151 posts • joined Tuesday 15th November 2011 09:44 GMT
Re: The one basic attribute ...
VAX systems did run VMS, but you could choose Unix.
DEC didn't like that and varied between trying to stop Unix and producing its own not very good non-standard version.
There now isn't a DEC.
Re: The one basic attribute ...
That's an important point and applies more generally, there are a lot of agencies, fewer than there were but quite a few, so feel free to help along market forces if one does not perform.
Re: The one basic attribute ...
Yes it was the 11/70, as you may recall QMC ended up with at least 3 Computer Departments, the EE one which had the 11/44 and other stuff, the CompSci and Stats department with 11/70 et al, the Maths department who got a VAX 11/780 and the Machine Intelligence department who lived in the Chemistry building and had several quite weird things.
As it happens my next piece is about choosing a CompSci degree...
Re: The one basic attribute ...
The first Unix box in the UK was at Queen Mary College, I'd be interested to know if he remembers me ?
Re: Hidden benefits of contracting i.e. taking career breaks....
I had a budget 2,500 words to do the whole thing, and the agent fee cuts is actually at least that all by itself the game theory is interesting and occasionally funny. Feel free to ask the Reg leadership to get me to write more.
Anything I wrote about specific rates would be get dated very quickly and have dozens of variables, the highest paid contractor I know did drag & drop on Reuters screens, she'll be in a future article, but be realistic.
The tax thing is complex, SJD are offering a 60 page booklet and they are at pains to say its not complete, would you also like me to explain C++ programming from first principles in 2,500 words ?
I am going to do "future markets", actually that's a pervasive theme in most of my careers articles and the forces are similar to that for permies, my goal in this piece was to highlight the fact that the factors have different effects.
Career breaks, yes, that ought to be an article good idea, be aware that the Reg doesn't exist solely to publish my work so don't hold your breath.
Re: What contractors are really like
As a former contractor whose work has included teaching logic to bankers (yes, really and it paid well), I will put it to you that the biggest collection of Daily Mail reading wankers must necessarily be the Daily Mail readership, their comments have better grammar than yours though, a point I also must make since my freelance work includes writing.
No you fucking don't.
Not unless you are seriously retarded or retiring.
Not unless or until you have something else lined up.
This is business, not some episode of The Apprentice, you do what suits you, also they may realise the stupidity of their actions and ask you to stay, much easier to get more money if you've got other options ready.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother writing this fucking pieces if shitbrains can't be bothered to read them properly, do you work for Capita ?
Re: No Coffee?
George I am a freelance writer AKA a contractor, I do what I am paid to do, the fragrant Register leadership says "be vicious", I'm vicious, "be supportive", likewise.
Happy now ?
Actually the joy of writing for the Reg is that they almost never tell me what to write beyond "N words on IT disasters in the finance sector".
Re: What about being a sole trader?
Very hard to be a sole trader, Dawn Primarallo's masters in the outsourcing firms like Capita makes you easy prey for the HMRC.
1Rafayal, you caused me to read my article and yes I did mention umbrellas and I quote "If contracting is a short-term expedient for you, an umbrella company or being an employee of an agency are valid options, since there’s none of the hassle and expense of starting up a company and shutting it down again. You will, however, earn substantially less money and there is no more security than if you’re running your own company."
Yes I have taught drill
As the AC says, I have indeed taught drill, albeit in the UK rather than the US, no one died.
I don't quite get the "masochistic" reference, I enjoy my work.
I fear there has been a mis-parsing of the title."upgrade or go home with Dominic Connor" term...
It is in fact (Upgrade or go home) with (Dominic Connor), no one is invited to my home, in fact I will be at a pension conference in Italy that day.
That doesn't work anywhere near London, does it ?
Quite a few people live or work there, so it is hardly an edge case.
You seem to ignore public transport, that's just naive when looking a job commutes, the time taken to get to work varies a *lot* depending on which line you live on with respect to the job.
Having had one of these "job" things that seem so popular these days, I know that simple distance is not enough, the longest contract I ever had was a hundred miles from my home, also some contractors like to travel.
