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From: Sharon Kimble, Subject: Re: editor and word processor history

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: From: Sharon Kimble, Subject: Re: editor and word processor history
Date: Sat, 31 May 2014 14:44:21 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

I got this as a mail, but I suspect it was intended for
the list, so I send it without asking. By the way, this
has started to happening a lot lately - it was actually
one of the first thing I asked on this list, I often
get CC of posts (as mails) that are intended as posts -
that doesn't bother me as I've instructed Gnus to put
those in a cc group, and those posts go to the group as
well, so no harm - however, what I can see, this was
just a pure mail and didn't reach the group (correct me
if I'm wrong). So, there must be something with my
posts that tells other clients "this guy isn't on the
list, include a CC" *or* (worse) "this isn't even a
post, reply as mail".

Anyway, here is the lost (?) and found post from

Back in 1980 I joined a commercial office suppliers in
Norwich as I didn't want to work with computers, and
the following week ........ they got a computer to do
the accounts on! I've got a feeling that it was an
"Olivetti" something, with data being stored on
magnetic tape in a cartridge about the same size as the
average novel! And for some reason it always got jammed
into its holder every Friday afternoon at 1630, which
required the company secretary to sort it out with two
big screwdrivers! After about 7 weeks of this happening
the company secretary worked out that we started the
close down procedure at 1630 and we were hurrying to
start the weekend. From then on, we started at 1600,
and didn't have to hurry so no more data cartridge
jams! All the customers accounts were kept on cardboard
sheets with a paper sheet in front of it, we kept the
cardboard sheets and sent the paper sheet to the
customer as their statement, and they had to be
inserted by hand into the machine and then held in
place whilst the data was hammered onto the sheets.

After a couple of years we were upgraded with another
Olivetti machine, this time with what I think was
called a "Winchester cartridge" a big disc in a big
plastic holder that was backed up to twice a day. This
was a big improvement on the old machine, which had had
to be dismantled to get it out of the building, when
they found that some previous operand had used it as an
ashtray, complete with dead matches and tab ends! I
managed to kill two keyboards on the new machine over
the years, by eating crisps with my left hand whilst
key-pounding, data entering with the right hand, and
somehow salt getting into the keyboard. This was
compounded by the company secretary "cleaning the salt
out" with some cleaning fluid which had the effect of
seizing everything up!  Somehow I managed to
"programme" the new computer to flash "Happy Birthday"
when the company secretary used it on his birthday, and
he went ape-s**t and made me promise not to try
anything like that again, on pain of being sacked! Oh,
happy days!

underground experts united:

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