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TECHNICIAN tells IT manager pilot fish he's having trouble fixing something called a spooler error. That's a printer problem, says fish, and you usually solve it by stopping and restarting the spooler service. "Well, I sort of stopped the spooler service," tech says. OK, how did you do that? fish asks. Tech: "I formatted the hard drive."

NEW IT director cuts a deal with an outside training outfit so the whole IT staff can "get certified." Two weeks later, he brags that he's third in the world on a test of IT industry knowledge, says pilot fish. But boss admits he took the test 16 times - and cheated. He urges fish to cheat, too: "You'll learn something," he says. "I've gained a deeper understanding of the computer industry through this method."

THIS COUNTY jail's new system is supposed to combine perp data with fingerprint files and send it all off to the state. But project manager quits midproject, and the new PM is furious that the system doesn't work. Why won't it send the files? he snarls at subordinates. Sysadmin pilot fish uncovers the problem with a single question: "Is it on the network?"

PILOT FISH comes up with clever way to streamline processes: He looks in offices for piles of paper, figures out what process produced them, then does spot automation projects to eliminate the paper. For his efforts he receives a "special recognition" award: an ornate, personalized paper clip holder.

IT'S TIME to replace the computer room's water sprinklers with a less-damaging fire suppression system, and pilot fish is reviewing bids. One salesman tells fish to stick with sprinklers: "You could throw a bucket of water on all these servers, and it won't damage any of it! This I know! Besides, if there was a fire, a cleanup crew would scrub the residue out of the equipment with soap and water anyway."

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Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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