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Archive for December, 2004

The Care and Feeding of Old Systems

Posted by Mike on 28th December 2004

I have been waiting for a report on exactly what happened to cause the computer crash that has disabled Comair. I’m not particularly interested in the company, but rather the problem. Here is an article from The Cincinati Post, describing what happened.

Tom Carter, a computer consultant with Clover Link Systems of Los Angeles, said the application has a hard limit of 32,000 changes in a single month.

“This probably seemed like plenty to the designers, but when the storms hit last week, they caused many, many crew reassignments, and the value of 32,000 was exceeded,” he said.

Legacy systems will often contain such hard limits. Usually, they are buried deep in the code and sometimes no one knows that they exist. Any point where such hard limits exist must be discovered. A solution needs to then be designed for each situation. If you are a manager or a maintainer of such a system, it is your responsibility to do this. When you are questioned, just point out the Comair computer disaster.

Posted in Project Management, Software & Computers | No Comments »

Writing – A Profitable Activity

Posted by Mike on 23rd December 2004

I read a story called An Hour A Day For A Year to my children during dinner today. This story is from a book called Stories Worth Re-Reading. In this story, there were several interesting quotes. I picked up on this one.

suppose one took to writing: an hour a day would then produce quite remarkable results. Even the short rule of “no day without a line,” has resulted in volumes – we might say almost of libraries.

I do like to write. It seems to me to be a worthy goal to try to write at least one line a day. Who knows what it might turn into? I can’t promise that every line written will be public in this blog. One thing about so public a forum is that it will help to keep me accountable to this goal.

Posted in General | No Comments »

New York State Votes to Reduce Drug Sentences

Posted by Mike on 8th December 2004

The New York Times > New York Region > New York State Votes to Reduce Drug Sentences (registration required)

After years of false starts, state lawmakers voted Tuesday evening to reduce the steep mandatory prison sentences given to people convicted of drug crimes in New York State, sanctions considered among the most severe in the nation.

Does this seem like a good idea? The drug problem is getting worse in the U. S. The motivation behind this is likely money. Our prison system is very expensive. The article talks about rehabilitation and that is a noble goal. However, swift, stiff and sure penalties for crime are still needed as a deterrent.

Posted in General | No Comments »