Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Storage Alternatives

I've written before about, and we've all experienced, that feeling of pure horror we get when the project we've been doing on the computer suddenly disappears...and we realize we haven't saved anything for the last hour. Awful, isn't it? Well, as it turns out, there is a way to ensure that what you write is never lost when the power goes out, the computer crashes, or some other automated disaster happens. Here's the official memo that explains how it works...


After extensive testing of various alternatives, management is introducing a simple and reliable new system backup utility designed to meet short-time emergency needs in case of a computer failure. This system consists of two parts, both of which are required for proper operation: an input device known as the Primary Emergency Network Computer Interface Link (PENCIL) and a data reception and storage device called the Principal Alternative Place for Entry of Records (PAPER). PAPER is available in one of two storage formats: Local Input Needed for Entry of Data (LINED) or Basic Limited Access to Necessary Knowledge (BLANK). The basic unit of storage capacity for PAPER is called a "sheet."

This system has been extensively field tested, including volume and stress testing, and has been fully certified by our Information Systems Division. Properly maintained, it meets all Federal and State requirements for coding and data input.

Prior to use, the PENCIL requires preparation and initial checkout. This operation requires a sharpened knife or grinding device and a supply of PAPER (for purposes of initial checkout, either PAPER storage format may be used).

Gripping the device firmly in your hand, scrape or grind the wooded end until it attains a cone-like appearance. The dark core area must be exposed to properly function. (Note: the initial preparation and checkout procedure is the same for right- and left-handed users.)

Place a single sheet of PAPER on a smooth, hard surface. Place the sharpened point of the input device against the PAPER, and pull it across the surface. If properly done, this will input a single line.

CAUTION: Excessive force may damage components of the input and/or data reception and storage device. If either the PENCIL or the PAPER are damaged, repeat the preparation instructions above until proper data input and recording are achieved.

Proper use of the device requires data simulation input by the operator. Placing the input device against the storage medium, form symbols resembling the computer lettering system you normally use. As each simulated letter is completed, lift the input device from the PAPER, move it slightly to the right, replace it against the PAPER, and form the next symbol. Although his may appear tedious and somewhat redundant, with practice you should be able to increase your speed and accuracy.

The PENCIL is equipped with a manual deletion device known as the Error Removal And Spurious Entry Reviser (ERASER), which is located on the end of the PENCIL opposite the data entry component. The error deletion function operates similarly to the “backspace" key on your computer. Place the deletion device against the erroneous data, and pull it backwards over the letters. This should remove the error, and enable you to resume data entries. If data fragments remain, repeat the procedure until all data has been removed.

CAUTION: Excessive force may damage the data reception device. Insufficient force, however, may result in less than acceptable deletion, and may require re-initialization of action as above.

This device is designed with user maintenance in mind. However, if technical support is required, you can still call your local computer desk supervisor at (800)-URA-FOOL.

Don't thank me. It's all part of helping each other survive the computer age.

Have a good day. Write something ... like a letter to ol' Bilbo.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Leslie David said...

Yeah, I love it when this happens and some fool tells me they can't do anything because the computer is down--you KNOW I'm going to ask, "What did you do before you had the computer?"

John said...

For more and more people, there is no "before they had a computer."

As a federal employee, I love the acronyms. For some weird reason, everything needs a fancy name that can be a cool acronym.

Mike said...

So I say to myself, LOOK, Bilbo's going to do a techy article! It's probably about the latest multi terabite hard drives. NOT.

Bilbo said...

Leslie - I had a commander once who said exactly that!

John - good point.

Mike - gotcha!!

Bilbo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa B. said...

I still contend that the PAPER & PENCIL method is the best way for we Superior Scribblers to communicate. The grey hair and the wrinkles I have acquired since entering the Computer Age are, really, not worth it.

SusieQ said...

The computer was supposed to make us more or less paperless. But with printers at our fingertips, it has become too easy to print out stuff that we really do not need. Even at home with our personal computers my husband and I go through reams of paper and think nothing of it.

The computer was supposed to save us time. Indeed the computer has made it very easy for govt. and private business to quickly keep employees and customers thoroughly informed about every little insignificant thing to the point that our society now has information overload. We do not have time to absorb a fraction of the information that comes our way.

I miss the lowly pencil.

dancer said...

This system is not entirely foolproof. Of course, "the computer ate my homework" has replaced "my dog ate my homework" in most school childrens' venacular.