No good deed goes unpunished

This pilot fish's 78-year-old mother-in-law really wants to try "this email thing" to keep in touch with the grandkids -- and it's up to fish to make her wish a reality.

"I knew this would be a major learning curve and support battle, but couldn't refuse to help," says fish. "So I picked up a cheap starter system and installed it in a new desk my father-in-law had put in their bedroom.

"Since the in-laws lived way out in the country with iffy power and only dial-up available, I figured that a UPS with good surge suppression would save me some recovery headaches down the road, so that went in the desk behind the computer.

"Fast forward a few months to the panic call in the wee hours of the morning:

"I can't get the computer to turn off! I couldn't remember how to shut it down using the mouse, so I tried the power button on the front of the computer. That didn't do anything, so I kept pushing it, and now the button is broken! I couldn't sleep with this thing running, so I had my husband unplug it from the wall. But it's still running -- and now it's beeping at me!"

Sharky's not beeping at you -- just asking you politely to send your true tale of IT life to me at You'll score a sharp 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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