* Posts by cschneid

63 posts • joined 18 Oct 2009

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Deep-root database: Kew Garden's 8 million specimen collection to find new life through data management

cschneid

going to tender?

The problem with this approach seems to be the presumption that there exists something in the world that does what you need. This often seems to lead to evaluating various promises from an assortment of contracted custom development solution providers with an eye towards selecting the least bad amongst them.

A lesson from long ago: if you find something that does most of what you need and a feature is that you can customize to make it do the rest, you will regret your acquisition as the customizations will create no end of difficulty when you eventually reach a point where you have no choice but to upgrade. See, that "most of what you need," that was the easy part. The difficult part, the part that you can't live without, that's the part that is unique to your organization. You can't buy that part.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

cschneid

It grieves me that the tools with which the world was built are being discarded due to fashion.

Days after President Trump suggests pausing election over security, US House passes $500m for states to shore up election security

cschneid

Re: The way it will pan out

Well that went dark pretty fast.

Rust code in Linux kernel looks more likely as language team lead promises support

cschneid

I think this started here.

Erudite, insightful, self-aware and almost human: Give your local database admin a hug – it's DBA Appreciation Day

cschneid
Coat

Women are better DBAs than men...

...they're not afraid to COMMIT.

Scala contributor: Open source and diversity key to tackling dev skills shortage

cschneid

Have we learned nothing in the last 40 years?

Application development seems to have devolved into the artifice of mercilessly stitching together tools and libraries into frankenmodules to be tortured into a lurching semblance of functionality.

This isn't computer science, and it isn't really application development either. It shares lineage with overloaded, multi-sheet, macro-laden Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets occasionally shelling out to DOS to execute the odd GW-BASIC program or some utility downloaded from PC Magazine. Brittle superstructure resting on shaky ground.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

cschneid

renaming a git branch

Here I thought I'd find a discussion of the technical issues surrounding changing the name of "master" to "main". For others in the same situation, see here.

The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

cschneid

Re: Speaking of OS/2...

And if you cheated repeatedly it would pop up a dialog asking if this was really necessary.

Nine in ten biz applications harbor out-of-date, unsupported, insecure open-source code, study shows

cschneid

Agreed, regarding out of date; old != bad, in fact sometimes old is preferable to new when licensing changes in a manner unfavorable to the customer or the latest version insists on phoning home to a server for reasons unknown.

Unsupported is something for risk management to consider.

Insecure still needs to be addressed.

India says its brains saved the world from the last colosso-crisis – cough, Y2K – proving it can become self-reliant

cschneid

Re: Are you insinuating something?

The best case scenario for preventative maintenance is that it will seem a waste of time. This is true of computer systems, automobiles, and pretty much everything else.

Guess who's back, back again. SE's back, tell a friend: 2020 reboot looks like an iPhone 8 and even shares components

cschneid

but how is it selling?

While I appreciate the snark at El Reg as much as the next commentard, sacrificing news and fact for snark is a waste of talent. This reads like someone shouted, "Quick, three or four hundred words on that new Apple thing!"

More interesting would be how it's selling. There's been a trend towards mobiles getting larger and larger as people use them for content consumption instead of communication, how does the market react to a comparably tiny mobile?

If you can't say something interesting, or at least funny, say nothing at all. Points off for quoting this last back to me.

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

cschneid

age discrimination is one reason software sucks

Some thoughts on the matter.

Lost in translation and adrift in cloud storage

cschneid

Re: The problem is not beheerder

> It's that second of inattention that always gets you, and it got him.

We used to call that the "OhNoSecond."

From Gmail to Gfail: Google's G-Suite topples over for unlucky netizens, rights itself

cschneid

Re: Clouds sometime rain

I still think of cloud as a faith-based computing initiative.

Your Agile-built IT platform was 'terrible', Co-Op Insurance chief complained to High Court

cschneid

Re: We see only green here sir...

> Isn't that what anyone would expect from an IBM led outsourced delivery project. An artful construction of status reporting that ensure there is no issues at all except with the customer...

FTFY - it's not just IBM. I do think you are otherwise spot on.

NASA to launch 247 petabytes of data into AWS – but forgot about eye-watering cloudy egress costs before lift-off

cschneid

Absolutely. They should just outsource the whole mess to the lowest bidder and inject adverts into the data streams.

Google reveals the wheels almost literally fell off one of its cloudy server racks

cschneid

Santayana, again

Twenty-mumble years ago, I came into support of a roll-your-own DB/DC system built in the 1970s. It was kind of creaking, but we were in year twelve of the ten year migration out of the system and management wanted no maintenance done. My senior and I ignored that, quietly declaring that any production problem would be met with our intent of making that problem never happen again.

