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May
26
comment In the Aggregate: How Will We Maintain Legacy Systems?
+1 for just abandon the goddamn things. At a certain point paying 90k a year for 24/7 support, and 250k/y for crusty old programmers, all to maintain a system whose specs are more in line with a pocket calculator than a modern server, ceases to make business sense. People are afraid to change, but change can be good. Mainframes have a niche. It's a nice niche. But it's off doing processes that can't easily be done in parallel. I see companies putting their financial data on new mainframes, just because they're expensive, and they think expensive is better, and it's just not true.
May
25
comment What are the three most important questions you should ask your team about your performance as their team leader?
+1 for being unusually sane and normal. So tired of managers who honestly have no idea what is wrong.
May
25
answered What is the difference between debugging and testing?
May
24
comment How can I be more productive at work? (additional context inside)
+1: The easiest way to make your coworkers hate you is to, as a new guy, come in and tell them that it's all wrong. Mostly people know this. The wrong has come about as the project has evolved into its current form, and most of them will have their eye on things that they KNOW need to be changed. Rubbing their noses in it will not be productive.
May
24
answered How can I complete a project as a single web developer?
May
24
comment What's the correct approach for passing data from several models into a service?
@doug: Yea, I hate their documentation. Their examples are never what I need. As far as I know it should work. You'll have to give it a shot.
May
24
comment What's the correct approach for passing data from several models into a service?
@doug: No no, that would be a nightmare. Just, with web pages, you always have to acknowledge that someone could try to break in to a process in the middle, by tweaking the link, or by accidentally bookmarking a dynamically generated page or something.
May
24
answered I've taken a job where there is no work to do!
May
24
answered What's the correct approach for passing data from several models into a service?
May
17
answered Is it worth reading the language specification?
May
15
answered Bug cleanups in the middle of a project
May
13
comment What to do if the interviewer does not give you enough time to answer?
+1 for hating mind games. I did a lot of debate when I was younger, so this crap doesn't really ruffle me, but I've found that, on the occasions when I took the job anyway, the company was almost always a bad place to work. If they need to test your reaction to mind games in the interview, that is because you will come into contact with mind games in your day-to-day.
May
12
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@just: With what connectors for the proprietary databases? With what support for proprietary numeric formats (BCD anyone?) Why would I muck around on that machine? You're just forcing yourself to do MORE work on a machine you should be trying to move away from.
May
12
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@JUST: Linux is a programming language? Posting a linux site kinda outs you as a youngster. The vast majority of mainframes were deployed before linux hit any kind of maturity. Once mainframes were the rule, not the exception: they were the servers, and all the terminals were dumb terminals with green screens. Lumping modern supercomputers in with those kinda misses the point of the original question.
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@aaronaught: Ahhh, I gotcha. No, they did what they did, and they didn't do anything else. Resistant to change doesn't begin to cover it, and, at the time when they should have been reducing their dependence on the old hardware, they were still generating new code. I was hired as a sop to some management types, and they immediately started trying to get me fired. Almost worked out for 'em, but not so much in the end.
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@aaronaught: These people were getting reports on GREENBAR, and then poof, we're giving them web-driven dynamic reports that run instantly. One of the programmers had this vast, terrible 1099 generation system for our subcontractors. It was possibly the most horrible thing I've ever seen (and Legacy migration is my specialty): 10% good code, 20% kludged in special cases, and 70% obfuscation. I saw it crash, and force a restore from backup TWICE in ONE YEAR. And I replaced it with 400 lines of python. First time I ran it, they told me it was wrong because it ran too fast.
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@aaronaught: You have to understand the process, but the code can usually go take a walk. So many things are done to get around the limitations of the system. If I have to send an encrypted credit card batch to our Merchant provider (for example), it's actually easier to do that from a modern Linux machine. And reporting is vastly easier: we do tons of reports and projections, most of which are done on historical data, and so we can offload datasets and put them on a modern database, and then generate flashy reports with Crystal reports (or whatever).
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
@aaronaught: Fired, fired, buy out, quit. What newer technologies? It's a mainframe environment. It hasn't changed significantly in 30 years. New hardware, upgraded OS, same crappy programs. When they were gone, we offloaded 95% of what they did to external systems, and we do minimal maintenance on the rest. For my corporation this is pretty much how it's gone the last 10 years or so.
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
+1: This jibes well with my experience. The absolute last resort is to put new code on old systems, and a lot of the venerable lines are going out of support, so the old "reliability" line is starting to fray. One thing that you don't mention is that mainframe maintenance is very specific and very proprietary. You put years of your life into a dead or dying branch of tech. It's not going to help you get any job except a job working on the same sort of system, and there are fewer of those all the time.
May
11
comment Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?
We had 4 20+ year mainframe programmers at my shop 6 years ago, and now we have none. Don't start thinking experience will make you indispensable.