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User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot once again displays incredible stupidity

Slashdot once again displays incredible stupidity
23 Jul 08 2143 hours

This is not a submission; it is a comment on the utter cluelessness and stupidity displayed by Slashdot in rejecting my submission about the Getronics Wang VS End of Support announcement release Monday morning.

My second submission (the first was incomplete due to hitting "Submit" instead of "Preview" due to the positioning of the buttons after the first preview) was perfect, links verified, well-written, and I am the leading authority on the subject on the whole planet.

A key point of interest is that the New VS that continues on after end of life for the legacy systems takes the Wang VS mainframe into LINUX, repeat LINUX. We who work closely with the virtual New VS are both VS and Linux people. All the customers who move to the New VS end up running Linux in commercial production, often as the enterprise system running the whole business.

Another point of interest, possibly going over your heads due to your young ages, is that Wang brought the world affordable calculators, word processing, affordable business data processing, the first optical document imaging, the first PBX/DP integration, and for 31 years offered the most efficient, easiest to program, easiest to operate and easiest to use mainframe-class systems. Throughout the 31 years and something like 16 generations of VS processor, Wang maintained binary compatibility, something IBM never did. Wang manufactured about 65,000 of its 1970s 2200 small business systems and about 65,000 of its VS mainframes. The high water mark of the VS installed base was probably around 30,000 systems. Literally millions of people over the age of 25 have had their hands on Wang keyboards. Just ask around.

Wang was one of the last great U.S. R&D shops, one of the last to design and build CPUs and the OSs to go with them.

The passing of the VS from support after 31 years is a momentous event, and one with Linux implications as the New VS that replaces it runs exclusively on Linux platforms. There are perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 live, living, production legacy VS systems still in operation in the world. Most are in multi-technology sites running a variety of systems often covered in news on Slasdot. Many people currently working in IT are affected by this.

In the time since I submitted this you have published a number of interesting and also a number of thoroughly trivial articles. I don't know why you sat on this until it became stale, nor why you rejected it, but I have to conclude that the many evidences of sloppiness and cluelessness visible daily on Slashdot are hereby confirmed.

In the past I have been a slashdot subscriber but I doubt I will ever send you morons another dime.


Journal Journal: End of Life for 30-yr-old Wang VS line

Slashdot submission, 21 Jul 08
Rejected 24 Jul by clueless editors

End of Life for 30-yr-old Wang VS line
Hardware, Business

End of Life for the venerable Wang VS line of mainframes was announc ed today by Getronics, successor to Wang Global and Wang Laboratories. Fortunately for VS customers there is a new kid on the block to take over. TransVirtu al Systems, originator and owner of the virtualization technology that has already replaced 60 of the legacy VS systems in 10 countries, is named in the announcement as the exclusive source for Wang VS software and systems going forward.

The Wang VS was first released in 1977 as the VS80, an interactive system with an IBM 360 instruction set and memory architecture, supporting up to 32 users and numerous I/O devices in a maximum of 512 KB of main memory. Many generations and models followed, culminating in the VS18950, released in 1999, and the smaller VS6700 models release in 2000. The top-of-the-line legacy VS18950 is able to support up to 500 users, usually in less than 1 GB of main memory.

The principal language employed on the VS is COBOL, either COBOL 74 or COBOL 85, although major systems have been written in C, Wang BASIC, RPG II, PL/I and others. The VS IDE supports about a dozen languages. The VS also offers PACE, a 4GL and rdbms, with ironclad referential integrity that is rule-based rather than trigger-based.

The Wang VS has seen service in virtually every industry and most countries, including the third world. At one time, every U.S. State Department facility worldwide had a Wang VS, all of them networked using Wang System Networking, variant on the multilayer OSI protocol model. The largest WSN network was Wang's own, with over 900 systems supporting email, scheduling, package distribution, remote logon and file transfer. There were even VS systems on U.S. Navy ships.

TransVirtual's post-legacy New VS, which forms the VS22000 family of official VS models, runs on modern Dell PowerEdge server hardware and brings to the VS world levels of performance, reliability and fault tolerance unknown in the legacy VS world. High end performance is presently 220% of the legacy high-end VS18950. The principal precept underlying the New VS is 100% seamless compatibility. The New VS passes the same VS platform certification tests used for legacy VS models and runs all VS software from the VS Operating System all the way through to customer applications. It can even IPL from a legacy Wang VS system disk. There is no conversion whatsoever, not of programs and not of data. The New VS is truly a VS, just in modern platform clothing and with modern performance.

Transvirt ual Systems is a Texas company formed in 2004 specifically to bring a new generation of Wang VS computer to market. TVS has principal offices in Cypress, Texas, a few minutes from the former Compaq campus. The company already employs several key former Wang people but its engineering core studied the Wang VS hardware for ten years before the virtualization was attempted. The company and its products are an outgrowth of The Unofficial Wang VS Information Center, a VS-centric website in operation since 1995.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Timekeeping for billing

For time accounting I use a simple text file on a mainframe (uh, a Wang VS mainframe). Entries have a simple format enforced by nothing but guided by tab stops:

F 0930 0630-0645 SD1: This is a time log entry. It can
. run to multiple lines.

