iDevelop › New Year Predictions

January 15th, 2014 Comments off
Some may think these are hopes more than predictions for the year ahead and in some cases we would have to agree. 1) Modernization clarified...


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › You say Tomato, I say Pomedoro

January 9th, 2014 Comments off

Over the last year, I've found a marked decrease in productivity during project work due what seems like a lot more life interruptions.managing life and time

I'm (a) easily distracted, (b) the king of procrastination and (c) frequently trying to multi-task to such a wide degree that I almost completely zone out and have revisit and rework things I've marked complete. Interruptions are insidious and I've discovered that its not the major breaks that break things but the small social ones. When I say 'social' I means by way of social media: emails,  texts, facebook, twitter, instagram and the list goes on.

[ and thats not even mentioning kids, dogs and the missus wanting to go for a quick lunch at the beach]

But wait... I've found a solution!

 


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iDevelop › Too Old to Learn?

January 8th, 2014 Comments off
2014 is here and it’s a “big birthday” year for both of us. Jon is counting the days to his 65th birthday and Susan can’t...


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i Can › SF99711

January 7th, 2014 Comments off
Prior to the holidays, there was a discussion on the midrange mailing list regarding the relatively new 7.1 PTF group 99711. Since the discussion included...


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › Rob Litten – Drums the Word

January 6th, 2014 Comments off

OK - So I must admit to being slightly biased as Rob Litten happens to be my cousin but... Rob has grown from the gangly kid that I remember into a quite astounding musician. When he's not drumming away on any nearby acoustic surface (my granite kitchen has never quite recovered) he is either being very loud playing in his band or... in professional mode.... he earns his living by being one of England's best known drum instructors and the force behind the astoundingly successful Drums the word website and youtube video phenom.

robert litten drumming god

Rob is college trained and one of the elite few to achieve a National Higher Diploma in drum performance as well as BA(Hons) Degree in music specifically for the drum kit. A Percussion genius. Nuff said.


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Geekish Garrulous Grumblings blogs › How to get IBM i command line during runtime using System Request 3

January 5th, 2014 Comments off

Here's a blast from the past:

I was just testing an IBM i program that is importing data from a Windows Server, converting the data, juggling it, tweaking it and when its finished playing it finally shoves it into an IBM i Database. Fun Fun FUN! But if its running interactive and I want to quickly get the command line... I'm stuck. The green screen is input inhibited. Luckily, we can easily get command line access by tweaking the system request functions of IBM i.

HACKEAT EMPTOR - obviously only grant this command line access if your system i is properly secured. You dont want any old Tom, Dick or Harry getting to the command line to do you?

The system request functions do a bunch of neat things during any interactive session - SysRq/2 shows a DSPJOB command. Luckily its super easy to change the command associated with all the system request functions.

Right now, lets quickly tweak the sysrq/2 function.

WRKMSGD MSGID(CPX2313) MSGF(QCPFMSG)


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Angus' Blog › Hope and Ostriches

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

In a recent LinkedIn conversation, the discussion was divided into two camps. One was anti-RPG, the other pro-IBM i. Quite fascinating to see the attempt to spread lies and misinformation from the original poster, but given that their job is to move people away from the platform, it makes sense – albeit, imperfect.

What is bothersome is the complete lack of spine from our community. Here we have an anti-IBM i proponent being given a forum in a pro-AS/400 platform. The continued ignorance of the group’s name aside, it would be supposed that the forum comprises people who are FOR the platform. According to some of the commenters, it is the troll’s freedom of speech that gives him the right to post his fear and misinformation. While I disagree, there has certainly been some amazing pro-IBM i responses to the thread. Since the troll will reappear in a few months with his vomit, at least we see a strong level of support from a few members of the IBM i community.

The interesting perspective that has fallen out of this seems to point to a general malaise in our community. It is clear that small businesses do not have any IT Strategy. And, our community seems to not understand, or misunderstand, the concept of strategy in any sense – let alone for IT. Take for example, these two excerpts from the comments:

“As you said, it is entirely possible to gradually modernize from the inside out. … All we can do is lead the horses to water, and hope they choose to take a drink.”
“I’m an evangelist too. However, if my cheering sounded muffled it is because as an IBM i evangelist, I had to have my head buried in the sand.”

What fascinating and utterly ignorant perspectives. They seem to reflect the common complaint that “waah waah, they are taking away my IBM i”. What a lazy cop out.

