Just one of those days

It's just a few years ago, and this IT pilot fish is working a major application rollout for a big oil exploration company.

"My job was to travel the country, install the apps and validate connection to the home-office back end," says fish. "I arrived in a Texas port city and went to the company office there.

"Inside, I discovered the hardware had not been upgraded to new standards and was still using DOS to connect to the home office in terminal-emulation mode via 9600 baud modem."

In other words, there's nothing for fish to do. The site's full-time IT guy is freaking out -- he's afraid he'll be blamed for wasting at least two days' worth of fish's salary.

So while he's on the phone with the main office asking for directions, fish passes the time looking over the usernames and passwords to all the accounting and sales systems, which are taped to the monitor at the desk where he's sitting.

That's when two employees from the site approach fish with a question.

"Hey," asks one, "can you tell me what this DOS thing is? We keep hearing about it, but no one tells us anything."

Sure, says fish. DOS gives people a way to talk to the computer and give it instructions. It's a language using English words so you don't have to input a bunch of zeroes and ones.

"Whaaa?" says employee.

But his companion quickly jumps in: "He said it's English for the computer."

"Well," asks first employee, "why didn't he just say that?"

Just tell Sharky your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com, and you'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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