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Comment Re:Lots of places use COBOL (Score 1) 217

Universities almost never taught COBOL. It was considered passé long before colleges ever started teaching computer science. Academics were definitely making fun of it by the mid '70s. One of the classic ways of hazing a new hire back in the early 80's was to leave a COBOL manual on their chair when they went to lunch on their first day.

Comment Re:What's wrong with using COBOL? (Score 1) 217

AFIK, mainframes do not run in lockstep. AFIK, Stratus Technologies is the only vendor you can buy a system the runs in lockstep from. Stratus VOS systems do support COBOL, BTW -- on ia32 hardware. You can probably buy COBOL compilers for modern operating systems from other vendors, too (I've seen evidence that at least 2 vendors are working on it).

As others have pointed out, recompiling the code is going to be a lot easier than figuring out exactly what it does and recoding it in another language. COBOL is going be particularly challenging to port away from: Syntactically, COBOL is nothing to be proud of, but it does give users access to a lot of things that nothing mainstream really does. Like ISAM file systems and decimal arithmetic (which can be implemented using binary and a lot of multiplies and divides by 10). If you are going to translate COBOL into another language, you need to implement a lot of the infrastructure the compiler depends on. That will take years and needs a programming staff that is competent enough to read the standards documents.

Comment Think Before You Speak (Score 1) 523

Do you know what some of us more seasoned veterans in the industry call a passionate criticizer?

A volunteer [to fix the code].

Once where I worked, there was this horrible piece of user interface code (code that handles keystrokes always tends to be). And there was this programmer who was constantly flaming about how bad it was. Then there was the meeting with management about adding Kanji support to the operating system. He wasn't at the meeting, but everyone else familiar with the code was and got assigned to other tasks. The meeting finally got down to this one ugly piece of code and nobody left to enhance it. And somebody chimes in, "Mr X, was just talking about it the other day..." Note that "complaining" got translated to the less specific "talking". Mr X did a great job on that code, BTW. Nobody has ever complained about it since...

Comment This could get really "interesting" (Score 1) 264

In order for this to be implemented in the real world, there will have to be a standard.

The standard will be subject to creative interpretation.

Vendors will compete on how good their creative interpretation is at getting you through the intersection faster.

In other words, if this happens, it will turn into a high tech version of the game kids call "chicken".

Comment Some Newsworthy Doxes (Score 1) 242

The details of his IRS audits (they don't audit you more than once unless that find a lot the first time).

How many illegal immigrants he has hired.

The salary distribution for employees at his companies (i.e., the kind of jobs he knows how to create).

The manufacturing country of origin for the various products he has sold over the years (OK, that's probably not secret, but might be hard to find).

Comment Re:Simple. (Score 1) 265

I would set up a honeypot instead of just bouncing the scans -- and find some way to claim damages from whatever they do after the scans.

Or, how about sending a registered letter to their legal department saying that your fee for processing port scans is $10 per packet. If they don't stop, then bill them. If they don't pay, then you have suffered a business loss and you can claim damages which might make the scans a felony under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

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