Column: Shark Tank

Let's push-broom through the Y2K confetti and look at the stomped paper cups beneath.

This one shop said anybody who came to the office would get a bonus, plus two floating holidays. Get this: Lots of IT folks who spent the year breaking their backs on Y2K were told to stay home but to be available just in case. Meanwhile, business poo-bahs decided their presence was vital. Guess who got the bonus and floaters?

Speaking of morale, how about the insurance company that ditched its mainframe and exiled the IT department to a mandatory virtual-office setup before the rollover? If programmers did come to the main office to fix something, a pilot fish says, "we had to hunt for a place to perch our laptops and dial in."

Oh. and this bank analyst installed an evaluation copy of Cold Fusion (Allaire's Web application server) before the rollover. Fired it up last week. Says he got a message reminding him there were 36,403 days left in his evaluation period. Sharky called Allaire. Three times. No callback. Gonna be a long millennium without a sense of humor, Allaire.

Another Tankster gets a regular NetWare update in e-mail. Workarounds, patches, etc. Usually a couple items, maybe 2K bytes. Last week's e-mail announced "3,629 new updates on 2Jan100" and was 377K bytes. "Bad Novell," the pilot fish scolded. Can't blame him, but at least Novell returned calls. 'Fessed up to a bad script command. Said few users were affected.

That barley leaves space for the New York branch of a European bank, whose managers went out for a swank New Year's Eve dinner - and brought back sacks of White Castle burgers for the data-center grunts. Or the put-upon school kids who lunched on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the Chicago Sun-Times said, because the schools were scared of food spoilage. Or the university jackass ("looking to make a career out of Y2K, I guess," a pilot fish shrugs) who insists the swamped help desk still test all new PCs for compliance. Or the $10 million eBay bid for www.year2000.com, Peter de Jager's Web address, that turned out to be a fake. (De Jager should've thrown in a kidney to sweeten the deal.)Mmm, vital organs. Toss me some chum, chum: sharky@computerworld.com. For a daily transplant, hit computerworld.com/sharky. Published dirt earns a nifty shirt.

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