The military trains you to be a machine. You will carry out your orders and you will love it, and you will not complain, private! Even if it's something you wouldn't do in a million years otherwise!

After his military career ended, R. B. found some work as a contractor for a different branch of the military. He was tasked with timing I/O operations in a new system that they were testing. This system included several computers with different RAM and CPUs, but that wasn't part of the testing. No, R. B. had to test I/O time for the floppy drives on the various systems.

While floppy I/O time is pretty constant across all floppy drives (as far as I'm aware), R. B.'s testing had surprisingly varying results from each test. Could it be a hardware failure? An inconsistency between the test data on one computer and another's? Could the different CPU speeds be to blame?

No, it was none of those things. It was human error. Human error on several levels. At a low level, finger dexterity, at a high level, bad management. To elaborate, R. B. was given special equipment to time these operations; a stopwatch. A MITRE senior engineer put together a test plan involving stopwatches and floppy drive I/O for computers with different RAM and CPU configurations, and somehow got it approved and okayed by her superiors.

R. B. suggested that utilities must've existed to time operations in software, but his suggestions fell on deaf ears. Since the analog plan had been approved, the analog plan would be carried out. R. B. sat with two other guys with stopwatches, timing file saving operations on a floppy.

The senior engineer would make sure everyone was ready and yell "go!" This was the signal for everyone to press enter and start their stopwatches. Then the testers would call out "done" when their operations completed, copy the time down on their clipboard, then await the next test. Because it wasn't very accurate, they'd do ten or more runs then average the results. The stop watches were accurate to about 1/10 of a second, while the humans' precision varied from person to person.

Perhaps their next step will be to tie the stopwatch to the enter key.

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