[rescue] Mainframe on eBay

Wes Will wwill at siu.edu
Thu Sep 22 13:47:23 CDT 2005

At 01:06 PM 9/22/2005 -0500, you wrote:
>On Thu, 22 Sep 2005, Wes Will wrote:
>> (Other countries, I won't speculate about the skills of their grads,
>> but the U.S. CS grads that I know (several hundred) are spankin'-good
>> programmers, but computer-clueless.)
>I'd disagree with half that point.  The current crop of CS graduates are

Oh, I see I should have been more specific here in re the definition of
"good programmers."

The code the new kids write is PRETTY.  It uses all of the things you go on
to describe as "elegant" and "ivory tower abstractions."  Notice I didn't
say that it worked or was efficient, only that it's pretty and well-commented.

These new kids are up to the minute with the latest tools and languages.  I
agree with the rest of your estimation that the results of using all of
"the latest" is nightmarish to say the least.

Plus, they don't have any idea of the behaviour of the hardware underneath
it, having spent all their time climbing around in the trees of
higher-level languages, rather than grubbing around down at the roots,
somewhere between straight machine language and assembler.

I'd like to see one of these brats get anything out of my first machine,
the IMSAI clone of the Altair, with its eight little lights, eight toggle
switches, and the push-button to latch it in.  Oh, and 512 bytes of RAM,
IIRC.  (That box played a mean game of "guess the number between 0 and 511".)

wes will

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