The following are just a smattering of the really creative things our clients managed to do with fixed/removable minicomputer drive devices of the 1970’s and 1980’s:
- The cat (from the previous blog entry) was very happy atop the drive device until the heads crashed due to a massive amount of hair in the removable drive. Needless to say, kitty found another place to sleep after the repair, and there was a good backup.
- One user did not realize that the removable platters (at $150 a pop), in addition to being good magnetic media, could also be RE-USED after newer backups were made. Imagine the chagrin of walking into a server room filled with shelves full of platters that had been used once.
- After a head crash, one user very conscientiously attempted to restore from multiple GOOD backup platters and succeeded in crashing every one of them. Fortunately, the fixed platter had not crashed, so the data was still accessible after repairing the drive unit.
- I often had to travel to a client site carrying a removable platter in a case so that I could install our software on their system. Fortunately, none of these platters ever caused a problem onsite, which was my constant fear. However, one day I did arrive to discover that the client had scheduled me, an air conditioning repair person and a computer repair person to work on the same day, in a 5’ x 8’ room. The air conditioner was installed directly over the printer and was leaking (hence the printer repair). The room was so stuffed with cables that there was no place to put your feet. Needless to say, it was not the most relaxing day I ever spent, but we all got our work done.
- It was really hard to explain electronic media 35 years ago.
- Cats and computers don’t mix, except on You Tube.
The final ‘removable drive’ story took place in 1978. It appears in its entirety in the next blog and is thankfully the most elaborate data recovery scenario ever attempted by this author.