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What Were Those Things?
 

As a computer technician, I had just finished a big push, and finally had a little slack time. So I decided to catch up on a small but long-overdue task: copying archived files from some old floppy disks to CD's.

There were several dozen 5-1/4-inch disks piled up on my desk. I was busily working my way through these when the new, young IT student came up to me and put some object right down in the middle of my desk.

"Guess what this is?" the student asked.

I like interesting gadgets so I picked it up to look at it. It's a heavy 4-inch cube, apparently made of solid metal, with a large rod sticking out one side.

"I don't know," I said. "Tell me."

"It's a neodymium magnet. The world's most powerful magnet," student said. "It uses rare metals. Look, you can actually switch it on and off just by moving the rod, which combines the metals."

Before I could say anything, the student moved the switch. The magnet stuck tight to the metal surface of the desk, which the student demonstrated by trying to pull it off the desk with both hands.

He finally got it loose. But by then I'm staring in horror. The monitor on my desk has turned all the colors of the rainbow due to him waving this big magnet about. I shouted at him to take it away from me!

But it was too late. Most of the old floppies were wiped or badly corrupted.

The student had never seen 5-1/4-inch floppies before, so he didn't realize what they were. It took me a month to recover as much as possible with a disk editor.

I did have a laugh, though. The magnet had also wiped all of the magnetic strips on the student's credit cards.


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Category : Computer Contributor : n/a
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