It's brand new. How could it not be good?

This sysadmin pilot fish got his start dealing with issue-plagued hardware -- not in an IT department, but working his way through school at an electronics repair shop.

"A TV came in, and I diagnosed it as a bad high-voltage module," says fish. "I grabbed the only one we had in stock and replaced the bad module with it.

"The TV didn't work -- it had exactly the same problem."

Did I get the diagnosis wrong? fish wonders. But after troubleshooting for other problems, he can't find any.

So he orders a new module, plus a second one to keep in stock. When they arrive, he installs the new module in the TV. The TV still won't work. He tries the second module -- and the TV still won't work.

That means it must be something else, right? But after still more testing, everything else checks out. It has to be the high-voltage module.

"My boss disagreed, saying that we couldn't have gotten three defective new modules," fish says. "He said he'd look at it when he got a chance."

But before that happens, another TV that's the same model arrives for repair. Fish gets that one working without any trouble.

Then, on a hunch, he swaps the high-voltage modules between the two TVs, and tests them again.

Now the first set works fine -- while the newly fixed second one shows exactly the same symptoms that the first had before.

"I ordered another two modules, and finally got one that worked," says fish.

"I graduated from college, and in the 20 years I was a sysadmin after that, I never again saw three new defective parts arrive in a row."

There's only one place Sharky can get true tales of IT life, and that's from you. So send me your story right now 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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