COBOL Y2K problem is small 
Author Message
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

The COBOL Y2K problem is small... ...compared to the Assembler
Y2K problem.

Here's the fair doctrine quote from Reuter's web site:
----------------------------------
"In fact, if you are a big COBOL user, chances are that some 10 per cent
to 15 per cent of your software inventory actually consists of
Assembler code.  This may not seem much. But if that 10 per cent
is three times harder to fix, then in terms of effort, the
Assembler is 25 per cent of the problem,"

Software Migrations said in a statement at a press conference.

-----clipped part where SM claims to have an assembler tool---

Software Migrations quoted data from Capers Jones of SPR Research in the
U.S. saying it would cost $20 billion globally to fix the problem. It
added that the industry was rapidly running out of programmers to
fix the problem.

"If you haven't started prioritizing by September 1, 1997 it is probably
not going to get done. This is a world-wide problem with significant
amounts of Assembler in Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S. There is a
significant amount in Japan, also south American banks, banks in China,
and South Africa," Grant said.

------------- end clip --please hit Reuters for the full text ---

They don't get into it, but, hahahahaha, I will.   If assember is
10-20-30 percent of the problem, there are not enough assembler
programmers around.  You can't buy 'em, you can't make 'em, you
can't fake it like a lot of people do with COBOL.

Start the bidding now.  No, on second thought, wait until the
rates get nice and high.   Lots of time, today is Y2K minus 932
and counting.

Will someone remind me, what is the German word that means
delight at the misfortune or misery of others?

As a machine-head geek who has seen assembler
language programmers RIF'ed, canned, rightsized, layed off,
"get your {*filter*}out of here."  over the last 15 years, I'm loving
this.   I can think of at least 5 assembler programmers who have
gotten the heave-ho.  To the managers and companies who did it,
hahahahahha cough sputter, wheeze, hahoohaha,  I know who you
are,  they know who you are.  You know who you are.

As the aircrews say when you leave the plane, bub-bye, bye,
bye-now, bye-bye, b-b-b-bub-bye.

Cory Hamasaki  

<Hi Terry, I've been writing this sorry excuse for humor on the
Internet.>



Mon, 29 Nov 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:

> They don't get into it, but, hahahahaha, I will.   If assember is
> 10-20-30 percent of the problem, there are not enough assembler
> programmers around.  You can't buy 'em, you can't make 'em, you
> can't fake it like a lot of people do with COBOL.

> Start the bidding now.  No, on second thought, wait until the
> rates get nice and high.   Lots of time, today is Y2K minus 932
> and counting.

> Will someone remind me, what is the German word that means
> delight at the misfortune or misery of others?

Cory,
I think the German word you're trying to recall is: Schadenfreude,
often literally translated as: "malicious" JOY!

Regards,
Bal
--

http://www.geocities.com/~oberoi/mainfrme.html
-----
"The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - Eden Phillpotts



Mon, 29 Nov 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:

> If assember is
> 10-20-30 percent of the problem, there are not enough assembler
> programmers around.  You can't buy 'em, you can't make 'em, you
> can't fake it like a lot of people do with COBOL.

There may not be enough assembler programmers around, but there
are more than enough people around who have the aptitude to be
good assembler programmers.

In the past, companies used to send people to a two-week training
class at IBM, and then they had all the assembler programmers
that they wanted in short order.

However, these days, who would be interested in switching
specialties or even careers for a temporary job?

Highly proficient COBOL programmers would make good candidates
for a two-week assembler class, but even they are in short supply.
It seems that the best COBOL programmers dropped out of the
profession over the years due to developments that were not to
their liking, and I don't blame them.  Now, I know that a lot of
people out there are going to boo and hiss at me, but it is a
fact that the more capable people are being EXCLUDED from being
hired.  It's a sorry fact, but go to a technical interview,
do well, and be shown the door.  That's they way it is and has
been for quite some time now.

Quote:
> Start the bidding now.  No, on second thought, wait until the
> rates get nice and high.   Lots of time, today is Y2K minus 932
> and counting.

