Message ID: 269345
Posted By: diogenese19348
Posted On: 2005-05-28 22:44:00
Subject: Flame Bait


So it is the middle of a holiday weekend, and I suspect the flames will die down before Tuesday. I have been in the business since the wee days of PC’s. As in, I have an IBM XT with a 5 1/4 360 K floppy disk drive and a 10 mb boat anchor masquerading as a hard drive in the basement somewhere. It cost around $5,000.

What I earned my pay on was an IBM System 36. Two hard drives totaling 2.5 gigs. They cost $40K apiece. State of the art (and unaffordable) modems were 9,600 baud. The Sytsem 36 booted from 8 inch floppies (no kidding). In the corner of the computer room, we had an S-1. It was eight feet high, and 4 feet wide, and had no hard drive. You had to load a tape to run a program. We used it for printing labels. Pretty much all it was good for.

Anyway, we fast forward to 1992. I took a job with a medical billing office. They were running Medical Manager on, you guessed it, SCO Unix. From my DOS based days, it was a huge step forward (Seriously). I could spool jobs to the printer in the background, write whole programs with shell commands, and in general, make the damned system do what I wanted it to do, rather than what it wanted to do. We had 24 people running off of one stinking 486 box with 16 (later updated to 32) megs of RAM using digiports PLUS another 10 at a satellite site running over modems. Hmmm... As I recall, they were STILL 9,600 baud. Just a bit cheaper.

So we fast forward again to today. We have a project that is N-tier. I am not going to get into the specifics of what the bad decisions were that got us here, but we have a pair of dual processor Xenon 3.2 gigahertz boxes with 2 gigs of RAM a piece than can support, get, this, 15 users a piece. That is just the middle tier box, not the database. The front end of course is a web application (Flash, don’t get me started), that requires a 2.4 ghz Pentium processor and 512K RAM - We are going to have to swap out the Celerons, they don’t cut it.

OK yeah, I almost forgot... Windows XP on the client, Windows 2K3 on the servers. Why the Fsck do you need a graphical interface on a fscking server? Don’t mind me foaming at the mouth please.

Microsoft has servers so fscking wrong it stops being humorous. Even for me. Scary, isn’t it?

We have what I call a monthly prayer meeting. As in we update our servers, and pray the network comes back up. Last month half of it didn’t.

We lost connections to two databases hosting 2,500 users. Somehow, nobody noticed that until I wandered in the next day. There were a total of 500 calls in the queue. What does a clue cost these days?

I don’t know folks. I am really not a Linux zealot, obviously. But Microsoft has something seriously wrong. It is already buying the farm on the servers, and may actually be ready to have its head handed to it on the client. From where I sit, it certainly deserves it.

Let me put it this way: I don’t know which is scarier right now: Longhorn being delayed again, or Longhorn being shipped. You listening Bill? I think you have a problem...

“That wasn’t very nice.... Dave” - HAL

Message ID: 269352
Posted By: baomike
Posted On: 2005-05-29 00:29:00
Subject: Re: Flame Bait

The only thing you left out was drum memory. Remember those things? Spinning garbage cans.
The head clearance must have been huge.

Got to play with one on a Honeywell 200 , card feed and all.

Message ID: 269378
Posted By: truth_in_government
Posted On: 2005-05-29 08:39:00
Subject: Re: Flame Bait

First programs: Eratosthenes' Sieve and cubic equation rooter hand-punched onto HP9100 cards (senior year high school, I stunk at math, still do.)

Carried boxes of cards to the SBA's 360 to run population modeling (Botany dept. didn't rate time on the GRC's Cyber 7000, even the Business wonks looked down on us.

First home system wire wrapped on std bus cards, cost a fortune for surplus ram, Z80 running hand rolled BDOS and BIOS for CPM (the software seemed cheap.)

First experience with DOS: Data General Nova 3 (You call _that_ DOS? This is _DOS_.) RDOS and RTOS too, naturally.

First pc clone: the incomparably incompatable Bondwell turbo pc! Gorilla Banana printer to boot.

Still have a Coherent install on an ESDI drive that can be swapped into the chassis of the second PC clone (circa 1986) that's gone through turbo XT, 286, and 4/586 motherboards over the years.

All current hardware/software remains crude and primitive compared to the processing power of something as crude as algae. It remains interesting as a hobby.

MicroSoft has always been entertainingly incompatable and nonstandard and incompatable, it's the single competitive advantage that they leverage. Somehow it seems to be losing its amusement value as the fundamental lack of quality that tangentially accompanies their wares crimps the style of business and individuals. It will be interesting to see how the endgame for the company plays out.

Message ID: 269391
Posted By: raoulduke_esq
Posted On: 2005-05-29 12:46:00
Subject: Re: Flame Bait

<< The only thing you left out was drum memory. Remember those things? Spinning garbage cans.
The head clearance must have been huge.>>

Been there, done that. The BCC-500 had drums as swap for it's core. They were HUGE, like 6 feet tall, with a column of fixed heads in each of the four corners. The disk drive was about 8-10 feet wide with a horizontal spindle holding a couple of dozen 3 foot high platters. Total capacity was something like 5 - 10 MB. Outside the machine room was a panel that displayed the contents of the 24 bit page swap counter with 24 little incandescent bulbs - rapid counting meant thrashing and a frozen count meant a crash. After it was decommissioned in 1983, I saved one or two 4K x 52 bits core memory modules (the entire module including read/write drivers - a 50 lbs chassis) in a basement somewhere.

Those were the days...


Message ID: 269471
Posted By: diogenese19348
Posted On: 2005-05-29 21:44:00
Subject: The point also being...

I am very dangerous to Microsoft. I am one of their caged developers that is about to move on. And a damned good one I might add. Sort of the same problem is Darl is facing.

No, subtract me from the 8,000 developers total. Yeah, Billy has many more than that, but the same principle applies.

Are you folks understanding what I am saying?

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