Shark Tank: You're not listening, are you?

Sysadmin pilot fish warns everyone of the Goner virus, with instructions to delete and not open it. Next day, a user opens it "because it's from someone she knows," and unleashes the virus. "Didn't you read the notice?" fish asks. "Yes," says user. "But that was yesterday."

Proposals full of mangled grammar prompt IT pilot fish to suggest that the boss authorize buying grammar-checking software for the department. Boss is immediately interested. "Order a copy," he tells fish. "And install it on my home computer - this will be great for my kids' homework."

Troubleshooting user's PC problem, PC tech pilot fish says, "Check for a battery icon in the lower right corner of the screen, next to the clock." I don't have a clock, she says. "All the way down to the right?" fish asks. "There is no clock there," snaps user. "Just the time."

Programmer pilot fish distributes a new database application, along with detailed instructions for making weekly and monthly backups. When the database at one site gets corrupted, user realizes he hasn't backed up anything for more than a month. "So he took the single floppy he used for backups and backed up the corrupted database to it," fish says. "Then he called me."

After months of excruciating practice, user at remote site learns to correctly insert tapes every day so IT pilot fish can run backups remotely. A few weeks later, the site drops off the network. "Do you have lights?" fish asks user. "No," she says. "Well, I guess your power is out," he tells her. Asks worried user: "Is this because I didn't put a backup tape in the server?"

A pilot fish headed for Sun's JavaOne conference grumbles about Sun's "religious insensitivity" in scheduling it this week. The company promises it'll have special meals and lists of local places of worship. "But did they ever think families might want to get together on Passover or attend services during Holy Week?" the fish asks. Sun may not listen, but I will: 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

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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