Accounting department reports that the backup tape for a server won't stay in. Pilot fish tries, and runs a backup without a problem -- but the next day the complaint is back. "We asked them to show us the problem, but they were too busy to stop and work with us," fish says. "This went on for weeks until accounting submitted a purchase order to hire a consultant. He came out and watched as our accountant inserted a cleaning tape into the drive -- and a few seconds later it popped out. Consultant made a big label that said CLEANING TAPE, explained to the accountant that she needs to back up her data on one of the tapes that does not say CLEANING TAPE on it, and billed us $150."

Hot Topic

User grabs pilot fish in the hall to complain that he deleted icons from his new PC's desktop yesterday but they returned this morning. "It sounded like his roaming profile didn't get updated, so I asked if he shut it down properly," says fish. "He answered no, explaining that last night he and his secretary smelled smoke. They thought the computer was on fire, so they turned it off. I suggested that, in the future, if he thought his PC was on fire, it might not be wise to turn it back on -- and I'd like to know about it."

Local Only

Help desk pilot fish gets a puzzling question from a user: Can she send e-mail to a company in the U.K.? "She explained that she tried to e-mail some people in the U.K. and the e-mail came back," says fish. "So she was under the impression that e-mail was like the phone system, and since she couldn't make an international call, she couldn't send an international e-mail."

Better Than Y4

University help desk pilot fish gets e-mail from a department head who asks if her staff could get Y5 accounts. Y5? "I looked at this for a while and thought about responding to her to ask what she meant," says fish. "Then someone said this aloud and quickly, and it came to us what she was asking for. It was the first time I've ever heard Wi-Fi called Y5."

Like It or Not

User calls pilot fish asking for her password to be reset. Fish gives her the new password, but user replies, "How can I use the password when the ID won't work?" What do you mean it won't work? asks fish. User: "When I type in my ID and hit Enter, I get a screen that says 'invalid username.' So if the computer doesn't like my username, then how will it like my password?"