F = Friday, just because I keep a better picture of things
in my head when the day of the week is associated.

0930 = mmdd of the log entry.

0630 = hhmm of the item start.

0645 = hhmm of the item stop.

SD1 = the three-digit project code, in this case signifying "SlashDot 1".

Since I didn't want to have to enter the year in each log
entry I have a separate year marker that precedes the entries of each year:

YEAR 2005

Now... what does this get me? With a pretty straightforward extraction and data reduction program it gets me billing data for any period for any subset of project codes, with project subtotals and selected period totals, with output by day or summarized for the billing period.

Client ABC will tend to have project codes beginning with "A". Client XYZ with "X". Etc. I keep a list of the project codes and their creation dates at the head of the file and the data reduction program ignores the list.

For data entry I use the system's source code editor with a setup that places the tab stops where my fields are located.

In at least my main client situtations I have printed the detailed project data for the billing period and attached it to the invoice. They are usually very favorably impressed. Only one complained, but she was an intellectually- and IT-challenged manager who didn't last.

I can include or suppress the start/stop times of day. If client management or A/P can't handle the idea of work done at night I suppress them. I log breaks in order to have contiguous accounting of time, and I can include or exclude printing of breaks and personal time. With some clients I want them to see that all time is neatly accounted for, so I print everything. For others who might be confused I suppress any mention of breaks and personal time and leave it to their adding machine people to verify that the disjoint hours add up correctly. For squirrelly clients or jobs for which detail is inappropriate I simply transfer the totals for the billing period to the invoice.

Oh yes, the data reduction program calculates hours from the start/stop times I log. Hours are shown in the output as decimal fractions, rounded to quarter hours. I generally log my start and stop times in such a way that the rounding aways works to the client's favor, not to mine. That way if hours were ever questioned I could show that actual time exceeded that billed. But it never came up. Ever.

The program neatly handles stop times later than 2359. I have always handled late night sessions begun before midnight as extensions of the 24-hour day in which they began. That solves the problem of a work session that crosses over into a new billing period, which could produce the timekeeping equivalent of an "orphan" in word processing and typesetting, in cases where the project code to which the time is billed effectively ends with that overnight piece of work. I have often billed weekly or biweekly, so it's inconvenient to have the tail end of a Sunday overnight session fall into the next billing period and invoice.

No bill I've submitted using this methodology has ever been challenged or refused. On the contrary, at least some clients have commented that they wished they got this detail from other contractors and consultants.

What do I enter in the log? Major descriptive elements of the work done, as well as valuable technical details that may be of use to anyone working on the same stuff now or later. The idea is twofold: to produce work record that the client could show to any technical person even remotely familiar with the work done and get verification of reasonableness and, if necessary, verification of the actual work done. Second, to produce a record in which crucial data is recorded for future reference. Thus, I wouldn't merely log that I fixed a problem but *what* the problem was determined to be, *how* I fixed it, and any relevant settings, patch data, steps carried out, etc.

When these logs get to be large they serve as unstructured databases in which previous instances of technical issues and their solutions can be queried. At one client location where my presence spanned 4-1/2 years I made my time log available to other programmers so they could look up the kinds of gnarly problems that we can remember have been solved before but whose details elude us, and problems that may have been solved before our time.

I don't do this kind of work anymore but the methodology and tools have served me well since 1986, when I wrote the first version of the data reduction program. Despite my best anticipation of century rollover in the code I wrote in 1986 and subsequent minor modifications, the program failed after Y2K and, since the source was lost at a client location that had shut down while I was busy with other things, I had to write it again. That wasn't difficult and the new version works better for me than the original.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks for mod up

Many thanks to the unidentified moderators who modded up several of my comments today.

Journal Journal: Mod points carelessly assigned to lowlifes

Some asshole with moderation points hit two of my posts today. Judge for yourself:

Re:Tax systems was 1, now 0

This was "Overrated" at its default of 1? Obviously the person who modded this down is a fuckwitted socialist asswipe who loves high taxes.

Re:I'd rather have a sales tax than an income tax was 1, now -1.

This one was modded down twice, probably by the same pus-brained fuckwit who modded the other post down, first as "Overrated," then as a "Troll." Ha! If this message is a troll then the moderator is Saddam Hussein's boyfriend. Wait! He could be!

My post is chock full of spot-on, factual information and takes on the nonsense of liberals using the word "progressive" to have a too-conveniently overlapping meaning in politics and tax rates.

Message to the guilty moderator(s): petty is as petty does. You're proving the bankruptcy of your politics by doing the only thing you know how to do: tear things down to your level. Hint: it doesn't work. Thanks for revealing the proof that you're an unworthy opponent. The fact that you can hide behind anonymous moderation won't help you -- you have to live with yourself, which must be hellish.

By affecting my karma and thus the default score of postings I made today, you have also inadvertantly detracted from the anti-spam discussion. Do you like spam, too, in addition to high taxes? Fuckwit!

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