April 4, 2006

Unisys smokes at LinuxWorld Expo

Author: Robin "roblimo" Miller

Boston, Mass -- Less than an hour after the show floor opened at the 2006 edition of the Boston LinuxWorld Expo today, fire alarms went off and a plume of smoke arose from the server cabinet in the Unisys display. "I knew we had a magician scheduled," said one rattled Unisys employee,"but
this isn't what I expected." Indeed, this was an unexpected event. It was a real fire -- or at least a considerable smolder, complete with firemen, evacuation orders (soon rescinded), and other hoopla. Photos and a video clip included.George N. Capalbo, vice president of backbone networks corp., happened to be nearby with his Leica still camera. which also takes short videos. He hit the "video" button by accident, and got this clip of the rousing billow of grey smoke. "Now I know what that guy felt like at the burning
of the Hindenberg back in the '30s," George said. View the QT clip here.

Despite the strident strobes and braying mechanical whoop-whoops, few show attendees panicked. The alarm was soon rescinded. Russell Pavlicek was watching his coworker Kevin O'Hear trying to give a talk in the Intel booth on behalf of their employer, Cassatt, but the hubbub made it "challenging."

Things soon returned to normal. The firemen went away. A reporter (me) stuck a camera into the fiery server cabinet before a senior-looking Unisys person growled, "Who are you?"

"Robin," I said. "Who are you?"

"You can't take pictures of this. We have enough trouble already," he said as he slammed the server cabinet door shut and stood between it and the rapidly-thinning crowd.

Click to enlarge
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