That would have helped

This pilot fish writes custom software for his company and supports its users at remote sites. So when a customer contacts him to say the software has suddenly stopped working and is returning an error message, fish is right on it.

"Fortunately, the user enclosed a screenshot, though the information from the screenshot was useless," says fish. "I asked the user to attach the log file that my application generates if problems occur."

But the log file reveals nothing.

Now fish is beginning to get concerned. He asks the user to write down what he did, step by step, just before the error occurred. User does, and fish runs through the steps on his end without any problems.

Then fish's boss gets involved and tells fish to start reviewing code modules and checking with users at other sites.

Several hours into that process, fish calls the user again to get more information on the problem and have him try one specific work-around.

"Oh," says user, once fish gets him on the phone, "the tech guys just took it away. All of my other programs had stopped working and the PC crashed right after my last e-mail to you. They think I may have had a virus.

"Should I have called?"

Quick, before YOUR PC crashes, send Sharky your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Now you can post your own stories of IT ridiculousness at Shark Bait. Join today and vent your IT frustrations to people who've been there, done that.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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