The following tales are real, from the Shark Tank of Computerworld

What's in a Name?

State agency's data warehouse project is renamed: It's now officially an "administrative systems reporting database." Why not just call it a data warehouse? "Several legislators threatened to block the project if the warehouse wasn't constructed within their own districts," grumbles on-scene pilot fish. "All attempts to explain that no physical structures would ever be built fell short. The lawmakers had never heard of a warehouse without a building somewhere."

Hold It!

This entire plant suddenly grinds to a halt. "Security, lighting, electricity, hydraulics and air handlers are down," pilot fish reports, and the plant's industrial-control computer appears frozen. Then fish notices that the logging printer is out of paper. Paper is added -- and the plant is back online. But why? Seems the logging system has a buffer to record data when the paper runs out, and that buffer filled up. "Rather than lose valuable data," says fish, "the system gracefully shuts down and refuses to come online unless the buffer is cleared."

Thanks, Boss

Contractor pilot fish is called into a meeting with his boss and the client, but the conference room's computerized whiteboard isn't working. Fish's take-charge boss examines the wireless keyboard, announces that its batteries are dead and sends fish to get new batteries. "He puts them in," says fish. "Still doesn't work. He tinkers with it, then declares it's broken, and the two bosses leave for a different meeting. I check the batteries. They were put in the wrong way."

Drag and Drop Off a Cliff

Why did this company's network just slow to a crawl? It takes pilot fish an hour to track down the cause. "Someone using Windows Explorer was supposed to be moving a file from one server to another using drag and drop," says fish. "He moved our Process directory instead -- containing 12,000 subdirectories and a large number of gigabytes of data. And once the problem was discovered, of course, all the data had to be moved back using the same process."

Where Else?

Sysadmin pilot fish knows the new version of his clinic's medical-records software is buggy, so he starts quizzing users about what's wrong. "Apparently, I didn't word my question very well to one user," says fish. "When I asked, 'Where were you when you locked?' she answered, 'Standing at the front desk, checking in a patient.' "

Ha ha... Nice tales....