BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

'The internet' does NOT live in your BROWSER <Red mist descending>


Episode 9

Sometimes it feels like my life consists  mostly of waiting.

Long, long periods of waiting.

I don't know how much of my time has been spent watching little dots slowly ticking over a monitor as a kernel loads, the moria-like spinning of /-\| characters on the screen while a RAID card configures or the slow crawl of a progress bar across the screen as a windows boot prepares to fail...

But it's a lot.

If I totalled up the amount of time I have spent watching BIOS downloads from major vendors becoming increasingly slow as the download ekes onward I'd probably go mad. Rat-eating, coming-to-work-naked, bat-shit mad.

It's possible that I'd be mad enough to murder the installers that ask the user some pointless question like: "I know there's three more hours to go in this install process and you've probably gone back to your desk now, so I'll just pause the install process until you tell me what colour font you'd like on the console session that you'll never use…"   or  "This isn't a stub install, I'm getting everything from the DVD image, but could you just tell me, half way through the process, what your network settings would be – even though you're probably installing this on a firewalled network which isn't the final network anyway. "

I might even get off.   And on the murder charge as well.

And so, to calm the raging sea within me, gazing out windows becomes a critical work-sanity activity.

"The aircon bloke is here," I observe, seeing a downtrodden individual approaching the building who looks more than familiar with the foibles of users.

"How can you tell?" the Boss asks. "He's carrying a dog-eared service manual that looks a bit like the phone books you used to get in phone booths - only it's not got half the pages missing and doesn't smell of wee."

"PROBABLY doesn't smell of wee," the PFY corrects.

"It could be anyone," the Boss says, peering out the window.

"Nah, it's the aircon guy," the PFY says. "He's got that look about him."

The Boss asks: "What look?"

"The look of having to cope with idiots on a daily basis."

"What idiots?"

"People who say things like 'What idiots?' the PFY says.

"People who say, 'The office feels hotter than normal'  or 'Can you just change it so that it's on cold when I'm warm, and warm when I'm cold – except if I've just had a shower, and then it should be warm till I feel uncomfortable?'," he adds.

"PEOPLE WHO SAY," I add, warming up to the topic, "'I know that I share this airconditioning with everyone else in this office, but can you make it so that they can't change the temperature - because I'm the only person who can tell temperature properly?'"

"People who ask if they can have the cool breeze but not the fan noise!" the PFY adds.

"PEOPLE WHO BRING A THERMOMETER IN TO PROVE THAT THE TEMPERATURE AT THEIR DESK IS 22 DEGREES, NOT 21 LIKE IT SAYS ON THE WALL - 20 FEET AWAY!"

"But still he shows up to work, day after day," I say.  "Until that day when he finally cracks and takes the bottle with the skull and crossbones on it up to the roof to pour into the fresh air inlet..."

"I..  Do you think he might do that?" the Boss asks nervously.

"I might do what now?" I ask, returning reluctantly from my daydream.

"Uh nothing," the Boss says, not wanting to water that dream plant...

"Anyway, what can we help you with?" I ask.

"Is the system running slow today?" the Boss asks.

"Day after day..." the PFY murmurs quietly.

"Hmm?"

"Nothing" I say.  "So by 'the system' you mean?"

"The computer system."

"You mean the vast collection of computing and networking resource – not the least of component of which is your desktop machine?"

"You know what I mean."

"I know exactly what you mean," I say.  "When someone says 'Hard Drive' I know they mean desktop."

"When someone says their 'Internet' when they actually mean their browser," the PFY says.

"When people say 'memory' when they mean 'disk'."

"When someone says 'My Friends' when they really mean the people they know on Facebook."

"Yes, well, is it slow?"

"Let me see," I say. "I'll just fire up the system monitor."

 >clickety!<

>...A minute later...<

"Well?" the Boss asks, "how long does it take to load?"

"It's loaded!" I reply.

"That's just a picture of the Earth from space!"

"Yes - it's actually a picture of 'the system' as you call it.   Now how far do you want me to zoom in?"

>slam<

"He'll be back," the PFY says. "There was a bunch of them talking about how the system was slow..."

"How many?"

"About five.   Two of the helldesk geeks were complaining about it as well."

"So with their 'advanced knowledge'..."

"You mean the LinkedIn endorsements from people they barely know?" the PFY asks.

"Yes…   they will shortly be popping in with some suggestions about why 'the system' is slow..." I say. "Undoubtedly," he nods.

"Okay, pass me that cricket bat and switch the light off on your way out will you?"

. . .

Sometimes it feels like my life consists  mostly of waiting.

Long, long periods of waiting.

I don't look out the window though.

I need my night vision glasses... ®

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