At the time, the system was executing ~2,000,000 transactions every business day during prime shift. We used to say, if it's a one-in-a-million chance, it'll happen today, twice.

It's nice that Google has learned these particular lessons that mainframe people knew decades ago. I wonder if they'll learn the rest?

You can't hold black horse down: Brit bank Lloyds goes full multi-cloud, signs up with Google as well as Microsoft

cschneid

single vendor vs. multiple vendor

The modern version of "build vs. buy."

The multiple vendor problem is well known: when the inevitable problems arise the vendors point at each other assigning blame until they ultimately assign blame back on the client.

The single vendor problem is the solution to the multiple vendor problem: have a single vendor so that, when the inevitable problems arise, you have but one vendor to tell you to it's all your (the client's) fault, saving time.

These two positions have been ping-pong-ing off each other for decades, contributing to the fortunes of consultants and vendors, to the detriment of clients worldwide.

There's already outsourcing and cloud here, just add DevOps and you'll have the trifecta.

Honeywell, I blew up the qubits: Thermostat maker to offer cloud access to 'world's most powerful quantum computer' within months

cschneid

If you're writing code in Python, JavaScript, Java and PHP, relax. The hot trendy languages are still miles behind, this survey says

cschneid

Re: COBOL

Most of the StackOverflow COBOL questions seem to be from students.

Two former co-workers were telling me a story about one (a 30 year COBOL veteran) working his way through some CICS COBOL code that used raw sockets to talk to an external provider, with the other (a 20 year Java veteran) looking over his shoulder. The Java vet was having no trouble keeping up with the COBOL vet, somewhat to the mild annoyance and impressed surprise of the COBOL vet.

COBOL is just another programming language. It's not hard to learn, it's not hard to understand, it's just out of fashion despite being really good for its problem space.

You don't write a regex engine in COBOL. You don't implement the Quicksort algorithm in COBOL. I mean, you probably could, but that's not its problem space so just don't.

If you're VISA or American Express doing OLTP and you need serious speed, reliability, recoverability, and securability then COBOL and CICS on a z15 are your jam.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

cschneid

Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access

cschneid

Re: A System/38 aint no mainframe, boy!

System/360 -> System/370 -> System/390 -> System z -> IBM Z

My recollection, not backed up by anything, Wikipedia disagrees and I say they're wrong in no small part because they simply redirect System z to IBM Z and retcon the z900 as the latter.

None of this is helped by the conflation and confluence of architecture names and marketing names.

System/38 is not a mainframe. A static copy of a database is not a replacement for the source system from which the copy was obtained. I wonder if a copy of the CD was made by any of the staff.

In deepest darkest Surrey, an on-prem SAP system running 17-year-old software is about to die....

cschneid

Lack of received wisdom

<sarcasm/>

I thought the received wisdom these days was that the solution to a Government IT problem, any IT problem really, is Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud.

Repeat after me, in every meeting, at every opportunity: Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud. Outsourcing, DevOps, and Cloud.

Your training is now complete. Pick up your diploma at the printer on your way out.

'I am done with open source': Developer of Rust Actix web framework quits, appoints new maintainer

cschneid

PL and TL

> The episode demonstrates that expert developers are often not expert in managing the human relations aspect of projects that can become significant.

Prior to leaving the codeface for a seat by the fire, the last place I worked was developing the concept of a Project Lead and a Technical Lead who would work in tandem. The former would arrange meetings, record notes, was the keeper of the project schedule, communicated with the user community and with management, and handled the myriad of complexities that surround a project. The latter was the architect, designer, editor-in-chief for the myriad of complexities that are the project.

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit

cschneid

everything you do is wrong

It is a bit difficult to reconcile the drumbeat of "rip and replace evil legacy code" with the "but not this legacy code" caveat.

AppSheet. Gesundheit! Oh, we see – it's Google pulling no-code development into a cloudy embrace

cschneid

Visual Programming

This cycle has been repeating itself since at least the early 90s (if you include the Information Center concept, then a decade prior). From a "catalog of parts," drag and drop icons representing {database, dumb terminal, files in various formats, et. al.} and "wire" them together to produce a result. Paint a GUI and connect it to the inputs and output of those icons.

Security is hard. Data integrity is hard. Compliance is hard. Maintenance, ownership, and governance are necessary.

There seems to be a misconception that the bottleneck in application development is a lack of bodies to do the work, and that any old body will do.

