The Register


Bored Once More...

Bored, bored, bored. I'm bored. The PFY's on holiday, and there's no-one in the building who's any match for him at Quake II. There's only one thing for it. I'm just going to have to make my own fun.

"They're bloody magic!" the head of security remarks joyfully, in response to my enquiry about our new proximity activated access cards. "The users don't have to ferret around in their wallets for their swipe cards, and we don't have problems with dirty swipe readers -- they're brilliant! And we can track people throughout the building. It's great!"

"And it's helpful to us too," the head of personnel blurts excitedly, "interfacing it to the phone system so that your phone automatically diverts to whichever room you're in at the moment is a godsend!"

"So I take it we're all happy and I should go ahead and pay the invoices from the telecomms and security people?"

The boss considers it for a slight moment, weighing up the trolleyload of brownie points he stands to gain from this decision before casting the deciding vote...

"The tracking WILL be used only by security, won't it?"

"OF COURSE!" I cry -- knowing that the vendor's product is no match for the tracking software we've been using for the last two years.

"There'll be only two viewing stations -- the Head of Security's office and the Ground Floor Security desk."

"In that case, where do I sign?" he asks, smiling.

Smiles break out all round as the boss slaps his OK on the bottom of the fairly modest invoices.

"What does 'TEST SITE' mean exactly?" he asks, slightly concerned at some fine print on the contract.

"It means we get the software at a discounted rate because we agree to notify them of any problems in the product."

"PROBLEMS with the product?" the boss asks warily.

"Yes, you know like we have with ALL the kit -- only this time the vendor WANTS us to tell them about it, and they'll fix them!"

"And they're giving us a DISCOUNT for this?!" he cries, not believing our good fortune. I reassure him, he seems satisfied.

Not wanting to waste any time, I grab the approved invoices and take them up to accounts.

The sad thing about systems like this is that they normally never reach their full potential until someone like me, with time on his hands, thinks outside the square, for the good of all. Well, for a bit of a laugh, anyway.

I wait a couple of tedium-filled days until security has collected the old access cards and decommissioned the swipe readers before putting my plan into action. First, modify the phone system's 'Follow Me' function to call the LAST room you were in, instead of the current one...

Next, vary the proximity on doors so that you have to be right on top of one before it releases.

The stage is set, the characters ready...

I choose the CCTV monitoring the door with the least proximity sense, which happens to be beside the coffee machine, slap a video into the recorder and wait for the boss.

Half an hour of impatience is rewarded when the boss wanders through the door, and makes himself a very hot black coffee. I crank the sensors depth to 0mm and the boss ploughs into the door with his steaming styrofoam.


I unlock the door to let him out, then phone him as he leaves the room -- he knows it's for him because he's reported the late 'follow me' to me twice already...and ploughs into the door again. I think I might be onto a 'Funniest Video' winner here.

A loud thud announces the boss's arrival at Mission Control along with a faint trickle of red on the glass at around nose height.

I hate myself, I really do.

It's not pretty. The boss is ranting at me, which upsets my concentration so much I overwrite the video I've just made. Bugger!


"I... it must be a bug," I respond, wondering if security is extracting a portion of urine from the boss as well...

"HAVE YOU NOTED IT?" he asks.

"Well, we usually let the user do that on the bugs noteboard"

"RIGHT! Where's that then?"

My conscience is making noises but, NO! I WANT THAT PRIZE!

"Ah, on the wall beside the coffee machine" I respond, rewinding the videotape"

One thud later he's gone.

Two thuds later, they take him away in a wraparound suit.

And the worst of it is, I'm still bored...