back to article BOFH: The Boss has a new watch – move readiness to DEFCON 2

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns I'm standing in the queue at the cafeteria when the Boss holds up his hand and says: "Check this out!" "An... apple turnover?" I ask, taking a stab at the food item on the end of his tongs. "No, not the food – the watch!" he burbles happily. "Ah yes, it's a watch. Well done." "It's …

  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Pint

    Panic at the disco?

    OK, so I've now got a mental image of Saturday Night Fever meets IT lodged in my brain...

    May well need some suitable solvent to remove it --->

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Panic at the disco?

      Shouldn't it read Panic! at the disco? That's how the the CD has their name with !

  2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    resist the urge to shout at him that the only thing you should be queuing for at midnight is a kebab.

    wise words indeed

    1. DJO Silver badge

      ...the only thing you should be queuing for at midnight is a kebab.

      Depends on the circumstances - Back in prehistory (mid 1970s) I queued up all night for Led Zeppelin tickets and it was well worth it, I got best seats in the house.

      But seeing as that was over 40 years ago and physically queuing for tickets is not a thing anymore (thank you Ticketmaster) I suppose it's true now.

      1. l8gravely

        I did the same for George Carlin, it was simply amazing seeing him up close and personal.

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        "Depends on the circumstances"

        Yes, if you live in the Arctic circle you might be queueing for the bus to work.

      3. Loyal Commenter

        You spelt Ticketbastard wrong.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          We always called it Ticket(price)Blaster, but I like your spin on them...

      4. TranceWarp

        I did the same thing for two Macrohard products...Windows 98 and Halo 2. And, yes, due to digital storefronts not being a thing at that point, it made sense at the time. No so much nowadays.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      I miss the 2AM kebab, bloody councils shut them down so instead of being able to sober up a bit you have to go home drunk.

      Stupid council forcing them to close at 10PM, now going home means going into an all night petrol station for a bag of walkers crisps and trying not to throw up on the Picnics at the counter

    3. Loyal Commenter

      Midnight? Must be a school night then, I guess.

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great build up and pay off!

    Well done Bofh.

  4. TRT Silver badge

    When you slide the knife in...

    Gorilla Glass face. Sounds like they knew their customer...

    Make sure to give it a quick spin...

    And his wife.

  5. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    Bhaji, you say?

    https://youtu.be/QF9ziPJoWPk

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Bhaji, you say?

      I was pretty sure that was going to be this:

      https://youtu.be/RS5djugBQIM?t=13

  6. Dave K

    Queuing at midnight...

    I could maybe understand it a bit for a brand new product release (although even then it's still a bit sad), but when it's people queuing at midnight just for the 14th iteration of a product with headline features of "it's a bit faster and the camera is a bit better", then it becomes truly sad...

    1. Loyal Commenter

      Re: Queuing at midnight...

      Anything tech-related that is released at midnight, in limited numbers, so that people have to queue for it, is subject to artificial scarcity, and price-gouging. I've yet to see an example of this where waiting a month wouldn't have either got you one cheaper, or not at all, in which case it is almost certainly something you don't need.

      If you're a magpie and simply must have the latest "shiny" then more fool you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Queuing at midnight...

        If I'm interested at all (which tends to skip at least one update if not more) I will wait at least half a year before I consider buying it. By that time, those who need to absolutely have teh latest will have found most of the problems, leaving me with a more informed decision.

        Just like you can call the spandex crowd organ donors, early users have a name too: beta testers..

        1. Slacker1452

          Re: Queuing at midnight...

          the only queueing for releaseat midnightthat ever worked for.me was the.night before my (then) GF`s 16th ~ obviously helped by being a queue of one!

  7. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Very nice episode again

    Slow, systematic build up of tension and neat cliffhanger (although all we wonder about is the kind of retribution handed out by the PFY)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Very nice episode again

      Good point. It seems the window hasn't been used lately. Pity that as it would be a good shock test for the watch and wearer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very nice episode again

        Yes, but who want to use Windows..

        :)

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: Very nice episode again

          When it comes to defenestration, we all do.

      2. Shooter
        Alert

        Re: Very nice episode again

        Maybe they feel that the Russians have stolen their thunder.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Very nice episode again

      Yes, nice build up, but which boss are we on? I get the feeling that the BOFH and PFY have had more bosses than I've had hangovers...

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Very nice episode again

        They do replace them pretty often, and have often described the death rate as particularly high. It's worth keeping in mind that retribution isn't always fatal or firing. Sometimes the boss suffers some punishment but lives to do something else stupid.

