Which part of Enter...oh, all THOSE parts

It's the late 1980s, and this IT pilot fish is developing and supporting early PC-based security alarm systems for big sites like prisons and power stations.

"Early one morning I'm in the office testing the very latest installation, using a modem to connect my workstation to one across the water," says fish.

"The system monitors alarm inputs and controls some outputs like gate controls, alarm sounders, lights and the like. It's advanced for its day, but still pretty basic stuff, and the various I/O is configured with three-digit ID numbers.

"It's all fine from my end -- when I put the number in and press Enter, I can physically hear the gate roll open and shut on the phone. However the fat fingered engineer at the other end to whom this is all new tries the same and nothing happens.

"After instructing him key by key about three times, putting in the number and then Enter, all becomes clear as I hear him on the other end, under his breath, saying 'E-N-T-E-R' as he types."

Don't make Sharky spell it out for you. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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