• No name (unregistered)

    I'd be 0st, but my display cannot draw circles.

  • Tired dev (unregistered) in reply to No name
    No name:
    I'd be 0st, but my display cannot draw circles.
    So, I'm the FRIST then? :)
  • Warren (unregistered)

    We have a similar problem here on TDWTF: the comments section cannot show anything witty.

  • Tinus Lorvalds (unregistered)

    If this is the Ulrich I'm thinking of, now I know why glibc is the way it is...

  • no laughing matter (cs)

    Due to heavy story-editing, thedailywtf.com finally has gone down the drain.

  • Hmmmm (cs) in reply to Warren
    Warren:
    We have a similar problem here on TDWTF: the comments section cannot show anything witty.

    But at least the whole site doesn't die when someone tries...

    <realitycheck>Did I just defend community server by saying it is better than a >30 year old mainframe?</realitycheck>

  • RFoxMich (unregistered)

    You stupid....You use computer, computer cause trouble. No use computer.

  • 50% Opacity (unregistered)
    
                          ,,ggddY""""Ybbgg,,
                     ,agd""'              `""bg,
                  ,gdP"                       "Ybg,
                ,dP"                             "Yb,
              ,dP"         _,,ddP"""Ybb,,_         "Yb,
             ,8"         ,dP"'         `"Yb,         "8,
            ,8'        ,d"                 "b,        `8,
           ,8'        d"                     "b        `8,
           d'        d'        ,gPPRg,        `b        `b
           8         8        dP'   `Yb        8         8
           8         8        8)     (8        8         8
           8         8        Yb     dP        8         8
           8         Y,        "8ggg8"        ,P         8
           Y,         Ya                     aP         ,P
           `8,         "Ya                 aP"         ,8'
            `8,          "Yb,_         _,dP"          ,8'
             `8a           `""YbbgggddP""'           a8'
              `Yba                                 adP'
                "Yba                             adY"
                  `"Yba,                     ,adP"'
                     `"Y8ba,             ,ad8P"'
                          ``""YYbaaadPP""''
    

    ducks

  • Shoreline (cs)

    I'm pretty sure this is TRWTF:

    They didn’t have a “test control room”...

    This is a nuclear power plant, and they can't test what happens in an equivalent environment. The plant will blow up. We are all fucked.

  • no laughing matter (cs) in reply to Shoreline
    Shoreline:
    I'm pretty sure this is TRWTF:
    They didn’t have a “test control room”...

    This is a nuclear power plant, and they can't test what happens in an equivalent environment. The plant will blow up. We are all fucked.

    The cautious guys at Fukushima had not only one, but three reserve plants to test what happens when you operate a nuclear reactor in a region prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. The test results showed that the plant will blow up, which could be reliably reproduced in subsequent tests!

  • Dr. Azrael Tod (unregistered)

    so this was 1999 and they used old mainframes from the Czech Republic build in the 1970s. I would say it should be safe to assume that since those mainframes were older than 10 years and thus lived through the fall of the eastern block.

    Who ever wrote that "WTF-Article" didn't quite get how far away from concerned this producer of toasters is from caring about bugs in archaic computers. It's pretty improbable that they have anything in common with the organisation that built it besides the pure name.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to Shoreline
    Shoreline:
    The plant will blow up. We are all fucked.
    Extrapolating from the factoids "Ulrich" (a german name) and "Czech mainframe", one could arrive at the conclusion that the nuclear power station in question is situated in what was formerly known as the "German Democratic Republic".

    And since none of the 9 nuclear power stations still operating in Germany is situated in what is colloquially called "Eastern Germany", I think we don't need to loose a night's sleep over this.

  • my name is missing (unregistered)

    I read the words of Miklos in the voice of Peggy.

  • Nix Nada (unregistered) in reply to my name is missing
    my name is missing:
    I read the words of Miklos in the voice of Peggy.
    I read them in the voice of Miss Piggy. "Are you stupid? You want MOI to fix it?"
  • MrOli (unregistered)

    So let's just back up a step here.

    There was no test system. He had to test/demo on live. A definition of demo (I would say) is "show it off to the customer to gather feedback for improvements".

    But he had no rollback plan for putting the current production system live again.

    So either total arrogance or little real-world experience - or both - on our protagonist's part.

    I have no sympathy for this story...

  • huppenzuppen (unregistered) in reply to faoileag

    Actually, all Eastern German nuclear plants were shut down at the time of the reunification (1990)

  • Andrew (unregistered) in reply to no laughing matter
    no laughing matter:
    Due to heavy story-editing, thedailywtf.com finally has gone down the drain.
    It has gone down a very blocky drain, indeed.

