This university bookstore’s point-of-sale computer needs upgraded software to connect to its printer and barcode scanner. And IT thinks that’s what he’s asking for when he calls the vendor’s support department and says: “I need to see if you can help me find some drivers for a barcode scanner and a receipt printer.” After a long pause, he tells IT, “Well, we sell the software — but we really don’t provide any transportation services.”

When this executive’s PC stops working, IT support patiently explains that the exec really shouldn’t have deleted dozens of critical Windows system files. And when IT asks why, exec explains, “Oh, I needed to make room for some big spreadsheets, and my files are much more important than those. Why doesn’t the computer still work?”


Amid all the grandstanding at the inaugural ICT Outlook Forum which was organised to identify R&D priorities for Australia there was a lone voice of dissent. Labor IT spokewoman Senator Kate Lundy described the forum as ‘disgraceful’ after a presentation by Education Minister Brendan Nelson which, she says, promoted offshore outsourcing. Lundy said it was typical of the Coalition to promote an event supposedly about building Australia’s ICT industry and “then ensure it is dominated by self-serving multinational vendors advocating overseas outsourcing at the expense of local business and jobs”. Local industry, she said, must challenge the government’s “subservience, ignorance and damaging favouritism toward the big end of town”.

Mission-critical Windows NT server goes down in the wee hours, and none of the NT admins answers a page, so a support tech has to come in at 4am. The downtime costs plenty. What happened? Nobody had a pager. “In a cost-cutting effort, someone changed the pager plan to a limit of 500 pages per month, which had been reached,” sighs admin.


Competition between IT vendors in the US has hit new heights with the disclosure that Sun CEO Scott McNealy narrowly survived an incident on a golf course in the US where an errant ball came within inches of drawing blood. Enjoying a hole or three with friends, the Sun crew were putting a friendly face on an incident that could have very easily redefined the US vendor landscape. And the identity of the culprit? None other than the senior VP of HP’s global software business unit Nora Denzel. HP says it was a genuine accident....and just pure chance that McNealy was standing at the other end of the green.

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