> Will someone remind me, what is the German word that means
> delight at the misfortune or misery of others?

There is no cause to be delighted because there really is no
misery.  The powers that be are accomplishing exactly what they
want, that is, to insure their near term security by downplaying
problems and by eliminating competence which is perceived as a
threat to that security.

The Programmer



Thu, 02 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Hi, Cory.  In one famous Sea battle, the one where we kicked the Japanese
Naval Fleet's {*filter*}once and for all time this chronicle stated that we won
primarily because our ships had much more sophisticated 'damage control'
teams that kept our ships afloat when the Japanese ships sank.

That was the first time I had seen that kind of detail analysis on how we
won.  

I can't help but wonder where our computer 'damage control' people are for
this year 2000 problem.  IMHO it is truly going to be one hell of a  {*filter*}y
'battle'  - and a lot of butts are going to get sunk and a lot heads are
going to roll over this one.

I have had, in some of my former lives, experience with over 30 different
assemblers/machine language.  I lost count after 30 since as you noted it
became misc.  

Two years ago a well known, a very large, fairly well known
telecommunications company showed some considerable interest
in finding anyone who had machine language skills.  They were located in
the DC Metro area.  They knew it was easier to find hens teeth to find
someone like me.  Didn't make any difference to them - and certainly not to
me.  Money talks, the rest floats.

Anyway they showed a lot of interest in my assembly language and machine
language which I told a contracting firm manager on the phone.  Over time I
de-emphasized these job skills on my resume.  No point in taking up crucial
resume space no one was interested in reading.

As it turns out I can also trace communication protocols and decode them,
analyze and diagnose them using hardware protocol analyzers blah , blah -
which make it much easier then it use to be.  I have not seen any demand
for these skills in many a year.  So my skills are rusty.

Anyway I asked for $95/hour.  I took the interview and this poor director
did not even know what he was talking about - not even close.

 I was told later he nearly had a heart attack when he heard the cost.  

You are right there ain't many of us left and even fewer who want to do
that kind of mind racking neurosurgery work.  $95/hour was my low price.

You can probably figure out  what I am going to charge now. <VBG>
Have a good one.

Regards, -= Lou Rizzuto =-
RINI



Quote:
> The COBOL Y2K problem is small... ...compared to the Assembler
> Y2K problem.

> Here's the fair doctrine quote from Reuter's web site:
> ----------------------------------
> "In fact, if you are a big COBOL user, chances are that some 10 per cent
> to 15 per cent of your software inventory actually consists of
> Assembler code.  This may not seem much. But if that 10 per cent
> is three times harder to fix, then in terms of effort, the
> Assembler is 25 per cent of the problem,"

> Software Migrations said in a statement at a press conference.

> -----clipped part where SM claims to have an assembler tool---

> Software Migrations quoted data from Capers Jones of SPR Research in the
> U.S. saying it would cost $20 billion globally to fix the problem. It
> added that the industry was rapidly running out of programmers to
> fix the problem.

> "If you haven't started prioritizing by September 1, 1997 it is probably
> not going to get done. This is a world-wide problem with significant
> amounts of Assembler in Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S. There is a
> significant amount in Japan, also south American banks, banks in China,
> and South Africa," Grant said.

> ------------- end clip --please hit Reuters for the full text ---

> They don't get into it, but, hahahahaha, I will.   If assember is
> 10-20-30 percent of the problem, there are not enough assembler
> programmers around.  You can't buy 'em, you can't make 'em, you
> can't fake it like a lot of people do with COBOL.

> Start the bidding now.  No, on second thought, wait until the
> rates get nice and high.   Lots of time, today is Y2K minus 932
> and counting.

> Will someone remind me, what is the German word that means
> delight at the misfortune or misery of others?

> As a machine-head geek who has seen assembler
> language programmers RIF'ed, canned, rightsized, layed off,
> "get your {*filter*}out of here."  over the last 15 years, I'm loving
> this.   I can think of at least 5 assembler programmers who have
> gotten the heave-ho.  To the managers and companies who did it,
> hahahahahha cough sputter, wheeze, hahoohaha,  I know who you
> are,  they know who you are.  You know who you are.