    Thank you for not using that other word, because I need things to work today.

  • Smug Unix User (unregistered)

    Bah! Graphics are worthless anyway.

  • Sam (unregistered) in reply to MrOli
    MrOli:
    There was no test system. He had to test/demo on live... he had no rollback plan... so either total arrogance or little real-world experience - or both - on our protagonist's part.
    Our protagonist was an *undergrad* who was there *part-time* - possibly his first exposure to any live environment. Who was supposed to be supervising him? Who decided this level of supervision was appropriate?
  • Bob (unregistered)

    You do a comment and funny not come? You want Miklos to fix this? You stupid? If you know comment not funny, then DO NOT COMMENT!

  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL (unregistered)

    Ulrich made sure to add "DO NOT USE CIRCLES" to his Czechlist.

  • Herwig (unregistered) in reply to ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL
    ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL:
    Ulrich made sure to add "DO NOT USE CIRCLES" to his Czechlist.
    My vote for featured :)

    CAPTCHA genitus

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to huppenzuppen
    huppenzuppen:
    Actually, all Eastern German nuclear plants were shut down at the time of the reunification (1990)
    Actually, that's not quite right. Some of the reactors used for research or training were in operation until 2004/2005.

    In that respect I have to correct myself as well: there is one nuclear reactor operating in Eastern Germany, the training reactor "Dresden 2". But since that has only been put into operation in 2005, it can't be the one from the article.

  • fgfg (unregistered) in reply to Bob
    Bob:
    You do a comment and funny not come? You want Miklos to fix this? You stupid? If you know comment not funny, then DO NOT COMMENT!

    Cool female computer voice: Comment destroyed by comment. Abandon ship! Abandon ship! Abandon ship!

  • Mike (unregistered)

    Isn't this kind of the definition of mainframe programming? If it doesn't do it already don't touch it you might break it. It is still on a mainframe because people are afraid of trying to replace it because it would be disastrous if it went down.

  • Nupanick (unregistered) in reply to no laughing matter

    The thing that makes WTFs funny, when it comes down to it... is that they're plausible.. We've laugh because the stories hit close to home, we've all had our absentminded coding moments, or known someone who gets religious about their preferred programming language, or had a boss who is incredibly thrifty as long as it's only in the short run.

    When you over-fictionalize these stories... you lose that. Don't tell me what dream the user had before he was called in, or what the co-worker did after the user left the room, or what silly nicknames the user got as a result, because I know you don't actually know those things and it kills the believability, and therefore the humor.

  • xaade (cs) in reply to Dr. Azrael Tod
    Dr. Azrael Tod:
    so this was 1999 and they used old mainframes from the Czech Republic build in the 1970s. I would say it should be safe to assume that since those mainframes were older than 10 years and thus lived through the fall of the eastern block.

    Who ever wrote that "WTF-Article" didn't quite get how far away from concerned this producer of toasters is from caring about bugs in archaic computers. It's pretty improbable that they have anything in common with the organisation that built it besides the pure name.

    Whereas I agree that Miklos shouldn't be expected to fix software that he likely doesn't have the source-code for, the WTF is that circles did in the entire machine. I'd understand if the display failed, but drawing circles crashed the mainframe? I mean, did the software cause the equivalent of BSoD? The whole OS went down.

    Now, I understand Miklos' point of view. Imagine someone calling up Microsoft:

    "Yeah, uh, Windows 3.1 crashes if I try to use API ____."

    "Seriously? You want me to fix 3.1? I'm sorry, we don't even have a backup of the source code for 3.1, much less a machine that will run it. If API ____ fails, then don't use it."

  • no laughing matter (cs)

    Ok but it really isn't the most plausible of stories.

    As already commented: Ulrich is a german name, so story probably happened in the former GDR. However they use a czech mainframe?

    Relevant wikipedia article indeed lists a soviet mainframe (in soviet russia, mainframe keypunches you) that was produced in Czechoslovakia, but it was also produced in the GDR itself.

    And while it might be believable that there was no seperate test hardware in the GDR due to shortage of resources, it seems implausible that this practice of testing-in-production was continued after reunification.

    In the late nineties, it definitely was possible to emulate a seventies mainframe on cheap hardware.

  • Methusalem (unregistered) in reply to xaade
    xaade:
    Whereas I agree that Miklos shouldn't be expected to fix software that he likely doesn't have the source-code for, the WTF is that circles did in the entire machine. I'd understand if the display failed, but drawing circles crashed the mainframe? I mean, did the software cause the equivalent of BSoD? The whole OS went down.

    There's probably a real-time driver running on the same mainframe, polling sensors, or updating the displays or something. And no modern operating system capable of enforcing hard real-time constraints. When Ulrich drew circles in some painfully slow trigonometric-math fashion, the timing on some driver went off. If that driver was for the display, then screens going black is a likely result.

    That's the 1970's for you.

  • Steve The Cynic (cs) in reply to Methusalem
    Methusalem:
    And no modern operating system capable of enforcing hard real-time constraints.
    Sorry(*) to break this to you, but people have been capable of building operating systems plenty capable of enabling hard real-time operation for a *very* long time.

    In fact, they've been capable of doing it more or less from the beginning, as soon as there were hard real-time demands on the machine. And that was pretty early on. People were able to do things with old computers that we can only just begin to be able to do with new ones with those vaunted "modern operating systems". Like my mother used to tell me back in the 70s - she wrote software in the early 60s on the LEO III that could (on a single-processor machine) run a set of jobs in 24 hours or less that would, if run sequentially, take around 25 hours total to run. There was no memory protection, no virtual memory, and a bunch of tubes full of mercury.

    And I remember working on a system in the mid 80s that had all the requirements for hard real-time operation, notably the fact that if high-priority tasks are running, low priority tasks don't get a time slice, ever. This is an essential element of hard real-time systems. Non-HRT parts of the system must not be able to interrupt or displace the operation of HRT parts.

    And hard real-time doesn't mean what you think it means, either. Hard real-time imposes deadlines on the use, provision, or consumption of data, and the data is of zero or negative value after that deadline. If you miss the deadline, the system is broken. End. That deadline could be two weeks away, and it might not matter if you are substatially early, but if the deadline is HRT, then the system MUST meet that two-week deadline, or it is of no use.

    It's rather like "ASAP". ASAP does not mean "right now". It means "as soon as possible". If the job requires three weeks' work, then "in three weeks' time" IS "ASAP".

    (*) I'm sure we all realise I'm not sorry at all.

  • Bob (unregistered)

    Please show a little sensitivity. I had a son who crashed while drawing circles once, and let me assure you, it's no laughing matter.

  • Rnd( (unregistered) in reply to Bob
    Bob:
    Please show a little sensitivity. I had a son who crashed while drawing circles once, and let me assure you, it's no laughing matter.

    He shouldn't have been drawing circles when he was doing what he was doing when he crashed...

  • Michael (unregistered) in reply to Warren
    Warren:
    We have a similar problem here on TDWTF: the comments section cannot show anything witty.

    True, true... Hang on, that was quite w...

  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL (unregistered) in reply to Steve The Cynic
    Steve The Cynic:
    Methusalem:
    And no modern operating system capable of enforcing hard real-time constraints.
    Sorry(*) to break this to you, but people have been capable of building operating systems plenty capable of enabling hard real-time operation for a *very* long time.
    Just because they could somewhere doesn't mean they could on the cobbled-up shit that was all you could get east of the Iron Curtain.
    And I remember working on a system in the mid 80s that had all the requirements for hard real-time operation, notably the fact that if high-priority tasks are running, low priority tasks don't get a time slice, *ever*.
    I used VAX/VMS back then too, when I was in college.

    For some reason they left a batch queue open with priority 5. Regular users were priority 4. (I think the range was 0-31.) If you submitted your compile to the batch queue, the whole system would seem to freeze for a couple of seconds. That poor VAX 780 was also heavily oversubscribed. It could run about 30-35 users comfortably, it usually had about 50-70, and they originally expected it to handle over 90!

  • Severity One (cs) in reply to Shoreline
    Shoreline:
    I'm pretty sure this is TRWTF:
    They didn’t have a “test control room”...

    This is a nuclear power plant, and they can't test what happens in an equivalent environment. The plant will blow up. We are all fucked.

    Oh, that's highly exaggerated. Who would run an experiment on a nuclear reactor that, as a result, would blow up? We all know that these tests are run during one shift, that warning signals are heeded, and that safety systems are not overridden. Nobody would be so stupid as to do such an irresponsible thing.

