Lana has lost her drive

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  1. The first high energy physics collaboration I was part of used a CDC 7600 for computation. The interface was IBM punch cards with printer or plotter output. All of your data was on tape and sane people backed up their programs to tape. (There were also a lot of libraries you’d call, but those lived in the comp center and were well cared for) The core of your work might be a few thousand cards.

    One grad student, call him Frank, left his cards in his old VW beetle before a torrential storm. Leaky car and the cards were soaked. No problem – he pulled the archive tape knowing his latest work would be there. The problem was the tape was unreadable. It seems his group had purchased untested, used data tapes. Guess what? Frank never tested the tape. They hired a kid from the high school to piece together the paper goop, but he fled in terror after a few days. In the end it cost Frank half a year.

    I have religiously backed up since.

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