Shark Tank: What a Concept!

Users at this hospital each get a directory on a file server, mapped to the I: drive. When this IT pilot fish notices during a routine audit that one user's I: drive has gotten very big, he investigates and finds it contains several hundred megabytes of games -- a major no-no. User's explanation? "I just got this computer a few months ago, and the games were on it when I got it!" Sighs fish, "She's still having trouble grasping the concept of a network drive."

Aha!

This European organization installs a U.S. vendor's software suite, using the vendor's local rep as its integrator. But one component seems to be missing. "The local rep can't remember whether he installed it," says a pilot fish on the scene. "After three weeks, the rep finally confirms that the program seems to be installed but is not working properly." Why not? asks the project manager. The rep replies, "As this was not a requirement, we did not test it."

Slow but Happy

It's the 1970s, and this pilot fish writes the first online application for his company's mainframe. It's blazingly fast, but boss tells fish, "Put a loop in that does nothing 10,000 times before displaying the response screen." Why slow it down? fish asks. "Because as more applications go online, response time will get longer and longer, and the users will get more and more irritated," his boss tells him. "This way, we can just decrease the number of times the empty loop executes, keep response time constant and keep the users happy."

The Hard Way

This new Web application tests out fine until existing customer data is imported without any validation. Then errors show up everywhere, says programmer pilot fish. But how are they dealt with? "Whenever an entry blew up, a bug report was logged," grumbles fish. "This made it easy to track each 'bug' and fix it -- by fixing the data on a record-by-record basis!"

What's in A Name?

After the IT department migrates this designer pilot fish's projects to a new server, one project vanishes. "The folder named 'Core' was gone," fish says, "and IT said they had no backups of this folder and don't believe it ever existed." Turns out "core" is the name automatically given to large files called core dumps used for troubleshooting, and the backup program filters out anything with that name. "Poof goes the project," sighs fish. "Now we're trying to recover data from anywhere we can find it."

I get it where I find it, too. Send your true tale of IT life to sharky@computerworld.com. You snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. And check out the daily feed, browse the Sharkives and sign up for Shark Tank home delivery at computerworld.com/sharky.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon