These are not the portals you're looking for...


At this pilot fish's new job, his boss Fred admits he's not very computer savvy -- which means he quickly comes to rely on fish so the boss's lack of basic computing skills isn't documented in endless IT help requests.

"One day Fred asked me how to find and log into the supplier portal of a major customer," says fish. "There was some production part approval information that needed to be entered in their system immediately and there would be severe consequences if this did not occur.

"Barney, the person who was responsible for this function, was not at work that day and wasn't responding to attempts to contact him. This was before our company had a rule prohibiting sharing of passwords and user IDs, so Fred gave me Barney's login information for both his computer and the supplier portal."

But fish can't find the portal's web address -- there's no link on the customer's website, and search engines don't turn it up either. With both fish's manager and his supervisor hovering impatiently behind him at Barney's PC, fish decides to try checking Barney's browser history to find the portal link.

And he finds it -- but only after searching through a very lengthy history of browsing porn sites, along with local swinger sites and wife-swapping sites.

Fish, his boss and his supervisor are shocked and embarrassed -- both because of the NSFW nature of the sites on a co-worker's PC, and because none of them expected to find so many swinging/swapping groups in their quiet Midwestern community.

Fish quickly gets to work logging into the supplier portal and entering the information that was the point of the exercise. Once that's done, fish's boss asks him to print out Barney's browsing history.

"Analyzing the time spent on various websites during the course of a workday revealed that Barney was accessing various customer portals, or not online, for an average of about 20 percent of his workday," fish says. "The other 80 percent of his workday was spent on porn and swinging/swapping.

"Soon after this incident, Barney was relieved of his employment and replaced. IT also implemented a very strict security software that only allowed unlimited access to customer websites -- and allowed very limited access to general websites for things like weather and news for a maximum of 10 minutes a day."

C'mon, 10 minutes should be enough to tell Sharky your story, right? Send me your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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The march toward exascale computers
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