A maddening mouse IT pilot fish at a law firm gets a call from a user who's on the road, who's really mad. "It took me several minutes to calm him down enough to get the whole story," says fish. "He was in a hotel somewhere trying to connect to the VPN, and he couldn’t use his mouse. "It was driving him crazy. Every time he moved the mouse it would bounce around, he would lose control, and so on. I finally determined it was an external mouse. I talked him through trying the finger pad on the laptop, and it worked, but he wasn't much of a traveller so his ability to use it was limited. "After about 20 minutes of this, I asked him to check the bottom of the mouse. Everything seemed fine, the red light was shining. It was then I asked him what he was using for a mouse pad. "It turns out it was a clear glass table in the hotel room. "Holding back the laughter, I asked him to get a newspaper, a piece of paper or whatever else was available and use that as a mouse pad. Sure enough, it worked."
The sacred printer It's the 1990s, and the hospital where pilot fish works uses an application that comes on lots of floppy disks. "It was a vendor's database remote connection application, and it filled about 20 floppies," says fish. "The actual number used was determined by the features to be installed." One day, fish draws the task of taking the stack of disks to an offsite office to reinstall the application because it isn't printing. And the work order is clear: No matter what, fish is not to touch the printer. He spends a sizable chunk of the day making the trip to the remote site and reinstalling and configuring the application. But no matter how he configures it, the app still won't print. Fish looks at the printer without touching it and calls his boss. "I think maybe a setting was changed on the printer", he says. Boss is furious. Get back here now, she demands, and when he arrives back at the IT department, she berates him for not finishing the job. "She decided that we would stay late and go over to the other office in the evening, and she would teach me how to properly install the app," fish says. "After several unsuccessful tries, she finally looked at the printer and reset one switch. Surprise surprise, it started printing."