Details, details

Pilot fish accepts a contract to be the local hands-on tech to install a workstation at a local bank.

"Initially, the install seems to go according to plan," says fish. "I unpack the workstation and monitors, assemble the parts, and so forth."

Fish notices that the new workstation has been shipped with an older, PS/2-style mouse and keyboard. But that's no problem -- the workstation has PS/2 ports, so everything works fine.

There's also an unused USB keyboard and mouse left at the desk from the previous workstation. Again, no big deal -- fish just sets them aside.

There are a few initial problems because the network jack on the wall isn't actually hooked up to the network switch, but soon the computer is up and running, and local IT support starts the build over the network. Now fish just has to wait an hour and a half for the custom build to complete.

And after about 85 minutes, the build shuts down in the final stages.

Fish is baffled. The computer was working fine, and there's nothing that should have made it fail. And though he racks his brain, he makes no progress on the problem -- until his conversation with the local IT support guy starts to drift.

"Talking with IT support, I mention my surprise that the company would be downgrading the workstation from USB to PS/2," fish says. "The IT tech pauses in his diagnosis of the faulty build and says, 'You used the PS/2 items?' Of course I had, they were shipped with the new workstation.

"Seems the custom build assumed that the workstation used USB. I swapped out the PS/2 items with the leftover USB ones, and an hour and a half later, the workstation was installed correctly."

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