Here is one simple truth. Leading a horse to water does not include a constant complaining that the management of your business did something with which you disagree. If you want to support the platform, lead the horse, bring the bucket, make the horse drink – push the horse into the water if nothing else works. Using hope as a business or IT strategy is quite ridiculous. Even though it has been proven not to work (over and over), there are a community of people who continue to rely on hope and wishing.

Here is another simple truth. If you are an evangelist, evangelize! Sticking your head in the sand means you do not understand what an evangelist does. If you find a barrier, push through it. If you find resistance, work to remove it. Evangelizing requires you to learn everything you can about the platform and educate everyone you can about the platform. Stopping for a moment is half-hearted at best, and totally dysfunctional to boot.

If you do believe in this platform, then it is your privilege to promote this platform. And that means talking about it to everyone. When you continue to converse with your users or customers in old vernacular, you show your ignorance and support only the platform’s past. When you make excuses about why you should or should not make a business case for IBM i to present to your company, you will lose your platform. One recent experience was at a user group where an individual complained that his company would not adopt PHP on i. I asked him how he went about it, and he said he asked his boss and his boss said no. I asked him where his business case was, and he said he had stopped trying to get PHP into the company. Certainly, presenting a business case can be a daunting task for a mere programmer, but the might of the IBM i community is behind all of us.

There is absolutely no reason for a single one of us to be intimidated by our position inside a company that would cause us to stick our head in the sand and hope for a miracle. It is time for the IBM i community to get a spine, climb to the top of the nearest boardroom table, and shout to everyone about our beloved platform.


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Bob Cancilla on IBM i › The End of i

December 24th, 2013 Comments off
I have been predicting the demise of the IBM i for sometime now.  The primary reason being the lack of revenue to IBM generated from IBM i customers.  Here is a great article by Timothy Prickett Morgan that summarizes what is going on in a nutshell: http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh121613-story01.html.

The article highlights the decline in Power Systems sales, especially the decline in UNIX (AIX) based systems of over 36%.  This includes a decline in IBM i, but IBM does not report IBM i revenues or sales statistics specifically.  It is all bundled.  Note that the only gain in this area is Linux based systems. Overall IBM has dropped to a second place position behind Dell in midrange server sales.

The fundamental issue is the lack of revenue coming form IBM i.  Most license fee's for the OS are covered under previous agreements and there is no upgrade fee for new releases.  There is an annual maintenance fee (SWMA) but companies have found they only really need that on one small test machine and do not need it on their large (big price) production machines.  You can freely download and distribute PTF's to all of your machines.

Admittedly, IBM got itself into this mess with lack of attention to contracts in the AS/400 and subsequent system arena, but the bottom line is there is very little money coming in.  Add to that companies that have not upgraded to new equipment and/or versions of the OS and the picture gets even more dismal.  Read TPM''s article at the link above for details.

It is time to move away from RPG (because it only runs on IBM i) and become platform neutral so that when not if but "when" IBM pulls the plug on IBM i you are prepared to deal with it and move elsewhere.  Until then, enjoy the best machine ever built and the incredible value for a high performance extremely reliable system.


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UIIPA › January Meeting: Developing Secure Applications

December 18th, 2013 Comments off

Our January meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 8th at 11:00 a.m. at the Murray City Offices (City Council Chambers), 5025 South State Street. This will be a two-hour session with a free pizza lunch break in the middle.

Our meeting topic will be Developing Secure Applications. Although your IBM i server is one of the most securable platforms available, the protection of critical data is often undermined by weak security design at the application level. 

This session will cover the main considerations that a programmer should be aware of as they design their applications:

  • Object ownership
  • Public and private authorities
  • Adopted authority
  • Command line permission
  • Client-server considerations

Our discussion will include why auditors are often deemed to be a programmer’s nemesis, and what it is that they really need from us.

New PictureOur speaker will be Robin Tatam, Director of Security Technologies for PowerTech and a COMMON subject matter expert (SME) for security.  As an award-winning speaker on security topics, Robin has been interviewed and quoted by industry magazines and has published numerous trade articles.  He is also co-author of IBM’s Redbook publication on IBM i Data Encryption. Robin can be reached by email at robin.tatam@powertech.com.



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i Can › IBM TechDocs

December 18th, 2013 Comments off
This fall, I’ve written a few blogs on documentation and references – PowerVM, VIOS, and IBM i. I thought I’d conclude 2013 with one more...


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