Monday, May 16, 2005

Mon 16 May - What's a PDP-11...?

Dad, what's a PDP-11?
Well son, it's one of the earliest mainstream, multi-purpose computers from the 1960s and 70s.
Oh, OK. Is it powerful? How does it compare to your Mac PowerBook?
It doesn't, son. Even the Playstation has better processing power.
Really? So they should all be in museums by now?
Yes, I'd say so son. I worked on IBM mainframes back then, so I don't know too much about them. I doubt any are still in service though.
Well Dad, little Jimmy at school reckons his Dad told him that they're the main computers that Connex uses.
No chance, son, they couldn't possibly be relying on such old technology. But then again, it might explain why they find it so hard to manage their services...

Unfortunately the PDP-11s managing the signals held up the 07:14 in the yards for a few minutes again.

Home time. Here's how it goes...

Enter Phil & Shaz from stage right

Phil: Hey the train's already in
Shaz: Yeah that's good

P&S get on train

Announcer: The 5:38 Sandringham train is departing from platform 13, stand clear please
Phil: Why aren't we moving?
Shaz: Dunno
Phil: Hey that guy looks like he's probably the driver
Shaz: Could be
Phil: Wonder what's happening?
Shaz: What's that?

P opens door

Announcer: All change on platform 13, all change
Phil & Shaz: What the...?
Phil: Looks like it is stuffed
Announcer: The train is defective and has been cancelled, the next Sandringham train is the 5:49

A few minutes later, P&S's mobiles buzz and beep with the SMS alert advising it's cancelled

A few minutes later again...

Shaz: Looks like they're getting back on
Phil: Yep, sure does
Announcer: The train's fixed, please get back on
Phil: And there's the 5:49 on platform 12, what do you reckon?
Shaz: Nope, I'm staying on this one
Phil: Yeah I'm tempted to go for it
Shaz: I'm not moving
Phil: It's gone 5:49, what if that one departs empty?
Shaz: The doors are shut now, so we're stuck
Phil: But we're not moving
Shaz: Now I'm beginning to think we should've got on the 5:49
Phil: Too late now

Train waits another minute or two, angry passengers outside futilely stab at button trying to open door

Phil: Here we go

Exeunt stage left


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