Logic, shmogic, we've got a procedure

The wired network is being upgraded at the company where this pilot fish works -- and her cubicle is right next to a main conduit for the wires.

"I came in one morning and noticed that the new wire had been pulled, because all the faceplates for the connectors were pulled out of the conduit," says fish. "The old wires were still plugged in, with the new wires lying next to them.

"I booted my laptop and it didn't come up the way I expected."

Fish figures a cable was jostled during the installation process, so she calls the outsourced help desk and explains the situation. The help desk insists that she follow their step-by-step troubleshooting procedure on the laptop, even though she explains that it worked fine at home and the trouble is probably with the new network cabling.

Still, fish follows each step in the troubleshooting procedure -- and it detects nothing. Help desk response: "OK, we'll send someone out to pick up your laptop and test it in the lab."

Fish protests, "But if the network is the problem, they won't find that in the lab!" But the help desk sticks to its process. A tech takes fish's laptop, tests it, finds no problem, finally checks the network cable, finds the problem and fixes it.

Fast-forward several weeks: Fish comes in one morning and notices that the old network cables have now been disconnected. She boots her laptop, and it doesn't come up as expected.

Fish calls the help desk (again). Explains the problem (again). Isn't listened to (again).

But this time, while waiting for the techs to pick up her laptop, she connects to the wireless network successfully and starts working. And when the techs arrive, she decides to appeal to their logic.

As you can see, I'm working fine in wireless mode, fish tells them, so I really don't think there's anything wrong with my laptop.

They leave, and fish soon receives an e-mail reporting that her trouble ticket has been closed.

"We thought you didn't want the problem fixed because you wouldn't give us your laptop to troubleshoot," tech says when fish calls.

But I knew you weren't going to find any problems and I needed to get some work done, fish replies.

But the help-desk tech holds firm -- he won't call the network people until he has verified that it isn't a laptop problem.

"So once again I surrendered my laptop," grumbles fish. "Once again they returned it the next day, declaring that there was nothing wrong with it.

"And finally they talked to the network tech, who went in the wiring closet and found a jumper cable that was set incorrectly."

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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