The word you are looking for is isochrones
Re: Typical "rc" bollox
I'm not a "consultant", I'm a headhunter, different breed of cow entirely.
Yes I sell, you don't, well good for you.
I've had John Cleese call me a dickhead on camera at the 3rd Secret Policeman's Ball, the Director of the Royal Institution Baroness Greenfield, the famous neuroscientist publicly refer to me an "autistic Daily Mail reader", one of my tutors once asked me if I wouldn't be happier doing something I was good at and I worked for many years in a firm of Bond Brokers who took pride in the quality of their insults, trust me when I say you telling me to "sod off" isn't even in the top 99% of the insults I experience.
Yes, I use colourful language, it's called having a large vocabulary dear,, I write for a hugely popular web site (43 million hits, 7 million readers per month) called "The Register", how long has it taken you to notice that lots of the writers here use colourful language ?
Anyway I'm quite proud of "toxic symmetry" you will see it in my articles again at some point , as will millions of other people who like my stuff.
I'm sorry that you've had no formal education in software engineering and I heop that you won't be too patronised by a City headhunter gently pointing out that "re-architecting" and "replacing" are fundamentally different activities. If you would like, I can get you the names of some books on software that might help ?
Actually I wrote my first code in 1974, so please don't don't tell me that I'm supposed to be impressed by your 35 years ?
Re: VBA = RIP....?
I don't know which bit of "Quant headhunter" confused you, but I'm *that* Dominic Connor, the one whose VBA code is in damned near every investment bank on the planet, whose lectures on VBA (and C++) are part of a course given by people like Paul Wilmott and Nassim Taleb, who VBA code is used by the Treasury as part of managing the national debt and who was director of the team that build the system that handles 40% of the UK Gilt market. I've had VBA as part of my work since 1995 in banks dear.
To put my advice into a simpler form that you might understand, I agree that Excel drives banks, that may be good or bad, but it keeps open a door for people whose careers have gone a bit flaky. You can get to being better than the average VBA guy in 3 months or less from scratch if you work at it, the equivalent figures in (say), C++ is measured in years as is Java, maybe you can get to the 25% of applicants in SQL from scratch in less than a year but you'd have to be smarter than me.
Excel/VBA is used in banks from HR working out holiday entitlement to volatility modelling for exotic derivatives, did the grown ups ever tell you about them ?
So if you find that your skills aren't in demand and there's no obvious upgrade or work coming your way, go learn VBA.
Re: No COBOL shortage. No COBOL jobs!
I'm just a bit amused that you think this is by or for Micro Focus, this piece is about managing the skills you have to get a job when those skills aren't so fashionable.
I talk of pay rises elesewhere, but I put it to you that "putting up" with any shit, be it no pay rise, evangelical boss, boring work or toxic coffee in the machine is what you have to do when your other options are worse, I tried to help some Reg readers get more and maybe better choices.
Actually, it's an interesting problem, if you have a spare year.
Given two post codes, deliver the travel time between them and cut off at (say) an hour each way.
The code will need to into account whether you drive and whether job requires hours that you can't use public transport.
Off you go, same time next May ?
Re: Integration Services replaced DTS in *2005*
Point taken, thank you for the correction,
Not quite right
Sadly they treated me "better" than the average punter, made it hard to right a good article.
You will see from above that I "bullied" my way through the defective Dell escalation process,...
I am indeed a shameless self promoter, I'm mildly disturbed that you think this is news.
Re: I rewrite my CV for EVERY job application.
Thank you kind sir.
In a later article I will be handling the torments your CV suffers between you and the hiring manager and to be fair to HR they are generalists, they handle network security and security guards, salesmen, C++ developers, network architects and the sort that do buildings and of course other HRs. No one is smart enough to have a grasp of the buzzwords across even a relatively small firm.
Re: No offence, Dominic, but ...
Graham, it varies a lot, if a firm is doing a lot of business with an IT recruiter it will get a steep discount, we don't do the 11-12% stuff for that very reason, it simply is not worth it. That end of the game is the preserve of the carpet bombers, they pile them high and sell them (you) cheap. That's not to say they are bad people, even if some readers here are rude about them, they are paid to execute a simple procedure.
