Cyber Essentails

Margaret Sale, 1932–2020

I am sad to say the Margaret Sale died recently. She and her husband Tony were instrumental in saving the Bletchley Park site and helped to create what is now the country’s most important museums for WW2 code-breaking. Made famous through various films and life stories of Alan Turing.

She and Tony also worked tirelessly with the National Computing Museum (on the same site as Bletchley).

Tony Sale (Left) with the then President of the IAP Jim Bates and his wife Jo

I was fortunate to have met both of them, Tony, when he gave a presentation to an IAP Symposium, and a few years ago I was at the NCM and had an interesting chat with Margaret about the computing museum.

COBOL Developers Are Not Extinct

COBOL Graphic

The Governor of New Jersey had put out a plea to COBOL developers to volunteer to support the states aging computing systems.

In an article in The Register he explains that the 40 year old Benefits system relies upon this code and is struggling with the amount of applications being made.

While asking for volunteers, he may need to ask for retired or semi-retired developers to come back to work.

It does raise the question of technical debt, but it also shows that while an aging language COBOL was literally a Business Programming language and is still relevant today.

While COBOL is still available and indeed has several Windows and Object Orientated versions, many companies and organisations have been converting, rewriting from scratch, even redesigning systems to move their old coding real estate to modern languages. Although often the database stays the same.

It is a shame, that as this need arrives, contract developers in the UK and around the world cannot travel to the USA to offer assistance for this task due to the current travel restrictions.

Grace Hopper PhotoGrace Hopper who’s work gave rise to the COBOL language in 1959, would if she was still alive probably have a wry smile today at the longevity of her creation.




Are you a COBOL or software developer? how are you coping with the current self-isolation directives? Please let us know.

A Further Look at Complealing Code

Paul Lynham FIAP continues his voyage on Compealing Code in a series of articles about improving source code to improve software.