In a comment on my Thoughts on DEC post, Tom Miller offered a rat’s ass if I scanned in my VAX 8600 (Venus) Ibox microcode listing.

Well, here’s Venus Ibox microcode v3.73, generated on 7-May-1984. Tom, you owe me one rat’s patootie.

This ran on Venus through the end of 1984. I had transferred to Alan Kotok‘s Simplified Architecture for Fast Execution (SAFE) project, where I was looking into VAX-11 emulation. Large VAX Engineering’s senior management called an “all hands on deck” emergency, and everyone needed do whatever they could to help Venus ship on time.  So, I informally returned to work on Venus and ran one of the lab debug shifts. It was equally exhilarating and stressful…an, “I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world,” and, “I hope I never go through something like that again,” experience.

This version ran VMS and oodles of VAX programs.  I don’t know if there was a later version; if so, I never heard about it.

BTW, here’s a nice paper about why DEC went down the tubes.


I’m off this week, and while loafing around the house I took an hour or so to search the web about Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a former employer. That was a mistake, because it got me thinking about my past. This was fun for a while, and then it got sobering.

I worked for DEC from February 1978 until August 1996. During the glory years (before 1986) it was an adventure. We were on a world-changing mission. The code I wrote would live on and the work I did was so cool. Working for DEC was like working for Microsoft in the ’90s or ’00s, except that nobody hated your company. It was like working for Google except that nobody thought you were evil. It was like working for Amazon but pretty much everyone loved working there and it seemed like the world rooted for you to succeed. Most of all, everything we did clicked. There were some bad decisions, but the company always recovered and went on to greater glory.

I wrote CPU microcode for the VAX-11/750 and VAX 8600, worked on some cancelled projects that nobody will ever know about (ECL microprocessors, large ECL mainframes, a new RISC architecture), and my last project was working on Windows NT at DECwest.  In its day the VAX 8600 micropipeline was the coolest thing since sliced bread. How many people today know or care about it? Zip.

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Here are my thoughts after attending my first OpenStack Summit.

All of my comments are relative to other conferences I’ve recently attended — PyConOSCONOpen Source Bridge, local unconferences, etc. I won’t claim my observations are inspiring or unique. Everything here has been said before about one conference or another. But this is my blog so sod off if you’re not interested. :-) I need to write something this week so this is it!

tl;dr: I enjoyed the Summit. It was well run and useful, but had some hiccups. Some of my observations spring solely from my personal preferences, and you should take them with a grain of salt. I learned a lot about the OpenStack ecosystem, and this is the conference to attend if you’re entering the OpenStack world.
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Other person: The subclasses of this Foo parent class are supposed to define method bar(). So we should define Foo.bar() and have it raise an exception.

Me: Why?

Other person: So if subclass_instance.bar() is called, and the subclass hasn’t overridden bar(), it’ll raise an exception. That way we’ll know when the method is missing on a subclass!

Me: If we don’t define bar() in the parent class, what happens if a subclass also doesn’t define it, and code calls subclass.bar()?

Other person: It raises an exception.

Me:


We recently adopted two cats. One of them, Faith, is a monkey head who loves to play all the time. Play play play play play play play.

Two mornings ago, I came home and was unable to find her. Looked high and low. Looked in every room, under every furniture, under the blankets in the closets in the garage, basement, attic, outside three times, shook the cat food container, called her name.

I panicked, and texted the missus, “Come home ASAP, Faith must have gotten outside, SHE’S GONE I CAN’T FIND HER.”  She texted back asking if I checked here or there, were the doors left open, etc. COME HOME NOW SHE’S GONE.

I was frantic with worry.

The missus tells me to get back to work, she’s on her way home, we’ll find her.

I’m beset with worry. If anything happened to Faith, I would never forgive myself. She must be in pain somewhere. She got outside and a dump truck ran over her. Oh no oh no nonononononono….

So five minutes later, I’m sitting at my desk trying very hard to concentrate on work, but failing.

In walks Faith, looking to play. Like, “I heard you calling me for 30 minutes but ignored you. Let’s play.”

That little $%^&^&*)(&*(_)&^&*$^%$^*(^&*)(^%^#$^&*!

Faith the monkey head

Faith the monkey head


Today was half keynote addresses, jobs fair, and the poster session. And half talks.

Beyond Grep: Practical Logging and Metrics. Sentry, Librato, Graphite, Grafana, StatsD, Riemann, Splunk, Loggly, Papertrail, Elk, Graylog…

Python Performance Profiling: The Guts and Glory.  This talk dissected a real-world performance event from MongoDB engineering.

Performance by the Numbers: Analyzing the performance of web applications. I wished this had more specifics and been less of a survey.

Guido updated us on the status of the gradual type checking hints being added, provisionally, to Python 3.5.

And PyCon has ended, and I’m spent!  I head home tomorrow.

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