Over Easy: Code…writers

IBM 370/145

This presentation on Blomberg – for lack of a better word – was linked and posted to my FB page. It’s is an explanation of what coding on a computer actually means and it’s intended for clueless managers and administrators who do not understand why they need to have software engineers that seem to just want to spend money.

It gives a pretty good idea of what coding entails. I got into computers back in the 1970s when if you needed to write a program in COBOL or FORTRAN to run on an IBM or NCR or UNIVAC computer, you had to have access to one of those beasties to do it.  When a machine with 4 mega bytes of memory was huge.

That of course is all long past and good that it is because nearly everything these days has some sort of processor in it for controlling various aspects of it’s use. From cell phones to cars to TVs to web sites to communications receivers to cameras. And the people who write the code that makes these things work are likely doing it on a lap top. Using cross compilers and emulators and simulators and what not. Using scripting languages and such. Like JAVA or PERL or Python or PHP or ….

More and more of what we do and what we use is becoming more and more automated and controlled by some sort of computer processor. Putting the mundane repetitive tasks in the hands of those who write the code to perform them. The paradigm is changing even as you read this, making a lot of what we are fighting these days seem positively ludicrous in the future.

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The Roundup for June 16, 2015




  1. Chris Maukonen
    June 16, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Morning all. Wet here in Ohio with more rain on the way. And the track for the remnants of TS Bill has it coming in this direction.

  2. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Good Morning All!

    Speaking as a computer programmer who started out programming basic in 1974, one thing I’ve noticed is the gradual dumbing down of the average programmer.

    You used to have to be pretty good to write something that was both useful and useable. Gotta minimize memory use, I/O’s and processor use.

    Now any clown can write a program. And it shows. How often does Micro$loth issue critical patches? How many applets are referred to as craplets? Just use the memory, we’ve got gigabytes. And the drives are cached, so most I/O don’t even make it to the disk. You can write something that does a million I/O’s and uses a gig of memory to say “Hello, World” and it would probably be accepted since it actually runs.

    Boxturtle (And then I end up cleaning up the clowns programs when they try to co-exist with other programs)

  3. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 8:26 am

    We got drenched last night and are expecting more of the same today. We’ll see about Bill, he may decide to stay in Texas.

    Boxturtle (or he may decide to run for president as a republican)

  4. Chris Maukonen
    June 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

    {{sigh}} And not just in computer programming. This seems to be the case in a lot of fields as well.

  5. Chris Maukonen
    June 16, 2015 at 8:35 am
  6. Beverly Lawson
    June 16, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Apparently lots of rain/turbulence coming this way, they say. Stay tuned.
    Good Morning All….thanks for the post.

  7. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Think car theft. They say the best anti-theft system is a clutch.

    Boxturtle (Remembers when a car thief used to be able to boost anything not chained down)

  8. karenjj2
    June 16, 2015 at 8:40 am

    good morning, Chris and pups

    so I’m reading along and enjoying your post when “all of a sudden, it stops.”. I’ve heard of leaving them wanting more but …. guess I’ll go read the link..

    by the way, my win8 phone is doing good with disqus and frequently loads comments at fdl.

    one “problem” seems to be illustrated by late nite thread: media overload if using smartphone and I expect the same if using wireless card as I do with laptops, iPad, nook-android. in fact, if I want to view u-tube, I always send link to phone as my wireless is grindingly slow.

    FYI techs: I’ve noticed in past week or so that videos are starting even tho I consciously try to avoid the center or even edge of screen. only way I can get them to stop is exit, return and find a bit of white space to get by them like my mouse is sneaking by the cat ?
    Perhaps a remedy would be to simply give a bit more margin on the right or shrink the video or best of all, make the “play arrow” the only live spot on the videos — it could even be bigger as long as u allow for fat fingers on a smart screen.

  9. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Looks like we’re safe until Sunday or so. That’s a pretty tight path, meaning Bill is pretty predictable.

    Boxturtle (There ought to be a bad Clinton joke there somewhere)

  10. tjbs
    June 16, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Good morning all,

    Were you still using punch cards back in the 70s ? Funny when those stacks of punch cards got spilled is was like glasses breaking in a restaurant ,everybody had to look. It took hours or days to create that stack.

