) than saying, "if my fist can flatten your nose, you are too close!"

    3. Karl Vegar

      Not everybody.

      The portable ones should be admin only.

      For everybody there should be some kind or insert into the office chair, remote controlled from some kind of admin interface naturally. I expect the insert need to be installed with say a massage system.

      1. Marshalltown
        Pint

        Re: Not everybody.

        That should read, "(t)he portable ones should be for everyone but admin. T'is the season of Saturnalia.

  2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    Remember..

    "We are all drinking alone---together!" Merry Christmas everyone.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: Remember..

      Was hál from West Saxony.

  3. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    A classic ...

    "... the creepy-inbred page of God's stamp album ..."

    That is just perfect. I'm so glad I put down the mulled wine before reading it.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    And a bit of Christmas cheer from me too

    Yay!

    Hooray!

    Wow!

    Go, guys, go!

  5. Si 1

    "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

    "We've signed up to a multi-presence company that does everything for you – all you have to do is install the app."

    Until it goes wrong and then it’s IT’s problem to fix something they weren’t consulted about...

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

      Yeah but how do you stop Companies from using Microsoft and or Google products?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

        Wait.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Yeah but how do you stop Companies from using Microsoft and or Google products?

        That's one thing, but there's the additional plague of a gazillion app-flingers that get the CxOs into perceiving a need that only their app can fill, and without which their company would be left in the dust by others who've already started using that app.

        Needless to say that it doesn't do anything remotely like what's being promised, even with extensive coaching, coddling, tuning and patching, maybe an on-site conslutant or three, and of course fat invoices.

      3. Chronos
        Flame

        Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

        That's impossible. What you really want is, for example, the latest remotely installed unicorn fart (Teams, I'm looking at you here) not autostarting on everyone's desktop on Monday morning, resulting in not only a glacial roaming profile share but more support calls than directory enquiries in the 80s.

        Also, which bellend thought piping Chrome's ghastly notifications to the notification area in Windows 10 was a good idea? Once that thing activates, it takes focus from anything and everything else. Bastards. The OS's job is to launch useful things and then stay the hell out of the way.

        Yes, as you can probably tell, I spent a good two hours running around the depot disabling Teams that day. At least its icon is purple, a tip of the hat to Bonzi Buddy, no doubt.

        1. Luiz Abdala
          Devil

          Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

          Try Teams autostarting...

          ...on Core 2 Duos;

          ... with 4GB of ram;

          ...out of hard drives.

          And we can't disable it.

          I swear to GOD, lime and carpet rolls are in order here for all the bellends that decided it was a good idea to inflict that pain upon such archeologic machinery, besides Windows 10 itself.

          The spawn of Satan works for my IT department.

          1. rototype
            Mushroom

            Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

            Sounds like there's going to be a lot of machine failures there in the near future, terminal ones.

            1. The Aussie Paradox
              Go

              Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

              lot of machine failures there in the near future, terminal ones.

              Once they reach terminal velocity from the 4th floor window.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

            Have you considered a rubber mallet?

            Just give each computer a light tap on the side every few days. Not hard enough to leave a mark, just enough to rattle the HDD.

            And when they start failing, one after the other, you just blame it on the extra stress brought on by all the extra work being done at logon.(the logon process, autostarting apps, lots more memory swapping out to hdd because there are more programs eating up available RAM and so on)

            The bell-end child of Sata, though...

            Needs the 7wire patch cable...

            Grab a new patch cable of the same model used by that person's computer.

            Grab a needle and gently prize out one of the blades in one of the connectors(either 2,3, or 6 will do). you may end up ruining a few cables before succeeding. It's not an easy task.

            Now, file off the ends of the blades that goes into the wires... then reinsert it into the connector.

            It will look like a good cable still, but it won't work.

            If you only file it down partially, you may get to the 'disconnects and reconnects whenever anyone walks into the office' mode. Quite nice...

  6. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    And so

    My Christmas is now complete.

    Thank you El Reg for your timely gift.

  7. Dave K Silver badge

    A Christmas BOFH, perfect! That cattle prod will surely have things roasted in no time (and not the turkey for once).

  8. Deimos

    Lovely gift

    I have missed bastard solstice deeds since retirement, industrial alcohol and high strength fishing line is in all my favourite memories.

  9. earl grey
    Pint

    I'll be home for Christmas

    Been waiting for the BOFH forever. Thank you and merry christmas.

  10. bpfh
    Flame

    Cattle prods and electrical shenanigans

    Are back!

  11. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Great minds think alike?

    "Oh, it's not mine," I say. "I've written a script to pick a random image from the browser cache of our user's desktops."

    Do I get royalties?

    https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/10/19/who_me/#c_4130352

    Ah, screw it, today is Christmas, have one on me!

