So I'm interviewing for new Operators, and, as the Bastard System Manager from Hell, I have high standards. And as the Immediate Past Bastard Operator from Hell, I have even higher standards.

I get the first applicant in.

"Ok" I say "I'm just going to ask you some simple questions to guage your knowledge of Computing and Networking in relation to the Operations Field"


"Right. Question One. What's the best way to stop an individual posting nasty articles to news?"

"Close their account"

"Good - But can you elaborate?"

"Delete all their files, Change their password to `Knobhead' and Erase any backups of their account"

"Excellent. What is a killfile?"

"Uh. It's a list of usernames/topics/news items etc that you wish the news- reader to automatically skip so you don't have to wade through rubbish"

"Uh No. Remember I said pertaining to Operations. A killfile is in fact a file with a list of names of people you are going to have killed."

"Oh. Of course."

"Never mind. What is DCE?"

"Delete, Close and Erase"

"Good. DTR?"

"DON'T TRY to RING. The Operator's watchword"

"Well done. DBMS?"

"Dont Bug My Supervisor. Probably the most important acronym around"

"You betcha. Ok. A user comes to you with a complaint about another user sending sexually explicit email messages to them. What do you do?"

"Take a copy of the messages, close the complainant's account (by accident) and extort money from the mailer by threatening to show their parents"

"Good. I think you'll do nicely. Hang onto this wire..."

"I don't think so."

"Excellent. You passed the final test. You start tommorrow. Please leave by that door so as not to disturb the other applicants."


Electrified Door Handle. Gets them every time. I think it's the "Complaints Dept" sign that draws them to it like moths to a globe...

I push the body out onto the fire escape.


Simon Travaglia