By The Numbers and Very Complex

Logical Conclusions

Hex DumpBinary is the language of electricity and electronics, and probably all of life’s choices. Yes, or no. On, or off. Right, or left.

It is sometimes presented in easy to understand decision trees. Other times it is a dump of all the data into a format that takes time to figure out.

Searching for answers. Pathway to success. Sometimes you need to be able to read the dump of life in other forms of representations.

Wave LengthsBack in the day of working on computers, it was often the task of this programmer to read through various dump reports, looking for the reason something went wrong. Hex dumps were often easier to read than binary dumps, and if I have to explain the difference then you and I are on different wave lengths!

Analysis. Guestimations. Drawing Conclusions. Corrective actions.

Green BarIBM 370-135Sometimes the cleanup work was in the middle of the day, at other times it was in the middle of the night, or on a holiday/weekend event. Back in the day, before the advent of internet connectivity, the only way to look at the problem was to drive to the office and wade through pages and pages of program dump reports.

Keypunch cardCorrective actions often required updating the program, and this was in the day of keypunch cards. We would sit down at the IBM Keypunch machine, the 029, read the card in and correct the IBM Keypunch Machinenecessary code, add and delete additional lines of code on subsequent cards as required, and then compile and test the fix. If all worked properly then Restart/Rerun procedures were followed to start the processing over.

Of course, all of this was back in the mid-70’s. Things have changed dramatically since then, except that a program abend still produces a dump that is represented in some computerse that a technician still needs to interpret and repair.

Wait. Back up a second. Notice what I said. Restart/Rerun procedures. We need to know what to do when something goes wrong. How do we restart the process, or rerun the entire system?

While involved in a process yesterday for an organization, I was reminded that we are loading our world with tasks and processes that require great skill. I asked the question, “What happens if you get hit by a Mack truck?” as this was a typical project management question we asked back in the day of technology. In other words, what happens if you are taken out of the picture and someone else has to step in and take over?

In my early days of computers, I learned the value of having a great understanding of the process, and knowing the steps required to restart, or rerun a program. Sometimes computer files need to be restored to a certain snapshot of time, invalid data needs to be deleted (computer tapes, reports, keypunch cars, or data files), and other processing needs to be done before you continue the daily work. 

This is not just for our career world, but also our private world. Planning for retirement, loss of income, or that rainy day, or unexpected sickness – we need to have procedures in place and the people to pick up the lose ends during the tough times.

How prepared are you for the tough times? How prepared are you to finish what you started?

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  (Luke 14:28-30 ESV)

 We really should think about preparing our worlds for the day that a Mack Truck comes along….

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