The hack to extract the data is slow, but is probably reasonable, giving the problem. Article states the computer is possibly a TI-990.
The customer had brought in the massive rack-mounted box into the workshop, along with one of the RS232-connected dumb terminals. Aaron opened it up and found, among the dust and grot, a 120MB Maxtor hard drive (probably from the 1990s) and “a tape drive so old that the rollers had long since melted into a mushy pile of sticky liquid”.
No backups then. Nice.
There was no MS-DOS here, and certainly no Windows. The PFYs employed by the computer shop had no idea what to do with it. And so the call had gone out to the old man who knew about this stuff, a man who had cut his teeth on Commodores, Apple IIs and mouldy old IBM PC compatibles, a man who was in his early 30s and thus impossibly old in the minds of the under-25s that made up most of the staff.
So somehow Aaron was going to have to get the data off the wheezing old beast and on to something a little more modern.
The TI machine ran an archaic OS, had what appeared to be a very proprietary bus for the HD controller and no working external storage. The workshop was baffled by it, but our man “devised a plan”.