Bastard D.I.Y Excuse Board

Welcome to the BOFH Excuse board – your way into a support standard for the future. Please follow the steps below

Step One:
Compose the Excuse. Choose one word from the First, Second and Third Columns in the table below, concatenating them to describe the error, situation or problem you’re saying has occurred. For particularly unintelligent users, adding the optional fourth parameter may help to clarify that this isn’t a situation that should be celebrated…

Example: Inherent Software Corruption
Dumb Example: Inherent Software Corruption Error

Step Two:
Compose a story to backup this Excuse. Remember, the more outrageous the story, the more likely the user is to NOT understand it – and therefore believe it.

Unbelievable Explanation (for above excuse) “Well it appears that part of our software is corrupted – possibly because of some hardware error”
Believable Explanation: “It seems that the Inherency of the Software is corrupt – not the actual software itself. We’re looking at getting some artificial Inherency in to solve the problem…”

Step Three:
Get the user to become part of the problem.

Example “..But the Artificial Inherency costs about 50 bucks a user. If you could just send us the money, we’ll get you sorted out”
Another Example “..But the Artificial Inherency isn’t Right Hand User Compatible – I dunno, it’s Welsh or something – so you’re going to have to type with your left hand for the next 2 hours..”


First Second Third Optional Fourth


Excuse List

1 clock speed
2 solar flares
3 electromagnetic radiation from satellite debris
4 static from nylon underwear
5 static from plastic slide rules
6 global warming
7 poor power conditioning
8 static buildup
9 doppler effect
10 hardware stress fractures
11 magnetic interference from money/credit cards
12 dry joints on cable plug
13 we’re waiting for [the phone company] to fix that line
14 sounds like a Windows problem, try calling Microsoft support
15 temporary routing anomaly
16 somebody was calculating pi on the server
17 fat electrons in the lines
18 excess surge protection
19 floating point processor overflow
20 divide-by-zero error
21 POSIX compliance problem
22 monitor resolution too high
23 improperly oriented keyboard
24 network packets travelling uphill (use a carrier pigeon)
25 Decreasing electron flux
26 first Saturday after first full moon in Winter
27 radiosity depletion
28 CPU radiator broken
29 It works the way the Wang did, what’s the problem
30 positron router malfunction
31 cellular telephone interference
32 techtonic stress
33 piezo-electric interference
34 (l)user error
35 working as designed
36 dynamic software linking table corrupted
37 heavy gravity fluctuation, move computer to floor rapidly
38 secretary plugged hairdryer into UPS
39 terrorist activities
40 not enough memory, go get system upgrade
41 interrupt configuration error
42 spaghetti cable cause packet failure
43 boss forgot system password
44 bank holiday – system operating credits not recharged
45 virus attack, luser responsible
46 waste water tank overflowed onto computer
47 Complete Transient Lockout
48 bad ether in the cables
49 Bogon emissions
50 Change in Earth’s rotational speed
51 Cosmic ray particles crashed through the hard disk platter
52 Smell from unhygienic janitorial staff wrecked the tape heads
53 Little hamster in running wheel had coronary; waiting for replacement to be Fedexed from Wyoming
54 Evil dogs hypnotised the night shift
55 Plumber mistook routing panel for decorative wall fixture
56 Electricians made popcorn in the power supply
57 Groundskeepers stole the root password
58 high pressure system failure
59 failed trials, system needs redesigned
60 system has been recalled
61 not approved by the FCC
62 need to wrap system in aluminum foil to fix problem
63 not properly grounded, please bury computer
64 CPU needs recalibration
65 system needs to be rebooted
66 bit bucket overflow
67 descramble code needed from software company
68 only available on a need to know basis
69 knot in cables caused data stream to become twisted and kinked
70 nesting roaches shorted out the ether cable
71 The file system is full of it
72 Satan did it
73 Daemons did it
74 You’re out of memory
75 There isn’t any problem
76 Unoptimized hard drive
77 Typo in the code
78 Yes, yes, its called a design limitation
79 Look, buddy: Windows 3.1 IS A General Protection Fault.
80 That’s a great computer you have there; have you considered how it would work as a BSD machine?
81 Please excuse me, I have to circuit an AC line through my head to get this database working.
82 Yeah, yo mama dresses you funny and you need a mouse to delete files.
83 Support staff hung over, send aspirin and come back LATER.
