January in Mississippi can be nice

But if you need me, I’ll be in France.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This pilot fish has January vacation plans: two weeks in Florida to visit his grandparents and take in Miami Beach.

What’s going on before then is that the manufacturing company that fish works for is converting its IBM Series/1 data-collection mini-computers from the EDI operating to a variation of Unix System 3. And there are problems. This variation of the OS doesn’t recognize disk packs with bad sectors. Fish’s company is using CDC removable disk packs, and if any sector is bad, the entire disk pack can’t be used. That can get expensive.

Surprisingly enough, the first several plants that get converted run fine, but the luck runs out with a plant in Mississippi, which has problems with bad sectors. Still, fish has learned enough from the IBM and CDC field engineers that he can run most diagnostics himself and assign bad sectors. Everything should be fine: The vendor for the OS is working on the code, and when fish comes back from vacation, they can install the new version.

But fish’s boss isn’t so sanguine, and before fish leaves, he insists that he check in. Once in a while? No. Once a day? Not quite. Every morning and every evening. Weekends included.

Fish feels as if work is nibbling away at his vacation, but he truly enjoys his job and says OK. And things go well enough — until day three. The Mississippi plant can’t function at all because it can’t run production schedules. Fish’s vacation has barely begun, and he’s at the airport in Miami trying to get a flight to Mississippi so he can install the new OS.

And did fish, who truly enjoys his job, learn anything from this? Well, next year, he went to Europe.

Sharky truly loves his job, too. Especially when you send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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