Shark Tank: How small are they?

This company is growing, but its offices aren't. But the senior VP of IT has answers. When a director complains new cubicles are so small that some employees have trouble fitting through the entrances, VP suggests dieting.

          This company is growing, but its offices aren't, says a pilot fish who works there. But the senior VP of IT has answers. When a director complains new cubicles are so small that some employees have trouble fitting through the entrances, VP suggests dieting.

          Another director adds that the cubes are so small, monitors have to be lifted over the wall to be installed. VP's answer: "Start ordering smaller monitors."

          Details, details

          During a disaster recovery exercise, database pilot fish discovers there's a government requirement that this sickness and accident data be retained for 40 years. No problem, he's told, the actual tapes of the old data are stored off-site.

          "Checking further, I found the tapes in question were seven-track tapes," fish says. "So I asked, 'Do we have a seven-track tape drive to read them with?' It took only a few weeks to locate and renovate a drive to transfer them to nine-track tape and microfiche."

          Faith

          The update you sent crashed the servers, remote site admin tells pilot fish. No problem, fish tells him; just copy the files that were changed from one of your working systems to the failing one. I can't, admin says -- I don't have any working systems.

          "When he applied that software to the first machine, it failed," says fish. "So he tried the next machine and so on until he had no more working machines. He kept thinking that the next time it might work."

          Oh, didn't I mention that?

          This police department pilot fish sets up a script to send time sheets to city hall at noon three days before each payday. But the payroll clerk complains three weeks in a row that the file wasn't sent. Fish can't find the problem, but he notices the third voice-mail complaint was left at 11.43am.

          "She told me that she and the chief decided the time sheets should arrive at 10am, not noon," says fish. "And asked if I would change the time it was set to send."

          That should foil the wily hackers

          This big company requires a password for sending data between Unix servers.

          "But our security group determined that using any normal tools to facilitate the transfer was a security risk," says IT pilot fish. The solution? Home-brew security automation.

          "Now hundreds of text files containing the unencrypted password are scattered across the network," fish sighs. "And it makes password changes an all-day affair. Talk about job security!"

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