It’s the late 1970s, and this big bank gets some of its computing from the IT services company where this pilot fish works.
“Time-sharing systems were the norm,” says fish. “You used a terminal to communicate over phone lines with a modem, and the terminals were mostly mechanical.
“I got a call from the executive secretary to the CEO of this bank — one of our very large clients. She said, ‘I can’t communicate with your system, and if you don’t fix it right now, we’re going to withdraw all our accounts.’”
It’s a threat that can’t be ignored, so fish calls operations. All was well. That’s when fish starts asking the secretary to try various things like checking her modem, telephone line and so on. This goes on for about five minute before he decides to try the dumb questions.