B.O.F.H. #7 & #8
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 96 02:38:09 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: B.O.F.H. #7 & #8
[Again, for those of you who missed it, episodes 1 through 6 of the Bastard
Operator From Hell can be found in the Fun_People Archives for May of 1993...
The Bastard Operator from Hell #7
So I manage AT LONG LAST, to get a couple of hours off for lunch, AND,
because I can't leave my desk unattended, I get the janitor in and have him
sit in my chair. I tell him that all he has to do is make sure the receiver
doesn't accidentally get put back on the hook. He agrees and I'm off.
First stop, the bank. I change a $50 note into coins and then ask to see a
balance of my account. Then I yank the power lead out of the teller's vdu.
It dies. I say I'm in a hurry and is the manager around?
He rolls over like a man-sized twinkie and asks what the problem is. I say
that all I want is a balance of my accounts. I cross my fingers. YES! He
finds the vdu lead out, plugs it in, and logs in, TO THE MANAGER'S ACCOUNT.
Now's my chance - I slip up against the counter, slopping 200 coins across
the counter. The manager ignores it, but all the tellers dive for the money.
I watch, unobserved, as the manager types in his password at the breakneck
speed of one character a minute. At that rate I should've got $100 worth....
He finishes typing. "MONEY". What a toughy! Well, that's my mortgage taken
care of tonight...
A user that I recognise from "D(eletion)-Day '89" approaches. I think he's
going to talk to me!! Even the bank manager is shaking his head furiously.
But it's too late, he stops.
"Um, excuse me, Could you tell me what is the best computer to buy to do my
"You've heard of Commodore 64's?" I ask
"Avoid them like the plague! Not many people know this, but computers aren't
made to handle that much memory - it's over 64,000 things, more in some
cases. It's a recipe for disaster!"
"Try something safe and proven. A ZX81 with dual cassette drive if you can
get it. The 1K ram model. Write that down. Don't buy a disk drive - You know
how they're always failing, but music cassettes last forever!"
"No worries. What was your username again?"
He tells me. Just in time for D-Day 92. You'd think they'd learn.
I get back to work and the janitor's asleep at the terminal. I ask him if
he wants to work here too, but he likes the ability to bust in on people
when they're in the toilet...
I put the phone back on the hook, and straight away it rings. I hate it when
it does that, it takes me AGES to get my walkman phones in.
It's the hottest hosemonster I've ever met, and she's got a computer
problem! I love it when that happens!
"What's your username?" I ask
She tells me (as if I didn't know)
Quick as I can I read all her e-mail (mostly boring stuff), then grep
everyone else's mail files for her username. Nothing. Excellent!
"What's the problem?" I ask, all smiles and charm.
"I can't save my documents, it says something about space."
"Not a problem for long" I say, and delete everyone else on the same disk
as her. "You should be fine now.."
"Thank you so much" she gushes. I make a mental note to do something to her
account again tomorrow. "No worries."
The phone rings almost before I've got it on the hook.
"My files are all gone!" a voice whines out at me.
"When did this happen?" I ask.
"Just now..." he says, through the tears
"I see. Well, I wouldn't worry, there's three days till the end of the
semester, if you work day and night until then, you should get at least a
He sobs a couple more times then hangs up. What a wimp.
THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN!
"The screen on my PC is really dim" The woman at the other end says "Should
I wind the brightness knob up?"
"NO!" I scream "Don't touch that knob! Have you any idea of the radiation
that comes out of that thing when the knob gets wound up?!!!!"
"Well I..." she says, all uncertain
"TAKE MY ADVICE!" I say "There's only ONE way to fix a dim display, and
that's by power surging the drivers"
The words "power surging" and "drivers" have got her. People hear words like
that and go into Dummy Mode and do ANYTHING you say. I could tell her to
run naked across campus with a powercord rammed up her backside and she'd
probably do it... Hmmm...
"Have you got a spare power cord?"