  • XXI (unregistered) in reply to Bob

    Right or wrong, it's just the way jokes have always been in those comment sections

    Captcha Nobis: Only a nobis would attempt to draw circles on a Czech system

  • DCRoss (cs) in reply to Bob
    Bob:
    Please show a little sensitivity. I had a son who crashed while drawing circles once, and let me assure you, it's no laughing matter.
    Right or wrong, it's just the way that circles gave always been drawn in nuclear power plants.
  • no laughing matter (cs) in reply to Rnd(
    Rnd(:
    Bob:
    Please show a little sensitivity. I had a son who crashed while drawing circles once, and let me assure you, it's no laughing matter.
    He shouldn't have been drawing circles when he was doing what he was doing when he crashed...
    But drawing circles in the sky is what is expected from us aerobatics.

    Also expected is the outcome.

  • DaveK (cs) in reply to Severity One
    Severity One:
    Shoreline:
    I'm pretty sure this is TRWTF:
    They didn’t have a “test control room”...

    This is a nuclear power plant, and they can't test what happens in an equivalent environment. The plant will blow up. We are all fucked.

    Oh, that's highly exaggerated. Who would run an experiment on a nuclear reactor that, as a result, would blow up? We all know that these tests are run during one shift, that warning signals are heeded, and that safety systems are not overridden. Nobody would be so stupid as to do such an irresponsible thing.

    I see what you did there...
  • Phuul (unregistered) in reply to Severity One

    One word. Chernobyl.

  • belzebub (unregistered)

    The only thing I can think of is that it must've been REALLY, REALLY old computer, and therefore very SLOW one. Not only slow, but:

    • Old computers didn't have any graphics acceleration, and often no graphics libraries. There could've been some form of "ClearScreen", "DrawPixel" if you were lucky.

    • There usually was no floating point processor.

    • Not many people working with OLD computers were familiar with "new cool" algorithms, like the Bresenham's circle algorithm.

    So, when a programmer in Czech Republic was working on mainframe in 80's (they was not manufactured after the fall of communism), and he had to write circle drawing function, he would probably do something like this:

    function draw_circle(xc, yc, radius, color)
      for i = 0 to 2*Pi by 0.01
        x = xc + radius * cos(i)
        y = yc + radius * sin(i)
        draw_pixel(x, y, color)
    end
    

    I've seen it so many times. The fun facts about a code like this are:

    1. it uses floating point math => slow

    2. it uses goniometric functions (2 for each pixel) => super slow

    3. it uses very fine step, to make sure circles are smooth. This is the key part - if step is 0.01, then it's roughly 628 points per circle. Regardless of the radius. Even if radius was 0.5, on screen this would be only one dot, but it would still be drawn 628 times and there would be 1256 goniometric function calls. => mega slow

    So I'll say it's Ulrich's fault for not being familiar with the system he was working on. Also, as I'm Czech, this is super offensive :)

  • Golden Dragon (unregistered) in reply to Nix Nada
    Nix Nada:
    my name is missing:
    I read the words of Miklos in the voice of Peggy.
    I read them in the voice of Miss Piggy. "Are you stupid? You want MOI to fix it?"

    I read them in the voice of Roman "Niko! Cousin! Stop drawing circles and let's go bowling."

  • chubertdev (cs)

    So I'm assuming that we don't have Eastern Europeans here who take offense to stereotypes, even ones as badly written as these.

  • floating ground (unregistered)

    Define "mainframe".

  • Golden Dragon (unregistered) in reply to floating ground
    floating ground:
    Define "mainframe".

    The city in which the cartoon ReBoot is set.

  • Vali (unregistered) in reply to chubertdev
    chubertdev:
    So I'm assuming that we don't have Eastern Europeans here who take offense to stereotypes, even ones as badly written as these.

    As Eastern Europeans, we can't quite take offense from being stereotyped, since we do plenty of stereotyping ourselves...

  • eViLegion (cs) in reply to Vali

    Why bother getting offended by stereotypes? By not bothering to get offended, life is easier, and for some reason things seem to taste better.

  • DigitalDan (unregistered)

    Always mount a scratch monkey.

  • PG4 (unregistered) in reply to belzebub
    belzebub:
    So I'll say it's Ulrich's fault for not being familiar with the system he was working on.

    Someone else also said, "define mainframe". You would be surprised how many young punks that have only touched PC class machines thought that a VAX was a mainframe. Hell even a Soviet knock off of a PDP would be thought of a as mainframe by many people.

    Just try doing certain math functions in driver/kernel level code when the those instructions are emulated.

    CRASH

  • hank (unregistered) in reply to eViLegion
    eViLegion:
    Why bother getting offended by stereotypes? By not bothering to get offended, life is easier, and for some reason things seem to taste better.
    Right or wrong, somebody's always getting offended, and consequently nothing's ever easy.

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