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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Big Red Switch
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[IBM] The power switch on a computer, especially the
"Emergency Pull" switch on an IBM mainframe or the power
switch on an IBM PC where it really is large and red. "This
!@%$% bitty box is hung again; time to hit the Big Red
Switch." Sources at IBM report that, in tune with the
company's passion for TLAs, this is often abbreviated as
"BRS" (this has also become established on FidoNet and in the
IBM PC world). It is alleged that the emergency pull switch
on an IBM 360/91 actually fired a non-conducting bolt into
the main power feed; the BRSes on more recent mainframes
physically drop a block into place so that they can't be
pushed back in. People get fired for pulling them, especially
inappropriately (see also molly-guard). Compare powercycle, three-finger salute, 120 reset; see also scramswitch.
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