Shark Tank: Thanks for All Your Help

Remote server goes down hard, and overheating appears to be the cause, reports a pilot fish on the scene. So a tech is dispatched to the remote site to replace the server's fan. "On-site, the tech finds the server in the middle of a room that's being renovated," fish says. "It's covered in plastic with duct tape around the bottom. Needless to say, the server is now the equivalent of a paper weight." Who wrapped it up this way? And why? tech asks a clerk. "We did it to protect your equipment," clerk says, "and to make sure it doesn't get any dust in it from the construction."

The Secret

User buttonholes this support pilot fish, asking if fish knows the secret of how to make the copy machine work. "He had inserted his paper into the top tray but couldn't figure out which button to press," says fish. "I politely pointed out that it was a laser printer and directed him to a real copy machine."

It's All in the Hips

It's the 1970s, and this Air Force base's mainframe computers get hard disks with a new technology: instead of one head per track, a single head that moves all over the disk. "But since the platters were so large, when the drive became fragmented, the units would shake like an unbalanced washing machine," says a pilot fish who was there. Defragmenting the drive -- this vendor called it "squashing" back then -- is the cure, but how do you know when it starts to need it? "They shipped us car-dashboard hula dolls to be placed on each drive," fish says. "When the doll's hips started shaking, it was time to squash. It sounds funny and cheap, but it worked!"

Yes, That Sure Could Be It

In the early days of PCs, this pilot fish supporting a university computer lab frequently has to help users who have damaged their floppy disks. One student keeps coming in time after time with disks that appear to have been completely erased, so fish asks how she handles the floppies. "I only carry them between here and work," she says. "I help out at the MRI lab at the hospital. Do you think that could be it?"

Aw, What Would They Use It For?

This local utility company installs a virtual private network to let execs, managers and after-hours on-call staff connect to company systems from home, says IT support pilot fish. "But if they forget their passwords, the IT support person has to drive to the office to reset it," fish says. "IT support personnel are not permitted to use the VPN. Go figure!"

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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