Shark Tank: Short Answer: no

Consultant doing a database conversion asks pilot fish (after his first test takes 16 hours on a test server): 'Can we test the conversion on the production database server to see how long it takes?' Consultant says. 'You can just reload the databases when we're done.'

Consultant doing a database conversion asks pilot fish for a favour after his first test takes 16 hours on a test server. "Can we test the conversion on the production database server to see how long it takes?" consultant says. "You can just reload the databases when we're done."

Follow the money

It's the early 1980s, and this mainframe pilot fish prints a huge number of monthly reports that he suspects go largely unread. "I convinced our VP to let us spend up to $US1450 on gift checks from a bank," fish says. He tucks a $US10 check into each of 145 reports. A month later, only three have been cashed.

"We stopped the rest of the checks and eliminated 142 reports from our weekly workload," says fish. "The ROI in paper alone was paid back the first week."

Picky, picky

Big bank has lots of its IT staff telecommuting, so when they get word about a demo of a new remote-access tool, they're happy -- at first. "But the presentation has no dial-in lines or videoconferencing," sighs remote pilot fish. "So only those who work at the office -- and don't use the product -- can actually attend."

Same as before

New policy at this company calls for password-protecting all confidential digital documents. IT pilot fish sets up the necessary user accounts, but one manager insists her PC users can't keep track of passwords.

"And what are you going to do about my employees who don't have access to any computers?" she demands. "How are they going to access these online documents if they have to use passwords?"

The big picture

At this start-up in the mid-'90s, the boss' fresh-from-art-school son is tapped to work on the website. "I have a terrific picture for it," he tells IT pilot fish. "Do you have a Zip drive there?" Send it up on a floppy, fish suggests. "It's too big for a floppy," son says. Then how, fish groans, will users download it with a 14.4Kbit/sec. modem?

Where there's smoke . . .

Alert mainframe pilot fish working third shift notices that a tape drive is shorting out. So he powers it down, calls vendor support and continues with normal operations, less one tape drive. "Rookie customer engineer enters the scene," fish says. "He powers the drive back up 'because I want to see where the smoke is coming from'. Lots of smoke, which triggers the sprinkler system -- this is pre-Halon days -- and takes down the whole system for a day."

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