BOFH: Go on, beancounter, type DROP TABLE asset;

He went Colonel Kurtz on me, boss


Episode 4 "Don't put that there," I snap - calmly, but firmly, as a Beancounter goes to drop a chunk of IT detritus on my desk.

"What?" he asks, feigning innocence.

"That. Don't put it on my desk, it doesn't belong there."

"But it's IT equipment!" he bleats.

"It's IT crap and it doesn't belong on my desk - any more that real crap belongs on yours."

"Well what am I supposed to do with it?"

"Chuck it in the bin."

"But it's got book value!" he said, like a true beancounter.

"Due SOLELY to your depreciation policy" I counter.

"How so?"

"You depreciate IT equipment at 15 per cent a year instead of the far more realistic 33 per cent"

"I think 33 per cent is a bit high."

"Not for IT equipment it's not! But this bloody company has gone one step further, lumping calculators, desk phones and digital bloody clocks as 'IT equipment' and then uses some antiquated averaging algorithm to give the average desktop a usable life of seven years!"

I feel the pink mist coming again. If I'm lucky the aneurism will just kill me and not leave me on life support staring at reality TV until I can "Embrace the Chi" sufficiently to control my heart rate to a stop.

Or it could just be rage, it's too soon to tell.

"It's not as simple as that," the Beancounter says.

"It *IS* as simple as that! It's nothing harder than that! THAT is all it is. You picked a crap number and all sorts of crazy policy backs it up."

"No. We have a depreciation mechanism which is hard to change. If we change it we have all sorts of questions to answer from the tax people."

"Questions like 'Which of you idiots thought that a piece of kit would still perform after 7 years'?"

"No, I mea..."

"Questions like 'If you could be any type of dog, what type of dog would you be, and what sort of noise would you make when I ran you over with my car'?"

"I..."

"True, that's more of a ME question than a Revenue Service question."

"We would have to revalue all our IT equipment. It would take forever."

"No it wouldn't, you could do it with a couple of SQL commands. UPDATE asset SET value=0 WHERE purchdate < '20100601'; would carve out half the crap immediately. Actually, you may as well make that a DELETE statement. Hell if you did that from the SQL command line and you wouldn't even have to click OK for every asset. You could start putting stuff in the bin before afternoon tea!"

"You... can do that?!" he gasps

"Yes of course. It's SQL, a powerful language that doesn't ask 'Are you sure?' every time you try to write off a 13 inch Herc graphics monitor from the 1800s."

"Really. How?"

"You'd need a SQL frontend installed on your machine to do it. Do you have the SQL frontend installed?"

"I... don't know."

"Probably not then. Tell you what, I'll login you into the command line from here and step you through it. You'll just need to use your database username and password though, as APPARENTLY we're not to be trusted with Database access."

>clickety<

"Okay, so I'll give you a command line, but remember to add a semicolon to the end as I'll probably forget to say it."

"Uh-huh"

"So first command is DELETE from asset.."

"Delete from asset >clickety<"

"WHERE"

"Is this a new command line?"

"No, the same command."

"Oh, so I hit enter and everything, so now do I just have to go back type that last command in again?"

"It depends, did you put a semicolon at the end?"

"Yep"

. . .

"And... what did it say?"

"I don't know, it's still working I think. Oh, no, it's back again. It says 238,105 records deleted. That's an awful lot of old equipment! What should I do now?"

"Okay, well we can forget that WHERE clause for a start." I say

"Okay? So now?"

"Type COMMIT semicolon and hit return"

">clickety< Okay".

>ring!<

"Now what we want to do is ignore the phone and while we're at it maybe get rid of all the old computer furniture - WHICH YOU ALSO CLASS AS IT GEAR - while we're at it."

"Okay, so?"

"So DROP TABLE asset, semicolon return";

"Uh-huh"

"DROP TABLE GL, semicolon return";

"Okay"

"DROP TABLE AR, semicolon return";

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, none of those departments really give a crap about their tables. We'll get onto the chairs in a minute. DROP TABLE AP, semicolon return";

"Okay, done. Now that we've actually cleared that stuff out we'll just pop into the server room and you can physically write off a number of old drives in our backup and archive servers."

"Physically?"

"Yeah, we put a drill through them so they can't be read again. Ever."

Twenty minutes later and the phone calls have been drowned out by the banging on the door of Mission Control...

"By my reckoning we've lost about a month of financials data, and a couple of years of archived data," I explain to the Boss shortly afterwards.

"And what happened exactly?"

"One of their guys went totally Colonel Kurtz from spending too much time in inventory control," I say, "commandeered my desktop and was dropping tables like a epileptic removals man!"

"Really?" The boss says "Speaking of inventory control, where do you want this old desktop machine? I've been using it as a footrest.."

. . .

"So the Boss went totally Colonel Kurtz and jumped out the window?" the PFY asks 10 minutes later, polishing the fingernail scratches off the window frame...

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Warehouse belonging to Chinese payment terminal manufacturer raided by FBI

    PAX Technology devices allegedly infected with malware

    US feds were spotted raiding a warehouse belonging to Chinese payment terminal manufacturer PAX Technology in Jacksonville, Florida, on Tuesday, with speculation abounding that the machines contained preinstalled malware.

    PAX Technology is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and is one of the largest electronic payment providers in the world. It operates around 60 million point-of-sale (PoS) payment terminals in more than 120 countries.

