Episode 11 BOFH 2001: Episode 11
"It's great, isn't it?" The Boss burbles as he wheels about the place like a dervish.
"What's great?" The PFY asks, STILL, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, forgetting the golden rule of always ignoring a manager when he's being a prat.
"This wireless networking stuff!" The Boss responds, glowing smugly with the interest and waving a small personal disorganiser around. "Apparently Accounts have been using it for weeks. They say we're miles behind them!"
"Wireless networking?" the PFY asks, before I can leap into the conversation. "What wireless networking?"
"Oh, some stuff that they've hooked up to a couple of the machines downstairs. Look, see, you can see the connection strength here. I can wander to any part of the building, type something into my planner and it'll automatically be synchronised to my desktop machine in a matter of moments. Well, it WOULD be automatically synchronised to my machine if WE had some wireless networking on OUR server. So currently I can only synchronise my appointments with the Head of Accounting's machine and Calendar."
"Did you say Wireless networking?" I ask keenly, jumping into the conversation from behind "- We've been looking into that! Do you mind if I have a look at how they do it? Maybe we could get a couple of pointers?"
The first pointer I get is the one out of the top of the device while The Boss is showing me the smooth leather carrying case that it came in. And while he's purging himself of ideas on the future of wireless computing, I'm purging the Head of Accounting's appointments for the rest of the year...
"Intriguing," I comment, after waiting patiently for the DTR gleam to return to The Boss's eyes. "Reception seems to be very good - except where the building pillars occur between the location of the device and where I'm assuming the server is. It's in that corner of the building then?"
I gesture in a random direction, knowing full well that The Boss's direction-finding ability is almost good enough to enable him to find his arse with both hands and a flashlight.
"I.. think they are," The Boss murmurs, as the lustre dulls on his latest hobbyhorse.
"Oh, I'm sure it'd work well with some centralised servers spaced strategically around the building and a high performance antenna instead of this tiny thing here. In fact, with a good aerial, you could probably get a reasonable quality video stream from down the street - all depending on the aerial of course. Definitely not this piddling wee thing tho...."
"Could the aerial be fitted to a laptop?" The Boss asks, probably enamoured with images of himself watching some late-release movie in the pub, surrounded by buxom maidens fawning on his every technologically advanced word..
"Well it would be a but large, but I can't see why not. It'd be a standard VHF thing - does that sound OK?"
"Sounds great!" The Boss burbles, obviously keen for the chance to one-up the beancounters.
"We'd need to get servers.." I murmur, seeing the chance for a strategic desktop upgrade - a couple of 1.2 gig numbers should do the trick."
"But the bloke in Accounts said it would run off anything, all I'd need was some, uh.. transceivers to plug into the router!"
"We could get you some of that, but do you REALLY want to work out of the Head Beancounter's Calendar?"
"Can't I use mine?"
"Well you could, but without a couple of redundant server machines you'd most likely be the victim of, . . . >flip< Replicated Channel Distortion. Whereas with new and powerful servers the problem disappears quicker than a purchase order."
"A Purchase order."
"Coming right up!" The PFY cries, scribbling away furiously at an order book.
..One minute later...
"So, that's a couple of 1.2 gig deskt.. transceiving servers and two radiolink cards," The PFY reads aloud, before rushing off to get the hardware while the iron is hot.
"How soon do you think it'll be sorted? I'd like to show that Head of Accounts how fast we can implement technology if we want. I thought it'd be good if I could just walk into a cafe with him watching a video from some camera in the building..."
"Oh, should be able to have that sorted by tomorrow - you'll get heaps of distance with the new aerial too!!"
The next day dawns and The Boss meets us downstairs with the Head Beancounter in tow.
"Right, so where's my TOTALLY PORTABLE LONG RANGE LAPTOP then?" The Boss asks smugly.
"My assistant has it outside," I respond. "He's just homing it in on the camera in the control room."
"Excellent! So I'll be able to see you people while I walk?"
"Oh yes. And we'll be able to see you too, through the onboard camera. There was enough bandwidth for two-way imaging, with sound and high quality video!"
"Excellent. And black spots?"
"None - we slapped an aerial on the roof as well!"
"Amazing what we can slap together at a moment's notice - no worries about..."
The Boss pauses slightly as he sees the aerial we've procured for him - the like of which is rarely seen outside of Ham Radio enthusiast stores..
"..that. AH! You've put EXTRA long range aerial on!" he cries - recovering well. His tone of voice, however, indicates he'll be speaking more on this at a later date...
The PFY and I slip back to mission control ASAP and straight into conference mode.
"Hello?" the PFY asks.
"I can see you very clearly!" The Boss cries, Head Beancounter still in tow. "We're moving down the street towards the building refurbishments - although I expect you can see that. I s'pose we might stop for a drink outside the pub down the end of the road as Simon suggested.."
"Coming through loud and clear," the PFY cries loudly, as a penny drops. "Did you say you were near the building refurbishment?"
"Yes, the one just down from us where they're saving the facade - that one - why?"
"You might want to turn around!" The PFY cautions. "I'm pretty sure they've strung up a temporary power l.."
What a bloody tragedy. ®