Teddy and the Remote Data Concentrator

The next Star Trek movie? Maybe not… Actually, yer favo-rite blahgger inadvertently made a joke today! 20 years ago or so, it would have been beyond my wildest dreams that I would one day utter the words “remote data concentrator” and get a laugh out of the audience. Of course, the audience today consisted of the tech genius Doc Burns, Sam of Archaeofacts, and the GG. And the laughter would be best interpreted as something like, “what the HECK is a remote data concentrator?” The GG did not laugh at first, probably in part because he remembers the remote data concentrator all too well.

The remote data concentrator was a large part of my work life many years ago. It had something to do with connecting our office computer terminals and printers to the University of Michigan’s mainframe computer, on which we rented space and computing power. Dealing with the remote data concentrator involved sticking your upper body into a closet and plugging/unplugging a virtual snake pit of waaarrrrs. I noticed it mostly when it went down. As long as it was working, I largely ignored it. My poor long-suffering (and now dead, sigh) boss Byron back in those days got stuck dealing with the remote data concentrator. Me? It was beyond my pretty little head to deal with such a beast. I hated doing network stuff then and I hate it now. Just a couple weeks ago, when my loverly old MacBook laptop could not find the Landfill printer after an OS upgrade, I tossed my pretty little head and asked whined for help.

Anyway, poor old long-suffering Byron spent HOURS hanging out in that old remote data concentrator snake pit. If the darn remote data concentrator went down, nobody in the facility could access the Internet mainframe. Hanging out in the snakepit was a thankless job and I was glad to let my boss do it.

And so today, we were talking about Teddy, aka the unfortunately named iPad, and personal technological trends in general. I was telling a story and I used the words “remote data concentrator” and our friends just cracked up. And then we did too. I was laughing at my 20 years younger self, telling people who couldn’t get online log in to the mainframe that Byron was in the snake pit trying to fix the problem.

One Response to “Teddy and the Remote Data Concentrator”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Dealing with a mainframe is only funny in retrospect; I hated doing anything on the one at UW when I was in college. It was a pain in the you-know-where!!