Shark Tank

FRAMINGHAM (03/03/2000) - ROAD RULES A big engineering firm is developing a vehicle detection system for futuristic highways - very Buck Rogers. Developers work night and day tuning communications between the on-the-street test site and the lab - very plain-vanilla IT. Beta goes in Friday. Works all weekend.

Monday it stops communicating. Panic ensues. Bigwigs scream that the beta's a failure. Corporate presidents fume. All eyes turn to the developer, who finally figures out what's wrong. "Turns out the system was working fine," a pilot fish reports, "right up to the point when a car wiped out the communications cabinet on the side of the road."

SEZ WHO? Boss tells a pilot fish that a new IT auditor has asked for information about the company's system security. Pilot fish is supposed to fill in the blanks for the auditor, she says. Whoa, says pilot fish. Do we know who this guy is? Why should we tell him anything? Good point, says boss. She checks out the auditor, who turns out OK. Congrats, says auditor. Seems no one else in the entire company had questioned the legitimacy of his request. "And naturally, my boss didn't tell him that it was me who suggested it," pilot fish says. Don't worry about what the auditor knows, kid. Just make sure your boss remembers who made her look good at bonus time.

Y2K-PLUS-NINE-WEEKS and counting: Pilot fish reports that on Feb. 24, the Oracle Technology Network for developers reported the year as 3900. Seems to be fixed now, though.

UNWIRED pilot fish at the Wireless 2000 show in New Orleans snickers that vendors couldn't demo their products. So many attendees were using phones, pagers and handhelds that nobody could make a new connection. Hey, don't laugh until you're sure it won't happen in your own sales department.

TOO KIND A giant consulting outfit is trying to convince an automotive supplier to hire 'em to install GMnet, GM's supplier extranet. "The consultant was trying to imply they were GMnet experts," says the pilot fish. Sounds OK up until the pitchman says, "You know about GMnet, right? It also goes by another name - telnet." "Our jaws dropped and half of us had to leave the room so we didn't laugh in his face," says the pilot fish.

These days, Sharky doesn't even bother to head for the hallway. Clueless consultants? Bungling bosses? Useless users? Make me laugh: sharky@computerworld.com. If it gets printed, you get a sharp Shark shirt. And don't forget the daily deep dive at computerworld.com/sharky.

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