back to article BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "We're just wondering … how we might protect ourselves from AI?" the Boss asks. "Protect ourselves?" I ask back. "Weren't you the one encouraging us to buy vanloads of the stuff to make our staff's lives better?" "The Board did, yes, but we don't want any adverse effects. One of the …

  1. Ozan

    Perfect start for my week long vacation. I'll be the one who reads a book under shades with lots and lots of sunscreen. I'm not blond nor a redhead but sure I got skin of one.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Personally I'm trying to bring that green-blue sheen of Factor 50 into this season's must have look. If UV is kept moderate I tan eventually, but always with the likelier outcome being a sort of lobster red.

  2. Korev Silver badge
    Pint

    "Get a first aid certificate," I whisper to the Boss.

    "A FIRST AID CERTIFICATE!?"

    With the BOFH around, the 1st aiders are probably the busiest people in the company...

    1. LogicGate Silver badge

      But will the boss be able to apply first aid to himself after the unfortunate and tragic accident?

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Gimp

        Or be found as the last one to be in contact with the victim, protesting they were like that when he tried mouth-mouth ?

        1. b0llchit Silver badge
          Devil

          And then realizing that the first aid certificate was invalid because the first aid course trainer was a good friend of the BOFH and PFY.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >"...realizing that the first aid certificate was invalid because the first aid course trainer was a good friend of the BOFH and PFY."

            "But my safety instructor told me that if an AED wasn't readily available, stripping some wires and using mains power was a good substitute as long as I applied and removed the leads very rapidly to simulate a heartbeat!"

          2. Locky

            I imagine it would be difficult to get a new role with "Inappropriate CPR" on your HR record

        2. choleric

          "But my trainer told me that halon was as good as oxygen in the case of breathing difficulties in the server room!"

    2. steve-b

      I think it's more like last hope than first aid. Those windows that people fall out are pretty high up.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Being ordained so as to carry out last rites would be an even better certificate.

      2. BOFH in Training

        Wonder if Russian FSB got the idea for the window divers from BOFH......

        1. AndyFl

          Well if I was him I'd certainly not be drinking tea with visitors from the kremlin.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Those windows that people fall out are pretty high up."

        Let's hope the FSB don't read here. I'm sure they will very interested if they find Yevgeny Prigozhin anywhere higher than the ground/first floor :-)

        On second thoughts, they probably already read BOFH as an instruction manual. There is form in Russia for people accidentality falling from high windows already.

    3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Pint

      True enough, but with all the database normalization warnings and the problems with windows installs, first aid is generally pointless. Old carpets and quicklime trump bandages and disinfectant.

      1. theblackhand

        I think what you mean is that a long-term solution is better than a workaround that will just need fixed properly later...

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          a workaround that will just need fixed properly later..

          I think that's "Was supposed to have been fixed......"

    4. Concerned of London

      More than first aid

      First aid is not much use after someone has fallen out of a 4 floor window or higher !!

  3. UCAP Silver badge

    Hmmm ...

    That reminds me, I'm sure we are overdue for a Boss RUD (Rapid Unplanned[1] Defenestration) event.

    [1] At least to the Boss.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm ...

      That only happens if the Boss is more annoying that you can tolerate while you keep scamming him or if the Boss got wise to your scams.

      The problem with regularly killing your Boss is that they may eventually put someone in charge who is not so easily fooled.

      Also you don't want a Boss that's younger that you because that means he probably will want you to get fired.

      Also scamming 500 quid regularly out the Boss is a better long term project that having to keep "training" new bosses.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm ...

        "Also scamming 500 quid regularly out the Boss is a better long term project that having to keep "training" new bosses."

        Especially a boss like this one, who walks up to the BOFH asking for ways to hand the cash over. Today it's how can I protect myself from AI, tomorrow it's how can I protect myself from Russian base jumping.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm ...

          "Russian base jumping."

          LOL. Kudos if you coined that. Otherwise, well done for letting the rest of us know :-)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm ...

        "that means he probably will want you to get fired"

        That doesn't sound like a survivable state of mind.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm ...