When you're at the supermarket you might be quite annoyed if the check out girl started advising you on the nutritional content of your basket and you'd definitely be unhappy if your bill was twice as big as result.
As for paying pimps...
Long ago I did some mathematical finance for a very large recruitment firm.
I got a call from an agent, he wanted to buy me lunch with his boss, assuming this was therefore a decent job I turned up to see another half dozen of them. I tried to work out what job could justify a whole team of recruiters. I was of course being stupid and getting drunk at their expense (rather good Rioja if you must know).
They read my CV and believed it and there are various bits which imply that I can both do the maths and the C++/Excel for hard finance, the sort that breaks economies, the code I was writing at that point now part manages the national debt, so they reckoned I was the man to explain their pay to them.
Some agents are indeed on "eat what you kill" pay structures, amongst some of them it is a virility sign because it shows that you don't have any fear that you won't sell.
Otherwise it is quite complex, I do shit like this http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Y_R3Y4jkp_IC&pg=PA825#v=onepage&q&f=false, scroll down to the part where Mike, Paul and I named Xena (sensitivity to skew in exotic derivatives), so when I say complex, I mean it..
There are many activities in pimping, getting new clients, keeping them happy, dealing with wayward contractors, interviewing and trying to make sense of the formless hell that is HR at Deutsche Bank. Be clear you do not do business with Deutsche Bank HR, you endure it.
For instance a common structure is that if you get a new client, you get a rake off from any people sold to that firm which typically decays with time. This leads to a philosophical question on what entity the client is. For instance IBM Labs at Hursely are logically part of IBM Corp, not IBM UK, if I place someone at a little startup and Facebook buys them, do I now have dibs on the whole firm ?
Also there is the issue that there exist non linear costs, especially with contractors and do they get paid for extensions, if so how much ? That's a harsh issue, if you don't then they will try to get the contractors to move against the interests of their firm and client, trust me on this I've been a contractor, seen it done.
At masters level I studied the economics of agency theory, do read up on ET, it is beautifully cynical, modelling the difference between what you pay people to do and what their incentives cause them to really do. I gave this as the Christmas Lecture at the London Quant Group last year, I hear there's a bootleg video.
The short version is that the structured pay of any agent or manager should be as close to the goals of the firm.
This big recruitment firm had achieved this, it was almost beautiful.
By "almost beautiful" I mean in the programming sense, when I had to read the source code of Windows memory management including the PWND structures (that's *P*WND, not *H*WND) I could see how it covered a wide range of possibilities in the least lines of code, but it was far too many to actually make sense.
So this very large recruitment firm had hired some talented accountants (they had the CVs f thousands of course) to exactly capture the profitability of every thing the agents might do.
You might be cynical about the intelligence level of the average recruiter, but trust me this was hard to actually understand, (the wine helped, or at least I felt that it did).
" I can't do this" I said, I need a spreadsheet... but of course they had Excel in front of me before I finished the sentence. After some thinking (and coffee and some rather nice Paul A Young chocolates), I gave them four numbers, you get X% for this, Y% for that.
That was of course a gross over simplification, but I'm also a nearly professional writer and knowing your audience is critical to delivering stuff The Reg will pay for, and they were really very happy.
Bastards never got me a job though.
I have one of these and they're good bits of kit
I and my children have entry level Nooks, I saw them as a bargain at £59 and it's a no-brainer at 29
The battery life is enough for a holiday and it can hold as much as I'll read before I die.
At that price point I don't freak if (as happened) one got crushed in a car door, though to be fair they've withstood quite a lot of other shit.
Can it run Linux ?
Nor can my TV, it's a consuming device.
I *like* the fact it can't run games, means I can give them to my kids and know they'll be used for reading not Angry Birds. Sadly this price drop tells me that it's dying, so I'm going to buy a couple of spares.
It doesn't do colour, the annotation facility is basic, it won't play MP3s and there some file formats it won't understand, but it's cheap and tough and does what it is supposed to do, I like things that are cheap and do a good job.
Re: No offence, Dominic, but ...