84 Someone is standing on the ethernet cable, causing a kink in the cable
85 Windows 95 undocumented “feature”
86 Runt packets
87 Password is too complex to decrypt
88 Boss’ kid fucked up the machine
89 Electromagnetic energy loss
90 Budget cuts
91 Mouse chewed through power cable
92 Stale file handle (next time use Tupperware(tm)!)
93 Feature not yet implemented
94 Internet outage
95 Pentium FDIV bug
96 Vendor no longer supports the product
97 Small animal kamikaze attack on power supplies
98 The vendor put the bug there.
99 SIMM crosstalk.
100 IRQ dropout
101 Collapsed Backbone
102 Power company testing new voltage spike (creation) equipment
103 operators on strike due to broken coffee machine
104 backup tape overwritten with copy of system manager’s favourite CD
105 UPS interrupted the server’s power
106 The electrician didn’t know what the yellow cable was so he yanked the ethernet out.
107 The keyboard isn’t plugged in
108 The air conditioning water supply pipe ruptured over the machine room
109 The electricity substation in the car park blew up.
110 The rolling stones concert down the road caused a brown out
111 The salesman drove over the CPU board.
112 The monitor is plugged into the serial port
113 Root nameservers are out of sync
114 electro-magnetic pulses from French above ground nuke testing.
115 your keyboard’s space bar is generating spurious keycodes.
116 the real ttys became pseudo ttys and vice-versa.
117 the printer thinks its a router.
118 the router thinks its a printer.
119 evil hackers from Serbia.
120 we just switched to FDDI.
121 halon system went off and killed the operators.
122 because Bill Gates is a Jehovah’s witness and so nothing can work on St. Swithin’s day.
123 user to computer ratio too high.
124 user to computer ration too low.
125 we just switched to Sprint.
126 it has Intel Inside
127 Sticky bits on disk.
128 Power Company having EMP problems with their reactor
129 The ring needs another token
130 new management
131 telnet: Unable to connect to remote host: Connection refused
132 SCSI Chain overterminated
133 It’s not plugged in.
134 because of network lag due to too many people playing deathmatch
135 You put the disk in upside down.
136 Daemons loose in system.
137 User was distributing pornography on server; system seized by FBI.
138 BNC (brain not connected)
139 UBNC (user brain not connected)
140 LBNC (luser brain not connected)
141 disks spinning backwards – toggle the hemisphere jumper.
142 new guy cross-connected phone lines with ac power bus.
143 had to use hammer to free stuck disk drive heads.
144 Too few computrons available.
145 Flat tire on station wagon with tapes. (“Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurling down the highway” Andrew S. Tannenbaum)
146 Communications satellite used by the military for star wars.
147 Party-bug in the Aloha protocol.
148 Insert coin for new game
149 Dew on the telephone lines.
150 Arcserve crashed the server again.
151 Some one needed the powerstrip, so they pulled the switch plug.
152 My pony-tail hit the on/off switch on the power strip.
153 Big to little endian conversion error
154 You can tune a file system, but you can’t tune a fish (from most tunefs man pages)
155 Dumb terminal
156 Zombie processes haunting the computer
157 Incorrect time synchronization
158 Defunct processes
159 Stubborn processes
160 non-redundant fan failure
161 monitor VLF leakage
162 bugs in the RAID
163 no “any” key on keyboard
164 root rot
165 Backbone Scoliosis
166 /pub/lunch
167 excessive collisions & not enough packet ambulances
168 le0: no carrier: transceiver cable problem?
169 broadcast packets on wrong frequency
170 popper unable to process jumbo kernel
171 NOTICE: alloc: /dev/null: filesystem full
172 pseudo-user on a pseudo-terminal
173 Recursive traversal of loopback mount points
174 Backbone adjustment
175 OS swapped to disk
176 vapors from evaporating sticky-note adhesives
177 sticktion
178 short leg on process table
179 multicasts on broken packets
180 ether leak
181 Atilla the Hub
182 endothermal recalibration
183 filesystem not big enough for Jumbo Kernel Patch
184 loop found in loop in redundant loopback
185 system consumed all the paper for paging
186 permission denied
187 Reformatting Page. Wait…
188 ..disk or the processor is on fire.
189 SCSI’s too wide.
190 Proprietary Information.
191 Just type ‘mv * /dev/null’.
192 runaway cat on system.
193 Did you pay the new Support Fee?
194 We only support a 1200 bps connection.
195 We only support a 28000 bps connection.
196 Me no internet, only janitor, me just wax floors.
197 I’m sorry a pentium won’t do, you need an SGI to connect with us.
198 Post-it Note Sludge leaked into the monitor.
199 the curls in your keyboard cord are losing electricity.
