[Chugalug] Old code never dies..

Andrew Rodgers acedrew at gmail.com
Mon Mar 10 16:26:11 UTC 2014

TL;DR "Mike is very old" :P Cool story, it's always interesting to me to
think of what will happen to your code when you're gone, or not.
It seems it always lives longer than you want to believe.


On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM, Mike Harrison <cluon at geeklabs.com> wrote:

> 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.
> rant over..
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