Glitching Tiger, Hidden Login

It was growing hard not to take it personally. Of course, being unable to get inside the office on a Monday morning does that to a gal.

Oh, I stood in the parking lot, jiggling my key in the lock. The light drizzle which inevitably mists down when locks stick...

Or packages are heavy...

Or you've had six cups of coffee...

...was there and drizzling. Lightly. Right on cue.

Closer investigation proved-- it wasn't that the key wouldn't fit in the lock. It was that it fit too well. It spun. Why, that key went round and round in that lock like Linda Blair's head in The Exorcist. Only the key didn't vomit.

Thank goodness for small favors, I suppose. There'd have been metal filings everywhere.

Now my coworkers' cars were in the parking lot.

And since my colleagues weren't all standing outside with me, their hair plastered to their heads in the rain and cursing... well, it was fairly safe to deduce the lock had been working at some point.

Or they brought their jetpacks, ziplines and grappling hooks. Whereas, I had left mine at home.

Finally, a whack on the door handle-- well-known to be the proper way of fixing any and all delicate instrumentation-- and the lock clicked into place and gave way.

I stalked inside to my office twenty minutes late, dropped into my chair, turned on my computer, entered my username and password, hit Return and...

The computer cursor blinked at me blankly. You? Who are you?

"You know me," I pleaded. "My hair is just wet."

Blink... Blink... Never seen you before. And please, don't drip on my keyboard.

That's when I thought, maybe I typed in the wrong username...? Er, no.

The wrong spelling?... Nada.

Well, um, CAPS lock...? Nien!

So, did I forget the right password...?

And here, puppies grew into dogs and got old and died as I hearkened back to every password I'd had since my seventh grade locker combination.

Move along, kid, ya bother me,
the computer said.

"You've been talking to the gate downstairs, haven't you?"

It didn't dignify that with a response.

Now I don't consider myself to be a particularly paranoid person. But after not being able to get into the building, and then not being able to connect to the network, I was starting to wonder if this was an extremely passive-aggressive way of saying I wouldn't be collecting a paycheck anymore.

After all, I've seen Office Space 37 times.

On my way downstairs for tech help, I passed one of my supervisors in the hallway. "Heyhowyadoin?" I greeted, feeling the situation out.

I figured it was the perfect opportunity for him to pause and say, "Wait a minute! How'd you get in here? We'd changed the locks and altered your network access and everything. Writer, go home!"

Paranoia is a stinky perfume.

Fortunately, the standard "finehowareyou?" wafted it away pretty quickly.

And soon, our elite squad of Tech Ninjas was on the job. Profiles were examined, servers were rebooted, connections were remade...

"Try it now."

This time, as I entered my username and password, golden beams of light shot down from the sky. A chorus of angels sang the Mac start-up chord! And my computer-- which had pressed a heavy boot to my forehead and shoved, just hours before-- reached out and embraced me like a loving grandmother.

Until the next time I powered down and restarted my machine.

The Tech Ninjas were perplexed. It became a three Tech Ninja job.

So the Tech Ninja Triumverate recreated my user profile. They used electronic nunchaku on willful access scripts. They fought valiantly against Mac-PC incompatibilities in the technical treetops on wires. And when I came in to work the next day, a Post-it made of bamboo pulp was tacked to my machine which read...

"All should be well."
-Tech Ninja Master

I pressed the "On" button with a hesitant finger. The computer started up. The login box appeared. And again--- beams of light, angels, yadda, yadda, whathaveyou...

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I still have the "All should be well" Post-it, on my computer. It has become my security blanket for challenging client days. Sort of the equivalent of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's "Don't Panic."

But this day, the Post-it lies. Again I am unable to log-in. And as the Tech Ninja Master meditates on this, his most complex of techno-existential problems, an idea strikes. "No. It cannot be."

Do you want to know what was wrong this time? Do you want to know why I came in at 7:30am but couldn't actually get anything done until 8:30 because the computer wouldn't let me in? Do you want to know why I was persona non grata with the network once more?

The time on the clock was four minutes off on my computer. And because of this, the server wouldn't recognize my machine. The clock. Fer pity's sake.

Those Tech Ninjas... they sure do earn their keep.

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Anonymous said...

All because of a stupid clock ?! This is the first time I ever heard of such a thing !