200 The monitor needs another box of pixels.
202 kernel panic: write-only-memory (/dev/wom0) capacity exceeded.
203 Write-only-memory subsystem too slow for this machine. Contact your local dealer.
204 Just pick up the phone and give modem connect sounds. “Well you said we should get more lines so we don’t have voice lines.”
205 Quantum dynamics are affecting the transistors
206 Police are examining all internet packets in the search for a narco-net-trafficker
207 We are currently trying a new concept of using a live mouse. Unfortunately, one has yet to survive being hooked up to the computer…..please bear with us.
208 Your mail is being routed through Germany … and they’re censoring us.
209 Only people with names beginning with ‘A’ are getting mail this week (a la Microsoft)
210 We didn’t pay the Internet bill and it’s been cut off.
211 Lightning strikes.
212 Of course it doesn’t work. We’ve performed a software upgrade.
213 Change your language to Finnish.
214 Fluorescent lights are generating negative ions. If turning them off doesn’t work, take them out and put tin foil on the ends.
215 High nuclear activity in your area.
216 What office are you in? Oh, that one. Did you know that your building was built over the universities first nuclear research site? And wow, aren’t you the lucky one, your office is right over where the core is buried!
217 The MGs ran out of gas.
218 The UPS doesn’t have a battery backup.
219 Recursivity. Call back if it happens again.
220 Someone thought The Big Red Button was a light switch.
221 The mainframe needs to rest. It’s getting old, you know.
222 I’m not sure. Try calling the Internet’s head office — it’s in the book.
223 The lines are all busy (busied out, that is — why let them in to begin with?).
224 Jan 9 16:41:27 huber su: ‘su root’ succeeded for …. on /dev/pts/1
225 It’s those computer people in X {city of world}. They keep stuffing things up.
226 A star wars satellite accidently blew up the WAN.
227 Fatal error right in front of screen
228 That function is not currently supported, but Bill Gates assures us it will be featured in the next upgrade.
229 wrong polarity of neutron flow
230 Lusers learning curve appears to be fractal
231 We had to turn off that service to comply with the CDA Bill.
232 Ionization from the air-conditioning
233 TCP/IP UDP alarm threshold is set too low.
234 Someone is broadcasting pygmy packets and the router doesn’t know how to deal with them.
235 The new frame relay network hasn’t bedded down the software loop transmitter yet.
236 Fanout dropping voltage too much, try cutting some of those little traces
237 Plate voltage too low on demodulator tube
238 You did wha… oh _dear_….
239 CPU needs bearings repacked
240 Too many little pins on CPU confusing it, bend back and forth until 10-20% are neatly removed. Do _not_ leave metal bits visible!
241 _Rosin_ core solder? But…
242 Software uses US measurements, but the OS is in metric…
243 The computer fleetly, mouse and all.
244 Your cat tried to eat the mouse.
245 The Borg tried to assimilate your system. Resistance is futile.
246 It must have been the lightning storm we had (yesterday) (last week) (last month)
247 Due to Federal Budget problems we have been forced to cut back on the number of users able to access the system at one time. (namely none allowed….)
248 Too much radiation coming from the soil.
249 Unfortunately we have run out of bits/bytes/whatever. Don’t worry, the next supply will be coming next week.
250 Program load too heavy for processor to lift.
251 Processes running slowly due to weak power supply
252 Our ISP is having {switching,routing,SMDS,frame relay} problems
253 We’ve run out of licenses
254 Interference from lunar radiation
255 Standing room only on the bus.
256 You need to install an RTFM interface.
257 That would be because the software doesn’t work.
258 That’s easy to fix, but I can’t be bothered.
259 Someone’s tie is caught in the printer, and if anything else gets printed, he’ll be in it too.
260 We’re upgrading /dev/null
261 The Usenet news is out of date
262 Our POP server was kidnapped by a weasel.
263 It’s stuck in the Web.
264 Your modem doesn’t speak English.
265 The mouse escaped.
266 All of the packets are empty.
267 The UPS is on strike.
268 Neutrino overload on the nameserver
269 Melting hard drives
270 Someone has messed up the kernel pointers
271 The kernel license has expired
272 Netscape has crashed
273 The cord jumped over and hit the power switch.
274 It was OK before you touched it.
275 Bit rot
276 U.S. Postal Service
277 Your Flux Capacitor has gone bad.
278 The Dilithium Crystals need to be rotated.
279 The static electricity routing is acting up…
280 Traceroute says that there is a routing problem in the backbone. It’s not our problem.
