Just a minute

We were demoing a database product. It wasn't our product - we were the local agents for it in a far away country. We had spent a week of twenty-hour days setting up a system to their specifications on the client's VSE mainframe (a baby IBM machine compared to the OS370 brutes) - what we used to call a "benchmark" demo.

Now on the Friday the big bosses had come down to see. And one of them thought he had us nailed.

One of the features was a Transparency that made flat files (VSAM) look like database tables. A big deal in the '80s. It was key to the deal.

I'm talking; Trevor is driving the keyboard. As we showed this feature, one of the bosses (who had obviously been primed by a competitor) said "Show us ESDS". ESDS is one flavour of VSAM - we only did KSDS (and another I've forgotten now - anyone?).

I was about to break it to them when Trevor says "No problem. Nina, show them the query tool for just a minute while I set up for ESDS".

As they wandered over the other side of the room I hiss at Trevor "What the @#*@ are you doing? We don't do ESDS."

"Sure we do" says Trev, and starts pulling up product modules onto the screen from core and zapping direct into the memory in hex. Not assembler, hex. "Now buzz off I need to concentrate. Let's see; move register offset..."

I lean against a wall feeling sick until after about five minutes Trevor says "ready". I can see that he hasn't tested anything, just hacked code. In hex.

They come back over and Trevor says "What ESDS dataset would you like?" The CIO names one. Trev goes "OK so I do this and I do this and... there you go, ESDS as a relational table".

The hostile boss looks nonplussed. I bet he had some nasty questions for the competitor salesman who set him up with the ESDS question.

After they've gone I'm in awe. "How'd you do that?".

"Oh" says Trevor casually "I've been telling the developers for ages that it is possible but they won't listen".


The missing VSAM type was

The missing VSAM type was RRDS (relative record). We just turned off our VSE machine yesterday.

a few good legends

Another one bites the dust.

Got a few good legends of your own?

Another Trevor Minute

Many years ago, Trevor and I were working together on a local government mega project.

I had done a database area backup, run the INITS and was running the loads back into the table areas. They were all failing.

I was in big trouble. The backups had some consistent corruption.

Trevor said, "Let me have a look".

A few minutes later and a quick assembler program and it was fixed.

Miss those days, Rob, Trevor, Richard, Gordon and of course Clacky the super salesman.


Water. He walks on digital water.

Thanks Wayne. I miss those days too.

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