Windows Woz ‘Ere

Yeah I put an apostrophe in ‘ere, what of it! I’m a geek not a grafiti artist after all…

So, Windows. Anyone remember installing operating systems? I do. Back in my youth I installed operating systems all the time. Sometimes several times a day. Youngsters may not get the joke, but anyone around in the mid ’90s will laugh when I say “insert disk 27” followed with absolutely no irony by “Insert disk 13”. Seriously, that’s what we used to do. I still have a copy of Windows 3.1 in original shrink wrap with manual which came on 8 3.5″ floppies. Offers on a postcard, it’s a relic. Do Microsoft even still make disks? Do Canonical and Red Hat?

Anyway, let’s not get carried off with the rose tinted unicorns. Why am I rambling? It’s a challenge. You see, Operating Systems, even OS2 Warp are dated. Who cares? Have you seen serverless compute? It’s not the future it’s the now, it’s the last year, it’s SO last year!

Look at your app. Yes, the nasty LOB app. Yes, that one. The one you’re scared to turn off. Ask yourself how it works. I bet there’s a database. Probably a 4GL, probably with a “customer” table. It probably links those customers with things those customers buy or do. It’s probably not that clever but it almost certainly owns your business.

Here’s a secret, I’ll write it in black ink so nobody can see in the dark…ALL OF THE APPS are just tables of data and some processing. No, not Photoshop, so maybe not all the apps. GIMP is pretty special too and we all love Wilber. And Notepad, that has nothing to do with databases…or Tux Racer ANYWAY some apps have databases and such, and those are the ones that live in your dusty, cold data centre. Yeah, did I mention we used to wear jumpers to install that OS? I even still have serial cables for the console. console for the hardware. HARDWARE. Azure Data Centres (other clouds are cosy too, some have books 😉 are warm and cosy, you know why? Because it’s your house. Your bedroom if you’re really lazy. Never even leave the house. Sound good? Read on…

Yes you can set up an app from bed. Not only that, but you can watch Mr Robot season 3 instead of Windows installer season whogivesamonkeyswhatsit. The installer is boring. It asks the same tedious one liners it did in twenty-nineteenninetysix. Why not skip it like a pro? Have a G&T. Tell the boss you were installing like a…well like a boss. Here’s the clever bit though. Microsoft will install your OS. Even if it’s Linux. Especially if it’s Linux. Even if it’s free Linux. Yes, even that “open sauce” muck, they love the sauce in Redmond just like they do in Seattle. Here’s the clever bit though, you don’t have to install apps either. Or services. Or worry about scaling. Or any of that nonsense. Just. Write. Code. Upload your code. BAM you’ve got a working system. Magic. Not unicorn magic, this magic has a man named Mark backstage sorting all that stuff out for you. OK Mark doesn’t really push buttons or write code anymore, he has people for that, but he’s still enthusiastic and that’s good enough for us, right?

Then pop an API gateway in front and you’re in micro-services heaven sipping mai-tais with Ken Thompson reminiscing about that Mainframe that used to look awesome in the fridge.

So the challenge? Look at an app. Or “application” as those of a certain age will call them. Think to yourself, “is this just some tables and some code?” and think “could I turn this into Cosmos and three functions?”. Could you? Should you? It’ll be cheaper. It’ll be more reliable, scalable, easier, did I say cheaper? Your boss will love it.


And most importantly remember the eternal phrase “I could replace you with a 3 line script…one of those lines would be GOTO 10”


Everything can be simpler, you just have to stop doing all that boring stuff.

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