The color purple

Reseller's team has just installed a new mainframe for this client, and the senior systems tech is justly proud that the job is almost done, says a pilot fish there.

"He coordinated the whole thing from system install to software install to client training," fish says. "Everything was all hooked up, the software was installed and configured, the devices were all connected and the client was ready to go.

"The system had been up and under heavy use for two days when the senior tech gathered the client's technical staff together to review some details."

Once everyone is assembled, senior tech begins going on about how mainframes differ from desktop computers. He hammers home the importance of proper system maintenance. He stresses again and again that proper shutdown procedures are a must.

With a final flourish, he says, "You must never treat it like a PC and do this" -- at which point he pushes the mainframe power button in.

The clients are confused. Fish and the other team members are aghast.

But the senior tech keeps talking, explaining that when he releases the button, the mainframe will shut down -- and that if he does it now, there will be all sorts of database corruption.

"As his punishment, he was left to hold the power button in while everyone else called all the remote locations to have them log all the users off the system for 'maintenance training,'" fish reports.

"About 45 minutes later, all the users were off the system and the power button released. As the system shut down, we could only marvel at the purple color of the senior tech's finger."

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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