I'd feel very stupid if there was a problem and I told the tech support - check the clock ! LOL ! But it's worth a try !

And we blamed it on the weather eh ?

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Yup, all because of a stupid clock. I don't normally even write about my Real Job, so the blogging isn't a conflict of interest. But I thought this was so absolutely absurd, I HAD to.

I guess my clock was synching to some Apple clock and not the server. So the server didn't know what to do with the discrepancy.

You just can't make this sorta thing up.

Ken Armstrong said...

Love the title... and the rest, of course! :)


Jenn Thorson said...

Ken, thanks! You know how titles are-- either they show up, ready for work, or they don't. :)

Da Old Man said...

I remember the days of tech ninjas battling with the networks at my old job. I never had the 3 tech ninja issue, the most I had was a 1 tech and one apprentice ninja situation.
They never fixed it, but using tech ninja mind tricks, convinced me that it didn't matter.

Jenn Thorson said...

DaOldMan- They have skillz that way. Fortunately, my ninjas took this seriously. Because otherwise my computer was a stylish, if overlarge, paperweight.

Chat Blanc said...

oh those computers are soooo sneaky!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chat Blanc- That's why we need the ninjas. :)

Jay said...

ROFL!! That's so funny! But I feel your frustration - AND your paranoia!

The clock was out. You know, so many things won't work if the clock isn't set right! My cooker, for one thing. And the GPS we tried to use to get us to Nottingham racecourse on Saturday. Sadly we had no road map with us either, because we had a GPS!!!

We got there in the end. ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Seriously? The stove AND the GPS? I know you finally did make it to the racecourse, as I saw the pics. But however did you manage it then, with no maps and no GPS?

Greg said...

Sounds like someone's computer network had a case of the Mondays...

Good god, what a crazy ass reason to toss you out of the network...and if you're networked up, then why isn't the NETWORK actually monitoring and synching up your digital timepiece?

What fun...

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- seriously! It was defaulting to Apple's timestamp, so it had to be hardcoded in to the network. So goofy!

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

I think we were warned about something like this at the start of the new millennium. Now Wall Street's a mess, the political situation is bizarre and Britney's made a comeback.

But if the Ninjas think all should be well, that's something.

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- The only hope I have right now is for the ninjas. :) Everything else, well... fingers crossed.

Kathy said...

Loved this post! What a bizarre day you had. I had a client ask me about a login problem recently and I half-jokingly told him maybe he was being let go, because that's always the first sign. He laughed nervously.

Since reading this post, I have asked several of my clients to now refer to me as Tech Ninja Master and all complied. I have previously been referred to as Tech Guru and Goddess, but I much prefer Ninja because it appeals to my fighting nature. Fighting with PCs, that is.

Jenn Thorson said...

Kathy- I like hearing about that kind of compliance in a client! It really warms the heart. I will try to remember to address you as Tech Ninja Master from now on. Or maybe "TNM" for short. :)

chyna said...

I totally believe you Jenn. See we got an IT person who decided that even though everyone's phone has a digital time on them and therefore we all have the exact same time his fancy schmany diving watch said it was 4min later than that and he changed all the computer clocks to such. Well me being illiterate in the compueter world changed mine back to reflect the phone. I got a butt chewing for that one. ;) And now the computer slowly get faster and faster, at one point it was close to 12min fast. He changed it back on the server but I'm betting that we'll soon be off again.

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- Yup... It's mind-boggling, isn't it? (shakes head) I'm not touching the time on my machine, I can tell you that! :)

Jay said...

'But however did you manage it then, with no maps and no GPS?'

Well, we did it the old-fashioned way. We pointed the car to Nottingham, and just before we got to the city, I saw a sign for Colwick (where the racecourse is) and screamed for OH to turn down there. Then we stopped at a garage and asked. LOL!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- I thought the old-fashioned way was driving around in circles because the husband won't stop and ask for directions. :)

Jonny's Mommy said...

Oh my, this does sound very familiar as I am frequently having this problem at my office. With new owners on board I am beginning to wonder if they did fire me and didn't tell me?

Jenn Thorson said...

Jonny's Mommy- I hear you-- if it hadn't happened to me, OHHHH, a million times recently, I'd STILL be taking it more personally. :)