How to save money in IT: Broadcast edition

It's the early 1980s, and this pilot fish is working at a TV station as an electrical engineer. "The TV antenna was outside the station in the parking lot, and whenever there was a thunderstorm -- and we got a lot during the summer -- the antenna would get struck by lightning," fish says.

"Commercial broadcast TV antennas are designed for this. The antenna itself is sunk in tons of concrete, which helps it stay up, and the cables are all encased in heavy metal conduit that is directly grounded to the earth. These conduits are connected to the transmitters, which are also designed to withstand lightning hits.

"It's a huge project to install things correctly, but when properly installed, you're pretty safe from lightning.

"We had just started computerizing our accounting and programming systems, and had perhaps a half-dozen terminals through the building. To save time and money, the software and computer wizard ran the terminal cabling himself.

"Rather than run conduit and drill holes in the building, he saved time by using existing paths shared by the conduit from the antenna.

"And every thunderstorm took out a minimum of one terminal and/or minicomputer board.

"It only took a few big storms until they ordered the cables rerouted."

The route to Sharky isn't complicated: Just send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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