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November 26, 2002

BOFH and the Nigerian 419
Posted by Teresa at 07:41 AM *

I am The PFY, otherwise know to you as the Pimply-Faced Youth, assistant to the Bastard Operator From Hell.

As you know, The Bastard is a very wealthy person, having stolen, lied, cheated and blackmailed his way into several dubious consulting positions, including the one he now holds with a large and very cash-rich company. In recent days, the Bastard Operator from Hell has gone on an extended holiday under the guise of searching the web for a secure version of Explorer, and is not expected back for several years.

Before he left, he deposited a large amount of his wealth in a room in the basement of the company building…

If you’re not familiar: BOFH is the Bastard Operator from Hell, as in Computer Operator. Simon Travaglia’s been chronicling his dastardly adventures since the early 90s. You can find all the BOFH stories through 1999, plus additional material, in The Bastard Operator from Hell Official Archive, and subsequent stories in The Register.

Aspiring BOFHs are referred to the excellent O’Really line of computer manuals, including Distributing Clue to Users, Snooping E-Mail, Tracing Spammers, Practical UNIX Terrorism, and User Obliteration.

#1 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2002, 11:38 AM:

Oh, the BOFH brings back lovely memories. Now that I work in a place where everyone used to be a BOFH and knows what to look for, we're actually able to get quite a bit done. However, when you work for some hellhole like Sprint, where the managers all alternate between scheduling meetings to prepare for meetings and surfing "Star Wars" sites all day, being a BOFH was the only way to keep your sanity, especially if you were a contractor. (At Sprint back in 1999, contractors had no rights, and the only right the non-exempt employees had was to read all of the "Left Behind" books on company time with the blessings of management. We always took that as a definite comment on Sprint's Y2K program and its expected level of efficiency.)

I have only one thing to add: beware the Bastard Tech Writers From Hell. We're the real menaces, because we can usually come up with horror scenarios that make the BOFHs gasp with admiration. (At Sprint, for instance, I wasn't the person who decided to teach the manager the importance of not redoing a four-month project as a "multimedia" presentation with a two-week deadline, but I was the one who suggested that the manager would crack if someone kidnapped his "Star Wars" action figures and held them for ransom. He didn't think we were serious until he found that little Darth Maul head atop his keyboard...and the body, sans limbs, on his SUV radio antenna...)

#2 ::: Roger Burton West ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2002, 07:03 AM:

The chap who actually came up with the O'Really designs has a web site at . The shirts are also available from

(Now let's see if this thing will let me post a comment even though I don't allow Javascript on the machine...)

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