"Intro to Antique Coding"

…from Star Trek Picard: https://www.jwz.org/blog/2022/04/intro-to-antique-coding/

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Can’t stop thinking about this

For accessibility: it’s a bit of dialogue, within it
“So we hack the database… it’ll take me two seconds. I took Intro to Antique Coding in school; I finally get to use it.”
“You can’t reach it remotely. They’ve physically isolated the database from the network”
“Yes, yeah - airgapping - it’s primitive, but effective. That was in my class.”

I’m reminded of the term Programmer Archaeologist, coined by Verner Vinge and seen in the rip-roaring prologue to Fire Upon the Deep. Strongly recommended!

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I do wonder about “antique programming” - in the context of presenting it to a new, younger generation …

Some years back I was involved with a group of younger folks (secondary school age) and we did an introduction in firstly BASIC then Python. the BASIC was a modern structured version (written by me, so I’m biased) but I think it went down well.

Next week (week before Easter, 2022) I’ll be running a couple of sessions to primary school children with the aim of introducing computer animation - however the base is BBC Basic running under RISC-OS.

It will be interesting to see how the current “swipe & tap” generation take to it. I’m hoping they’ll be positive, but who knows.

However I think I’ll use the term “Antique Coding” with them. For amusement purposes, if nothing else…


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The shocking realisation that you could fairly accurately say, “BBC BASIC. It’s what your grandparents used.” :wink:

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In real life, I did have to deal with a situation at work sort of related to this.

Short version: A junior programmer started sending my system files that were literally 100 times larger than normal. This caused all sorts of performance issues impacting many other areas of the business.

The real problem: He had never done any work on systems that were resource constrained. So the idea that sending larger files would be an impact simply never crossed his mind.

Those of us who started on systems that only had 8/16/32K of RAM, slow (or no!) disk, etc. think about those kinds of things as we’re designing our changes. We know the pain of “out of memory” errors only too well.

In the early 2000s I worked at a place next door to an online appliance retailer. The guy running the store wasn’t happy about the speed of their website so he asked a colleague to look at it. It turned out that the web developer was using full size images instead of thumbnails and just using the IMG tag to scale them down.

Fast forward to the 2020s and my former colleagues were doing something very similar on their website, only the images are 15 megapixels instead of < 1 megapixel. Lessons have obviously not been learned. :slightly_frowning_face: