Shake and bake

And I helped!

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This pilot fish gets assigned to accounting just as client/server is coming in, and he finds that teaching desktop computing to a lot of gray-hairs requires plenty of patience — and the occasional practical joke.

One day, one of the most senior accountants calls fish over and complains that one of the in-house-designed accounting apps isn’t working on her PC. Fish asks her to step through the process of using the program, all the while uttering soothing assurances that she can’t break anything, and all problems can be fixed.

All goes well until the monitor seems to freeze, which fish knows is just what happens when the program is conducting database queries. But the freeze-up soon challenges the user’s patience. “See?” she declaims. “I told you this dumb thing was broken. It’s not doing anything!”

Fish gives it a minute or two, then pastes the most thoughtful look he can muster onto his face and says, “I know what the problem is!” He then picks up the monitor, gives it a good shake or two, and sets it back down. Almost immediately, the program completes its query and the results appear.

Says fish, with as straight a face as possible, “Sometimes it gets stuck and you just have to shake the screen a bit to get it to work.” User looks at him with large-eyed wonder, but he just walks away, as the other workers in the area start to guffaw. Hopefully they set the user straight; we hate to think about a near-pensioner lifting and shaking a CRT monitor several times a day.

Sharky’s going to shake his monitor until your true tale of IT life lands in my inbox. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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