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Thread: 12/31/1999

  1. #16
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    I had been scrambling for weeks updating software between multiple CT and MR scanners at several surrounding hospitals and clinics. Being in a remote area, I waited for the calls to come but the only one I got was because an institution lost power and the backup generator failed. The techs wanted to know where the breakers were on some of the x-ray equipment.
    Ken

  2. #17
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    I have a friend who learned COBOL in the military, and became a programmer for Bank of America. He worked for them for years, then switched to doing projects on a series of 9 month contracts. A few years ago, he told me that Bank of America commisioned a feasibility study of converting all their COBOL based systems to something newer. The projected cost was over 1 trillion dollars. So, Bank of America will be on COBOL systems for eternity and there will always be a need for COBOL programmers.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Meyer View Post
    I have a friend who learned COBOL in the military, and became a programmer for Bank of America. He worked for them for years, then switched to doing projects on a series of 9 month contracts. A few years ago, he told me that Bank of America commisioned a feasibility study of converting all their COBOL based systems to something newer. The projected cost was over 1 trillion dollars. So, Bank of America will be on COBOL systems for eternity and there will always be a need for COBOL programmers.
    Are you sure that is not supposed to be $1 billion? $1 trillion would cover close to five million man years of work at $200,000 per worker.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    Are you sure that is not supposed to be $1 billion? $1 trillion would cover close to five million man years of work at $200,000 per worker.
    If you took the total number of lines of COBOL in BofA's inventory and threw that number as a single project against the COCOMO estimation model, I don't think millions of person-years is at all out of the question. That might be a truly stupid way to handle the study, but then again, the people generating the estimate do have a vested interest in a "Big Number" answer.

    (I'm a big fan of comedy in the workplace, so the first question to the powers-that-be would be, "What replacement language did you have in mind?" Second question would be, "Where do y'all keep the requirements documentation?")
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  5. #20
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    I don't think it's all that out of line. I used to write COBAL, and APL, for the same reasons... I'm nowhere close to retirement age. It's not just the banks either. Pretty much any large, older, enterprise would be similar.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  6. #21
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    I remember taking my 1922 Model 'T' hot rod to a big car show (L. A. Roadsters) in 1999, and putting a Y2K compliant sign on it. Got a few smiles.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  7. #22
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    I was working late that night. I was on my way home when the millennia kicked over. The traffic lights were fine.

    I did some Y2K work but not a lot. I remember that I did something related to people and while I was expanding and converting year-of-birth I looked at gender that was a one byte field but defined as binary M/F. I didnít have the mandate to change the way the field worked but I did change its size to 64 bits. That was my gift to the next guy. Now, Iím not sure that 64 bits would be enough.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    I used to write COBAL, and APL, for the same reasons.
    That is a truly terrifying combination of skills.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    That is a truly terrifying combination of skills.
    ... it also makes me feel so much older than I am.

    Both predate my birth
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    Are you sure that is not supposed to be $1 billion? $1 trillion would cover close to five million man years of work at $200,000 per worker.
    No, it was $1 Trillion. If it was only a billion it would probably be done by now. Bank of Americal had a net income of $17.9 billion for the fiscal year 2020, according to their annual report.

    That $1 trillion figure is the total estimated cost, which includes all hardware, software, programming, data conversion and employee training. I also assume it factors in downtime and lost productivity, as there would likely be times that their main system would be down. They would want to minimize that, as they are a worldwide operation that runs 24/7/365. There would need to be huge amounts of testing and redundancy in any changeover/upgrade. It would also take a long time, maybe a decade, to complete. Absolutely huge project.

  11. #26
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    BOA has somehow managed to transition from computers printing balances in passbooks to telephone banking, online banking, credit and debit cards, and mobile banking, but they are just going to keep their legacy backend computer system running essentially forever? I suppose they will the one of the guys paying IBM or whoever boatloads of money to keep legacy systems. You can still pay Microsoft to patches for old versions of Windows, but it isn't cheap.

  12. #27
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    They likely upgrade the hardware, and the OS. Programming languages such as COBOL (and APL for that matter, still heavily used in ATM swiping last I heard) are not tied to the OS. Both are still around, although it's been a while since either had an updated version.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  13. #28
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    I'm not an IT guy but for grins I searched COBOL for X86. It looks like IBM has a COBOL compiler for X86 so hardware may not be an issue.

  14. #29
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    I am assuming BOA would be running Cobol on mainframes. I work in IT, but never on a mainframe. In my world we will see programs written in a programming language that no longer work on the latest version of the OS and the latest compiler. Sometimes features are removed that the code depends on which prevents upgrading.

    Maybe these aren't issues in the mainframe Cobol world.

  15. #30
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    Yea, I'm pretty sure (as in 99.999%) that this would all be a zOS environment. Not as much of an issue.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

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