It’s All About U, Isn’t It?

Manager pages pilot fish before he even gets to his desk: There’s an important meeting in the conference room, and the PC there isn’t working. As fish arrives, manager jumps up, keyboard in hand, punching the Enter key to show that the screen isn’t responding. Fish sees the keyboard’s dangling cable and — painfully aware of the roomful of bigwigs present — tries to quietly point out that the keyboard works better when plugged in to the machine. Manager’s loud response: “I disconnected it to plug in my thumb drive, but that shouldn’t matter because the keyboard is USB, and the PC should always know how to run it. The ‘u’ stands for universal!”


This big hospital keeps updated copies of electronic patient records on a “downtime PC” at each nursing station, in case there’s a network problem. But one nursing manager tells this IT pilot fish that her downtime PC isn’t getting the records. Fish tracks down the designated PC, and all patient reports are present and updated — but the alert-orange “Downtime PC” sticker is missing. “That’s not our downtime PC,” manager tells fish. “It’s over there.” She points across the nursing unit. Did IT relocate the workstation? fish asks. “No,” manager replies. “We just moved the orange sticker.”

Eight the Hard Way

Pilot fish wants to demo some software for co-workers at two locations, and she knows just how to do it: having them share her workstation screen using remote-control software. “For hours, I tried to figure out how to have eight of us remote into my machine while on a conference call with me,” says fish. “I drove all my co-workers crazy with all my interruptions. And when I couldn’t get it to work, I harassed help desk staffers, asking them to make it work. Then a non-IT staffer asked me, ‘How about using the teleconference room and sharing your screen with both locations?’ OK, I felt pretty stupid.”

Question Time

Network tech pilot fish calls vendor support line for help with a router but discovers that only one person is authorized for support calls: fish’s laid-off predecessor. Fish: “He’s no longer here. How can I get support?” Support guy: “Well, I have answers to security questions.” Fish: “I’d say this is standard for some of our own security. What are the questions?” Support: “We don’t have any questions — just answers.” Fish: “OK, give me an answer and I’ll provide the right question.”

Submit your own true tales of IT life to If Sharky uses it, you'll snag a snazzy Shark Tank shirt!

Have a similar experience? Then add your comments to the daily Shark Tank blog!

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon