* Posts by VTAMguy

6 posts • joined 23 Jul 2018

The biggest uptick in demand for software devs by bosses is for... *rubs eyes* blockchain engineers?!?


Re: tabs not spaces?!

Next thing you know there'll be people proclaiming that they prefer vi over emacs, if you can imagine such a thing. Total insanity. If you're hard core old school, you have (setq-default indent-tabs-mode nil) in your emacs init.el file, putting spaces where spaces belong like a real programmer, and everyone else can go back to bleating about how they preserved 437 precious bytes of disk space by using tabs. You say you wanna use tabs when entering source code but have them converted to spaces when you save? Sure, but if you have to do it that way, your editor already sucks.

Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...


Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

Amen to that. I choose what to view on my screen, not hucksters. Advertising does not help me in any way, ever, and it never will no matter how "nice" the slick ones pretend to play. It doesn't improve or enhance my life. From my viewpoint, advertisements are completely and utterly useless, and so I choose to never see them anywhere I have control. It's not my problem to figure out how websites get paid and I don't care - I didn't choose to litter the Internet with ads and I'd be happy without them forever, in any context. Sites that play gatekeeper games either have their flimsy security disabled on the spot or get dumped into /dev/null forever. Internet overlord wannabes: you are never going to be able to show me any ads, ever. If your data slurping site dies without ads, that's just fine with me - adios mother fucker, and take all your useless social media 'jobs' down with you.

Q. What do you call an IT admin for 20-plus young children? A. A teacher


Re: Tell me about it

Yes, this. See New York Times articles:

A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley


"Technologists know how phones really work, and many have decided they don’t want their own children anywhere near them."

Silicon Valley Nannies are Phone Police for Kids


The Digital Gap Between RIch and Poor Kids


"America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether."

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep


CP == Hypervisor

In IBM's VM/370, CP is the Control Program, which we now call the Hypervisor. It was responsible for creating and running the various guest operating systems. Since every guest operating system up to that point was definitively not personal in any way (think monster OS/VS1 and bigger monster MVS), the nice folks in IBM Cambridge also developed CMS, the Conversational Monitor System. (It was first called the Cambridge Monitor System but IBM marketing said no sorry). This was an IPL-able (aka bootable) OS that provided a facsimile of a "personal mainframe", which you could use to create and edit files, run some utilities, and interact in a limited way with other CMS users. CMS would not run on a bare metal machine - it required a VM/370 CP environment.

The # character (that would be an EBCDIC # thank you) was the default escape character used to signal that the command should be intercepted by the CP rather than the guest OS. when that became necessary, eg to re-IPL. Another way to escape was to hit the 3270 "PA1" key, which would then normally display a status of "CP READ" allowing direct input of CP commands. Just to muddy things a little more, the CP could receive commands directly from CMS as a courtesy default, meaning the #CP prefix wasn't necessarily always strictly required under CMS.

It was common as dirt to run VM/370 as a guest OS under VM/370. There are likely few VM system programmers from that era who haven't done it just for fun but it also served a real purpose: testing new versions of VM/370, testing new important guest operating systems under new versions of VM/370 and testing local modifications to VM/370 were all useful tools. When running VM under VM (under VM etc), the escape character would be different (it was settable as well). When juggling CPs, one was well advised to keep track of one's place on the perilously teetering stack of operating systems and issue commands to the proper CP using the proper escape character (EBCDIC please). Someone not used to this juggling might reflexively type, eg #CP IPL because that's what motor memory has instilled, but such haste can easily cause the teetering stack to vanish in the click of an ENTER key. Oopsie. Don't do that.

The NYC/northern NJ computing landscape of the late 1970's and early 1980's was littered with IBM mainframe shops running VM/370, MVS, VS1 and DOS/VS. There was more mainframe iron there than anyplace else on the planet, it seemed, and everyone who was anyone in the VM world met up at the MVMUA conferences, usually held at MetLife in Manhattan.

-Grayhaired VM/370 systems programmer



PROFS was XEDIT fancied up with a database to hold documents "centrally", but it was a known resource hog. It was initially seen (by IBM) as suitable for use by clerical level staff. Then it morphed into a do-all monster and imploded in on itself. Not a shining example of software technology from that era.



Agreed on the quality of IBM keyboards. Minor correction: 3270 technology used coax cables. And the CP command is "IPL" (Re-IPL is used as a verb).

And yup, it wouldn't take long to get back into the swing of old friends like EDGAR again (Edit Data Graphically And Recursively!). One little-remembered VM CP command was DIAL which was used in place of LOGON to put the terminal under control of a guest OS (eg ACP, Airline Control Program).

-Grayhaired VM/370 systems programmer

(Systems programmers write code, in BAL, that runs in privileged mode. I'm not a friggin 'admin' and I don't have to login as root. Don't call me admin or I'll delete your A-disk.)

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