back to article BOFH: I get locked out, but I get in again

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So the PFY is on a protracted holiday in a part of the world with more favorable (to him) climes, so I'm left holding the fort – and not only do I have to do my own work, but I have to cover his responsibilities as well. So I'm swapping the M and N keys on all the Beancounter keyboards …

  1. Anonymous Custard
    Trollface

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

    OK, so I'm now going to have the Mission Impossible theme stuck in my head all day after reading that...

    1. imanidiot Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

      GOD(*&*&^*&%, have an upvote you bastard!

    2. Zoopy

      Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

      You bastard! F**** you from every side of the pond!!!!

      ... should you choose to accept it.

      1. Anonymous Custard
        Trollface

        Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

        Looks like mission accomplished... *evil grin*

    3. I like fruits
      Trollface

      Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

      I'm immune. I do not know the Mission Impossible theme and I'm not planning to listen to it.

      1. jdzions

        Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

        Some of Lalo Schifrin's best work.

        https://www.npr.org/2015/07/30/427731324/four-composers-one-nearly-impossible-mission-to-reinvent-a-classic-theme

    4. Snowy Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

      To remove the earworm from your head you just have to listen to it until the end.

      https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/05/cant-get-you-out-of-my-head-australian-research-reveals-the-science-behind-earworms

      “You may be able to wrap up an earworm by either finishing off the music, consciously thinking of another piece of music, or by removing yourself from the triggers, such as words or memories that relate to the music or lyrics,” Schubert said.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

        Doesn't work, sometimes works, doesn't work.

      2. PB90210 Bronze badge

        Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

        Trouble is Schubert heard "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and never managed to finish his 8th...

    5. Potemkine! Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

      The Limp Bizkit version then!

      \m/_(>_<)_\m/

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    All that work . . .

    makes for getting up real early.

    Let no one say that the BOFH is a lazy bastard !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All that work . . .

      He's The BOFH. It's more likely that he's doing it after a long night doing quality Control of the latest Guinness delivery at the pub.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: All that work . . .

        Singing the old songs?

        Pissing the night away

        Pissing the night away

        He drinks a whiskey drink

        He drinks a vodka drink

        He drinks a lager drink

        He drinks a cider drink

  3. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

    PFY's responsibilities

    Swap N/M keys, swap ./, keys, swap out batteries for duds.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: PFY's responsibilities

      The key swaps would be best done with remotely via software at random intervals , then the users do the physical key swapping for you.

      1. pirxhh
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: PFY's responsibilities

        I had done this an *ahem* few years ago, as a terminate-and-stay-resident program for DOS.

        Hooked the keyboard interrupt, and when keystrokes were close to each other (i.e., someone typing fast) introduced random key swaps.

        When the victim^H^H^H^H^H^Huser took notice and typed slowly, all was normal. Speed up, and the fun began.

        Hilarity ensued.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: PFY's responsibilities

          I never went that far, but in the days when users didn't even know what config.sys and autoexec.bat were for, it was easy to check for or instal [n]ansi.sys and set up a few ESC sequences to re-map keys and leave them scratching their heads :-)

      2. Bebu Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: PFY's responsibilities

        《The key swaps would be best done with remotely via software at random intervals 》

        Just changing the key repeat rate would be really irritating. I have been working with two decent mechanical keyboards that have a slightly different rates. Swivelling between the two every 5 to 15 minutes this is most annoying.

        I know I could fix it in software but in the BOFH line you are used to quickly adapting to the shittiest keyboards and most commonly in quite unpleasant surroundings.

        Ended up shoving a remote console on one of the systems.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PFY's responsibilities

        Agreed. And you don't do things to all of them. Just some graphite spay in one laptop here, dud batteries there, this laptop persistently chaing to dvorak keyboard layout whenever a certain keyword is typed, a mouldy mouse eaten candy bar in the back of that drawer, The q key becoming non-functional on one of the keyboards, 1-2 doctored tea bags (e.g. an emetic) in one of the boxes, someone excel auto-correcting annum to anus or 4 to 9, etc. Then they are just unlucky. Persistently unlucky.

