Pragmatic programming, redefined

Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

Flashback a few decades to when this programmer pilot fish is on the team developing a large, complex turnkey business system running on PDP-8 minicomputers.

"I had a pair of two-year degrees from a local technical college, but two of my co-workers who were hired at the same time as I was had masters degrees in computer science," says fish.

"Needless to say, my hands-on degree program that included mainframe assembler classes prepared me for this near-bare-metal programming environment much better than the advanced, theoretical classes prepared these two co-workers."

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Well, what else would you call it?

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

Like most IT shops, the place where this pilot fish works tries to give names to servers and printers that make sense.

"We want the devices to have monikers that are about the department, usage or location," says fish. "We usually use a two-character department code, followed by an abbreviated usage or location.

"Our finance department has a printer that's used to print reports, checks and warrants on perforated tractor-feed paper. We named it FNCHECKS, as that is what it's often used for.

"Because it's an old piece of equipment -- and the preprinted forms are poor quality -- our print jobs are often stopped by paper jams and tears.

"We try alleviating the problem by adjusting tension and thickness feeds on the printer. But on particularly bad days, it just gets referred to as the 'effin' checks' printer."

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Posted by Sharky

It's the early 1970s, and students in this university engineering course write their Fortran programs on paper, have them punched onto cards and then hand the decks in to be run, says a pilot fish who was there.

"I was working on a difficult assignment: calculating the area under a curve using Simpson's Rule," fish says. "By putting print statements throughout the code, the student could easily debug the program.

"The problem was that we were charged for however much CPU and printer time was used. Those debugging statements cost printer time and paper, and if too many debugging lines printed, it really added up."

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ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
i keep going splat - i have things to do and stuff i've said i'll write but the duvet keeps winning ...
This evening i've ended up having to reinstall stuff on my computer so i'm about to go splat again.

Anyway on Friday i met up with [personal profile] skibbley and we went to the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain which was pretty cool. Other people have done proper write ups. My highlights were the surprising number of goats in the paintings, Gluck's amazingly textural flower painting (which i found even more compelling than their androgynous self portrait which is used as the main publicity image for the exhibition) and a 50's photograph of a dyke dressed up as a drag queen ...

It'll be there any day now

Sep. 19th, 2017 03:00 am
[syndicated profile] sharktank_feed

Posted by Sharky

IT pilot fish gets a request from a user who wants the company's standard instant-messaging software installed on his computer.

"Now, the company's standard hard-disk image comes with this software," says fish. "But this user insists that he does not have it.

"So I install it and let the user know.

"A few days later, the user emails me and asks how long it will take.

"The messaging system is integrated with our email, so I respond by sending him an instant message back. I tell him it's going to be a while.

"User replies back on the instant messaging program he asked for -- and says OK, and thanks for the update."

Sharky knows your true tale of IT life will arrive sooner or later. Why not send me your story right now at sharky@computerworld.com? You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Hi there!

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:50 am
scarlettina: (Default)
[personal profile] scarlettina posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: [personal profile] scarlettina
Age: 55 (Good G-d, how did that happen?)
Location: Seattle, WA

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I’m a New York transplant living in Seattle with two cats and way too many books. I am creative and opinionated and still express myself like a native New Yorker, which makes some Seattleites uncomfortable despite my best efforts. I am a theater geek, a movie buff, a lover of tabletop and board games, a reader, a writer and a jeweler.

Top 5 fandoms: I’m a second-wave slash writer (second-wave as in: the first wave was in the early 1970s, the second in the mid-’80s to early ’90’s; everyone else came after) who hasn’t written fanfic in a while, but when I was doing that it was Star Trek, Starsky & Hutch and, more recently, Doctor Who (see my fanfic journal at [personal profile] scarlett_key). I have loved watching and discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, so many more. How do you pick just five?

I mostly post about: My personal life, which also tends to be sprinkled with bits about politics, the science fiction community, movies, theater, books, travel, cats, my family, writing and observations about life in general.

I rarely post about: sports, math, the giant hornbeam tree in front of my condo, jackalopes, and my collection of porcelain hands (yes, really).

