Ed's columns

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Have you guys been reading Ed's columns? They are really good. In Deja Vu all over again, he talks about how an uncertain number of unemployment offices aren't going to be ready for the Year 2000. The point being, we have been receiving repeated assurances that everything was proceeding smoothly. Most of us are so accustomed to lies that this revelation just sort of left us unfazed, but look at what it really is - the second piece of evidence that we are being lied to. The first piece was when that nuclear commission or whatever admitted they lied about testing their systems for compliance. I mean, we've known they've been lying all along, but now everybody is going to know. It really is significant.

-- Amy (leoneamy@aol.com), December 31, 1998


Amy, It was the DoD lying about Y2K compliance testing of nuclear weapons! But I haven't heard any politicos calling for an "independent investigation". Noooo, lets concentrate on a tawdry tart telling tales. Lying? Whats that?

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), January 01, 1999.


Ed's deja vu' article has been killed all over the internet. I' ll try to sum it up here


Seems to be a big difference there. Don't you think it's a lot easier to change dates than start a project from scratch. Even the nuttiest doomers are saying it's an EASY to fix problem, just started too late. Seem if the premise of the article is off the whole thing then becomes a waste of keystrokes. Great for insomniacs though. It's a 10 when used to induce sleep.

Along these lines. What exactly is a "CRITICAL" system. My old man used to tell me "there's a big difference between what you want and what you need".

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), January 01, 1999.

Bagga: Contrary to your baseless optimism, there is actually a very good chance that the metrics for y2k work will, on average, be worse than those of new (non-maintenance) s/w development. This is mainly because institutions that find themselves in the middle of a y2k fiasco tend to be at the lower end of the "Capabilities Maturity Model" (their programmers and managers aren't so great) and their performance will therefore be poorer. The interconnectedness and simultaniety issues also play a part.

Novices like you wouldn't understand things like this, but Yourdon and I certainly do.

-- a (a@a.a), January 01, 1999.

"Novices like you wouldn't understand things like this, but Yourdon and I certainly do."

Funny stuff. I'm thinking Ed just put a JATO bottle up his butt to quickly distance himself from that asinine statemant.

I think I stated that I was just paraphrasing so called "experts" who were giving a different slant on Ed's de javu. nonsense.

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), January 01, 1999.

bagga-shit: anytime you want to seriously challenge my credentials, I'm ready.

-- a (a@a.a), January 01, 1999.

Easy folks. Lets drop the temp a couple degrees OK? When I was a Junior Programmer a few years back, before I switched to network engineer, I was using quite a bit of COBOL, both Honeywell mainframe standard version, and the Microfocus product on the LAN side. In less than three months I was making maintenance changes to the payroll code. That is about as mission critical a piece of code as I can think of offhandedly.

COBOL is really a pretty easy language - that was Grace Hoppers original intent in inventing it. It was meant to be easy to read and to use. Most programmers hate it just because it is very wordy and makes a lot of obscure things obvious. I had not used it for at least seven or eight years prior to my experience with Ligon. So I have a bit of trouble with the idea that no one can fix the code just because the originators are no longer there.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), January 01, 1999.

# # # 19990101

Paul Davis:

Have you _ever worked with legacy code? I mean "real" legacy, code? Say, stuff written back in the 1960's-1970's? Before there were any standards of any sort. ( Standards--structured code; naming conventions; etc.--were what the authors like EY brought to the programming "art.!" )

I'll never forget customizing a commercial banking application, written by Florida Software(tm), using ( atrocious ) COBOL ( '68? ) code of the arcane, labyrinth, Byzantine nature for proprietary reasons.

That absolutely crass code, originated when early COBOL programs allowed data names of 6--yes 6--characters. No data dictionary to work from, either. ( Proprietary! ) It had been ported across several platforms, into later versions of COBOL--without changing the code, mind you! Multi-dimensioed tables were cryptic--these routines even contained _ALTER_ statements! Ugh!! It was a veritable jigsaw puzzle of an integrated(?) system to work!

I'll bet that code is _still around today--30 years later! It was a massively expensive system, customers had a lot invested in it, too.

The last thing would want to do in my lifetime, is remediate _that code into a state of date unambiguity [ word? ;-) ]

If I would've EVER met the originators of _that syste--I would've wrung their pointy geek-heads right off their shoulders without an iota of remorse! ;-)

Your naiveti and ( relative ) inexperience is quaint and amusing for an old hand like me, Paul. Makes me chuckle. I need that every now and then. Thanks!!

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus@mail.netquest.com), January 01, 1999.


Hey Mangus, I hear you're shamelessly sucking up to ED because you need a job. Any truth to that internet rumor?

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), January 02, 1999.

# # # 19990102

Thank you for your self-diagnosis and the PSA, JBD! Your affliction has been painfully evident to folks in this EY domain.

There is no "Internet rumor," JBD.

As a matter of fortunate fact, I do not "need a job." I am able to enjoy "self-retirement" after 33+ successful years in the IT industry. I intend to use the next year wisely and prudently in preparation activities for myself and immediate family--thank you!

Now ... what could you possibly perceive that I might gain from--as you so eloquently put it--"sucking up" to anyone, let alone EY?

I don't "suck up" to anyone. Don't have to; don't intend to.

Your delusional ( POMPUS ASS ) fantasies are amusing and puzzeling, JBD!

Get over yourself, JBD! ... Visit your shrink for that afflication.

Regards, Robert Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus@mail.netquest.com), January 02, 1999.

Mangus, that's what I said. You're out of work. No need to get defensive, there's nothing to be ashamed of. A little humple pie is good for you. Hang in there, you'll find something. Maybe Squire can help you out if you don't make her fella INVAR jealous! In which case he'll probably put the dress back on and kill again.

Have a Nice Day

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), January 02, 1999.

I can't recall your full name..Bag of What? But your real name is on the slate....steamy...and a little spoiled...the faint aroma is not of Crisp Donuts....sulfer...ah yes..and ...but you know.. Iam waiting with corrected, bated...breath...come on down...

-- Charon (Thatplace@downbelow.com), January 02, 1999.

Welcome aboard Charon. Not a bad opening salvo. Who the hell are you? Do you know INVAR the Incubus and his old lady Squire?

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), January 02, 1999.


I concur. All of the COBOL I've ever seen is of the spaghetti variety, not unlike like large BASIC programs. There seems to be a proclivity for reusing small sections of code out of context, just to avoid having to re-type the source lines! Tracing this mess is not fun.

I wonder about the Y2k status of stuff written in other less "popular" languages, especially PL/I. I wonder how many database conversions will be done late 12/99. I wonder how many installs will be done the weekend of 12/99 - 01/00.

-- Nathan (nospam@all.com), January 03, 1999.

Alernatively, the younger set might like to work with some of the stuff I saw, where the guys writing it, needed to run it through FLOBOL just to get some sense of the logic they had used themselves!!!


ps for the age challenged, FLOBOL was a rustic flowcharter which (more or less) turned COBOL statements into a (kind-of) flow chart. Usually based on, of all things, the indents in the code. Non-COBOL folks may have no clue as to what this means but those of you who owned a coding pad know.

-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 03, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