Diagnosis: You can't patch stupid

This multi-doctor medical practice has been having major phone issues for months, reports the pilot fish who's the IT manager there.

"Phone vendors, the phone manufacturer, the network vendor and my own staff worked through issue after issue," says fish. "We reduced our list to a mysterious transfer problem that had plagued us all along.

"Occasionally, calls for office A were being routed to office B. We did testing and troubleshooting for several months. It seemed to go away, then cropped back up.

"Office managers got so annoyed they started tracking times and dates. The phone vendor began digging into the logs. The phone manufacturer provided more and more debugging tricks to get more information.

"Finally, the phone vendor reprogrammed the entire system over a long weekend and captured every keystroke in a log. After reviewing the log, he noticed that the mystery transfers were not occurring automatically, but were actually user transfers.

"He went to the phone room and began watching the operators. One of them, while texting on her cell phone, adeptly hit a three key sequence on her operator's phone to send the incoming call off to office B.

"The phone vendor reported his findings to me, and I passed them up the chain of command to the office manager. With the words still ringing in the room, the manager went quickly down the hall and escorted the operator out of the building."

But how did the problem sometimes go away? Sighs fish, "It seems all the times the issue 'cleared up,' this operator was out."

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