The big fix

Pilot fish at a federal agency gets a visit from a power user who can't get access to the data he needs -- and he's not at all happy.

"We used a very effective security product that could narrow down access to a specific user or dataset," says fish. "But you had to be careful to install any new rules in the right place, because once a rule was found it was applied, even if one with more relaxed access followed.

"As soon as I checked, I could see that I had misplaced the rule I had created for him.

"Now, normally if I made a mistake I'd admit to it and apologize. This particular day this fellow, an otherwise nice guy, was at it like a dog with a bone, demanding How did it happen? Who did this? over and over.

"For whatever reason, that rubbed me the wrong way. So I said, 'Let's fix the problem now, we can fix the blame later.'

"That got him all self-righteous and indignant, but it distracted him enough to drop the subject and let me correct the problem.

"A week later, I set up a security ID with limited security authority, so he could manage his own datasets without having to consult me. He was happy, and I had no further problems with him after that."

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