> As the aircrews say when you leave the plane, bub-bye, bye,
> bye-now, bye-bye, b-b-b-bub-bye.

> Cory Hamasaki  

> <Hi Terry, I've been writing this sorry excuse for humor on the
> Internet.>



Thu, 02 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small



Quote:

snip
> Now, I know that a lot of
> people out there are going to boo and hiss at me, but it is a
> fact that the more capable people are being EXCLUDED from being
> hired.  It's a sorry fact, but go to a technical interview,
> do well, and be shown the door.  That's they way it is and has
> been for quite some time now.

I can tell you about too many people who were told "But we need people with
experience in xxxx" to which they replied "But I do - it's in the resume."
Then the interviewer says "Oh, well we also need people with experience in
yyyy" and they respond "I do - it's also in the resume"   ad nauseum.  Some
get the response "You're overqualified for this position."

What it all boils down to is that too many companies only want to pay entry
level rates, don't want older people with experience, and use these ploys
to avoid age discrimination suits.

snip
Remove the  '-'   from orion-data for sending email to me.


Orion Data Systems

Solicitations to me must be pre-approved in writing
by me after soliciitor pays $1,000 US per incident.
Solicitations sent to me are proof you accept this
notice and will send a certified check forthwith.



Fri, 03 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:


>> If assember is
>> 10-20-30 percent of the problem, there are not enough assembler
>> programmers around.  You can't buy 'em, you can't make 'em, you
>> can't fake it like a lot of people do with COBOL.
>There may not be enough assembler programmers around, but there
>are more than enough people around who have the aptitude to be
>good assembler programmers.
>In the past, companies used to send people to a two-week training
>class at IBM, and then they had all the assembler programmers
>that they wanted in short order.

<snip>

Quote:
>The Programmer

Experienced technical people can have a difficult time with assembler.

 As a contractor,  I recently taught a programmer retraining
class(Basic Programmer Education) at IBM for hardware
professionals(engineers and technicians).  The students had been
carefully screened and aptitude tested to ensure their suitability as
programmers.  Many  of the students had worked on the 370/390 hardware
& had some knowledge of the architecture.
This 13 week class included 4 weeks of PL/X and 4 weeks of 370/390
assembly language.  During the PL/X part of the class, many of the
students jumped ahead one assignment, left early, etc.
During the assembler part of the class, these same folks worked VERY
hard managing the low level details of ALC programming such as:
1)  Direct and Indirect Addressing -  Is this an address, an address
of an address, or data.  Should I use a LOAD or LOAD ADDRESS
instuction.  
2) Machine representations of Assembler instructions - What bits are
used for operand length?  Why does the machine code for an MVC show
one less byte than the actual number moved?
3) The size & layout of the instruction set - Can't remember them all,
always need to look them up.
4) Debugging - Where is my program loaded? Why is the next sequentiial
instruction in my program all  X'00' s.  Is that digit on my hex
calculator a 'b' or a '6'.

I agree that assembler programmers can be trained but the process is
slower than high level languages.  
After mastering the elementary stuff listed above, it takes yet
another leap to understand and fix hundred thousand line+ programs
that use advanced techniques such as dsects, macros, conditional
assemblies, reentrant coding, etc.
The students in my class were very smart & learned quickly.  After
their training, they could be used as testers.  They qualify as
'geeks' but still need the guidance and support of a 'king geek' to
work effectively.

George Calafut



Fri, 03 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small


Quote:

> What it all boils down to is that too many companies only want to pay entry
> level rates, don't want older people with experience, and use these ploys
> to avoid age discrimination suits.

What you're saying is true.

But consider the effects of what is happening.

If companies don't pay what they should be paying for the resources
that they need, then there will be a gross misallocation of resources,
and the control of the environments will go to substandard people.
Once that happens, the substandard people will put the squeeze on
and exclude the more capable people.