    Glad to see the Lads again!

  12. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Pardon?

    The PFY is passing up a chance to install stuff remotely on people's home kit?

    "I look over in the PFY's direction to note that he's not all that keen on remotely installing/supporting software on people's systems..."

    Who is this Charlatan claiming to be the PFY? The PFY I have known and come to love would surely added his own custom payload...

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Pardon?

      There was like 40 people on that not Zoom call.

      In case EVERYONE calls support because not Zoom is not working.... That's like 40 alerts on his Smartphone, all from different people, in different places, using different computers and due to Corona he CAN'T go there in person.

      At least Office computers are usually standardized with the same software, Os and hardware and you can do a reset without deleting family pictures and looking like a villain because you deleted the pictures and video of the last Birthday party they had before Corona.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Pardon?

        At least Office computers are usually standardized with the same software, Os and hardware

        Our lot is saddled with at least three generations of a particular laptop model cobbled together by a well-known purveyor of ink. They've been re-imaged from W7 to W10 close to two years ago, with the associated hassle of W10 now foisting its update moments on us, utterly ignoring the "outside office hours" setting, or, more likely, probably just picking a random timezone whose office hours would cause that rule not to be violated when updating *right fscking now*.

        Still, even with that strict patch regime, several colleagues regularly report connectivity and application problems, and one in particular has roughly a one in five chance of successfully starting a particular tool we need for remote access. Mine is the oldest version of the hardware around, and I've only extremely sporadically encountered the problems that for several others are almost daily occurrences.

        and you can do a reset

        One colleague needed his work laptop re-imaged, which could only be done at the office. And the call workflow didn't allow for sending out a replacement, even when it required a person with an elevated COVID risk profile to take a 3 hour train ride.

        without deleting family pictures

        :s/without/while/

        Personal matters should not be on work computers; I cringe when I see colleagues using their work mail for private messages.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Pardon?

          Personal matters should not be on work computers;

          Yes, the idiots that fill their employers computer with their own personal family and cat photos. However I doubt Stephen would even bat an eye, except maybe when he tears open the bag of lime!

          1. Giles C Silver badge

            Re: Pardon?

            I have never understood why people do that, I have my own computers, a business laptop (contractor) and a laptop supplied by my current employer.

            The closest any of them get to share information is when I have had a problem figured it out using one of my own machines and then emailed notes to the work machine to allow me to fix it the next day.

            Work and personal kit are to be kept as far apart as possible.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: Pardon?

              The closest any of them get to share information is when I have had a problem figured it out using one of my own machines and then emailed notes to the work machine to allow me to fix it the next day.

              My work laptop can't even print on the printers here at home; it's on a separate LAN segment with a different IP range, and I can't be arsed to bridge it just for printing, never mind that I probably can't install the multi-gigabyte 'drivers' that W10 invariably requires if they're still available[0] for that OS in the first place. Even when some changes and process reviews more or less require printing out several documents so that you can annotate particular steps. Print to pdf, mail from work to personal, print. Any one who tells me that it would be much more convenient to have it all on the same LAN will have me agreeing on that point, but convenience wouldn't make me change my config one bit.

              [0] "Doesn't work on W10" is a very useful search string for cheap but still eminently functional hardware. And I'm still (occasionally) using the semi-pro scanner that was dumped "because it wasn't supported under XP(!)".

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Pardon?

              "a business laptop (contractor) and a laptop supplied by my current employer."

              Either these are one and the same or else you're IR35 fodder.

              1. Giles C Silver badge

                Re: Pardon?

                No, the laptop for the business is mine.

                The laptop supplied by the company I am doing work for is a requirement for their internal security standards. Due to the nature of their work they will not allow non company assets to connect to their network.

                The contract is outside ir35 as I am contracted on a professional services (consultancy) basis for 230 days work.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Pardon?

                  I agree with Giles. I often end up carrying 3 laptops, the one locked to the client secure VPN and nothing else, the one attached to the work corporate VPN which has strict rules about what it's used for, and my own "work" laptop.

                  I could use my laptop on the corporate VPN, but I would have to agree to install the corporate security package, which would significantly limit what I could use *MY* laptop for. So, three laptops it is.

                  The sad reality is that the company I work for has quite strict rules about what their provided equipment and anything else attached to the corporate LAN/VPN should be used for, and they put tools in place to enforce this. And these tools are what they want put onto any BYO equipment. And I have things that I do which fall outside of their remit, that I don't want to submit to their log and cache history trawls. Nothing illegal or bad, but it's none of their business!