John, I am a City headhunter and writer for the Reg, I think it is fair to say no one you know is harder to offend, but thank you for the courtesy.
The problem we have in the IT part of the recruitment game is that the fees are far higher than the service is worth but not enough to pay for what clients want.
I can personally interview most sorts of developers, several types of security people, DBAs and project managers because I've done these things myself and here's why I don't recruit for your company and why almost no IT recruitment works the way you'd like, or indeed the way any rational person would like.
A recruiter may personally get 25-30% of the fee for hiring you which is (say) 12%, so roughly he gets 0.25* 0.12 = 3% (ish) of what you get per year, could be 4%, could be 2%, but that sort of number, some firms have quite complex remuneration structures.
So to make the same money as you, he needs to place one person like you about every week.
These are round numbers of course.
Placing a candidate requires one to read a number of CVs, that varies a lot, but to read them properly even after they've been filtered is a couple of hours work.
When I interview people that rarely takes less than an hour, I'm quite gentle (contrary to popular belief) and I don't claim to be 100% accurate, but only to seriously reduce the number of people who simply don't fit.
On top of that is meeting clients, dealing with queries etc, how many do you think I can get though per week with a proper interview first ?
Then because many HRs see recruiting as a commodity process the CV will be put in with 20-50 others, now since I've filtered, the chances of my candidate winning is rather better, but you still have to reckon on (say) 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 (or 1 in 10) actually getting hired.
None of this is your fault, indeed it is not clear whose fault exactly it is, HRs are incentivised to reduce the apparent cost of hiring and if the best candidate happens to come from a firm who carpet bombed with every candidate who has used SQL, then the manager has no rational alternative but to hire them.
They'd like to spend less time on interviews, they'd like better people, or more accurately they want people who fit their requirements better but their time is not costed for.
There exist clients and types of work where clients will pay for filtering, but they are a minority and this is never ever going to change.
I apologise for the lack of hookers and class A drugs in my article, your request has been noted.
Jobs for the girls
This is not the result of any attempt to provide balanced representation. Note how they are making no effort to increase the representation of ethnic minorities, or those whose background is not from the "right" universities.
It's tokenism which is engineered to look good for the BBC with the agenda for better opportunities for white middle class women,
If you genuinely wanted more women, then you'd spend some effort training promising ones to get to a position where they had something useful to say about technology. They do exist, some are excellent enough that I notes when they speak.
But that's work isn't it ?
It takes time and effort, but this sort of tokenism gives an impression of utility without taking time away from golf.
Re: whats big? :: Domnic the writer of the piece respnds
Size doesn't matter...
Except when it does.
A lot of what people call working on BD is actually bringing together multiple data sources to get some insight into what's going on.
Or it can be low density data, ie bulkyrap like hit patterns on your website or till receipts where you have to scan a lot ot records to produce a small, but hopefully useful result.
Or it can be the point wat which one server no matter how powerful just isn't up to the job and that to get the throughput you need, it has to be spread over many boxes.
Maybe you could call it Big Data when simply backing up all this stuff is a major project of itself.
Or all of the above in some macabre combinations.
Re: The bigger problem..
I can see why you post with double anonymity, Java as the critical skill ?
What colour is the sky on your planet ?
Is the weather nicer there ?
Re: Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt.
Yes, using stats alone to determine causality is a fool's game, the point of the stats is to point things out that would be interesting to look at further or to estimate the effect of a change.
Re: Anything is better than a suite of old PCs...
This is not my final article on UK IT education, the things I am told about RM are so bad that legal issues mean I have to check them first. Not one thing I have heard or seen aobut RM is good.
The declining Oracle/VB/Java markets
It can be slow, for about 20 years Oracle was a decently paid safe option and since a firm changing database is on the same scale as an organ transplant, its decline will be slow.
However the jobs market is more sensitive than the level of the installed base for two main reasons.
Firstly, most ITpros are paid to change things, as things mature they require less changes, so there are fewer jobs. A very large % of everyone who will ever use Oracle, now has Oracle,, many system mostly do what they need to do and that % will increase.
So one big (possibly the biggest) predictor of jobs is not the number of users but the rate of change of that number.
