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If you're here because you re­ceived a postcard by snail-mail, thanks for stopping by. To read a 57-page PDF that offers most of the story, use the link below:


The PDF is about 57 pages long. Your web browser will let you read the story online or down­load the file. The way to click will depend on which browser you're using.

The PDF above is most current and detailed. However, here's an alternate 32-page version of the story from 2019:


If you'd like to read about student life at U.C. Berkeley in the 1970s, the next link goes to a 62-page PDF containing that story:


Some peo­ple like the OldCoder Internet History:


It's my hope that The New Song for Twisted Time will be helpful to peo­ple, the peo­ple who are real:


There are add­i­tion­al stories and rhymes elsewhere on this site.

Eventually, these and other parts of the overall story may be remixed to produce two self-help books:

(a) A book that focuses on abuse of pro­cess and how to deal with attorneys. There may be sections on how to hire and manage P.I.s, how to go public, what to do if a former abuser tries to get a gag order, etc.

(b) A story of abuse in a family that managed to be wealthy, high-tech, and Fundie at the same time.

For right now, I mostly wanted to try to get the goodbye message that I sent to you to Grace Kiraly of 636 Atterdag Road, Solvang, CA.

A P.I. told me recently that Grace is still alive, but there have been indications for 2 years that she's either in hospice care or close to that stage.

Jim Kiraly is supposedly still alive too. I'm not ready to accept that he's like­ly to die be­fore I can get him into Court and/or prison.

Tell me what the deal is with these two peo­ple, if you're able to do so, and I'll have a bet­ter idea of what to do about Jim be­fore this P.O.S. slides down the bannisters and becomes an ex-parrot.

What is this site?

Haggis Hell is the weblog of Robert Kiraly, aka OldCoder, a software de­vel­op­er for 42 years. It start­ed due to an unusual pair of gag-order cases that ran from 2012 to 2013, but it collects threads of dif­fer­ent types now.

This is one of a group of sever­al OldCoder sites that includes laclin.com, minetest.org, oldcoder.org, and others.

Most of the orig­in­al content on the sites is dis­trib­u­ted under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 or other open licenses. The sites will event­u­al­ly be available in the form of multi-GB tarballs.

Ideally, the content will outlive the primary author-editor and exper­iences and tips will prove to be use­ful.

Bulk copying of the sites one file at a time is discouraged and may result in IP-level blocks. Those who'd like every­thing all at once are advised to contact the site admini­strator.

200410 Friday — Easter Feast of Love

200410. Easter Feast of Love.

Sherrill was a neighbor to Grace Kiraly 50 years ago and Laurie, was one of her daughters, a woman in her 40s who I re­mem­ber as a toddler. I'm old.

This post shares a 57-page story that went to Laurie in Spring 2020.,


POSTCARD PEOPLE: See the note to you at top of the page. Feel free to share the links in the note.

200320 Friday — Michael Bonetto Site

200320. Michael Bonetto of Hoge Fenton has moved to his own site:


A mirror is available as a subdirectory of this larger site.

Haggis Hell asserts the right under Fair Use to use the photo be­low of Michael Bonetto here and elsewhere.

Your phone or window is too narrow for the image. If it's a phone, try rotating the phone or switching to a PC. Or click here to go to a copy that may be zoomable.
Michael Bonetto of Hoge Fenton
Michael Bonetto of Hoge Fenton

200320 Friday — Maggie Desmond Site

200320. Maggie Desmond has moved to her own site:


Click on the link preceding and confusion about Maggie Desmond will soon be receding :P

A mirror is available as a subdirectory of this larger site.

As a re­la­ted point, updated pages will be online in the medium term for Michael Bonetto, John Perrott, Karl Chandler, Tom Kiraly, and others.

Haggis Hell asserts the right under Fair Use to use the photo be­low of Maggie Desmond here and elsewhere.

Your phone or window is too narrow for the image. If it's a phone, try rotating the phone or switching to a PC. Or click here to go to a copy that may be zoomable.
Maggie Desmond of Hoge Fenton
Maggie Desmond of Hoge Fenton

200320 Friday — Geolocation tools

200320. Geolocation tools have moved.

The geolocation tools have moved to:


200229 Saturday — Happy Leap Year

200229. Happy Leap Year.

<Grinch> O/ I'm stealing Christ­mas. Watch out and lock your children inside. ~ sing sing a song let's ring ring along ~
<Loome> reading beneath the lines, I see your inner confict
<Loome> You recognize your evil ways, but give out warnings lest you lose control of yourself and harm us all. You're a tender soul, Mr. Grinch.

