Another Floppy tale.

This topic was created by Ron 10 .

  1. Ron 10

    Another Floppy tale.

    In the same league of the magnet holding the diskettes; But I will ramble.

    Back in primitive times, (this will establish that I am really quite old) I too had issues with the user concept of a floppy disk. I was running a networked system of PC and printers. The secretaries (obsolete terminology) all had PCs carved out of bits of silicon and other stuff and were used for all the "management's"document generation and preservation.

    I was a techie with nothing to do between consulting and designing systems for customers. I was bored and the little network things looked useful. At this point the idea of Ethernet involved thick yellow cables and big ugly boxes. So I scrounged some PC's for a server, used a very early piece of software that was supposed to work as a server. I kind of became the system architect/administrator as a hobby. I did some scavenging for bits and pieces from the real development people and the junk warehouse. So I also had a bunch of the super compact 8" diskettes.

    One of the secretaries asked me to get her some more diskettes. It was hard then, but I got her a box and went over to give it too her. I noticed she had a wastepaper basket full of diskettes. I asked her what was wrong with them. She explained she had a lot of work to do and all the diskettes were full. I embarked on a low profile crusade to talk the people in the area about how diskettes worked.

    I was also asked to evaluate a very early example of a network product. Done by a startup with essentially no idea what they were doing. The hardware was seriously flawed. A board would fail/ replace/ fail/ stuck in the original and it worked fine. I took one apart and looked at the board.

    Unshielded wire. No twists. But most interesting was the fact that nothing in their little boxes or "network wires" were isolated from ground. Including the line voltage powering them and the cables. I told the guys that had asked me to evaluate the system that it was a completely unstable and unusable system, and if they managed to get two of their little boxes plugged into two power outlets connected with a different leg on the building power transformer there would be a visible and energetic release of the magic smoke. The "real" development people decided I was not only crazy but inept. They went ahead with productizing the network. Unfortunately, at one point they happened to plug in one of the network boxes to an outlet being served from another transformer leg. Literally blew holes in every device on the network. And anything connected to them, because everything shared a common distribution within the pervue of the little boxes. Some really expensive test equipment died that day. And they went on to actually sell it to poor ignorant customers.

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