Remember the big IBM 360 mainframe rescue job? For now, Brexit has ballsed it up – big iron restorers

Hauliers thin on the ground, apparently


Plans to restore an aged IBM mainframe found in a disused building in Germany are on hold because of struggles to find a way to haul the hardware to the UK.

Brexit worries seem to have put the frighteners on haulier companies and the team behind the project are turning to German firms to transport the gear westwards.

The scheme to buy the IBM 360 was hatched in a pub earlier this summer. A bit of internet bidding later and Adam Bradley and Chris Blackburn were the proud owners of an IBM 360/20 and a 370 model 125 from the 1980s and assorted peripherals including a punched card reader. The plan was to hoik the hardware back to Britain and begin the arduous business of restoring it all to its former glory.

It seems it's difficult to send a UK truck into Germany but not a German one to the UK for some reason...

Bradley told The Reg he'd assumed getting the massive machine out of the building would be the difficult bit of the scheme. Each machine weighs about 600kg and exiting required negotiating three steps. There was also an extremely hard deadline – the building was due to be demolished.

But frenzied trips to Nuremberg and the help of several other people saw everything removed before the roof came down. Everything was safely stashed in a local lock-up.

The team has also already raised the £5,000 to pay for the trip back to the UK.

Bradley said: "We've tried quite a few hauliers. We've got a couple more options to explore but it's also a time issue as it's surprisingly time-consuming to contact each one and go through the requirements."

Our intrepid big iron rescuer is also holding down an actual job while pursuing the project.

He said:

We need a full articulated lorry with a hard sided trailer and a tail lift rated to at least 900kg. It'll also need lots of internal tie-down points, and lots of ratchet straps (and preferably moving blankets). The storage in Germany is good, but quite expensive and, yes, we're paying out of pocket for that. We've still got the donation money to move it, awaiting a suitable haulier. I'm hoping now with some further Brexit delays we may have some more luck finding a haulier. I've taken to trying to find a German one now as it seems it's difficult to send a UK truck into Germany but not a German one to the UK for some reason.

The hope is to get everything back to Britain before the ever-shifting Brexit deadline because of worries about what the import requirements on ancient computing kit might in the event of a no-deal departure.

Any Reg readers with a suitable vehicle are invited to get in touch via the team's blog. The team is also being helped by Peter Vaughan, a volunteer at the National Museum of Computing. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022