Wayback Wednesday: The fobbit | Computerworld

Pilot fish is deployed at a small military base in the desert in Iraq when a lone on-site IT engineer arrives. And he’s very gung-ho.

“He was tired of being a mere fobbit — someone who never leaves the FOB (forward operating base),” says fish. “He too wanted to be able to brag about his time ‘outside the wire,’ so he came up with a novel excuse.”

The base has a small wireless network using WEP encryption, and the engineer decides he has to make sure the network isn’t being cracked and monitored by insurgents.

Which isn’t a bad idea, except that 1) the base is in flat desert and any outsider is easy to spot; 2) wireless just doesn’t have much range; and 3) “I miss you, honey” emails aren’t exactly top-secret material.

Still, engineer goes to the protective security detail team and demands to be driven around outside the base to test exactly how far the wireless signal can be detected.

“Despite realizing that his request was pretty much BS, the PSD team took it with surprisingly good grace,” fish says. “And on their one day off in weeks, they drove the man around outside the wire, crouched over his laptop and GPS.”