Shark tank

Not the answer he expected

It’s the mid-1980s, and this company’s engineering department has its own computer: a 20-year-old General Electric model with all of 16KB of donut core memory. “The maintenance agreement was up for its five-year renewal, and our manager was astounded by the figures he saw,” says a pilot fish who was there. “He told the salesman, ‘You’re quoting US$150,000 a year, plus parts. For that kind of money, I can buy a new PDP-11!’ The salesman replied, ‘I wish you would.’ The new computer was up and running two months later.”

It happens every spring

This company spends extra on redundant routers, redundant switches and redundant connections from separate providers. “Imagine our surprise when, early the first spring after installing all this, our connection goes down,” groans a pilot fish on the scene. “Turns out that over certain stretches, one provider was leasing fiber from the other, and it ran under a farmer’s field. Come spring, the farmer came out with his backhoe, and — well, you know. Now every spring, we have at least a half-day of outage. They never tell us if it’s the same farmer every time.”

Well, sort of

IT pilot fish brings in his own wireless mouse to use at work, which makes his life easier. But as he’s fixing a problem for a user one day, using keyboard shortcuts and not touching the mouse, user comments, “Your mouse is broken.” Why do you say that? asks fish. User: “The tail is missing.”


Support pilot fish takes a personal call from an elderly friend who can’t get her e-mail working correctly. A few step-by-step instructions later, fish receives a test message, but he tells elderly user that he sees the problem: All the words in the test message are running together, making it almost impossible to read. User: “Oh, my sister said to leave all the spaces out.”

Wrong? What’s that?

Pilot fish gets call from enraged manager who’s trying to give a presentation and print out copies at the same time — and nothing’s working. “We rushed to the conference room to find that he had plugged both ends of multiple network cables into the small network switch on the conference table, thereby creating a loop and tying up the segment for all,” says fish. “After describing the situation, fixing it and letting him know what would happen if he did this, he stated the following: ‘I did it to help speed up the network. You guys should have something that detects this anyway.’ We said ‘You’re welcome’ and awaited his next boneheaded move.”

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