PCs are randomly dropping off the network, and this big contractor is about to lose the contract because of it. In a last-ditch effort, consultant pilot fish is called in, and he finds the problem: a network switch he knows from experience is flaky. But why didn't the contractor's staff spot it? "When they were testing, they used a packet sniffer and had to replace that switch with a hub so they could monitor both sides simultaneously," sighs fish. "Then they put it back before they left."
Layoffs are coming, so this insurance company's managers rank all employees for future termination. "To maintain secrecy, they shredded the printed spreadsheets with the ratings," says a pilot fish there. "Unfortunately, the spreadsheets were printed in landscape mode, so the shredder blades separated each employee and rating, by name, on his own strip of paper. After I came across them in the recycling bin, I knew each person's rating -- all 126 of them."
After top management lays off every programmer in the department except him, overworked pilot fish takes a vacation day. When he returns, he finds out his manager is in hot water with the boss. The complaint? Fish groans, "They said she wasn't providing adequate programming coverage for the department."
Pilot fish notices that the nearly finished new computer room uses the 6'8" door from the old glass house. The equipment racks are 6'7", fish says -- how will we get them in? "Roll them from the old room into the new one," says contractor. But the new room has an 8-inch raised floor, fish points out. "The design was quickly modified," he says, "to include an 8-foot door."
It's the late 1960s, and this pilot fish discovers -- the hard way -- that if anyone hits the mainframe's stop button, the start button won't restart it; it has to be completely rebooted. Luckily, a vendor engineer and his boss are visiting, and fish describes the problem. "Impossible," engineer says. "Let me show you." Says fish, "I still remember me and his boss yelling 'No!' as he reached out and hit the stop button."
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