• I was once locked into two tapes drives

    After my first year at University I worked on shift as a computer operator, in Building E machine room.

    My job involved
    – typing “k e,1” to clear a line from the Master terminal of a System 370 running MFT.
    – sitting behind a line printer fanning the greenline paper into the box
    when the page ejects were happening faster than the paper feed could handle it
    – or performing tape labelling – wiping tapes so they could be re-used.

    The tape drives were those big things you see in 70’s films
    with electrically powered sliding glass windows
    that closed automtically so that the tapes could be pulled into loops by a vacuum
    – ensuring that they didn’t tension the tape too quickly and snap it.

    Late one night I was led to a tape drive and demonstrated the
    safety aspects of the sliding glass window.

    There was a sensor that would detect an object preventing the window from closing.
    When the circuit was broken the motor would automatically reverse and the window
    would go down. There was a replaceable fuse in the door that, if removed would
    cause the window to lock in place.

    Well, I was to learn that someone had discovered that if you pushed an arm through the glass
    past the elbow and removed the fuse at just the right time, you could effectively trap a person by their arm.I was not the discoverer; I was the person with the arm.

    They locked me in and went out to the kermits for a coffee break.

    I started getting worried…
    – who’s going to type “k e,1”
    – who’s going to fan the paper in that printer
    – what if there’s a fire and the sprinklers come on and I get electrocuted

    I was determined to escape.
    I opened another tape drive door, took the fuse from that and replaced the missing
    fuse from my door. Freedom!

    Trouble is, I can’t lie very well.
    So I told my captors how I’d escaped.

    Next day both arms were trapped.

    [Read more…]


    Last updated:

    September 28, 2009
  • My real name is Robert Peter Gordon Miller

    So why am I called Herb?

    When I was a schoolboy at Portsmouth Grammar we were initially all called by our surnames. Being too dumb to ask each others Christian names (
    in those days we all had Christian names, even those who weren’t C of E ) we invented nicknames for each other e.g. Gasser, Blossom and Ipse.
    As I was a reasonably speedy but small cross country runner, rather than being called Dusty or Windy, they called me Mick; after Mick the Miller.

    I didn’t like it, so at the age of 13 or 14, when my best mate George Miles
    decided he’d like to be called G, I put about that I’d like to be called
    Herb – after Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

    The name stuck. Even my parents called me Herb. So when I first started at IBM I asked for that name to be put on my badge. Many years later, when I first got a Notes ID, the P for Peter got inserted into my name. I’ve never liked it.

    And did I know about Glenn Miller’s brother in those days?
    Answer: No

    [Read more…]


    Last updated:

    September 28, 2009


Tide times from tidetimes.co.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
Saturday, 18 September 2021

Tide times from tidetimes.org.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
18th September 2021
03:20 Low Tide ( 1.03m )
11:04 High Tide ( 4.27m )
15:46 Low Tide ( 1.07m )
23:18 High Tide ( 4.26m )