Well, it's never been a problem for US...

This company has complex and expensive design software that uses an embedded database of components, reports a pilot fish who sometimes has to deal with the complexity.

"A technician was trying to extract some info from the design database for sending to a client," fish says. "But the program crashed, not giving any of the required output. This happened with every attempt to extract the data."

Fish examines the tail end of the application's log, looking for what caused the crash. But the log just stops, with no indication why.

He starts again at the top of that log, and notices two error messages, indicating that two components that were expected were not found. After that, the log continues without further alarming messages.

Fish asks the tech about the messages. She explains, "We always get those messages, and it's never been a problem."

Thus, the search begins. Fish starts digging through the vendor support site, and several other staffers get involved.

Hours later, after exhausting all efforts to find the cause of the crash, fish asks the tech to rerun the program while he watches system activities.

"She started the program, and this time it worked flawlessly!" says fish.

"The tech stated matter-of-factly that she had changed data so the missing components were not needed, to remove those pesky messages. Problem solved!

"A co-worker later told me he asked about the messages too. He also got the standard 'it's never been a problem.'"

Got a problem? Tell Sharky about it. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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