back to article BOFH: A security issue, you say? Activate code tangerine

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "Someone keeps submitting an unfit response," the Boss sniffles in response to a question I wish I'd never asked about his feedback survey. "Really?" the PFY says. "How?" "Mostly they paste that Lorem Ipsum stuff and then on the last question they attach a picture of crudely drawn male …

  1. rockpile99

    One of the best for a while - I must remember the QR code trick next time senior manglement suggest a survey.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      What, you suggest to remember to make a QR code from genital pictures?

      1. Korev Silver badge

        That'd be a dick move...

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          I'd be careful about doing that, it could be a sac'ing offence.

          1. JimboSER

            You're saying he doesn't have the balls to do it?

  2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Code Tangerine?!?

    I was sure there was gonna be some sort of veiled reference to Florida Man in there somewhere! Kinda disappointed that there wasn't!

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Code Tangerine?!?

      I was hoping for a "Are you sure? It does mean changing the lightbulb"

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Wonderful episode once again!

    "A man who – more than once – glued a tinfoil cutout of a pistol between the pages of the Boss's journal when he knew he had an upcoming flight."

    Brilliant detail

    1. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: Wonderful episode once again!

      Going to have to remember that one.

    2. 9Rune5

      Re: Wonderful episode once again!

      I got completely stuck on that one.

      I actually feel a bit stupid for not thinking of that myself. Has the tinfoil cutout been attempted in real life? I feel like I'm missing out here.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Wonderful episode once again!

        What? You're saying BOFH isn't real life?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonderful episode once again!

        Well, my boss is off on a work trip next week, so lets find out if it works!

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: Wonderful episode once again!

          Use lead foil for better contrast.

          and multiply the layers here and there to create an impression of 3d volume*.

          Report results in Who-Me?

          *: Sadly not functional in 3d based scanners.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wonderful episode once again!

            Sadly not functional in 3d based scanners.

            Use smaller airports, they have less of a security budget. Thus having to book the boss on Ryanair "for economy reasons" just adds to the fun..

            1. ariels-again

              Re: Wonderful episode once again!

              Say, merely for the same if serving, that I booked my boss onto Ryanair "for economy reasons". I would certainly not want them to miss that flight!

        2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: Wonderful episode once again!

          It would be better to borrow from an earlier BOFH. Put in an alarm clock with some curly wires attached, and insert a metallic cutout that has some curly script on it. When they find all this, they'll need to search for the rest of the bomb using a pair of <SCHWACK!!!> rubber gloves.

          1. Joe W Silver badge

            Re: Wonderful episode once again!

            The tinfoil-cutout _is_ an idea from an earlier episode (bugger'd if Iknew whcih one)

      3. stiine Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Wonderful episode once again!

        If you didn't think of that when they first announced x-ray machines at airports, you need to delete your account, turn in your badge, and stand next to the window.

        When they started putting x-ray machines in airports, I had the idea to sell mylar sheets with rude words done in alumininium paint that you could put in your suitcase. And then two seconds later I thought that cute phrases would be more profitable. A second after that I thought that philsophical questions like "What would you have done if this was a bomb?" would be even better.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Wonderful episode once again!

          These days you'll be locked up for even thinking about writing "What would you have done if this was a bomb?" in metal , let alone doing it! apparently.

          ... or maybe those hysterical scare stories in the Daily Mail about people being refused access because picture of gun on T-shirt were exaggerated.

          1. Dizzy Dwarf

            Re: Wonderful episode once again!

            In metal? Like this?

            "Whät wöüld yöü hävë dönë ïf thïs wäs ä bömb?"

            1. tezboyes

              Re: Wonderful episode once again!

              Or in Death Metal - ah yeah, nobody would be able to read it ...

          2. parlei Bronze badge

            Re: Wonderful episode once again!

            Back in the 70s (or early 80s) a Swiss business traveller made a joke at Stockholm Airport "I'll put the bomb here" as he put his keys on the tray when passing the checkpoint. IIRC it ended with some time in the arrest, a fine and an entry ban.

            1. oldstevo

              Re: Wonderful episode once again!

