By - Sharky

Queue-less

It’s 1968 and this high school pilot fish is learning Fortran IId programming on Saturdays at the local junior college. For class projects, programs are punched onto cards with an IBM 026 or 029 card punch and run on the computer department’s IBM 1620 “small scientific computer.” The only direct print output is a painfully slow, 10-character-per-second IBM Model B1

By - Sharky

Given enough time and resources, it could be done

Consultant pilot fish is called to a community college to develop an online system for registering students in continuing ed classes. At the meeting to develop specifications for the project are fish, the IT director and the continuing ed director, who says that it’s essential that people can’t input invalid Social Security numbers. Fish and the IT director can’t make

By - Sharky

Throwback Thursday: Testing, testing, testing

Pilot fish and his team are called upon to investigate a large computer that’s running slowly. The problem: users who are just abandoning their sessions on the big machine instead of quitting properly. “We wrote a script that would detect the rogue sessions and kill them off,” fish says. “Then we would report to the manager the names of the

By - Sharky

Wayback Wednesday: Only good for PLANNED emergencies

This pilot fish works at a software company that has just added a group of student testers to the development team. “One of the students lived near me and he didn’t drive, so I started giving him a lift to work,” fish says. But one morning not long after the student starts work, fish has an emergency and can’t go

By - Sharky

Business laptop? $1,000. Sending away the thief? Priceless.

The time is 2001, not long after 9/11, and the place is New York City. Heightened security awareness is the order of the day, and everyone in pilot fish’s office is required to carry an access card that activates the office doors. Look out for tailgaters, they’re all told. Those are people dressed like professionals who slide in behind someone with

By - Sharky

Take cover, it’s a student programmer!

It’s 1970 and pilot fish is a college junior taking courses in computer programming. And technology is progressing, as technology does. The school has just upgraded from an IBM 360/40 mainframe to a much more powerful IBM 360/65. It orders it with an entire megabyte of magnetic core memory, which adds about $1 million to its cost, and several disk