Shark Tank: Can You Hear Me Now?

Sysadmin pilot fish is on a camping trip when he gets a cell phone call from a business user about a Web application that's having problems. Right, says fish, just have a computer operator go to the data center and call me, and I'll talk him through resetting the server. Half an hour later, fish's phone rings. It's the computer operator: "OK, I'm at the day care center. Frank said I should call you from here. What am I supposed to do from here to reset the server?"


Company installs Web-filtering software that does a great job of reducing virus infestations. But it also turns up new problems. User: "I can't get out to the Web page I want." Sysadmin pilot fish: What site are you going to? User: Silence. Fish: Are you getting any error messages? User: Silence. Fish: Can you describe to me what your screen looks like when you try to get to the page? User: "It's blue and says 'Access forbidden. Site category: job search.' "

For the Birds

Help desk report: "Issue encountered: A squirrel committed suicide on a power transformer two doors down and caused a partial power failure. Servers failed on brownout. Business impact: Systems were down for about 35 minutes. Resolution: Checked database system, started application, opened system. Preventive action: hawks." Pilot fish adds, "The boss did initially ask how much it would cost to implement the suggestion. It took about 10 seconds for it to dawn on him what was actually being suggested."


Customer calls retailer to complain that she's getting an error on the company's Web site. "She wasn't able to remember the name of the error," IT pilot fish reports. "Our service rep walked her through the steps to get a screenshot, but she said the Print Screen key wasn't doing anything when she pressed it. But five minutes later, we received a fax from this customer. She had hand-drawn, in color, her screen, complete with programs in the task bar, a very detailed system tray, and even the clock!"

Like Lightning

Frustrated user leaves voice mail for help desk: "My laptop battery is dying! I don't want to lose this interview, but the battery says it's at 25%. Will you please call me? Oh great, now it's at 27%. Call me right away!" Pilot fish knows it's charging up, not running down, and calls user to put her mind at ease. "Oh, thanks for calling," says user, "but it's fixed itself -- and the Harry Potter symbol went away."

It's just like magic: You send me your true tale of IT life at, and I'll send you a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. And check out the daily feed, browse the Sharkives and sign up for Shark Tank home delivery at

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon