Questions that Sharky gets a lot

Q: What's a pilot fish?

A: There are two answers to that question. One is the Mother Nature version: Pilot fish are small fish that swim just ahead of sharks. When the shark changes direction, so do the pilot fish. When you watch underwater video of it, it looks like the idea to change direction occurred simultaneously to shark and pilot fish.

Thing is, sharks go pretty much anywhere they want, eating pretty much whatever they want. They lunge and tear and snatch, but in so doing, leave plenty of smorgasbord for the nimble pilot fish.

The IT version: A pilot fish is someone who swims with the sharks of enterprise IT -- and lives to tell the tale. Just like in nature, a moment's inattention could end the pilot fish's career. That's life at the reef.

Q: Are all the Sharky stories true?

A: Yes, as best we can determine.

Q: Where do the Sharky tales come from?

A: From readers. Sharky just reads and rewrites and basks in the reflected glory of you, our readers. It is as that famous fish-friendly philosopher Spinoza said, "He that can carp in the most eloquent or acute manner at the weakness of the human mind is held by his fellows as almost divine."

Q: Do I have to write my story in Sharky-ese?

A: No. Not at all. Just be sure to give us details. What happened, to whom, what he said, what she said, how it all worked out. If Sharky likes your tale of perfidy, heroism or just plain weirdness at your IT shop, he will supply his particular brand of Shark snark.

Q: I've got a really funny story, but I could get fired if my old trout of a boss found out I told you. How confidential is what I send to Sharky?

A: We don't publish names: yours, your boss's, your trout's, your company's. We try to file off the serial numbers, though there's no absolute guarantee that someone who lived through the incident won't recognize himself. Our aim is to share the outrageous, knee-slapping, milk-squirting-out-your-nose funny tales that abound in the IT world, not to get you fired. That would not be funny.

Q: How do I get each new Shark Tank tale emailed to me?

Easy. Subscribe to the newsletter.

Q: Where are the Sharkives?

Tales of old can be found in Sharky's archive.

Take cover, it’s a student programmer!

Some unforeseen hazards with old tech.

Time-Machine Tuesday: It’s all in how you ask

And we aren’t talking about saying, ‘Please.’


Will that be cash or credit?

Maybe a paperweight next time?

Sometimes being on the scene is the easiest way to solve a mystery.

Throwback Thursday: Pretty much what everyone means by it

Pain for me, or pain for you.

Wayback Wednesday: At least he asked

Oh, don’t worry; we’ll get back to you.

The plotting thickens

The shortest distance between two points is …

Watch your step

Hey, everyone, it will be fun, like doing a jigsaw puzzle together!

Flashback Friday: Too smart for its own good

Things didn’t happen in the right order there.

Throwback Thursday: Switcheroo

Every possible rookie mistake?

Did she at least get to say, ‘I told you so’?

Some people just hate being proved wrong.

Security theater, ’80s style

These are not the Apple computers you are looking for.

Report meets abrupt end

But what was the guy planning to do with all those ‘reports’?

Not quite the result we were planning

Throwback, but not so far back.

Throwback Thursday: Not quite the result they were planning

Sure, but isn’t the monitor extra blurry?

All is A4-OK

Printers and computers always want us to be specific.

Time-Machine Tuesday: Because nontechnical is what he’s all about

Maybe he should recall the last thing he said.

A baud-y tale

Impatience is its own reward?


Dying under the radar.

Throwback Thursday: It’s easier that way

Welcome to Basics of Computing 101.

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