Clean, redefined

IT support pilot fish gets an instant message from one of the company's front-line techs, who has a customer on the line wanting to know how to clean his flash drive.

"This tech -- let's just say he wasn't hired for his knowledge and experience in our subject matter," says fish. "He concluded that, after years of cleaning his tape drive, then his DVD-RW drive, the customer now had flash drives for backup of his server, and wanted to know how to clean them properly.

"Actually, the person on the phone wanted to know how to erase or format a flash drive. But our tech, as he often does, misunderstood the customer and thought he needed to physically clean the drive of dirt.

"I couldn't stop laughing long enough to hit Reply. The tech finally came back with a 'never mind.'

"But that didn't stop me from forwarding his query to Fred and Barney on our Unix and hardware integration team for their suggestions on the matter."

Fred: Just how dirty are these flash drives?

Barney: Is dirty describing the physical condition of the drives, or the data that is on them? Did he mention tentacles at all? If it's the latter, he'll need to send them to me for proper diagnosis and repair. Directly to my attention.

Fish: No, and no! Dirty, not depraved!

Barney: Well, dang.

Fred: OK, the drives are not user-serviceable. He'll need to take them to a local Flash Wash.

Barney: Yeah, they'll have the special equipment and fluids required for properly cleaning flash drives.

Fred: They will also need to have a tech come out to clean the flash drive socket on the server.

Barney: And anything else that has come in contact with those dirty flash drives.

Sharky is happy to clean up your true tale of IT life. Just send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish 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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