So, I have a new job. Right before I started working here, there was a lab fire. This has led to a sudden INTENSE focus on safety. We don’t even cross the hall without doing a risk analysis just now. One of the potential hazards that was brought up in the aftermath was the daisy-chaining of power strips in the office areas. So the guys I share an office with (8 PhD chemists, physicists, and engineers) had the brilliant idea that they would just get REALLY LONG power strips (like six feet long with 30 plugs apiece) to eliminate the daisy chain problem while maintaining a sufficient number of outlets to run all our computers, equipment, the fish tank, etc. My desk is wedged into a corner, so it’s actually on its own (non-daisy-chained) power strip. The rest of them, however, spent a goodly amount of Friday morning under their desks trying to get everything sorted out, and the dialog was hilarious. Names changed to protect the guilty.
Tom: I think this’ll work; I’ll just plug all of these things into this small power strip, and we can use it to pull the cords through the gap between the desks. Hey maybe we should mount them up somehow, maybe to the underside of the desks, given the tendency of this building to flood when it rains.
Bill: Hm. Maybe we could run them on top of the desks, in the gap or something.
Tom: Ooh hey that’s a good idea.
Sanjiv: Do you guys REALLY want all 60 cables that will run to these strips ON the desks? With all of the papers and notebooks and…
Tom: Good point. Maybe not such a hot idea.
Bill: We can just run them along the floor for now.
Tom: Right. We can mount them up later and call it a "process improvement."
Sanjiv: And have a committee and a dozen meetings and a stack of process improvement paperwork. Hey, we could call ourselves "Development" then!
Tom: Zing! (We have a mild interlab rivalry with the Development guys and tease them unmercifully about their overly legislated processes.)
Bill: <Under the desks> Okay, I think I see how we can divide everything up in a way that makes sense. I’ll just plug this and these and these others into here…
Tom: Oops, did we just unplug your computer?
Bill: Impossible. I’m not anywhere near Eric’s desk.
Tom: Wait, but Eric’s computer is plugged into that powerstrip that we daisy chained off of the strip under my desk.
Bill: What?! What’s Eric’s computer doing plugged in under your desk? Sorry, man.
Sanjiv: I needed the plugs under his desk for the workstation on my desk, because half the plugs under MY desk are running YOUR equipment.
Bill: … This is why we need 30-plug powerstrips.