281 The co-locator cannot verify the frame-relay gateway to the ISDN server.
282 High altitude condensation from U.S.A.F prototype aircraft has contaminated the primary subnet mask. Turn off your computer for 9 days to avoid damaging it.
283 Lawn mower blade in your fan need sharpening
284 Electrons on a bender
285 Telecommunications is upgrading.
286 Telecommunications is downgrading.
287 Telecommunications is downshifting.
288 Hard drive sleeping. Let it wake up on it’s own…
289 Interference between the keyboard and the chair.
290 The CPU has shifted, and become decentralized.
291 Due to the CDA, we no longer have a root account.
292 We ran out of dial tone and we’re and waiting for the phone company to deliver another bottle.
293 You must’ve hit the wrong any key.
294 PCMCIA slave driver
295 The Token fell out of the ring. Call us when you find it.
296 The hardware bus needs a new token.
297 Too many interrupts
298 Not enough interrupts
299 The data on your hard drive is out of balance.
300 Digital Manipulator exceeding velocity parameters
301 appears to be a Slow/Narrow SCSI-0 Interface problem
302 microelectronic Riemannian curved-space fault in write-only file system
303 fractal radiation jamming the backbone
304 routing problems on the neural net
305 IRQ-problems with the Un-Interruptible-Power-Supply
306 CPU-angle has to be adjusted because of vibrations coming from the nearby road
307 emissions from GSM-phones
308 CD-ROM server needs recalibration
309 firewall needs cooling
310 asynchronous inode failure
311 transient bus protocol violation
312 incompatible bit-registration operators
313 your process is not ISO 9000 compliant
314 You need to upgrade your VESA local bus to a MasterCard local bus.
315 The recent proliferation of Nuclear Testing
316 Elves on strike. (Why do they call EMAG Elf Magic)
317 Internet exceeded Luser level, please wait until a luser logs off before attempting to log back on.
318 Your EMAIL is now being delivered by the USPS.
319 Your computer hasn’t been returning all the bits it gets from the Internet.
320 You’ve been infected by the Telescoping Hubble virus.
321 Scheduled global CPU outage
322 Your Pentium has a heating problem – try cooling it with ice cold water.(Do not turn off your computer, you do not want to cool down the Pentium Chip while he isn’t working, do you?)
323 Your processor has processed too many instructions. Turn it off immediately, do not type any commands!!
324 Your packets were eaten by the terminator
325 Your processor does not develop enough heat.
326 We need a licensed electrician to replace the light bulbs in the computer room.
327 The POP server is out of Coke
328 Fiber optics caused gas main leak
329 Server depressed, needs Prozac
330 quantum decoherence
331 those damn raccoons!
332 suboptimal routing experience
333 A plumber is needed, the network drain is clogged
334 50% of the manual is in .pdf readme files
335 the AA battery in the wallclock sends magnetic interference
336 the xy axis in the trackball is coordinated with the summer solstice
337 the butane lighter causes the pincushioning
338 old inkjet cartridges emanate barium-based fumes
339 manager in the cable duct
340 We’ll fix that in the next (upgrade, update, patch release, service pack).
341 HTTPD Error 666 : BOFH was here
342 HTTPD Error 4004 : very old Intel cpu – insufficient processing power
343 The ATM board has run out of 10 pound notes. We are having a whip round to refill it, care to contribute ?
344 Network failure – call NBC
345 Having to manually track the satellite.
346 Your/our computer(s) had suffered a memory leak, and we are waiting for them to be topped up.
347 The rubber band broke
348 We’re on Token Ring, and it looks like the token got loose.
349 Stray Alpha Particles from memory packaging caused Hard Memory Error on Server.
350 paradigm shift…without a clutch
351 PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)
352 The cables are not the same length.
353 Second-system effect.
354 Chewing gum on /dev/sd3c
355 Boredom in the Kernel.
356 the daemons! the daemons! the terrible daemons!
357 I’d love to help you — it’s just that the Boss won’t let me near the computer.
358 struck by the Good Times virus
359 YOU HAVE AN I/O ERROR -> Incompetent Operator error
360 Your parity check is overdrawn and you’re out of cache.
361 Communist revolutionaries taking over the server room and demanding all the computers in the building or they shoot the sysadmin. Poor misguided fools.
362 Plasma conduit breach
363 Out of cards on drive D:
364 Sand fleas eating the Internet cables
365 parallel processors running perpendicular today
366 ATM cell has no roaming feature turned on, notebooks can’t connect
367 Webmasters kidnapped by evil cult.