Then everything will be like a house of cards ready to collapse at
the least disruption.  In the case of data processing, a trivial
problem like the turn of the century will serve as that minor
disruption.

The Programmer



Fri, 03 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small


Quote:

> Experienced technical people can have a difficult time with assembler.

>  As a contractor,  I recently taught a programmer retraining
> class(Basic Programmer Education) at IBM for hardware
> professionals(engineers and technicians).  The students had been
> carefully screened and aptitude tested to ensure their suitability as
> programmers.

The students were *NOT* carefully screened.  If an aptitude test
was administered, then that was a worthless predictor of programming
talent.  This is why over the course of decades, every aptitude
test that was used for such purposes has been abandoned.

Quote:
> I agree that assembler programmers can be trained but the process is
> slower than high level languages.

This has not been my experience, nor have I seen any greater
productivity in groups using higher level languages.

Quote:
> The students in my class were very smart & learned quickly.  After
> their training, they could be used as testers.

Sir, I was self-taught COBOL as the result of being assigned COBOL
work "on-the-spot," and I did it quite proficiently and reliably
starting on the first day.  Anyone who has to be initially relegated
to "tester" work will never advance beyond "tester" work.

Quote:
> They qualify as
> 'geeks' but still need the guidance and support of a 'king geek' to
> work effectively.

If that is, in fact, the case, then your students will never, ever be
king geeks themselves.

By the way, I resent the characterization of "geek."  I am quite a
proficient and prolific programmer, and if any image does NOT apply
to me, it is the one of "geek."

The Programmer



Fri, 03 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small



Quote:


big snip
> I agree that assembler programmers can be trained but the process is
> slower than high level languages.  
> After mastering the elementary stuff listed above, it takes yet
> another leap to understand and fix hundred thousand line+ programs
> that use advanced techniques such as dsects, macros, conditional
> assemblies, reentrant coding, etc.
> The students in my class were very smart & learned quickly.  After
> their training, they could be used as testers.  They qualify as
> 'geeks' but still need the guidance and support of a 'king geek' to
> work effectively.

I've noticed over the years that the problem with some new people doing
assembler coding is the tendency to write spaghetti code.  The really good
people write very understandable programs that are easy to follow and
maintain, but they usually had a good discipline beforehand in another
language, or they just had good design practices.

Remove the  '-'   from orion-data for sending email to me.


Orion Data Systems

Solicitations to me must be pre-approved in writing
by me after soliciitor pays $1,000 US per incident.
Solicitations sent to me are proof you accept this
notice and will send a certified check forthwith.



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Cory,
I've been an asm cranker for the past 15 years (asm was my second language)
on at least 15 different systems, including the S/36.  I have not had a
chance to work on the IBM big-iron yet (BAL?) because there's been no
demand for it up until now.  What's the chance I can get in on this one
last bonanza of S/390 asm cranking?  How hard would it be for me to come
up to speed, or better yet convince someone that I *could* come up to
speed in time to help with Y2K stuff?

--

Paul using SLRN and OS/2 Warp.



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:

> You are right there ain't many of us left and even fewer who want to do
> that kind of mind racking neurosurgery work.  $95/hour was my low price.

> You can probably figure out  what I am going to charge now. <VBG>
> Have a good one.

> Regards, -= Lou Rizzuto =-
> RINI


As you point out: NONE OF US CARE ABOUT THIS STUFF ANY MORE!

I've coded Z80, M6809, M68000, I8086 before now (not to the level you
have!), but the sorry fact is, when I go back to it now (been doing some
BIOS calls recently...) it is a really painfull process.

Not only is it ridiculous to say you can train someone in assembler
from  cold in 2 weeks, even those of us who understand it already are
uninterested!

It is only the hard-core who still love it that will be effective for
Y2K. They will make A {*filter*}Y FORTUNE!!!!

Best of British luck to 'em!

