That Would Explain It

When a help desk pilot fish opens this e-mail, there's no subject line or message -- just a From: and a To: address. Fish shrugs and deletes it, but 15 minutes later, he hears from the user asking why he hasn't responded to her request. There was no message, fish points out. "It was a request to fix my keyboard," says exasperated user. "I can select 'help desk' from the list with my mouse, but the keyboard isn't working."

That Stinks

"Do you have any extra printers?" store manager asks support pilot fish. Sure, is yours broken? fish asks. "No, but a week ago, a mouse got in it somewhere and died," manager says. "It was smelling, so we put some air fresheners on it. But now those aren't working either, and it's smelling up the store and making the customers sick."

Going Both Ways

User explains to sysadmin pilot fish that she needs to temporarily link two laptops to transfer some files. You can use a cable or the infrared ports, fish explains. "In her best pleading-for-help voice," fish reports, "she asks to borrow an infrared cable."

Both Sides? No

Callers on hold to this travel agency no longer hear music, so support pilot fish tracks down the trouble: After two years of continuous play, the CD player has died. The CTO replaces the machine herself, but there's still no music. Fish checks: She didn't push the Play button. Now it's set to play continuously, fish explains. "Hmm, I think that might get kind of boring for our clients," CTO says. "Do you think we should turn the disc over once in a while?"

A Network of One

Company orders $8,000 podiums for training classrooms, and they're very snazzy, says pilot fish who works there: Each includes a networked PC with touch screen, wireless mouse and projector. "Our business folks also bought the optional software that allows the instructor to browse the student machines to check their progress," fish says. "The catch is, the total number of PCs in each training room is one -- the instructor's!"


User at a remote site suddenly can't log onto her laptop -- her NT account seems to be missing or corrupted. So support pilot fish arranges for her to drive to the nearest office with her PC, check in with security, borrow a docking station and connect to the network. "She finally gets logged on," fish says, "and we find the real problem: She's picked up someone else's laptop."

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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