[OT] Old Guys - was (Re: KDE4.3 beta issues <OT>)

Thorny thorntreehome at gmail.com
Sat May 23 14:30:43 UTC 2009

On Sat, 23 May 2009 10:06:26 -0400, Gene Heskett posted:

> [...]
> And that FRU was something that DEC never got the hang of.  We had a
> pdp11/23 for several years at WDTV that had an average uptime before it
> went out for lunch & forgot to come back, of anywhere from 3 minutes
> (which did not fully boot it) to maybe 17 hours.  They replaced
> everything in that beast except the frame rail carrying the serial
> number without effecting a repair.  I still to this day think they were
> just shuffling boards from one customers machine to the next one without
> ever actually fixing a single board.  I finally talked Hugo at CBS into
> trading machines, mine for his test mule.  That worked, but it also put
> Hugo out of the computer business at CBS, so about 4 months later all of
> us got a new IBM box to replace the PDP11/23's.  You couldn't crash that
> IBM box with anything short of a 30-06 round through it.
I do know of cases of other field service engineers who would "speculate"
and "shotgun" by replacing a board (or more) and then returning the one
they had taken out to the good parts bin if it didn't fix the particular
trouble (maybe even if it did). Not everyone in those days was equally
good at troubleshooting and, to return a board for repair, one had to fill
out a detailed trouble report for it. The practice sometimes caused
different troubles to "circulate". I suspect that some FSEs kept known
good boards in their kit and left "bad" boards in the department spares so
other FSEs might look slow with their fixes but that's just speculation on
my part from what I observed and the egos involved. Many geeks have a big
ego that cries out to be fed.

>>But Gene probably can still trump me, I think he's older than me, though
>>not quite as old as dirt. :-)
> Close, I think my Grandpa Hartman invented it.


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