    Local Jacksonville news anchor Courtney Cole tweeted photos of the scene.

    Continue reading
  • Everything you wanted to know about modern network congestion control but were perhaps too afraid to ask

    In which a little unfairness can be quite beneficial

    Systems Approach It’s hard not to be amazed by the amount of active research on congestion control over the past 30-plus years. From theory to practice, and with more than its fair share of flame wars, the question of how to manage congestion in the network is a technical challenge that resists an optimal solution while offering countless options for incremental improvement.

    This seems like a good time to take stock of where we are, and ask ourselves what might happen next.

    Congestion control is fundamentally an issue of resource allocation — trying to meet the competing demands that applications have for resources (in a network, these are primarily link bandwidth and router buffers), which ultimately reduces to deciding when to say no and to whom. The best framing of the problem I know traces back to a paper [PDF] by Frank Kelly in 1997, when he characterized congestion control as “a distributed algorithm to share network resources among competing sources, where the goal is to choose source rate so as to maximize aggregate source utility subject to capacity constraints.”

    Continue reading
  • How business makes streaming faster and cheaper with CDN and HESP support

    Ensure a high video streaming transmission rate

    Paid Post Here is everything about how the HESP integration helps CDN and the streaming platform by G-Core Labs ensure a high video streaming transmission rate for e-sports and gaming, efficient scalability for e-learning and telemedicine and high quality and minimum latencies for online streams, media and TV broadcasters.

    HESP (High Efficiency Stream Protocol) is a brand new adaptive video streaming protocol. It allows delivery of content with latencies of up to 2 seconds without compromising video quality and broadcasting stability. Unlike comparable solutions, this protocol requires less bandwidth for streaming, which allows businesses to save a lot of money on delivery of content to a large audience.

    Since HESP is based on HTTP, it is suitable for video transmission over CDNs. G-Core Labs was among the world’s first companies to have embedded this protocol in its CDN. With 120 points of presence across 5 continents and over 6,000 peer-to-peer partners, this allows a service provider to deliver videos to millions of viewers, to any devices, anywhere in the world without compromising even 8K video quality. And all this comes at a minimum streaming cost.

    Continue reading
  • Cisco deprecates Microsoft management integrations for UCS servers

    Working on Azure integration – but not there yet

    Cisco has deprecated support for some third-party management integrations for its UCS servers, and emerged unable to play nice with Microsoft's most recent offerings.

    Late last week the server contender slipped out an end-of-life notice [PDF] for integrations with Microsoft System Center's Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, and Virtual Machine Manager. Support for plugins to VMware vCenter Orchestrator and vRealize Orchestrator have also been taken out behind an empty rack with a shotgun.

    The Register inquired about the deprecations, and has good news and bad news.

    Continue reading
  • Protonmail celebrates Swiss court victory exempting it from telco data retention laws

    Doesn't stop local courts' surveillance orders, though

    Encrypted email provider Protonmail has hailed a recent Swiss legal ruling as a "victory for privacy," after winning a lawsuit that sees it exempted from data retention laws in the mountainous realm.

    Referring to a previous ruling that exempted instant messaging services from data capture and storage laws, the Protonmail team said this week: "Together, these two rulings are a victory for privacy in Switzerland as many Swiss companies are now exempted from handing over certain user information in response to Swiss legal orders."

    Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court ruled on October 22 that email providers in Switzerland are not considered telecommunications providers under Swiss law, thereby removing them from the scope of data retention requirements imposed on telcos.

    Continue reading
  • Japan picks AWS and Google for first gov cloud push

    Local players passed over for Digital Agency’s first project

    Japan's Digital Agency has picked Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for its first big reform push.

    The Agency started operations in September 2021, years after efforts like the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) or Australia's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). The body was a signature reform initiated by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who spent his year-long stint in the top job trying to curb Japan's reliance on paper documents, manual processes, and faxes. Japan's many government agencies also operated their websites independently of each other, most with their own design and interface.

    The new Agency therefore has a remit to "cut across all ministries" and "provide services that are driven not toward ministries, agency, laws, or systems, but toward users and to improve user-experience".

    Continue reading
  • Singaporean minister touts internet 'kill switch' that finds kids reading net nasties and cuts 'em off ASAP

    Fancies a real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme too

    A Minister in the Singapore government has suggested the creation of an internet kill switch that would prevent minors from reading questionable material online – perhaps using ratings of content created in real time by crowdsourced contributors.

    "The post-COVID world will bring new challenges globally, including to us in the security arena," said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at a Tuesday ceremony to award the city-state's 2021 Defense Technology Prize.

    "For operations, the SAF (Singapore Armed Force) has to expand its capabilities in the digital domain. Whether for administrative or operational purposes, I think that we will need to leverage technology to the maximum," he declared.

    Continue reading
  • China Telecom booted out of USA as Feds worry it could disrupt or spy on local networks

    FCC urges more action against Huawei and DJI, too

    The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has terminated China Telecom's authority to provide communications services in the USA.

    In its announcement of the termination, the government agency explained the decision is necessary because the national security environment has changed in the years since 2002. That was when China Telecom was first allowed to operate in the USA.

    The FCC now believes – partly based on classified advice from national security agencies – that China Telecom can "access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States." And because China Telecom is state-controlled, China's government can compel the carrier to act as it sees fit, without judicial review or oversight.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021