The Prehistory of B.O.F.H

Where it came from, How and Why

I get people asking from time to time, so I may as well tell...

Where it came from:

So I was writing the Striped Irregular Bucket around 1988-89 or so, it's hard to remember, and I was in much the same situation as the poor operator I was writing about. I was bored shitless. So I thought I'd bash out a couple of lines about something, and where better to start than a place I knew. So I chunked out Striped Irregular Bucket, which was far less offensive than some of my previous posts. Unlike most of my other posts, I knew the area I was talking about. (Being bored in a Computer Room that is). Then I started getting mail from people, which was unusual in itself, and it didn't say that my library books were overdue and it wasn't from story-tellers who wanted to tell you why they needed more disk, connect time etc. I ignored most of this and went on with other writing, resurrecting BOFH (who was as yet pretty much unnamed) in Striped Irregular Bucket #5. Then I got more mail, so I thought I'd bash out a couple of BOFH articles. So I did, then ran out of material briefly, so I stopped. Then got some material, and started then stopped again. That was about BOFH #15, after a brief splurge into BSMFH. Etc etc. Then I went to Britian for a year and worked for Enterprise Oil PLC (good place, say Hi!) in London, bricking out 2 articles in that time. Along the way, Waikato kept my old account open, so I'd get maybe one mail message a week from someone who'd just read it for the first time. I still do, strangely enough. Anyway, so I got back home, took up a job as Analyst Programmer, kissed the Computer Room goodbye, and thought that would make a fitting end to the BOFH.

To all the people who mailed me over 1993 or so and got no reply, sorry, but had to login from a Sun Sparc SLC via a modem to a machine which connected to a machine which let me login via a weird version of telnet to home in New Zealand.

Anyway, that's the very end of it. I know I've said that a couple of times, but there you go, you can't trust an Operator. But you can trust an A/P - Trust me.



Congratulations on sending me mail, it getting here, and you getting a reply!
This is the Bastard Operator From Hell (and other) FAQ file v1.6 (Enhanced, Intel(tm)-not-inside version) created
in response to the sporadic queries I get regarding things I write and post to Usenet News.  You have received it because either:

        A. You asked for it or browsed to it
        B. It looks like you want some information from it
        C. I know you're paying for every byte you receive
                (which means you'll get the 2000 line version)
        D. You're a postmaster and the person I sent it to passed a bad
                return address to me.
        E. Extra Terrestrial Activity.

        Q1.  Can you mail me BOFH/Quantum Optics/Part 4 of xxx/Party Dude/etc?
        A1.  No

        Q2.  Can you tell me where to get BOFH/etc?
        A2.  Possibly.  It should be available on via the web at
	They're good people.
        Q3.  How many BOFHs were there?
        A3.  Well, it's a little grey for me, but an accurate figure would be: lots.

        Q4.  Is any of it true?
        A4.  None of it.  P.s.  You have a lot of free disk now.  Don't thank
                me, it was my job.

        Q5.  Why did you do it?
        A5.  At first because I was bored.

        Q6.  Did you ever *really* do any of that stuff?
        A6.  Ah.... ...  no.

        Q7.  Can I use the BOFH in my magazine/newspaper/book?
        A7.  Typically, I'd say no, as I'm waiting for someone to make me a huge
	and disgusting offer for the lot so that I can retire to a desert island
	and make Pine Cones the old fasioned way.
	Or, alternatively,  I'm not too keen on publishers with a lack of
	content using me as padding space.  I'd prefer to retain copyright,
	which means that if I centralise the distribution I ensure that I do
	in fact retain it.
             NOTE:  The Electronic Rights of the first 15 or so BOFH articles are
	owned by Datamation Magazine or their publishers.  I would prefer
	that people who have electronic versions note this fact.

        Q8. What's the copyright situation?
        A8. I retain all copyright on my stuff unless otherwise stated

        Q9.  I love it!   Where can I send my firstborn?
        A9.  To school.   Me, I'd like a US 2 dollar note.  
	Simon Travaglia 
                        P.O.  Box 13018
                        New Zealand

        Q10. I'm a psych grad - what was BOFH's motivation?
        A10. The undeniable realisation that Computer Operators rule the world

        Q11. Anything Else?
        A11. Over the years I have had many people say that they'd like to publish
	the series as a book.  No-one has really done it.  Chuck Burke, who
	used to work for Kanti Communications, was the last.  One day it
	may happen.

        Q12.  Teeshirts?
        A12.   I'm writing articles, FOR MONEY, now - and the new publisher, at is talking about sorting out merchandise with copyleft. 
	Best check that out...