SHARK TANK March 15

Tales from the world of ICT

Upgrading in underwear A major network upgrade is scheduled for the weekend at an IT department, and that means one of the IT staff will have to come in and babysit the process, says a pilot fish in the know. "It's usually no big deal," fish says. "You come in and start a backup and wait for it to get done, then start the upgrade and wait for it to get done. It involves lots of sitting around. In the past, technicians would bring a book or surf the net to pass the time. "On Saturday afternoon, one of the senior IT staffers is in the area, and decides to drop in to see how the upgrade is going. "He walks into the datacentre to find the tech sitting at his desk, playing the guitar, in his underwear. "The technician ended up leaving for other pastures before long, but not before there were new directives that wearing clothes while at work was required, even during non-business hours.”

Planning ahead Pilot fish is looking at what's taking up disk space on one of her servers. It turns out that some of the biggest files are archives of Microsoft Outlook messages from one user. But the files have names like Do Not Use__archive1.pst (size: 3,263,697 KB) and Archive4(dont open-is broken down).pst (size: 7,070,993 KB). "Broken? I wonder if it's because the file size is 3.5 times larger than the maximum that Outlook supports," grumbles fish. "Most people, when they have a corrupted file, they just delete it. This user is keeping the PSTs in the hope that someday the technology will become available to allow him to open his broken archives and recover his emails from them. "I bet you this guy is paying to have his body cryogenically frozen as well!"

A case of 'dumb terminals'?

"I received a forwarded email from a co-worker from a suit upstairs asking why the attached web pages didn't show the pictures that were on the website," Pilot fish recalls.

"Obviously, the attachments were only the html files, and the image paths were relative to the server they had been hosted on. "After an extensive number of dumbed-down emails explaining the difference between relative and fully-resolved relative paths, I had to book a conference room and demonstrate how a simple html file can "lose" an image if it is moved to a different location — even if it's on the same computer, let alone emailed to a different one. The comment from my manager, my co-worker, and the suit? "Wow, I thought computers were smarter than that!"

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