Hard Problems, Easy Solutions

This classified research lab is essentially a steel vault with interlocking electric doors. "Power was lost one morning, the backup generator failed, and people in the lab were trapped in utter darkness for a long hour," says a pilot fish there. An investigation reveals that the generator was never tested, so management moves quickly to make sure the incident is never repeated: "Within a week," fish reports, "every employee on the project was issued a glow-in-the-dark light stick."


Attorney calls his firm's help desk, complaining that the sound isn't working on his PC. "He had gone into the volume icon at the bottom of his screen, and the volume was turned up," pilot fish says. "I talked him through some more settings in the Control Panel for sound volume. We finally got down to a setting called 'speaker volume.' I asked him what that was set at. He said, 'Sixty percent or so. But you know, I don't have speakers.'"

Details, Details

Pilot fish's company is bought by a much bigger outfit, and he figures it's a great new opportunity -- until the new boss speaks at an all-hands meeting. "First he talked about how his company had 50 stateside developers when it was bought by the new parent firm," fish says. "Most of the speech was about how they were going to streamline the company to make it more competitive. At the end of his speech, he casually mentioned how they only have five stateside developers doing prototyping work, and everything else is sent to India. When I got back to my desk, I started sending out resumes."

By the Numbers

Support pilot fish needs a port to be opened in the newly installed company firewall. So he instructs trainee to ask firewall admins to open Port 3456, https outgoing. "Just tell him: Port three, four, five, six, https outgoing," fish says. Phone rings 15 minutes later. Do you really want Ports 3, 4, 5 and 6 opened, and why? asks firewall admin. When trainee returns, he proudly tells fish, "The firewall guy asked if I wanted 3456 https outgoing, but I specifically told him no, we really need 3, 4, 5 and 6."


New user swears she knows her password but can't log in. "I try her password and log right in, so I ask her to try again," support pilot fish says. "Then I notice that as she says each letter, she's hitting the asterisk key. Turns out she watched other people log in and could only see stars, so that's what she tried over and over."

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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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