This IT pilot fish doing work for a local school has learned that "The Internet is down!" can mean anything from email being slow, to being unable to print, to not being able to find a file a user thought he saved to the server.
"And sometimes the Internet is actually down," says fish. "The DSL connection to the school can be flaky now and then, but most of the time it either rights itself or a quick reboot of the DSL modem fixes things."
Since the school admin is always in the building when it's open, fish has worked to get her up to speed on basic troubleshooting, especially for the problems that are just user confusion. For cases where it does turn out to be an Internet connection issue, he has the process down to "power-cycle the three boxes in the wiring closet that have the blue stickers on them."
One day fish gets an urgent voice mail from the admin: "The Internet is down!" The message continues with the list of troubleshooting steps she tried, including power-cycling the DSL modem, waiting several minutes, and "of course I checked the printer but it had plenty of paper."
Fish pauses for a long moment, trying to find some sort of relationship -- any sort of relationship -- between the Internet being down and the printer being out of paper. No luck.
But a few moments later there's another voice message from the admin: The Internet is back up.
Once he finally gets the chance to talk to the admin, he asks about the printer paper. "Well," she says, "one of the times the Internet was down, I happened to notice the printer was out of paper. So I added paper and the Internet came back up. And the printer is connected to the Internet, so I figured maybe the printer was somehow causing problems with the connection, and I added checking the printer paper to my troubleshooting steps."
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