No spam or reply-to-all memos? What's not to like?

Flashback to the late 1980s, when this pilot fish is a PC tech at a local college where desktop computers are still largely a mystery to the faculty.

"I spent half the day walking around the building assisting professors with these newfangled Macs and PCs and teaching them how to print documents," says fish.

"One weekend the Dean of the College passed away unexpectedly, and the interim dean put in was the former retired dean. He had been out of the workforce for nearly two decades. He came in with an attitude that everyone was soft and we didn't need all these fancy gadgets to teach. He would give anyone an earful of his opinion every chance he got."

One day the interim dean summons fish to his office to "hook up that PC doodad" in his office so he can type. As fish sets up the PC on the workstation next to the desk, the dean grumbles to him about how he used to use a typewriter.

Fish completes the setup and connects the coax cable to connect to the network. But the network isn't live yet -- that cable was previously connected to a mainframe terminal. Fish makes a mental note to make the necessary switch in the wiring closet, and leaves the dean to his work.

And then fish gets sidetracked, and completely forgets about the wiring closet.

At least he forgets until a week later, when he's on an elevator and the dean steps in and recognizes him. Then he remembers -- and immediately breaks out in a cold sweat as the dean turns to him.

"Oh, thank you for setting my computer up. It works great!" he tells fish.

"It does?" stammers fish. "You're able to use it?"

"Oh yes!" the Dean says. "I've been typing on it and printing and just think it's wonderful!"

Reports fish, "We then came to his floor and he stepped off. I immediately went to the wiring closet and checked. Nope, he still wasn't connected to the network.

"For the rest of his six months there, he kept telling me how much he loved his computer."

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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