Shark Tank: Not a Complete Idiot, Anyhow

This IT executive tells support pilot fish that his laptop starts booting but shuts down before Windows can load. Sounds like you're not plugged in, fish says. "I am not an idiot!" exec bellows. "I checked to make sure the laptop was plugged in at the wall and at the back of the laptop!" Fish calmly crawls under the desk, finds both those cords -- and plugs them together. "Later, my boss forwarded an e-mail from the user," fish reports, "complimenting me on my technical knowledge and professional demeanor."


User leaves exasperated voice mail for help desk pilot fish: She can't fit a CD into her CD-ROM drive, she says, and it must be defective. "When I get around to visiting her office, I find that she has one of the new small, low-profile desktop computers," says fish, "which are very sleek and symmetrical on the outside. I look at it for a few seconds, then I walk up and turn the computer over. The entire thing was sitting there upside down!"

Space: The Final Frontier

Central IT has just upgraded this site's e-mail server with a much bigger hard drive - it's big enough to give each user an extra 50MB of storage. So how could it possibly run out of space and crash a few days later? "There was no free space," grumbles local IT pilot fish. "They had created a file share for the help desk, where everyone was storing their games and personal files, leaving the mail system with even less storage than before. I destroyed the file share, and magically my mail server returned to life -- but not before I changed the admin password on the box."

Of Course Not

User brings his laptop to IT pilot fish with a complaint: "It suddenly stopped working over the weekend." Fish notices that there's a big dent on one end of the case. Did you happen to drop the laptop? he asks the user, because I can see this big dent right here. "Well, I did drop it," user says. "But not on that end!"

Wonder Why?

When users report that they can no longer access the Internet, IT pilot fish checks the proxy server named, appropriately, Proxy. It checks out OK, but when he pings Proxy, he gets a response from a different machine. "About this time, a user who knows too much -- or too little - asked how to get his new Linux box online," fish sighs. "He said, 'I know you said we need to use a proxy server to get to the Internet, so I named it Proxy. But it still doesn't work.'"

My name is still Sharky. Send me your true tale of IT life at, and you'll get a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. And check out the daily feed, browse the Sharkives and sign up for Shark Tank home delivery at

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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