Shark Tank: But how?

Senior VP asks IT pilot fish to generate a data model for some consultants. Fish explains that he has the company's only licence for the modelling software, which generates a proprietary file format. But he can provide a printout of the model. 'Fine,' says the VP. 'But perhaps you could email it to the consultants as well.'

Senior VP asks IT pilot fish to generate a data model for some consultants. Fish explains that he has the company's only licence for the modelling software, which generates a proprietary file format. But he can provide a printout of the model. "Fine," says the VP. "But perhaps you could email it to the consultants as well."

It just never stops

Why is this print queue so backed up? wonders IT pilot fish. Turns out users at a remote site have made the printer vanish from the network. "When we called them, they explained to us that they had placed the disconnected printer in a storage closet," fish groans. "They thought that would stop the printing and never bothered to call IT to stop transmitting the documents."

Thick

Big electronics company is building a factory for a joint venture. But the locally hired IT manager is a little fuzzy on some details, says a pilot fish working there. "The general manager told him to build a raised floor in the computer room," fish sighs. "A month later, we saw it -- he literally raised the floor six inches by pouring a cement slab six inches thick."

Y2k plus three

The phones for this state agency go down almost daily, so pilot fish hunts down the cause. "The phone system formerly belonged to the state capitol," reports fish. "They got rid of it because it wasn't Y2k-compatible. And it still isn't, but there's no money to replace it. So we just get it 'fixed' and working on a temporary basis -- each and every time it breaks."

Afraid to ask?

Big publisher is well into a $US50 million system rewrite when consultant pilot fish arrives -- briefly -- to help. "The legacy system was very old and not documented at all," fish reports. "The new system was still in design." But the eight-member conversion team has spent a year busily writing programs to convert data from the old, unknown system to the new, undefined system. Fish says, "I never did ask to see any of their programs or test data."

Aha!

User has gotten her third replacement monitor in as many months, so support pilot fish checks it out -- and finds water under the monitor, but no source of a leak. The next day, he's walking by and catches the user's new secretary in action. "I explained to her that watering a plant on top of any electronic equipment is a bad idea," says fish. "And that maybe watering an artificial plant wasn't the best use of her time either."

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