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BOFH: What's Near Field Implementation? Oh, you'll see. Turn left here

The Bastard Operator From Hell continues to meet targets on his roadmap in the latest instalment

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 4 So I'm down visiting a particularly painful user in the coloured pencil office who apparently believes the old adage about the squeakiest wheel getting the most grease.

He's obviously overlooked the counterargument to this that the squeakiest wheel is gas-axed off and thrown in a skip bin.

"See here - it says it's delivered!" he says, pointing at his screen.

"I'm sorry; I thought this was an IT problem," I say.

"It is, I'm waiting on an ergonomic keyboard. It has mechanical keys and application-defined customisable backlighting."

"Did I order it?" I ask.

"No, I did."

"Did I recommend it?"

"No, I researched it online."

"Was I going to install it?"


"So how is this an IT problem?"

"It's a keyboard - it's IT."

"Yes, but I think your issue is courier delivery, not IT per se."

"It's IT because it's being reported as delivered on this screen," he says, tapping away.

"So I'm responsible for... the internet now?"

"It says it's delivered!"

"Again, you think I control the internet?"

"No, but you do receive most of the incoming IT goods - and this is the FIFTH KEYBOARD I HAVE ORDERED, AND NONE OF THEM HAS TURNED UP!"

"You can't trust everything the internet tells you. It says on the internet that Donald Trump is an astute businessman, that vaccines give you autism and that the Moon Landing was actually faked by the real inhabitants of the moon who took over the bodies of the spacemen while they were in orbit - though to be fair I only posted that one this morning."

"Yes, but..."

"It says that too much wine gives you cancer, not enough wine gives you cancer, wine is a cure for cancer, wine has no affect on cancer and that too much wine around this time of year will result in your baby's star sign being cancer."

"I wasn't talkin..."

"It will tell you that MI6 killed Diana, reporters killed Diana, the Royal family killed Diana AND that she's alive and well in a small tropical island."

"Yes bu.."

"That you can lose weight by eating air instead of food - ie starvation, that Deadly Nightshade is a cure for insomnia - which, in some ways, it is and that Boris Johnson has a bunch of smart ideas up his sleeve."


"You can't believe everything you read on your screen."

"You mean like desktop hardware upgrade road map?" he asks sarcastically.

"I think we're sticking to the plan. There may have been a few more armament factories and not quite as many elephants..." I say.


"Nothing. The roadmap is just that, it's where we plan to go, not where we are now."

"Well tell me," he asks. "Where are we NOW?"

"On the map."

"But WHERE on the map?"

"Somewhere between the start and finish."

"But WHERE? See, it says one of the milestones is anywhere access from portable devices."

"Yep, we've done that."

"No you haven't - I'm still on a desktop!"

"There's nothing to stop you moving it. And with a 90 metre Ethernet cable you can use it pretty much anywhere in the building. Or even across the street if you're careful."

"That's not what it means when it says portable!"

"Yes it is. I ought to know - I wrote the document."

"Okay, so what about single sign-on?"

"Done that."

"No you haven't! I have to have three passwords for three different systems."

"Yes, but how many of you are there?"


"There's one of you. And you can sign on. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!"

"Okay, what about 100 per cent virtual systems?"

"We're virtually there!" I say.

"What does that mean?"

"You need to check the next milestone for that."

"Hardware and Software Abstraction layers. What does that even mean?"

"We may never know - ANOTHER milestone ticked off."


"We'll hold our clients accountable. I think that one will be ticked off in the next half hour when Security comes to talk to you about all the keyboards you've been selling on eBay..."

"I've not been sellin..."

"Trust me, you did. You even stuck your business card on the parcel as the return address and used your real name as a userID. Like an amateur."

"I did not."

"The video footage will show you did. But don't feel bad - years ago we used to have user certification - till our supply of ketamine ran out. Besides, this way's vastly better than being found wrapped in carpet in a shallow grave in a woodland area - or Near Field Implementation as we call it in the roadmap. Oh, look - here's security."

"You'll never get away with this." he seethes, as security cram all his personal items into a cardboard box.

"Well, we'll see about that in the review phase," I say, as he's led off.

It's good to have a plan.

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