Sharky

If it wasn't important, IT wouldn't send it

June 14, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

Flashback a few decades to when this tech at a big bank gets a call from someone in Finance who's frantic because the "numbers report" is missing, says a pilot fish in the know.

"The tech asked the caller, what 'numbers report'? He had no clue what she was talking about," fish says. "The caller said, 'You know, that real big report we get each workday. I need to file it!'

"That made no sense, so the tech decided to pay a visit. Upon arrival in the office, he immediately recognized the 'numbers report.' It was a program trace dump from the Cobol program used to create the actual report that Finance needed every day.

"It seems someone on the application team had finally realized that a diagnosis trace option had been kept on when the program was moved into production. The users in Finance had been getting a huge stack of paper each day for over two years, for no good reason.

"And when the trace option got turned off, the admin person given the job to file the report -- which no one used -- got worried.

"The admin, upon hearing what really happened, said, 'Great! I was about to order another file cabinet because we were running out of room for these reports.' They had over a dozen file cabinets dedicated to keeping the 'numbers reports'!"

Never mind the numbers, Sharky wants your story. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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