"Oh well, never mind, we'll have to do the power surge idea... Ok, quick as
you can, I want you to flick the power switch of your PC on and off 30
"Should I take my disks out?"
"NO! Do you want to lose all your data!?!"
"Oh! NO! Ok.."
I listen carefully.. ..
...clicky..clikcy...clikky.. .. .. ...clicky. ...cliccy.. . . BOOM!
Amazing, it probably made it to 27 - the power supply usually shits itself
at 15 or so...
"MY COMPUTER BLEW UP!!!" she screams at me down the line
"Really? Must've been a dodgy power supply! Lucky we found out now! Is your
machine still under warranty?"
"Dear oh dear. Well, Best get it repaired then. Did you backup your files?"
"Yes, to the system, Yesterday, but all this morning's work is gone!"
"Oh dear. What was your username, I'll just check that your backups worked
She tells me....
The Bastard Operator from Hell #8
I'm at my desk as usual, and a user calls.
"Hello Computer Room, Simon here, How can I help?" I answer
"I can't get into my account!" A user mumbles at me.
"What was your username please?" I say
They give me their username. No worries. I look in their account.
"No worries, it was just a badly made login file. I've fixed it, you should
be able to login."
"No worries. Have a nice day!"
WHAT IS THIS? you're asking yourself. Has the Bastard Operator from Hell
turned over a new leaf? Sold out?! GONE INSANE?!!! Nope. The Bastard
Operator from Hell is being LOGFILED. And if that's happening, I'm being
bugged as well. So I'm being nice till I can find the bugs. It shouldn't be
long - bear with me.
Ah. One in the phone handpeice. Basic. But then the boss is a sneaky sort,
so there's probably a couple more. Ah! And another in the base of the phone
and one inside my keyboard. Time for a mad coffee-spilling frenzy. This is
a big job, so I bring the whole jug over and wait for a witness. The System
Manager comes in.
"Where's that report of mine?" he asks in a surly manner - he's obviously
pissed that I haven't implicated myself yet. Antagonist Identified. As the
Principal of "BASTARD OPERATOR SCHOOL" (me) will tell you, "There's no
problem so large it can't be solved by killing the user off, deleting their
files, closing their account and reporting their REAL earnings to the IRS"
I pull his printout from under the coffee jug where I put it, and the coffee
splashes all over the phone and keyboard, which for some reason were stacked
on top of each other.
"Woopsy!" I say, mock horror on my face. The System Manager's face tells me
I was right in my guess.
"Don't think you'll get away with this!" he snarls and stomps off.
I click on the Ethernet monitor and watch the traffic coming out of his PC.
Ah! A memo, authorising the termination of my contract, going to the laser
in the Director's office. I make a few alterations to the file in the spool
directory and let it go to it's destination. I run my dinky little program
that deposits -512 to the PC and our mainframe shits itself.
Later, while booting in single user, I'll remove that nasty logfile business.
Next, I wander into the comms room and plug my earphone into the spare RS232
port in the Directors office. It's amazing how simple it is to bug an office
once it's got data lines going to it!
Director: "Are you sure about this?"
SysMgr: "OF COURSE!"
Director: "You don't want to reconsider?"
Director: "Very well, I'll fax it to staffing now.."
Two seconds later the System Manager strolls in smiling. "Well, I'll really
miss you Simon.." he says, full of himself.
"Oh?" I say, all sweetness and charm "Where are you going?"
"No Simon" he says, with glee "YOU'RE going!"
"A PROMOTION!" I say "You've finally written that letter to the head of
staffing telling him he's a bum-sucking arse bandit and that you quit?"
"Are you sure? It's much better than the one about me being fired.."
"Y.." His eyes widen slightly
It's like clubbing a seal to death with a foam cushion. He runs to stop the
fax. Only, having just resigned, >clicky cklikcy ... Amateurs...
The Phone rings. It's the same guy as before
"I can get into my account now, but I've run out of disk"
"Hang on, I'll see what I can do"
>clicccky rm -r *
© 1996 Peter Langston