Good thing this could never happen today, huh?

It's the 1980s, and this pilot fish is working in the Engineering department of a public gas utility. "We had a mainframe terminal on our floor, as did the other departments -- Land, Customer Service, HR -- on the other four floors of the building," dish says.

"One day a couple of representatives from Corporate IT dropped by to check the serial numbers on our terminal and printer. They were from the company's main office, which was about 100 miles away, and a visit was very rare.

"They didn't seem to know where to find our equipment, so I showed them where it was and watched while they checked it out.

"When they were done, I figured they would want to see the rest of the equipment in the building, and in my youthful naivete offered to show them where it was.

"They were surprised to find out there was anything else tied to the mainframe in the building. Their records showed this was the only equipment there was.

"Really, I thought -- just anybody can connect equipment to a mainframe without Corporate IT knowing about it? Just who makes it active and sets up the user accounts? Go figure..."

Connect with Sharky. 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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