Ditch Chef, Puppet, Splunk and snyk for GitLab? That's the pitch from your new wannabe one-stop DevOps shop

cschneid

Santayana

[Sijbrandij:] "It is not so much that applications get moved, because that's super costly. But you could say all new applications will be on a different cloud from now."

And thus it was acknowledged that IT shops must encompass the skill sets to indefinitely drag the baggage of applications developed for what previous generations thought was to be the one and only platform, each with its own quirks and foibles, never actually migrating to a single underpinning, forever dealing with integrations reliant on tenuous agreements and bits of string,

Just like their ancestors, victims of management decrees. "All new systems will be built in PL/I." "All new systems will be built with a client/server architecture." "All new systems will target OS/2 as the client." "All new systems will be web based." "All new systems will be cloud based." "All new systems will target AWS." And so on and so forth, ad infinitum, from now until the end of time, world without end, forever and ever.

IBM looks to boost sales the same way it has for 65 years – yes, it's a new mainframe: The z15

cschneid

"super-expensive mainframes"

Just how "super-expensive" are these new mainframes? I mean, doing a TCO (not TCOWICAFE (Total Cost Of What I Can Account For Easily)) comparison with commodity hardware, software, and support contracts.

cschneid

Re: Haven't you heard?

I think "hybrid cloud" means whatever the marketing arm of the currently speaking vendor says it means.

The results are in… and California’s GDPR-ish digital privacy law has survived onslaught by Google and friends

cschneid

Re: "Will never happen, because, free speech. "

I believe the Citizens United decision established that it does.

Now that's what we're Tolkien about: You need one storage system to rule them all and in the darkness bind them

cschneid

not so much counterpoint as supplemental

"A single version of the truth for your business is a lofty yet essential goal to maximize business opportunity." This is the author's conclusion, with which it is difficult to disagree. Some of what precedes this is, however, at odds with history as I experienced it.

Many organizations started out with one single version of the truth in a centralized database. Then came the 1980s and relatively quickly many people had hitherto unheard of computing power on their respective desktops and the ignorance to equate capability with ability.

Much has been made of the "PC Revolution" and the empowerment of the end user whilst slathering pejoratives on centralized IT. Suffice it to say that organizational culture kept these two essential parts of the whole at loggerheads.

The move away from a single source of truth was due, not to caution, but to the perceived neglect from central IT. The end users needed to perform what-if analysis and central IT was not forthcoming with applications to do that. Enter Lotus 1-2-3, dBase, et. al. and what came to be known as "shadow IT."

There was no source code management, there was no test version of the "database"; these were not IT people and they knew not of these things. Ignorance can be remedied, but no one saw fit to do so.

And just why was central IT not providing a single application to access the single source of data? Management prioritized those requests far enough down the queue that they were never addressed.

Again, I don't disagree with the conclusion that "[...] it's understandable to have secondary data sprinkled everywhere. It's also a smart move to unify it into a single source of truth."

And again, I think some things are missing from the provided two routes to the truth: data administration and governance. It is essential that whomever is accessing the one true source of data understand what it is they are getting. If there's a "current status" column, as of when is it current? Also, GDPR, PII, HIPAA, SOX, et. al.

Pentagon makes case for Return of the JEDI: There's only one cloud biz that can do the job and it starts with an A (or rhymes with loft)

cschneid

Elsewhere on this site...

repatriation of cloud data

LzLabs kills Swisscom’s mainframes – but it's not the work of a vicious BOFH: All the apps are now living on cloud nine

cschneid

Interesting. One of the advantages of CICS is its resource management, where an application can update a DB2 table, a VSAM file, an IMS segment, and then send an MQ message only to encounter a problem, abend, and all those updates never happened. LzLabs claim to be able to do the same.

There is much talk of load modules, no mention of program objects which is the format of any COBOL application recompiled with IBM Enterprise COBOL v5+. That may not matter, as the LzLabs seemingly has an emulation layer. I say seemingly because their product data sheets are not available to the hoi polloi.

Customers are, however, still stuck with one vendor, just as they were with their IBM Z. Also, I didn't see a mention of cost comparisons. I presume LzLabs is cheaper, at least for the honeymoon period, taking into account TCO and not just TCOWICAFE (Total Cost Of What I Can Account For Easily).

I wonder about SMF, which is useful for post-event analysis.

It seems like an awful lot of effort is being put into mitigation of a perceived problem: lack of mainframe skills. I think it's probably cheaper to just train the new staff, but that would make them skilled labor instead of fungible resources.

