Since this is my first article, I decided to look back at my career. Starting out in 1996 with a small IT company, I was a fresh graduate and like other graduates, I had no idea what an AS/400 (which is what they called the iSeries back then) was. Naturally, I was pretty excited. When I say this big refrigerator in the middle of the room, I said to myself, “Cool! I get to program using a mainframe!” The other trainees and I were told later that day however, that it was a midrange.
“Huh? A mid-what?”
Since our exposure in college was focused on PC’s and DOS (Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was that long ago), we only had a rough idea of what other platforms were. Heck, we thought mainframes belonged to musuems even then. The dumb terminals that were assigned to us were really big…about the size of a microwave oven.
Eventually, the other trainees and I went through…well…training. We were all coding happily one day when one of us suddenly had an endless loop in a piece of code. No problem! Just press Ctrl-C or Ctrl-Break. But how? There isn’t even a Ctrl key!
Since it was almost time to go home anyway, we all suggested to our colleague, “Just turn the terminal off and we’ll go home. You can find the bug tomorrow.”
Imagine our suprise when we were all called down to our boss’ office the following day. We found out the hard way that turning the terminal off doesn’t necessarily end the job. We all were given a long lecture on how to use the System-Request key.
Friday, July 24, 2009