BOFH: Oh dear. Did someone get lost on the Audit Trail?

Our expenses? Same thing we've filed every year...

Episode 13 So I'm walking down the corridor from Mission Control with about a ream of financial paperwork when I notice the Boss coming the other way with the IT Director in tow - never a good sign.

I quickly slip down a side corridor towards the lifts but not so quickly that the Boss doesn't see me going. I get to the lifts just as the doors open and take a moment to look around furtively before jumping in and pressing a button.

"Where are you going?" the Boss blurts from a distance, eyeing the potentially important documents that I have on my person.

"Ah, just to the basement," I lie, pressing the button for one floor up.

"What for?" he wheezes as the doors close.

"Oh, ahhhhmm, just going to see if all the computer ports down there are still working at full duplex," I blather, as the lift heads UP.

I stroll out of the lift at a leisurely pace, knowing full well that the Boss is on my tail but also knowing that he won't get to me before...

"Wait," he gasps, stepping out of the other lift just as I step into the shredder room.

It's times like this that the full value of mindless executive paranoia is fully realised. Having heard that someone, somewhere, somehow had managed to piece together shredded paper, the powers that be purchased a two-pass shredder that chops as well as shreds, converting documents into confetti in a matter of moments.

"What're you doing?!" the Boss calls down the corridor as whatever-it-is inside the shredder slowly spins up to its million RPM operating speed. The fear at what would happen if this thing - having lain disused in a damp basement for several years before being moved to this room - threw a bearing is offset by my technical keenness to see exactly what it's capable of.

I grab a few sheets of paper and stuff them into the danger-sticker emblazoned inlet slot. An unseen force TARDISes the pages away to another galaxy under the machine a tiny pile of unevenly diced paper appears on the floor. That alone would be unimpressive, were it not eclipsed by the tombstone-heavy >WHISKSKS< and >TOK< >TOK< >TOK< >TOK< noises which seem to echo through the building, indicating that this thing could probably reduce a 1980s Yellow Pages to confetti with the same amount of ease - along with the phone booth it was chained to and the phone pole that serviced it.

"Uh... What are you shredding?" the Boss asks, arriving in the doorway.

"Ah, just some old papers - nothing important," I lie, dropping the whole pile into the inlet tray.

About two seconds later, the confetti pile has grown dramatically and the unit is spinning slowly down.

"This wouldn't have anything to do with the financial audit would it?" the Boss asks.

"The financial audit; what's that then?" I lie, in a very unconvincing manner.

"You know very well what it is. The new company auditors have discovered some anomalies in the verification of expenses claims over the past several years. They believe that someone's being submitting duplicate documents."

"Really?" I say. "And so, what, you're looking for some help with this?"

"No, I'm after your expense form duplicates."

"My expense form duplicates?"

"Yes, yours and your assistant's."

"Hmm, I'd probably have to look in my filing cabinet for that," I say. "- because I keep them all in hard copy."

"So this wouldn't be them there then?" the Boss asks pointing at the confetti.

"Those, no, this is just preventative maintenance. One of our tasks is to just run this up with a bit of a load on it just to see how it performs."

"Really? When did you check it last ?"

"Hmmm, hard to be sure but maybe 2008, before it was put into storage."

"So you wouldn't mind if I collected this?" he says.

"That?" I say. "Go for your life. Anyway, love to stay and chat but I need to go visit finance on 4th. Printer problem."

"Really? Mind if I tag along?"

"Sure, if you like."

The Boss carefully scoops the confetti into a bag which he takes great pains in sealing, signing and dating.

"Just here about the printer issue," I say, when we arrive on 4th.

"What printer issue?" one of the beancounters asks. "Apparently there's some colour issue on one of the printers," I say, an excuse which is guaranteed to appeal to any pedant within hearing range.

"Over there," one of the Beancounters calls out. "That one is all over the place."

The Boss traipses over with me as I open the machine up, shake the toner cartridges, run a couple of test prints, replace the cyan cartridge, run some more test prints and eventually give up.

"Probably best get an engineer in," I say, noticing that the Boss is taking great pains to ensure that he's between me and the window into the Beancounter's meeting room.

"Well if that's all," I say to him, "I might just pop up to HR - got to check on their wireless access point."

"You know, I actually have to go to H.R myself," the Boss says. "I might just ride up with you."

"Sure, it's only a floor, so I'll be taking the stairs."

"No problem," he says feigning enthusiasm.

We get to HR and I go through the motions of checking the wireless access point, unplugging it, plugging it back in. The Boss, meantime, is having a sneaky chat with the head of HR and pretending not to look my way.

"All good," I say about 15 minutes later. "I'll be off."

"I'll ride down with you!" the Boss says, quickly ending his conversation and heading my way.

"So, maybe things haven't gone the way you planned today?" the Boss says smugly, patting his plastic bag.

"In what way?" I ask.

"Didn't realise you'd have company?"

"Oh no, company's great in my role," I say, pressing the Emergency stop button on the lift.

"In your role?" the Boss asks.

"Yes. I'm the decoy," I say, as the sound of a heavily loaded shredder start echoing through the building.

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021