              I dated a customs official back in the day and her response to these type of statements was that they "officially we have no sense of humour, please go with the gentlemen with the rubber gloves" who will see to you!

        2. parlei Bronze badge

          Re: Wonderful episode once again!

          Except of course the word "bomb" is not ok. They are expected not to have a sense of humour when it comes to that topic.

      4. TheWeetabix

        Re: Wonderful episode once again!

        When I was a Sparky, some buildings would have lead foil if they had been some kind of medical office, or if they had carried old style radio electronics in the ceiling. That would’ve been an absolute delight to use for this.

    3. mmmcurry

      Re: Wonderful episode once again!

      I'll have to try that the nest time the Mrs goes on holiday, give myself a longer holiday...

    4. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: Wonderful episode once again!

      That stick-on lead flashing works better :)

    5. Herby

      Re: Wonderful episode once again!

      The cutout in lead sheet works much better, I'm told. Especially when hidden in the liner of a briefcase. Don't forget a "spring" (wound up length of solder) in the proper places in the handle. Gotta be "accurate".

      1. ITMA Silver badge

        Re: Wonderful episode once again!

        Some years ago, back when the IRA were active in the UK, I was working for a printer manufacturer and had a visit to the Lloyds building in central London to support one of our sales "execs" - that's the building with all the plumbing on the outside.

        We did get some funny looks from building security carrying in printer toner which came in foot long "tubes" sealed in silver metalic plastic - a range of printers where toner and drum were seperate.

        Probably didn't help saying (in a bad Irish accent) "Can you pass the semtex"....

  4. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward


    >>"NO NEED TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF! All I needed was the words SECURITY ISSUE. We can do anything we like if it's a security issue. We can isolate someone in a darkened lift between floors for several hours if there's a threat to human safety!"<<

    When I read that, I just knew somebody's going to be stuck in a lift...

    ...and yup.

    >>>>> off for a good one whilst the Bosse is sodding himselfe in ye stucke lifte. (and perchance empty out ye olde biscotti machinne).

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Thumb Up


      Absolutely. It was either going to be a hapless beancounter, but much more likely the boss

    2. mmmcurry


      Are you sure sir, it does mean changing the bulb.

      1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge


        NO!, thats Code Nectarine

        1. JimboSER

          Re: CODE TANGERINE

          Based on the description of the attached drawing, seemed like it was a code eggplant to me.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    And theres me

    expecting the lift to have arrived, the doors open and the boss steps in........ only to find the lift is at the floor above.....

    A nice code brown from the boss until he turns into a code red.

  6. crosenblum

    BOFH has been going on 25 years....

    Thank you Simon and BOFH, and PFY for making our fridays better and more tolerable.

    I know that it is less than easy to put in that effort every week, then every other week.

    I know someday this will be gone, but til then my Cattle Prod is raised in salute to you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOFH has been going on 25 years....

      my Cattle Prod is raised in salute to you

      OK, that's just the weirdest name for the male appendix ever. But it does explain why "cattle prod" was written with capital letters..


    2. VicMortimer

      Re: BOFH has been going on 25 years....

      Has it really been 25 years since I was working helpdesk at an ISP whose unofficial motto was "putting pedestrians on the information superhighway"?

      Crap. I guess it has.

    3. The other JJ

      Re: BOFH has been going on 25 years....

      Over thirty if you count the 'Striped Irregular Bucket' stories first posted to Usenet in 1992 and which morphed into the BOFH a year or two later.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BOFH has been going on 25 years....

        If found those posts stored as text files on an AIX server that was installed in 1993.

        Happily, I was hired at the same time to help with the process of getting everyone to switch to the new system, and finding those files became my guiding principle.

        No, I wasn't supposed to have access to the admin menu on that server, or at all, really. I was just supposed to set up the PCs with the correct networking stuff.

        Who even adds stuff like that to an 'administrative menu system'?

  7. Persona Silver badge

    Anonymous Survey

    We had one of those. My suspicions were first aroused when I got a reminder informing me that I hadn't done the anonymous survey.

    The confirmation was hearing the head of IT phoning a minion about one of the answers they had given.

    Never trust a survey that purports to be anonymous.

    1. Mike007

      Re: Anonymous Survey

      Is this a GDPR violation?

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Anonymous Survey

      You could design it so it records who submitted a response separately from the actual responses, though time-tags might de-anonymise that easily...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anonymous Survey

        That is supposedly what they do. And as you point out it breaks anonymity. Same as when there is compulsory questions about age and gender. But of course I trust you to group the data before you send it to my boss. Of course I trust you on this, it says here in the Employee Handbook that must...

    3. tezboyes

      Re: Anonymous Survey

      Of the anonymous survey, that ends up asking a whole bunch of demographics at the end.

      As whatever the split, odds are you will be the only person with that specific combination...

    4. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Anonymous Survey

      And that's why I give them the answers they're looking for, not honest answers.

    5. NickHolland

      Re: Anonymous Survey

      long time ago at a sh*t-hole job, they sent out an "anonymous survey" for all employees.

      The company owned a (failing) anonymous survey company...and they hired themselves to do our "anonymous survey".

      My boss said he wasn't going to fill it out, because he didn't trust 'em.

      I pointed out that while they did nothing to earn our trust, there were only three people in the company with access to the servers that would be able to pull out the logs and make sense of them to trace 'em back to a particular person -- and he and I were two of them (and #3 was not going to cause problems for us).

      Personally, I fill 'em out, honestly and truthfully. If I can't back up something I'm saying, then I don't say it. If they try to turn it against me, so be it. But if no one says what is wrong, it won't get fixed.

  8. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    & Our Survey Said

    So we had an annoymous* employment engagement\moral survey at RACAL (It's been 28 years).

    They forbade two departing employees** who were going the next day from taking it.

    I wasnt very popular when I mentioned that despite all assurances of anonymity, our team consisted of eight people (Who all held a universal dislike of our micro-managing & full of his own self importance manager) it would hardly be anonymous it would be obvious as to which team the employees were on & the focus of our total loathing*** by the size of our small team.

    *Pun intended.

    **Funny how virtually every single tech there applied for the role - Which actually was commented on at the interview.

    ***He got himself on a half day management course at Plymouth & so he was scheduled to leave 45 mins before lunch, but every week he would leave 10 - 15 minutes earlier to visit his side piece to the point where he was gone by 8.05 (He also used to slip off for about 2 - 3 hours to be with her while on nights). We of course said nothing elsewhere, keeping it our team's knowing secret.

    Alas the week came that I was off ill & the deputy manager popped down to ask about something of him around 8.45, my colleagues answered truthfully "Hmmm I think Andy's gone to his course in Plymouth, as he's usually gone by now." Manager turned a funny shade of red & summoned him for a "chat" (Pre-cellphone boom, possibly by ringing his wife at home (Ohhh dear) or at the college for his arrival) the next day.

    Fortunately during that week off work related illness I applied for a couple of jobs & got myself two job interviews for the following week, one resulted in a job offer. I later heard he'd gone to Swindon to distance himself from the lady concerned.

  9. Bebu Silver badge

    engagement\moral survey?

    Moral or morale?

    Based on Andy's detours to his totty from his Plymouth course it could plausibly be either.

    "gone to Swindon to distance himself from the lady concerned" so she indoors got to hear about his bit on the side?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: engagement\moral survey?

      Is ending up in Swindon "cruel and unusual punishment"?

  10. Blackjack Silver badge

    As someone who knows how much elevator maintenance costs, the BOFH and PFY better hide their tracks well or the accounting apartment may decide they are both "too old" and need replacing.

    Also the janitor is getting tired of cleaning the elevators of certain organic fluids, if he wanted that kind of job he would be working at a gas station or a public school.

    So you know "someone" could wax the floor and leave the door open to certain room full of certain chemicals then pull the fire alarm...

    1. Zoopy

      Okay, I'll bite.

      How much DOES elevator maintenance cost?

      1. Evil Scot

        According to my mums landlord

        Inspection £1500

        Repairs £2500

        Maintainence £500

  11. M7S

    Surely the wrong kind of fruit...

  12. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    "that's an old code"

    But it checks out.

    (No forest moon of Endor icon.)

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