Never Mind

It's Sunday afternoon, and this net admin pilot fish gets a call at home from a database administrator who's at work doing server updates. "She's doing the updates using a remote console from her office in a building adjacent to the building where the servers are housed," says fish. "She complains that she was just kicked off the server and believes it's a network problem." DBA: "I'm applying important patches to the server, and it's important that I don't get disconnected again." Fish: If the patches are so important, why don't you go over to the computer room and apply them directly on the server? DBA: "Well, I'm almost done anyway."

One Sweet Fix

For over a year, this user calls the help desk at least three times a week, complaining about computer problems he's having. "He always used to say that because of the computer fault, he was going to miss lunch again to catch up on his work," says a pilot fish who regularly takes the calls. "After a year of this, I'd had enough. I sent a 50-cent chocolate bar down to him, with a note on it saying, 'This is for the next time the computer goes wrong.' Fortunately, he saw the funny side of it and became a firm supporter of IT for the next 15 years until he retired. As he was calmer using the computer, he also had fewer problems. If only all IT issues could be fixed with a 50-cent chocolate bar."

Aha!

Users signing up for this company's online applications submit a form with full name and mother's maiden name. Then IT sends an e-mail message telling the user his initial password is his mother's maiden name. But one user just can't sign on. "We try logging on using her mother's maiden name with no problem," says an IT pilot fish on the case. "We suggest opening a new browser window, rebooting the machine — all to no avail. Finally, we ask her to say aloud the letters as she types. When she gets to the password field, she starts, 'M-O-T-H-E-R...'"

Unreliable

Panicked secretary asks this pilot fish for help, and it's got to be unofficial: The secretary's brother is having a crisis, but he doesn't work for the company. "His Ph.D. thesis is on a floppy, and the floppy is corrupted," fish reports. "I asked, 'Isn't the thesis on a hard drive?' Apparently, her brother heard that hard drives can be unreliable, so he backed up his thesis onto a floppy. And only a floppy. A single floppy. For two years. Making changes nearly every day. And never once did he write it to the hard drive."

Write to Sharky: sharky@computerworld.com. Send me your true tale of IT life, and you'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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