The Bastard, in the Comms Room with the Cooling Pipe

J'accuse


Episode 31 It's that time in the early morning when mistakes are made - mistakes outside of still being at a lock-in in a darkened pub in Soho. Every decision counts and you know that you can't afford to take time off to smell the roses. More importantly, you can't take time to go to the bog - even if your bladder feels like its the size of a medicine ball and filled with hot gravel - because that would be your biggest mistake...

The table waits silently for the PFY to speak while around it sits myself and a couple of other system admins we've often negotiated several pints with. On top of the table is a reasonably substantial amount of cash in notes, coins and IOUs, and beside it a manky old duffel bag destined to carry home someone's winnings...

As first light touches the roofs of the buildings outside, the PFY finally croaks out a sentence.

"Miss Secretary... in reception.... with the Cat-5 Cable," he says.

"SHIT!" he says, as I show him my Cat-5 Cable card, obliging him to add yet another 20 quid to the pot.

Around the table some feverish scrabbling takes place as people update their complicated whodunit matrices... I, meantime, roll the dice wordlessly and advance my counter towards the Comms Room, pausing only to put five quid into the pot.

Charlie (not his real name - in fact I don't even know his real name) to my left rolls the dice and moves his counter to Reception.

"The Bastard, in the Comms Room with the Cable Ties!" he says triumphantly.

"You have to be in the Comms Room to make an accusation in the Comms Room," the PFY snaps testily, no doubt feeling the effects of missing his sleep and toilet breaks.

"No, you can make an accusation in any room - you just have to be in a room!" he responds.

"Not in this game," Charlie's offsider (who may or not be Ted) says. "You have to be IN the room."

"Shit," Charlie says, dropping a 20 into the pot.

Around now everyone realises that the Comms Room is the place to be, AND why I wasted three turns to roll a six to lock the Computer Room door behind me. Ted's roll brings him to the Computer Room door and he barely has time to drop his five quid in the pot before the PFY snatches the dice up and rolls.

I might be over reading this but the tapping of the PFY's counter as he moves from Reception towards the Computer Room does seem a bit aggressive than usual. He drops his five quid into the pot wordlessly and hands me the dice.

A quick five later and I'm in the Comms Room, poised for Victory.

"THE BASTARD, IN THE COMMS ROOM, WITH THE COOLING PIPE!" I cry happily.

Shoot me down in flames if I'm wrong but do I see a glimmer of a smirk on the PFY's face as he reveals his Cooling Pipe card?

I drop my false accusation 20 quid into the pot and contemplate the work of genius that is my personally designed cross referenced chart, running through all the possibles and impossibles.

Charlie's next move only brings him three moves closer to the Computer Room and five quid closer to Bankruptcy, while Ted rolls a six on his first attempt unlocking the Computer Room door and, in his bonus roll, gets another six, then a five, bringing him into the Comms Room with me.

"You could've locked the door," I murmur uncharitably.

"Why bother?" he asks, smiling broadly, "because we all know it was THE BASTARD, IN THE COMMS ROOM, WITH THE FAULTY POWER POINT!!!!!"

A quick round-robin of the table seems to prove his point and he digs amongst the winnings to get to the envelope.

"And the nominees are..." he chuckles, as he one by one reveals the cards within, "The Comms Room, The Bastard and The Faulty Power Point. GENTLEMEN, IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE!"

While Ted's forcing down a victory pint the rest of us dash to the Gents, noticing as we do that the sun appears to be up and that it's about an hour till work time.

Sigh.

. . . about 2 hours later in Mission Control . . .

"I still can't believe you missed it!" the PFY chuckles. "I showed you the Cooling Pipe card in your first guess."

"Yeah I must have forg.."

My response is cut short by the arrival of the Boss with a long list of complaints and grievances that he's chosen to address today, of all days, when I'm tired, slightly inebriated and broke.

>CLONG!<

"Don't tell me," the PFY says as I help the groggy Boss back into Mission Control. "THE BASTARD, IN THE COMMS ROOM, WITH THE COOLING PIPE"

"Which only goes to prove you can't be wrong every time," I say, nodding cheerfully. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022