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BOFH: My diary is MINE and mine alone, you petty HR gimps

Read carefully before bursting in here like that

Episode 9 "Wow, that's like the Matrix!" the Director's PA gasps.

"Yes, it's what we call a terminal session," the PFY chips back drily.

"It's so... green."

"Yes," I sagely nod. "It's a monochrome terminal session, green on black."

"I don't know what that means."

"Back in the day - when IT required more skills than it took to use crayons - everything was done in command lines or terminal windows. Or CRT terminals."

"I don't know what CRT terminals are," frowns the PA.

"Okay," I say, taking a deep breath. "When I started, terminals were 13 inch screens, green text on black background. They had the resolution of your smartwatch, gave out a high pitched whistle about 25 per cent of the time and smelt of superheated dust."


"Then, because green text 'gave people headaches' we upgraded everyone to amber on black screens - after that, white on black screens - then eventually back to green on black screens... It was the terminal equivalent of the iPhone upgrade experience."

"Yes, bu..."

"When we ran out of text colours we started upgrading the size of the terminals - you know, like the iPhone experience again - culminating in senior management having dual 20 inch monitors - white on black."


"It was only senior managers who could have dual 20 inch monitors because (a) you needed your own furniture budget to pay for the desk to be reinforced to support them and (b) anyone less than a senior manager didn't have an office large enough to fit the depth of the screens without leaving a door open."


"They didn't last all that long, though, because LCD panels were coming in at the time and some of those questionably-sourced monitors had a hell of a power draw and may have had a radiation profile that'd have Kerr-McGee suggesting a quiet drive alone in the Oklahoma countryside."

"Uh... ... yes," says the PA. "Anyway, I just came in because I can't see your calendar."

"Surely you can?"

"Oh, I can see it, but I can't see anything in it."

"You can't see my bookings?" I arch an eyebrow. Bless her.

"I can see your bookings, but I can't see what they are."

"Oh, you mean the detail is invisible to you?"

"Yes, and I need to schedule some meetings between you and the Director."

"Is this that HR thing?"

"I..." she says, hesitating.

It's the same old story. They try to ambush you into an HR intervention by slapping a meeting in your diary with an ambiguous title - only, knowing this was coming, I've booked back-to-back meetings for the next three weeks, made them all private so that no-one but me knows what they are and set my calendar to reject meeting proposals that clash.

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