  8. Giles C Silver badge

    Problems in search of solutions

    Seen this far too often.

    I refer to them as Solutions LOoking for a Problem (Just realised that almost makes a nice acronym of SLOP).

    Senior manager (usually but can be lower ranked) goes to demo and sees product X.

    We must buy product X and then it needs networking so it drops on my desk.

    Will it do what the salesman promised (no) well what else can it do.

    I remember someone had the same idea as it the story about the coloured lights, after a few months they propped up a monitor never to be turned on.

    Another one was someone bought 50 Amazon fire sticks, which at the time (6 years ish ago) would not connect to a Cisco corporate wireless solution. That took me 3 weeks to try and work out why - think the staff just took them home.

    The amount of strange stuff I have been asked to support is a long list and the amount that worked and may still be in use is a much shorter one.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Problems in search of solutions

      We got smart plugs for our monitors.

      Our remote desktop software requires the displays to be on or it can't use the GPU (don't ask) but somebody decided it wasn't green to have a dozen LCDs on overnight, so we got a bucket load of landfill Amazon smart plugs and everyone spent a day trying to pair them with their phones

      1. Patched Out
        Facepalm

        Re: Problems in search of solutions

        We were all issued "smart" power strips for our monitors. They have a motion detector unit that sit on the desk and automatically turn off the monitors after a time when no motion is detected. The problem is that they suck more vampire power than the monitors themselves if just left in standby ...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Problems in search of solutions

          I had a few of those. They turn on the accessories when the master socket is drawing more than a few watts. They all started going POP recently. I guess they have a lifespan.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Problems in search of solutions

      Since I'm not official IT, I get to skip the part where you're supposed to use stuff for a problem they don't solve and you probably didn't have and skip straight to the part where a bunch of disused junk ends up delivered to a place near me and I'm allowed to cannibalize it for systems of my own. Sure, it's also likely not to be solving any real problem with me, but it wasn't before and I'm at least having fun with it. The ewaste doesn't look good though.

    3. G.Y.

      traffic light Re: Problems in search of solutions

      At one place, they set up a light sign "system up/system down" -- bur when the system was down they were busy, and had no time to flip the sign ...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: traffic light Problems in search of solutions

        Go to red alert!

        Are you sure sir? It does mean changing the bulb !

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: traffic light Problems in search of solutions

          Smeghead!

        2. Hot Diggity

          Re: traffic light Problems in search of solutions

          I'm hearing you on FM.

          I was in love once. A Sinclair ZX81. People said, no, Holly, she's not for you. She's cheap, she's stupid and she wouldn't load, well, not for me anyway.

    4. chivo243 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Problems in search of solutions

      I call'em bad accidents looking for a place to happen...

  9. miken101
    Happy

    My Icon is my mood.

    The icon says it all.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: My Icon is my mood.

      Likewise.

      Well it is Friday...

  10. Dave White
    Pint

    8 Below

    There is a club in Munich called 8 Below. The ceiling in the club is a massive array of addressable LEDs, which are linked to the sound system. If anyone remembers the old Cthuga program for linux/DOS in the 80's, then this was the big brother of that. It does patterns, text, images and I wouldn't be surprised if it could show movies. It made for some of the trippiest drunken experiences I've had here! I have no idea if this kind of thing is common, but it certainly should be.

    Look for "Hangover 2000er Party @ 8 Below" on Youtube to see what I mean.

    1. Loyal Commenter

      Re: 8 Below

      I2C addressable RGB LEDs ("neopixels") are not only a thing, but are relatively cheap, and, purportedly, easy to control, using something like an Arduino or Raspberry Pi Pico.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: 8 Below

        Small correction:

        "NeoPixel" (WS2812 or similar LEDs; "NeoPixel" is a monicker that Adafruit use) aren't I2C addressable, but are certainly easy to drive with any of the microcontrollers (using the FastLED library, for example). They are timing-sensitive so are a pain to drive directly from anything running a normal OS: you can use a Raspberry Pi Pico with ease, a full-fat Rapberry Pi is more troublesome.

        SK9822/APA102 or similar LEDs (which Adafruit like to call "DotStar") are controlled using a similar-to-SPI connection (SPI, not I2C). These can also be driven by microcontrollers (and FastLED), of course, *but* unlike the NeoPixels they have separate clock and data liners and aren't fussy about the timing of the data signals.