<OldCoder> For Mr. Grinch, ethics are a cinch
<OldCoder> He's a practical type
<OldCoder> Mr. Grinch needn't give an inch
<OldCoder> Holidays are marketing hype
<OldCoder> Holidays from Holy Days are derived
<OldCoder> It's nonsense. I trust that you've all survived.

<OldCoder> Grinch, Phenek, Metacognician, and Loome
<OldCoder> Let not Holidays be emotion­al doom

<Grinch> for doom there is always room
<OldCoder> :D
<OldCoder> Merry Solstice!

I don't think Loome and the others have understood, over the years, how much this sort of thing has meant to me.

140313 Thursday — What Happens to Older Developers?

This post is old but will remain on the front page for the time being.

140313. Jeff Jenkins posted these ques­tions and others recently at Ask Hacker News:

What happens to older developers? Is there a plateau in pay? Is there a drop in pay switching jobs after a certain num­ber of years? Is becoming a specialist rather than a general­ist the answer?

To read the orig­in­al post, click here. Note: The link was valid as of March 2014. However, it may have broken since then.

This is my response:

Developers who go on long enough are expect­ed to obtain high-level titles by their 50s or to retire at about that time.

I'd like to dis­cuss an issue that you might not have thought about: What's going to happen if you lose your job?

Employment in the 50s can be problematic. If some­body is skilled and employed, and has a high-level title or is a specialist or has use­ful connections, they should be able to obtain a new pos­i­tion.

Otherwise, they might go from well-off to homeless. It happens. I'm 55, my resume is pretty good, and I was worth $1M a decade ago. I'm a tran­sient now. I've got some medical issues, no medical care, and no dentists. Potential jobs are largely unskilled physi­cal labor, which I'm not able to do.

I'm taking a shot at tutoring. However, I don't expect that to pro­vide more than gas money. The head of an admin assistant firm said that I can't be a secretary unless I already am one.

Two peo­ple considered sending me to care for elderly relatives, but we didn't proceed. My title at one of those positions was going to be “poop scooper”.

Don't let this happen to you. For what it's worth, here's my advice:

1. Don't fall off of the employment ladder.

2. Become a specialist. Try to remain broad enough, though, that you don't become obsolete.

3. Build a network of peo­ple. Make it a large one.

4. Diversify your investments.

5. While you're employed, don't let medical issues, even minor ones, go untreated for long. If you lose your job and your assets, you'll lose medical care too and the issues may become serious.

6. Be kind to peo­ple. But don't be a fool. Most peo­ple that you help are not going to return the favor.

Regarding specialists, I did recruiting for a while in 2011 and I can confirm that the filters are weighted against generalists.

I've spent about 35 years myself as a general­ist. My jobs called for it. The place where I spent most of my career took any project that came along, code of any type. At a dot-com that followed, after the money ran out, I handled all of the tech­ni­cal roles; IT, web­sites, dev­el­op­ment, sup­port, documentation, etc. I was able to do a bit of every­thing.

Later on, none of this made a dif­fer­ence. There are few job listings that say “a bit of everything”.

After the dot-com shut down, 2003, I made $1M in the stock market. Lost most of it afterwards and reentered the job market. Learned that middle-age generalists were not in high demand.

In my case, there were other factors that won't apply to you. It's a story for another time. But if you're a general­ist who falls off of the ladder in middle age, you can expect things like this:

“With a resume like that, why isn't he a CTO? Why doesn't he even have a job?”

You'll be asked ques­tions about algorithms that you haven't thought about for 30 years. Or you'll go through coding tests under adverse conditions that don't allow you to show what you can do.

Plan ahead. Understand that the best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.

My own resume is located at:

this link

These are my links. Yes, the tech­ni­cal site needs Twitter Bootstrap :P

  1. Technical site (oldcoder.org)
  2. My GitHub
  3. My LinkedIn
  4. My Twitter
  5. OldCoder Nerdcore Song

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

It Happens to Everybody
The illustration is dis­trib­u­ted under the fol­low­ing license: Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic. For at­trib­u­tion purposes, the rights holder is Ell Brown. For more in­forma­tion about the license, click here.

To down­load or zoom, click here.
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Old Age
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