Happy new year

Aere Greenway Aere at Dvorak-Keyboards.com
Wed Jan 1 20:43:59 UTC 2014

On 01/01/2014 12:34 PM, Israel wrote:
> I know this is rather nerdy, but....

Thank you for the clever graphic, done in characters.  It's a "blast 
from the past" like the graphics available to us when I originally 
started programming (in the late 60's).

Since one good turn deserves another, I am contributing my parody on 
Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven", written from the perspective of systems 
programming back in the 70's, working on Univac Exec 8 mainframe systems.

                           "The Blocktimer's Lament"

                  (A parody on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven")

                           By Aere Greenway

Once upon a mid-shift dreary, while I
      pondered, weak and weary,
over many a strange and curious listing
      of forgotten core--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly
      there came a clacking,
As the printer fiercely tapping-- spewed its
      printout on the floor.
"Tis my SYSGEN," I muttered, "dumping
      registers and core--
           only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in
      the Dynamic Allocator,
and each stupid faulty COR-change wrought
      its errors by the score.
Hopelessy I watched the panel;-- vainly
      I had read the manuals
and my PROCS, and still I fail--
      to allocate the D-bank core--
and patch a rare unseemly buffer which
      my expool doth not store--
           nameless here for evermore.

And each sudden bad uncertain flashing of
      mount-requests outstanding
on the console; showed a thousand different
      errors I had never seen before;
So that now to still the beating of my fist,
      I stood repeating:
'Tis some interrupt receiving service from
      sub-system 4--
Some ESI interrupt queued and waiting from
      sub-system 4.
           This it is and nothing more.

Eventually my fits grew meaner; placing
      cards into the reader,
"@RUN" said I, "@START a @RUN and
      crash no more;
But the fact was I was napping, and so
      loudly the printer clacking,
and so faintly you were S$NAPing-- dumping
      buffer space and core."
Always now the lights I'm watching-- for a
      flash from channel 4:--
           Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long
      I stood there wondering fearing,
routeing, klugeing patches no mortal
      ever dared to patch before;
But the backlog was unopened, and the
      flashing gave no token,
and the only words there spoken was
      the run-log phrase "DAMCORE"...
This I whispered, and the console printed
      back the word: "DALCORE"--
           merely this and nothing more.

Then back to my manual turning, all I
      ate within me burning,
Soon again I heard a clacking, a little
      sooner than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely it is a glitch
      in the control-unit;
Let us see, then, what there is, and
      this circuitry explore;--
           'Tis the disks, and nothing more.

Now out I pulled the ERR$ing module, when,
      with barely a flit and flicker,
On there popped a shining light from
      the failing channel 4.
Not the least abberance made it; not
      a moment stopped or changed it;
But with will of control-unit and processor,
      glowed there from sub-system 4--
           glows there still, and nothing more.

Then this brilliant kluge beguiling my
      false hopes into smiling,
at the grave commanding pattern of
      the lights upon the board,
"Though thy states be badly shaken by
      this PC-card I have taken, surely thou art not mistaken
ghastly grim and unknown algorithm wandering through
      the ferrite core--
Tell me what thy unknown state is far within
      the dormant core!
      Quoth the system, ERR 004.

Much I marveled this ungainly foul machine to
      see discourse so plainly,
though the error-code little meaning-- little
      relevancy bore;
For we are reluctant in agreeing that no living human being
ever yet was cursed with seeing shining
      light from channel 4--
Light within the deadlocked panel shining from
      sub-system 4
      with such a state as   ERR 004.

But the system, sitting lonely in that
      big room, printed only
that one word, as if its reason for existence in that
      one word did deplore.
Nothing further then it printed; not a
      flashing light it flitted--
'til I scarcely more than booted.
      "System errors I've solved before--
On the next load it will be working, as my
      builds have @MAP'ed before."
      Then the thing prints:  ERR 004.

Startled at the horror hinted by reply
      so aptly printed,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it prints is
      its only stock and storage.
Dumped from some unhappy register
      which reentrant disaster
swallowed fast and hung much faster til
      its buffers one message bore--
Till the control units of its symbionts the melancholy
      message bore,
           of error--  ERR 004.

But the SYSBLD still compiling all my
      changes I'd been trying,
straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in
      front of machine and console and core;
Then down in the chair sinking, I reduced
      myself to LINK$ing, thinking
what this
      cryptic code of yore--
What this dim, unweildly, beastly,
      un-commented and monotonous algorithm of yore
      meant in printing  ERR 004.

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no
      jump-switch yet depressing
on the foul machine whose guard-mode light now
      burned into my bosom's core;
The buffer still devising, my mind
      still searched, reviling
as I beat upon the table while the lights
      stare always o'er.
      It shall run?  No--   ERR 004.

Then methought, the air grew denser,--
      with ozone told a sensor
caused by wiring and such whose arcing
      crackles through sub-system 4.
"Wretch", I cried, "UNIVAC hath rented
thee-- By these Field Engineers it hath wrecked
Respite-- enter site and set jump-key, from
      all control-units on channel 4!
Quaff, don't laugh-- but before the coming century,
      let me complete this hopeless chore!"
      Quoth the system,  ERR 004.

"Be that word our sign of parting, thing
      .OR. fiend!" I shrieked rebooting--
"Test-and-set thee stacked into the darkest regions of the
      smelly hidden core!
Leave no jammed-printer as a token of
      the lie thy console hath spoken!
Leave my processors unopened-- Turn
      off light from channel 4!
Take thy @MARK from off my tapes, and
      take thy plague from off my chore!"
      Quoth the system,  ERR 004.

And the system, never flitting, still is
      sitting-- still is sitting.
Like the groveling ghost of babbage, light still on
      from channel 4;
And its lights have all the seeming of a
      down-machine that is dreaming,
and the room lights over it streaming
      cast no shadow on the floor;
But my dump from out that shadow
      that lies looping in memory 4,
           shall be listed     nevermore.


If you are very familiar with Poe's poem, you will notice that one verse is
missing.  You might think of this omission as a 'parody error'...


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