It's the late 1980s, and the field offices of this big federal agency all use serial interfaces to print their documents, according to a pilot fish working at one office.
"None of the field offices could use parallel printer cables because of their short distance requirements," fish says.
"Like all government agencies, this one has a large Washington, D.C.-based headquarters that feels it is necessary to 'help' and provide 'guidance' to all of us lost people in the field that actually do the work.
"Some child of Einstein decided that all the remote locations would benefit from a centralized buy of computer printer cables, so unknown to the field locations, a large amount of printer cables were purchased.
"A little later, an announcement was made that Central IT would be supplying every facility with varying numbers of cables, depending on the size of the field office. No input was requested so none was given.
"About a month later, boxes of parallel printer cables showed up at each facility. The field employees opened the boxes and shook their heads. All we could do was toss them into the dumpster."
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