Attention-getter

Where there’s smoke …

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

It’s the ’70s and pilot fish is a tape hanger on a Honeywell 8200 — those big tape reels and their drives.

One lunchtime, fish smells something burning. Since the computer bay is air-cooled, it’s hard to determine the source, so fish tells a teammate that she smells something burning, and the two of them open the front and back of each tape drive trying to find where the smell is coming from.

To no avail, so they tell the console operator to page the Honeywell tech. That gets no response. It’s lunchtime, so it’s going to take a real emergency to get any action. I’ll take care of that, says the console operator, who revises the page to “Honeywell tech needed immediately in computer bay 4. Something’s burning!”

The ensuing stampede was a sight to see.

Oh, if you’re curious, the system had a key punch machine attached, and a bearing had overheated in it. It was out of commission for a while.

Stampede Sharky with your true tales of IT life. Send them to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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