January 16, 2018

The Outlook for 2018 For George McGinn

2018 is planned to be a banner year for me and the projects I plan to complete and work on. And this year’s success has its roots in work done during 2017, with the main issues resolved mostly in November and December.


With some of the new developments that have been in the works for quite a while, it looks like things will start falling into place for this year. However, I needed 1) A working PC running Windows XP so all my mainframe development tools and programming languages, such as COBOL with CICS/DB2, Assember, and tools like All Clear, Prism Warehouse, Visual BASIC, PowerBASIC, and other programs would work. When Microsoft came out with Windows 7, this had very little, if any backward compatability and all my mainframe tools would not work or even install.

Being disabled, it was difficult to work full time on the things that needed to be accomplished. However, after prioritizing the tasks, most of them have been accomplished, with a few issues that threatened to derail the plan.

So I purchased a used Dell Optiplex that already had Windows XP running on it. Now I am still in the process of installing my programs, but not all as I have yet to find all the CD/DVD’s they were backed up to.

But I did discover the Hercules Z360/390 Mainframe Emulator, and while it runs the 1980’s versions of six languages, incuding JCL, TSO/ISPF, IBM 360 OS and DOS operating systems (the languages installed so far are: COBOL, PL/I, FORTRAN, Assember versions F & G, RPG II, and JCL) I have a four working emulators (two for OS, two for DOS) that either runs a TSO/ISPF online system, OS/MVS and OS/MFT and DOS versions. This seemed to work better than some of the tools I had, but where it excelled, it was missing key components like CICS and DB2. Its strongest benefit is that it also runs on the MAC OS/X operating system, and as you will read in a bit, I got my iMac up and running, and Hercules has been sucessfully installed. The languages that have yet to be installed are PASCAL, ALGOL and some other from the 1970’s IBM 360/67 and 370/158 systems back when I first started working on mainframes.

It took a long time, (11 months), but I finally was able to get my iMac to work. Around January 2017, I was trying to install Virtual Box on it so that I could run concurrently Windows 7, 10, and Mac OS/X Snow Leapard, El Capitan, and the OS/X Server so I could consolidate all the operating systems I needed without the need to have a machine to run each. The systems hard drive became corrupted, and after taking it to two computer repair shops, they were unable to fix the hard drive. Prior to sending them out to repair shops, I had tried to get it to work, but failed.

When I got my Optipex up and running, I was able to run programs I had purchased that performs analysis on all hardware components and found that the starting index on the hard drive had a value greater than zero. In fact, the number was higher than the ending index of the drive. Not even a complete format was able to fix the issue. I needed a tool that is too expensive and out of my reach.

I finally found a hard drive I was able to format, and attached it to my iMac externally. Bypassing the internal hard drive I was able to install Snow Leapard and now I am booting from an external box that holds 4 SATA hard drives. Of the 9 other hard drives, I was then able to get three more to work as data and backup drives. And now my iMac is mostly up to date, but the important software, XCode 8.2, works and I was able to take a program I had written on my iPad and it worked in the simulator, the final step before creating an iOS App to submit to Apple’s iTunes for distribution.

Then I had a setback that cost me about two months. My iPad Air 2 would no longer hold a charge. It was impossible to get the Apple Store to look at it after it crashed on November 1st, due to the holidays. They seemed more concerned in selling, and it was difficult to get an appointment for them to look at it. Since some of my development tools will stop working properly in iOS 11, I may still get the Air 2 looked at and fixed. This way, I can have one with iOS 10.3 and my new iPad, an iPad Pro 10.5-inch retina display with iOS 11 installed. However, since my iMac is an early 2008 model, Apple put it on the obsolete list, which means so far I cannot install XCode 9.2 on it that holds the templates to create apps to work on iOS 11, and one of the developers of a tool I use a lot, SmartBASIC, has been talking about no more updates, which means none of the code and apps I have been working on will work on iOS 11, and that is a problem.

But by the end of 2017, I have my Windows PC, my iMac, the latest iPad running iOS 10.3, and a successful test of one of the apps I plan to market in iTunes. The test also showed me where more development is needed for it to be useful. Running it on the SmartBASIC IDE is not the same as running it in XCode where Apple’s conainer system is in force.