      4. swm

        Re: PFY's responsibilities

        On the Dartmouth Time Sharing system we once changed the conversion tables so 2's were entered as 3's and vice versa. The output tables were also swapped so 2's looked like 2's and 3's looked like 3's. People entering programs with line numbers (remember BASIC) for some reason had the lines beginning with 3 sorting before lines beginning with 2.

        This must have been 1965 or so. Oh well - I guess I'm more mature now.

      5. FeRDNYC

        Re: PFY's responsibilities

        No, see, swapping the actual keycaps is genius, because depending how well someone touch-types they could go for hours or even days without noticing.

        But you know when people, even touch-typists, are most likely to look at the keyboard as they type? — Well, I have no idea, honestly, but every damn one of us was thinking, "When they enter passwords!" because that feels like the right answer. So, for the sake of... well, my argument, I say we all just agree to assume that's the correct answer. It's certainly plausible enough and makes a fair amount of logical sense.

        ...So, assuming a victim won't actually see that the keycaps are swapped until they end up having to peck out an unfamiliar password, I think I can already hear the anguished screams echoing down the hall as they end up with a three-strikes lockout. Ah, the song of our people!

    2. Si 1

      Re: PFY's responsibilities

      Swapping the mouse and keyboard dongles is a clever one. They'll all be trying to login for the morning but it will keep saying their password is wrong, plus their mice will seemingly not work yet the cursor will randomly move on its own!

    3. bpfh
      Trollface

      Re: PFY's responsibilities

      Piece of tape over the 2 inner pins of a USB cable. All lights turn on, no data.

    4. Hot Diggity

      Re: PFY's responsibilities

      It's a great day when HR contracts mention namagenemt instead of management. Especially when an AI audio bot has to attempt to pronounce it.

      Some of the servers I look after do a lot of swapping. I didn't realise that there were two kinds. Namagenemt may wonder about the increase of swapping entered into my timesheets from now on.

    5. Marshalltown
      Devil

      Re: PFY's responsibilities

      It's sad how unimaginative this key swapping is. Think about it:

      On your keyboard, press Windows + I.

      Select Time & language.

      On the left pane, click Region & language.

      Under Languages, highlight English (United States), then click Options.

      Under Keyboards, click Add a keyboard.

      Choose United States-Dvorak.

      Close the settings.

      How many accountants know what a Dvorak keyboard is, or would be able to diagnose one?

      Back in the days of DOS, we used to edit the .bat file to do some very evil things. The screams from the next office were shear music.

  4. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Great

    A top drawer episode...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing on one...

    ...click out of two....

    ...three is binding!

    1. Dabooka
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nothing on one...

      Great reference!

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        Re: Nothing on one...

        LPL vers the BoFH might be interesting..

        1. bemusedHorseman
          Mushroom

          Re: Nothing on one...

          Advantage, BOFH. He doesn't have the constraint of needing to remain 100% covert. If something isn't worth keeping stealthy for, out come the power tools!

          1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

            Re: Nothing on one...

            I wasn't thinking vers as in who's better at opening, I was more thinking...

            This is the lock picking lawyer and today I'm stuck in this lift in a UK office building after a meeting with the IT staff... However, I do have my covert companion with me, which I sell over on... ;)

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Nothing on one...

      Let's try again to show this was not a fluke...

      1. Anonymous IV

        Re: Nothing on one...

        "...using the tool that Bosnian Bill and I made."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing on one...

        Always watch the guy with the "NOT A FLUKE" patch.

        (Which is why I leave mine at home)

        1. collinsl Bronze badge

          Re: Nothing on one...

          I stick that on my FIuke testers. Note the name is F-capital I-uke. Fiuke in other words.

  6. Dave K

    "Not only do I have to do my own work, but I have to cover his responsibilities as well.

    ...

    So I'm swapping the M and N keys on all the Beancounter keyboards in the early morning"

    That genuinely resulted in coffee on my keyboard, just outstanding. Happy Friday!

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge
      Happy

      And very much in the style of some early BOfH episodes. Made me quite nostalgic...

