Memory-Lane Monday: The more things change …

Not even an ‘Oops, never mind’?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

It’s the late 1970s, and this big bank gets some of its computing from the IT services company where this pilot fish works.

“Time-sharing systems were the norm,” says fish. “You used a terminal to communicate over phone lines with a modem, and the terminals were mostly mechanical.

“I got a call from the executive secretary to the CEO of this bank — one of our very large clients. She said, ‘I can’t communicate with your system, and if you don’t fix it right now, we’re going to withdraw all our accounts.’”

It’s a threat that can’t be ignored, so fish calls operations. All was well. That’s when fish starts asking the secretary to try various things like checking her modem, telephone line and so on. This goes on for about five minute before he decides to try the dumb questions.

Did you turn your terminal on?

“In the background,” says fish, “I heard a loud click and the hum of a mechanical terminal starting up.

“She hung up without so much as a word.”


Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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