The second big factor is bog standard supply and demand, Oracle and Java have been going a long time, I wrote my first article about how Java was a good thing to get on your CV in (about) 1993 and a vast number of people have done just that. The problem is that the important issue for your career isn't so much how many people do Java (or Oracle or VB) for a living, but how many people are competing for the job you want.
You may be smarter than the average person, but please don't tell me (a headhunter who's done decades working as a developer) that recruitment processes will always spot that and anyway most people are nearer the average.
20 years from now there will be many people doing Java on top of an Oracle DB, but they will be fewer and paid less than today.
The question for you is when to jump off the train ?
Re: Royal Institution rescued by £4M donation
I was there, the Beeb wasn't, also I can do numbers...
The Ri was about to hit a financial wall very hard and the 4MM averted that disaster, but the outgoing are structurally more than the income by about a million or so per year. Even that figure is only achieved my using rooms for corporate events rather than science education and the lack of cash means so many things it could and should be doing aren't being done.
The point of the Ri is to explain science to as wide an audience as possible, it doesn't exist merely to exist and the cash flow is so fragile that one day it will be hit by some rogue wave and going titsup.
Re: bet the company?
You're right that it may not be possible to find a *good* investment big enough, but the point I'm pushing is that *some* investment can always be found and that the perceived need to find the big new thing may mess with Apple big time.
The fact is that to make a big difference to a business, the proportion of it you have to bet is about the same.
That can lead Apple to over bet. Rather than gamble 250 million on the iWatch (or whatever) having more cash means it is tempting to go heavier on the marketing spend and past the point that is optimal. going to 350 million.
If it's sluggish, then having more cash leads you to throwing good money after bad, or trying to change the market because it is "wrong".
Recall that Sony occupied a similar niche to Apple, having lots of up market electronics that sold well. But even though it pretty much invented video recorders, its market share was dismal even though its technology was better, people wanted VHS not Betamax.
So Sony bought some big film studios and music companies which sucked money and management time.
Even if the new project fails
Re: Something for the weekend?
Actually there are Family Fun Days on Saturdays, the anti matter anecdote was from the last but one, they are great fun and pathetically cheap.
Re: The problem, dear reader, is you.
That's a fair point, the building is a two edged sword (#Bad metaphor at line 0)
The Trustees are a bit resentful at having to run what their leadership referred to as a "catering operation", ie renting the rooms out. They should be used for being a science hub as you say, but the finances don't allow for that.
Yes ,pitches for cash have been far from well focused and the TV scientists, Brian Cox, Henry Winston et al are beavering away at finding specific, well defined deliverables that sponsors can contribute towards.
That makes sense and the L'Oreal and Microsoft partnerships seem to have worked well, but the Ri needs several of those.
Personally, I like the idea of upgrading the Theatrical skills of science teachers, this has a high gearing since its pretty cheap to help someone who understands the topic explain it better and that will upgrade their productivity big time.
The RI server is back.
A little advice
When a firm that owes you money goes titsup, there are several possible positions you can find yourself in.
The first and most important thing to understand is that the liquidators have the sole objective of keeping the banks happy. This is the most important business relationship in their world and you aren't even on the same planet.
If you're in the position where they want/need you to do something for them, they may well say something along the lines of "if you help out here, we will help you get more of what you're owed".
This is what the late great Guy Kewney called an "industry standard lie".
There are simple rules for who gets which money in what order, the beancounters have very little discretion and as above, their algorithm is to draw in as much money as they can for the bank and then stop.
These people are *obliged* by law and their management to shaft you.
Typically they will go for a "pre-pack", basically they may well have already set up a buyer for some fragment of the business that is viable, so as to get the last few quid for the banks, do not feel under any obligation to help the successor outfit unless it has a clear, contractual (in writing) payback for you.
That means if they want something from you, such as help sorting out the mess, then this must be done on a separate chargeable basis to the bad debts you have incurred.
Of course this is different to your relationship with the client, it's not their fault and of course they are the most obvious source of future revenue, so you need to start that discussion soon.
Re: I doubt it
We used to have a Stratus, they worked on the principle that SysOps *do* forget to look at logs, the irony being is that if all the components are individually reliable, then humans being humans won't worry about it so much.
