It's a Technical Term

When e-mail goes down, IT pilot fish checks out the problem and then, per his boss's orders, gets on the PA system. "Our Internet provider is having network problems," he announces. "The estimated time of repair is one hour. I will let you know as soon as we are back online." "First time you ever made an announcement, huh?" says his boss. Fish nods. Boss scribbles down a message and says, "Try this." Fish tries again: "E-mail is broken. It will be fixed in roughly one hour."

In the Usual Way

User calls support pilot fish to report that she's having trouble powering up her new laptop. "The battery is good," she tells fish. "I used it last night." Is the laptop plugged in? fish asks. User: "How do I determine if it's plugged in?"

Oh Yes He Will

This user's e-mail problems just get worse when his wife, who is visiting his office, pushes some buttons. "Now I'm in a screen that I've never seen before, and I don't know how I got there," he tells support pilot fish. What does the screen say? fish asks. In the background, fish hears a woman's voice: "It's asking me if I want to write to CMOS. What should I do?" User: "I don't know who Seamoss is, but my e-mail is down, so he won't get anything you write to him anyway!"

Probably About The Same

For this company's quarterly systems audit, sysadmin pilot fish gets a four-page questionnaire to fill out. "The pages were labeled '1 of 4,' '3 of 4,' '4 of 4' and '5 of 4,' " fish sighs. "And one question was, 'How many network cards are in the system?' The next question: 'How many NICs are in the system?' "

What Now?

This user, already hip-deep in trouble, calls the help desk: "A message box just popped up, and it's asking me to hit 'OK' or 'Cancel.' What should I do?" Click "Cancel," counsels pilot fish. User: "Well, I've already clicked 'OK.' "

And That Solved The Problem?

Consultant pilot fish gets a call from a small-business client: "I need your help with my PC." OK, says fish, when should I come over? "It'll have to wait until next week, as I'm very busy," client says. Next week, fish follows up. When should I come over to work on that PC problem? he asks. "Oh, I bought a new one," client says. It was probably just a software problem, fish points out. "Yes, but I got frustrated," client admits, "and took it out in the back yard and smashed it to pieces with a shovel."

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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