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January 12, 2009

Another note on comments

For those of you who are wondering, the reason that no comments have gone up for a while is that TypePad is having a glitch. We're hoping it'll be resolved soon. Just wanted to let you know.

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I'd say "no comment", but of course that would be self-contradictory. :-)

And "Green Guy" and "Blue Guy" say:


hmm, maybe you should switch to hosting your own blog/comments?


I find it just a wee bit humorous that two (now three, including me) left comments to a post regarding the inability to post comments!!

Gina Dalfonzo

It's human nature. When Dave Barry puts the occasional post up on his blog along the lines of "This is just a test -- don't comment," it usually gets more comments than all the other posts. :-)

Anyway, we've figured out that TypePad isn't having a systemwide glitch, it just hates me personally. That is, Travis can approve things but I can approve hardly anything. (This is a major reason why most of the posts today have come from me -- I can't access anyone else's.) I owe him major thanks, as with without him I would have been able to do very little today, and Zoe's post wouldn't have gone up at all. Prayers for this problem to be resolved quickly would be much appreciated. And if anyone can refer a good exorcist, that also would be a help.

Not to worry, folks!  Rolley helped me out.  We got 'er workin' now, possibly better than ever possi

Posted by: Travis

Gina Dalfonzo

You actually had me going for a minute there, Rolley. I was writing to ask Travis why he put the text in the name box. :-)

LeeQuod, Yet Another Underappreciated IT Guy

Gina wrote: "I owe [Travis] major thanks, as with without him I would have been able to do very little today"

"today"??? Ahem...

(Aside to Rolley and Travis: a former boss of mine was once reading some source code for the operating system of a fault-tolerant computer. (Did I just hear Gina's head explode again?) He got to an error condition in a section of the code where all major systems in the computer would have already failed, including the operator console where error messages would be displayed. But the rigidly enforced rule was that **ALL** error conditions must print an error message to the console - even if there was no console available anymore to display the message. So my boss found that the message that would be sent to the not-listening console was "Shut 'er down, Clancy; she's a-pumpin' mud."

Gina may not know calculus (math), but Typepad is treating her like one (medicine).

Or as SBK might say:
if (strcmp(user, "Gina")) { ferget_it(); }


Gina Dalfonzo

You're right, LeeQuod -- I would be able to do very little without Travis, period. But even less than usual today!

Rolley Haggard

As long as we’re sharing IT stories (in my day it was called “DP”), I once pulled an April Fool’s joke on our Data Center guys. Only it wasn’t April, and they didn’t exactly think of it as a joke. Alas, some people have no life.

Here’s the story. Apologies to you non-DP, I mean non-IT types if this leaves you high and dry. (Some people have no life).

One day I decided, right out of the (big) blue, let’s have a little fun at the expense of our respected colleagues. Let’s see just how smart they really are.

So I created a library file member named “PARTLY”. Then I used a system utility to delete said file.

The operating system dutifully deleted the file, and, as it was programmed to do, displayed a message confirming the action it had just executed. The message said, “MEMBER PARTLY DELETED”. Then I screen-printed the message and took it over to the Data Center.

I had no idea what a pandora’s box lay dormant in my sometimes-slightly-eccentric-but-perennially-fun-loving mind.

The technician assigned to research the “anomaly” I had uncovered was totally baffled. “I’ve never seen the system fail to completely delete a library member”, he said. “I can’t imagine what happened. Let me look into it.”

I figured he’d spend maybe an hour on it and then come over and share a hearty laugh and tell me what a clever fellow I was.


The poor soul spent two days digging through system source code trying to find where the referenced message originated from. Finally, after countless hours of fruitless endeavor, he took the problem to Butch, our senior systems programmer. Butch looked at the screen print and in less than 1 picosecond said to my hapless victim, “Rolley’s pulling your chain.”

* * *

Moral of the story: if you’re going to pull someone’s chain, make sure they don’t have the ability to make you need to change careers.

Anyone want to buy a used Assembler language textbook?

LeeQuod, Yet Another Denizen of the Old Programmer's Home, Thinking About Disks the Size of Dishwash

DP or not DP,
That is the question.
Whether t'is nobler in the mind
To forget altogether about my background in data processing,
Or to rise up and admit to my brother Rolley
That I too used to write code in BAL, COBOL, RPG, FORTRAN
And other LCLs (lowercase-challenged languages).
To rise, to hide no more;
Aye, there's the rub!
For in that admission of my past
Would I lose all my geek cred
With young'uns like SBK, Traviscrantz and JClintonstern.
Is the war between data processing and computer science over,
Or does one's reputation still depend on "bare metal" versus "business"?
Ooh, this hurts worse than a papercut
From an 80-column I.B.M. punchcard.
Oh - hi, Gina! Sorry, I was just reminiscing about the good old days / weird old days when being "in the terminal ward" meant feeling really alive and confident about your future.

Rolley Haggard

(Continuation of LeeQuod’s note to Gina)

……and when “green screen” had nothing to do with environmental conscientiousness, and a “server” was a guy who brought you pizza at 1:00 am while you debugged abends, and a “dinosaur” was an ancient reptile of monolithic proportions . . . .

LeeQuod, you are without question “the veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth”, other than perhaps Shakespeare himself.

Such talent must never be idled. When you finally retire from your long and illustrious career, you need to employ your writing skill and “compile” the definitive history of computing. Call it, “What IT Is”.

(Tip: If you put a question mark on the end you’ll sell an extra million copies to non-techies).

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