What It Takes

Grandma knew the river would be high. The snowpack was still melting even in mid-July. The ranchers in the valley would be wearing grins like hogs at a slop bucket as they saw their pastures and hayfields sprout with the bounty from the San Juans. She always had water for her own herd and hay crop, since grandpa had dug a ditch from Devil’s Creek to fill a couple of large ponds on the upper and lower pastures. Devil’s Creek never dried up – Charles had picked the right spot for his ranch and worked hard to make a go of it.
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How I Saved The West

In 1987, the NYSE had several computer systems in operation. The oldest and most critical one was the Market Data System known as MDS-II. This system gathered trading information from the Trading Floor and drove the traditional ticker tape as well as distributing the trade data over higher speed synchronous lines. Of the various systems, MDS-II was the only one which was absolutely critical to trading. While failure of the other systems was an inconvenience, failure of MDS-II halted trading completely, resulting in a lot of lost revenue for NYSE and its member firms.
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Computer War Stories

I have spent the last 50 years doing IT work. Much of that time I was lucky to work in not-for-profit shops or in circumstances where money was not a issue – my customers or employers simply wanted the best work we could produce, regardless of cost. I realize this is not the norm in the business world, but it produced some remarkable systems.

I have decided to document some of my own experiences, hoping to encourage others with similar backgrounds to share their ‘computer war stories’.

Interested parties are encouraged to comment and contribute. For the time being, comments on this blog will be moderated, but if appropriate, it may evolve into a group blog, and I will treat it more seriously.