Shark Tank: All shook up

IT pilot fish cleans up an old PC for an auditor to use at home. But a week later, auditor complains that he can't make it work. After a few questions, the auditor comes clean. 'The PC was noisier than the one he used at work,' says fish. 'So he shook it repeatedly while it was running...'

          IT pilot fish cleans up an old desktop PC for a senior auditor to use at home. But a week later, auditor complains that he can't make it work. After a few questions, the auditor comes clean. "The PC was noisier than the one he used at work," says fish. "So he shook it repeatedly while it was running, to get the noise to go away. It did -- and took the hard drive with it."

          Wait till version 1.1

          This electronic document project is running two weeks late, and the panicked project manager needs something to show company bigwigs at deadline time. "We could ship you the empty racks and cabinets, and you could say we'll be down in two weeks to do the integration," contractor pilot fish jokes. Manager likes the idea. "The bigwigs gave him all kinds of kudos for his 'on-time' project," says amazed fish. "And we showed up later with the actual guts of the equipment."

          Aha!

          New corporate directive requires that all PC hard drives be made inoperable before throwing them away. "So IT help desk personnel are repartitioning and reformatting more than 100 of them, then opening the cover and pulling the wires off," says a networking pilot fish. After days of this, fish has a better idea. "I take a cordless drill and drill a hole directly through the drive in two places. Done in 15 seconds," he says. "The helpdesk group was chewing me out because now they couldn't format that hard drive -- and then the light went on. The rest of the computers were done in less than an hour."

          What if . . .

          Long, long ago at this IT consulting outfit, part-timers share several word-processing machines on rolling stands. "One of the machines developed an intermittent bug," says pilot fish who was there. Several trouble reports fail to get it fixed -- until fish nonchalantly asks the department admin whether insurance would cover the cost if the machine accidentally fell out of a sixth-floor window. "She said she wasn't sure but would check," says fish. "I think they swapped machines -- but I never had a problem again."

          But it's so simple!

          Sysdmin at large remote site gets the word: He needs to install a service pack for Windows XP on all PCs. His simple solution: a quick visit to each desktop to point each web browser at windowsupdate.microsoft.com. "Internet access for the entire company disappears as each PC begins downloading its own 100-plus MB copy of the service pack," says pilot fish on the scene. "He said he never thought of downloading it one time only to a local server."

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