Shark Tank: Unclear on the Concept

A flood at a cement company flushes water and cement through a server, and this pilot fish gets the job of retrieving data from the hard drive. "For those who don't know, wet cement is corrosive," reports fish. "The components were in a pile at the bottom of the case. The drive itself stayed dry, and we retrieved the data by purchasing a matching drive and controller and carefully soldering ribbon cables to the mechanism. And yes, there had been backups -- the tapes were kept on the floor next to the server."

Fast Thinking

First task for this new-hire pilot fish is to review the company's 5-year-old disaster recovery plan. "It's a big priority for the CIO to have the plan updated ASAP because hurricane season is coming and he wants to be prepared," fish says. "I saw on the documents that we have a secondary site, but there was no address, so I asked where it is. They told me it's three blocks from here -- the CIO wanted to be sure we can get there quickly!"

That Makes Two

Budget-conscious pilot fish redeploys an old but working server to the machine shop and asks a forklift driver to haul the server to its new location. Next day, fish goes over to hook up the server -- and finds out it's at the bottom of the scrap hopper, under a thousand pounds of steel scrap. Why did you dump it there? furious fish asks forklift driver. Driver: "The tool room supervisor said, 'Get that piece of @#$%! out of here! We already have a computer here, and it doesn't work!' "

Go Ahead And Try

This university has a new voice-mail system, and pilot fish watches as a vendor rep trains staffers to use it. Rep: The first time you use your mailbox, you'll be prompted to choose and enter your password using the phone's keypad." Support staffer: "Can it be letters and numbers?" Rep: Well, sure. Staffer: "Case-sensitive?"

Impossible? Outsource It

It's United Way pledge time at this company, but the charity no longer produces pledge cards as continuous forms, so the IT department can't use a line printer to personalize them with employees' names and ID numbers. Can't you use a laser printer on these three-part forms? pledge coordinator asks pilot fish. "I explained the part about melting toner on the top copy, but not being able to do that with Parts 2 and 3," fish says. "He listened attentively and then wanted to know if anybody else in town could print three-part forms on a laser printer."

Give till it hurts. Donate your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You score a sharp 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.

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