There, but for the grace…

Via Monkey Bites, Gary Anthes reports the results of a Computerworld survey of IT managers at 352 companies. The short answer: COBOL is still with us:

62% of the respondents reported that they actively use Cobol. Of those, three quarters said they use it “a lot” and 58% said they’re using it to develop new applications.

What brought me up short in this story (which seemed to feature a disproportionate number of state agencies) was the finding that the average age of a COBOL programmer is about 50. HR managers are concerned about COBOL new hires: those that have the skills are nearing retirement age. I touched my last COBOL compiler in 1997 and wrote my last app in the language in 1990. Heck, I didn’t realize that Computerworld was still around.

Fearful symmetry

Via robot wisdom, composer Dmitri Tymoczko has written visualization software that makes sense of the harmonic movement of a piece of music.

“Tools like these have helped people understand music with both their ears and their eyes for generations,” Tymoczko said. “But music has expanded a great deal in the past hundred years. We are interested in a much broader range of harmonies and melodies than previous composers were. With all these new musical developments, I thought it would be useful to search for a framework that could help us understand music regardless of style.”

The homepage for ChordGeometries 1.1 includes a link to the published paper and three some short animations to accompany a fragment of a Chopin piano prelude. I’d love to see what a Billy Strayhorn piece like “Lush Life” looks like.