Blame It On The Computer -- Lost Homework! MODERN TIMES

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Blame it on the computer -- lost homework!
MODERN TIMES: When you were a kid, did you ever tell the teacher ``My dog ate
my homework?'' Update: Navy Lt. John Ratkovich, a student at Naval Postgrad
in Monterey, tells me that when homework was called for the other day, Lt.
Comdr. Al Jones said ``May DOS ate it.'' Right. His disc operating system
erased it all, and would a commander tell a fib? [Herb Caen, SFChron 28Apr88]

In his legal practice, Abraham Lincoln was never greedy for fees
and discouraged unnecessary litigation. A man came to him in a passion,
asking him to bring a suit for $2.50 against an impoverished debtor.
Lincoln tried to dissuade him, but the man was determined upon revenge.
When he say that the creditor was not to be put off, Lincoln asked for
and got $10 as his legal fee. He gave half of this to the defendant,
who thereupon willingly confessed to the debt and paid up the $2.50,
thus settling the matter to the entire satisfaction of the irate

Shortly after John F. Kennedy blocked the hike in steel prices
in 1961, he was visited by a businessman who expressed wariness about
the national economy. "Things look great," said JFK. "Why, if I wasn't
president, I'd be buying stocks myself."
"If you weren't president," said the businessman, "so would I."

Dr. Creighton, the Bishop of London many years ago, once removed
his cigar case while watching an opera production and inquired of the
fellow in the next seat, "Will my smoking bother you?"
"Not at all, your Lordship," the man responded, "so long as my
getting sick won't bother you."

After James Whistler did a pencil sketch of Oscar Wilde, Wilde
characterized it as a "pretty poor work of art."
"I quite agree," said Whistler, "and you're a pretty poor work
of nature."

Following the death of a United States Senator who was a close
friend, Woodrow Wilson received a telephone call from an ambitiour
politician who said that he wanted to take the Senator's place. Wilson,
shocked by the man's crassness, replied, "That's perfectly agreeable
with me, but you'll have to speak with the undertaker about it."

Here at Lehigh University, about three years ago, a CLUD (CLueless User Device)
came up to the consultant's window and asked to borrow a stapler so that
he could attach his floppy disk to his term paper. After telling him that
it would probably not be a good idea, he decided to use tape. He then proceeded
to pull his disk out of his back pocket and unfold it.

My best novice user story comes from way back in tenth grade. At this point,
my high school had just invested a fortune in the latest technology: a half-
dozen Apple II Pluses. Now, my math teacher was also the sole computer teacher
in the school, and wanted to make sure that we were all properly literate.
So, the first week of classes, we are all trooped over to the computer room,
given one disk each, and given explicit directions on how to format the
disk. The first step, of course, was to take the floppy out of its envelope,
not to stuff the whole contents in.
A few minutes later, Erica (a good friend who, fortunately, probably isn't
on the net) comes over to the teacher, saying that she can't get it to work.
"Well, what's happening?" asks Mr. Romer (the teacher).
"I can't get the floppy disk into the drive. It keeps flopping all over,
and bends when I try to put it in."
Sure enough, she had carefully removed the magnetic part of the floppy from
the paper enclosure...

User calls stating that monitor has just gone blank, and is
told by consultant to check behind the machine to make sure the monitor
cable hasn't come loose. "I can't see anything back there. We just had
a power failure and it's too dark to see anything in my office."

We've all heard stories about users who have stuffed 5 1/4" disks into
3 1/2" drives. A couple of weeks ago, someone called the computing
center here complaining of trouble running a PC program. After some
interrogation, she revealed that she was trying to run it on a Mac.
But she hadn't had any qualms about folding the 5 1/4" disk to put
into the Mac's drive. After all, she reasoned, disks operate on
magnetic fields, which aren't altered by folding the disk.
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

A long time ago UNIVAC (now UNISYS) had a mainframe computer called an
1106. They used rotating drum memory. For those of you not familiar
with drums, they are massive rotating cylinders. They also tend to
possess a great deal of rotational inertia.
Anyway, a UNIVAC customer engineer told me that they tried to install
these machines in naval vessels, rotating drum and all. The story goes
that everything was fine until the ship executed a hard turn to port.
The drum, resisting this course alteration, merrily broke loose
from its mountings and crashed through the side of the ship. WHOA BOY!