Karl (louderback) wrote,

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Rambling this morning

Running late this morning, I stopped for a fast-food breakfast. It has just about wiped me out. Instead of working I'm composing poetry. What an odd side-effect of two many carbohydrates. I wonder if all literature is spawned by food? Scrooge thought Marley a bit of undigested gruel; is poetry unprocessed glucose? No pun intended, this is food for thought.

I've a bit of a headache as well and some lingering vision problems. Eye Doctor's visit is tomorrow I hope for good news. It would be nice. Among my many morbid fears is that of blindness. My paternal grandmother was completely blind by my age (she had been diabetic for 30 years at that point) and my father's vision in the last two years of his life was poor enough that he could not read. If I cannot read it will take a big bite out of my life. Audio books are a poor substitute, I think. The loss of computer interface will also be painful should that come to pass. I suppose I can continue to type as long as I've got fingers, but it is unsatisfying to be unable to see what you've produced. I must look into voice control technology seriously in the next few months and find something that not only accepts dictation but reads it back acceptably.

O reader! If you know of such software that's actually any good, let me know. My primary criteria are a) I don't like to have to shout into the mic, I want to speak in normal conversational tones or even speak quietly. b) I want it to insert into my primary word processor. I don't want to have to cut and paste from the software's proprietary editor into Word or WordPerfect or whatever I'm using at the moment.

I saw somewhere in Badvogato this weekend a plan to use UNIX on the mainframe or some such and a horrified refutation that UNIX was not a mainframe "language". I haven't been able to find it back, but I had to chuckle about it. I intended to respond to it at the time with some learned discourse but now have lost the entry. Would that I could tell the parties involved that I'm working on a CMOS mainframe (12 IBM3090-S models combined into a single image with 36 CPU's involved) that has a UNIX (OK, AIX but there's no important difference) partition running quite a bit of Java and C++. The new Verizon web site is running off the mainframe as are most of the Fortune 500's web sites. IBM has quietly invaded the Internet and, as usual, quietly purchased it. I've even seen some Fujitsu COBOL running web pages in those partitions (though only intranet stuff). I get such a laugh about people thinking the mainframe is going away. The last time I looked at the specs for the latest Sun machines they almost precisely duplicated the specs for an old 370 mainframe with the exception of memory usage. People should learn that computers are just computers -- morons counting on their fingers with ones and zeroes -- it's just that they have a gosh-awful lot of fingers and count damned fast. I wish COBOL would go away, but instead it is morphing into C, becoming more cryptic with every incarnation. I love to point out to proponents of OOP that there's only one really large OOP system running (large in terms of lines of code and large in terms of product). Baltimore Gas and Electric has a billing system with more than a billion lines of code that produces 3.5 million bills every month. It's written in object oriented COBOL.

I recall once being thrown out of a meeting (figuratively, but almost literally) for laughing at a Vice President. He said, "Well, mainframes are finally gone. The ones that are left are just big servers." What else were they ever? The first peer-to-peer network diagram I ever saw had a mainframe at each node. You say "server", I say "mainframe". Let's call the whole thing off. On second thought, name me a server that can support a production billing system for a million customers, can support 14,000 terminals and run an Internet web site with 30,000 hits a day and an intranet web site with 80,000 hits a day in support of 150,000 subscribers and then we'll call it off.

So much for the declamatory diatribe du jour.


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