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Can I really be reported for this?

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Grace invented that wordy COBOL. I forgive her for that because she also coined "bug" and invented the visible nanosecond. Both are explained in the link you provided. I fell in love with the visible nanosecond idea when young. I now have nanoseconds, a microsecond (a 1000ft spool of magnet wire) and a milliscond, (several spools of 48 gauge magnet wire, total length about 200 miles).

All of that can (and has) fit in my purse, and are used to not only demonstrate the speed of light, but the scale of things in general. 48 AWG wire is 31 microns in diameter, about the width of the finest human hair. You can easily hold 1000 miles of that in your hands. You can also easily fit more than a million transistors in the cross section of a single strand.

If the wire were an optical fiber instead, running at the current speed record of 255TBps, there would 300GB of data in the fiber, all of it leaking out the end two hundred times a second.

All that thinking started with Admiral Hopper pulling nanoseconds from her purse.

;-).

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Amazing Grace (through COBOL) and Sophie Wilson (via the BBC Micro computer and BBC BASIC*) helped me to one of the best paid and most fulfilling jobs I ever had. Yes, I got paid to code in COBOL. This century. And enjoyed it. Maybe I have low standards. Anyway, long ago I learned to code in BBC BASIC, which used a lot of nifty features like user-definable functions and procedures, rarely seen in BASIC, and stressed the use of structured programming (or a reasonable facsimile of such).

Even though the knowledge lay fallow for over a decade, when the time came it meant I could ace an assesment for university graduates (I never completed university, let alone graduated) and get a job doing COBOL stuff for a few years.

ADD INCOME TO SAVINGS GIVING SOLVENCY**

/me sprinkles some picoseconds on her sandwich.


*Sophie also did a lot of the early design of a little thing called the ARM processor. There's probably one lurking close to you right now.

**I don't think I ever coded using ADD-TO-GIVING (although I saw it a lot in old code), but it's so evocative of COBOL I couldn't bear to write it as a COMPUTE statement. 

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Kelli May wrote:

*Sophie also did a lot of the early design of a little thing called the ARM processor. There's probably one lurking close to you right now.

I know the ARM well. I've been designing it into things since college, when it was callled the Acorn RISC Machine. It's got a lovely instruction set, almost as pretty as the PDP-11.

Another woman who had a profound effect on my approach to design is Brenda Laurel. She edited "The Art of Human Interface Design" and "Computers as Theatre", which reinforced and refined my feelings about what makes computers helpful and a pleasure to use.

My tease about COBOL was just that. Mom learned it while Dad was learning FORTRAN, just to be different. And different they were, Mom and Dad, COBOL and FORTRAN. Because I love poking bits and toggling pins, C is my go-to language, in which I've never even once used... goto.

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:

<snip> ... I've never even once used... goto.

Okay .. NOW you've just pegged yourself as one of those most reprehensible types called "The Formal Fool". (ducks behind the tape racks)

Me? I'm a dirty gutter slogger. I have had a pretty fair bit of formal training. But as I've often said 'I have met far too many well educated idiots, and just as many poorly educated geniuses."

I got my start in school and did a lot of my early days bouncing between books, teachers and keyboards (and punched paper tape, etc.) But then I went into a world where reality put more weight on the outcome than school ever did .. and I learned how to write code that survived the test of Murphy and not just "followed the rules." Chief among the requirements were things like delivery schedule, execution time and supportability.

(here's where I start the bit-fight)

I have shied away from the oft-maligned "Goto" statement from the perspective that it adds a certain level of invisibility to the logic flow. But I have also used it when needed. Unlike many that cling to an outdated concept that the Goto is an evil step-child of a long-hated tyrant, I have embraced reality and used it to fix issues that just could not be fixed otherwise.

A recent example: A long-standing code base that is suddenly dropped into an environment with very different rules. Suddenly the use of "exit" and "die" statements is damaging to overall system performance because it causes unexpected termination and can result in hung processes in a production environment. Since I cannot change the environment and I cannot rewrite the mass of code overnight .. I pulled out the "Goto" and saved the day.

Programming is an art at its best, but it's also a technology when applied to every day use. And what good is a program if it is not used every day? So yes, there are times when I hobble stuff together to meet the needs .. and at the same time violate the sanctimonius "Rules" of formal programming.

Cuz it's gotta work .. and it's gotta work NOW! And it's gotta stay working even when I turn off my own lights and take a nap.

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steph Arnott wrote:

OK, is that relivent to the 21st century?

