The old light bulb problem

Why didn't the generators kick in during the latest power outage? wonders sysadmin pilot fish...

Why didn't the generators kick in during the latest power outage? wonders sysadmin pilot fish. The answer: A maintenance worker changing a fluorescent light bulb in the computer room accidentally tripped the emergency power-off switch when he pushed a box against it. "Because the switch is designed to be used in an emergency such as fire, injury or flood, the UPS system was not activated," fish sighs. "And this is our company's disaster-recovery hot site."

New Math

Pilot fish needs the default password for a software product, so he emails the manufacturer's support department — although he's not sure they'll agree to send password via unencrypted email. The response: "The password is a secret. But if you solve 1/x where x = 0.000810372 and append '00' to the left of the resulting four most significant digits, the password is evident."

Great Idea

This vendor's application runs fast and well in batch mode under DOS or Windows, and customers are happy with it. "Then a company bigwig came back from some industry conferences and was determined that we needed a Windows version, so users could interactively manipulate data," says a programmer pilot fish. After eight months of work, a proper Windows version is ready for customers to review. Their response? "They asked us if we could add hooks into the app," fish says, "so that it could be launched via command-line options and used in batch mode."

Not Your Father's Report Writer

This overloaded university IT pilot fish can't generate all the reports requested by users, so his boss offers to pitch in using a Windows-based report writer. "I should be able to figure this out," boss tells fish. "I used to teach Cobol." Two weeks later, the boss hasn't written a single report, fish says. "But she did schedule one of the help desk analysts to attend training for the reporting software."

A Matter of Taste

Vendor pilot fish is working with a new engineer, installing the product for a big customer, when the CD with the software doesn't seem to work. Did you bring a backup? fish asks. "No, but I'll get this one off," engineer says. Groans fish, "I knew I was in big trouble when — with several of the customer's IT bigwigs surrounding us — he removed the CD, licked it profusely and put it back. I called the home office to FTP me what I needed — and requested a new engineer for my team when we got back home."

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