Just because you asked so nicely

It's a few years back, and a county government department has just moved from a remote site to the tenth floor of the building where this IT pilot fish works -- and that's a problem.

"When this governmental center was built, we had plans for only the bottom six floors, and only had coax run that high," fish says. "Oh, yeah -- they made this move without letting us in on the secret."

So when the newly relocated department calls IT operations and asks that the department's mainframe terminal and printer be brought up, nothing works. That's when the mainframe operator asks fish for help.

Fish quickly identifies the problem, gets some twisted-pair run up to the tenth floor, works a little hardware magic and has the department's equipment connected the next day.

Two weeks later, another call comes in: The printer isn't working. Fish heads up to see if it's a problem with his wiring. But as soon as he walks into the department, he's lambasted by one of the employees.

"When are you people from IT going to get your act together?" she snarls. "This equipment hasn't worked right since we got here."

Looking across the room, fish replies, "Well, I can tell you from here that the printer would work much better if you put some paper in it." He walks across the room and spots the printer's power plug lying on the floor. "And it needs electricity. May I unplug this other unit so I can plug in the printer?"

"Oh, no," employee says. "That's our word processor, and we need that."

Reports fish, "I spotted an empty electrical outlet farther down the wall and suggested, 'If you'll get me a 15-foot or longer grounded extension cord, or move your word processor down by that other outlet, I'll go downstairs and get you a box of continuous-form paper.'

"Their reports were printing minutes later."

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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