User priorities

No smoke without fire

User priorities

Support pilot fish gets a call from a user whose computer won't boot. "Is the computer plugged in?" fish asks. Yes, user tells him. "Is the power strip turned on?" Yes. "Does the power indicator turn on when you press the power button on the computer?" No. "Did you do a normal shutdown the night before?" fish asks. "No," user says, "I just unplugged the computer." "Why would you do that?" User: "There was smoke coming out of the computer, and it stopped working." Fish: "So let me get this straight. Yesterday, the computer was on fire and you didn't call. Today, first you actually plug the thing back in, and then you call because you can't get it to boot?" User: "Oh...."

Fix my error, now! An irate senior professor at a big university swings by the departmental helpdesk to complain that the wireless network connection in the main lecture hall isn't working, reports a pilot fish on the scene. "Threatens to talk to his pal the university chancellor," fish sighs. "It needs to be fixed now, ASAP, etcetera." The helpdesk calls in the campus wireless-network engineers, who troop out to restore the connection. And they quickly find the source of the problem. "It turns out that the building is being saturated by a rogue wireless access point that is clobbering the official access point," says fish. "Guess who owns that device: the professor that couldn't get a connection in the lecture hall."

Helpdesk hilarity

Pilot fish gets a call from a user in the accounting department, who complains that the mainframe is running very slowly with the accounts receivable application. That's no surprise to fish, who knows the mainframe's response time has been poor all day. But there is a surprise when he gets to the user's desk — where he finds her making a fist and pounding on the Enter key. Why are you doing that? fish asks her. "I was told by your fellow IT worker that the harder you hit the Enter key, the faster it got to the mainframe to process the data and apply the check," user tells him.

Testing times for techie

Pilot fish sets up software for a large client that's a bit gun-shy when it comes to upgrading Java. "Past Java updates have caused problems with some of the client's custom-built applications," fish says. Result: Client's management sends out a request for all of its application managers to report back on the question of whether the new Java version will work with their custom apps. "Then can I get the new version loaded onto the test servers for the application managers to test?", fish asks. "Management says no," sighs fish. "The new version is not to be released, even for testing, until the application managers report the results of their testing."

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