Flashback Friday: Step 1: Make sure you have performed Step 0

Is this thing on?

It’s the mid-1990s, and this pilot fish works as a software developer at a big insurance company where his focus is applications — applications from potential customers for new life-insurance policies, that is.

“Our new-business data entry is the start of all applications entering our company,” says fish. “We’ve got a large networked piece of software that is critical to the processing of all these new applications, using a glorified desktop as a server.”

One morning, fish stops by the data entry department on his way upstairs, and he can tell right away that something’s wrong. Everyone is standing around in little groups talking instead of working.

As soon as someone spots fish, he’s ushered over to the server. It seems that no one has been able to get the new-business data entry program to start. Can fish help?

Noticing that the monitor’s power light isn’t on, fish reaches up and flips the power switch for the monitor and waits for the image to appear.

“A few seconds later, I hear from behind me in a startlingly amazed voice, ‘What'd you do?’” fish reports.

“Apparently, they rebooted the server several times, waiting for it to start up — and never saw their welcome screen because the monitor was powered off.”

Sharky welcomes 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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