          Depends on if you can kill him before the paperwork is ready. An old boss will at least talk to you first and badly try to make you train a replacement, a younger boss will fire you by e-mail and get all your work credentials revoked.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    As usual

    Nice unexpected twist at the end

  5. drand

    To apply a misquotation

    BofH: "I spent most of my money on lager and onion bhajis. The rest I just squandered."

  6. Caver_Dave Silver badge
    Coat

    Useful for staging accidents

    I've found First Aid training (current and Wilderness First Aid training and Cave Rescue Casualty Care training in the past) and a certain ability with makeup, to be very useful for staging accidents.

    I do this regularly for the National Young Farmers organisation for their First Aid competitions and I particularly enjoy the screams or fainting as the competitors find the made up casualty.

    (Examples would include "hand chopped off in car fan blades" (stump made from the bottom of a pop bottle with 'blood' squirted from a syringe and glove filled with sand for the correct weight) or "open fracture of the lower arm" (with lamb bones from my Sunday diner sticking out for reality) , or a bolt sticking out of the knee.)

    However, the best tests are normally the non-obvious like Heat Exhaustion.

    ===> the coat may be white, but it's not medical, it's anti-static

    1. jmch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      You must have fun on Halloween!!

    2. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      >>Cave Rescue Casualty Care

      name checks out, Carry on!

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      Seems a bit tame for farm accidents.

      This one went through a combine after falling into a silo and being attacked by a bull

    4. Andytug

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      My neighbour is a first aid instructor for Mountain Rescue and suchlike....he frequently leaves his (pretty realistic) casualty dummies in the back of his estate car on the drive. I'm used to it, but a lot of people driving and walking past do some proper double takes....!

      They're the proper expensive ones wiith missing limbs and bits for ketchup to come oozing out of, etc.

    5. the Jim bloke
      Trollface

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      If you really want to mess with rescue comp competitors, get an actual amputee as one of your casualties... was involved in one where we had a guy with a missing leg, and they were using a slab of meat from an animal carcass for the detached bit(s)..

      happy memories.

    6. herman Silver badge

      Re: Useful for staging accidents

      Sounds like you are the life of a party…

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brilliant

    "You have the business worth of a corduroy ash tray,"

    Briliant ... 8^D

    .

  8. Dabooka
    Flame

    Quite ironic

    As most (UK) workplace first aid quals are also utterly meaningless and as much use as a corduroy ashtray

    1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Quite ironic

      At one place I worked at for many years I was not allowed to be an official First Aider (with a extra payment for that).

      HR would never give me a reason why. So I suspect that they were just expecting to use me for free.

      Unless it was an exceptional incident, requiring all of my skills, I would have only done what the UK FAAW training says which is, to paraphrase slightly, "clear the area around the casualty and ring for an Ambulance".

      Now that Ambulances routinely take many hours, my skills may come back into use. The Community First Responders (villagers who are willing to volunteer in the absence of the NHS response in a reasonable time) have already been asking me. And I've come across a couple of incidents in the last few years where I have had to 'take charge' for nearly 3 hours until an Ambulance has arrived - the first for an initially unconscious (so priority), and later extremely confused and belligerent bicycle rider - their excuse being that the "What 3 words" was not accurate enough - bo11ocks! The second was an OAP fall and so I knew that I would be in for a long wait from the offset (broken neck, shoulder blade and hip I treated for and later confirmed by the casualty when they returned from hospital. Plus a couple of ribs under the Scapular that were not affecting her lungs and so I had not identified.)

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Quite ironic

        "their excuse being that the "What 3 words" was not accurate enough"

        What 3 words is indeed bollocks and should not be used nor relied upon. It's got so many problems it's not even funny. (For an explanation see here for example: Cybergibbons.com - Why what3words is not suitable for safety critical applications)

        So if, for whatever reason they misheard one of the words, it could very well be that "what 3 words" wasn't accurate enough. I certainly wouldn't rely on it. Even Googles +codes (Open Location Code) is a better system (It's not language dependent for example and it's not proprietary).

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Quite ironic

          "their excuse being that the "What 3 words" was not accurate enough"

          It's a good attempt though.

          Here in the rural bits of HRH's overseas dominions 3/4 of the roads are unnamed logging roads, towns are called things like "100mi house" (or presumably now "161km house"), even the roads with names are often called something different on the government maps, the signpost and by the locals.

