Just Doing the Best We Can

Trouble ticket: "When my computer is turned on, the person sitting behind me gets shocked. My computer makes a buzzing noise, then she yells. Also seems to be a disconnect between computer and any printer. Please help." Support pilot fish can't find the problem with the PC, but he does get an additional request from the user at the next desk back: "If you can't fix it, can you at least make it shock somebody else?"

Picky, Picky!

At the government agency where this pilot fish works, users may have access to as many as 78 different servers. "When their passwords expire on any one of them, they're required to submit a password-reset request through an online system," says fish. "One of our users decided that resetting her password was not good enough. In the 'special instructions' part of the online form, she typed, 'I need a new password, not just a reset!'"

That's One Way Of Putting It

Pilot fish gets a request from a user: "My monitor did not pass the drop test during our department move. I would like to get another one."

Well, Yes, But...

At a large resort for a conference, this pilot fish can't use his VPN to connect to his company. Could a firewall be blocking my connection? he asks someone on the resort's sales staff. "Oh yes, we have a large firewall," she says. Would it be possible for me to see it? fish asks, hoping at least to see what model it is. "She took me to a large, dark closet," fish reports, "turned on the light and pointed to a floor-to-ceiling cinder-block wall that separates the meeting rooms from the guest rooms."

Insider, Really!

User: "Hi, I'm trying to access our company intranet from home. Why can't I get to my division's home page?" Fish: Are you dialing directly into our network? User: "I'm using my America Online account." Fish: That explains it -- our intranet prevents outsiders from getting in. Panic-stricken user: "I'm not an outsider -- I've worked here for five years!"

Maybe Too Hard

It doesn't take long for this pilot fish to diagnose the problem with a color printer: It's a bad color ink cartridge -- a really bad one. "The user told me that someone else had just changed it," fish says. "She asked how I knew it was bad. The entire circuit plate was gone from the cartridge. When I showed her, she told me the person who changed the cartridge had worked long and hard to remove the tape from the cartridge."