We bet the second user wasn't NEARLY so helpful

This office has two users who both want to be able to use three monitors at their desks, says a pilot fish who's tasked with making that a reality.

"I spec'ed out a video card with enough outputs -- this card had two DVI outputs, a DisplayPort connector and an HDMI port -- and got the card and monitors ordered," fish says. "Because the users' desks only had openings at the far corners, and the workstations were under the desks, I also ordered some extra-long cables -- two DVI cables and an HDMI cable."

The PCs also have pretty minimal power supplies, so fish orders 450-watt replacement supplies, each with an extra six-pin output to power the new video card, which takes up two slots and has two cooling fans.

The components all arrive and fish proceeds to install them in the first user's PC. The power supply goes in nicely, and so does the video card. Fish positions the new monitors on the desk and runs the DVI cables to their respective ports on the card, and the third monitor is hooked up using HDMI.

Everything works except the third monitor.

Fish checks the display settings on the PC. Sure enough, all three displays are showing up and there's no problem extending the display. But the third monitor stubbornly says "No signal detected" when the HDMI input is selected.

Fish swaps the HDMI cable with one intended for the second user's PC. No joy.

He even swaps out the video card, in case that's the problem. But it still shows the same symptom.

He tries researching the issue online, but has no luck at all. "This has got to be something I'm doing," fish tells the user, who's standing around waiting for her PC. "I don't know what the problem is, but I think the solution will be trivial enough to make me slap my forehead."

Fish is in the process of putting in a tech support ticket with the video card vendor when the user looks at the HDMI cable and shows it to fish.

She points out tags on the ends of the cable. One tag says "Source" and the other end's tag says "Display."

"After turning the HDMI cable around so that the Source end was plugged into the card and the Display end was plugged into the monitor, the display came right up," says fish.

"I slapped my forehead and said to the user, 'See, I told you the solution would be trivial. Thanks for pointing out my mistake -- the kind of mistake only an expert can make!'"

Sharky doesn't care who makes the mistake if it makes a good story. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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