368 Failure to adjust for daylight savings time.
369 Virus transmitted from computer to sysadmins.
370 Virus due to computers having unsafe sex.
371 Incorrectly configured static routes on the corerouters.
372 Forced to support NT servers; sysadmins quit.
373 Suspicious pointer corrupted virtual machine
374 It’s the InterNIC’s fault.
375 Root name servers corrupted.
376 Budget cuts forced us to sell all the power cords for the servers.
377 Someone hooked the twisted pair wires into the answering machine.
378 Operators killed by year 2000 bug bite.
379 We’ve picked COBOL as the language of choice.
380 Operators killed when huge stack of backup tapes fell over.
381 Robotic tape changer mistook operator’s tie for a backup tape.
382 Someone was smoking in the computer room and set off the halon systems.
383 Your processor has taken a ride to Heaven’s Gate on the UFO behind Hale-Bopp’s comet.
384 it’s an ID-10-T error
385 Dyslexics retyping hosts file on servers
386 The Internet is being scanned for viruses.
387 Your computer’s union contract is set to expire at midnight.
388 Bad user karma.
389 /dev/clue was linked to /dev/null
390 Increased sunspot activity.
391 We already sent around a notice about that.
392 It’s union rules. There’s nothing we can do about it. Sorry.
393 Interference from the Van Allen Belt.
394 Jupiter is aligned with Mars.
395 Redundant ACLs.
396 Mail server hit by UniSpammer.
397 T-1’s congested due to porn traffic to the news server.
398 Data for intranet got routed through the extranet and landed on the internet.
399 We are a 100% Microsoft Shop.
400 We are Microsoft. What you are experiencing is not a problem; it is an undocumented feature.
401 Sales staff sold a product we don’t offer.
402 Secretary sent chain letter to all 5000 employees.
403 Sysadmin didn’t hear pager go off due to loud music from bar-room speakers.
404 Sysadmin accidentally destroyed pager with a large hammer.
405 Sysadmins unavailable because they are in a meeting talking about why they are unavailable so much.
406 Bad cafeteria food landed all the sysadmins in the hospital.
407 Route flapping at the NAP.
408 Computers under water due to SYN flooding.
409 The vulcan-death-grip ping has been applied.
410 Electrical conduits in machine room are melting.
411 Traffic jam on the Information Superhighway.
412 Radial Telemetry Infiltration
413 Cow-tippers tipped a cow onto the server.
414 tachyon emissions overloading the system
415 Maintenance window broken
416 We’re out of slots on the server
417 Computer room being moved. Our systems are down for the weekend.
418 Sysadmins busy fighting SPAM.
419 Repeated reboots of the system failed to solve problem
420 Feature was not beta tested
421 Domain controller not responding
422 Someone else stole your IP address, call the Internet detectives!
423 It’s not RFC-822 compliant.
424 operation failed because: there is no message for this error (#1014)
425 stop bit received
426 internet is needed to catch the etherbunny
427 network down, IP packets delivered via UPS
428 Firmware update in the coffee machine
429 Temporal anomaly
430 Mouse has out-of-cheese-error
431 Borg implants are failing
432 Borg nanites have infested the server
433 error: one bad user found in front of screen
434 Please state the nature of the technical emergency
435 Internet shut down due to maintenance
436 Daemon escaped from pentagram
437 crop circles in the corn shell
438 sticky bit has come loose
439 Hot Java has gone cold
440 Cache miss – please take better aim next time
441 Hash table has woodworm
442 Trojan horse ran out of hay
443 Zombie processes detected, machine is haunted.
444 overflow error in /dev/null
445 Browser’s cookie is corrupted — someone’s been nibbling on it.
446 Mailer-daemon is busy burning your message in hell.
447 According to Microsoft, it’s by design
448 vi needs to be upgraded to vii
449 greenpeace free’d the mallocs
450 Terrorists crashed an airplane into the server room, have to remove /bin/laden. (rm -rf /bin/laden)
451 astropneumatic oscillations in the water-cooling
452 Somebody ran the operating system through a spelling checker.
453 Rhythmic variations in the voltage reaching the power supply.
454 Keyboard Actuator Failure. Order and Replace.
455 Packet held up at customs.
456 Propagation delay.
457 High line impedance.
458 Someone set us up the bomb.
459 Power surges on the Underground.
460 Don’t worry; it’s been deprecated. The new one is worse.
461 Excess condensation in cloud network
462 It is a layer 8 problem
463 The math co-processor had an overflow error that leaked out and shorted the RAM
464 Leap second overloaded RHEL6 servers
465 DNS server drank too much and had a hiccup
466 Your machine had the fuses in backwards.