Old code never dies..

From: Mike Harrison 
------------------------------------------------------

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

=============================================================== From: Andrew Rodgers ------------------------------------------------------ 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. Andrew =E1=90=A7 e s t gs a f ..

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ On Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:07:46 +0000 (UTC) Mike Harrison wrote: I don't know whether I would dread or welcome someone asking me to look at a certain system that sat in a serial printer's cable and intercepted job orders to drop them into a Paradox database...

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ look I remember that one: the one that DEC consultants and a lady with a = Masters in CompSci said was impossible=85 Remember the =93impossible=94 screen scraping robots you did for for ABB = as well?=20 I don=92t think it=92s been used at the hospitals that used it in a LONG = time.=20 Or at least, I pray that it is gone=85=20 This is where the Microsoft business application development universe = still wins.=20 As much as I hate it, that=92s the closest I have seen.=20 Want to build a Web-ish 3GL/4GL-ish application development framework on = top of PostgreSQL or MySQL?=20 BTW: the early 1990=92s Paradox HTEMMS system still lives in DOS = emulation on Linux at least 1 hospital. I=92ve been asked to rewrite it = several times but they don=92t want to pay real money for it.=20 =20

=============================================================== From: Tom Wilson ------------------------------------------------------ Speaking of =93Old Code Never Dies=94=85. I have come to the realization that God hates me. It came to me while I was scouring a 13 year old codebase for an obscure bu= g with a Palm OS emulator hosted by a Windows 2000 VM hosted by Mac OS X. I=92m waiting for Christopher Nolan to send me a cease and desist. er company.. that bought a pager company... that bought a local pager compa= ny that was the dregs from another local pager company that somewhere in th= e late 1990's I wrote an SMTP mail server in Perl that gatewayed to alphanu= meric pagers via the TAP protocol.. had a server issue. It's the only produ= ction C code I ever wrote, and it was munged from someone else's example co= de. Once upon a time it made a lot of money as e-pageme.com rs are still allowed where cell phones are not. t performed as a service for a small fee. It also reminds me that some thin= gs never ever die, even when you want them to, and that I should do a bette= r 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 quali= fies as duct tape and zip-ties, although time has proven most of my kludges= to be enduring. f this abortion... that few people understand the lowest levels of anything= .. the "magic" that is a protocal like TAP

=============================================================== From: James Nylen ------------------------------------------------------ Tom, where are you on the programmer pain chart[1] today? [1]: http://nylen.tv/programmer-pain-chart.pdf

=============================================================== From: Tom Wilson ------------------------------------------------------ I=92m looking for the =93I tried accessing a global but A5 addressing is = unavailable in this particular section and how do I avoid doing = something cheesy like cramming the stupid thing in gprefs=94 thingy to = point at. wrote: obscure bug with a Palm OS emulator hosted by a Windows 2000 VM hosted = by Mac OS X. wrote: 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 layer.. pagers are still allowed where cell phones are not. 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. owners of this abortion... that few people understand the lowest levels = of anything.. the "magic" that is a protocal like TAP

=============================================================== From: "Alex Smith (K4RNT)" ------------------------------------------------------ For the DOS emulation part, I've heard that OS/2 (now being developed under the name eComStation) does better DOS emulation than almost anything else, and might be more reliable and supported. I'm trying to put together a system to try it out on. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that liked OS/2 when it was around. :) " ' With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.' Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning... The first time any man's freedom is trodden on we=E2=80=99re all damaged." - Jean-Luc Picard, quoting Judge Aaron Satie, Star Trek: TNG episode "The Drumhead" - Alex Smith - Huntsville, Alabama metropolitan area USA for for ABB as t in a LONG time. ulation al times