*cackle* Yup .. and the 22nd and the 23rd too. (and btw .. spell-checkers work wonders .. unless your ehllargik)

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Happy with my calculator that says India write bulk code that works at 100th of the West costs and at 100th of the time, so money in my bank account is far more important than a spell checker.

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steph Arnott wrote:

Happy with my calculator that says India write bulk code that works at 100th of the West costs and at 100th of the time, so money in my bank account is far more important than a spell checker.

If you're trying to rev me up .. fail. But you did bring up a story from my past. Now that I've watched the series finale of Mythbusters ... I've got time to write.

An absolute genius I worked with years ago wrote a "Server" system that was at the core of our main product. It was a genius design that basically did nothing more than message passing. How it was implemented, how it worked, how it was configured and how it could be applied in so very many ways was its genius. It turned what had been weeks to months of setup and configuration (on the old server) into about 20 minutes of copying a few files and editing some configs ... made it beyond profitable.

And then the India-based programmers of our largest customer got hold of it.

They spent about two years writing their interface for it. Within days of their first release we had their management crawling up our backsides complaining how pitiful the system performed. I was flummoxed because I knew the performance levels they were citing were impossible .. if not just simply fantasy on their part. The author was enraged .. as he should have been .. at their claims of how crappy was his code.

After a few months of wrangling and requesting logs of their system implementation in action, we got the logs and found the cause. They had captured every single message, rewritten all of them back into the front-end after pre-processing them .. and essentially created a feedback loop that literally drowned the server in an exponentially increasing flood of the same data .. over and over again. Only the fact that the server had its own safety checks and governors prevented a total system crash. But what did happen was after they connected their interface, the system rapidly slammed into the cutoffs and then ran at 100% utilization continually.

Amazingly when we turned off their interface, the server cleared the backlog and returned to its normal load.

The author of the server left our company and took a better paying job doing much more important work about a year later. I spent three years trying to convince the India office of our customer to rewrite their interface so that it used ONLY the output and did not feed everything back through again. I failed. They insisted to the end that their method was the only method possible.

Before I left that company, I wrote an interface for them that did their entire workload, was a drop-in replacement, did all functions theirs did .. and ran at just 4% over the idle server load. They tested it once and terminated the India office. (Gosh! I have no idea why.)

I wasn't a genius by any stretch either. The man that wrote the server was the real brains and star of that show. I simply followed basic guidelines and common sense. But when you say to me that India programmers write 100 times better code at 100th the cost? I have personal experience to the contrary.

Just sayin ...

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Rev you up. your the one with the " i need to learn English attitude". As for the rest, i not own companies for you to tell me what the cost of code writers are. I already know what it is and.India write code for a fraction of the cost and faster, they now wriite code for the USA and EU military. All companies now have to have class "A++" security clearance. This is not 1980 its 2016.

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steph Arnott wrote:

Happy with my calculator that says India write bulk code that works at 100th of the West costs and at 100th of the time, so money in my bank account is far more important than a spell checker.

An employer of mine transferred a old product (the first I ever designed) to India after I left, so they could design the next generation. It was a disaster, 3x the hardware cost for 1/10th the performance. It couldn't stay alive through a demo. Total man years on the design was about 5x the previous generation, though the same elapsed time (5x the staff, there's part of the problem), so the failure was more expensive to design than the original.

They tried it again, 2x the cost, half the performance, 3x the man years, so a wash on development costs. Never took it to production.

They tried it a third time. Same cost and performance as the original, 2x the man years, so finally a savings! Unfortunately, this was now 20 years after my original design, and 10 years after they started. They're still at it, the Indian version of the product is on the market and apparently doing well, perhaps because the competition moved their designs to... India!

A couple years ago, I was amused to read of the success of this cross-cultural engineering project in the newspaper. The article rattled off the device's "impressive" specifications. In 1994, the same newspaper printed a similar article about a groundbreaking new device (the original) designed by a small team of engineers (my fellas) at a local company. The article rattled off the the device's impressive (no scare quotes!) specifications. The specifications (and price) hadn't changed.

The last time I worked with a team from India (about 10 years ago), it was fun. Unfortunately they were "classically" trained and had a difficult time understanding my unorthodox methods (particularly in hardware design). The entire affair was highly inefficient, but the fellas in Bangalore seemed to enjoy my mischievous ways. I liked working with them, even though I felt like I was teaching evening school again. I think they'll catch us. Good for them when they do.

For me, the biggest problem with throwing a design specification over the transom for someone else, is that I have to know what I want. I don't work that way. I just know what I like when I see it.

;-).

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

<snip> ... I've never even once used... goto.