          So having an accident halfway up a mountain and being asked for a street address and postcode by a remote call center isn't very useful. There is even a single official "Rural Area" postcode which covers close to 1M sq km and several islands.

          Reading a lat/long to an ambulance is probably more error prone than W3W - you did remember that your rural map is probably NAD83 and your phone's GPS is WGS84 didn't you ?

          1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

            Re: Quite ironic

            A recent adjustment to the numbering to road mail boxes around here made a street address in rural areas quite useful. Odd or even says whether you're on the north / east side of the road or south / west; first three digits say how far you are from the nearest settlement, to the closest 100m. Last digit allows people who share road reservations to cluster their boxes on the highway.

            1. Grey_Kiwi

              Re: Quite ironic

              They called that "Rural Fire Code" addressing when they introduced it where I worked & lived about 25 years ago.

              The Local Authority sent people out with GPS systems and mapped the end of each rural property's driveway. They then loaded that information into their GIS, allocated Rural Fire Codes to each property, and communicated the information to the property occupier (and to the owner if different) and to the Fire Service. The property occupier was also supplied with a reflectorised sign with their RFC on it to be fixed to the fence at their gateway.

              In the event of an emergency, the RFC told the fire fighters, ambulance crew & police where to drive to, and the associated GPS position told the helicopters where to fly to. It's probably saved quite a few lives over the years

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Quite ironic

                Someone in authority made changes that were actually useful? Sounds like an aberration that ought to be stamped out forthwith! Has anything similar happened since then or was that just a one-off?

          2. herman Silver badge

            Re: Quite ironic

            Not to forget that a GPS will send the ambulance to the wrong side of the mountain, because that road is horizontally through the mountain closer to you.

            1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Quite ironic

              If it's paying attention to roads, it's sat nav not plain GPS.

          3. PRR Silver badge

            Re: Quite ironic

            > Here in the rural bits of HRH's overseas dominions 3/4 of the roads are unnamed logging roads, towns are called things like "100mi house" (or presumably now "161km house"), even the roads with names are often called something different on the government maps, the signpost and by the locals.

            And even in the lands that old King George lost. Maine is full of logging roads. When E911 (expanded emergency call) arrived we were told to give all roads real names, but if nobody lived there the town clerks could not name them all. Yes, we have "6 Mile Falls", we have Red Rock Road on no map (local name for part of Crooked Road). Even Long And Winding Road. Some old gals died and the new owners named their driveway after their patriarch but it shows up left or right of "me" depending who last edited the mapping database. Where does Oak road turn into Bay road and then to Water ave?

            "You can't get there from heah!" is not just a topology problem, labels matter.

            > Reading a lat/long to an ambulance is probably more error prone than W3W - you did remember that your rural map is probably NAD83 and your phone's GPS is WGS84 didn't you ?

            AFAICT, bah. https://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/345360/regarding-nad83-versus-wgs84

            "There is little difference (within 1 meter of each other) between NAD83 and WGS84"

            So I send the coords of my busted head, and the blind ambulance driver finds my feet?

          4. My-Handle

            Re: Quite ironic

            I'm going to hazard a guess at northern British Columbia or the Yukon, Canada?

        3. Bebu Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Quite ironic

          I had no idea what these 'three words' were about - I imagined the casualty had a particularly choice selection of especially fruity language as one might having fallen from a moving motorcycle.

          England is so small you wouldn't think you would need this nonsense. AU on the other hand a lat/long might be required (or rescue beacon.) Actually I thought emergency services could determine the caller's location from cross referencing (triangulate) the signals from the surrounding cell towers.

          I can see the superfluous corduroy ashtrays burning in a chocolate fireplace. Stoked with magnesium a poker?

        4. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Quite ironic

          AND it doesn't take account of altitude... from a 22nd storey window though, that degree of accuracy rapidly becomes redundant. As, indeed, does a first aid certificate.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Quite ironic

      But does the AI know that?

    3. Vulch

      Re: Quite ironic

      At one company I was employed by I landed up being designated "Company Drug Pusher" as the admin lady had taken the required first aid course when we got large enough to need one, and as such she was no longer allowed to give people drugs of any kind. This meant the packets of aspirin, paracetemol and ibuprofen moved to one of my desk drawers and I let her know if they were getting low so she could buy replacements on petty cash.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: Quite ironic

        Came across that lot.