So Stratus machines phoned home when a part died and that meant an engineer turning up with a new bit before the local SysOps had noticed it had died.
That's not a cheap way of doing things of course, but at some level that's how you do critical systems. When a critical component fails the system should attract the attention of the operators.
That leads me back to seeing this as yet another failure of IT management at RBS.
If the part failed, then there should have been an alert of such a nature that the Ops could not missi it. A manager might not write that himself, but his job is to make sure someone does.
The Ops should be motivated, trained and managed to act rapidly and efficiently. Again this is a management responsibility.
Al hardware fails, all you can do is buy lower probability of system failure, so the job of senior IT management at RBS is not as they seem to think playing golf and greasing up to other members of the "management team", but delivering a service that actually works.
No hardware component can be trusted. I once had to deal with a scummy issue where a cable that lived in a duct just started refusing to pass signals along. The dust on the duct showed it had not been touched or even chewed by rats, it had just stopped. Never did find out why.
Isn't Blue Sky of Death a trademark ?
Pretty sure it's a Midnight Oils album.
Eadon makes a serious point, but is unfair to Microsoft.
Not only does no Cloud vendor offer any meaningful compensation, such things are rarer than Dalek shit in the industry as a whole. Back in the 1970s when copying a file from one machine to another was an interesting experimental activity that made sense, in in 2013, there really ought to be a cash incentive for IT suppliers to be reliable.
The problem with Steve Balmer is that he's such a crap accountant that he doesn't realise that he's an
accountant at all.
If you say to an accountant ,"the cost from preventing screwup X is $Y,000 but the cost of the screwup is having to pay someone to write a blog post to say sorry, then the accountant will ask why you are bothering him with something where the answer is so obvious.
If you add "but X may never happen", he will dryly mock you.
Fact is that there is a vast number of ways Azure could have gone titsup and so the odds of it being any particular problem is just this size of zero. Fixing all those potential issues costs money, but their effect doesn't.
So if there was a cost associated with the recent Azure failure, the political / accountancy axis that drives all decisions at Microsoft would allocate more money to stop problems.
As an entity, MS is not stupid, it can learn, so look at the lesson it can draw from this screwup.
Cost (Screwup) == $10,000
Cost (Prevention) == $30,000,000
Re: You could always
Entertaining Chicken/Egg issue, as it's a new course how does one evaluate it ?
Re: Good piece
DBAing and VB are different skills, but quite a lot of people do both, especially in smaller dev teams.
Re: Have BS, will travel.
It's entirely possible that I've been at the same conference as your PHB (he may mention a loud old headhunter who kept asking questions of the speakers :)
I wish you were more wrong, I asked a good number of people if there were yet any qualifications they'd respect in this field and the response was entirely negative, so it's the standard model of buzzwords and random interview questions.
The CEO is a moron
Veber is an ISP, ie a technology led business, it's not a newsagent or hairdresser, but the CEO freely admits that he didn't bother involving the technology people in his business in this startlingly dumb decision.
His unfitness to run a business is that he thinks he is running a business, he's not, he's doing a job.
Doing any job properly means that that you get others to cover the holes that we alll have in our understanding, but he doesn't understand that his job should involve involving people who understand things in decision making, not just chat with his accountant and sales people. He would not try and get the tax authorities angry at him because as someone who thinks he "runs a business" he understands that to be irrational, but because he didn't involve technologists in "business" decisions he pissed of the tech community and as the DDos et al show unlike the HMRC some of them don't regard the law as a boundary.
Python supporters shouldn't DDoS him, though if he'd bothered to lower himself and actually talk to a a techie they'd have told him that this would happen and worse.
If I was a shareholder of Veber, I would be looking for a new CEO, if he is so reluctant to talk to his own staff on this matter, it would tell me that there were other important issues that he could not manage because of his reluctance to talk to IT people.
If I was a customer, I'd be looking for a new ISP, not to support the Python people, because the CEO is making decisions that he doesn't understand and I would not want to be sucked into the consequences.
Re: ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.