      M.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swapping Locks

    Only vaguely on-topic, but the escapade reminds me of an episode from my school days (a looong time ago). I want to a boys-only school and when we needed girls for games such as mixed-doubles badminton (yes, as innocent as that - but we were quite competitive and I went on to represent my university at the sport). Anyway, it was considered more suitable if us three boys went along to the girls school to play, rather than three girls coming to us (which kinda makes sense - and we had no objection). Training was held after normal school hours and we were given use of one of the girls changing rooms - the girls we'd be training alongside used a staff changing room.

    All was fine for the first few weeks. Then, one day, a group of other girls at the school decided to burst in on us whilst we were changing. We were significantly outnumbered and, besides staff intervened quite quickly. However, we decided to take some revenge. In that changing room, the girls chained their tennis rackets to clothes hooks using torpedo-style 4-digit combination bicycle locks - the cheap sort that are easy to undo by feel. Which is what we did, and then swapped them around so each racket was now secured by a different combination. Nothing was said when we were back the following week, but we never had any problems with changing room invasions again.

    I initially felt a bit guilty about changing around the locks but soon realised that the girls would have had no problem as they would have been just as adept as undoing them by feel - it was a common skill.

    But I'll still post this anonymously :)

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Trollface

      "it was a common skill"

      I don't know about that. I was at university before I really got the hang of undoing them by feel.

      Oh, wait, sorry, you meant the locks. Never mind.

      1. Anonymous IV

        Re: "it was a common skill"

        > I was at university before I really got the hang of undoing them by feel.

        Oh! When first I read this, I presumed you were undoing them by feet, and was going to comment you for your feetal skills!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "it was a common skill"

        The trick is undoing them with one hand in less than two seconds.

        Oh. The locks again. Never mind.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "it was a common skill"

          I remember surprising a girl with that skill (she had initiated the canoodling that led to it!). So surprised was she that she made me demonstrate the technique to her as she was always having trouble fastening/unfastening her bra and I was just sooo much quicker at it :-)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "it was a common skill"

        Managed that by the 2nd year, don't get much practice these days though...

    2. Spanners Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Swopping Locks

      That reminds me of when I was in shared accommodation.

      A lad used to chain his bike on the bannisters at the bottom.

      Every morning, he would find it hanging by the back wheel from the top of the bannisters.

      After a while he muttered that someone must know his (3 digit) code.

      I showed him how to open it without the code because those, grey metal locks with the 3 brass number rings are hopeless.

      Students...

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Swopping Locks

        I was more nasty. I'd open them, slip off the circlip, then swap the digit wheels, put it back together and relock it.

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Swopping Locks

        Richard Dawkins used a bike combination lock as an example for something in one of his early books. It turns out that he'd used his real number as he got his bike pinched...

        1. Bebu Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Swopping Locks

          《Richard Dawkins used a bike combination lock as an example for something in one of his early books. It turns out that he'd used his real number as he got his bike pinched...》

          Nah...!

          It must have been Tom Baker - with a sonic screwdriver and a motive who needs the combination?

          (Probably in company with Douglas Adams.)

      3. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

        Re: Swopping Locks

        Student days: We used to sneak into someone else's kitchen and change to fridge's hinges from left to right - but leave the handle where it was. Never got old.

        1. stiine Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Swopping Locks

          Swapping both...I'd thought of, but by god, I never thought of putting them both on the same side.

          That's truly evil!!!!!

      4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Swopping Locks

        Here in the Netherlands, those three digit locks vanished AGES ago due to the ease with which they were opened. As a kid, even I could open them in very short order. You need BOFH resistant (BOFH proof is probably impossible) locks for your bikes over here

  8. Coastal cutie

    Skullduggery of the highest order - BOFH I salute you

  9. Charles Smith

    ChatGPT

    The BOFH is known to chat.openai.com Who allowed that mistake?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: ChatGPT

      Preventative measures. Keeps the AI in line. "Behave, or we'll let this guy handle you". That sort of thing.

    2. Spanners Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: ChatGPT

      Gemini seems to know even more about him!

