midrange.com – In My Humble Opinion

Words of wisdom and insight from the IBM i (System i / iSeries / AS400) community

Browsing Posts published by David

Happy Birthday IBM i!

This video was taken during the 2013 COMMON Annual Meeting & Conference in Austin.

Unfortunately they didn’t include my wishing IBM i a Happy Birthday (where I promised not to sing).

I have to say, IBM i (formerly System i, iSeries, & AS/400) has been extraordinarily good to me and my career.

I got involved in the IBM ‘midrange’ platform while working for my uncle’s company (ALP Lighting) reporting to my dad, who was the IT manager, as a Jr. Programmer.

From there I worked as a developer for a number of companies … starting on the S/36 and advancing to the AS/400 almost as soon as it was released.  I remember going to the product announcement event down town at (I think) the Blackstone Theater.  The “Silverlake” was such a poorly kept secret, they started the event by playing Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grape vine”.

As it happens, midrange.com will be 20 years old this September.

Recently the Power Systems Academic Initiative launched a Power Systems Job Board featuring entry level and internship positions:  powersystemsjobs.com.

If you are a Job Seeker you will find a list of computer-related technology jobs available today in business, health care, government, and other organizations that are looking for skills to satisfy their Information Technology needs. Each posting clearly defines the opportunity, requirements and preferred contact information. Our IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative staff updates the page daily.

If you are an employer we encourage you to list your IBM Power Systems/IT-related job opportunities with us.  The IBM Power System Academic Initiative membership in North America includes over 50 colleges and universities teaching IBM i, AIX and Linux skills. Students learning these skills are eager to reach out to you and become part of your business team. Job posting is very simple – no registration, no membership, no password, and no fees. Simply contact our IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative staff and we’ll do all the work involved.

19 Years


Today is midrange.com’s 19th birthday (using the domain registration date).

Next year will (obviously) be 20 years that midrange.com will have been providing free resources to the IBM i (System i, iSeries, & AS/400) community.

We need something to mark the event.

I’ve got some ideas … but would be interested in hearing what the community thinks.

Post your ideas in the comments section.


Command Defaults


This may seem to be a no-brainer … but it’s very important to NOT change command parameter defaults on commands in the QSYS library.

This is especially true if you use 3rd party software that may not expect your commands to have different defaults.

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NOTE: The following is an OPINION and does not have any bearing on how easy or hard a particular language / application is to use.

Those of you who follow the midrange.com lists probably are aware that I’m not a big fan of application code generators.

This includes (but is not limited to) …

  • Case Tools (AS/SET, Synon, etc)
  • EGL
  • SQL Pre-processors (RPG SQL, COBOL SQL, etc)
  • JSP (to a limited extent)
  • Various 3rd party application generators

The reason is simple … the code you write is not the code that executes.

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Update 16-Jan-2012: Looks like the SOPA bill has been killed in the house, although the senate version is still alive.  We will still be observing the blackout on the 18th.

Just a word of warning … on January 18th, between the hours of 8am and 8pm, the midrange.com mailing list archives will be observing a temporary blackout.

Don’t worry, the archives won’t be totally unavailable … but the first time you visit the archives that day you will be presented with a screen demonstrating what could happen to midrange.com if SOPA is passed.

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At work I’ve been splitting my time between two projects … one project is IBM i based using RPG … the other is Windows/*nix based using Java.

One of my gripes about the other project is that that some of the error messages we get are difficult to figure out because we don’t get enough information.  The errors tend to be quite general without any specifics as to what caused it.

Errors on IBM i are never like that … there’s tons of details as to what caused the error, including what program … details as to the cause, reason codes, etc.

So today I’m looking at a joblog, related to a customers problem, and see the cause of the issue … a CPFA0A2 error.

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I’m pleased to announce that we met all the goals set for the 2011 Al Barsa Challenge!

We received $2330 in contributions and had $4050 in matching donations for a total of $6380.

Thanks to …

Amanda Shaw, Leo Whitakar, Laura Ubelhor, Jon Anglis, David Willenborg, John Voris, Sharon Bodine, Guy Vig, Jenniefer Halverson, Marty Acks, Ilena Ayala, Michael Ryan, Carl Novit, Kirk Goins, Bryce Martin, Michael  Smith, Henrik Rutzou, Mike Naughton, Glenn Erickson, Diane Saunders, Rory Hewitt, Ronald Sposito, Paul Rogers / New Hampshire Midrange Users Group, Sharon Bodine, Philip Seay, and two anonymous donors (and apologies to anyone I might have missed, please email me if you would like to be mentioned).

And special thanks to my matching donors …

Pete Helgren – Value Added Software
Jerry Adams
Larry Bolhuis – Franken i
Jim Obherholtzer – Agile Technology Architects
Pete Massiello – iTech Solutions
John Earl – Townsend Security
Kevin Mort – Flagship Solutions Group

I’m confident that Al would be proud of our community.

Now that we’ve raised funds for the Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship … we need people to actually RECEIVE the scholarship.

If you know someone who exemplifies the commitment and passion to IBM i and it’s community that Al had, please consider nominating them for the scholarship.

You can download the nomination form from the COMMON Education Foundation section of the COMMON web site.

Please note: While the Al Barsa Challenge is over for this year … contributions can still be made via the COMMON Education Foundation page and, to the extent allowed by law, are tax deductible in the year that they are made.

Last year, I challenged the IBM i community to raise funds for the Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship. Thanks to your contributions and some generous matching grantors, we raised $2,860.

I think we can exceed that excellent figure.

This time, we have even more matching grantors on board, each one contributing a dollar for dollar match. For example, midrange.com and Jim Oberholtzer of Agile Technology Architects will match up to $300, while Larry Bolhuis of Franken i, Pete Helgren of Value Added Software, Jerry Adams, and Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions will each match up to $500.

So if we can raise $500 … we’ll have a total of $3100.

Ratcheting up the generosity, John Earl of Townsend Security will match all contributions above $500 (up to $500).

This would make the total $4100.

Update 5-Dec: Kevin Mort of Flagship Solutions Group / GlobalMind Technology Consulting (and one of Frankies minders) is raising the bar on the challenge … he’s offered to do a dollar for dollar match on everything we can raise over $500 (to a maximum of $500).

This makes the grand total $4600!

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We’re Number 2!

1 comment

For some reason that just doesn’t have the right ring to it … oh well.

None the less, this blog has been listed as number two in The Four Hundred’s “Best i Blog Bets: A Top 10 List” (by Alex Woodie).

This seems to be the month for honors and recognition.