This move by Dropbox will reduce users' files to tiers: Rarely, regularly accessed data now kept separate

cschneid

DFSMShsm

Nice to see another handy z/OS feature has been discovered by the cloud. Properly configured, hierarchical storage management can save quite a bit of money.

'Java 9, it did break some things,' Oracle bod admits to devs still clinging to version 8

cschneid

Santayana

In the mainframe space, famous for its backward compatibility, IBM sells a COBOL compiler and has for the last half century or so. In ~1985, when IBM introduced their VS COBOL II compiler which implemented at least some of the 1985 standard, they broke some things that worked in their OS COBOL compiler which VS COBOL II replaced. Not necessarily everything that broke was standards-related, but still, VS COBOL II was a complete rewrite of the COBOL compiler from the ground up. It was kind of a big deal to migrate from one product to the next.

Over the next 30 years IBM continued to release new major and minor versions of their COBOL compiler under various names (COBOL/370, COBOL for MVS and VM, COBOL for OS/390 and VM, et. al.), implementing new features as they went. These products all had essentially the same "engine" powering source code parsing and object code generation. Upgrades were essentially a doddle.

Fast forward to the release of v5 of IBM Enterprise COBOL. This product breaks some things because it is a complete rewrite from the ground up. And customers are surprised to discover they have code that has relied on decades-old non-standards-conforming undocumented behavior which went away in the rewrite. It's kind of a big deal to migrate from versions prior to v5 to v5 or later.

That it only took Java ~20 years to reach a version/release that broke things is the surprise, what with time moving at the speed of the internet and all.

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good

cschneid

they all laughed...

...when I said, "Write it in COBOL."

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

cschneid

Re: At least is isnt oracle or M$

> So what's next, MS hasn't got its UNIX yet. SUSE or Canonical?

Maybe they'll revive Xenix.

Hey cool, you went serverless. Now you just have to worry about all those stale functions

cschneid
Coat

DevOps fixes all this...

...and if it doesn't, you're doing DevOps wrong. If you have a problem, DevOps is the solution. DevOps is good, DevOps is great, we surrender our will, as of this date.

Slack bots have the keys to your processes. What could go wrong? Well...

cschneid

Re: But.. that's not a bot problem... that's a human problem!

[...] if the procedures actually make sense [...]

I think we're done here.

The many-faced god of operational excellence, DevOps and now 'site reliability engineering'

cschneid

methodologies

How the work gets done is significantly less important than that it gets done. Methodology mavens would have you believe the reverse.

Causes of software development woes

cschneid

catchy methodology names

The methodology my team tended to use was "find out what is needed and then deliver it." I'm surprised it's not more widely used. Maybe it needs a catchy name, perhaps "The Belgian Gambit."

IBM melts down fixing Meltdown as processes and patches stutter

cschneid

IBMers are therefore being urged to ensure client systems are thoroughly backed up before attempting patches, and even then to do so only after rigorous testing and securing users’ signoff of patching programs.

Backup and rigorous testing isn't SOP?

Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

cschneid

memories

Octal user IDs, Golden CommPass, WinCIM, the Canopus Research forum, l'affaire Barkto. Good times.

Guess who's now automating small-biz IT jobs? Yes, it's Microsoft

cschneid

Re: I totally love those solutions

"There's a wealth of ignorance out there." ISTR this being attributed to Ed Yourdon, but I can't find a reference anywhere.

Java SE 9 and Java EE 8 arrive, 364 days later than first planned

cschneid

Ah, legacy

Java has enormous user and code bases, [...] and is likely to be with us for decades to come

Sounds like COBOL.

[the elided part reads features on many university curricula and certainly does not apply to COBOL]

Blame Canada? $5.7m IBM IT deal balloons to $185m thanks to 'an open bag of money'

cschneid

Relatively straighforward

relatively straightforward task of installing PeopleSoft HR software for a few government agencies

...cough...sputter...

Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

cschneid

Don't mistake stability for stagnation, activity for progress, or change for innovation.

Is security keeping pace with continuous delivery?

cschneid

No

You asked a yes/no question, there's the answer.

UK's Universal Credit IT may go downhill soon, warns think tank report

cschneid

Re: We have a shitty system

I believe you have described the history of IT in its entirety.

Why we should learn to stop worrying and love legacy – Fujitsu's UK head

cschneid

magpies

[W]e shouldn't necessarily assume something is irrelevant because it is old.

Lest we become magpie developers.

More succinctly, in the words of William Inge...

There are two kinds of fools: one says "This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says, "This is new, therefore it is better."

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