Supporting Member
This was a real memo sent out by a computer company (IBM) to its employees in all seriousness. It went to all field engineers about a computer peripheral problem. The author of this memo was quite genuine. The engineers rolled on the floor!

Especially note the last couple of sentences.

Re: Replacement of Mouse Balls.

If a mouse fails to operate or should it perform erratically, it may need a ball replacement. Mouse balls are now available as FRU (Field Replacement Units). Because of the delicate nature of this procedure, replacement of mouse balls should only be attempted by properly trained personnel.

Before proceeding, determine the type of mouse balls by examining the underside of the mouse. Domestic balls will be larger and harder than foreign balls.

Ball removal procedures differ depending upon the manufacturer of the mouse. Foreign balls can be replaced using the pop off method. Domestic balls are replaced by using the twist off method. Mouse balls are not usually static sensitive. However, excessive handling can result in sudden discharge.

Upon completion of ball replacement, the mouse may be used immediately. It is recommended that each person have a pair of spare balls for maintaining optimum customer satisfaction. Any customer missing his balls should contact the local personnel in charge of removing and replacing these necessary items. Please keep in mind that a customer without properly working balls is an unhappy customer...


Active Member
Cheers Matt, I've been trying to track that one down for ages!
It is genuine too, one of my relatives worked for IBM a good while ago and he told us about it at the time.


This joke, or at least a joke on this theme, goes back further than you might think...

Back in the late 1960s, or certainly prior to 1972, there was a spoof circulating within International Computers Ltd (ICL) regarding the Galactic Storage Device, a competitor to the disk and drum storage devices of the time. It was, naturally, spherical in form. I seem to remember some of the operating commands were

BALLS UP - (to ready the device for use)
BALLS OUT - (to take the device offline)
and, to wipe data on the device..

Any chance we have someone of greater antiquity around, who might have a copy of the spoof??


Supporting Member
I have a maths teacher friend who, when faced by a class of boys who used to routinely pilfer mouse balls, was heard to whisper in one boy's ear

"If that isn't back in place by the time this lesson is over, I will replace it with one of yours."

Needless to say, it was put back! :)


Bad manners, I know, to reply to one's own query, but I've tracked down what seems to be the sole Web reference to the Galactic Storage Device. Go to This link and scroll through the Powerpoint presentation till you get to the bit for the Legalise Cannabis Party. (Don't worry, all will become clearer as you read :? )

If you haven't got Powerpoint, let me know and I'll try to get the relevant part put up on tMP in some way as .PDF.

Product tMP members are discussing