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Archive for June, 2014

Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more... › We got a new site!

June 18th, 2014 Comments off
After months of planning and tireless execution the Zend team has delivered a new website with even more content than before.  Dedicated to the themes of PHP, Agile, Continuous Delivery and more, www.zend.com has more than a new look & feel as it plans to be the cornerstone to the future of our product and support infrastructure.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg as many new announcements are coming VERY soon!  If you have not been here in a while please check us out.  Here are some of our favorite links:

IBM i Webinars
Documentation
IBM i Main Page
IBM i Products
IBM i Service Levels
IBM i Customer Success Stories
Zend Studio
Forums 
 Enjoy!!!


Read the original at Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more....

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You and i › SUGA, SunGard and Excited Customers

June 12th, 2014 Comments off
One of the most exhilarating experiences in my job is watching a long-time user as they first see what their system can do Today! Recently,...


Read the original at You and i.

Angus' Blog › What does the term User Group mean to you?

June 9th, 2014 Comments off

An awesome thing happened this week, and I am sure you all heard about it since I, um not exactly subtly, SHOUTED it from the roof tops. Steve Pitcher mentioned iThusiasm in his blog! He contacted me the week before and asked permission which I appreciated and happily gave and leads me to my point.

For the record, I am doing this because of the appreciation and respect I have for this community. So if you are interested in using my “brand” or quoting me, or mentioning iThusiasm I am going to trust you to do so responsibly. Let me know so I can promote it, brag, put it in a scrapbook – but if you can’t get pre-approval from me that is okay. Yes, I’ve been on enough boards to know all too well, some people aren’t kind. And IF something is negative or used inappropriately I’ll address it then. Until someone proves me wrong, if you want to talk up iThusiasm then run with it. Except if there is potential monetization, if there is any chance of that remember, I have twins to put through college in 10 years :)

So onto the post I have been trying to complete for over a week -

As I move forward with my iThusiasm endeavor it makes sense to tell you why I am doing this.

Like others who write/present/volunteer, etc. in this community I started on the AS/400 early in my career. Loved the paycheck and respected the system then came to value the user community for support and education. While I have moved into QA (testing) and am no longer working on the IBM i exclusively I still find tremendous value from the energy and intelligence of people like you. Interestingly my husband is also a long time IBM midrange guy and he is far more a traditional (albeit progressive) Lead Programmer Analyst. While I follow many of the same people he does I am getting insight into technology, leadership, trends and their testing ramifications. He actually understands what is being discussed and implements the suggestions and techniques into his work. He also attended his first COMMON Conference in 1980 or 81- several more since then, and has been around OMNI a fair amount (Chicago’s Local User Group).

I find myself in a position of seeing both sides of things. The daily point of view I live with is that of an experienced, established programmer 30-something years into his career with all the frustrations that it can entail. Someone who needs the content produced in a very relevant way. Someone who has seen all the worst the ups and downs have wrecked on professions (and the confidence of the professionals in them). This has resulted in an attitude approximating “Dilbert.”

Then there is my opinion, someone who has decided being involved with these groups and writing about things is my idea of fun. And sincerely believes in the power of this community.

One question that has come up often this month, and not infrequently this year, is “what is…this thing you are doing? COMMON? OMNI? Is that like a group or a job?” This gets asked of us by friends and family since about four or five times a year I drop out of family life and my Facebook feed turns into all #COMMONug/Omni/#IBMi/ techie geek babble. Fortunately our friends don’t require comprehension to translate it into, “Von has fallen off the planet again -invite Drew and the kids for a play date/hang out with adults evening.”

Soon after we returned from Orlando we were at a gathering with family and “What is COMMON?” was asked. Just as I started to reply I was called away due to a juice box malfunction and handed off answering to Drew. He eloquently answered, “A User’s Group.”

Gee, thanks. That was useful.

In this case the solution was easy, I let the curmudgeon deal with child hydration and resumed the conversation. However, I started thinking about how many people would have a hard time answering that question. Especially when asked by a boss (why should you go?), co-worker who might attend an event (why should I go?), new hire who needs some education, spouse? (Really Honey, I know it looks like I am going to DisneyLand for a week without you and the kids but I promise not to have fun there…)

What is COMMON? A group of professionals who work on the IBM i or p operating systems on the Power Systems platform, which hosts multiple education events per year. The Annual Meeting and Expo in the Spring and Fall Conference are in person events delivering education, community building, and vendor exposure.

Anyone who gets that explanation already knows what COMMON is, right?

So here are my definitions. User’s Groups are a way for professionals in a given specialty to work together and get education on topics relevant to business. By forming a community and communicating with each other we leverage each other’s experience and knowledge to enhance our own efforts and deliverables. What does that mean? If I get stuck writing a new type of interface I know what blog to read, or send a note to someone I am connected to on LinkedIn, or ask a buddy to lunch and I get over the hurdle. Likewise, when I have found a great article on something our company has embraced as an initiative I pin it to the wall of my cube so my team members see it.

Conferences or Days of Education and the like are times to get more comprehensive education and exposure. There are times the attraction is getting full days worth of information on topics like PHP, Modern RPG, SQL, new IBM releases from the best minds delivering that content. Other times attending is beneficial to new employees, people changing departments or becoming crossed trained. They come with their colleagues to an event and get exposed to all the technology that feels foreign. It is a great introduction/foundation and allows the team to bond during down time and social events.

In the case of the conversation I stared referencing a cool thing happened. I described our platform as “used to be the iSeries or AS/400.” Prompting our friend to exclaim, “AS/400! I used to work on one of those, saw them all over the place.” We told him it is still around and he went on to say he hadn’t seen a Green Screen in ages. Which of course led to talking about nothing needs to be Green Screen anymore (except for that one person in one department that won’t believe it is correct unless it looks exactly the same…) The neat thing about this was it gave Drew a chance to talk about what he actually does as a programmer, something the people who like him are interested in. And it is cool how powerful a robust BUSINESS MACHINE coupled with strong programming skills is, there is a lot there to talk about.

My question to you is – what does the user community mean to you? What would you like to see from User Groups? Are you involved in your Local User Group, do you have one? What sparks your iThusiasm…?

DISCLAIMER: all thoughts and opinions are solely that of Yvonne (Von) Enselman. There is no approval from any group I may serve or my employer. (Specifically COMMON a User Group, OMNI User Group, and Kronos)

 


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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Angus' Blog › AS/400 Programmers are lazy!

June 9th, 2014 Comments off

Arguing with another set of suspects on LinkedIn IBM i Professionals, I discovered that people who continue to use the AS/400 branding are lazy. They don’t care to spend a small amount of effort to learn something new about their own platform. They see branding as “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter”. And then they spend hours arguing about why “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter”. Imagine how amazing our platform would be if the lazy AS/400 programmers spent their time learning, education, and promoting the IBM i platform rather than defending their laziness.

OK, so ‘lazy’ is harsh. It is just fear – them being afraid of change. No. Wait. Lazy is not so much of a stigma as fear. Lazy it is.

What is your experience when trying to get a died-in-the-wool AS/400 programmer to up their game and modernize their (a) use of branding, and (b) skill set??


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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Angus' Blog › Googling IBM i – or Binging?

June 5th, 2014 Comments off

There have been a lot of people who have complained that you cannot google “i”. And, while this is just a complaint, it has merit. No matter that the platform brand was given to us as “IBM i” when it was announced – so many years ago now, people are still ignorant of the branding requirements of any web search engine.

It is becoming clear that the average IBM i programmer really does not give much of a crap after they have finally worked out it is no longer an iSeries or an AS/400. Take our favorite midrange mailing list. This week, we have had these two headlines posted to the group.

  1. Can IBM i SMTP send on a port other than 25 {link}
  2. Any Problems Foreseen Copying Certicate Store from One i to Another i? {link}

How are we supposed to google “i”? Well, we should not have to, unless the ignorant continue to post web conversations without using “IBM i” in their subject or content.