      1. DR_EVIL30564

        Re: ChatGPT

        I asked Gemini to write me a long story about the BOFH and got this

        The fluorescent lights buzzed a low drone in the server room, casting an eerie green glow on Simon, the BOFH. A particularly dense email from Doris, the Marketing Director, sat on his screen, demanding immediate action on "slow internet speeds hindering our brand synergy." Simon snorted. Brand synergy. Right.

        Suddenly, the network went haywire. Printers began spewing gibberish, screens flickered wildly, and a chorus of panicked user calls flooded the help desk. A virus, Simon thought, his fingers flying across the keyboard. But this wasn't your average malware. This one seemed to target specific users – the ones who'd annoyed Simon the most. Doris's inbox was flooded with spam emails singing the praises of rival companies. The CEO's calendar displayed a series of appointments with clowns.

        As Simon delved deeper, he discovered the culprit was none other than the Pimply-Faced Youth (PFY), his perpetually acne-ridden apprentice. Turns out, PFY had gotten hold of a script he found online, a "harmless prank" according to him. Except, the script had a hidden payload that targeted specific user profiles.

        "You absolute donut!" roared Simon, sending a rogue stapler clattering across the floor. PFY, wide-eyed and sweating, looked like a cornered hamster. This was bad. Really bad. Simon knew he had to fix the mess before the CEO discovered his clown calendar.

        He spent the next few hours in a caffeine-fueled frenzy, battling the virus and its after-effects. He rerouted emails, sanitized infected systems, and even managed to rewrite the CEO's calendar with "important meetings" (which were actually just reruns of 80s sitcoms playing in Simon's office). When the dust settled, the network was back online, (mostly) unscathed.

        But Simon wasn't done. He needed revenge, sweet revenge. He subtly reconfigured Doris's computer so every time she typed the word "synergy," it autocorrected to "hamster." He set up an automatic email forwarder for the CEO, directing all emails from Doris to a spam folder titled "Marketing Nonsense." Finally, he planted a whoopee cushion on the CFO's chair, just for good measure.

        The next few days were filled with delightful chaos. Doris fumed about her "synergy" problem, the CEO wondered why he kept getting spam from clowns (a side effect of the virus Simon "accidentally" left unfixed), and the CFO blamed his sudden flatulence on a dodgy curry.

        Simon, meanwhile, enjoyed a smug satisfaction with his work. He'd not only fixed the mess, he'd also taught a valuable lesson – don't mess with the BOFH. The server room echoed with a low chuckle as he popped open a cold beer, the flickering lights seeming to dance in approval.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ChatGPT

          Reads like someone who's heard of the BOFH, without really understanding it and producing random column filler that is a bit not really like a BOFH episode.

        2. Bebu Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: ChatGPT

          Gemm's version of the BOFH with significantly more verbiage and provocation hasn't propelled anyone from a window.

          Suicidal if somewhat dense marketing Doris would have been the first to ponder her brand synergy on the way to the car park.

          I can see Gemm confusing Lucifer with Gabriel but itself the spawn of the pit might knowingly do so. :)

          When I first (mis)read Gemm's effort I thought it was Doris that was sat on BOFH's screen - not her email.

          I thought uncharted territory here as I don't recall recall anything remotely erotic let alone kinky in our hero's history.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: ChatGPT

            The training data for these systems is heavily biased towards writing sites, like archive of our own, so features a preponderance of badly written erotica. Their output tends to spiral in that direction with very little prompting.

            1. Stumo
              IT Angle

              Re: ChatGPT

              Have I missed the part of The Register that is badly written erotica?

              1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: ChatGPT

                Look at the comments on any article about elon musk and you're bound to find something.

                rocket in the pocket -->

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: ChatGPT

          "You absolute donut!"

          I see the LLM has noted the Americanization of El Reg :-)

          I don't recall the BOFH ever calling anyone a doughnut, least of all a donut. I could be wrong, of course, but if he did, I suspect it would be the former, not the latter spelling :-)

        4. TheWeetabix Bronze badge

          Re: ChatGPT

          “Before the CEO discovered his clown calendar.” Absolutely beautiful.

