Executive decision

Flashback to the 1980s, when this remote newspaper office has a problem with a computer terminal that seems undiagnosable, according to a pilot fish in the know.

"Most mornings, this terminal has lost connectivity to the mainframe, while all the other terminals in the office work great," says fish.

"Parts have been replaced. The whole terminal has been swapped out. Gurus from the vendor have been consulted and spent countless hours on this. Yet the same thing happens -- and it's been an issue for months.

"Because it's a remote site, it's a big pain for the IT support people who don't have representation at the location. Besides, the user is difficult to deal with even on good days.

"Finally, an executive from the vendor, who lives and works halfway across the continent, has a meeting in the same city one morning, and decides to troubleshoot the issue himself that night. He's there in the office, staring at the terminal, trying to stay awake long after everyone else has left.

"Several hours into his vigil, the office door opens and a cleaning lady walks in. She sees the exec and says, 'If you need me to come back, just say so.'

"No, says the exec. Do what you need to do.

"So she reaches down, unplugs the terminal, plugs in her vacuum and starts cleaning..."

Think of Sharky as your VP of Tales. Send me your true stories of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt every time I use one. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

How AI will change enterprise mobility
Shop Tech Products at Amazon