Exceptional IT

At this department meeting, IT boss announces that from now on, staffers are not to respond to any user request unless it’s made through the new IT work-tracking system. But what if a frantic manager calls? pilot fish asks. “No exceptions,” says boss. Even if it means a manufacturing line is shut down? “No exceptions!” Just then, boss’s cell phone rings. He glances at it and answers, and fish knows it’s a top manager. “What can I do for you? Your printer won’t print? I’ll send a tech right over!” Boss puts away phone and continues without missing a beat, “Of course, there will always be one or two exceptions.”

Talk to Me

University pilot fish keeps hearing a voice from her PC, and she suspects one of the techs is playing a joke on her. Then, while doing some cleanup in a lab, she hears the same voice coming out of a lab computer. “After some checking, it dawned on me: It was our blocking software,” says fish. “It was set to sound and log off after 10 minutes of Internet inactivity. A low voice would shout ‘Log off!’ Others had been obediently logging off, thinking a tech was tapping in and needed the computer to be logged off.”

Who Needs ’Em?

Server’s hard drive dies overnight, but pilot fish figures it’s no big deal — he’ll just replace the drive and restore from backups. “Then I learned that particular server wasn't part of our daily, weekly or monthly backup,” fish says. “In fact, it had never been backed up! And what data was on that hard drive? The disk images used for disaster recovery for our HR department.”

Managing the User

Panicked receptionist calls IT manager pilot fish, saying her monitor is doing weird things, though she’s not touching the computer. “I get to her station and pull out her under-desk keyboard drawer,” says fish, “and there’s her romance novel, open face-down, mashing the keyboard. She turns an enchanting tomato red and mumbles, ‘Uh, sorry, I had to hide the book when the boss came by. Please don't tell on me!’ Me? Never! But she owes me now.”

But Learning Fast

It’s 1992, and this bank’s newly hired mortgage broker gets his new PC. But broker confesses soberly to a pilot fish that he knows nothing about PCs. “He picked up the mouse and put it up to the screen and moved it around, but nothing happened,” reports stunned fish. “Before I could say anything, he said, ‘Don't laugh too much — I already called my wife, who laughed at me and explained what to do with it.’”

You know what to do with your true tale of IT life: Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You’ll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. And check out Sharky’s blog, browse the Sharkives and sign up for Shark Tank home delivery at computerworld.com/sharky.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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