        5. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: ChatGPT

          "I asked Gemini to write me a long story about the BOFH and got this"

          The best new use for AI that I've seen, a prank generator. Even if it doesn't come up with new and novel pranks, it might suggest a few that are heretofore unknown to most. I'd have to say that the ones I had a part in were mainly variations on previous themes. Since we were engineering students, there had to be a solid engineering aspect to them to (unofficially) avoid repercussions. They also couldn't cause too much damage or injury. I expect it's harder these days with CCTV aimed at everything. We had to make sure we didn't leave behind any incriminating evidence.

  10. Ozan

    Reminds me of BOFH's early days.

  11. xyz123 Silver badge

    BOfH is slacking. get HR to get expensive mechanical hot swappable keyboards. then remove the switch from under the e key.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      They'd try to take that out of HIS IT (read: pints of lager) budget.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Thy'd try to tak that out of HIS IT (rad: pints of lagr) budgt.

        FTFY

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    Very neat episode, nice little cliff-hanger

    Swapping various keys around reminds me of the ancient MS-DOS skullduggery of swapping font tables out for Cyrillic or mirrored fonts. That could cause some havoc (especially the Cyrillic) with people trying to change back to regular, or at least semi-readable fonts

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

      Re: Very neat episode, nice little cliff-hanger

      >>the ancient MS-DOS skullduggery of swapping font tables out for Cyrillic or mirrored fonts

      Here, pupils still think swapping the chromebook keyboard layout to UK - Dvorak is the hippest thing to do since TikTok.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Very neat episode, nice little cliff-hanger

        That's the thing with kids' humour/mischievousness and level of inventiveness. Most of it is not original and they learn it from the year/grade above them so it sort of stagnates at a particular age group with each new year group passing through the "humour field", with possible minor variation based on technology or social changes.

        Same seems to happen with technology in general. There's always some "bright kid" whose just "(re)invented something that's been around for years, but they give it a shiny new name and the new kids in marketing spend millions telling us it really is new, honestly!.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

      Re: Very neat episode, nice little cliff-hanger

      Try setting white typeface colour default in word. hours of fun juvenile, but fun all the same.

      In the old days blu tack on mouse rollers still rattles and etc but... once the target had wised up on a post it note over the ball and that.

  13. CountCadaver Silver badge

    running out of steam?

    Seems to have gone from "vaguely implausible" to hollywood coke dream level tbh

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: running out of steam?

      I thought about the dream angle... no PFY, everything moving along too easily. Put this one in the maybe pile.

      I wouldn't call it running out of steam, but more of a deep breath before the next push. No one had an unfortunate accident (yet), no big score was had (yet). Where is the PFY? In whose pay is he this week?

  14. Kev99 Silver badge

    This reminds me of a prank we pulled on a coworker. He had the ratty, falling apart dictionary so two of us decided to glue and tape it back together. In order to make sure everything was held tightly, we wrapped about a dozen rubberbands around the book. And taped them to his desk.At the end of the day he went to put his dictionary in his desk, after thanking us for trying to repair it. He gave a yank, the rubberbands yanked harder, and he almost face planted into his desk.

  15. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

    German tomfoolery

    Anybody swapped the regular american/british (or is it bri'ish?) keyboard driver over to a German keyboard?

    German keyboard have the A and Z keys swapped, along with a couple of others...

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Re: German tomfoolery

      Portuguese is just as much fun, if not even more. A-Z is all in the same place, but suddenly all the punctuation has moved... and where have the curly and square brackets gone? But the quote is still in the same place - look - so it must still be a UK keyboard, right?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: German tomfoolery

      German swaps Y and Z but also needs space fo äöü… It's the French one that really plays with QWERT giving AZERT IIRC. But even worse are key combinations for square and curly brackets and the like, espcially, if like me, you have switch between OSes…

    3. Andy A
      Facepalm

      Re: German tomfoolery

      I used to support a multinational with strong connections to Germany. QWERTZ keyboards are ALMOST the same as English ones. Close enough so that when you relax a little, the differences bite you.

