You DID bill him for 30 minutes of IT work, right?

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IT manager pilot fish at a midsize company gets a call at 8 a.m. -- and this user is frantic.

"It's a VP who needs assistance getting the monitor to work in our conference room," says fish. "I head down and find ten company leaders in the room with a management consultant who is trying to get his laptop connected to the TV monitor on the wall."

That monitor can handle both VGA and HDMI cables, fish knows, and there are also adapters for both newer and older iPhones and iPads. The outside consultant has a MacBook, but he doesn't know which type of connector to use -- it appears this is the first time he's ever used the computer.

Fish isn't a Mac guy, but he quickly spots the HDMI output. After testing the connection with another device to make sure it's all working, he plugs it into the MacBook.

And nothing happens. The consultant has no idea how to switch the MacBook's display to use the external monitor, and neither does fish.

Meanwhile, the VP is getting anxious, with ten management types around the table and another dozen on a conference call, all doing nothing.

"After a few minutes, it's obvious this guy has no clue what to do," fish says. "I suggest he start his WebEx meeting on the PC we have in the room, which I know will work with the monitor. I get that powered up and connected, so the consultant simply needs to connect to his company's WebEx portal and start his meeting."

No such luck. The consultant has some notes, scribbled on a small pad of paper that he can barely read, and he also can't type, so it takes him 15 more minutes to enter his email address -- after spelling it incorrectly -- plus a password and a Captcha code.

Success! Sort of. The consultant still doesn't know how to start his online meeting. Or share his desktop. Or access his presentation, which is on the MacBook.

Fish sprints back to IT and grabs a thumb drive, and they figure out where to plug it into the MacBook. Then the consultant stares at his computer, clueless about how to copy the presentation to the thumb drive.

"Somebody in the meeting who knows a bit about Macs helps him out, and we finally get his presentation on the PC and get his WebEx session shared with the guys who are calling in," says fish.

"So the 8 a.m. meeting gets starts at around 8:30, wasting 30 minutes of time for around 20 employees. Good thing his expertise is not in organizational efficiencies."

Sharky's efficiency depends on your stories. So send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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