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Last post Author Topic: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?  (Read 6684 times)

40hz

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2011, 07:32:13 AM »
I don't have much of a thing for progress bars. I usually walk away and get coffee when one of those pops up. (And thank you f0dder and all those other coders who add "wait" loops to their apps. Some of us appreciate your doing that. :up:)

I'm more of the blinkin-lights school when zoning out in front of a computer.

Probably has a lot to do with seeing my first mainframe when I was in high school. It was a Honeywell (remember them?) and it had the most amazing operator console I had ever seen. Something like the bridge on the Starship Enterprise - except this looked like it really was doing something.

Most of those old behemoths had those huge blinking-light arrays.

IBM701Console.gif

Supposedly, they were for the use of the operator - that god-like figure who sat next to it and actually flew the thing. But mostly, consoles were put there for marketing purposes. Because let's face it kiddies - blinking lights are cool! Very cool. Wasn't a geeky kid anywhere that didn't want to sit in the chair and boss that big noisy room full of "heavy iron" around.

IBM3602.jpg

Later on, when I finally made it into a position of niggling authority in my university's computer center (and was allowed into that holy of holies commonly referred to as: The Cold Room) I finally got my chance to examine the "console" close up...and was extremely disappointed.

It was strictly La Tourista. Something to impress the "unchurched." It was otherwise useless for anything except (maybe) diagnosing the occasional hardware problem. And even then, the techs that serviced the beast had been issued their own smaller and vastly more informative test rig. They kept it in their field kit - along with a spare necktie. (Note: Back then, IBM required their service personnel to wear a necktie at all times. Even when servicing printers and card readers. They actually taught them how to drape it out of the way over their shoulder - and secure it to the collar with a clip - so they wouldn't accidentally get sucked into the machinery! Anything rather than allow them to take their ties off like everybody else did.)

However, once I did get over my disappointment about the console (and learn a valuable lesson about how this world really works) I discovered something almost as good: status monitors.

As it turned out, the thing that did show the real action was a bank of unassuming green-screen CRTs which displayed job queues and other system logs. These, and a clunky electric typewriter keyboard, were what the operator really used to do his (there was no 'her' back then) job.

ibm360x.png

I think that's when I first acquired my fascination with system logs. For some reason, I find them...relaxing.  8)

I still enjoy screens full of graphics (or even green or amber colored text) reporting on "stuff." Real time firewall status, message header queues on busy e-mail servers, tracers, performance monitors - even scrolling news feeds and stock tickers. As long as it represents real data, and it's in realtime, I'm happy.

------

If you've got a blinkin-light jones, something fun (and potentially useful) to download is Quest Software's freebie Spotlight on Windows.

Quote
Spotlight on Windows

For a busy IT professional, it is nearly impossible to diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve every component affecting Windows Operating System (OS) performance using manual methods.  Without a clear view of I/O and system activity, you learn of performance issues only after problems erupt.

With its unique graphical view of the Windows OS internals, Quest® Spotlight® on Windows empowers you to quickly identify and eliminate bottlenecks in the Windows environment. Displaying the real-time flow of data within your Windows OS, Spotlight enables you to quickly identify and resolve performance problems.

Please Note: Spotlight on Windows is unsupported freeware. The license key is provided in the download package and expires one year after installation. To renew, please revisit this website.  An activation key will be made available prior to the expiration date of your current key.

Spotlight offers a pile of useful graphs and logs (click to enlarge):

SOWgra.gifAnyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?  SOWtxt.gifAnyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?

But that's not what's important here. What you want it for is this:

SOW.gifAnyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?

This is the main console page. It shows a lot of information about the system it's running on. Most of the info falls into the "So what?" category.

But it's animated!

     Things spin.

          Things go up and down.

               Things change color.

           Alerts pop up!



So alive with motion and color...a static screenshot just can't do it justice.  :(

If you like blinking lights, grab a copy pronto.  :Thmbsup:

-----------------

Note: I like to throw a copy of SoW on servers. It's actually not a bad little system monitor. And it looks very impressive when you want to have something on the screen for senior management to look at. Very handy when they hit you with those "probing" and "piercing" managerial-type comments such as: "Are you sure it's running?" or "Doesn't look like it does very much for something that costs five grand, does it?"

Give em candy! :P







« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 08:12:25 AM by 40hz »

steeladept

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2011, 08:20:28 AM »
Note: I like to throw a copy of SoW on servers. It's actually not a bad little system monitor. And it looks very impressive when you want to have something on the screen for senior management to look at. Very handy when they hit you with those "probing" and "piercing" managerial-type comments such as: "Are you sure it's running?" or "Doesn't look like it does very much for something that costs five grand, does it?"

Give em candy! :P
Nice.  You just summed up my job in about 2 paragraphs :P.  I work in Operations where our primary job (according to some anyway) is to monitor and operate the 2 P-Series mainframes.  However our "workstation" looks more like NASA with 6 42" flatscreens mounted on the wall, 3 stations with 3 monitors each and 2 "consoles" which are just 2 more computers with 2 monitors each between them.  The bad part of it all is it is ALL JUST FOR SHOW!  Some intermediate manager decided to make the department look better for bigwigs and the uninitiated.  The point was to get more funding I think, but that didn't work out so well.  What did work out (for some departments at least) is that now we get more work from everyone because their stuff is important enough to need 24 hour monitoring by Operations.  We now are the key monitors for ALL network connections, server up time, mainframe operation, and UPS operations.  Oh, and we got manpower cut by 50% in 2008 and won't beef us back up as operations ramped up because "we are still accomplishing the job".  All because some one thought we needed to look important.

