PDP-11 (459312210)

In the 1970s, shortly before our friend Argle dared to do exactly what his boss asked of him in an efficient manner, he worked at the computer lab of a local community college. When his friend Terry was hired on as a new assistant, Argle sat down with her at the Tech Support desk for a run-down of hard-earned knowledge and best practices.

"The real trick to this job," Argle wrapped up, "is to realize that the only four answers you ever need to give are 'Yo,' 'Oh,' 'So,' and 'No.'"

"What?" Terry's brow furrowed. "That would never work!"

As if on cue, a student came up to the help desk just then. "Excuse me?"

"Yo!" Argle greeted, turning to face him.

"Professor Goddard wants me to use the astronomy tutorial," the student said.

"Oh?" Argle prompted.

"Well, I don't have time today."


"Can I have it on a floppy disk to do it later?" the student requested.

The tutorial in question was a slick program written for the PDP-11 that ran on purely text-based dumb terminals. It was ingenious for the technology of the day, but not compatible with an Apple ][ or Commodore Pet, the likely targets for the student's use.

Argle wasn't about to over-explain anything to someone who wouldn't get it. "No, I'm afraid that's not possible," he said. "Sorry."

The student looked disappointed, but shrugged. "OK, thanks."

As he walked away, Terry doubled over in her chair and bit her lip, fighting off hysterics.

With her training complete, Terry was now ready to run the help desk herself. When her first client—a professor—approached, she knew exactly how to handle the matter. "Yo!"

[Advertisement] BuildMaster allows you to create a self-service release management platform that allows different teams to manage their applications. Explore how!