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The Tale of The Chimps and The Tape Dummies


Long, long ago, in a Kingdom long lost, there was a Data Center, housed in the damp basement of a glimming castle on hill.  The King was a proud King, and a good King.  Employees of all sorts, not just chimps, flocked to become citizens of the great Kingdom.


Even chimps did not mind their lot, of working away the days, and sometimes weekends, in the damp and dank of the Data Center, for working in the castle was a great honor.

One day, the King decided that should conduct a review of operations in the Kingdom, for he was a good King, and knew that every Kingdom benefited from the occasional check up, especially in light of all the growth the Kingdom had been experiencing.   The King called is his most senior Advisor and directed the Advisor to conduct a review of all operations, from the blacksmith to the bakery, and, the King said “Don’t forget the Data Center, make sure things are smooth and up to date!  With all these new peasants joining us, I want the very best system we can build.”

Now, this was a large task, and it would take time.  There was no way the Advisor could accomplish such a review all on his own, and prepare a report for the King.  So he called into his office the Senior Minder of Chimps.

“I need a thorough review of the Data Center,” said the Advisor, “I especially want to make sure of how we handle all the new persons flowing into the Kingdom these days.”

The Minder went straight over the Data Center and arranged interviews with the senior chimps.  Each chimp, he directed to write up the procedures and processes they employed in their work.  And the Minder spent the most time with the chimp in charge of new peasants, for that was the area that had been stressed to him by the Advisor.

All the chimps went to work on the new documentation.  They proud of their work, and were excited at the attention, for it was rare for the Advisor to ask for information on how they did their chimp magic in the Data Center.

Days past, weeks past, while they worked, and then the head chimp was sent to present the Minder with a bewildering multitude of documents, boxes, arrows and the cryptic symbols of chimp magic.  And the Minder was pleased.  

More days past while the Minder edited the documents.  He paid special attention to the diagrams on new peasants.  The Data Center collected information on new arrivals, and processed and stored this information, through a complex process of several boxes, with arrows, and other symbols.  The Minder knew, rightly, that the Adviser would be pleased.  He made an appointment with the Advisor right away.  And when he presented the reviews, the Advisor was indeed pleased.  He went through everything with the head chimp in detail, especially the sections on new peasants.  It all seemed good.


But before the Advisor couple present his findings to the King, he did have a few questions.  “No problem,” said the Minder, “note your question on these diagrams and I will review the issues with the chimps.”

And so it was.  The Advisor scribbled several short notes and question marks on the diagrams next to certain symbols with which he was unfamiliar.  And a few days latter, sent an Intern over to the Data Center to give the documents to the Minder.

The questions were almost all no trouble at all.  In fact, the Minder was able himself to handle most of it.  He wrote on the documents, next the Advisors questions, a few brief comments about each process, transform, transmission and storage unit.  He didn’t have to interrupt the chimps.  Except for one question.

On the diagram showing how information on new arrivals was handled, there was an arrow leading to a symbol like a little curl.  “What is this?” the Advisor had scrawled.  Knowing that this section was important, the Minder send an Intern down into the depths of the Data Center with the diagram, and instruction to get the answer from the senior chimp.

The Intern had no trouble locating the senior chimp, and showed him the diagram with the comment “What is this?”

The senior chimp gruffly took the diagram, took up a pencil and wrote, “Those are the tapes, dummies.”  And he thrust the paperwork back at the Intern, and went back to an important sandwich he was working on.

And the Intern returned to the Minder with the papers.

Now as it happens, the Minder was pretty busy that day.  He knew the senior chimp knew his stuff, so he didn’t look real close at the comment.  Instead he just told the Intern to return the entire package to the Advisor.  And he did.

The next day, the Advisor called the Minder into his office.  “This all looks great,” he said, “but I have one more question before I can present the King with my report.”  

“Sure, what is it?” said the minder.

The Advisor held out the diagram with the senior chimp’s comment, “What are tape dummies?”

The Minder froze.  He had not seen the comment!  Why didn’t he look!?  If the Advisor knew that the chimp had called the Advisor a Dummy, they’d all be exiled!  He thought quickly...

“Why, tape dummies are special devices that we can use as tapes,” and then he added something about unicode conversion.

“Ah,” said the Advisor, “sounds like everything it fine!”

The next day the Advisor presented his report to the King.  The Advisor left out most of the details, including the diagrams about the new peasants, but he could assure the King that everything was sound, and the the inflow of population would be handled securely because they were encrypted with unicode.

And the Minder, he went back to the chimps and directed them to take some old tapes and write “Dummies” on the labels, and store them.  In case the Advisor, or anyone else should ever want to see them.  They chimps did this, but were pretty puzzled as to why, all except the one senior chimp who knew.