• Give your computer a nice name

    I had a computer called Drinkstable… as in “I haven’t had a drink all night occifer”

    Are computers people too? Perhaps not, but they can have nicer names than “IBM-B7L3R8616”

    I’ve named computers after film characters, favorite music and jokes.

    There was forrest, majordan (should have been lieutenant dan), jenny and drillsergeant.
    We had two servers called bubba and gump.

    As my favourite band is Caravan, I’ve named other machines: dunstans, better by far and bobbingwide. And my colleague Ajay called his nightmare.


    Half of the computers in the CLS/CTS project were named after Belgian beers: Rodenbach, Primus, Geuze to name a few.

    Drinkstable was a rude spoonerism, suggested by my mate Jon Woodcock.

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    September 28, 2009
  • Draw diagrams with 8 boxes

    In the early 90’s we were still drawing diagrams using box characters in Script.

    My colleagues pointed out that many of my diagrams consisted of 8 boxes.

    After some consideration I replied that this gave me an edge as
    … most people can only remember 7 things at any one time.
    … and the one that most people forget is “Systems Management”
    … but it’s not that one, otherwise I’d have 9 boxes

    It turns out that in recent research the number of things people can
    remember is now only 4.

    spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch ๐Ÿ˜•

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  • I’ve never won a project naming competition

    For Technical Infrastructure my slogan was “tired of doing it by hand… then get yourself a FlowJob”.

    For the recent CLS competition my submission was in the form of a poem.


    The bean counters at CLS
    desired a slogan blue

    They offered wide screen for success
    in competition. TRUE!

    The entries varied, more or less
    from alphabet to zoo

    But chosen above all the rest
    was Herb’s choice “blue cashew”


    I mean we’re not trading peanuts are we?


    “Blue Currency” was the winner.

    I did win a bottle of bubbly for my suggestion for the
    eBI logo – eBusiness Integration
    … but someone else actually drew the image.
    There was no competition when we changed to PCEC.
    I suppose it was too “EeCee PeCee”

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  • I had 4 managers on my first day at IBM

    People often complain that in recent years they have had more managers than hot dinners. Well, it’s not a new thing…

    On my first day as a permanent employee I had 4 managers:
    My offer letter said my Manager would be Jim Jerwood
    Later I was told it would be Audrey white.
    When I arrived in the office I was met by acting manager Pete Walley
    since my real manager was on vacation.
    I can’t remember who the real manager was: Rob somebody, quite a large man
    with black hair and black glasses.

    Anyone who worked in WTAAS in the late 70’s care to remind me?

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  • Quite What is an Object Action interface

    I accidentally invented an Object Action Interface for ISPF/PDF – I called it “Quite What” (QW)

    In the early 80’s, I programmed a suite of routines that performed an appropriate action for the
    object you had most recently selected (either by browsing or editing). In most cases the routine performed the next most logical action e.g. compile a PL/1 program, format a script document but it also had the ability to offer a set of choices.

    I intially called the routine “What”, as in “What next?” but it was a bit slow. The improved version was simply known as QW. Though I never knew what the Q stood for: Quite or Quick. All I know is, for most English speakers, the letters were nice and close on the keyboard.

    I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking back I believe I had accidentally invented Object Action programming for ISPF/PDF. I didn’t learn about Object Oriented programming until the early 90’s.

    I believe this was the closest I’d ever get to inventing something patentable.

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  • Two of my colleagues have committed suicide.

    I remember a Peanuts cartoon where Linus (7) and Charlie Brown (9) are leaning over the picket fence considering life.
    Linus asked “Do you think there’s one day on your life that’s better than any other?”
    Charlie Brown replied “There must be.”
    Linus paused then said “Suppose you’ve already had it”.

    For my colleagues who committed suicide I imagine that their last day was also their worst day.
    We will have no way of knowing.

    But looking on the brighter side, for me at least, there’s a 60% chance that if I’ve had the best day of my life it was while working for IBM.

    Brighter still, I hope my best day is still some time in the future.

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  • Driving lessons

    I learnt to drive in the IBM Havant car park. On my second lesson I nearly kangaroo’d backwards into the Building 27 machine rooms. At the tender age of 16 years, 11 months and 28 days
    my Dad said I could have my first driving lesson, round the IBM Havant car park.

    There was a lot of kangarooing and my cornering was something to behold.

    If you ever want to experience how I first attempted turning right then try this technique.

    Day 1:
    Stop at junction
    When clear, attempt to move off, limiting the kangarooing as much as possible.
    Turn the wheel to attempt to steer round the corner
    But don’t quite turn it enough, so that you mount the pavement with the nearside wheels.
    All the while continue to look straight ahead at where you WERE going.

    Day 2: repeat day 1 but this time stall when one wheel is mounted on the kerb.
    On advice from parent, put vehicle into reverse.
    Kangaroo backwards as fast as you can so that you cross the main road, mount the kerb
    then manage to mount another rise of 9 inches or so.
    Finally come to rest half way up the earth mound leading to the Building 27 machine rooms.
    If you get the kangarooing right the underside of the car is undamaged.

    Day 3: Aged 17! Hooray. But Dad too tired to let me drive.

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  • It’s not my mistake but I can fix it

    I once closed a Severity 1 APAR (bug) as “User error” – then re-released every module in the online system to correct it.

    The system was HVP (High Volume Products – an internal ordering system)
    I was responsible for the rewrite of the online system. Each online program had an edit on a list of country numbers. I asked the user’s if this list would ever change.
    They said no. So I coded it as a static array.

    6 months into production they decided another country number was needed. Had I closed the problem as a “SUG”=suggestion then they would have needed to raise a change request. But this was urgent so I closed it as “USE”=User Error, made the change, and re-released every module in the online system.

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  • If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try again

    I once brought down both the Development and Production mainframes by running the same SQL query on both of them.


    When we first started using DB2 the performance was not good enough for online production systems but was OK for decision support.

    We had a system where the developers had access to both the development environment and production systems.Since it was a read only system, we could not do much harm; except if we wrote a long running SQL query.

    Well one day I ran a very simple query that didn’t produce the output instantly, as previously experienced. After a big delay I commented “That’s not supposed to happen” and then proceeded to demonstrate to the ‘stupid question asker’ what was supposed to happen.
    “See, it works on production!” I said, rather too soon.

    The queries running on both machines were using a shared swapping drive
    and trying to write an awful lot of temporary data to the drives.
    The only way to fix it was to reboot both machines.

    Fortunately for me we were able to blame the DBA for not running runstats after a reorg.

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  • The Silver Bullet list

    There are now over 1400 entries in the Silver Bullet (SB) list (example Saxon Base)

    When I was working for Chris Winter on the Silver Bullet project we started a collection of word pairs where the first word started with an S and the second started with a B

    The list now contains over 1400 unique pairs.
    They were categorised as follows Example


    – – OK Silver Bullet
    ? – don’t know about this. Need to check. Singing bobby
    b – brand name Sensor blade
    c – cheat Sauteed bunny – alternative to Jugged hare
    d – disastrous failure Banana Splits
    f – foreign Sacre bleu
    n – name Sergeant Bilko
    p – place Sunset Boulevard
    q – questionable Stripy B – the middle letter of the IBM logo
    s – sick or stupid Safe bonk
    x – x-rated Silly Bunt

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Tide times from tidetimes.co.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
Sunday, 17 October 2021

Tide times from tidetimes.org.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
17th October 2021
02:53 Low Tide ( 1.18m )
10:51 High Tide ( 4.33m )
15:20 Low Tide ( 1.2m )
23:10 High Tide ( 4.23m )