Your Favorite Shark Tanks

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Close call

Staffers at this army base are issued electronic signature cards for signing financial reports, and there are the usual shakedown problems. One common issue, according to a pilot fish working there: The cards aren't marked "This side up," and they can go into the readers four ways -- but three won't work. "I'm called into my boss's office, and he's frustrated trying to get a document signed, and I can see his card is in upside down," says fish. "This calls for all my diplomatic skills -- I don't want to embarrass him. So I get on the phone and call myself and pretend to be troubleshooting. As usual, this elicits a user trip to the coffee area. While he's gone, I flip his card -- and all is well when he returns."

Nice work

Computer store pilot fish is called in after a local insurance company's network is down following a storm. "We discovered that a surge had made its way through the network cable and fried the network cards on the PCs," says fish. "No problem: We replaced the cards and voila! the computers were communicating again on the network. Next day, I was disciplined because I had 'gone over my manager's head' by fixing the bad network cards. I later discovered that a whole new set of PCs was ordered upon recommendation by my manager before we'd even evaluated the problem."

The reason why

This very pleasant department clerk is known for having very strange PC problems. "The fix always seemed to be rebuilding her PC from scratch," says a help desk pilot fish. But one day the clerk casually mentions that she tries to speed up her PC by deleting all files that are more than two years old. "Her reasoning was that something that old couldn't possibly be of any use," sighs fish. "What followed was my futile attempt to explain how operating systems work and why deleting old files was not a good idea. But at least we found out what was happening to her computer."

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