Tales from the world of ICT

A mighty mouse Vice president calls this support pilot fish several times, complaining that his PC is being hacked. "His mouse kept moving and clicking on odd things," says fish. "I remotely controlled his computer, uninstalled a few programs and told him that there were no programs on his computer that would allow that." VP calls again, not five minutes later. It's doing it again, he says. Fish suggests rebooting, under the theory that some out-of-control service might still be running. That doesn't fix it, so fish heads over to VP's office to observe the problem firsthand. VP's fellow executives say they're sure the network has been hacked and the situation should be reported to corporate HQ. But after a quick examination of the VP's desk, fish has another idea. Hold everything, fish tells VP. You have a wireless mouse, and there's a wireless mouse in the office next door. Maybe the signals are getting crossed. That's when the guy in the next office sticks his head in the door. "It might be my mouse," he admits. "It was trying to take over someone else's computer a few weeks ago." Sure enough, a little quick testing proves that every time the second guy uses his mouse, the pointer moves and clicks on the VP's computer.

Old habits die hard Pilot fish and a co-worker are at a customer site, doing acceptance testing of an application. "We were responsible for the application functionality," says fish. "The client was responsible for everything else, including the server configurations. "One day early in the testing, one of the client's testers comes over to us and announces: 'The app isn't working!' "This tester has a long history of recording defects with little or no supporting information. So we decide to take a look and maybe prevent him from further clogging up the defect list. "We go over to his desk and he shows us that indeed, the app is not working. "We ask him to show us the application server logs. It turns out they're full of error messages showing that the database server has run out of memory. "We show the user the cause of the error and tell him there's nothing we can do to fix the problem. His people need to fix their database server and then restart the application. "His response to us: 'OK — so I record it as a defect?"

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