Help Me if You Can

After installing a new app, IT pilot fish tells user to hit the F1 key for help if she has a problem. Half an hour later, disgruntled user calls: "I've been hitting the F1 key for at least 15 minutes, and no one has called or come down to help yet!"

This application runs on a Unix server and displays on Sun workstations and Windows PCs. So when user calls with a problem, tech support pilot fish first asks, "Are you using a Sun computer?" Answers user: "No, it's over in the corner, in the shade."

I am not a crook "I was just trying find a calendar in Word," says panicky user, "and then Word kicked me out and shut down - and a box popped up on the screen that said I had done something illegal!"

Walking user through a problem, IT pilot fish directs, "Now type a single quote." A single quote, repeats user. "Is that an uppercase comma?"

DSL at remote site is down, so pilot fish sets up a temporary dial-up connection and tells on-site staff that DSL service provider tech will call to fix the problem. Hearing nothing for a few days, fish calls remote staffer to see if she's heard from the tech. "Oh, yes," she says. "He called and asked if my Internet was working. I told him yes, and he said, 'Thank you,' and hung up."

Receptionist complains that for every key she hits, three or four letters show up on her monitor. As pilot fish is removing the keyboard, brown liquid pours out the side. "Oh, I spilled my coffee all over it this morning," user says. "Do you think that had anything to do with the problem?"

Make it a double Secretary tells help desk, "I just spilled coffee on my boss's keyboard. What should I do?" Help desk pilot fish decides, "What the heck, it's just a $35 keyboard. Have her disconnect it and wash it out in the sink. If that doesn't work, we'll replace it." Next call is from her enraged boss: "Who the hell told my secretary to put my new $4,000 laptop in the sink and run water all over it?"

Now help me out: sharky@ You get a snazzy Shark shirt if your true tale of IT life sees print - or if it shows up in the daily feed at

Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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