                  I could run two laptops myself and submit one to their scrutiny, but it is easier to just use theirs. And the fact that I have my own work laptop for separate research and my other business should be an indocator to whether I would be regarded as an employee for tax purposes (not that reason seems to bother HMRC), but this is not a problem for a contractor running under an IR35 compliant umbrella.

                2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Pardon?

                  "The contract is outside ir35"

                  HMRC may disagree if you go around referring to your client as "employer".

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Pardon?

              When I left my former employer, I took care to deposit a number of files in a very specialised Dropbox folder. Nothing illegal or even embarrassing, just... the sort of information I thought I might need to keep up with industry developments. Then deleted all trace of the folder's existence from the work machine.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Pardon?

        PFY would have some SLA verbiage to protect himself from frivolous tickets such as these. It would have been written into his contract long before this need.

        Just think of the literary possibilities when the PFY has access to users personal gear!

        I think you're applying your feelings of trepidation to the PFYs situation.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Who is this Charlatan claiming to be the PFY?

      Oh, his custom code is already running. He just doesn't want some stupid happy-slappy-appy thing mining the same blackmail data and maybe interrupting his access at the same time.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Who is this Charlatan claiming to be the PFY?

        Yes! This is what I'm talking about!!

        Nicely Done!

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Pardon?

      It isn't HIS software he would be installing.

      The PFY has always had an aversion to installing external vendors' software on "his"* kit.

      * All you devices are belong to PFY

  13. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

    Perfect

    After my port and cheese. Happy one all

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    Hope however did that was wearing a mask

    And used a long stick to keep social distance.

  15. David Roberts Silver badge

    Merry whatever

    Too busy cooking and eating to check for a new episode.

    However I am with the PFY in not wanting to touch home systems.

    Unless trying to install the same software on Windows from 2000 to 10 plus Apple variants, chrome books, that interesting ARM device, a netbook running obsolete Linux......is seen as an interesting challenge.

    Well, unless the aim is to nuke them all from orbit.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Merry whatever

      Unless trying to install the same software on Windows from 2000 to 10 plus Apple variants, chrome books, that interesting ARM device, a netbook running obsolete Linux......is seen as an interesting challenge.

      ISTR some obscure piece of software that touted "write once, run everywhere". The only point in its favour was that it reminded me of coffee, and it seems that nowadays the slogan is more or less correct if you amend it to "write once, run everywhere if you also install the extremely version-specific runtime engine with it (if you can find it for your platform), sacrifice a goose (goats are for SCSI) to keep the runtime from stomping on the eleventy other extremely version-specific runtime engines all the other write once, run everywhere software on your system needs, and hope the programmers writing this cruft kept ahead of all the cases where even the correct runtime would cause the platform to collapse into a gibbering heap if there happened to be a misplaced comma in the code."

      1. A____B

        Re: Merry whatever

        All very true. But you slipped up in your summary -- each one of those words should have been in its own file under a directory structure (2n+1) layers deep [where n is the upper limit any sane person could consider reasonable]. And that's before you even get started on the multiplicity of subtly incompatible path/home variables.

        BOFH on Christmas day -- what a great present :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Merry whatever

      We support home computers for WFH on an 'best effort' basis.

      Funnily, 'best effort' pretty much amounts to sod all.

      Particularly as we can dig out and reimage a used portable in less than an hour. With all their regular apps, VPN and everything.

      We who fix the HW and do the reimaging and all that shit told the Helldesk that unless the issue can be fixed in a minute, change the ticket to an order for a loaner.

      Because we KNOW that the users will return again and again with questions of 'why doesn't WinXP/Vista work well wiith our SW?' or how to fix whatever ails the aging monstrosity they're trying to use. I don't want to get calls about the bestcrap /notontarget/ Chineseium machine making odd noises or catching fire.

      I want to be left alone!

  16. WonkoTheSane
    Trollface

    Hum, and furthermore, Bug!

    I am 100% with the PFY in his attempt to eliminate carol singing at the (virtual) office.

    Belated seasonings to all here & at Vulture Central.

  17. fraunthall

    Funny - good comment

    Great comments on the idiocy of online 'meetings'. The most I've ever hosted was 4 partici-pants. Even that many was too many. The saving grace is that the host can mute partici-pants. You can't do that so easily in person.

    Just before hosting a family 'meeting' I called 2 friends at their home. We each used a portable (not a cell) phone and had a great call that lasted nearly an hour. No need to see their faces. It seems people are used to talking one at a time on the phone and behave much more courteously. Much better. I don't see video meetings as progress at all. Its a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist.

    I hope everyone can have a Happy New Year despite the Covid-19 attack.

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Devil

    Remote installation

    Bah, been there, done that.

    Wish I had a cattleprod to prod the lusers into submission in order to allow me to install software remotely.

    *sigh*

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