Shark Tank: Where There's Smoke ...

"I think my monitor is on fire!" user tells help desk pilot fish. Call the fire department, fish says immediately. "But can't you just come look at it?" user asks. "I don't see flames, but it went black and I smell smoke." Hang up and call the fire department! fish tells her. So she does. "They came and took her burned popcorn out of the microwave," sighs fish. "And her screen came back when she moved her mouse."


At this state agency, the administrator password is changed regularly on all 3,000 PCs. "We are also reminded regularly by the network security supervisor that disclosing this password is grounds for disciplinary action," says an IT pilot fish there. But one day, just hours after the change, an order comes down to change it again. Why? Fish reports, "It leaked out that the network security supervisor, in his haste to get something done, inadvertently divulged the network password to an outside contractor."

Bugs? Naah!

It's the late 1970s, and a secretary discovers an easy way to spend work time with her co-worker boyfriend: using the command to move the cursor on a mainframe-based text editor to Line 0. That causes a crash, and everyone gets a 20-minute break. "Finally, someone ratted on the secretary and told IT," says a user pilot fish. "But these higher beings in IT refused to believe until it was demonstrated: Line 0, and down goes the mainframe. There's nothing funnier than seeing 15 IT jaws drop to the floor at the same time."

That's Not It

Pilot fish watches two software testers working on a complex workflow project. One tester's test scripts keep failing, while the other's scripts run fine. "Tester 1 even asks Tester 2 to run one of his tests, and then the test completes just fine," says fish. "So he says to Tester 2, 'I can see your tests look OK, and mine have failed. Should we swap computers?' "

You Know, the Anonymous Ones

Pilot fish sends out an employee satisfaction survey as a Web form embedded in e-mail. That way, responses remain completely anonymous, users are assured. Next day, one user complains to fish that he's tried sending the form three times, but there's still nothing in his e-mail out-box. "What kind of system makes us fill out a lengthy survey and then not even send it?" user grumbles. Fish explains it's sent via the Web to keep it anonymous. "Oh," user says. "Well then, just remove my extra answers from your database."

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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