BOFH: Damsels in distress

Why yes, I can help


Episode 28

So the PFY and I are both on a quick junket to Paris and have managed to score seats in business class thanks to the combination of the Boss' short sightedness and the PFY accidentally stepping on his glasses until the lenses broke.

"So what's this junket about then?" I ask the PFY while making the exact amount of eye contact with the stewardess that was recommended in an ebook on sleeping your way through the service industry.

"Blah blah blah blah blah blah," (or something like that) the PFY says, while I'm finishing off my eye contact thing.

"Sorry, what was that? I wasn't listening," I confess.

"Blah blah blah blah blah blah."

"Sorry. Sorry, she just came back, I'm listening now."

"It's a two day conference on security web applications servers against attacks. Everything from SQL injection through to blah blah blah..."

"Can I get you a drink sir?" the woman of my dreams asks.

"Indeed you can!" I respond happily. "Would you happen to have a glass of The McCallan?"

"The..."

"McCallan," I say. "Eighteen year old by preference, but 12 would be ok."

"Ah whiskey. We've got Johnny Walker?"

"Tape head cleaner!"

"Right - well can I get you anything else?"

"Oh, well, I suppose I'd be alright with eight cans of Tennants Super and half a dozen packets of salt and vinegar crisps."

"I'll have what he's having," the PFY adds.

"I'm afraid we've only got four cans left..."

"No worries," the PFY says. "Just give me the balance in cans of cider."

...A quarter of an hour later...

"You were saying something about SQL injection?" I ask the PFY, now that my chances with the stewardess are as small as her lager, cider, and crisp inventory.

"SQL injection methods are becoming more complex with a blah blah blah.."

"Sorry," I say to the PFY. "She's got a friend."

The PFY and I both turn our attention to a uniformed woman striding down from first class with a worried expression on her face.

"Does... uh... anyone here know anything about in-flight computer systems?" she asks nervously.

"Uh, not in-flight computer systems, but computer systems in general," the PFY says.

"Anyone at all?" she asks.

"I think what my assistant is suggesting is that we may be able to help you," I say. "What seems to be the problem?"

With no other takers our stewardess is forced to make her way through the crisp bags and empty cans that hit the floor once the words 'computer systems' were mentioned. It's a reflex thing.

"It's not serious," she assures us. "It's just that apparently the plane has an... um... three of five cluster quorum - if that's right - and one of the five has gone offline and another has an error. Apparently it can be fixed by in-flight diagnostics but they're not starting."

"Well, you came to the right people!" I say. "We're bound to be able to help. Show us the way!"

We proceed with the stewardess to the flight area and get pointed to an open plate behind a seat.

"You're in luck!" the PFY says, playing with the tiny LCD debug panel. "It's Intel kit and it just so happens that I have a USB key with me with a Knoppix install on it. We could probably format the five machines, get rid of the Microsoft OS and install a much faster Knoppix install in no time."

"I..." the pilot says, not knowing what the hell the PFY just said. "Do you need anything?"

"Five...?" the PFY says, looking at me.

"Make it six - best to be on the safe side," I say.

"Six," the PFY says decisively. "Cans of Tennants Super."

"Each," I say.

"And some salt and vinegar crisps to go with the tramp juice."

"Beer and crisps!?" the pilot gasps.

"BACK OFF MAN, WE'RE PROFESSIONALS!" I snarl, whipping out my Knoppix USB key.

"What do you want us to do?" the Co Pilot asks.

"Get as high up as possible," I say. "We're going to have to reboot them all to change quorum when we go from Windows to Knoppix, so we'll need all the glide time we can get..."

"I... ok"

"And get a wiggle on with those lagers."

...a few minutes later...

"Right," the PFY says, dropping the third empty can to the ground. "I'm ready!"

"Me too," I say. "Control-alt-delete time."

"I was just going to press the reset on the motherboards."

"Works for me!" I say.

>click< >click< >click< >click< >click<

>WHAAAAAAOORRRRR< >WUMPF WUMPF WUMPF!<

"Whoa," I say, turning to the PFY. "That was some turbulence. I was having a pretty strange dream."

"Me too," the PFY says, rubbing his eyes. "We were at the conference and a crisis broke out and they needed someone who knew how to recover a Commodore CBM save tape and it just so happened I blah blah blah."

"Sorry about that," I say to the PFY. "I was momentarily distracted by a uniformed woman striding down from first class with a worried expression on her face. Grab us a six pack of Tennants Super from your carry on will you?"


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