Sometimes a demo works just like it's supposed to

It's a few decades back, and this pilot fish works as an installer for a vendor that makes minicomputers that are designed to be run by departments or smaller businesses instead of in a big data center.

"One of our customers was constantly complaining about the machine, which was installed on a carpeted floor. He said it abnormally stopped during his batch processing jobs -- usually a long-running one.

"All the engineers who had serviced that site told the customer that the carpet was the source of his problems, but he refused to believe this, thinking they were just trying to avoid fixing the problem.

"Since this customer was serviced by another office and not the one I worked out of, I had never been to his site. But one day all the engineers in that office were unavailable, so I was dispatched to see the problem customer.

"When I arrived, I also pointed out that the carpet was causing static electricity and that was most likely the cause of his problem.

"As proof, I started a diagnostic program, shuffled two steps over to the computer, and brought my finger within a quarter-inch of the machine. A spark jumped between my finger and the machine, which promptly came to a halt.

"The carpet was removed the next day -- and the problem went away with it."

Feed the spark -- er, Shark! 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.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2017 results
Shop Tech Products at Amazon