If he wasn't so tidy, it might even have survived

It's the early days of Apple networking, and one of this IT consultant pilot fish's clients is a local high school with Macs -- and a problem.

"Their resident computer expert was having some network reliability issues with his Mac," fish says. "He had a homegrown, 200-foot-long LocalTalk cable that he would use during orientation and open houses to move his computer down the hallway for demos and the like.

"In an ill-considered decision, instead of disconnecting that cable when he was done, he simply looped the cable up and tucked the cord behind his desk. Placed it right on top of his surge protector, in fact.

"Induced current can wreak havoc in many ways. Worse yet, he struggled with the issue for over a week before calling me.

"The cables from Apple were well shielded. His home-built one? Not so much. But I'd expect, with the number of loops he had and the size of the surge protector, that would likely have overwhelmed even the shielded cables."

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