Wrong -- at the speed of light

Flashback to the late 1980s: Network admin pilot fish is called to his boss's office where he sees the recently hired IT manager — who isn't happy.

"Our new manager had no qualifications other than that he was the HR manager's best friend," says fish. "He had been a truck dispatcher and was a big, burly guy who believed yelling at people and trying to intimidate them with his size was the way to motivate them to work better.

"One day, our delightful new manager was in town when I was summoned to my boss's office. The new manager was sitting at the desktop PC trying to bring up his e-mail."

As fish walks in, manager is drumming his huge fingers on the desk. "Why is your network so slow?!?" he bellows.

Fish asks what's wrong, and manager stands up and begins tugging at his belt, as if he's gearing up for a fight. "I've been trying to pull up my e-mail for 30 minutes!" he shouts at fish. "It still isn't working!"

Fish knows the problem. He also knows that every user has been warned not to connect to his e-mail account from anywhere but his regular site. That's because each user's "home folder" in the e-mail system is based on his local server. Trying to access e-mail remotely brings the router at the "home site" to its knees.

Fish counts to 10, then begins to explain calmly that a memo has been sent out asking users to specifically avoid doing what the manager is trying.

"I don't care what the memo said!" yells manager. "I paid for a fiber-optic line from here to headquarters, so I know @#$%! well I should do this because we communicate at the speed of light!"

Fish explains that what he paid for was a fiber-optic line from the main communications closet to the other comm closets within the plant.

Manager roars that fish is wrong!

Fish returns to his desk, prints out the e-mail from HQ asking users not to check e-mail remotely, and then pulls out the paperwork from the fiber-optic project, showing that the fiber only runs within the plant -- including the invoice showing that not nearly enough fiber was installed to reach the 300-plus miles to headquarters.

"I then called the network admin at corporate and asked him how his routers were," fish says. "When I explained what was going on, he groaned and asked me to please tell the manager to quit ruining his network performance.

"When I showed the boss all of the documentation, he was still angry and spent weeks trying to prove that I was trying to pull a fast one."

Send Sharky your story at the speed of light. E-mail your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snappy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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