        Which means that you can control DotStar LEDs using the parallel port out the back of your PC and a program running under DOS. Or use the WinIo library under Windows. Linux/BSD/etc can probably just talk directly to something under /dev/.

        Let the blinkies begin!

  11. spuck

    Savages, savages I say!

    The lights go ON when the switch is up, and OFF when the switch goes down.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Savages, savages I say!

      Our lights go on when you gently stroke the touch sensitive pad up and dim down when you stroke down.

      Don't know what the do when you go in circles but I know they don't work in winter when you're wearing gloves

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        Re: Savages, savages I say!

        It turns on when you stroke it gently in its sensitive area?

        Oh, Matron!!!

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: Savages — savages, I say!

      The lights go on when the button is pushed in, and the lights go off when, uh, the other button is pushed in.

    3. earl grey
      Devil

      Re: Savages, savages I say!

      so, how does that work for 3-way and 4-way light switches?

      1. Shooter
        Facepalm

        Re: Savages, savages I say!

        Puts my OCD into overdrive!

        I compromise by leaving the switches that I see most frequently in the DOWN position when off. Then I try to avoid looking at the switch that's UP when off. Works well for the cellar lights, and acceptably for the outside lights (controlled from the front door and the garage entryway).

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Savages, savages I say!

          If you stick the right wires in the right holes in the backs of the switches, typical two-way lights (that is, controlled by two switches) are "off" when both switches are the same (both "up" or both "down") and "on" when the switches are different. Three-way lights (controlled by three switches) are a little more messy, but can easily be arranged to be "off" when all three switches are "up", which leads to them being "on" when all three switches are "down":

          • 0 0 0 = 0
          • 0 0 1 = 1
          • 0 1 0 = 1
          • 0 1 1 = 0
          • 1 0 0 = 1
          • 1 0 1 = 0
          • 1 1 0 = 0
          • 1 1 1 = 1

          I find this looks "tidiest" in my head, but it gets more complex the more switches you have. In all cases the "end" switches are changeover switches - they connect a common to either terminal A or terminal B (usually marked "C", "L1" and "L2" in the UK) - while any "intermediate" switches are crossover switches - with input terminals A and B and output terminals X and Y, with the switch in one position, A connects to X while B connects to Y, with the switch in the other position, A connects to Y and B connects to X.

          I suppose that the general case, when you have arranged for "all up" to be "off", is that any odd number of switches "down" turns the lights on, while any even number of "down" (including zero, obviously) has the lights turned off.

          And if this isn't what is happening, maybe it's a good excuse to fiddle in the backs of the switches. I have found very often that someone has wired the switch correctly, but screwed it on to the wall upside-down (easily remedied) and while very nearly all manufacturers have common connecting to L1 in the "on" position and L2 in the "off", there is one particular manufacturer who does it the other way around.

          There are good diagrams in the IET Onsite Guide (UK regs) and I was very disappointed to see that most of the hits I got in a generic online search came up with US wiring practice, which isn't quite the same as UK in this matter. Among other things, I thought that they'd banned wire "nuts" in the US now - but many of the hits specified wirenuts.

          M.

    4. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Savages, savages I say!

      Clap on, clap off??

      1. Rob
        Coat

        Re: Savages, savages I say!

        Is this in reference to the a previous commentard talking about stroking sensitive areas?

  12. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Pint

    Nice one Simon

    Identify source of irritation, point PFY at it,..... and release! <LOL>

    Have a fun weekend all. Beer icon because I won't be getting my coat due to WFH :-)

  13. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    I wonder if

    the revenge is going to be worse than my PFY going

    "Hold the funnel so I can pour the lubricating oil into the oil tank" then going "oopps... silly me... I'm just a girl after all" to the the guy who insulted her Monday and now has lube oil all over his work boots...

    We haven't found the new operator who tried flirting with her last week... we think hes still here because he's clocking in and out.... but we cant seem to find him during the day....

    I think its best not to ask sometimes....

    1. Zarno

      Re: I wonder if

      Are you sure she didn't replace him with a very small shell script?

      Perhaps one running on the machine responsible for time and attendance tracking?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I wonder if

        She's not a proper PFY if there's not another script redirecting his salary to an untraceable account too. So we'll just take that as a given, shall we?

    2. HelpfulJohn

      Re: I wonder if

      And *why* would anyone insult her Monday? Did he have something against Mondays, or was it personal to just hers?

      This is why "on" is so useful.

      Also "to" when writing letters.

