Watson & Walker, Inc.

Years in IT—

My first mainframe job—
It was updating a payroll system written in Autocoder on a 1401. The machine and its 4K of memory took up the same space as my first house. The source code had long before been lost, so all of the changes had to be patched in, and the object card decks didn't have sequence numbers. Since that time, I always preferred maintaining code (and making it better) than writing anything from scratch. Also since that time, I decided that COBOL was my language of choice because I could (usually) figure out what the original programmer was attempting to do.

My favorite mainframe attribute—
The first release of SMF was a thriller for me. Being a math and statistics major, having the ability to measure, analyze, track and massage data about computer usage was extremely exciting. It still captivates me. Of all operating systems, the mainframe's has the strongest ability to measure resource usage and performance. The SMF data provides audit trails, chargeback data, performance data, capacity tracking for forecasting, security information, network analysis, subsystem information down to the transaction level, warning analysis, and resource usage (CPU, real storage, virtual storage, DASD, tapes, network, channels, control units, etc.). Every new SMF record or field is an exciting adventure for me.
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