    I went , from ’64-’68, to data processing school. 30 in the class 5 guys and 25 girls. Well the ladies were trained to keypunch the gentlemen’s programs . That was because data processing industry would need thousands of keyboarders to enter data.

    Funny story for senior finals we were to take five days of tests. Our instructor was taking a college course on 402 (?) accounting machines with the wire boards. There was something about four counters on the machine and his final needed five totals. He offered me a pass or fail to skip the finals and solve the accounting machine problem.Solved it by lunchtime on Monday, aced the course.

    Good times back then. Where did all those keyboarders go ?

  11. Chris Maukonen
    June 16, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Yep…still using punch cards and 029 keypunches. Even on some of the minies.

  12. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Oh, yeah. Everything was punch cards or TWX terminals. I learned early on to draw a diagonal line in magic marker from one corner to the opposite corner of a large deck. When spilled, you simply picked them up and lined up the line. I did my own keypunching, as it was more of a pain to write carefully in the little blocks on the coding form than it was to type away.

    Boxturtle (Any other pharts old enough to remember the 110 column Hollerith cards?)

  13. Chris Maukonen
    June 16, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Were those the ones IBM tried to introduce for their System 3 and System 7 that were smaller than the 80 column ones ? If so I have seen them but never used them.

    Never really caught on. Did use the old ASR 33 and 35 terminals though. And 2741 and 1052 etc. And IBM displays.

    I remember early display terminals that got dimmer the more that was being displayed.

  14. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 9:13 am

    No, those were the 96 column punch cards. They were an improvement to card technology, but everything went terminal before they caught on.

    I remember those auto dimmer terminals, too. Sometimes, my eyes would get blasted when going from a crowded screen to “ENTER COMMAND> ”

    Boxturtle (I remember when the first color monitors arrived. Everybody wanted one, but we called them toys)

  15. Perris Calderon
    June 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

    “so I’m reading along and enjoying your post when “all of a sudden, it stops.”. I’ve heard of leaving them wanting more but ….

    I was thinking the same, not too much closure in this piece, though it was a fun read, that;s for sure

  16. Molly
    June 16, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Heck, when I went to work at Wayne State University in 1986, registration was using punch cards.

    My first programming language was Basic, followed by some Cobol. Decided right quick that I didn’t want to be a programmer. I was really good at the logic of systems analysis & design, but chasing stray semicolons? Not so much…

  17. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Good morning, pups. Today we have Brooks and Nocera. Bobo gives us a classic example of concern trolling in “The Democratic Tea Party.” He gurgles that if it stands, Democrats’ rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will go down as a mistake with extensive and long-lasting repercussions. In the comments “gemli” from Boston has this to say: “When David Brooks comes riding in on a white horse to save the world it’s probably best to take a close look at the horse, because it’s usually of the Trojan variety.” Mr. Nocera, in “How to Grade a Teacher,” says there are better ways to evaluate teachers than test scores alone.

    HERE they are, and

    HERE’s Krugman’s blog.

    The coffee and tea are ready, and I’ve got apple walnut muffins this morning. Mr. Marion in Savannah started with computers in the early 60’s, in the Army. (He figured that they’d keep such valuable, expensive equipment safe and, therefore, the people who operated it.) He retired as a systems engineer. Me? I’m basically a Luddite who has learned some of the buttons to push that won’t crash the machine. Now I’m off to get going on the day’s work. Have a great day.

  18. Beverly Lawson
    June 16, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hey, Thanks….Im listening to Jeb giving us his message…in 2 languages. Gag…Barbara and his wife with him….why Barbara?

  19. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

    It’s amazing how many pundits are predicting the end of the world if TPP is rejected. A lot of those same pundits spend many thousands of words telling us how Obama cannot be trusted.

    A troll on a horse!

    Boxturtle (I am not paid to push buttons. I am paid to know which buttons to push)

  20. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Probably as penance for once having said that the nation didn’t need another Bush president. (Or did she say bush league… I can’t quite remember…)

  21. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I doubt he’s going to reach Hispanics…even in Spanish. And I wonder what will happen if he does multilingual in one of those “English is the official language” areas.

    No GOP candidate will be able to get away with being two faced in this next election.