  14. stiine Silver badge
    Pint

    Another excellent episode

    See above

  15. Blackjack Silver badge

    I still my use my Galaxy S5, thanks to the use of ducktape to hold together the broken plastic.

    It is technically a G4 phone, it will get replaced the day the phone dies or G4 gets turned off, whatever happens first.

    Yeah is not safe at all to use such an old phone, but then again it is Android so...

    1. IDoNotThinkSo

      I have one in daily use.

      It runs Android 12 so it is no worse than current devices...

      https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/klte/

  16. dajames Silver badge

    "Disinterested" does not mean the same thing as "Uninterested"

    ... but I wouldn't expect the PHB to know that.

  17. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    When I first started where I work now, we had a small server room fitted. It was basically three full size racks in the room next to my boss’s office. They were 8 foot tall, with glass fronts. The boss was very proud of the fact that he’d ordered a state of the art remote controlled locking system for all three, with the controls only on his pc. After a few weeks of us going in regularly to adjust things on the servers in the cabinets which, of course, required physical access, he got the company back in to replace the electronic locks with conventional locks. Not sure why he didn’t just ask them to install the control software on another pc.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Solutions looking for a problem again.

      Couple of years ago some bright spark had the idea to replace the standard combination padlock on the car park gate with an electronic version which communicated via WiFi to an online service and changed the combination to a random number every so often. In order to gain access you had to look up the current number on this online service which was a pain, to say the least.

      Being on the gate, a hundred yards or so from the nearest (indoor) access point, the thing struggled to get a connection and within a couple of months the battery was flat, and the thing "failed safe" - i.e. locked - so no-one could get in. Turns out there is a pair of metallic pads on the bottom of the device on to which you can press the terminals of a PP3 battery as an "emergency" measure, but who carries a PP3 with them and, more to the point, who actually has one at home these days? (Well, me, obviously. Several in fact).

      Then it transpired that the terminals were a bit corroded (obviously the padlock's seals weren't great) and the battery is one of those 12V camera jobbies and costs a couple of quid a throw, so after a while without a padlock at all...

      ...the bog standard combination padlock has been back on the gate ever since. Seems to work.

      M.

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Pint

    Post-Pub Nosh

    I resist the urge to shout at him that the only thing you should be queuing for at midnight is a kebab. "Uh huh."

    Only for those who've not done a bit of pre-planning and ensured that when they get home, they have provisions for...

    https://www.theregister.com/2015/12/30/post_pub_nosh_slideshow/

    RIP Lester

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Why have the lights gone red?" the Boss asks.

    I was expecting the end to be "why have all the lights gone out?" and was trying to guess if the answer was:

    A) severe head trauma.

    B) a sack over the head.

    C) an upcoming tragic workplace accident where the boss's iWatch interfered with the facility lighting system, causing the lights to go out and the boss to suffer terrible injuries from stumbling about in the darkness (at least according to the official accident report).

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      C) an upcoming tragic workplace accident where the boss's iWatch interfered with the facility lighting system, causing the lights to go out and the boss to suffer terrible injuries from stumbling about in the darkness (at least according to the official accident report).

      ---------------------------------------

      You are standing in Mission Control, home of the mighty BOFH and his sidekick, the PFY.

      It is pitch black. You are most likely to be eaten by a Grue.

      Grues can appear in the most unfortunate of pitch-black places anytime when you don't expect them to...

      1. FeRDNYC

        Grues can appear in the most unfortunate of pitch-black places anytime when you don't expect them to...

        So can Riddicks, which may be even more terrifying.

  20. FeRDNYC

    Not quite the same...

    But N jobs ago, in the late 1990s, the company moved sites to one of those standard-issue cube-farm mazes on a large, open-plan floor. (In the Nestlé building in Westchester, NY, in fact.) There, unlike our previous digs, the interior lights were programmed to be turned on weekdays from 8am - 8pm. After that, they would switch over to motion sensors for the other half of the day (or full-time on weekends).

    PLENTY of us worked long/weird hours, at that job, so usually there was enough movement for the lights to stay on until around 9, 10pm. But after that, if everyone was hacking away in their cubicles, every 20 minutes the lights would switch off, the floor would be plunged into darkness except for the emergency exit lights, and someone would have to stand up and wave their arms around a bit to turn the lights back on.

    The apparent "GO HOME!" implication of the lights switching off, while it may have been effective with Nestlé's own employees, was entirely lost on us.

  21. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Truth!!!

    My wife made a big deal about an iThingy watch this time last year, and her ever loving husband gave her one for Christmas.

    It sits on her desk unused.

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