New Languages for 2018
During 2017, I also, in anticipation of losing SmartBASIC, and adding IoT and developing circuit boards, I re-evaluated the programming languages that will be needed to be sucessful in 2018.

Most of my development will be with some flavor of BASIC, from XOJO, TechBASIC and if it stays around, SmartBASIC for iOS Apps, PureBASIC and XOJO for MAC OS/X Applications, and XOJO, PowerBASIC and PureBASIC for Windows Applications. 

Other languages that I have been learning and plan to use are: LUA, SWIFT, C/C++ and Python.

This year I will be introducing sensors and monitoring devices, designing circuit boards, and other IoT and wireless systems.


Accomplishments and Clients
What follows has been on this page for awhile. So while it is old to those who have already read it, it may be skipped. But I include and condensed it for those who are siting my site for the first time, as this will showcase the projects I have worked on in the paste several years. 

I was appraoched by a scientist to proof a peer paper she was presenting, and needed a cosmologist and someone to review her paper for things that were missed that would affect the study of cosmology, astronomy and physics, as well as to proof her math and algorithmns before she presented To the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) in Europe. 

So my writing was to review the programming languages, write about how to solve algorithms using different languages. And even my Cosmology and Space research started picking up after I reviewed a book published on KOBO late last summer, titled “Flying in the Year 200 0000” by L.L.E. Curtis. Not only did I review the book’s math and science, prior to that I helped her with her peer paper she presented To the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) in Europe a year before writing the book.


She expanded the paper it into a book and this time I received a very nice dedication and having been paid for her projects and 10 others, I am now a professional cosmologist, as well as an expert observational astronomer and theorists.

This was the third project I worked on in recent years. A few years back I found out from an astronomy professor in Australia that he and his grad students worked on an app that is designed to track meteors and large fireballls and I not only did the writeup on it, I reviewed the code and math.

A few weeks after that, the Chelyabinsk meteor struck, and he received reports from all over Europe and Russia. He was even sent dash cam footage, and his app was able to successfully tell scientists is where the meteor had come from, where it entered the atmosphere, how fast it was traveling, how large it was, and where to find where it landed, down to meters. Which is why so much of this meteorite was recovered.

So I went through all my blogs and decided to concentrate on only three blogs: The Daily Defense News, Cosmology and Space Research, and this one, mostly about computers and software.

While I can no longer work those long hours and consistently for major corporations and research firms like I once did, and I have problems writing code while laying down, I will be working when I can on projects that have no hard and fast deadlines. I may do one on occasion, but I must temper my health with the new prospects ahead. Apps and designing circuit boards and EPROM coding.

I’ve managed to turn what once a very lucrative career into a hobby. And those interested in developing apps from everything from designing games to programming their own sensors and breadboards, and even learning the art of mainframe programming as there are now programming apps for COBOL, JCL, DB/2 and some I am writing to teach other mainframe skills will get to read about it here on my blog.

I have been working on several articles for this blog, and one of the topics will be on Artificial Intelligence, where I review one of the most popular program that made AI available to everyone, and has had a big impact on the games we play today – Eliza.

The other is on Vintage BASIC games. During the start of the personal computer craze, games like Star Trek, Lunar Lander, LEM, and others jumped from the larger DEC PDP computers to the first PC’s that had BASIC loaded in them. This is more of a nostalgic stroll, back to 1973 when I wrote my first computer program on the math department’s computer at Pearl River High School that solved a set of 14-digit prime numbers.

And I am working on developing an App for iPhone and iPad devices in SmartBASIC and TechBASIC, and this will be the basis of a review on both programming environment for App development where you can program in BASIC and be able to create an App in XCode, which can be submitted to Apple for distribution to iTunes.

Other programming languages include Lua, SWIFT, PHP, Pythonasia, techBASIC, Objective-BASIC, PureBASIC and even the old standbys like PASCAL, COBOL, SQL where I am working on Udemy courses on.

And I have many other ideas that I will be presenting here in the coming months, including a review of a Grammar & Plagiarism App that rivals Grammarily, which until now that capability was only available on desktop computers.

So be sure to bookmark this site, https://georgemcginn.wordpress.com by signing up for email notifications when new articles are published here.



Computer Scientist, Cosmologist/Astronomer, Writer/Journalist

Member: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  IEEE Computer Society
  IEEE Sensors Council





Page last updated on January 16, 2018 at 6:00pm
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