My three last posts were about: I occasionally do the Friday Five so this morning’s post was answering last week’s questions, two particularly striking dreams, and discovering the pile of get-well cards I received when I was in the hospital last year.

How often do you post? I currently post about once a week, though I’m aiming for better.

How about commenting? I try to comment on at least half to two-thirds of the posts that I read.

Ready or not, we're ready!

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

This company's management decides the business's New Orleans facility will be able to handle the next hurricane that comes through, according to a pilot fish in the know.

"IT arranged for connectivity to be available via satellite, tested it and had it ready to go," fish says. "We also added cellular hotspots and satellite phones.

"A hurricane eventually hit again, and IT was told to have everything up and running the next day. Management requested hourly updates and statuses. The system was ready within 24 hours.

"And then IT found out that nobody was there to use it.

"Turns out management couldn't locate the employees who sought shelter from the hurricane elsewhere. And anyway, the customers all were down -- they couldn't take deliveries for another week or two!"

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argh

Sep. 17th, 2017 01:10 pm
baratron: (angry)
[personal profile] baratron
Today we are going to a museum which is, by its nature, not super accessible. (Old trains, subway cars, lots of narrow gaps which might not fit a wheelchair.) So why did I wake up screaming in pain at 5 am, and why is my RIGHT leg impaired as well as my left?

Pain Management Clinic appointment on 18th October can't come fast enough. Stupid arthritis of the spine pressing on my nerves.
[syndicated profile] bofh_feed

Posted by Simon Travaglia

Episode 11 BOFH helps promote his company's 'Story' (if promote = bag of quicklime)

"We just DID this!" the PFY snaps - before I can beat him to it.

[syndicated profile] sharktank_feed

Posted by Sharky

IT support pilot fish at a university gets a routine trouble call: This professor's laptop has gotten very slow -- and fish thinks a lack of disk space is the likely issue.

"But I told him I'd have to run some tests," says fish. "His field of study involved sound and, as expected, he had a huge collection of sound files. And his usual email heap dated back many years, with lots of picture attachments.

"Still, all that didn't add up to a problem. I'd specified the machine knowing this prof would store all this stuff. So what was the issue?"

Once fish recovers some free space, he ranks the folders by size -- and discovers that the biggest ones have some eye-popping names that appear to identify specialized sorts of smut.

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Kids! Do NOT try this at work!

Sep. 14th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

This IT consultant pilot fish works at a real estate company once a week, performing SAN management and doing routine updates and security patching on the Windows PCs.

"I was using my Linux-based laptop to peruse the quarantine area of the antivirus application, checking out the many X-rated and infected email attachments that had been caught and sent to the folder," says fish.

"Several employees were standing around watching and commenting on the files. One of them decided to go back to his own PC to check out the pictures for himself.

"Shortly after opening several of the quarantined items, he suddenly called out, 'Hey, why is my computer acting weird?'

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ImPerfect solution

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

This family-owned computer service bureau survives the transition to PCs and Windows by taking on more individual clients, reports a pilot fish who worked there.

"We had a number of clients using WordPerfect for DOS to prepare court transcripts," fish says.

"Someone had written an involved series of macros to properly format their documents with double spacing, line numbers, headers and footers for this very specific application, and the ladies I supported were completely locked into that app."

One morning fish gets a panicked call from one of his favorite court reporters. She tells him she was trying to complete a 250-page transcript and ran out of disk space to save a backup copy.

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Why would users need to know?

Sep. 12th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

It's just a few years back, and this state government has decided to standardize on Microsoft's Internet Explorer as its web browser, according to a pilot fish in the know.

"This would be fine if it only applied to in-house applications," fish says. "But these folks also wrote web sites for the general public that were IE-specific.

"And they didn't put any warnings on the web pages saying that users should use IE.

"One specific problem was that the job postings pages showed two columns of jobs if one used IE, but showed only one column of jobs in Firefox -- and again, no warnings. So using Firefox, an applicant would never see half of the job openings.

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