BOFH and the coffee machine

La Bella Machina


Episode 4

BOFH 2004: Episode 4

"I... I... I'm not sure I'm up to work today," the PFY sighs sadly, staring vacantly in restrained grief.

"Oh for Pete's sake, pull yourself together, man!" the Boss snaps. "We can get past this!"

"I don't think we can..."

"Course we can. It'll be difficult for a while, but you'll get back into the swing of things. Think of the doors that are now open for you to explore new things!"

"I don't want to explore new things!" the PFY sniffs. "Why couldn't you have been more careful?"

"It was an accident," the Boss confesses, "a tragic accident. The sooner we put it behind us and move on, things will stand a chance of getting back to normal!"

"It won't be the same," the PFY sniffles. "It'll never be the same. It's all ruined now. You don't just replace the love and respect of a long working relationship!"

"Get a grip!" the Boss snaps. "It's not like you lost a family member!"

"May as well have..."

"Don't be ridiculous! Family bonds are much stronger than those in a workplace - everyone knows that!"

"You just don't understand..." the PFY sobs.

"You're right, I don't understand," the Boss blurts callously. "It's just a f***ing coffee machine!"

"What's 'just a f***ing coffee machine'?" I ask, entering the break room.

"That is," the PFY responds, pointing at the smoking mess that was a cafe-quality high volume three group espresso machine. "Well, was..."

"What happened?!?" I gasp.

"He broke it!" the PFY sniffles.

"How?!?"

"I don't know, it just stopped working!" the Boss snaps irritably.

"It's a cafe-issue machine - they don't just stop working!"

"That one did."

"Right, I'd better call the bloke!" the PFY says.

"Tell him it's urgent!" I add.

. . . Three hours later . . .

"TWO THOUSAND QUID!" the Boss gasps. "That's ridiculous. You could buy a new machine for that!"

"Not a high volume one like this," the coffee bloke replies. "That's a work of art. Apart from the stuffed pump, dodgy pressure switch and half blocked lines that is."

"I haven't got budget for that!" the Boss blurts.

"Sure you do. It's a small price to pay for a happy energetic workers," I chip in.

"You can switch to instant like the rest of them!"

Even the coffee bloke is stunned by the blasphemy.

"I'm NOT paying 2000 quid to get a coffee machine fixed!" the Boss repeats.

"He's right in a way," the coffee bloke adds unhelpfully. "Most big machines like this are treated well and last forever - well, outside of accidents. But I could line you up with a single group one for about 500."

"A home model?" I snap "That's not even plumbed in! I'd rather use a plunger! What's a new one of these worth?"

"These babies?" the coffee bloke replies, as the car salesman in him takes over. "Anything from four to ten kay, depending on the features you want with them. You can get them with computers in now."

"Really?" the PFY asks, interested.

"Yeah, for those cafes where the waiters use portable computers to take your order. They tap the info in by the time they get to the counter the coffee's ground, poured and ready!"

"I'm not buying one!" the Boss says firmly.

"Could we buy a base model and upgrade?" the PFY asks.

"The computer-controlled model is built on the mid-level three group unit," the coffee bloke chirps, "which is around six kay. The extras are relay controlled valves, conveyor and interface computer."

"So if we built our own interface and just got the valves and conveyor off you..."

"It'd cost around seven and a half."

"With trade in?" I ask.

"Well... it's a bit of a dinosaur, isn't it?"

"Dinosaur? You just said it was a work of art!"

"Yeah, and like most works of art it's old. Seven kay, and I'm doing you a favour!"

"Done!" I blurt.

"I'm not paying seven grand for a coffee machine!" the Boss snaps.

"No, I will. And I'll give the company a grand for the old one!"

"Done!" the Boss chortles.

"But it's only worth 500 as a trade-in!" the PFY snaps.

"Yeah, but I'll buy it under my private company, depreciate it at 30 per cent, then claim it's stuffed, claim tax back on it as a loss, buy the new one, claim THAT as a business expense, get you to whack the computer control on it, build a web front end and charge the hordes a quid a time for coffee which they can order from their desktop and collect from the machine."

I scratch out a cheque and hand it over to the Boss, who takes but a moment to scratch out a receipt before dashing off to get the cheque banked before I can cancel it.

"You're going to do all that?"

"The web coffee thing? Yeah!"

"And the depreciation thing?"

"Nah, it's too much hassle," I say, nabbing the coffee bloke's screwdriver. "How long would it take to source the base model?" >tweak< >tweak< >tweak<</p>

"Couple of days," the coffee bloke responds as we exit and I lock the break room door, snapping the key off in the process.

"Best get that ordered now then!"

"Running all the way," he responds, doing just that.

"What's going on?" the PFY asks, watching me wheel a large trolley in front of the door.

"Oh nothing. Fancy a couple of pints?"

. . .

Four days and one explosion later.

"So it all worked out in the end," the PFY burbles.

"Yes, the insurance company accepted the claim - apparently the coffee bloke found that the safety release valve didn't operate and the temperature sensor wasn't working, resulting in--"

"The creation of this very convenient servery hole in the wall," the PFY guestures, "and the replacement of your company's computer-controlled espresso machine."

"Indeed. Righto then" >click< >click< "One cappucino, charged" >clickety< "to the Boss' credit card, as Adult Entertainment Expenses?"

"Don't mind if I do!"

>Grind< >Grind< >Whirrrrrrrrrr< >CCCCCCsssssssssss< >Rumble<<p>

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2004, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.


Other stories you might like

  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading
  • Workday nearly doubles losses as waves of deals pushed back
    Figures disappoint analysts as SaaSy HR and finance application vendor navigates economic uncertainty

    HR and finance application vendor Workday's CEO, Aneel Bhusri, confirmed deal wins expected for the three-month period ending April 30 were being pushed back until later in 2022.

    The SaaS company boss was speaking as Workday recorded an operating loss of $72.8 million in its first quarter [PDF] of fiscal '23, nearly double the $38.3 million loss recorded for the same period a year earlier. Workday also saw revenue increase to $1.43 billion in the period, up 22 percent year-on-year.

    However, the company increased its revenue guidance for the full financial year. It said revenues would be between $5.537 billion and $5.557 billion, an increase of 22 percent on earlier estimates.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022