Shark Tank

BOSTON (05/15/2000) - Spiked Consultant pilot fish is sysadmin at a regional military site. Brass throws an educational conference for the region's sysadmins. But after five requests, fish can't get an OK, so he doesn't go.

Flash forward to annual-review time: The fish learns his raise is spiked because, according to his on-site supervisor, he "lacks the knowledge necessary to complete [his] tasks effortlessly" - the knowledge he would have gained at the conference. Oh, and he also got dinged for not going to enough conferences.

CLAIRVOYANCE REQUIRED Software developer pilot fish who's prototyping an insurance-policy processing system (it'll handle 50,000 renewals every night) gets this helpful specification from a longtime user-side manager: "We want the system to process these automatically every time, except when we want to override it."

TIME AND MOTION MEN Telecom company sets up a training session for salespeople in Charlotte, North Carolina. Why not hold it where the software developers work, in Greensboro, 85 miles away but with a better training facility? asks a pilot fish. Because this session is for the salespeople, says the boss in faraway New Jersey. So seven programmers, two sales reps and the trainer travel more than 1,000 total miles to Charlotte - all via Greensboro - to join the lone sales rep from Charlotte.

STILL SPREADING THE LOVE Vice president gets an "I Love You" e-mail from the president of a big computer supplier. Antivirus software tells him it's infected and refuses to open it. Not to be thwarted, VP forwards the message to himself, plugs his antivirus-free laptop into the network and opens the infected e-mail. "I spent six hours cleaning up the mess," security pilot fish reports.

Report your mess: sharky@computerworld.com. If it prints, you get a Shark shirt. And get more online every day at computerworld.com/sharky.

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