Shark Tank: When good ideas go bad

USER TELLS IT pilot fish that Microsoft Word is adding extra text to her documents. Sure enough, a short document on her screen comes out of the printer with extra text each time. Reinstalling the software doesn't help. Fish checks the printer and discovers user is recycling paper that's already been printed on one side - all bearing the same text. Solution: blank paper.

ENGINEER WANTS a particular new application to be installed on one of the company's Windows NT 4.0 servers. We're about to upgrade to Windows 2000 - is this software compliant? pilot fish asks. "Just because you like 2000 doesn't mean we have to go to it," engineer snarls. "Why can't we use NT 5 or NT 6, or even spend the extra for NT 7? Be different," he tells fish, "and stick with NT."

AFTER HOSPITAL upgrades one low-tech doctor from a terminal to a PC, IT pilot fish gets a call from his secretary asking for a larger terminal. "He needs it for his bulletin board," she explains. Fish is curious - the hospital has no bulletin-board system, and Dr. Pencil-and-Paper isn't the type to set one up. An office visit clears it up: The doc's PC isn't even turned on, but his monitor is covered with Post-it Notes - and he's run out of space.

SIGN OF THE TIMES Laser printer at a nursing home gets a paper jam. Pilot fish discovers the problem right away: a stack of continuous-feed paper stuck in the roller slot. "This printer uses single sheets," fish tells user. "Yes, I know," she says, "but I was printing a banner."

PILOT FISH is trying to upgrade the e-mail system. Users are supposed to log off by noon Friday, but at 2 p.m., some are still logged on. "No, I've been out of my e-mail since noon," swears one user. OK, says fish, maybe the system retained your connection. Can you reboot? "Sure," says user, "just let me finish sending this e-mail."

Send e-mail my way: sharky@computerworld.com. You get a sharp Shark shirt if your true tale of IT life sees print - or if it shows up in the daily feed at computerworld.com/sharky.

Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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