[Chugalug] Old code never dies..
cluon at geeklabs.com
Mon Mar 10 14:07:46 UTC 2014
Rambling while watching a long slow database load:
I got a strange call last night. Seems a pager company, that bought a
pager company.. that bought a pager company... that bought a local pager
company that was the dregs from another local pager company that somewhere
in the late 1990's I wrote an SMTP mail server in Perl that gatewayed to
alphanumeric pagers via the TAP protocol.. had a server issue. It's the
only production C code I ever wrote, and it was munged from someone else's
example code. Once upon a time it made a lot of money as e-pageme.com
(I used to charge $1 a month for the service, per pager..)
I SSH'd in.. rebooted it.. and its magically working again.
Seems pagers have become the medical worlds secret communications layer..
it's the one way to always contact a doctor, no matter what, because
pagers are still allowed where cell phones are not.
That project taught me several things, including that most "magic" is best
performed as a service for a small fee. It also reminds me that some
things never ever die, even when you want them to, and that I should do a
better job of making sure what I do is the right thing to do, and done
well. I'm a big hypocrite on that point, most of what I do for a living
barely qualifies as duct tape and zip-ties, although time has proven
most of my kludges to be enduring.
It also reminded me, talking to the technical guys at the latest owners of
this abortion... that few people understand the lowest levels of
anything.. the "magic" that is a protocal like TAP
(Telecommunicator/Telelocator Alphanumeric Protocol).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telelocator_Alphanumeric_Protocol is a bare
stub. Much of what we do online is hidden far below layers and laters of
abstraction, modules, libraries and MVC frameworks.. and that "magic"
layer is lost on the masses (as it should be). But we need magicians to
keep the world running. Not spikey haired facesplat wannabe's with MLM-ish
get rich schemes reinventing social networking again... but a combination
of "janitors" capable of keeping the world running and visionaries
addressing the core / root issues of that merger of technology and society
we have become. That realm of relative "magic" to the rest of the world
needs more magicians, not charlatans.
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