Flutterby™! : Old hardware

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Old hardware

2005-01-27 05:28:10.322218+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Probably at least 15 years ago, Shawn Stoddard[Wiki] asked if he could borrow some money to buy a UPS for his BBS. Knowing that Shawn was pretty thorough in his research, and since I was living in Tennessee with its notoriously flakey power (lots of thunderstorms), I told him to get me one too while he was at it. So, $1300 later, I ended up with a Clary; I later found a review that said "this is the best power supply you can buy, but nobody needs one this good for computers". However, all of my hardware glitches disappeared and I was happy.

In this most recent move, I didn't bother to hook it up. It's a noisy beast, has an always-on fan, the batteries were shot, and I thought the occasional reboot of the server would be okay. I was wrong on that last count, power is flakey out here and a recent reboot horked the EXT2 partition on my main drive, so I just installed its second battery replacement, shoved it in a closet downstairs, and wired things up so that it will run the house server and the stereo.

I think this is some type of personal record: computer equipment, in active use, for a decade and a half.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Chattanooga Cool Technology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Old Software made: 2005-01-28 04:19:22.250406+00 by: meuon

Tonight, I stopped by Jeff's house and did some database cleanup on HTMMS (Maintenance Management Software), written in 1989/1990 is was written in Paradox for Dos. Worse, I made two new versions of it , one for Galen Medical Group (a big group) and may also be putting it in for Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton soon. Asking Jeff why not buy some 'current' software he shows me industry trade adverts and say's he'd looked at others, but they do not do what my 15 year old, badly written, system does. Dang Dos 6.2 and Paradox smokes on a modern Pentium.. Dan helped me put versions of this in back in the 90's.. Anyone else code code out there still working after 15 years? I need to re-write this in something current, but I doubt I could.

Daffodils! We are old geeks Dan..

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-28 16:36:04.53703+00 by: Dan Lyke

So what's the economic value of rewriting it in something modern? Is there an overall market that makes competing in that space worthwhile?

And, perhaps more importantly, are any of the modern development environments as fast to develop in as Paradox[Wiki] was? I'm moderately fond of Python[Wiki] with wxWindows[Wiki] or GTK[Wiki] on top of a SQL[Wiki] database, but there's probably some base code that needs to get written for browsing rows of larger tables.

Or is this something that needs to be web hosted?

Dang it, I need to first get the freakin' LID[Wiki] code finished, then I can think about other side projects.

Oh for the simpler days when "systems integration" meant slapping a PC inline between the serial printer and the mainframe and scarfing data into a table as it was printed. Or emulating a VT-100[Wiki] and filling out forms that way for input back into the big system.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-28 17:14:46.446317+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Oh, and if that's Jeff's house, tell him to get off his duff and post more ride reports.

And Ziffle and Eric will remember a Y2K decision being made on the basis of 80 column text mode (we were storing dates as days from Jan 1, 1900, with the first 99 days reserved for age, so we could have added an extra 50 years if we'd had the screen space for two extra characters, but adding century meant we'd have to enable two rows per record in the table row view, and we couldn't spare the 10-12k of of core memory that that would have taken away from the paged memory space) because we thought for sure that there'd be another software release in the ensuing decade. I think there was eventually, but sometime around the end of the last century I seem to remember discussion of that decision having been an issue.

So I've had code last at least 10 years, and I've worked on code that's been around for 20.

#Comment Re: Old software made: 2005-01-29 01:42:18.358967+00 by: ghasty

I think I still have an old POS package running at a gun shop down in Tunnel Hill from about 1990 or so. Written in AcuCOBOL. Until recently still had some stuff running in various comic shops around a little older.

#Comment Re: Old code made: 2005-01-30 19:49:55.08207+00 by: concept14

Last year I retired some code at my company that was first written in 1973 in System/370 assembler. I think its longevity was due to two factors: it did one thing well, and it had no dependencies on anything except operating system interfaces where IBM has a good track record of maintaining backwards compatibility.