Attention to detail: It's how borders stay secure

Flashback to 1995, when the vendor this pilot fish works for has sold a system for checking passports at an international airport.

"It used a server located in a separate room in the back office of the border police at the airport, and a number of dedicated diskless PCs -- one for each policeman checking passports, distributed over the airport's border-control points -- and an Ethernet LAN," fish says.

"One day I got a phone call complaining that 'the server doesn't work.' I asked the caller to go to the server room and check if the server, which was a big box, nicely labeled, showed any error lights.

"The user answered. 'I can't go in there, we don't have electricity in our office at the moment.'

"I didn't bother asking about the server's UPS at that point, though I had it checked afterwards. I just politely asked him to wait till power was restored."

Sharky doesn't want to see your passport -- just your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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