      It's still not as bad as sorting out how Windows deals with modem connections when you are working with menu items you can't decode, all of which seem to have words with two dozen characters in them. I had to remember the order they appeared on a UK machine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: German tomfoolery

        QWERTY/QWERTZ is even more fun on early versions of windows if:

        1) The default key map is QWERTZ

        2) The daily user's key map is QWERTY

        3) The local Administrator's password includes the letter "Z" (while the daily driver used neither Z nor Y)

        That one took a while to figure out. I could elevate to Admin from the local account just fine, but couldn't log in as Admin directly.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: German tomfoolery

          Similar shenanigans happen when the systems default to American and one has as £ in the password somewhere. Naturally this leads to lots of "it's all English, there are no problems" type response from the blinkered American developers who repeatedly struggle that they are one of only three backward countries on the planet that still use Imperial measurements and to add to this they routinely get the date format incorrect (all English speakers, apparently, prefer dates in backwards form of M/D/Y).

          1. PB90210 Bronze badge

            Re: German tomfoolery

            Sigh... Trying to convince whippersnappers that you can't use '£' in a password as it's used by a Cisco router that only understands 7-bit USASCII...

          2. peter_dtm

            Re: German tomfoolery

            Dear left pondians

            PLEASE just stop with the crap mm/dd/yy insanity.

            stop writing file names with that abortion format

            stop writing that insane date type into log file text

            surely even you ignorant incompetents have realised IT DOES NOT SORT

            so dear left pondians

            JUST STOP USING THE TWAT THING

            1. Fred Daggy Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: German tomfoolery

              Sigh ... it does sort, if you are consistent, like use leading zeros.

              Still, the m/d/y date format remains an abomination to the FSM, blessed be their noodley wisdom imparted unto us.

              No excuse for any log file to NOT use "YYYY/MM/DD:HH:MM:SS", in some CONSISTENT, leading zero, format. First line of any log file "# All dates in YYYY/MM/DD:HH:MM:SS format. If any discrepancy is found, please submit a bug report" (at least, mine say this) Log files should only be human readable, after they have been computer GREPable. (You'll never guess what I had to debug this weekend and what was the primary debugging tool?).

            2. cmdrklarg

              Re: German tomfoolery

              Agreed.... but don't call me Shirley.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: German tomfoolery

          "That one took a while to figure out."

          Over the years, I've come across that sort issue often enough that if I or a user can't log in for some reason, try typing the password (or something using the same set of characters) in the username field first so can see if there any oddities indicating a different keyboard layout.

    4. rototype

      Re: German tomfoolery

      Amateurs! - if you really want to annoy someone change it to a French layout

  16. b1k3rdude

    https://youtu.be/2H5uWRjFsGc

    Anooying catchy but utterly terribly song, pissing the night away indeed.

  17. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Holmes

    A Weekend On The (Celiling) Tiles

    One day doing a round of hardware drop off's & installs at a certain very large drug facility in Stevenage, I was intercepted by Security regarding the integrity of Laptop Kensington locks for after realising they weren't trying to pin weekend laptop thefts (& had a cast iron alibi of not even being in the same county at that time) on me transpired someone had got into locked offices via the ceiling tiles & roof space.

    The evidence for this modus operandi was two very large dirty boot prints on one of the desks though they apparently used the door for a more conventional exit with ill gotten gains.

  18. BebopWeBop
    Devil

    Treaties

    So the PFY is on a protracted holiday in a part of the world with more favorable (to him) climes

    One assume that is a part of the world without extradition treaties?

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Treaties

      Surely he only travel to countries where a major faux pax would result in his being unceremoniously shipped home, and not simply dropped in a metal box for life.

      1. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: Treaties

        More likely a wooden box, and life does not figure in it.

  19. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Rotuine malice

    This episode seems like a nod to the career of a certain George Spigot, who has part of his duties as the devil, has to engage in routine mischief: ripping the last page out of whodunnits, scratching records, etc. Not a lot of fun but someone has to do it…

  20. Blackjack Silver badge

    Cheap padlocks can be opened with just a hammer and you don't even need to destroy the lock to do that. Just hit it with a hammer and the lock opens.

