Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Am a Card, 5081 in Nature

Playing "I Am a Card" is apprentice debugging when you will try to become every card in your program to see what it sees.  The card is an IBM 5081 punched card and, based on my own, oh, so tragic experience I can tell you if you ride a motorcycle and those punched cards fly out of your pocket in a corner there's no point in turning back around to try to collect them.  (WIKI:  Punched card)

I have played "I Am a Card" in which I have hit the ground at high speed multiple times due to motorcycles but the context wasn't quite the same.

You may recall the chad, the only thing which brought fame to the George Bush administration, and that's the bit which gets punched out of a card to give it meaning.  The chad gave meaning to Bush in the same way as for punched cards; he was the part they didn't need.

One produces those IBM 5081 punched cards with their EBCDIC encoding on an IBM 029 keypunch machine and some of you nitwits, me among them, did not find anything creditable to do with our lives so we wound up screwing around with those.  (WIKI:  Keypunch)


Beauteous, isn't it.

Oh, no backspace to correct errors.  If you make a mistake, chuck the card and start over.  The IBM 029 did not much tolerate wankers with low typing skills.

The interesting part of "I Am a Card" comes up after you have punched all your cards since then you will take them to the computer to discover whether your program runs.  Tip:  it won't.

The next move is to discover why it won't run and welcome to "I Am a Card" in which you will pretend you are the first card and you will look at whatever you can see as that card.  Then you will be the second card and you will think about what you can see now.

Ed:  are you seriously going to explain debugging?

Nah.  It only takes one look at Facebook or Google to know no-one debugs anything anymore.  That's why it's so easy to hack so many things.  It's not that hackers are so clever but rather programmers are so incompetent.

As the game progressed, various real-time debuggers came into it and these allowed the programmer to 'single-step' through a program and the programmer is still playing "I Am a Card" but it looks much more high tech.  Sometimes people ask why any of us put up with the ridiculous crap which was necessary and the flip answer is 'masochism' but we were seeing the future, man.

Ed:  too bad you didn't see Facebook in it as then you could have stopped it!

We weren't thinking about rubbish like that.  We wanted to change the world and not just write gossip columns for cops.

Ed:  you did change the world.  You made it possible for shrimps like Zuckerberg to play!

Whoa, you must really hate us (sob).

I identify to a tiny, insignificantly minor extent with the "Hidden Figures" since the CEOs don't bring systems programmers out of the Beast Room.  We never had customer-facing jobs since that would be more likely to cost customers than gain them since none of us were particularly long in concern for offending them.  My lack of social sensibilities is not even close to unique in that lot.

It was a glorious time since the fellows in the Beast Room had all been hassled by the football team and all the other lowbrow coolios in high school but now we were the gods of all creation and we were never going to deal with those fucktards again.  It was grand, they were gone, and life was good.

There were some excellent reasons to play "I Am a Card" and those reasons probably still exist today.  For me it doesn't matter and I am glad.


Anonymous said...

OMG!! And remember the card jams and that tool used to unjam them!! I took "Keypunch" at the community college near the AFB in California, and that's where I started my career at UC, then a couple of job tittles later, ended up at MSB in Computer Operations. The rest as they say is history! :).

Thoughts and prayers continue here. And Silas is not off the hook for prayers, cause been pray'in for him for a long, long time!

Peas InOurThyme said...

Thank you and it's all good, well, except for computers which have always sucked.

There was more information today and non-internetified fo-real doctor stuff which made multiple questions clear for Yevette and subsequently for me.

Maybe most importantly, he emphasized he will see Yevette for the follow-up post-chemo/nuke bombardment some months from now. It would be grossly poor medicine to feign any chance of survival when it does not exist and I don't for a moment believe that's the case. Everything is adding up to make sense and that gives Yevette knowledge which gives her strength.

Your prayers are part of the positivity which gives her strength and there's no chance I'll be questioning anything about them. So long as her vibe is good and she's ready for this, whatever we're doing in support must be at least close to whatever she needs. Therefore I'll keep doing what I do and thank you for what you do and all the thoughts for her in whatever form they take.