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Comment Back in the day (Score 4, Interesting) 210

Back in the days of punch cards, I was working as an intern. There were several large trays of cards that were sitting untouched for a long time. I was told that two sets of unrelated data had accidentally been collated together into more-less-random order and no-one had come up with a way to separate them other than manually. As there were perhaps 20,000 cards the other operators were doing their best to ignore them.

While the others were at lunch, I looked them over. The most obvious difference was color, one set buff, and the other set blue. Then I noticed that one set had a corner-cut on the left and the other set on the right. Poking into the card sorter, I found I could loosen one of the metal hole sensing brushes and cock it to one side to sense the cut corner. In just a few minutes I had the two sets cleanly separated and back into separate trays.

When the others returned, I pointed to the result. They asked me how I had done this. I told them I had set up the sorter to sort on color and never did tell them the real story.

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren