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others: Shark Tanks of STEEL

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From the Shark Tank of STEEL:

Shark Tank: Really, REALLY broke

The environment at this steel maker's mills is harsh to the extreme, says an IT support pilot fish working there.

"Not only is the equipment subject to extremes of hot and cold and dust and dirt, but one location has so much acid in the air that the gold contacts on the circuit cards dissolve at regular intervals," he says.

Which is why fish is on site days and on call nights.

One afternoon, the help desk gets a call from a user at one of the mills. "My computer is broke. You need to send someone out," he says.

The help desk asks the usual questions: Is it plugged in? Are there any lights on? But to each question, the user just replies, "It's broke. Send someone out."

Except for one question: When the help desk staffer asks when the computer was last working, user says, "It was OK before I went to lunch."

So that's all fish knows when he heads into the mill to check out the problem. But he can't get to the office from the mill floor; the route he would usually take is cordoned off, and there's a lot of unusual activity. He has to work his way around to the back door instead.

"When I arrived, it was pretty evident what all the commotion was about," fish says. "It seems a 35,000-pound coil of steel fell off a crane and rolled through the cinder block wall of the office and pretty much demolished everything in its path.

"The computer workstation was on the other side of the wall that didn't exist anymore. Luckily, no one was injured, as the user was at lunch, just like he said.

"When they were finally able to get the coil of steel removed, what was left of the monitor, keyboard and control unit was some unidentifiable bits of wire and plastic."

Fish goes out to his vehicle and brings back all the parts he'll need to build a new PC. And in a few hours, he's replaced the "broke computer" with one that's working.

"When I finished, I called the help desk and told them that the office was back in service," fish says. "And I told them, 'Yes, it was really broke.'

"I didn't tell them what actually happened until the next day."

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