AboutEx Vax/VMS RdB Dinosaur Now .Net SQL Dinosaur
Skills.Net, SQL Server, C++, CUDA, Angular, Neo4j, Mongo etc etc
Joined devRant on 6/19/2020
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Nobody should be allowed anywhere near a Git client until they have read this book.17
One job I picked up was for an IoT Start Up. It was quite interesting work, reporting to the technical director, who was an electronics engineer, who was designing the hardware himself, they had a couple of firmware guys already, and just needed someone to take care of the software.
So they said they needed something in Azure that they could stream their data to and provide analytics for their clients. It had to be Azure, and it had to be Azure Native, and was to be Multi-client, as they had a deal with Microsoft to showcase how well Azure works in the IoT space at an exhibition/conference in 3 months time.
So I worked flat out for 3 months, on a whole variety of technology, from C++ to get the radio packets from their IoT chip, Python to run on the hub to take the data from the C++ and stream it to the cloud, Azure IoT Hubs in every continent to receive the data and store it an a Cosmos DB, and then Power BI analytics wrapped up in an Angular front end that the clients could log into.
Got it finished 2 days before the show, and they were so pleased I got flown business class to Singapore to be on the stand and talk to customers.
The first sign of trouble was when we arrived at the show to find we just had one of those little circular tables with two stools in the middle of the floor, about two feet across and no power.
No problem, I was able to sort that, swapping laptops in and out.
Microsoft were really happy with what we had, and couldn't believe I had thrown it all together in 3 months.
We picked up a potential customer for the system, a major Asian Telecoms company.
Then when we got home, the CEO swooped in. I had never met this guy before. Imagine one of the VC guys from Silicon Valley, or the CEO from the IT Crowd. You get the picture. Could talk the hind leg of a donkey, and real street smart, but no brains. He insisted on "taking it from here" and flew alone to strike the deal with the customer. Came back with an MOU in his pocket and said to me, their guys will be in touch with you.
Then I got a call. Can you send us the source code and tell us how what servers we have to run this on?
Um, its cloud native.
No, we can't use a cloud it has to be on our servers - your CEO told us that was no problem..
He hadn't even taken the trouble to find out what it was we had built, and what he was selling.1
Most people will know how the AI in 2001 A Space Odyssey came to be called HAL. By the simple expedient of taking the letters IBM and applying -- to each.
How many remember how the Windows have all come to know and love started out as Windows NT?
It came about when Digital pulled the funding for the new version of it's VMS operating system, and Bill Gates swooped in and hired Dave Cutler, who basically took all the code with him to make the new version of Windows.
And stick the finger to his former employer, incremented VMS to get WNT.
One day my boss called me in to his office. "I need you to sort Bernie out".
Bernie? "Oh, you don't know about Bernie!"
Turns out Bernie was a Windows 2000 server running SQL 2000 that had all sorts of antique applications and SSIS packages running on it. Nobody was sure what it did, or if it was even still alive, but nobody was game to just switch it off.
So, after 2 months of chasing down source code, analysing it, looking for non-existent documentation, I was finally able to say.
Bernie's dead. You can bury him.13
I have been struggling with schema compare and editing anything SQL related in Visual Studio for a couple of weeks now. Cursor constantly flickering, can't click on anything, and actually running the compare results in Visual Studio disappearing in puff of smoke.
I'd put it down to an update, but then this week's update didn't fix it.
Turns out it is a "feature" that Microsoft has been refusing to fix for over a year now, where none of the SQL stuff in VS works properly on a 4k external monitor. And of course I only started trying to use that stuff on my 4k monitor since I have been working from home.
Dragging VS across to the laptop screen solves the problem (and is the Microsoft fix), but I think I now need to visit the optician to get new glasses to see WTF is going on.
So, what's your IT trivia?
One of my favourites is sosumi.
When Apple Computers started up they were sent a "cease and desist" notice by Apple Music (The Beatles).
They reached a settlement that Apple Computers would never publish music and Apple Music would never sell computers.
So when the Mac came out and played a tune on startup, the filename was sosumi.
Wikipedia now appears to dispute this, saying that sosumi wasn't the startup sound, but some other sound - any Mac experts care to comment?1
Another oldie - apologies if it has been done before.
So there were these two developers in a light aircraft looking to land, but they were completely fog bound and had no clue where they were (I said it was an oldie - no GPS).
So they flew around for a while, getting lower and lower hoping to see a landmark, when they flew past this office building.
As they went by, they saw a single light on in one of the windows, so they flew around again and attracted the guy's attention.
On the next loop around, the pilot shouted "WHERE ARE WE?"
