Business Tech: The Tug-O-War Between T.I.E.D. and T.I.M.

Today is a good day because I'm suffering from T.I.E.D. - Technologically Induced Euphoria Disorder. That's what I call it when something tech makes me happier than it reasonably should. Sometimes it's a whole category, like smart phones and tablets, sometimes it's learning a new language or methodology. I've been known to get giddy over a single command occasionally.

T.I.M. is another matter entirely.

Knock Knock

When the NCR Tower was being sold as the ADDS Mentor 7000, a company I worked for tasked me with proving that the new machine could handle the load. To meet the challenge, I wrote an mvBASIC program called Knock Knock, which ran from a login script. I started it by logging port 0 onto the test account. The first thing the script did was check if the next highest port existed and, if it did, it logged that port onto the test account as well, triggering another instance of Knock Knock. Then it ran a series of tests.

This allowed me to go to one port and issue one login, triggering 100% of the ports to stress test the machine. On the second pass, I did the same thing again, but this time, instead of running the tests in sequence -- to prove the machine could queue up demand and satisfy it -- I ran the tests at random. This simulated the more realistic case of varying activities on multiple ports.

By adding elapsed time reporting to each test, I was able to prove out the machine in one day. It gave me a serious case of T.I.E.D. to realize the automation capabilities inherent in the LOGON command.

Oh Boy

A few months ago, I was working on a PHP program which needed a serious speed up. So I found ways to avoid MySQL (the server it was on had some pay-to-play constraints which made MySQL under perform). Then I started looking at ways to make the pages work in PHP (to randomize certain content — sort of a no one gets top billing issue — periodically) and work as straight HTML the rest of the time. My normal tricks, like using AJAX, weren't viable for reasons too stupid to repeat here.

I found a command in PHP which not only saved me a lot of steps, but it also told me someone else thinks enough like I do for this command to exist. Technically, OB is not a command, it's a set of commands: . What they do is allow you to write PHP which runs like normal PHP but also captures an HTML-only version of the resulting page.

It was a weird, niche need, and finding out that someone else had hit that obscure wall hard enough that they extended PHP to cover the case... pure T.I.E.D.

Nothing but .NET

Even more recently, I ran into a piece of well-intentioned .Net which sent me into T.I.M — Technologically Induced Melancholy — instead. The programmer did an excellent job of avoiding any use of the existing MultiValue database by tying themselves in knots.

When I unraveled the mess, I found my T.I.E.D. Most of the .Net code survived unaltered. Just re-ordering it, so that the security checks moved to MultiValue, instead of ninety percent of the data shipping up from MultiValue to meet the ten percent in SQL so that .Net could do them, resolved the issues. It actually made me feel good when I realized that the code that was there didn't need to be trashed, it just needed minor surgery. The .Net programmer hadn't handled MultiValue very well, but he had done a decent job with the parts of the project he understood.

One More T.I.E.D.

There are people in this industry whom I've known for years but I've never had a chance to use their products. Recently work has brought me in contact with PRC and MV.NET. I haven't had a deep dive into either one, but the I'm having a good time learning them as projects permit.

One More T.I.M.

I recently had the one millionth (give or take) person tell me that MultiValue is dead. Having heard this for nearly thirty-five years, I have to tell you that it doesn't make me sad for us — because we're all still here — it makes me sad for them. What most of them really seem to be saying is "I don't want to learn anything else, so this stuff has to go." For me, learning is the point. Delphi, PHP, mvBASIC, PROC, JavaScript, Java… even when they make me wince, I still find value in acquiring new languages and in refining my skills with each.

Why So Delirious?

It's easy to feel alone in this profession. Even for those of us who work in teams, the opportunity to share an idea in a receptive environment can be rare. My favorite hiring ad was one Microsoft ran a few years ago: Come work for Microsoft. Your Family still won't know what you do for a living, but they'll know where you work.
When I find some bit of tech which whispers "Hey, the folks who wrote and/or built me have seen what you've seen!" That's when I feel connected. When I go on U2-Users, or have a chat at the Spectrum conference, that's my link.

T.I.E.D. Up

Tell us about your T.I.E.D. moments at .


Charles Barouch is the CTO of HDWP, Inc. He is also a regular contributor to International Spectrum Magazine, a former Associate Editor for both Database Trends and for Gateways Magazine, a former distance learning Instructor for CALC. He is presently the Past President of the U2UG. Mr. Barouch has presented technology and business topics in front of hundreds of companies, in a wide range of product and service categories. He is available for on-site speaking and consulting engagements in and out of the United States.

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Jan/Feb 2015