Throwback Thursday: Yeah, but it worked!

This engineering office is installing a new network copier/printer in its word-processing department, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"One of the people in that department also handles package shipping via a particular delivery service that also provides Windows software for printing shipping labels, billing, tracking packages, etc.," fish says.

"With the new printer, we're having problems getting that software to properly hold the new printer configuration."

The service representative who is setting up the printer tells fish he needs to reboot the PC. Fish tells him to wait and check with the woman who handles shipping, because he knows that the shipping software can't be shut down and restarted during the working day.

Do that, and the software will automatically close out the current day and start up with the date of the next business day.

"Sure, I'll take care of it," shipping woman says. She walks over to the PC and closes her e-mail client and word-processing software.

Then, with the shipping software still running, she reaches down to the power strip and turns off the machine.

Fish and service rep stand speechless, just looking at each other.

After a few seconds, shipping woman calmly turns the computer back on. It reboots, Windows comes up, and she logs back in and restarts the shipping software.

"Since it ended in an error state, it rebuilds and corrects some data files and picks up where it left off, on the current day," says fish.

"I'm not sure which to be more perturbed about -- the fact that she would so calmly just power off the computer, or that a programmer would take the time to be sure his software can recover from a major power outage, but can't give the user a clean way to shut down and restart on the same day.

"I'd also like to know how she found this out, but I'm afraid to ask."

Sharky's not afraid to ask for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales like this one from the Sharkives.

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