Resetting machine, All data Lost. Very, very SorryOver to Boc again, with some surprising info:
The PA was designed with a Unix-inspired OS and filing system (v7, what else - of course we were not just Unix nerds but Unix snobs). We had to write the entire system; the concept of free-to-use public-domain source was yet to be invented. Our end result was something that was orders of magnitude more complicated that the page-based filing system of the older terminals. Then, along came the "machine gun to the filing system" bug. Our response to the bug (later discovered to not be a bug at all, but a hardware issue) was two fold - 1) find the bug, 2) when the PA encountered the problem, get the PA to fix itself via a reimplementation of the unix programme fsck "file system consistency check"). Our version of fsck was implemented by our system architect in less than a week in a burst jaw-dropping ability - the real unix v7 fsck took much much longer to write than one man-week! I would categorise the entire team as exceptionally talented but the system architect was in a league of his own. When a problem was detected the program would carefully repair what damage it could – it would often run for 15 minutes or more, and if it could restore any data at all, no matter how partial, it would. But, the damage that could be caused by the bug was sometimes so great that even this programme could not recover the data. So he programmed in the “very very sorry” message if fsck finally failed. When I first saw the message I was mortified. It was so unprofessional. I asked him to remove it. I was the project manager and the team leader so it was my call. He refused. So the Design Director asked him to remove it. He refused again. Eventually, there was the group MD, plus the Design Director, plus me in a room with him - asking, cajoling, arguing. He still refused. His argument, as I came to understand it, was that the apology was not a corporate one. It was from him personally, to the individual user who had just lost hours/days/months of data, and he had let down. So they asked me to remove it. As a team member as well as team leader, I could have done it in 15s flat. I refused – it would have been disrespectful to the guy no matter how much I disagreed with him. So the group MD stormed upstairs to the lab, and asked the entire team to remove it. No one did. So the message stayed. Over the months and years that followed, I sometimes took calls from users who were very angry. Usually, they had just lost some very valuable data, and hence were desperately phoning the manufacturer. They often saw the very very sorry message as cynical or a joke. I had to explain that we were not joking, that we were professionals, but if they saw the message it meant we had tried our very best and that all their data, no matter how important, was indeed lost. And every time I saw the message, I got a little tingle of embarrassment about how unprofessional it was. Every. Single. Time. But we never removed it.
press 'play' and 'record', press any key to continue Please rewind the tape, press 'play', Tape Recorder check? (y/n): Skipping leader...
The PA always had cassette backup, but in a professional machine it was seen as an “enthusiastic amateur” feature and solidly ignored by Tandata Management and Sales. The key element as far as they were concerned was the I/O port on the back, engineered specifically to take a floppy disk controller we never designed.