Speed kills

It's the early 1980s when this IT pilot fish joins the workforce -- and figures out a neat hack at his first real job at a small company.

"The company's minicomputer had user terminals in some of the offices," says fish. "The terminals allowed you to do a few things beyond simple data entry, and one trick was to tell the terminal to skip input fields on a data entry screen.

"One day my boss gave me a large batch of General Ledger journal entries that needed to be corrected. They were missing values in two fields, out of about two dozen. So I programmed the screen to skip from the required fields to the end, accept the page, go to the next entry, and skip down to the fields I had to enter.

"As a result, what would have taken me most of the day took about 45 minutes.

"And the entire time, I could hear everyone else who was trying to use the computer -- and I do mean everyone -- complaining about how extremely slow the system was running.

"Seems my little 'trick' was consuming almost all of the minicomputer's resources.

"I didn't say a word about it, not while I was doing the work, and certainly not after. My boss was extremely surprised when I told him the job was done."

Surprise Sharky with your own true tales 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.

Get Sharky's outtakes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Related:
5 power user tips for Microsoft OneNote
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon