But water has always been our friend!

And we really trust manhole covers.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

It’s many decades ago, and this pilot fish’s company gets a call from a customer, a small town’s municipal waterworks. A pipe has burst pipe at the pumping station, which also happens to be the site of the waterworks’ business offices.

Good news, though: The computer (yes, there is only one) is fine, having been located on a desk above the high-water mark. But all the floppy disks holding backups are ruined. Those had been stored in the “vault,” which is actually a pit in the concrete floor protected by a lockable manhole cover.

The reason for the call is that city hall requires the water department to keep the six most recent monthly backups.

What fish’s team finds are disks that got wet but that, being plastic, probably still are OK, and disk sleeves that are filled with gritty, dirty water. There’s no way to clean them up and be sure the cleanup will be good enough not to wreak havoc in a floppy drive. 

Fish’s boss has a simple solution for that: Take 12 good floppies to the customer site, cut open the dirty sleeves, extract the wet disks, carefully rinse and dry them, then cut open six of the good floppies and swap the disks. Finally, copy each rescued floppy to a fresh, unmolested floppy.

The last step? Sell the customer on the virtues of off-site storage for backups.

You can use almost anything to send Sharky your true tales of IT life. Send them to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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