[vcf-midatlantic] Bernoulli Drives needed in working condition

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Wed May 19 04:22:30 UTC 2021

Dave responded to my points, with his points. I thought about it, but 
actually we see the same sorts of things in this discussion, and put 
some different values to them. That's good by me, discussions work that 
way. I see his points and I will consider them further. We aren't that 
far about, just differences in strategy and tactics.

The action issue today, is what management will do about the donor's 
offer of data cartridges, and who might be found to execute if 
management want to accept conditions on that offer. So far, Dave and I 
are in neither category. So we are both "chatting" as I put it. He and I 
shared our views, I see no point in arguing between us, again it's not 
about either of us.

I take his point, that discussion may lead to something and also has its 
own value. I'll leave it at that.

Dave asks, what about the future, other such projects? "If you are going 
to shy away from a small thing, what happens when you have a big thing?" 
Yeah, that's a good question. I'd also call that "raising the stakes". 
It's a good way to consider policy. But that's not in play in this 
thread, I don't think.

But it might be - I didn't know what Jeff would say next, when I wrote 
this. But I read ahead on the thread.


Since Dave's post, before I posted what I wrote above, Jeff Brace blinds 
us with science, provides more facts. He explained what was potentially 
available. Like most "finds", it's an emerging situation.

The drives are like the ones on my Web page - thus they are identified. 
There's 30, 40, 50 cartridges involved. And: two pairs of drives. Terms 
of providing the carts, are detailed. But my guess is, they are not 
final terms but done on-the-fly. They could change.

That raises the stakes on the carts: at street value of the order of $20 
a pop, that's several hundred dollars value minimum. And by the way: 
you'll also need cleaning carts, and often, to keep operating the 
drives. Maybe there's cleaning carts among the data carts Jeff saw.

I know this much: I have a customer who says HE is still using these 
drives. So maybe these drives can be recovered and work again.

So task one, is to get one drive inspected and working with one 
computer; maybe then both drives; maybe then on two computers. That's 
contingent on obtaining one or two controllers - without doubt.  Getting 
something running is also necessary, to execute the deletion commitment.

Task two - keep these running for a long activity, which I'll describe 
by guess. It's separate from running the system.

Guessing about operation of the 10 MB Bernoulii drive, again what little 
I know. A "delete all files" operation must be tens of minutes effort, 
to load a cart, inspect, perform, inspect, remove.  So that means some 
person-hours of work, to erase tens of carts, by simple math.  Is this 
something the donor *really* wants to commit to, their personal or 
professional time? Where will they commit to do this? The systems may 
have to be moved, operated on the donor's site? Will that be practical? 
Can they be maintained?

That's all I've got to say. I'm just guessing at the tasks involved. 
Maybe my discussion ("chatter") will be informative to whomever makes 
decisions about this acquisition and project.

I can add, I have some IBM ISA controllers, which may be appropriate (I 
do not know), and which would have to be bought (not donated) and are 
not tested. Also cables, which may or may not be needed. I'll show them 
on my Web site when I get to it, in a day or two. It's pure circumstance 
that 1) I have these and 2) I happened to have a customer for them THIS 
WEEK. Otherwise they have been dormant for years.

Regards, Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT comcast DOT net

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