Throwback Thursday: How did...er, DIDN'T he do that?

It's 1977, and this network analyst pilot fish is working at a newly constructed data center -- one with a big fence.

"The company had just gotten a new sense of needing physical security, so they had included a new, state-of-the-art security system," says fish.

"It had electronic locks at a handful of doors in the building, a 10-foot-high fence with a motorized gate, and key-card reader stations by each of the locked doors and the gate."

One day, company needs to bring a new communications line up between the data center and an office 10 miles away. Fish's team leader decides the best way to do this without disrupting the users is to have fish go to the remote office at 4:30 a.m., while his team leader goes to the data center.

The plan: When fish arrives at the remote office, he'll call his team leader at the phone in the network area in the computer room. Then they'll bring up the test system on the new line, make sure it's working properly and then switch the existing production line with the new one.

The reality: Team leader gets to the data center gate at 4:25 a.m. and inserts his key-card into the reader.

And nothing happens.

After a few tries, he uses the intercom at the gate to call the security office. Turns out they can't open the gate, either.

Now it's 4:30, and team leader realizes fish is at the remote office, calling the phone at the network operations desk.

With no cell phone (it's 1977, remember?), leader can't call fish. And he doesn't want fish to give up and go home -- or worse, call leader's home and wake up his family.

So he quickly parks his car on the side of the driveway, climbs over the fence and sprints for the data center.

"The testing went just fine, and the line was brought up on the production network that morning as planned," fish reports. "The gate was repaired before the rest of the employees arrived for work.

"However, after an expression of gratitude for dedication and getting the job done, our director informed us that my leader had not climbed the fence and breached the security of the facility."

C'mon, get off the fence and send Sharky your true tale of IT life 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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