Ben



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:

> Cory,
> I've been an asm cranker for the past 15 years (asm was my second language)
> on at least 15 different systems, including the S/36.  I have not had a
> chance to work on the IBM big-iron yet (BAL?) because there's been no
> demand for it up until now.  What's the chance I can get in on this one
> last bonanza of S/390 asm cranking?  How hard would it be for me to come
> up to speed, or better yet convince someone that I *could* come up to
> speed in time to help with Y2K stuff?

> --

> Paul using SLRN and OS/2 Warp.

I think you would have a good chance of getting back into assesmbler,
(once your brain has melted learning the stuff, its hard to forget).  
I've only ever programmed Assembler on an IBM so I don't know what
differences there will be but given a few months you should have no
problem.

Enjoy



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small


Quote:
>Cory,
>I've been an asm cranker for the past 15 years (asm was my second language)
>on at least 15 different systems, including the S/36.  I have not had a
>chance to work on the IBM big-iron yet (BAL?) because there's been no
>demand for it up until now.  What's the chance I can get in on this one
>last bonanza of S/390 asm cranking?  How hard would it be for me to come
>up to speed, or better yet convince someone that I *could* come up to
>speed in time to help with Y2K stuff?

>--

>Paul using SLRN and OS/2 Warp.

There are three or four PC to S/390 cross assemblers or
simulation environments that I've heard about.  Some are
freeware.   Hit http://www.naspa.net for more info.  Ask about
the CBD tape.

By Y2K minus 800, no one will care about your skills.  Do you
have a pulse?  Can you spell 05EF or D20780009000?  You'll have a
$150K/year job.

Today is Y2K minus 927.

Cory Hamasaki  



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small


  ...

Quote:

>Two years ago a well known, a very large, fairly well known
>telecommunications company showed some considerable interest
>in finding anyone who had machine language skills.  They were located in
>the DC Metro area.  They knew it was easier to find hens teeth to find
>someone like me.  Didn't make any difference to them - and certainly not to
>me.  Money talks, the rest floats.

>Anyway they showed a lot of interest in my assembly language and machine
>language which I told a contracting firm manager on the phone.  Over time I
>de-emphasized these job skills on my resume.  No point in taking up crucial
>resume space no one was interested in reading.

>As it turns out I can also trace communication protocols and decode them,
>analyze and diagnose them using hardware protocol analyzers blah , blah -
>which make it much easier then it use to be.  I have not seen any demand
>for these skills in many a year.  So my skills are rusty.

>Anyway I asked for $95/hour.  I took the interview and this poor director
>did not even know what he was talking about - not even close.

> I was told later he nearly had a heart attack when he heard the cost.  

>You are right there ain't many of us left and even fewer who want to do
>that kind of mind racking neurosurgery work.  $95/hour was my low price.

>You can probably figure out  what I am going to charge now. <VBG>
>Have a good one.

The local wizard's rumor mill reports that one of the
telecommunications companies is paying one of the management
consulting companies significantly more than that for Web
Commerce work, computer graphics, HTML and CGI.

It might be the same company.

Splash some cold water on that 'director', wake him up, you are
well worth that $95/hour.   Anyone who can crank code, debug,
test is a valuable consultant/contractor.

Quote:

>Regards, -= Lou Rizzuto =-
>RINI


Cory Hamasaki


Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL Y2K problem is small

Quote:

> Cory,
> I've been an asm cranker for the past 15 years (asm was my second language)
> on at least 15 different systems, including the S/36.  I have not had a
> chance to work on the IBM big-iron yet (BAL?) because there's been no
> demand for it up until now.  What's the chance I can get in on this one
> last bonanza of S/390 asm cranking?  How hard would it be for me to come
> up to speed, or better yet convince someone that I *could* come up to
> speed in time to help with Y2K stuff?

> --

> Paul using SLRN and OS/2 Warp.

You can download a very good IBM assembler for the PC. You can find it
at the major shareware sites. Goes by the name of pc370v42.zip I
believe. Good luck!

Steve

--
****************************************************************************

url    : http://www.epix.net/~prgsdw
****************************************************************************



Sat, 04 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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