Users at this company don't trust the sysadmins with backup tapes. "They order their own and, like Oliver Twist, we have to go cap in hand and ask for some more tapes," says a pilot fish there. "A new tape drive was added to a server, and we did our Oliver and asked for 20 new tapes to build the new backup tape cycle. When we came to use them, we discovered we had been supplied with 20 cleaning tapes -- which meant one very clean drive, but no backup. The users are now ordering data tapes."


U.S. IT vendor is planning a new Australian HQ in subtropical Sydney, where winter temperatures might get as low as 5 degrees. "That's Celsius -- about 39 degrees Fahrenheit," says a pilot fish there. "Over nine months, the plans were extensively debated and committee-fied until everyone was totally satisfied from practical, aesthetic, budgetary and environmental viewpoints. The plans were then submitted to the American head office -- which summarily rejected them overnight." Why? "They said the roof wasn't strong enough to withstand the weight of snow in winter."

What Luck!

This on-call IT support team passes around a cell phone, and there's a list at the night-shift desk that tracks who has it, reports a pilot fish on the scene. But it's not a perfect system, as evidenced by one late-night call: "On-call help desk. This is Wilma." "Wilma? I thought Fred was on call." "No, it's me." "But the call sheet says it's Roman. Why isn't Roman . ... Oh, never mind. It's a good thing you two have the same number!"

That's Not the Way It Works

Help desk pilot fish receives an e-mail from a user who says that her laptop's hard drive is full. Reports fish, "She then asked, very politely, when would be the best time to drop it off for a cleaning, as she was leaving for a business trip the next week."

Not a Creature Was Stirring ...

Pilot fish gets a call from a nearly hysterical user: "Help! I think I killed my computer!" When fish arrives at user's desk, user explains, "I turned it on, but nothing happened. It just sat there!" Fish quickly determines that the PC is fine -- it's just in sleep mode, and pushing the power button brings it back to life. How, exactly, did you "turn it on"? fish asks. "Just like I always do," replies user. "I shook the mouse."