Friday , 17 August 2018
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Which part of Murphy’s Law did you think they repealed?

Flashback to the mid-1980s, when this IT pilot fish is just a year out of college — he knows programming, but he’s still learning to be a sysadmin.

And that’s the job he’s been hired for, at an office that runs on an Alpha Micro minicomputer. “The Alpha Micro was distinctive in that the primary external media was VHS videotape, both for backups and software distribution,” says fish. “And we normally didn’t maintain any external bootable media.

“So one of the standard procedural rules was that if you were making changes to the initialization file, you always edited a copy and booted the system off the copy before committing the copy to be the new operational file and then booting again.”

And that’s a rule fish sticks to — along with scrupulously documenting what happens in the initialization file with comments, in lines that begin with a semicolon.

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