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COBOL Will Outlive Us All

Silfax Re:Interactive COBOL (318 comments)

Another rare critter here also - I started using Westi for interactive processing back in the early 80's then switched to CICS with IMS/DB & DB2 or IMS DB & DC with Oracle where I am right now.

Somewhere along the way I ended up working on a Wang VS system for a few years. Wang VS was way better for the interactive stuff than anything else that was available at the time. Unfortunately it is long gone, I have wondered a few times what it would have evolved into if it ever got onto the web

about a year and a half ago

COBOL Will Outlive Us All

Silfax Re:I don't think there will be a shortage. (318 comments)

Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. You can learn basic cobol in a week, sure.


Bear in mind also that most COBOL is mainframe still, so chances are that as well as the language itself, you're going to have to learn DB2, JCL, CICS and suchlike

You could just as easily slug in "Java" for "COBOL" and "generic SQL, shell scripts, Spring, and assorted other frameworks...." for "DB2, JCL, CICS" and the statement will be just as true (except for the fact that most Java is not mainframe), but the idea is still the same.

It is not the programming language, but all of the other 'stuff' that goes with it that makes it useful. It is the other 'stuff' that takes time to learn and become proficient with.

about a year and a half ago

COBOL Will Outlive Us All

Silfax Re:Not replacing, wrapping... (318 comments)

That is exactly what we are doing at my shop (a major research university). We are slowly wrapping nice gui web front ends around the existing code. This way we can present a modern appearance - while retaining all of the business logic that is embedded in the legacy COBOL (and some PL/1) code.

Whenever there is a need for a brand new application, it is quite often easier to access the data (usually a combination of IMS and Oracle databases) on the mainframe, and use zDirect to grab the IMS/DC screens. Sometimes new programs are written, sometimes old programs modified.

about a year and a half ago

COBOL Will Outlive Us All

Silfax Re:If a technology is outdated, outsource it. (318 comments)

The VAX had DCL - Digital Command Language, and as far as JCL goes, it is essentially a method of setting up environment variables so programs can access external resources, a shell script - nothing more.

I don't remember ever seeing Zeke & Zack (not Zeek & Zed) on a Z/OS system - If I recall they were mostly on VSE systems and were a automated operator/scheduler. I can't remember which was which, it has been a long time since I have worked on VSE, Z/OS is a daily thing.

about a year and a half ago

Interviews: Ask Blendtec Founder Tom Dickson What Won't Blend?

Silfax Shred or Blend Showdown (118 comments)

Have you ever considered a blender/shredder showdown with the Watch it Shred folks at
You would probably have to take one of their machines apart to fit into a Blendtec, but will it blend?

about a year ago

Text Message Spammer Wants FCC To Declare Spam Filters Illegal

Silfax Re:Sounds reasonable (338 comments)

The receiving end has all the right to filter any way they like

including the option of saying 'hey Mr ISP man, please filter this crap for me.'

about a year and a half ago

Red Light Cameras Raise Crash Risk, Cost

Silfax Re:Cost vs injury (499 comments)

In Germany at 100km/h if you're within 50km of the car in front you're tailgating. (Speed in km/h)/2 = (distance in m) in space you need between the car in front of you.

I think you meant 50m, not 50km - at a 50km following distance, you would never see another car.

about 2 years ago

Red Light Cameras Raise Crash Risk, Cost

Silfax Re:Cost vs injury (499 comments)

The only thing that is certain to increase is the number of tickets (i.e. municipal revenues). Anything else is just an unintentional side-effect

Most of the tickets generated seem to be for failing to stop for $number_of_seconds before making a right on red. NJ state law does not define a specific $number_of_seconds and local towns have made it whatever they feel like making it.

FWIW I have seen the photo flashes going off when there was no vehicle in or even near the intersection. No idea what they trying to ticket - low flying birds perhaps?

about 2 years ago

Red Light Cameras Raise Crash Risk, Cost

Silfax Re:Why not (499 comments)

Usually under a different - but similar name

about 2 years ago

Red Light Cameras Raise Crash Risk, Cost

Silfax Re:You want lawsuits ... (499 comments)

They wouldn't be in harm's way if they're positioned somewhere sensible where cars don't travel, such as a sidewalk.

Bah - the article is about NJ, the sidewalk is considered to be the passing lane.

about 2 years ago

Etsy Hacker Grants Support Female Programmers

Silfax Re:So... (211 comments)

I didn't SlashDot posters actually had girlfriends....

more than 2 years ago

Coming to an Ice Cream Shop Near You: Soft Serve Beer

Silfax Re:Kirin's not bad (157 comments)

I seem to only drink Kirin at sushi restaurants so I don't expect to rushing out for it. However, if this was available for my favorite beer then I might give it a try.

While I like the 90 minute IPA, I think that the 120 minute IPA might make a better beer slushie (if you could get it to freeze smoothly).

more than 2 years ago

Insects Rapidly Becoming Resistant To GM Corn

Silfax BT corn - (368 comments)

I really need to get new glasses (or change default fonts) -- i read the BT corn an -- and thought why would insects need to become resistant to British Telecom??

more than 2 years ago

Tesla Motors Announces Prices For Their Upcoming Models

Silfax Re:No (503 comments)

Until battery electric vehicles become popular, stations like this won't be ubiquitous in the same way gas stations are.

Chicken & Egg syndrome here - long range electric vehicles won't become popular until there are stop & swap battery stations available.

more than 2 years ago

Teachers Don't Like Creative Students

Silfax Re:That was my experience at school (5 comments)

Did you know that ten tmes as much money is spent on special education for lerning-disabled kids than on gifted kids?

Learning disabled & gifted should just be different flavors of the special education ice cream. Unfortunately most school districts don't see it that way -- especially when they get more state aid for the kids who have difficulties than those that are ahead of the rest of the class.

Personally I hate both terms (learning disabled and gifted), and prefer to use "differently learning"

more than 2 years ago

MIT's New Camera Can Take 1 Trillion Frames Per Second

Silfax Re:What (197 comments)

1) I use an analog scope
2) I use a digital scope
3) Cowboy Neal is a my scope
4) Whats an oscilloscope?

analog & digital - but mostly analog

more than 2 years ago

MythBusters Bust House

Silfax Re:"cantaloupe-sized cannonball"? (631 comments)

Because there are many different sizes of melon and since it is a cantaloupe and you're an idiot we'll call it a cantaloupe since North American Cantaloupe is really too long

And cantaloupes come in a large range of sizes from about a pound to around 10 pounds (possibly bigger, the biggest I ever saw was around 10 pounds) Comparison to something that is that variable in size is sort of useless, just give the actual (or even close) dimensions.

more than 2 years ago

Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High

Silfax Re:40 meters? (358 comments)

Don't know about the other guy, but here on the east coast the international broadcasters pretty much clobber everything else. It has been getting better, but still a PITA in the evening.

more than 2 years ago

More Schools Go To 4-Day Week To Cut Costs

Silfax Re:I can see it now... (614 comments)

What about the parents who used to be able to rely on their kids being in school so they could go out to work? Do they now need to arrange childcare for Fridays too?

<politicianspeak> By instituting a 4 day school week, we will be creating additional jobs in childcare services, thus offsetting the loss of income by the non teaching school staffers </politicianspeak>

about 3 years ago


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