Reply to post: But what if you designed it so it couldn't accidentally be pushed...

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?


But what if you designed it so it couldn't accidentally be pushed...

Back in the day I was a computer operator on an IBM System 370 box, which required something called a motor-generator unit to supply 3-phase power to the system. The unit itself was a plain looking box about the size of a wide freezer, with doors on the long sides for access to the guts. Toward the top of one of the doors was a cut-out through which the EPO button could be accessed. Now some clever engineer just knew you didn't want to place a push button at waist level that would kill everything in the room, so they smartly made it a "pull" to activate switch.

Unfortunately, one day the IBM CE was enjoying some free coffee, leaning against the unit at just the right spot, and when he moved forward a belt loop on his pants managed to snag the rim of the switch and Bam! down goes the system. Okay, that's embarrassing enough, but as luck would have it the wall panel relay also died in the incident, and it took a full day to find a replacement for the part.

Shortly after that the versatility of the 80-column punch card was put to use -- one was taped over the hole in the motor-generator's door panel.

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