Okay .. NOW you've just pegged yourself as one of those most reprehensible types called "The Formal Fool". (ducks behind the tape racks)

When I feel the urge to "goto", I sip root-beer until it passes. And I can hurl the empty bottle over a tape rack with ease.

I can't hardly be a "Formal Fool", I've written self-modifying code. There's nothing formal about that, it's pure foolishness.

;-).

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I like Ms. Hamilton's story about sussing out the program that was commented in Latin and Greek, getting it to spew answers in... Latin and Greek.

I'll add her to my list of smarties, along with Hedy Lamarr, Grace Hopper, Rosalind Franklin, Ada Lovelace, Amelia Earhart, Abigail Adams, etc, etc.

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steph Arnott wrote:

Rev you up. your the one with the " i need to learn English attitude". As for the rest, i not own companies for you to tell me what the cost of code writers are. I already know what it is and.India write code for a fraction of the cost and faster, they now wriite code for the USA and EU military. All companies now have to have class "A++" security clearance. This is not 1980 its 2016.

LOL I never suggested that you learn English. I suggested you use the Spell Checker built in to the message entry box.

FWIW: A vast majority of people I've known over the centuries years that are ESL'ers are very particular when it comes to getting their grammar and spelling correct. They take pride in writing well .. as they should because learning more than one language is tough. (Especially for those without the opportunity until they're in adulthood).

You've never come across as an ESL'er though. Rather I see your mistakes as those of someone rushing to post, emotionally over-charged .. and so defensive that you hit back before you've been hit. I may be wrong but .. until proven otherwise it's an opinion I'll hang on to.

1980? Oh yeah, I remember 1980.I wrote my first production level system that year, including printed manuals. Learned a lot that year .. mostly by running into walls at high speed. Ouch! LOL

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

<snip> ... I've never even once used... goto.

Okay .. NOW you've just pegged yourself as one of those most reprehensible types called "The Formal Fool". (ducks behind the tape racks)

When I feel the urge to "goto", I sip root-beer until it passes. And I can hurl the empty bottle over a tape rack with ease.

I can't hardly be a "Formal Fool", I've written self-modifying code. There's nothing formal about that, it's pure foolishness.

;-).

BONK! Owwwchhh!! hehehehe...

See .. there's your issue .. not enough caffeine. LOL

Yeah, self-modifying code was "fun" alright. Until those fun-killers invented Protected Segment Memory that prevented writing into code space or executing instructions from data space. Totally ruined a very useful kludge technique.

I did come off rather uppity .. and thank you for taking the time to toss the bottle. I've spent so many years .. no wait, WASTED so many years .. trying to explain to people that "Perfect Code" doesn't exist because it's writtten by humans. I've watched so many supposedly smart people destroy products, schedules and budgets because they couldn't find the balance between "Perfect" and "Deliverable".

I've spent a lot of my years in the trenches, making things work when needed, on short notice and with as much care as possible. But also realizing that what I'd shipped would have errors and doing my best to assure that when they cropped up, I had added enough error catching code that the sytem would try and fail gracefully. And parked by the phone or next to the computer when it didn't.

Hubris is a painful thing to watch in action. Over the years I've seen it most often from those that prided themselves on writing "Proper" code that eschewed such things as Goto ... even to the point of writing extremely tortured and undecipherable code.

When the design and schedule and budget allow, writing proper code is important. I do so not because of doctrine but because I've learned that it makes future work with the code base much easier. But I've also had to learn the balance between the two extremes. It's the strict adherence to recommendations as religion that has tanked far too many otherwise good products and projects. And that's why I bristle when I hear those words "...I've never even once used... goto". 

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:

I like Ms. Hamilton's story about sussing out the program that was commented in Latin and Greek, getting it to spew answers in... Latin and Greek.

I'll add her to my list of smarties, along with Hedy Lamarr, Grace Hopper, Rosalind Franklin, Ada Lovelace, Amelia Earhart, Abigail Adams, etc, etc.

Ahhh .. Hedy. A lady that can titillate both heads! *swoon*

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True that. But then pretty much everyone caring to voice an opinion on the OP's question has answered it in multiple posts already.

The rest of this .. it's like those miles of extra tiny print on the bottom of prescription drug ads in magazines.

(Do you suppose they'll report us for going off-topic? j/k)

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You read a lot into my posts that is not there and as UK English is my forth language then a few misspelt words do not worry me in the least. The sentences are readable and understandable, still maybe we should go back to words like "yore" or "onuppan" and "nary" for correctness, hmm?

