Showing posts with label HAL 9000. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HAL 9000. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

'Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?'

If a radio station doesn't make a sound because the computer crashes, will anybody be there to not hear anything?

Or whatever.

We're getting closer and closer to an answer we radio-lovers don't want to hear, I'm afraid, in this world where technology can replace human beings but has no power to replace itself when it dies.

Back in the days when Neanderthals roamed the earth and played vinyl records in broadcasting studios powered by vacuum tubes, the only thing that could keep a radio station off the air for a day and a half would be a transmitter failure, a fallen tower or the death of the mastodons running inside the giant mastodon wheels powering the generators at the electric plant.

NOW, IN OUR modern, technically advanced times, all it takes is a little computer crash to bring down a radio station like KRNU at the University of Nebraska, according to the Omaha World-Herald:

A computer error originally made it look as if the station, 90.3 KRNU, had lost everything over the weekend, said Rick Alloway, a UNL broadcasting professor in charge of the station.

While the first check of the computer system that holds all of the station’s files suggested a hard-drive crash, the error was later attributed to a more minor hardware failure.

IN RADIO, at least, progress means willingly turning oneself into a technological quadriplegic, as it were, one dead battery away from being trapped, helpless, in a marooned wheelchair. Or studio, as the case may be.

God forbid we give a live DJ a stack of compact discs, tapes or records and tell him or her to create some magic. What, did the HAL 9000 running KRNU eject all the staff out the airlock and into the man-killing Nebraska cold?

"I know I've made some very poor decisions recently," the automation probably told Alloway, "but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."

THAT'S just what it told every other station as the bodies piled up outside the airlock.

"Daisy, Daisy . . . give me . . . your . . . answer . . . do. . . ."