Shark tank

Useless information

Pilot fish gets a call from a consultant who says he’s supposed to access certain files on a server. ‘How are they used?’ consultant asks. Fish explains that File 1 gets additions daily. Then, every Tuesday, it’s copied to File 2, and File 1 is cleared. Then File 1 gets daily information written to it again for a week. A few days later, consultant calls again. File 1 is empty — was it deleted? Fish patiently explains the rotation again. Consultant: “Oh yeah, you told me that the other day, but I thought it was useless information that I didn’t need, so I deleted it from my brain.”


It’s the eve of a much-publicized computer virus attack, and this pilot fish sends out a reminder to all users not to open any e-mails promising dirty pictures. Next day, he gets a distress call from an engineer. “His laptop had crashed,” says fish. “He had skipped over my warning e-mail, which arrived first in his in-box, and opened the pornographic attachment to start his day! Much to his embarrassment, he had to explain to my boss what had happened in order to expedite the re-imaging of his laptop.”

But thanks for asking

At the daily status meeting with users, IT pilot fish reports that the mainframe is running slowly because of month-end jobs. ‘What does that mean?’ users ask. “I explained that there were more jobs running on the mainframe, which caused things to run longer and impacted getting things done in the normal time period,” fish says. “Again they asked, so that means what? I then said slowly, ‘Jobs… are… taking… longer.’ They asked no further questions.”

Let’s try social engineering

Phone-sex charges start to show up on the phone bill for the modem on a system this pilot fish supports. “Someone was unplugging the line from the modem and into a telephone to do his disgusting business,” says fish assigned to the problem. “I asked our phone support guys to make the line incoming only; but they said it couldn’t be done. I looked into soldering the cord into the back of the modem — didn’t find anything that would work.” Finally, the fish prints out a sign and tapes it to the back of the modem. Notice: do not unplug these phone lines. These phone lines will not permit outgoing calls. Says the satisfied fish, “We never saw another phone-sex item on the bill again.”

Hear no evil

PC is beeping continually, so support pilot fish calls in the PC specialist. “He opened the case, and when he left, there was no more beeping,” fish reports. “Curious, I asked him what the problem was. He said he didn’t know. What about the beeping? He disconnected the internal speaker so you couldn’t hear it anymore. Within a few days, the PC crashed. Maybe the beeping was trying to tell him something?”

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