Name game

For this network admin pilot fish who maintains the systems at a factory, two of his users are an ongoing problem -- without even trying to be.

"The two users were both named John Quincy Adams," says fish. "Both men were born on the same date to two different families named Adams.

"As it turns out, they were even born at the same hospital -- causing not a little administrative confusion. They were not, however, related."

Naturally, growing up in the same town, the two John Qs have run into each other on many occasions during their lives -- usually because of misdirected mail or some other confusion because they share the same name and birth date. In fact, each of the John Qs has a statement from the hospital explaining their extremely similar birth certificates.

Eventually, by coincidence, they both end up working for the same company at the same time.

And sometime after that, it falls to fish to keep them straight in all the company's computer systems.

But how? He can't do it using name or date of birth, because they're the same. He can't use their Social Security numbers, because HR won't allow that.

"Plus, I inherited those systems after both men worked there," fish grumbles. "There were already John1 and John2 entries in those systems -- and the assigned names were randomly distributed between the two from system to system.

"Any time I had to maintain a system, I had to find one of them and ask him how he logged in. It was about a month before I even found out that there were two of them..."

When it comes to true tales of IT life, the name to remember is Sharky. Send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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