Probably just a screw loose

Pilot fish gets a call from a department manager on the other side of the building, who's complaining that all the network printers in his area have stopped working.

"After looking at the server and determining that it was a local problem, I went over to the department to check on the printers," says fish.

"I found out that the department head was a do-it-yourself type of person, and without telling anybody, he had disassembled all the cubicles in his area and reassembled them for a new layout he wanted for his employees."

And in the process, fish discovers, the department head has unplugged the printers from their original network ports, moved them and plugged them back into completely different network ports -- all of which are inactive.

Fish plugs the printers back into their original network ports and verifies that they're back online. Then he explains to the department head that for security reasons IT doesn't keep unused network ports active.

Then fish returns to his desk.

Ten minutes after he's back in his office, fish's phone rings again. It's from an irate employee in the same department, complaining that that the printers still aren't working.

Fish takes the long walk to the department again -- and as soon as he gets there, it doesn't take long to find out what happened.

It seems that, as soon as fish left, the department head made more changes to the cubicle layout. And in the process he unplugged the printers again and plugged them back into the inactive network ports that fish had just told him wouldn't work.

Then he left for the day.

"As I moved the printer cables back to their original ports again, the irate employee who called me actually started complaining that he didn't understand why the printers kept going down," fish says.

"Biting my tongue, I simply told him there was a recurring problem between the chair and the keyboard at his supervisor's station."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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