Wanna bet that's still in place today?


It's the late 1990s, and this programmer pilot fish for a midsize manufacturer is also the onsite IT support guy for the parts-distribution warehouse.

"The order-packing area had a workbench on one side, with terminals and a variety of printers," says fish.

"The power distribution to that hardware was probably not up to code. Two power strips were zip-tied to a vertical support column. One power strip was plugged into an outlet on the column and the second power strip was plugged into the first.

"Additionally, the workbench and the resulting tangle of power cords, backed up to a narrow area where forklifts would pass carrying pallets.

"One day I got a call that half the terminals and printers suddenly went dead -- 'and no one did anything to cause it.' Yeah, right.

"A quick inspection showed that power strip number 2 was no longer plugged into strip number 1. It was now plugged into itself. A forklift driver had snagged the cord with a pallet and tried to cover his mistake.

"After correcting that, the warehouse manager and I installed a 'field expedient' fix for the problem: We zip-tied some big -- meaning refrigerator-box-size -- pieces of cardboard to the back of the workbench. That covered up the tangle of power cords and protected them from the passing forklifts."

There's only one fix for Sharky's story shortage: 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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