Advice for tape drive repair / maintenance

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Thu Dec 21 01:30:15 CST 2006

> I think the big change is that 20 years ago there was good stuff and
> bad stuff out there.  I mentioned I'd paid \pounds 1000 or so for a
> VCR.  [...]  Now I see \pounds 50 VCRs and \pounds 20 DVD players and
> nothing else.  I'd love to be able to spend more money and get a
> better machine, but I can't.

Actually, I suspect you can, but you just don't know where/how.  That
is, I would say the difference is that then, the good stuff was still
available in mass-market shops (even if only higher-end ones); now,
it's harder to find than that.

As an exmaple, I relatively recently (sometime around '00, I think) saw
a computer that as far as software went was a bog-standard peecee, but
was built, mechanically, kind of like those old black rotary-dial
phones from the pre-breakup Bell System, the ones you can stand in
boiling water overnight and drop ten feet onto concrete and the worst
that'll happen is you'll chip the casing: it used a heavy grade of
sheet steel - it could probably take a person standing on it in any
orientation - and everything was braced six ways from Sunday.  It
actually looked as though it were targeted at a remote installation,
the sort of thing where it costs so much to send someone out to fix it
that an extra $5000 on the sticker price is ignorable.  I don't know
(and don't think I want to know) what it cost, but it was *beautifully*

This is relevant because I've seen only one such, and have never seen
one for sale anywhere - if I'd not chanced to see that one, I'd have no
reason to think such a thing exists as a commercial product.

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