Flashback to the days when this pilot fish is the senior technical consultant on a factory automation project where the big minicomputer that runs the show needs more terminals -- and more serial ports to plug them into.

"The PDP-11 was maxed out for RS-232 serial ports, but had room for more boards," says fish. "We didn't have the budget to purchase an expansion cabinet, so I got to drive to Radio Shack, buy two 'project boxes' and a metal nibbling tool, and perform surgery.

"I put the RS-232 port block onto the photocopier and printed out copies to use as templates. I glued those onto the project boxes, drilled starter holes, and then used the nibbler to cut out space for the four serial ports themselves.

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