Links from 2023-12-10

Modern displays designed to look good with old computers | Boing Boing

Beige, blocky and beautiful, it comes in 19" and 17" models, 5:4 and 4:3 aspect ratios in appropriate resolutions, classic and modern inputs, built-in speakers, and IPS panels with wide viewing angles. There’s a full-size SCART hole. The only flaw I imagine is that modern off-white plastics won’t oxidize to the classic Age of Beige patina.

The World Depends on 60-Year-Old Code No One Knows Anymore | PCMag

The problem is that very few people are interested in learning COBOL these days. Coding it is cumbersome, it reads like an English lesson (too much typing), the coding format is meticulous and inflexible, and it takes far longer to compile than its competitors. And since nobody’s learning it anymore, programmers who can work with and maintain all that code are a increasingly hard to find. Many of these "COBOL cowboys" are aging out of the workforce, and replacements are in short supply.

IBM’s approach is fairly straightforward: Rather than relying exclusively on a limited pool of human programmers to solve the problem, it built a generative AI-powered code assistant (watsonx) that helps convert all that dusty old COBOL code to a more modern language, thereby saving coders countless hours of reprogramming. In extremely simplified terms, the process is similar to feeding an essay written in English into ChatGPT and asking it to translate certain paragraphs into Esperanto. It allows programmers to take a chunk of COBOL and enlist watsonx to transform it into Java.

Gartner Distinguished Vice President and Analyst, Arun Chandrasekara is also skeptical because “IBM has no case studies, at this time, to validate its claims,” he says.

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