The second part of this equation is what you should use to search for IBM i content? There are two schools of thought, one says use quotes around “IBM i”, the other says there is no need for the quotes. So, I tested. Here are the first pages of the results. As you can see, quite similar. I encourage you to test for yourself.


Googling comparison – First page

Googled - Page 1


Googling comparison – Page down

Googled - Page 1 page down


Googling comparison – Second page

Googled - Page 2


Binging comparison – First page

Binged - page 1


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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Angus' Blog › How do you fool a fool?

June 3rd, 2014 Comments off

In my web navigation, I try to avoid the AS/400 mines laid everywhere – mostly from ignorance and stubbornness. I am constantly surprised at all these smart technical people stuck in the far past. I understand it is human nature to close down as you get older, and live in a shrinking comfort zone of your own choosing. But, seriously, there has to be some limits.

Take this attempt at an April Fool’s joke posted THIS year on this site! Titled “IBM Eyes End of Support for AS/400“, it was meant to scare people into thinking IBM was dropping the platform. The first paragraph showed the true colors of the poster: “Well, sure. Someday. Everything becomes unsupportable eventually. But not to worry. Nothing imminent. Just a little April Fool’s humor to get your day going.“.

Let’s review. If we assume the platform is called AS/400, this might be funny. Let’s assume the platform is not called AS/400 and has not been called AS/400 for FOURTEEN years. Actually, that is not an assumption, but the reality. So, the humor part turns out to be “Well, sure. Someday.” – because IBM dropped support for AS/400 many many somedays ago!

Seriously, April Fool’s is turning out to be full of fools lacking the actual funny part.

Now, if only this particular fool would step up to IBM i and promote a platform that IBM is actually still supporting, I may not get as much crap on my feet from stepping on so many internet land mines…


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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Angus' Blog › Recruiters without a spine

June 2nd, 2014 Comments off

We live in a world of fast paced technology innovation, yet there is a large part of the IBM i community who are stagnant and lost in the past. Recruiters are in a unique position to help move our platform forward, yet while companies and programmers continue to use old branding in reference to IBM i, those recruiters tend to follow along. It would seem they would rather have the business – and the money – than take a risk and educate their customers on what is happening in the IBM i world. Twitter is full of #AS400 hashtags proclaiming all the available jobs on that old platform. This indicates a mentality of headhunter, as opposed to professional recruiting.

This week, I discovered an email promoting iSeries from a recruiter. Their page is here. I found they have no Twitter presence (supporting my theory that AS/400 and iSeries programmers don’t use social media). Surprisingly, they have a Facebook page, where I posted a plea for them to step up to IBM i. Here is what I wrote:

Your pages and advertising lead with AS/400 and iSeries. However, the hardware platform was replaced 6 years ago with the IBM i OS running on Power Systems – that is a lifetime in IT. When you use old branding, you are not supporting the future and direction of the platform, you are encouraging some of the community to wallow in the past. You are showing an unprofessional lack of knowledge about what you are selling and you are not supporting all those developers who want to move into the future and not live in that ‘glorious’ past.

What would it take for you to consider changing your marketing direction with an emphasis on the future? One where you lead with IBM i and where you use AS/400 and iSeries for SEO or as a reference to the past only. One where you educate the customer about the IBM i and Power Systems platform – rather than denigrate the platform by allowing the uneducated customer to drive the conversation and us back into the past?

Our platform is incredible. Calling it an old name makes it look old and not so incredible. The community often needs a nudge to head to the future. You, as a team of ‘professionals’ and ‘consultants’, can either consult and be professionals, or headhunt. Until you recruit IBM i resources, you will remain just headhunters…

Please step up to IBM i and its future.

If you visit that Facebook page, surprise, surprise – my comment has now disappeared.

Let’s all call our local recruiters and enlist their help in promoting IBM i and its future. Let’s talk to them about how damaging it is to continue using old branding. Let’s help them understand that the old branding could be used as SEO or ‘past experience’ requirements, but the jobs and recruitment activity should lead with IBM i.

Until recruiters get their own spine and stop headhunting, let’s tap a few on the shoulder and turn them to point in the right direction!


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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