Farmers and Ranchers

The toob has some very interesting videos on the art of selling mainframes. They’re quite hilarious and erm, thought provoking.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

It’s a self deprecating effort by IBM to poke fun at the business of selling mainframes. Now that’s an interesting marketing strategy. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly whacky analogies. For it is deep. Real deep.

The mainframe IS like a barn, come to think of it.

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Grab. Squeal.

Last weekend, I stumbled upon a hardcover titled “The IBM Cobol Environment” at the Westborough library which was in mint condition, despite the fact that it was printed in 1984.

And it was just one dollar!!

To it’s merit, it had one of the most readable introductions to JCL I’ve seen around. Work, and the impending doom of dental surgery has been keeping me away from books as of late, but I’m hoping things will change over the holidays.

The Magic Word

Once in every three years or so, I fire up an editor that I can’t exit.

First it was vi, many many moons ago.

Then came emacs. Ctrl-x, Ctrl-v was the LAST thing on my mind.

I’ve been working with z/OS for a while now and never had the opportunity to play around much. Being mostly restricted to USS (UNIX System Services) that offers a friendly UNIX shell, hiding the arcane operating system beneath, I haven’t really had the opportunity to mess things up much. As anyone who likes to play around with new operating systems would tell you: that’s no way to learn.

The last couple of days have been spent dipping my feet in TSO, taking notes feverishly, and throwing commands at it, sometimes with no real idea of what it does. Somewhere down the line I happened to type EDIT.

Before long, it was evident that I had stumbled upon an editor that I didn’t know how to exit.

And so the usual panic ensued. After many failed attempts, broken-spirited, I resorted to google. Several queries later, hidden deep in google groups, I stumbled upon exactly what I needed. The magic word was END! not :wq. not Ctrl-X Ctrl-C. END!!!

EDIT car
 ENTER DATA SET TYPE-
TEXT
 DATA SET OR MEMBER NOT FOUND, ASSUMED TO BE NEW
 INPUT
 00010 Dude, where's my car?
 00020
 EDIT
SAVE
 EDIT
END
 READY

Chicken, meet egg. Egg, Chicken. Egg. Chicken.

Lately I’ve been stuck on z/OS, among other things, and managed to somehow fill up my allocated quota of disk space with considerable ease. But here’s an interesting dilemma, clearing up some space isn’t all that easy. Apparently, it doesn’t let me delete files because there is not enough disk space. Now there’s a paradigm shift for you.

I watched an old mainframer hacking away at his terminal and it was the coolest thing I ever saw. His terminal had a cross hair on the active cursor position and as he worked it looked as he was playing a shoot em up, minus the blood, gore and 3d graphics of course. It all happened so fast I was scrambling to keep up with what he was doing, and was a hopeless, awestruck noob. MVS is NOTHING like UNIX. Thanks to something called USS, us *nix folk can feel comfortable and safe in a familiar environment where all the UNIX paradigms hold true, shielding us from the bloody unreal MVS arena where those damned cross hairs follow our every move.

Later that day, I IPLed OS/360 on my hercules emulator. More on that in a later rant.