How hard could it be?

This pilot fish wants to print some large posters, but after getting an estimate of more than $1,000 from a commercial quick-print place it looks like the project is out of his price range.

Then he gets lucky. "I felt like I'd won the lottery when somebody told me we had been given a large-format laser printer by another organization that had moved and didn't need it anymore," fish says. "I was told it was an awesome printer, and there was just one problem: It wasn't hooked up to our network."

OK, this can't be such a big deal, he figures. He calls the help desk to open a ticket to connect the printer -- and to make sure the process goes smoothly, he gets the local IT support person to talk to the outsourced help desk to tell them what they need to put into the ticket.

And that should do it, fish thinks.

Then the emails start to arrive. The IT support tech who is assigned the ticket wants to know all the information that fish's local IT guy provided to the help desk. Fish dutifully provides the printer make and model, serial number, MAC address and IP address one more time.

A little later there's another info request: the name of fish's print server. That one, fish doesn't know. Besides, isn't that something the IT support people should already have?

But he talks to his group's "IT liaison," who gives him the address -- and also explains that it takes two tickets to two separate IT support groups to add a printer, and tells fish that he doesn't recommend that an inexperienced user attempt this difficult feat.

Sure enough, the emailed questions keep coming, one after another. One email asks what the printer's name is. Fish replies with his best guess, based on his impression of the standard way of naming printers on th network. He also cc's the IT liaison, who suggests a name that's more consistent with the actual standards.

"Twenty-five emails and nine days later, they declared that the printer drivers had been installed on the print server and were ready for me to load," says fish. "Hooray, I thought.

"But then the IT liaison weighed in, saying they hadn't used the name he recommended, and if they didn't change it, he would have to file a complaint..."

Sharky makes it simple to tell your true tale of IT life. Just send me your story 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.

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