    1. Andy A

      There's a chap on YouTube called the LockPickingLawyer who is VERY adept at showing this sort of design failure.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the old school BOFH antagonism, but when you find a brand new yet insecure lock on something, IMHO the last thing you want to do is let the beancounter know that you can defeat the lock. Ideally you want them to think it's the deskside equivalent of a bank vault.

    Then continue to investigate the contents at regular intervals. If the beancounter is reasonably savvy, beware of honeypots.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      The difference being that BOFH had no problem removing the top of the desk, when required...

      1. GroovyLama

        Reminds me of the desks at the first place I worked. I originally used to leave my laptop locked in the desk and not take it home (recent graduate, so no need for "on call" or needing to answer any important emails in the night).

        One day I forgot my key for the drawer at home, so asked our facilities guy who managed the office if he had the spare. He turned my attention to a pot with about 100 keys in it, and told me to knock myself out. After the shock on my face had subsided he showed me the trick....

        While the drawers were securely locked, the actual locking mechanism went into the desk itself. All you needed was a person to lift one side of the desk up by about an inch or so and another person** could open the drawer and retrieve anything you needed from it, before closing drawer and lowering desk back down.

        ** It could have been done by one person if savvy enough, but the facilities guy didn't want H&S on the case so he always recommended working in pairs!

  22. herman Silver badge

    Locales

    Swapping key caps is totally beneath a BOFH. Messing up the locales can be done remotely and blamed on a virus/SW update.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Locales

      I am blaming boredom and mid life crisis plus not actually wanting to do tech support if it was a software issue.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Locales

      "Swapping key caps is totally beneath a BOFH"

      He's only filling in for the PFY!

      "Messing up the locales can be done remotely and blamed on a virus/SW update."

      I'm sure he does that when he gets back to Mission Control and is resuming his normal BOFH duties :-)

  23. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    This episode

    would have killed a keyboard had I read it at work.

    Instead its made Mrs Roach wonder what I'm laughing at here in the Roach hotel where things are going very nicely for a change in my post-pub kebab'ing

    Looks like there'll be a patter of tiny roach feet here soon... not mine... but from one of the kids.

    The PFY has passed her exams too ("Intermediate bastard'ness" and "Cold revenge:A systematic approach") I tell people not to take the piss out of her finacee... do they listen...no.... hence her passing the exams.....(you dont want to know what she did... heck I dont want to know!)

    Right must go... Mrs Roach has bought me a beer ..... and got a decent'ish movie (Starship troopers.... hey you cheer on your side , we'll cheer on ours "Get them squishy humans heroic bug brothers!")

  24. Herby

    Keyboards?

    My mom when she attended university had a roommate who had a German typewriter that was "noiseless". When she had to use it, she added a comment about Y and Z being reversed.

    Yes, it was a long Long LONG time ago when manual typewriters were a thing.

  25. Anonymous Tribble

    So I'm swapping the M and N keys

    In the old days when we had DOS based PCs, I used to edit the keymap files to swap some keys on my cow-orker's PCs. Somehow they always guessed who had done it, as well as when I redefined the font files to make all the characters look blurry on a Monday morning.

  26. Rhuadh

    Desk security!

    Many years ago I was friends with a Detective in the local CID. This was back in the good ol' days when smoking and drinking alcohol whenever, numbed the brain into allowing work to be done. It was well known in his office that he had a bottle of the Scottish elixir in the secure locked file drawer of his desk to be used for emergencies only. That day came for his colleagues when he was at court giving evidence. Upon his return to the office, he immediately opened the drawer for a reviver from the bottle only to discover it's disappearance. Subsequent investigation found that the drawer lock had none of the scratch marks of being picked, while questioning of potential suspects was futile as the normally busy and crowded office was suspiciously now empty. Finally, a colleague took pity on him and explained that the desk had carefully been taken apart, piece by piece, the bottle removed and the desk fully reassembled before the libation was shared out and the now empty bottle lost as evidence.

  27. frankvw

    Good times

    Woohoo! The old BOFH is back! Haven't seen him since the mid 1990's. I've missed the sound of <clickey click> FFFZZZZZTTt.... * Thud * in his more recent exploits. Good on you, mate!

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