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Systems Programmers

From: Ken Dubbo <ken_dubbo@USA.NET>
Date: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 4:10 AM
Subject: What is a good sprog anyway?

Jeezuz you mob! What does it take to be a good system programmer? Well let me tell you that no one gives a rat's rectum about how you can code a CDS instruction or use an MVS LOCK to stop your mates getting into your mrs these days. No, it's how much you know about SMP or should I say SMP/E these days. Receive, Apply, Reject. I have been at barbies where after a few beers and the usual jokes you've heard a few times, after the scores from the days league matches or at the end of the 3rd days play and at ASG meetings, where ratshit PTFs and where problems 'below the line' weren't something you see the local quack about were discussed openly.

A good sprog isn't just a 5 second grimace on a young boy's face in the shower. Bugger it, a good sprog should know his stuff. They are generally male. Face it, how many girls want to be sprogs? Bugger all of them when you think about it. Have you ever seen a good lookin' babe who is an MVS sprog? If there are they'd have had no life too, with a face like a south end of a north bound pig with a body to match and not available for rooting, then maybe. Besides all the pretty ones are sensible and have lives, boyfriends (husbands) and work in EDP admin. So, probably never, we are all just blokes who don't have lives like normal people do. We have to have what it takes to be a good sprog.

You can't just get these blokes off the street. Na, you gotta recruit genuine self centred and ego tripping males that can't hack it in the rest of the firms EDP department. Who gives a rat's about getting the system into shape so they can be seen as boss-cocky. Bugger it. It's best to spend your non-SMPE working hours (all 18 of them each day), coding useless bits of assembler code to show off to your mates or to put on MODS tapes for other peoples' mates. I remember the days of sending a few decks over the road to me mates in the opposition insurance building. In those days you didn't spew if you dropped the deck because you didn't have too much to show for your efforts. You pick all 30 cards up and sort em quick I recall. They were the days when everyone thought they knew what an ESTAE was but had never coded one up if their life depended on it.

A good sprog reckons he knows a performance problem when he sees it. He does the right thing and looks at Omegamon or RMFMON or some RYO crap or throws his hands in the air and zaps happy values on the fly in the RMCT. He uses his mates secret tool kit of utilities kept in a RACF read protected PDS to swap out 90% of the TSO population (except his fellow sysprogs) to get his 101% CPU busy down a bit. He doesn't have to recognise that his linkedit targeted at his test loadlib on one of the system paging volumes during prime hours may impact TSO trivials. No that is not the way we do it. That is why we are unique humans us sprogs. He knows that an IBM PAV isn't something we eat for sweets from the canteen to have with ice-cream. We think twice about CMS before recoiling about what a crap system VM is and realise it has a few more meanings in the acronym farm than it used to. He knows that when some poor sod comes in for help with a B37-xx abend that he should immediately tell this slob that he's a fuckwit in front of all your sysprog mates so that they can all have a good laugh.

You see, being a sprog is being a special kind of 'en-bloke. You gotta be an arrogant arsehole and besides, we know that helpful sprogs go onto lead better and more productive and successful lives outside or in IT management. This is why young girls make hopeless sprogs and should move to the application programming department where they belong and can be happy and let us blokes get on with doing sprog work. A good sprog also knows how to be terse, obtuse and generally a self fulfilling ego centric wanker as most of us are. We'd all like to be working for IBM in POK cutting code. We'd all like to have Fujitsu flog our ryo alc mods and shove them into their bamboo o/s and we'd also like to have our version of the wheel accepted by IBM. And thank christ for listservers and the internet without whom most of us on this list would have no human interaction and have fuck all to do with our aging selves during nonsleep hours in each day.

Like many of us, I clamour for the next post from you blokes on this list so I can keep myself abreast of new MVS changes. I'd like to keep myself a breast or two but she shot through ages ago. A good sprog also gives DB2, IMS, CICS and performance people no chance. They are all dedicated to using the MVS system to do work - dickheads. Worse than a whinging DBA is a curious mainframe auditor with a RACF tape in his hand. Yeah these blokes are usually aging auditors with no lives too, like us. These blokes are suspicious of us sprogs coz we have magic hess-vee-sees and accursed SPF 3.3 iebcopy magic authorisation that they heard about from a security conference they went to last week and the other supposed holes in IKJEFT01, session manager and ISV software that uses key8 SP241.

Even worse than these blokes in the naggin network techo who tolerates MVS because it has to be there for his VTAM network. It's been year since he had a bath too. A good sprog appreciates a DASD and not disco-raze. Geezuz logical disks are hard enough when there's no flickerin 'ONLINE' bezel lamp to watch and no tape ape to order around anymore. Dump readers? Most of em' have died or opened up milkbars where I live. Reading an MVS dump is so piss easy these days with IPCS and with MVS software so good it aint often that you need to. I reckon most dump are caused by idiots whose code is up to shit programs or their data is just crap. You know how it is. When I next see an EPSW of x'070E....40404040' or register15 with 8 zero nibbles and an abend0C1 at x'00000002', I'll do my block. I could see dump reading for applications was a dying artform with ABENDAID during the early 80's, a time of when people pored over SYS1.HASPSRC and when SDSF was a few hundred bucks one time FDP from IBM and when QUE reigned supreme on the ASG mods tape and JES3 people were bloody idiots. Ah those days! So you see, finding obnoxious single, overweight old males over 45 year old that can code a SETLOCK macro using someone else's example, that code at home with one hand by themselves (hand coding?) and remember the glorious days when a real man's I/O found it's way to and from the 3330/3336 pack in software via the LCH like us, are bloody hard to find!