Then on the next loop around, the guy in the office shouted back "YOU'RE IN AN AIRPLANE".
They looped around again, and the pilot shouted "THANKS!" and set course south west for 15 miles and made a perfect touchdown at Seattle airport.
Hi passenger looked at him and said "How did you do that??"
He said "Quite simple really. I asked that guy a perfectly reasonable question, and got an answer that was 100% correct, but totally useless, so I deduced that must be Microsoft, and I knew that the airport is 15 miles to the south west"2
I had a wonderful run-in with corporate security at a credit card processing company last year (I won't name them this time).
I was asked design an application that allowed users in a secure room to receive instructions for putting gift cards into envelopes, print labels and send the envelopes to the post. There were all sorts of rules about what combinations of cards could go in which envelopes etc etc, but that wasn't the hard part.
These folks had a dedicated label printer for printing the address labels, in their secure room.
The address data was in a database in the server room.
On separate networks.
And there was absolutely no way that the corporate security folks would let an application that had access to a printer that was on a different network also have access to the address data.
So I took a look at the legacy application to see what they did, to hopefully use as a precedent.
They had an unsecured web page (no, not an API, a web page) that listed the addresses to be printed. And a Windows application running on the users' PC that was quietly scraping that page to print the labels.
Luckily, it ceased to be an issue for me, as the whole IT department suddenly got outsourced to India, so it became some Indian's problem to solve.2
Anyone else get frustrated with intellisense in VS Code constantly popping up in front of the thing you are trying to click on?
YES, I KNOW WHAT IT IS, NOW BUGGER OFF AND LET ME CLICK ON IT!!
Or maybe I just need to get with the program and learn the keyboard shortcuts..6
This is an old one that I have hacked about to make it fit, so I hope it still works..
There were a business user, a B.A. and a developer on a road trip in the UK when they crossed the border into Wales. (This was antevirum, so that kind of behaviour was allowed back then).
They saw a sheep on a mountainside.
The business user cried out "Look! All the sheep in Wales are black!"
The B.A. tutted and said "Actually, all we can say is that there is at least one sheep in Wales and it is black down one side."
The developer woke up from nursing his hangover in the back seat, peered out of the window and said "How do you know its a sheep?"
So, I go to set up my avatar.
And no option for white hair!
Please hurry and add the option while I still have some left!5
I was asked the other day by a young dev why I prefer C# over Java.
So I responded by asking him why Java over C#?
Of course he replied "Its what we were taught at University"
Ah, well, there you go then, I wasn't.
Must be the grey hair, but I have seen so many languages come and go that they all look the same to me, so I just use whatever comes to hand these days.3
So, a few years ago I was working at a small state government department. After we has suffered a major development infrastructure outage (another story), I was so outspoken about what a shitty job the infrastructure vendor was doing, the IT Director put me in charge of managing the environment and the vendor, even though I was actually a software architect.
Anyway, a year later, we get a new project manager, and she decides that she needs to bring in a new team of contract developers because she doesn't trust us incumbents.
They develop a new application, but won't use our test team, insisting that their "BA" can do the testing themselves.
Finally it goes into production.
And crashes on Day 1. And keeps crashing.
Its the infrastructure goes out the cry from her office, do something about it!
I check the logs, can find nothing wrong, just this application keeps crashing.
I and another dev ask for the source code so that we can see if we can help find their bug, but we are told in no uncertain terms that there is no bug, they don't need any help, and we must focus on fixing the hardware issue.
After a couple of days of this, she called a meeting, all the PMs, the whole of the other project team, and me and my mate. And she starts laying into us about how we are letting them all down.
We insist that they have a bug, they insist that they can't have a bug because "it's been tested".
This ends up in a shouting match when my mate lost his cool with her.
So, we went back to our desks, got the exe and the pdb files (yes, they had published debug info to production), and reverse engineered it back to C# source, and then started looking through it.
Around midnight, we spotted the bug.
We took it to them the next morning, and it was like "Oh". When we asked how they could have tested it, they said, ah, well, we didn't actually test that function as we didn't think it would be used much....
What happened after that?
Not a happy ending. Six months later the IT Director retires and she gets shoed in as the new IT Director and then starts a bullying campaign against the two of us until we quit.5
I built an expert system (what we used to think of as AI back then) that could read the circuit diagram of a complex electronic circuit, figure out what it was meant to do, and set up the test gear to test it and diagnose manufacturing errors.
In 1985, using Vax/VMS and OPS5.
More recently, I was on a project (can't claim to have done it all myself this time) that used a neural network to detect patients in a care home that fell over/fell out of bed and alert the nurses' station.9