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Data transfer without tears

Or cheese. Of any description

By Verity Stob, 13 May 2004

Stob Ms Stob claims that old comedy sketches, written in the pre-PC era, need to be ported to a safe, modern and familiar environment in order properly to be enjoyed by safe, modern and familiar IT staff. She offers this classic example…

—   Thanks for that, Peter. Excellent. An excellent meeting. I look forward to pushing forward with Coaster II. I think it could be really big for all of us.
—   Well, if we act now, before the opposition gets a sniff, I don't see how we can go wrong.
—   Indeed. It's as sure-fire as you could hope for these days, what with things the way they are. Just one thing. Do you think I could have a copy of that spreadsheet that you were making notes in?
—   Of course. How would you like it?
—   Tell you what. Let's get Wifi!
—   'Whiffy'?
—   Wifi. Eight-oh-two-eleven-be. Wireless networking, old boy. Will you admit to a hot spot of your own? Or must I war drive you, you secretive devil?
—   Best not, actually. They've put out a pan-European policy banning its use in all offices. Something about the FD in Paris getting caught transmitting pictures of les jeunes filles...
—   Really? Never mind. Time to unship my trusty length of UTP string. Always got my network jump lead handy. I'll just plug in my laptop over there...
—   Whoa there, chief. Not on, Richard old son, unless we get authority from so-called IT to get you put on the domain. Outsourced to You Know Who. Couldn't find their own backsides with all eight tentacles.
—   Surely it doesn't matter just for one spreadsheet. Couldn't you just share your directory and...
—   Well, in theory I could, but if I did I'd have to kill you, ha ha ha.
—   Ha, ha, ha. All right then. I'll wait until I get back to the shop. If you could just email the file to me?
—   Oooh, not such a good idea right now. Ever since that Bank Holiday virus, what was it called, Droopy? Snoopy? They've been stripping off attachments from all incoming and outgoing mail.
—   Bummer. How about a good old diskette? Can't go wrong with a floppy.
—   No can do, Squire. Not had any floppy drives on our machines since 1995.
—   This is getting to be a bit of a trial. PC-to-PC direct using PC Anywhere and a cable connecting the printer ports?
—   No.
—   Jaz drive?
—   No.
—   Telnet to host with a Kermit download?
—   No.
—   Infrared?
—   Yes!
—   Excellent. Where's your IR port? We'll need to get lined up. On the back of the PC I suppose...
—   Oh no, it's not on my PC. It's on my cell phone.
—   On your phone?
—   Yes.
—   Then how are you going to transmit the spreadsheet from the PC?
—   Well I'm not, obviously. But I thought you might want a copy of my Kelis polyphonic ringtone collection.
—   Corporate FTP server?
—   No.
—   Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing?
—   What, with our firewall?
—   Zip drive?
—   No.
—   Could you burn me a CD-ROM?
—   Of course. Hold on. [Picks up phone.] Hi John? Yeah. When is the next slot for the burner? Ok, great. Thanks. [Replaces receiver.] Good news - I've booked us in on the PC with the CD-ROM burning drive in six weeks' time.
—   Six weeks?
—   Got lucky. John's a mate. Usually it's two months.
—   Optical 'Mo' drive?
—   No.
—   DAT tape drive?
—   No.
—   TFTP protocol?
—   No.
—   Shared public IMAP mail protocol folder?
—   No.
—   Bluetooth?
—   Actually, we do have support for that.
—   That would be on your phone, I suppose.
—   No, no. It's on a sort of dongle thing that you stick into the PC's USB port. It's dead handy for transferring little files to laptops.
—   Why - that's exactly what we want to do!
—   Yes.
—   And I suppose there is a six-week waiting time to use the gizmo, is there?
—   No, no. I have it here. Look, I can plug it in if you like.
—   So what's the catch?
—   There's no catch - except...
—   ...except?
—   Except we'll need to go through that very straightforward and well understood Bluetooth device pairing procedure before you can transfer anything. I'm assured it's very easy.
—   Colorado tape drive?
—   No.
—   RS232-C connection using null modem cable and the excellent HyperTerminal program supplied free with all versions of Windows since Windows '95?
—   No.
—   Double memory synchronisation using a palmtop device as an intermediate store?
—   No.
—   Removable caddy-type hard drive?
—   No.
—   Stunningly expensive ISDN link as popularised by print shops using Macs?
—   No.
—   Unencoded and printed out as a very long Code 39 barcode?
—   No.
—   Bernoulli (properly pronounced 'Bernooey') drive?
—   No.
—   Obsolete eight-inch floppy disk drive, as popularised by the enjoyable but unlikely 1983 flick WarGames?
—   No.
—   Tell you what; do you have one of those memory sticks? You know, the ones that go into USB ports.
—   I know a song about that.
—   You what?
—   [Sings:]
From the laptops of Japan
To the servers of Kazakhstan;
On every node of every LAN,
On every disk the backup ran:

Hit me with your memory stick.
Hit me! Hit me!
Hit me with your memory stick.
Hit me! Hit me! Hit me!
—   So you haven't got one of those memory sticks?
—   No.
—   Richard?
—   Yes, Peter?
—   During the meeting... I wasn't making notes in a spreadsheet at all. I was just pretending to.
—   Yes, Peter.
—   I was actually playing Solitaire.
—   Yes, Peter, I'd guessed that.
—   I'm afraid I've been a bit of a silly Billy, haven't I?
—   Yes, Peter, I'm afraid you have.
—   Is it all right?
—   Yes. It's quite all right, old chap.

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