The more things change...

It's the late 1970s, and this big bank gets some of its computing from the IT services company where this pilot fish works.

"Time-sharing systems were the norm, you used a terminal to communicate over phone lines with a modem, and the terminals were mostly mechanical," says fish.

"I got a call from the executive secretary to the CEO of this bank -- one of our very large clients. She said, 'I can't communicate with with your system and if you don't fix it right now we're going to withdraw all our accounts!'

"This was a very large club this lady was wielding.

"So I called operations. All was well. I then started asking this lady to try various things like checking her modem, telephone line, and so on. This went on for about five minute before I decided to start asking the stupid questions.

"'Did you turn your terminal on?' I said.

"In the background I heard a loud click and the hum of a mechanical terminal starting up.

"She hung up without so much as a word."

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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