Computerworld

How they get the big bucks

For a thin-client deployment that's not going well, this IT shop brings in some highly paid consultants. One of them appears to be taking notes on everything that's said or done, using his handheld computer, says pilot fish on the project.

For a thin-client deployment that's not going well, this IT shop brings in some highly paid consultants. One of them appears to be taking notes on everything that's said or done, using his handheld computer, says pilot fish on the project. How do you like that handheld? fish asks during a break. "It's got some great games on it," consultant says, showing him. Grumbles fish, "He'd been playing games the whole day — not a single note about our problems!"

Let's pretend

Agency director is furious because his PC failed during an important presentation — and takes it out on pilot fish, who races in to repair it. Ignoring fish's questions, director snarls, "Just fix it!" Fish spots the problem — the director had bumped the monitor's power switch while changing floppy disks — and turns the monitor back on. Problem solved? "You made me look like a fool!" director hisses. "Couldn't you have pretended you were doing something to actually fix it?"

Wise choice

Switch from dumb terminals to PCs is a challenge for this IT pilot fish's office mates, so he lends a hand. But one user vehemently insists she needs no help. When her PC won't even power up, she finally asks — politely. Turns out the cord for her power strip has snaked around desk legs and is plugged back into the power strip. "Her reaction: huge laughter, followed up with the comment, 'I guess my blond roots are showing,' " says fish. "This was always something we both could laugh about — even when she became my boss."

Blame is job 1

Programmer pilot fish at a big aerospace outfit is looking over user requirements for one project and notices that a critical element has been left out. Without it, the system will be unusable, he tells his boss. Never mind, boss chortles. "We'll give them exactly what they've asked for. We can work on this for six months, and when it doesn't work, it'll be their fault." Says fish, "I felt humiliated at having that guy as my lead programmer."

Neat idea, but . . .

This user's hard drive regularly becomes corrupted, and help desk pilot fish can't figure out why. Then the user works late one night when the cleaning crew comes through and sees one cleaner take a huge horseshoe magnet from his pocket and run it all over his keyboard and computer. What are you doing? user asks. Cleaner brandishes magnet proudly and says, "Oh, this is great for picking up stray paper clips."

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