Goodbye, ISDN!

For many years (15+), I’ve had an ISDN phone line.  It’s kinda neat, you get 2 voice lines on one copper pair.  Full caller ID, 3-way calling, the works.  You can even make a high-speed 128k data call to other people with an ISDN line.  And analog dial-up would always, always, connect at 56k.

Of course, this speed sounds kinda silly these days.  My cable company gives me 10 Mb/sec down, 768k up.  But back in the age of dinosaurs, it was really something.

About once a year, a big thunderstorm would zap the terminal unit on my end.  No phones until I got it repaired.  A few years ago, 3Com stopped fixing their boxes (Impact IQ ISDN modem).  Fortunately, a friend gave me a couple of Motorola Bitsurfr boxes to keep me gong.

Every time I needed a feature changed, it would take me about an hour to convince the phone company that there is a service called ISDN.   And it’s handled by a completely separate department.

On the 26th of this month, they’ll swing my service over to a pair of analog phone lines.  Took “only” 45 minutes and 3 different departments  to set up.  It’ll cost me $7 more per phone initially, but then I’ll be able to swap those lines to Internet-based communications.

Anyway, back to a technology that Alexander Graham Bell invented…

Hello from VMS Bootcamp!

A big part of the Bootcamp is “VMS Magic”. Anyone can come up and give a story about anything related to VMS. The best story wins a prize — the first-place winner this year showed how he booted VMS on a palmtop computer.

But this post is about Ron Kaledas of CareTech Solutions. He works in a typical environment — VMS, Linux, Windows. At every opportunity, he pointed out the benefits of OpenVMS. His cluster had been up for 5 years continuously without interruption.

Clustered VMS systems can be upgraded one at a time in a “rolling reboot” without affecting the cluster as a whole. Hard to believe that this technology has been available for over 20 years, and still isn’t available on any other platform.

Anyway, his part of the data center was scheduled for a complete shutdown to upgrade the un-interruptible power supply (UPS). But he wanted to keep his cluster alive through the shutdown.

So, he downloaded PersonalAlpha, a free version of the CHARON-Alpha emulator. He loaded it on a laptop, installed VMS, joined the cluster, and shut down all the other nodes.

After an hour or so, the power was restored, and he started the other systems back up. He then had his laptop exit the cluster without impacting any users.

His uptime? 5+ years and counting!

DevDisasters: Jurassic Programmers

Here’s a true tale of trying to turn a functional VMS financial application into a “cool” .NET application:
(written by Alex Papadimoulis in Redmond Developer News)

I don’t know where the author got his example, but I have a friend with an identical story.  His story is has a follow-on — they’ve lost so many customers by pushing “version 2” that they will declare bankruptcy soon.

As for DIBOL, the language in the article, it is fully maintained, and now cross-platform.  If only the rock stars had known…