    Boxturtle (They’re gonna need at least four faces each)

  22. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

    He’ll maybe reach a few Hispanics, but very few. And I think the bilingual outreach will REALLY hurt him. His party’s base (and boyoboyoboy aren’t they base?) is totally insane on the subject of immigration.

  23. Beverly Lawson
    June 16, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Either way works…..Don’t we have any fresh faces? Surely there are some.

  24. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 10:06 am

    The first version of Cobol I worked in had The Evil Period. You could end a statement with a period. or not. And depending on if you did, you might get different behavior. Or not. And IF the compiler was smart enough to detect the missing period, it would flag on a statement pretty far away from the actual missing period as a syntax error.

    Remember LISP? It actually stood for LISt Processor, but everybody said it meant Lots of Irritating, Superfluous, Parentheses.

    Boxturtle (Kinda like my tag line!)

  25. Boxturtle
    June 16, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Story: There was a Tea Party group protesting something or other in front of a Mexican restaurant I frequent. One of them had a sign that said “Why the hell should I have to press 1 for English?” . I told him “Well, if it bothers you, you can learn Spanish and press ocho”. The comment was not well received.

    Boxturtle (But it got me a free dessert inside! WooHoo!)

  26. June 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

    “Boxturtle (Kinda like my tag line!)”

    Yep! 😉

  27. Molly
    June 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I never did anything but a little Basic and a couple of semesters of Cobol. Can’t remember if it was periods or semicolons or colons or what I had to track down. Not my cuppa. And then my career was in user services, Mac support, some networking, and mostly management, which has its own set of headaches.

  28. June 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Good morning.

    Yesterday, I had my consultation and intro to the EECP program I’m signed up for. I saw it in action. Two guys lieing on a bed, cuffs over both legs and the machine pounding away in time with the heart beats, inflating the cuffs during diastolic. Raises pressure to 300 momentarily pumping the blood back to the heart.

    It’s basic job is to enhance the building of corollaries around obstructions of any kind.It has an 80-90% success rate, the effects lasting up to 10 years in certain cases, but at least 5. This not only supports better blood flow to the heart, but assists in blood connected effects which deal with diabetes, kidney processes (a two way street here, the kidneys are both negatively impacted by coronary disease and also negatively impact coronary artery disease).

    So I am told. Anyway, it’s noisy when it runs. The legs jump up a bit and it sounds like you are in a sheet metal fabricating shop!

    1Hr a day, 5 days a week, 7 weeks.

    I start next Monday, 8:30 AM.

    Where are the earplugs, dammit!

  29. Molly
    June 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Well, The Donald is expected to announce his run. What a buffoon. Not sure he is the “fresh face” you are looking for.

  30. June 16, 2015 at 10:37 am

    My sole foray into programming was toggles on PDP-8 and 11. Didn’t last long attall.

  31. Molly
    June 16, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Get yourself a nice pair of earbuds and hook up an iPod. You can play your beloved classical music loudly enough to drown out the banging.

  32. Molly
    June 16, 2015 at 10:41 am

    You quote “gemli” often. I like his/her comments a lot.

  33. karenjj2
    June 16, 2015 at 10:43 am

    well, there’s plenty more at the Bloomberg link. Been reading there past HOUR or so. Finally did mental bookmark at 3.2 and back to the lake.

  34. June 16, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Designing and implementing a balanced deflection plate driver for an oscilloscope using distributed amplification to 100MHz with tubes is just such an example.

    Actually, it was fun, and gratifying when it worked, which it did, consistently.

    Then there was sampling to 350MHz and beyond, delay and delayed sweep. (Knowing the difference is crucial)

  35. June 16, 2015 at 10:46 am

    All ready under way, although I’m not sure that the rhythms would match. “Bolero” would probably cause a seizure!

  36. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I don’t know if gemli is male or female, but either way he or she should be offered the job in place of Bobo.

  37. June 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Then there is Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”!

  38. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    What about the 1890 Overture? Maybe the cannons would synchronize…

  39. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Wouldn’t that be uncomfortable? When they take my blood pressure with one of those auto-inflating cuffs it feels like it’s about to break my arm…

  40. June 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Um, 1812 Overture, maybe?

    Yep, between “Fanfare”, “1812” and “Bolero”, the staff there would be going nuts wondering WTF! is going on!!

  41. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

    DUH… I obviously need more tea!

