Standards are a good thing.  That’s how we can say “Phillips screwdriver” and people know what we’re talking about.  That’s how shoe sizes work, at least within a culture (they do shoe sizes wrong in Europe, and they think that we do them wrong).  It’s how web browsers work (or don’t work) – there’s a group called the World Wide Web Consortium that sets the standards on how HTML should work.  The implementation of that standard is left up to individual companies and their products (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc.).

It’s in the implementation that things get fun.  There’s a web browser called Links that is completely text-based.  Not exactly a “standard” browser, since graphics are a major part of the Graphical User Interfaces we all use, but still it works.

The 19-inch equipment rack that is used in data centers around the world is another standard.  The space between mounting holes is a nominal 19 inches.  It’s common in computing circles, and can also hold sound equipment and almost anything else that fits in 19 inches.  Here are some real-world racks:

(pix from ilovecode.dk and Jemimus)

Companies who make racks can make any fanciness they want.  Any height they want.  Charge any price they want.  It’s all about the implementation.

And that’s where the fun comes in.  Enter Ikea and their Lack table.

Somebody noticed that the legs on this thing are right about 19 inches apart, making it the perfect rack for your living room computer needs.

There are instructions at LackRack.org, including a useful-but-funny manual in the Ikea style.  Hats off to the eth0 group from the Netherlands.

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