Flashback to the 1990s, when this pilot fish is the lone network admin for his division of a big office support company.

"Since our division had its own building and was somewhat remote, we had a lot of autonomy," says fish. "I was able to pretty much have my data center and work spaces designed the way I wanted them -- within budgetary guidelines, of course."

Then comes an office-space reshuffle, and fish's desk, workbench and lab are moved into a much smaller space.

But to make up for the newly cramped quarters, fish's boss gives him permission to design exactly how the new space will work.

Fish lays it out to put power and data connections in all the places he needs them, with a specially built workbench and even a large, extra-heavy-duty shelf designed to hold several huge monitors with pull-down keyboard trays.

"The shelf was built to my exact specifications and was more than strong enough for the displays -- remember, this was the '90s, and that means big honkin' CRTs," fish says. "It was mounted above the workbench and looked great. Functionally, it made my smaller space much more usable."

A few days after the construction was complete, fish is working at his new desk one afternoon. The lab is quiet and he's almost ready to go home when he hears something begin to creak.

Then it gets louder.

Fish looks up just in time to see the entire shelf slowly crash down to the workbench, dumping four large monitors plus keyboards, mice and other assorted items on the bench, the chairs and the floor.

A quick investigation shows why. Turns out that the contractor had paid strict attention to fish's demands that the shelf be built strong enough to handle all the heavy equipment.

Just one problem. "He had subsequently mounted it on the finished drywall using a well-known liquid construction adhesive," sighs fish.

"He wound up replacing all the smashed equipment. Oh, and he re-hung the shelf -- my way."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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