  42. June 16, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Thinking it through, it occurs to me that, while I developed my tastes for classical music, I became aware that I gravitated to certain performers primarily because of the particular timing involved. So I ran a test, mesuring the one’s I liked vs the ones I didn’t, based on performance metronome against heartbeat. The ones to which I gravitated had a metronome value very close to my resting heart beat, or multiples thereof.

    In this case, I would likely be served by choosing these performers as the “housebeat” will dominate, being my own.

    Stay tuned….

  43. June 16, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Apparently not. The two guys laying there seemd oblivious to any aches, one of them dozing off.

  44. June 16, 2015 at 11:10 am

    1890 Overture. Maybe someone should write one. Has a nice ring.

  45. June 16, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Adobe just updated all my 2014 programs to the 2015 version. I better go see if’n they work!

  46. Beverly Lawson
    June 16, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Nope, doesn’t look so fresh to me….sorta old and puffy….;)

  47. June 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Crap! All my 3rd party filters have disappeared and the carefully setup workspace…history.

    What were we saying about software?

  48. Marion in Savannah
    June 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    GREAT! I really hope this works for you.

  49. Alice X
    June 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Bolero would cause a seizure in me just by itself. Ravel lamented that his most famous piece had no music in it.

  50. Alice X
    June 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    (I am not paid to push buttons. I am paid to know which buttons to push)

    Class Warfare!

  51. Alice X
    June 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Is there a holistic alternative? Like going for a walk?

  52. June 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    That always amazed me. Why did he release it? But then, he did like to quip as he did for Pavane pour une infante défunte, where he once said “it was a Pavane
    for a Dead Princes, not a dead Pavane for a princess”, after hearing a
    poor playing of the work.

    It actually does have music; theme and variations, where the variations are in instrument selection, anticipating Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, to some degree anyway.

  53. June 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    No, damage has already been done to the heart muscle. This develops an alternative path around the restriction. I already have one in place from years ago.

    The alternative is either a stent or bypass surgery, which, if you think of it, this procedure is the holistic way as it creates bypasses wherever restrictions are found.

    AFAIK anyway.

  54. Alice X
    June 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I’ll stick with his assessment. It is a pop piece.

    I like Ravel, I have scores for a number of his orchestral works. His string quartet. His duet for violin and cello. His piano works.

    The string stuff I can manage without trauma, the piano stuff not.

    Though I’m still practicing. Maybe I will.

    I like Bartok and the Concerto, I don’t have a score. I have his violin concertos and sonatas. His string quartets which are frightening.

  55. June 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Pop piece no doubt, but rather well done. I maybe listen to the entire piece maybe once in several years. most of the time I ignore it.

    Of course his piano pieces are legendary, with Gieseking at the keyboard…especially the 78rpm versions.

    The second movement to the G Maj concerto…what a marvel! I only wish he had pulled out the opening piano solo, added an ending and published it. I’ve tried to embellish an ending but no avail. Trill away using the closing moments as a guide but….

  56. Tremolux
    June 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I learned Programming & Operations at Control Data Institute in Minneapolis back in the latter half of ’79. I also worked for CDC from 1980-1986, then Deluxe Corp., for a year, and then the U.S. Postal Service from 1988-1995. I worked mostly in COBOL and IDMS COBOL.
    ‘Coding’ is relatively easy. Good systems design is another issue entirely. You can hand a high school graduate a page of pseudo code and have them translate it to machine acceptable code, but having them design an elegant, efficient, and compact solution to a problem takes careful thought and experience.
    I can’t tell you the times I’ve had to tear out a contractor’s rat’s nest and rewrite something to fix a patchwork of code and nearly incomprehensible subroutines.
    Teach good design, coding is the easy part. It’s the same with painting in the art world. I can teach anyone the basics of painting and color. It takes work to create art.

  57. mulp
    June 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Yep, with TPP rejected, computers will stop replacing workers doing mundane boring jobs in factories for middle class wages. No longer will robot welders replace human welders making cars. After all, it is TPP that killed all the factory jobs, because TPP is all about computers. Those IBM and CDC and NCR computers were job killing imports from China killing factory jobs by replacing American workers in American factories.

    And thanks to stopping TPP, no more jobs will be lost so there is no need for TAA job training wasteful government spend paid for with crushing taxes paid for by consumers.