        Used to spend forever having to tell folk that now you know you can't, you can't! Give it to someone else

    4. Dabooka

      Re: Quite ironic

      5 downvotes? I wonder why?

      Work based first aid provision has been diluted down something rotten over the last 25 years and hardly resembles what used to be taught. Bearing in mind we now have to support and maintain a patient for much much longer than we used to, learning more than the basics condensed into a few hours is actually something that most folk would benefit from.

      You can easily be on for four hours plus. Nothing is taught to prepare people for that length of care anymore.

  9. Zarno
    Happy

    Oh goodness, where will he get that cert...

    My guess is it'll be a simple "sign here" of the paperwork to start the course, and end with the boss on a C-130 in some war torn land, having had said paperwork changed out for enlistment docs to the foreign legion.

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Its a cunning wheeze

    by the BoFH

    Where the 'first aid' course is run by a couple of ex army medics with a grim sense of humour.

    After achieving the certificate, the boss promptly resigns due to PTSD from the course, thus making himself redundant

    If its anything like the first aid course I did that is

    "Tell me again, how many office workers have you seen with injuries due to being shot with a 50 cal round then falling onto a box of landmines?"

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Its a cunning wheeze

      Ah yes, sounds like the hazardous environment/battlefield course I did one time. Including being kidnapped and shot... casualties missing limbs, explosive vomiting, the lot.

      Funny thing is, in spite of a thirty years wandering around the world into some highly dubious places, I never had occasion to use a work-provided first aid knowledge at work. A couple of RTAs, flying accidents, heatstroke at the beach, but never in the office.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Its a cunning wheeze

        Work place First Aid, worthy as it certainly is, is not about saving lives and preventing suffering. IMAO It's about ticking legal boxes to avoid being sued

    2. eldel

      Re: Its a cunning wheeze

      Though it should be said that if you've been hit almost anywhere by a 50 cal round any subsequent damage is somewhat superfluous.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Its a cunning wheeze

      "Tell me again, how many office workers have you seen with injuries due to being shot with a 50 cal round then falling onto a box of landmines?"

      That doesn't sound the like sort of incident that requires first aid. Unless the landmines are unarmed or you send them in with a bucket and a rake (brooms not much use outdoors).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Its a cunning wheeze

        It does sound like the opening salvo from HR in an interview with the BOFH

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Its a cunning wheeze

          More like the opening salvo from the BOFH. Which is only a diversion to let the PFY get close in with the grenades.

      2. Herby
        Coat

        Re: Its a cunning wheeze

        50 cal? Don't you mean 12.7 cal.

        Oh, sorry Brexit. Nevermind.

        1. Down not across

          Re: Its a cunning wheeze

          Caliber is at least one thing you can't blame Brexit for. Possibly more amusing is that US and UK caliber are not same (well neither are their gallons).

          1. eionmac

            Re: Its a cunning wheeze

            Or their 'billions'. Thus drug under dose or over dose by 1000 times.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Its a cunning wheeze

              The traditional UK usage of one billion = one million million was dropped in favour of the international definition back in the 70s.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Its a cunning wheeze

                Long billion and short billion. Similarly trillion.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. JohnTill123
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Its a cunning wheeze

            The naming of ammunition cartridges is one of those things that grew chaotically over the last century and a half.

            Example: The 22 Hornet (Later models), 222 Remington, 222 Remington Magnum, 223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, 224 Weatherby, 220 Swift, 22-250 Remington and several others all have the same actual caliber (bullet diameter): ".224 inches", although they are not interchangeable. The number in the name of the cartridge usually doesn't indicate the actual caliber! And that's just in the 224 caliber class.

            The ".303 British" so well known in English-speaking countries? The ".303 inches" is between the LANDS of the bore, not the diameter of the bullet. So the actual "caliber" is supposed to be .311 inches, but is known to vary between .311 and .312. Reloaders often run a lead slug down the bore and measure with a micrometer to get the correct bullet diameter for a specific rifle, to improve accuracy and avoid overpressure loads.

            So Brexit or no, "caliber" when referring to bullet diameter is always going to be an imprecise concept.

