Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Random memory

I remember the final exam for my Ausbildung; part of it was writing a program in COBOL.

Not sitting in front of a terminal, oh no: we got to use nice coding forms which helpfully marked the important columns for us (including at least 6 and 72, IIRC). Those programs would later be transcribed by data entry people and run through a compiler; we'd get back the error listing and be given one chance to correct syntax errors (including mistakes the data entry person may have introduced). The programs would never actually be run; they'd be judged by a person looking over the source code.

We got to use as many sheets as we wanted, and we didn't have to fill one sheet up before going onto the next one, so we could use one sheet per subroutine, for example. (Our teacher had given us the tip to start each subrouting with a '/' in... I think it was column 1, to start a new page in the compiler listing as well.)

I thought it was fun! Taking the assignment, turning it into an algorithm and then into a program, then writing that down. Whee. I'm sure there were others who had different opinions :)

And also: we got a letter the other day telling us we earn 31% more than we should, given the place we're living in. Fortunately for us, those who earn up to 35% over the mark still get the full subsidy (the subsidy towards the rent is reduced in two steps for those earning 35%–60% or more than 60% over), so I expect our rent won't go up as a result. (They check your income again every three years or so to determine whether or how much subsidy to provide.)

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