What does scratch monkey mean?

Definitions for scratch monkey
scratch monkey

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Wikidata

  1. Scratch monkey

    Scratch monkey is a term used in hacker jargon, as in "Before testing or reconfiguring, always mount a scratch monkey", a proverb used to advise caution when dealing with irreplaceable data or devices. It is used to refer to any temporary configuration changes to a computer during any risky operation which include a replacement for some precious resource or data that might otherwise be destroyed. The meaning is based upon the use in the 1970s of a scratch tape, or other storage device which was available for temporary use, to temporarily store a copy of valuable data or provide extra storage space in case a program required that space. If a problem occurred the valuable data could be recovered from its sole remaining copy. The phrase "always mount a scratch monkey" originated from two tales by technicians about maintenance which was performed on computer equipment. The technicians were unaware that the computer was connected to five laboratory monkeys, and the routine maintenance procedures caused the death of three of the monkeys. The admonition is a reminder that procedures should protect everything of value.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. scratch monkey

    As in “Before testing or reconfiguring, always mount a scratch monkey”, a proverb used to advise caution when dealing with irreplaceable data or devices. Used to refer to any scratch volume hooked to a computer during any risky operation as a replacement for some precious resource or data that might otherwise get trashed.This term preserves the memory of Mabel, the Swimming Wonder Monkey, star of a biological research program at the University of Toronto. Mabel was not (so the legend goes) your ordinary monkey; the university had spent years teaching her how to swim, breathing through a regulator, in order to study the effects of different gas mixtures on her physiology. Mabel suffered an untimely demise one day when a DEC field circus engineer troubleshooting a crash on the program's VAX inadvertently interfered with some custom hardware that was wired to Mabel.It is reported that, after calming down an understandably irate customer sufficiently to ascertain the facts of the matter, a DEC troubleshooter called up the field circus manager responsible and asked him sweetly, “Can you swim?” Not all the consequences to humans were so amusing; the sysop of the machine in question was nearly thrown in jail at the behest of certain clueless droids at the local ‘humane’ society. The moral is clear: When in doubt, always mount a scratch monkey. [The actual incident occured in 1979 or 1980. There is a version of this story, complete with reported dialogue between one of the project people and DEC field service, that has been circulating on Internet since 1986. It is hilarious and mythic, but gets some facts wrong. For example, it reports the machine as a PDP-11 and alleges that Mabel's demise occurred when DEC PMed the machine. Earlier versions of this entry were based on that story; this one has been corrected from an interview with the hapless sysop. —ESR]

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Numerology

  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of scratch monkey in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of scratch monkey in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2


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"scratch monkey." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/scratch+monkey>.

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