All I know is, they're blinking together

Client calls this consultant pilot fish with a complaint: The firewall that fish installed and has been working fine for months is now interfering with VoIP.

"They claimed nothing had changed and they hadn't touched the firewall or its setup," says fish.

And the client's clue that it had to be the firewall's fault?

"Some lights on the Vonage VoIP box are blinking in sync with a light on the firewall. And the synchronized lights vary depending on when I look at it," the receptionist tells fish.

Fish can't figure out why he's talking to the client's tech-illiterate receptionist about this, but he assures her he'll look into it pronto.

"Turns out that something did change," grumbles fish. "Despite their claims, the client had installed a new Vonage box without disconnecting the old Vonage box.

"The fix was to rip the old Vonage box out, toss it in a corner and that was it. No changes in anything else required.

"So much for 'lights blinking in sync' having anything to do with anything..."

Correlation, causality, coincidence -- Sharky wants 'em all. So send me your story of synchronized scintillation, or any other true tale of IT life, at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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