It's magic!


It's 1996, and this IT manager pilot fish is in a weekly supervision session with his non-technical superior -- which consists of 45 minutes of fish doing his job and trying to ignore the boss.

"I received a call from a location 300 miles away that was connected to our WAN and was having problems printing," says fish. "I put them on speaker, logged into the server, checked the spooler, found their hung job, deleted it and sent a test print to them.

"They confirmed it printed -- and I heard a gasp behind me from my boss, who was completely awestruck."

Fish: What?

Boss: "That was magic."

Fish: What was?

Boss: "You just printed from your computer to their printer 300 miles away. Magic."

Fish: No, technology.

Boss: "Magic. Do it again!"

Fish: What?

Boss: "Call them back and do it again."

Fish: Do what again?

Boss: "Print 300 miles away."

And he's serious, so fish calls the remote site again, apologizes for bothering them, and says he thinks he sees a problem and needs to run another test print.

The new test print reads: My apologies for disrupting your day but my boss thinks this is magic and wanted to 'see it' happen again.

Over the speakerphone, fish hears the printer stop printing, the paper being torn off -- and the sound of snickering. "All good here," the voice on the phone tells him.

And the boss strolls out of fish's office, muttering, "Magic, just magic."

But a few minutes later he returns with another manager in tow. "Call them back and do it again," he tells fish.

Fish sighs, dials up the remote site, and sends another test print: Heeeee'ssss baaaaacccccckkkkk, with an audience this time. More snickers at the other end of the line, and another all clear.

By the end of the day, fish has repeated the demonstration eight more times -- and a total of 20 times over the following two weeks.

"The boss came to my office about a month later, rather depressed because the execs would not let us demonstrate this 'magic' at a senior leadership meeting because it would take too much time," fish says.

"So as an alternative he was going to offer 'tours' for people to come to my office and see me print 300 miles away. He made me set aside two hours a day for a month to offer these tours to anyone who wanted to come see the magic. He had no takers."

Put that time to better use by telling Sharky your story. Send me your true tale of IT life at 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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