Too much of a good thing?

It's the 1990s, and this very big non-profit hospital has 20 years' worth of computer equipment -- and it's time for some changes.

"In a massive effort to replace several independent systems with one unified system, much of the 'old guard' was let go, new people were hired and $20 million was spent to completely replace the fragmented network," says a pilot fish there.

And as a new IT supervisor, fish's first task is to get rid of piles of the outdated equipment.

So he makes a few phone calls -- first to the local community college, and next to the high school superintendent. Could you use some old equipment for your PC training classes? he asks.

The quick response from the cash-strapped administrators: "Yes, thank you!"

Fish and his team go to work identifying what needs to go. They look. They find. The gear piles up.

In the end, fish fills a semi-trailer full with every kind of hardware computer hardware he's ever seen, and has it delivered it to the college and high school.

But is his work done? Not quite. "As the rebuilding of the network proceeded, we found more stuff," fish says.

"This time, when I called my contacts at the schools, for some reason they would not return my calls.

"But I did get a nice 'no thank you' e-mail from one of the administrators' assistants."

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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