BOFH 2000: Episode 16
So I'm working on a piece of kit when my nose picks up a smell that can only mean one thing - the PFY's been cranking up the supply current to some of our more sensitive equipment.
Only the PFY's on holiday for a week, - I'm genuinely mystified. It can't be a fault?! Not in my kit.
But it appears to be so. Following my nose to an area where the smell is strongest I notice a rather old disk unit with a heat-marked label on its front panel. It doesn't look good.
I check out our maintenance schedule, and of course, it's been discontinued as the boss's thinking in this manner is "If it hasn't misbehaved in the past it's unlikely to fail in the future" - The Yorkie Terrier rule of maintenance.
So it's stuffed, and - being ancient - the replacement cost of the full height disk is the same price you'd expect to pay for an entire desktop computer with 10 times the Processor Power and Disk Space. Only then you'd still only be talking a P75 with a 2gig disk in it, so multiply that figure by 10 too.
While you're at it, add the non-customer callout fee of 200 quid (for the Zone 1&2 travel pass), plus 150 quid an hour, and we're starting to talk a lucrative business that I really should be thinking about getting into.
I'm fairly surprised at the technician who presents herself to my office. She's interesting on several accounts, not the least of which is that she doesn't look in any way stupid, nor the sort of ugly that parents use to frighten their children when they play with matches. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she was rather attr..
"So where's this disk drive then?" she asks.
"In the computer room."
"Have you got a maintenance access card for me?"
"Yes, but we have to oversee all work in the computer room - sensitive data and all that," I adlib. "So I'll just let you in."
She follows me into the computer room and shows no hesitation in shutting the machine down in an orderly manner by flicking off the power switch.
I like it.
In double quick time the disk is replaced and the machine is back in business.
"Coffee before you go?" I offer.
"Go on then," she says, after consulting her watch and message pager.
I whip out of the office and return in double quick time with a coffee made to what I'm sure are her exacting standards.
"Can't I'm afraid, just been paged across town and it's just about lunchtime rush, wouldn't want to put a dent in the P76!"
A P76 Leyland, the epitome of offensive driving. A veritable land canoe! CAN THIS WOMAN DO NO WRONG!?!
It's only when she's gone I notice that my wallet is too. And there's a 8mm tape drive missing from the PFY's desk...
THIS COULD BE LOVE!
. . .
So she's back in the office a day later to fix a server which accidentally fell out of a rack three times (at a maintenance cost that was so excessive I think the Boss lost control of his bladder when he read the quote). This time I'm not stupid and make sure I keep an eye on the contents of our desks, and have my wallet in the safe.
And the funny thing is I never even noticed the gaping hole in the beancounter server where their 4 x 50 Gig spool disks used to be until about 2 hours after she'd left...
The beancounters, on the other hand, knew quite some time before that.
Not wanting to draw any more attention to the situation, I slap in some replacement disks from the surplus spares pool that the PFY and I keep on hand for... uh.. installing licensed software onto, (and definitely NOT MP3 downloads) and claim it was caused by a the area being set to RAID
level MINUS 1, doesn't store the data at all. They buy it, which only goes to show...
Something has to be done, if only because the PFY will be back next week and is bound to ridicule my inattention.
. . .
So after she comes in to fix the console keyboard which bears all the hallmarks of having been hit with a large blunt instrument, but which in fact is just suffering from wear and tear, I slip five brand spanking new drives into her toolbox when she's not looking, and leave her to her thoughts.
Thoughts which I cannot begin to fathom when I find the five drives later that afternoon, sitting on top of a machine in the computer room. Where a tape stacker used to be.
Something has to be done.
I call her company immediately, and ask to be put through to her. Eventually, she answers and it's time to sort things out once and for all.
"So, how about a quick drink after work?"
She accepts and we agree to meet at a nice place out of the city later in the evening.
Later arrives. We make small talk, till get down to business and ask her why she's such a klepto.
"Oh, I'm not a klepto, it's just boring doing the same old thing day after day. So I distract myself relieve the boredom."
"Which explains why you took the stacker and left the drives."
"The stacker, 4 of your pens, your coffee mug and the book you used as a backing to sign the Work Done form."
"The visitors book?!?" I gasp.
"I spose so, I didn't look. The more blatant the theft, the more interesting it is. I suppose you didn't notice that your office is down by two wheelie chairs then?"
Yes, it could be love.
To cut a long story short, we have a great evening, ending with me walking her to the tube station AND staying with her till her tube arrives.
And stealing her wallet - lets face it, you can't let a catch like that get away... ®