While working in the avionics shop of a US Navy helicopter squadron, I had the chance to create an 11Gigabyte floppy disk. Actually, it was a 5.25-inch 1.2Meg disk that I messed around with. A few years ago, when 120Meg hard drives were as spacious as the Australian outback, a company named Stac had a disk compression program called Stacker (which was stolen by Microsoft, but that's another story). You could play with the settings, and I decided to try to see how far I could push the floppy disk. With nothing on it, I compressed the disk using a patch that allowed additional compression ratios. The maximum I could get it was 10.94Gigabytes.

I showed it to a few folks, and one particular wanna-be uberhacker (who could not use DOS, go figure) said it was impossible. Realizing that I had him, I casually asked him if he would back up his expertise in computers by placing a little wager. He agreed quickly, in front of all of his co-workers. The loser of the bet would be required to shed their underwear, bring them in to Maintenance Control and inform the anal-retentive Chief that the underwear could not be installed properly because it was out-of-specifications.

It took thirty seconds to insert the floppy and show Uberhacker (and all of his pals) the magic 11Gig Floppy Disk.

His expression fell, his friends started laughing and pointing at him, he turned red. Impromptu stripper-music was chorused.

He chickened out. He never lived it down, and he stopped acting like he invented the microprocessor.

I had the morning shift Maintence Chief (a friendly gent with a sense of humor) bring a maintenance request form to the welcher's workshop and ask that the out-of-specs underwear be turned to supply ASAP.

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