No good deed goes unpunished -- for anyone involved

It's quite a few years back, and this consultant pilot fish is assigned to visit a customer with a history of intermittent and hard-to-pin-down issues.

"After I talked with the boss, the decision was to try realigning the heads on their big disk drive," says fish. "Because the system was critical infrastructure during the day, the work needed to be done in the middle of the night -- and done it was.

"The friendly operator was not an early riser, so he had asked if I could reboot the production system after the alignment. I mounted the production pack and initiated the boot -- only to see the boot device jam, and hear the disk-drive diagnostic -- which was still in memory -- start writing over the production boot block.

"Did I mention this was a hospital? What should appear at the computer room door, right after I belatedly hit the stop button, but a white coat with a doctor inside, complete with a scalpel in hand. He wanted to know when the system would be up.

"Instead of me doing the operator a favor, he had to drag himself out of bed to rescue me by restoring the system from a backup.

"After that, I always cleared memory after running a diagnostic."

Whatever the diagnosis, Sharky's got the same prescription: your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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