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A low-level computer operator or systems administrator. So named for one of the customary duties of such a position, which was to start backups manually from the command line, switch tapes as needed, and monitor the backup for successful completion.

Storage Area Networks, RAID arrays, tape jukeboxes, and the like have largely rendered such jobs obsolete.
"I started out as a third-shift tape ape because I knew a few Unix commands and could use a shell prompt. Taught myself systems administration and programming while watching the tapes spin and now I'm a software developer."
by bikergeek April 19, 2013
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2
Human operator who typed electrical messages on paper punch tape.
A tape ape is a communications center operator.
by Terry W. Colvin December 19, 2003
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