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steph Arnott wrote:

You read a lot into my posts that is not there and as UK English is my forth language then a few misspelt words do not worry me in the least. The sentences are readable and understandable, still maybe we should go back to words like "yore" or "onuppan" and "nary" for correctness, hmm?

So you're saying that what you write is devoid of content or worth ... and that you refuse to use a very simple tool designed to help you be understood better? Or did I get that wrong?

Personally, I understand you even when you grossly misspell words. But most folks stop listening, stop reading .. and most important stop caring when they have to spend time deciphering your meaning.

Writing is a discipline that requires thought, care and practice to get right. I do it a lot and I get it wrong .. a lot. If you care enough to write, and clearly you do care to write a lot, then you should also care that you are being properly understood.

If you feel that people should spend time trying to understand your proper meaning then you are too self-absorbed and need to get a better grip on yourself.

If you feel that you are often misunderstood and that people don't get your meaning a lot (and that does seem to be the drift in a lot of your rebuttals) then you could help get your meaning across better by taking some time to assure what you've written is proper English.

Remember that people are not here just to hang on your every word, they are here to learn and discuss. Your goal should be to add to that pastime. Instead of insisting others spend time reading your broken language, try meeting them halfway and doing your best to make your posts clear, succinct and valuable.

Or not. Ultimately it's your choice. I'm just offering some advice that might help you enjoy this time more. Unless you enjoy battling and yelling at people ...

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

1980? Oh yeah, I remember 1980.

I don't.  From 76 to 86 is all a disjointed blur I can't quite put into chronological order.  I'm pretty sure it was a fun year, tho.  I think I married my first husband then.  Or was that Jack (different Jack (who is actually Jackson)  than my current husband; Mad Jack,

Wait!  Oh dear lord, I was working at a factory that made 8 1/2" disk drives. So I was living with Chris before we got married.

Why would you make me remember that!?

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If a few spelling errors wind you up that much then please just skip over my posts. Life is too short for me to worry about minor infringements when anyone can clearly understand what the word says. Also i am not going to read all that when four lines would have been sufficient.

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Rhonda Huntress wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote:

1980? Oh yeah, I remember 1980.

I don't.  From 76 to 86 is all a disjointed blur I can't quite put into chronological order.  I'm pretty sure it was a fun year, tho.  I think I married my first husband then.  Or was that Jack (different Jack (who is actually Jackson)  than my current husband; Mad Jack,

Wait!  Oh dear lord, I was working at a factory that made 8 1/2" disk drives. So I was living with Chris before we got married.

Why would you make me remember that!?

Sheer evil meanness? Mwaaahahahaaaaa!!! *wink*

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Bobbie Faulds wrote:

This has got to be one of the biggest thread hijacks I've seen in a while.

It's not a Hijack, the only song title beginning with "Hijack" has only that word in the title...

... and I can't work with that. So, this is actually a derail, because I can work with this...

...which leads to this...

You get the idea...

Next?

Here's help... http://www.songfacts.com/browse-song-f-2.php

 

 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

I did come off rather uppity .. and thank you for taking the time to toss the bottle. I've spent so many years .. no wait, WASTED so many years .. trying to explain to people that "Perfect Code" doesn't exist because it's writtten by humans. I've watched so many supposedly smart people destroy products, schedules and budgets because they couldn't find the balance between "Perfect" and "Deliverable".

 

Uppity? Nah, we're having fun. Next time I'll toss the bottle while it's half full... with the cap off.

I got a bad grade in "Compiler Design" in grad school because I cheated. We were supposed to write a compiler in FORTRAN! I thought that was nutty, so I wrote a macro-assembler in BASIC. That particular BASIC had the very cool ability to interpret $tring variables. Of course, it could also write them. High level self writing code! I hijacked the interpreter's lexical analyzer and parser to do the heavy lifting. It worked so well I used it professionally. Nobody else in the class got anything to work at all. At the end of the semester, they were handing in hairballs of code that might be able to parse a program for language keywords.

By the time grades came out, the prof had gone off to California for a summer internship. I had to argue my grade up two letters in the Dean's office. The Dean was a civil engineer, so I might have won the upgrade on style rather than substance.

A few years later, I walked out of a "top down formal design" course being taught where I worked, by a consultant. This guy had never designed anything real-time. He worked on banking systems, we counted clock cycles before discharging energy into a patient's chest (defibrillator). I refuse to start designing a vehicle until I knowing if the wheels can support it, and the engine can move it.

I'm willing to break the rules to get where I want to go. My success might come (as might yours) from wanting to go to the right places.

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