IT nightmares: the recent zone

Again within the mists of time — OK, the late Nineteen Eighties — I used to be working in tech help for a minicomputer producer. (Readers underneath forty: ask your mother and father what a minicomputer was.) Considered one of our new shoppers was having persistent issues with disk corruption and knowledge loss, which was baffling all of us as a result of our machines have been famously strong, even in electrically noisy industrial environments. Ultimately, the upper-ups determined that a website go to was referred to as for, in order probably the most junior individual on the workforce, I used to be pried unfastened from my terminal and dispatched.

I arrived on the buyer location and was greeted within the foyer by my contact. “You will have to take away your footwear and put these on”, he informed me, handing me white overshoes, hooded overalls, and surgical gloves. “The pc is within the Clear Room”, he added. Now I used to be much more confused: my first guess had been a unclean setting inflicting disk heads to foul — in these days, the hole between heads and disks was so giant that mud might imply catastrophe, and smoking round disk drives was an absolute no-no. However in a clear room?

So dressed up like doomed extras from a plague film on the SyFy channel we handed via a constructive strain airlock right into a modestly sized lab that appeared as pc-protected as you may probably want. A couple of of our minis sat on benches across the room, floppy disks shelved alongside them. Small, nameless capsules concerning the measurement of a drugs bottle sat on prime of the computer systems and disk packing containers.

“So, what do you do right here?”, I requested out of curiosity.

“We make radioactive supplies for medical work. Tracers, and so forth. In right here we can we calibration checks on samples.”

“Uh, these little bottles are radioactive?”, I stuttered.

“Solely mildly”, he smiled. “Don’t be concerned, we scan you on the best way out simply in case. Why?”, he requested, choosing up one of many bit-killer-emitter bottles from the highest of the disk field and setting it down on an eight inch floppy disk that was mendacity on the bench. “Is that an issue?”.

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