Observations about common IT technologies in 1988-89

Sometime around 1988-1989 I did some part-time data entry work for an IT Recruitment Agency that my Dad worked for. Tucked away in some papers I found these two sheets listing a range of different programming languages and other in-demand software packages/systems at the time. From memory, I think this list was what I used to code each of the job applicants tech skills as they were entered into their recruitment CV/resume database.

There’s many things interesting about this list from 30 years ago. The first that caught my attention is how many of the tech skills on this list are no longer in use today, and some I’ve never even heard of since.

The second point that’s interesting is how many technologies and languages we commonly use today are not even on this list, meaning they were developed and introduced at some point after 1989. Every web technology in common use today was introduced after this point – HTML, CSS, JavaScript and any of the various popular JavaScript libraries, all introduced at some point after 1989.

Even other popular languages and frameworks/platforms, Visual Basic, Java, .NET, Ruby, PHP … all introduced after 1989.

This reinforces the fact that commonly used IT technologies come and go pretty quick, and what’s common today can easily be replaced with something else tomorrow. If you’re planning to stay in IT for the long run (longer than a few years), be prepared to keep your skills up to date, stay flexible and adapt to change.

Installing RabbitMQ rpm on RHEL 5.11

Rough notes for installing RabbitMQ on RHEL5.11.

Install the EPEL repo (not sure if this is needed for the RPM install or not):

curl -O http://archives.fedoraproject.org/pub/archive/epel/5/x86_64/epel-release-5-4.noarch.rpm
rpm -ivh epel-release-5-4.noarch.rpm
yum update

Install the erlang dependency (from answer here):

wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/epel-erlang.repo http://repos.fedorapeople.org/repos/peter/erlang/epel-erlang.repo
yum install erlang

Download the noarch version of RabbitMQ:

wget -O http://www.rabbitmq.com/releases/rabbitmq-server/v3.1.1/rabbitmq-server-3.1.1-1.noarch.rpm

Note on my initial install of RHEL 5.11 I could’t wget or curl to any https based sites, as I’d get SSL connection/certificate errors. I downloaded the rpm on another machine and scp’d it up to my server.

Install the rpm:

rpm -i rabbitmq-server-3.1.1-1.noarch.rpm

Enable the admin console:

rabbitmq-plugins enable rabbitmq_management

Delete the default guest user:

rabbitmqctl delete_user guest

Create a new admin user and add to the admin group:

rabbitmqctl add_user newuserid password
rabbitmqctl set_user_tags admin administrator

Start/stop/restart the server:

/sbin/service rabbitmq-server start
/sbin/service rabbitmq-server stop
/sbin/service rabbitmq-server restart

Additional notes:

I tried the generic Linux version wouldn’t start up for me, it gave this error, so found a working RPM above instead:

{"init terminating in do_boot",{undef,[{rabbit_prelaunch,start,[]},{init,start_it,1},{init,start_em,1}]}}
init terminating in do_boot ()

Videos and presentations about running mainframes and supercomputers at home

I’m fascinated by any old computers. The interesting thing about the majority of retro equipment is that you can pick stuff up pretty cheap compared to the original prices when the stuff was originally sold (unless it’s rare). I currently have a very limited collection of an Atari ST 1040 and a Power Mac G4. There’s plenty of other people who collect retro computers and have pretty extensive collections. There’s also a fascinating subset of collectors who via stories that are just as interesting as the hardware itself, have acquired and installed mainframes and supercomputers in their own homes.

One of the first stories I cam across was of 18 year old (at the time) Conor Krukosky who picked up an IBM z890 mainframe for $200 from an online auction and installed it in the basement of his parent’s home. The story of how they moved 1 ton of mainframe hardware into the basement is rather amusing. This is a great presentation by Conor on getting his mainframe up and running. Conor’s hobby and a number of presentations on his experiences setting up his z890 led to a job working for IBM on their current generation z mainframes.

Here’s another fascinating presentation by Camiel Vanderhoeven who acquired a 1984 Convex C1 – a mini supercomputer at it’s time, at $900,000 was originally 1/10 the price of a Cray 1, about 1/3 the performance, and at 3KW power consumption that’s 1/38 the power consumption of the Cray 1. If one unit wasn’t enough, he later came across someone clearing out a number of Convex CPU cabinets and took delivery of several palettes of additional Convex equipment. Another fascinating presentation of getting the hardware up and running.

If you have links to any similar stories, leave me a comment below!