When I visit customers, I am usually granted read-access to production servers. Mostly I am working closely with IT staff to explain what I am doing and why. I am not normally granted the passwords to administer the production system which is just the way I like it.

Otherwise, Siebel server CRMPROD1 which has been working fine for 2 years, unexpectedly core dumps, the call center is down, the business is losing 2 million dollars every minute and everyone is staring inquiringly in your direction.

Occasionally, the screensaver kicks in after a predefined interval. So the person has to unlock the screen. However, if the person is in a meeting or otherwise unavailable, the screen remains locked until he returns. This can waste valuable time so I prefer to keep the screen accessible at all times, if at all possible.

Consequently, I find myself acting like John Locke in ‘Lost’ who has to strike a key on the keyboard of a computer every 2 hours to avoid dire (yet unknown) consequences.

So, don’t be surprised if you are working with an Oracle consultant who nervously keeps looking at his watch during a fascinating conversation about Siebel architecture. If he then rudely and abruptly terminates the dialog by hurtling back to his temporary desk and launches into a desperate, full length, athletic dive across the room to desperately hit a random key, that’s why.