What can you do with a balloon, a watermelon and a fried egg? Eww! Not that, you sicko! Actually these are the components of a hard drive torture test, according to this article at CNN.com. The durability labs at Quantum are the location for these, um, frankly bizarre activities.
For instance, they put the hard drives through a drop test to give a physical shock to the drive. Why is the watermelon involved? Ya got me. I'm betting on a fetish of some sort.
Additionally, there is the depressurization test that simulates an altitude of 40,000 feet (that's where the balloon comes in) and a heat test that uses an oven to get the hard drive hot enough to fry an egg on.
One quote that cracked me up was from a guy at Quantum. "In the test that we do here, we try to capture all the different stages that a drive goes through in a day in the life of the disk drive. . ." Umm, yeah, I suppose a typical day in the life of a hard drive could involve smashing watermelons, exploding balloons and frying eggs... so long as the computer in question belongs to Gallagher.
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