Shark Tank: Unanswerables

Sports News Web site depends on an uninterrupted feed from wire services via satellite. When stories arrive garbled or incomplete, editor seeks out IT pilot fish for an explanation. Fish already knows the problem: Major solar flares and sunspots are disrupting satellite communications. "At this time of day for the next few days, there will be problems with the service due to sunspots," he explains. "Well," says the editor, "what can we do about that?"

Manager sends plaintive request to IT support desk: "My Notes e-mail doesn't go back in time enough. Can you help me?"

Senior programmer pilot fish finishes up a project for a client - an optimized C compiler - and sends it on its way, then files the usual deliverables report with his boss. Boss calls back to ask for details on the compiler: "Did you send the hard copy or the soft copy?"

User e-mails support pilot fish: "Most of my deleted files are gone. Can you help?"

Network admin is accosted by an agitated user standing outside his cubicle. "I haven't had voice mail for three weeks, and I keep getting complaints from people who can't get hold of me," user says. "Has this been reported to the help desk?" fish asks. "No," says user, "was I supposed to report it?"

Insurance agent on the road calls help desk to complain that his laptop isn't working. "These things are so wimpy," he grumbles. "It broke after I dropped it off the bar."

Lightning strike knocks out corporate voice-mail system, so pilot fish sends out a companywide e-mail to inform everyone. User fires back a question: "Is that why I can't save my files in Excel?"

Ad agency CEO is working from home on her laptop one Sunday for the first time and can't connect to the corporate server. After an unsuccessful half-hour of troubleshooting with the office IT manager pilot fish, CEO complains that her ear hurts from having her cell phone glued to it. "Call me back on my home line," she says. "But your home line will be tied up with the modem," fish points out. "Do I have to plug the laptop into the phone line to dial in to the company server?" asks CEO.

Plug in right here: You score a snazzy Shark shirt if your true tale of IT sees print - or if it shows up in the daily feed at /sharky.

Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon