That time I tried to learn COBOL
I love legacy.
The older, the more complex, the messier, the better! What makes other programmers turn away in disgust is simply fascinating to me.
You see I’m not in gadgets. I’m not a gamer. I don’t have many of the typical interests that serve as gateways into a career in tech. What interests me about technology is its significance as an artifact of human thought.
I’m really into the human factors of complexity theory. I’m really into systems thinking. I’m really into organizational behavior and cognitive biases. Code is interesting to me not because it is good or bad, elegant or abstract, but because it is a manifestation of how people see the world, what assumptions they make, what associations they create.
Over at USDS.gov there has been a running betting pool going about who would be the first engineer to give in and actually teach themselves COBOL. For a while I’ve been wanting to do more technical blogging. I am fascinated by live coding sessions over Twitch and all the distributive conversations that are springing up as the programming community grows. So this seemed like a cool way to get started: it’s something super interesting to me, it’s a space where I can contribute insightfully, it’s a opportunity to connect with other people like me.
For the summer of 2018 I’m going to blog about my experiences teaching myself COBOL. Starting with….
….how the fuck do you install a language designed for mainframes on a Mac?