Shark Tank: But who's counting?

ONE CABLE Hospital's new patient charting system comes with monitoring software on its own PC. Pilot fish charged with monitoring asks IT techs to configure the new PC on the network, but they drag their feet - we didn't order it, so we can't configure it, they say. Finally, after weeks of stalling, they hook it up one weekend. On Monday, the fish's own PC - right next to the monitoring box - can't log on. Turns out the techs, um, borrowed his network cable to connect the monitoring PC. Why didn't you bring another cable? sputters the fish. Affronted tech answers, "I left you e-mail. . . . "

TWO FIELDS Right after consultants finish upgrading this company's sales system, MIS director pilot fish is bombarded by complaints from the sales staff. "Every time they try to input a new account, they get an error message: 'You must complete all fields,' even after filling in all the ones they don't use," fish says. He grills the consultants, who admit that when they added the company logo to the screen, they added it right on top of two now-invisible data fields. "But it looks great," grumbles the fish.

ON THREE User trying to set up a modem tells help desk pilot fish that he's sure there's a port conflict. "My modem is configured as COM3, and so is my network card," he insists. Network cards don't use COM ports, fish explains, but the user is adamant - he knows it's on COM3. "How do you know it's using COM3?" fish asks. User replies triumphantly, "Because it says 3Com right on it!"

FOUR STUDENTS Project manager pilot fish tells admin assistant at a big software company that he wants to enroll four people in one of its training classes. Could the admin please e-mail him a soft copy of the registration form? Next day, fish gets the e-mail - "with four identical copies of the training registration form attached."

FIVE COLORS Pilot fish hands a file off to an admin assistant and asks to have five color copies created from it. And that's what he gets: one each on blue, yellow, green, pink and white paper.

SIX, BUT NOT SEVEN "User keeps yelling at the help desk that his No. 7 didn't work in a mainframe session," pilot fish reports. Fish knows there's no option 7 in that application, and the now-belligerent user insists the keyboard is fine. An in-person walk-through turns up the problem - the user didn't log off properly during the previous session - and it's easily fixed. Now what's this about No. 7 not working? fish asks. Turns out the user has a cheat sheet of step-by-step instructions from his predecessor. "But he could only get through step 6," fish sighs. "He couldn't do No. 7 because of the message on the screen!"

I'm counting on you: You score 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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