Shark Tank: You Win Some, You Lose Some

For weeks after new servers are installed, this computer room can't stay cool. "The plant engineer installed a red warning light so we could see if the temperature exceeded 78 degrees, and it was always on," says a sysadmin pilot fish. "I pointed it out for weeks, expecting them to do something. Finally the light was out, and I thanked them for fixing the cooling problem. No problem, they answered, glad we finally got it fixed for you." But next day it's hotter than ever -- and the red light is still off. "It wasn't fixed," sighs fish after investigating. "The light bulb had just burned out."

Don't Ask

Edict comes down from management: All workstations must be set to lock up after 15 minutes of inactivity. That's inconvenient for this pilot fish and his group, whose members often leave their desks for short periods. "One of my co-workers challenged our local IT admin to show him where in the corporate policy manual this rule was stated," says fish. Admin dutifully tracks it down and, sure enough, there's no 15-minute rule. Sighs fish, "The official rule was 10 minutes."

Timing Is Everything

Help desk pilot fish needs data on a particular user's hard drive at a remote site, so he heads off to fetch the unit. Not very long afterward, the same user phones the help desk about a different problem and asks for fish by name. Sorry, he's not here, tech tells her. She hangs up, turns around -- and there's fish, standing in her doorway. Surprised user: "Wow! You help desk people are good!"

Can You Give Us a Hint?

User's plea to support pilot fish, in its entirety: "I deleted something from my desktop -- I'm not sure what. I was trying to delete something and I deleted whatever this was instead. You can see the empty space between Microsoft Word and Microsoft Access. It must have been something I needed, or else it wouldn't have been there, but I'm at a loss for what it was. Is there any way you can get it back for me without knowing what it was? Thanks!"

What a Concept!

After user's hard drive is replaced, she remembers a file that wasn't transferred to the new disk -- and it has information she needs. "She knew the old one went to a storage room full of drives," says a pilot fish on the scene. "But when she asked us to retrieve it, we did so in a few moments." Amazed user: How did you find my old drive so quickly in that hard-disk graveyard? Fish: "We put your name on it."

I won't put your name on it. Send me your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. And check out the daily feed, browse the Sharkives and sign up for Shark Tank home delivery at

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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