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2011, 08:59:51 AM »
Great story, 40hz!  I remember reading a book about how to dress well (men) for business, and the author had a whole section about how IBM got the advantage in the sales market because of their strict dress code and the psychological implications of it.  Spare necktie...crazy.  Reminds me of a mad men episode I've seen where Draper keeps spare shirts in his drawer at work because, well, he has LOTS of affairs.
I'm totally going to check out the Spotlight program.  That eye candy is all good stuff. I love all those blinking lights and buttons.  My cousins used to joke with me when we were kids because all I would want is something that had a bunch of those translucent rubber buttons, and you just press them and they light up.  None of that hard plastic buttons, though.

[edit]yeah, spotlight on windows is pretty bitchin.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 09:03:35 AM by superboyac »

app103

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2011, 09:24:26 AM »
Life Bar or Death Bar?

Life Bar fills up with roses, rainbows and unicorns, while the Death Bar fills up with skulls & crossbones. :D

I was thinking a crib at one end and a tombstone at the other, displaying an estimated age at death. You'd have to fill out a quiz for it to determine when that would be and at first it would only ask you a few questions. Later versions would give better estimates based on things like gender, occupation, where you live, weight & height, diet & exercise, etc. There would be tips on demand, for increasing your life expectancy, so it wouldn't just sit there and forecast your doom. And if anything in your lifestyle changes that could prolong or shorten your life, you could retake the quiz. It will even wish you a happy birthday on the correct day.

I will probably open source it after release of the first simple version, to encourage people smarter than me to work on analyzing a bunch of statistical data and coming up with a better algorithm for it. Might be a nice project to pass off to a team of students at a university that are studying this kind of stuff. (this was mouser's suggestion)

40hz

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2011, 09:41:15 AM »
Life Bar or Death Bar?

Life Bar fills up with roses, rainbows and unicorns, while the Death Bar fills up with skulls & crossbones. :D

Might be a nice project to pass off to a team of students at a university that are studying this kind of stuff. (this was mouser's suggestion)

Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)

app103

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2011, 09:46:19 AM »

Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)

I don't know...didn't get that far, yet.

steeladept

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2011, 09:56:46 AM »
Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)
Most Universities offer Actuarial Science courses and/or degrees.  Some colleges that specialize in business do too.  Of course that completely bypasses your little joke (if that was the intent), but hey, it answers the question.

40hz

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2011, 10:24:52 AM »
We now are the key monitors for ALL network connections, server up time, mainframe operation, and UPS operations.  Oh, and we got manpower cut by 50% in 2008 and won't beef us back up as operations ramped up because "we are still accomplishing the job".  All because some one thought we needed to look important.

Maybe...

Sorry to hear what went down with you guys. But FWIW, if that's the way your company operates, it probably would have eventually happened without your mid-manager's riff on Epcot.

Around where I am we're seeing lots of in-house IT manpower either "being sent to HR to learn all about COBRA" or simply getting worked to death. And the only thing that attempting to discuss reality seems to accomplish is to make senior management even more anxious to will The Cloud (brass-fanfare, rumble of thunder on the soundtrack) into existence and make IT "go away" once and for all.

But even so...it's true. Your guy did seem to go way over the top. Maybe if he just did one big screen and two PCs...???

insp.gif

----

Note: I don't normally leave SoW running on any of these machines unless I'm actually doing something with it. I'll just pull it up when I need to show somebody who's totally and happily clueless what's 'sup without the need to say too much.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 10:30:30 AM by 40hz »

40hz

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2011, 10:27:33 AM »
Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)
Most Universities offer Actuarial Science courses and/or degrees.  Some colleges that specialize in business do too.  Of course that completely bypasses your little joke (if that was the intent), but hey, it answers the question.


Thank you and much obliged!  :)

It really was a serious question.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 10:29:18 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2011, 10:42:16 AM »
Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)
I almost went into this.  I don't know if a specific actuary degree is offered in most universities.  In my opinion, I'd get a Statistics degree and mix in some finance/accounting courses.  Wouldn't that be just as good if not better?  What else do you need to know to be an actuary?  I always thought if you were good with statistics, you can do actuarial work fairly easily.

40hz

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2011, 01:49:45 PM »
Just out of curiosity, where would you go to study to become an actuary?  :)

What else do you need to know to be an actuary?  I always thought if you were good with statistics, you can do actuarial work fairly easily.

I was under the impression that it's becoming a discipline in it's own right now that "risk" is such a critical issue for so many businesses. And especially since "going global" is more the rule than the exception these days. Many different countries - many different rules.

But what do I know? My degree was a dual in Comp Sci and (wait for it!) Accounting!
-----

Old management school joke:

Q: What's an accountant?

A: Somebody who really wanted to be an actuary, but didn't have enough personality for it.

 :)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 01:51:32 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2011, 03:54:28 PM »
Haha, good one.  Yeah, i don't really know specifically.  I have not kept up with academia much in the past few years.  I was speaking more practically than anything else.  I'll put it this way, if I were to do it, I'd focus on taking as few formal classes as necessary.  So first I'd check to see what the actuary jobs require as far as degrees and certificates.  I'd get the bare minimum.  Then, to really become an expert, I'd self-study using recommended books, and, ideally, I'd find a good mentor I can talk to regularly.
I know there are several sequential exams or certificates you have to get to become a real actuary, so I would really focus on getting those as soon as possible.  That way, i can get employed as soon as possible, and that's the hardest part.  Once you are employed, the rest of it will develop a little more naturally.