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Old February 27th, 2015, 06:07 AM   #16
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
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Re: Sony premium MiniDvs degrading - are my memory's lost forever?

Drifting off-topic for the poor OP now, but here's the full run-down on an Ampex Quad...

Yes, operating this thing requires a foot pedal!

I only ever messed with 3/4" U-matic, back in college.

Back to the point though: many years ago on this site we established that the "tape brand loyalty myth" was itself a myth, meaning yes, tape brands *do* make a difference and should not be mixed.

This thread will be moving to "The Long Black Line" shortly. That's our tape forum.

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Old February 27th, 2015, 01:39 PM   #17
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
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Re: Sony premium MiniDvs degrading - are my memory's lost forever?

OK - this fits. If the reels I remember were around 4X the diameter of these, then that would have made each reel 16 times as heavy so 160kg = 360 pounds - plus the reels themselves were much more robust to handle the load so altogether it would have been 400 - 500 pounds. Hence the forklifts (and the reels were mounted one above the other so the machine was around 9 feet tall.)

Fast forward from 1966 or so to 1994/5 - I was working for IBM and we were working on a tape library automation project with Ampex - the system was built around their 3/4 inch media (or maybe it was still 1- inch - I forget). The tape reels were in a cassette - the largest of which was attache case sized. The drives had servoing heads to stay on track - still helical scan. The library was quite "stylish" looking - curved panels, two colors.

When Lou Gerstner took over as the new CEO of IBM I was tasked with putting together a demo room of all of our storage products as part of his visit to the San Jose site. It was the first thing he would see after arriving on the site. We decided to include the Ampex library as part of the show even though it hadn't yet been announced and in fact never would be.

At the time we had a refrigerator sized optical disk library in the room as well. I did my best to get the room arranged and then a few minutes before Lou showed up, our division president walked in and turned the optical disk library around so you could see the innards. As soon as he left the room I turned it around again - it was sort of like a tennis match. Anyhow, just as he finished turning it around backside out again the door opened and Lou walked in. My boss ran over to introduce himself but Lou basically told him to get the F out of the way and blew him off. He took one look at the back of the disk library and launched into a tirade screaming at everybody about why on earth our product looked like a POS, where was the logo, why would a customer want to see the guts of a system. The division president tried to get a word in about the technology and Lou just shut him up and called him 29 kinds of stupid. Then his eye caught the Ampex box and he fell in love with it. - yelling at everyone about the value of industrial Design and how all the other stuff in the room looked like SH-- in comparison.

Which might have been true, but we were selling several billion a year of the stuff that looked like SH-- and the curvy Ampex wonder box never quite made it as a data store and a few years later Ampex folded. Wonderful bunch of folks at Ampex. I never worked with them on the video recording side of things, just data storage, but their complex off of Rt 101 was a great place and they were good people..

Times change. We gotta change with them. Even old Pharts like me (55 years and counting in the computer biz)

Last edited by Jim Andrada; February 27th, 2015 at 06:54 PM.
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