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January 12, 2015

Video helps with 30-year-old tape operations

Reel Tape Drive video screen capA Facebook page has a new video that assists with decades-old technology. Reel to reel tapes get the how-to treatment on the page of the Pro3K consultancy, a support and operations firm that's run by Mark Ranft. The video shows a restore of a 31-year-old tape.

Using a detailed review of all the steps needed to load and mount a tape, Mark's daughter Katherine demonstrates how to handle the oldest storage technology in the MPE world. While reel to reel was popular, MPE V was in vogue. Some archival backups still have to be pulled from reel to reel. Meanwhile, there are other elderly HP 3000s that will only take tape backups. If a 3000 doesn't support SCSI, then it's HP-IB ready, so to speak. 

Katie RanftIf you've never enjoyed the inner workings of the vacuum loading systems on HP tape drives, you might be fascinated by what you see. There's also a guest appearance of the fabled 4GB disks for 3000s. Katie explains that the standard iPhone has four times as much storage as one of these disk drives.

She also notes that the 31-year-old tape "is four years older than me." Ranft said his daughter has been studying for potential consulting opportunies, and lives in the Chicago area.

Katie might qualify for the youngest person in 2015 who's instructed the world on the operations of an HP 3000. If you visit the Pro3K Facebook page, give it a Like. We like this trend: this is the first ops training for the 3000 ever posted on Facebook.

06:45 PM in Homesteading | Permalink

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Only last month did I dismantle and ship out the last two remaining 9-track tape units from HP, which were flat-laying vacuum chamber kind. I think they were Model 7980A (as though HP were going to make B and C models.)
They were mounted on heavy duty racking rails in HP cabinets. They were very
heavy. I removed them from the racks with the aid of a lift table.

They had not been used in a while, but were retained just in case someone wanted to read a 9-track.

Posted by: Tim | Jan 13, 2015 1:28:20 PM

I keep my 7980A HP-IB tape drive. It's always funny to see the face of new technicians when they see this device work. I don't tell you the face of the new company owners when I try to make them believe that it was the way we do our backup. Tapes of 30+ years old, we have some, but they were all transfered on DDS tapes.
We still use the same HP3000 967 since 1994, on MPE/iX 6.0 for HP-IB support.

Posted by: Philippe | Jan 17, 2015 5:39:51 PM

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