            1. Jemma

              Re: Its a cunning wheeze

              Overpressure load?

              Just stick a thumb in it...

      3. Bebu Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Its a cunning wheeze

        《being shot with a 50 cal round then falling onto a box of landmines?"

        That doesn't sound the like sort of incident that requires first aid. Unless the landmines are unarmed or you send them in with a bucket and a rake (brooms not much use outdoors).》

        Learning things today: 50 cal ~ 0.50 inches. Apparently a .50_BMG can really ruin your day. Alone a rake and bucket might be overkill but being in the middle of a crate of exploding land mines would spray the poor sod into a meaty hologram pasted over the surrounding vegetation and the landscape generally. I suspect a descent ladder would also be needed for the bits in the trees.

        Recently attended a minimalist first aid course - its all changed - out with the ABC, in with (I've forgotten) but I did learn how to use the Packer Whacker (AED) - bloody talkie toaster again. It seems you cannot use these on an unwilling victim or the BOFH would have so used one in contravention of several international treaties.

        Actually in these parts WH&S laws do appear to require nominated, accredited workplace first aid officers so BOFH's AI is apparently pretty much on the money unlike the ChatGPT's chocolate fireplaces.

        1. vogon00

          Re: Its a cunning wheeze

          +1 for the 'meaty hologram' - a wonderful description of the likely outcome:-)

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Its a cunning wheeze

          "I suspect a descent ladder would also be needed for the bits in the trees."

          I didn't they made one-way ladders! Although in the specified case, I think an ascent ladder might be of more use :-)

          1. James Wilson

            Re: Its a cunning wheeze

            Oh, a missing word in the spelling pedant post, that's just beautiful!

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Its a cunning wheeze

              "Oh, a missing word in the spelling pedant post, that's just beautiful!"

              It's not beautiful. It's the law!!! :-)

    4. Agamemnon

      Re: Its a cunning wheeze

      I think I took that course.

      I was Volunteer Fire/Search and Rescue (necessity, EMS was 45m away on a good day with ideal conditions in the Santa Cruz mountains so we looked after each other with our own fire house and trucks at the bottom of the road).

      We trained with Mountain Medicine (we get and patch you so we can move you, give you to MntnMedicine, they help you until Ambulance arrives (tho the MntnMedicine gals would probably have you in the back of a Subaru passing the ambulance on the way up doing twice the limit).

      The wounds were awesome! Typical camping stuff:

      * Smacked self with hatchet, lost fingers or gash in shin.

      * Set self ablaze because never used camping stove and white gas before.

      * Tripped and fell in stick with puncture wound through abdomen.

      Great stuff. (My parents are combat medics, I grew up with this stuff.)

      Counter Terrorism training for Airport events (I worked the Space Ship One launches for X-Prize to name one) was so BORING (and completely without the dark humor of medical stuff... which is how first responders survive mentally).

      S&R rocked.

  11. Grunchy Silver badge

    HAH. I got the first aid certificate, even joined the first aid committee… and I was still made redundant.

    (I was even named sole “Responsible Member” representing the firm’s engineering credential. Though it appears that once that person is removed the only action by the Association is to log the corporation as “deficient” in expectation they take remedial action, hopefully. Like when you never type in your Windows license code and Microsoft punishes you by making your desktop become “dark mode.”)

  12. SVD_NL Silver badge

    Basic math

    "Well, don't worry – because that's not AI. That's just simple math that anyone can do."

    BOFH should visit the colored pencil office sometime, branding an excel macro as "Sophisticated AI algorithm" increases the value a lot

  13. SuperGeek

    AI. Making pointless lives better.

    That's going on a T shirt!! ;)

  14. Z6

    Wonderful article. Reminded me of S. J. Perlman. I hurt myself laughing.

    This should be reprinted in Rolling Stone magazine, The Economist... and everywhere else.

    Brilliant writing.

  15. Disk0
    Thumb Up

    First aid

    As a test dummy

  16. Nifty

    My boss in the worst IT job I've ever worked in did mention at group meetings about his first-aid certification and re-certification. Long before all this ChatGPT stuff came along. Smart guy.

    Fast forward to now with all this WFH: I wonder of the certificate holders do call-outs.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like