The craziest tech stories ever told

There are few jobs as, um, interesting as being in IT. InfoWorld has collected some of the most memorable experiences from the trenches.

Amid the everyday IT work of keeping businesses humming arise the ingredients that so captivate the techie's work life: the blundering coworker, be they manager, colleague, or contractor, or the problem-solving skills gleaned from one day, three years, 20 years in IT. InfoWorld's readers share the more flavorful ingredients -- some surprisingly delectable, others decidedly less so -- in InfoWorld's Off the Record blog. As 2008 comes to an end, we wanted to share some of the year's more memorable reader tales. Because this blog is written by you, the many people who claim the weekly "Anonymous" byline, no two experiences, situations, or takeaways are exactly alike.

Appearing in this year's collection are tales of tug-of-war between management ideals and practicality, the IT-worker-turned-sleuth, and simply the bizarre situation. And similar tales almost certainly will show up again in next year's collection, with their own twist.

[ Submit your own IT tale to InfoWorld's Off the Record blog. If we publish your story, we'll hide the identity of you, your company, and your colleagues and send you a $50 gift card. ]

Persistence and problem-solving
Readers applaud tales where the IT worker determinedly follows through on a problem, as in the case of the cable installation gone wild: "I look back at Brutus, and the sagging, spaghetti-like bundle of more than 100 blue Cat-5 cables. Drooping heavily among them is one solitary cable. It's also blue. The very same blue as the obsolete cables being removed. Oh no. Oh yes, it's a 50-pair cable, about an inch in diameter. The fax machines are dead silent. I am not."

More persistence and problem-solving:
A tight deadline prompts an IT crew to put themselves to a challenge in "How fast can you move a datacenter?"
* A Difficult User's persistence pays off in the case of the problematic download.

Bizarre situations
A junior IT staff member, in the server room, with the power button -- a compromising situation in "Don't lift a finger": "Finally as my panic worsened, I realized I had now only one chance: my trousers. I dare any of you to remove your trousers with one hand while stretching the other arm to a fixed point from which it cannot move. Not easy."

More bizarre situations:
* How to stay out of a South American jail? One reader found that smuggling IBM did the trick.
* The importance of double-checking your work hits home in "Get a lift from your next training video." Maybe users actually remembered these training tips ...

Oh, those people we work with!
We can trust that the software's been tested: "Personally, I think it should have been a red flag when the guy went out and purchased a matching pair of 'how to code' instruction books for version 2 of the product and set them side by side on his shelf. I guess he thought that, put together, they'd teach him all he wanted to know about version 4!"

More people we work with:
* A CFO dictates specs of a new server room. "Good old standard sprinklers" will suffice. Right?
* Management asks, "What is it you do again?" while the IT worker is out saving the day.
* An unethical employee shows the boss why the IT manager was right in how important IT security policies are.
* A network integration gets tossed at sea when led by "Captain Obvious and his ship of fools."

We look forward to 2009's tales of IT work life. Keep them coming!

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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