Flashback Friday: It was like this when I got here

Let’s give her points for at least suspecting there might be a better way.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Pilot fish is working on solving a problem at a user’s desk when the user asks about something unrelated: Is it possible to change a weekly customer list report so it prints out a customer’s entire ID number, instead of just the first four digits?

User tells fish that the change would save several hours of work every week, because each customer's name has to be looked up to find the full customer number and then write in the missing three digits — and there are hundreds of customers listed in the 14-page report.

Fish promises to take a look. But after a little research, it’s pretty clear that there’s nothing wrong with the report. It’s outputting all seven digits. The problem is with the printer on the user’s desk.

So fish adjusts the margins of that printer, and all seven digits show up on the paper instead of falling off the right side of the page.

“I have no idea how long this printer has been truncating the customer number on this report,” fish says. “But it must have been a while, since it was written into this user’s job description that, after this report prints, she should look up the customer by name and write the last three digits of the customer number on the report.”

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