Was that the stupid thing I wasn't supposed to do?


It's circa 2001, and this pilot fish is at a site installing workstations in a control room -- workstations that are intentionally isolated from the Internet.

"I realized I was missing a hardware driver for one of the I/O boards, so I asked my customer contact if I could use his PC to download the driver I needed," says fish.

"Customer contact said yeah, it's OK, use my computer, but don't do anything stupid on it -- we have monitoring software that will catch you and I'll get in trouble because it's my PC."

Of course, fish says. And a minute or so later he has downloaded the driver he needs. But it's in a .ZIP file -- and there's no utility on the PC to unpack it. OK, fish thinks, I'll just do one more download: the free PKzip utility to open the archive. What's that website's URL?

He tries pk.com. But that's not the site he wants -- which he knows as soon as he sees the banner that says "Persian Kitties Adult Playhouse."

That's right before a "computer locked" popup appears on the screen.

"You're kidding, right?" customer contact says when fish explains what he's done. "I told you not to do that, right?"

A minute or so later, the IT manager arrives. "OK, what's going on down here?" he demands. "Got a notification this computer was accessing adult content."

Sighs fish, "I explained what happened. He made me fill out and sign an explanation. My contact got in a small amount of trouble for letting me use his computer unattended.

"But I got the driver installed and the workstations up and running."

Sharky loves a happy ending -- or any ending, really, as long as it's attached to a true tale of IT life. Send me your story 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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