Legends of IT: tall tales and true from IT's legendary past

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The Legends of IT, written by you.

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Trevor reads a dump over the phone

Most of the folk reading this have never seen a mainframe hex dump. No it has nothing to do with excrement. It is like the huge diagnostic file your PC decides to write in a crisis just when you'd rather it was rebooting so you can get on with work. But when a mainframe produced one back in the 1980s it came out on the old green line-flow paper. Many of you haven't seen that either. A six inch thick stack of continuous fan-folded paper. Miles of it streaming out. Maybe it did have something to do with excrement after all.

The chair

Colleagues of mine did a benchmark demonstration to a prospective client. For reasons that I have lost in the mists of time, they were in a room in IBM's building, even though IBM were a competitor. As a result we had to supply all our own gear, so they brought in box after box of monitors and other equipment (probably not servers, this was a LOOONG time ago). Giff had a dodgy back so he had his own special chair too.

The computer that sang to its operators

Here's the story told to me by one who was "really there", about the computer that sang to its operators.

Just a minute

We were demoing a database product. It wasn't our product - we were the local agents for it in a far away country. We had spent a week of twenty-hour days setting up a system to their specifications on the client's VSE mainframe (a baby IBM machine compared to the OS370 brutes) - what we used to call a "benchmark" demo.

Now on the Friday the big bosses had come down to see. And one of them thought he had us nailed.