Posts Tagged "hmc"

Ode to a Pager


I've been on-call for most of the last 11 years. I was on-call for the CS Department at Mudd1. I was on-call at Yelp, in a rotation that at times contained as few as three people. I was on-call at Uber in rotations ranging from one to twenty people. And I've been on-call at EasyPost — initially in a rotation with one other person2, and currently with two other people. I have responded to tens of thousands of pages. I have been woken up in the middle of the night hundreds3 of times. For the last seven or …

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*nix Tip of the Day: VMS

Okay, so this is maybe a little unusual, but today's "*nix Tip of the Day" isn't about Unix/Linux/etc. at all. Instead, it is about their antiquated archenemy: VMS. First, a little bit of history:


Way back in 1970, the PDP-11 was hot stuff. Ken Thompson, Dennis Richie, Brian Kernighan, and others at Bell Labs were writing what would become Unix for the PDP-11 (well, for the PDP-7 at first, but nobody talks about that). Unix was a huge improvement over what DEC shipped with the PDP-11, DOS-11 and RT-11. This couldn't stand, so Dave Cutler at DEC designed VMS. It was a new operating system, with lots of fancy features, like networking and, uh, lots of upper-case letters.

VMS and Unix sort of battled on. Or so some people would have you think. Really, Unix won early on and VMS stumbled along with corporate financing and an obnoxiously difficult-to-use interface. It passed from DEC to Compaq to HP, from the PDP-11 to the Alpha to the Itanium. And it still lives on, churning away in scary back-rooms here and there.

Current Events

So, why do I bring this up? Well, as some of you may know, Harvey Mudd College has a few VMS machines around. The most well-known of these (to students) is thuban, which is a 667MHz DEC Alpha running OpenVMS 7.3-2. Today, I had the, uh, interesting experience of using it, and thought I'd share my impressions with my readers. You can see the proof of my VMS skills at my VMS homepage. That's right, I'm on the Internet. And on DECnet.

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In Claremont, Again: Musings

Today marks my first week back in sunny California. Actually, scratch the "sunny" part – it's rained here almost every day since I arrived. It's still nice to be somewhere where the average daily temperature has more than one digit, though.

Class is exactly as I remembered it. Hours drag by, but days seem to end almost without beginning in the first place. I'm staying on top of my homework, which is a good thing. We'll see how well I can keep that up, particularly when biology and STEMS (signals and systems engineering) start to load it on.

I've also started …

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