Time-Machine Tuesday: That would explain it

OK, there was a reason the programmer didn’t just call back.

It’s a few years ago at a company that prints mortgage documents for home loans, and this pilot fish is at the low end of the production totem pole.

“I and another fellow worked the graveyard shift,” fish says, “inserting the documents into daisy-wheel printers, confirming that they printed correctly, and bundling up the completed loan packages for delivery.”

When things go wrong — as they occasionally do — fish has to call for help from the company’s programmers, waking them up in the middle of the night to walk the document stuffers through restarts, uploads and other technical procedures.

One night, things get gummed up and fish wakes up the programmer who’s on. Programmer gives him a detailed procedure to perform at the server.

There’s no phone in the server room, so fish carefully writes down the procedure and hangs up.

In the server room, he carefully steps through the directions. They don’t work.

He tries again, and again, and again for half an hour. But no matter how carefully he follows the instructions, they don’t have the desired effect.

“After failing for the last time, I called the programmer back and told him that this procedure wasn’t working,” says fish.

“The programmer said to me, ‘Yeah, I know. After I hung up with you, I realized that wasn’t what you needed to do.’”

You know what Sharky needs you to do: Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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