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  • I got a call from the office today...

    I have been retired for about 3 years but today the office gave me a call to catch up on some ancient history.

    Apparently airports, air traffic services and airlines around the world are still using software I wrote as long ago as 1994.

    Such a pity I dont get royalties.

  • #2
    I'd be feel'n pretty Tall about now If I were You.

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    • #3
      Ah, the penalties of being a Public Servant, John. The Gummint gets the copyright. Still, it's certainly a tribute to your skills that your 20-year-old software still works and is still valued.
      Well done, that man!

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      • #4
        So what did you write back in '94 that was broken?

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        • #5
          Mike, by the time I was writing software I had left the gummint's employ.

          Sun God, the software is still not 'broken' but the hardware got a bit old and we were talking about possible replacement of hardware.

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          • #6
            It IS a good feeling. I had a similar experience when my wife was called in 1999 about an application I'd created in 1978. They wanted to know if it was Y2K safe. It was a UNIX shell script... A very, very large shell script.


            What does the software that you created do, Mr Bodger?

            Dan
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

            Location: SF East Bay.

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            • #7
              Communications software for the world wide aviation messaging network (which was founded in 1947) and for connecting airline and air traffic control computer systems to that network. I also had a part in a text to speech system for the aviation VOLMET and ATIS systems.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Artful Bodger View Post
                Apparently airports, air traffic services and airlines around the world are still using software I wrote as long ago as 1994.
                Still? Heck, our government routinely doesnt adopt technology unless its already 20 years old, its the only reason I got pretty good with DOS and FORTRAN.
                "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by justanengineer View Post
                  Still? Heck, our government routinely doesnt adopt technology unless its already 20 years old, its the only reason I got pretty good with DOS and FORTRAN.
                  I don't understand why started having involuntary spasms......

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                  • #10
                    Well it works and the world should say thank you, its easy to see when aircraft systems fail due to the hole in the ground
                    Well done, it must have been running on ferranti computers over here, they were fairly bombproof
                    Mark

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                    • #11
                      !994 isn't old, The company I just retired from has computers that are updated on 8" floppies.
                      The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                      Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                      Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                      • #12
                        Back in the late 80s I designed and wrote the appointment scheduling system for a world renowned hospital and clinic. This involved having the patients' medical records at the location for the appointment as well. It also allowed a patient to see multiple doctors/resources on the same day. Appointments could be searched, scheduled or canceled on the fly for up to 12 months in advance. It was all online but the doctors, nurses and techs couldn't do without a "hard copy" schedule so those were prepared (printed) the night before and delivered to the various departments before the first appointment. Each resource could have a different time slice for appointments such as 10, 15, 20, 30, etc. minute increments. Doesn't sound too bad but it was complicated and there were over 500 resources and over 7,000 appointments per day as well as medical chart tracking (folders). I remember the hardest part being how to devise a method to find the first available resource appointment with various offsets like hours, days, weeks or day of the week. It was similar to airline scheduling.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by boslab View Post
                          Well it works and the world should say thank you, its easy to see when aircraft systems fail due to the hole in the ground
                          Well done, it must have been running on ferranti computers over here, they were fairly bombproof
                          Mark
                          Actually Mark, it runs on whatever PC or server they choose to buy at the local bazaar. It was written for Dos and a bit more added to make it look nice for Winderz.

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                          • #14
                            We had our yacht on the slipway at a boatyard that employed about 20 people and we were all sharing a morning cuppa when the office lady announced that her computer had stopped working. One of my helpful friends spoke up "John knows about computers". Yeah, I really do love it when people do that!

                            She had a basic desktop running MS Dos but starting her application just brought up a blank screen and a couple of burps from the HDD and back to the Dos prompt. I asked if she had backups, she assured me she had and pointed to rows of manilla folders in a filing cabinet.

                            Oh well, nothing to do but start looking deeper and the alternative was to join the others scrubbing off barnacles. The first thing I noticed was that she appeared to have no applications on the HDD, in fact it looked pretty much as it would have when the PC was new which would have been quite some time in the past. The only interesting looking file was a .BAT which I assumed had been corrupted as the size was shown as huge.

                            I opened the batch file rather hoping for a miracle and there it was on about the third line. Obviously someone had looked in there before me and just one extra character (a new line) was causing a jump to the end of the file. Two minute fix.

                            The entire boatyard operation, payroll, staff records, sales, invoicing, receipts, purchase orders, stores inventory, everything for a quite sizeable business was being done in one self-modifying batch file. Even the data was stored in the batch file.

                            Another little batch file to save backups of the monster file and I called the job done.

                            My reward was an extra cuppa and a piece of home made fruit cake after a very nice peck on the cheek. I just tell myself that nice guys will never be rich!
                            Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 06-05-2014, 04:06 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Deja vu --

                              In 1984, when I started had just started with Hewlett-Packard, I wrote a bill of materials explosion program as part of their "process flow" upgrades to their Manufacturing Management program suite. Fast forward to 2001 and I'm now at Agilent Technologies (nee HP) Medical Products Division (since sold to Philips). Need to make changes to their BOM explosion program and, surprise, surprise, there is my name as author of the program to be modified.

                              Originally posted by The Artful Bodger View Post
                              <<snip>> One of my helpful friends spoke up "John knows about computers". Yeah, I really do love it when people do that! <<snip>>
                              I get that too. I respond that I "only work on mainframes supporting over 150 users". That usually stops them because so few people recognize the term "mainframe".
                              Kevin

                              More tools than sense.

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