Up until now I could write "in the last 25 years I had not heard from anyone who used Lotus Notes who did not regard it is a personal enemy"
I now need to add some sort of disclaimer that IBM can get this pile of shit to work on their own systems.
Genuinely, in a career that has spanned IBM's labs, banking in the City, Australia and Europe, government IT, tech journalism, telecoms and training I have never encountered any piece of software or hardware that was more despised by its users than Lotus Notes.
...but how much that is the fault of the product, might be variable.
The correlation between spectacularly incompetent IT management and use of Notes is so high that it is hard to exactly work out cause and effect. It may be that an excellent IT setup like IBM Hursley can get the fucker to work properly, but when it is in the hands of average or worse still Capita-grade IT groups then it may be too much.
One causal factor is where IBM's "relationship" with a major firm has caused a "business decision" to over-ride the IT group and install a product that makes me ashamed to call myself a software developer.
In accounting or law firms that serve IBM, their infection with Notes seems to follow from a desire to keep the customer happy at the expense of abject user mystery.
Re: I still use ecomstation ...
As I recall edlin was left in *because* it did not require the GUI to be functional, that being useful when the system has screwed up very badly.
Edit needed Basic which was being removed as a standard part of the platform.
BASIC was not supposed to be in OS/2 at all.
One thing that I didn't have room for in the article was the saga of Mortgage.bas
This was a demo app that came with the original IBM PC and the source code was truly horrible inside having the only real purpose of showing people that a PC could do "real" business calculations involving interest, paying off loans etc.
BASIC was not to be part of OS/2, so Mortgage.bas was canned (it was always pronounced in full, including the extension, no one ever calls Excel, Excel.exe, go figure)
Some banks threw a fit, they regarded it as a critical application apparently which came as a real shock to all of us, so the bloody thing had to be made functional in OS/2, no PM based GUI, no rewrite in C or or REXX, just get the fucker working came the edict which required various hokey kludges)
Yes, Windows boxes did crash with no user input, some still do...
You were correct that the rest of the article was like that.
Re: So can anyone suggest a realistic alternative....
No, not a masochist a C++ dev turned headhunter trying to bring order to a database of people.
OK, yes, alright a masochist, you got me,
i'm quite happy to be disagreed with, the point of what our beloved editor calls "The Connor Cycle of Career Despair" is to get ITPros thinking constructively about their careers, being 100% would have been nice but unrealistic for me.
There is a dilbert cartoon about this...
I have a pretty good database of people what do things to computers.
If asked to pick 6 random people there is a finite probability that they will all be called Mohammed, this being the 2nd most common first name on it. and so if I was to help you pick a group, the chances are bigger than you might think that all were men called Mohammed and a bit less white than me.
Basic mathematical probability theory tells us that there is no test you can apply to work out from one sample whether I'm biased towards that sort of person.
Similarly, if you roll a dice 12 times, the probability of
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
has *exactly* the same prior probability as
4 6 1 2 6 3 4 1 2 4 1 3
As for sazoo''s friend if she a female PhD maths coder, the odds are about 95% she knows who I am and my firm's policy on things like this. Ask her if he reckons she could get past my notorious (amongst bankers) Cruel and Unusual C++ test.
Back when I was female
When I worked at IBM, doing much of my work through email it turned out that nearly all the Americans thought that I was a girl, even IBM HR believed this and sent hate mail to my boss trying to get me terminated because they'd decided that I might claim maternity benefit.
(If you think bimbo is a term of sexist abuse, you haven't met a male IBM HR)
That's not quite the same as being the recipient of sexism, but it gave me a taste of the situation. At a conference of high end geeks, I altered my talk to mention that the only women in the room were those handing microphones for the audience for them to ask questions.
But ... I've worked for decades as a developer, IT manager and now headhunter and I have to say that of the top tier of s/w devs I know, exactly two are women.
But there are a *lot* of every other type of "minority" in IT at all levels, some UK groups I know in the UK have not one fat white straight guy like me.
As a pimp, I would love to have more smart women, because I do it for the money, and I'd pay money to find a woman that could do hardcore Matlab for a bank, but I'm not holding my breath.