Thursday, October 18, 2007

 

Obsolete Technology never truly dies

... it just waits out there, having set out a trap for those who have never heard of it.

In 1998, I started a job that involved dumping fiels from 9-track tapes. I didn't think that they still existed.

In 2004, I started another job that involved testing network drivers for SCO UNIX. I needed a job at the time, and while the same could be said of working a sideshow biting the heads off of chickens, I did learn in abundant detail why there are no new customers for this operating system. (Hint: Darl McBride, president of the SCO Group, is not a major reason why.)

Today, one of the projects I worked on involved debugging a collection of batch files. The last time I wrote a batch file -- or to be more correct, tried to write one -- Windows 95 still was in beta. And the bug I found proved that, despite any protests to the contrary, batch file programming still was handicapped with the 8.3 character naming convention.

That is why I still hold onto my O'Reilly books on UUCP and TERMCAP; once every few years, a project takes me to the dark corners where old technology monsters have set out their traps.

Geoff

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