midrange.com – In My Humble Opinion

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

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!

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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.


Recently IBM announced a new category for their Champions program … Power Systems Champions.

I was honored to be one of the first community members inducted into the new category.

IBM Champions are IT professionals, developers, and educators who lead and mentor others and help them make best use of IBM solutions and services. Get to know the IBM Champions for Power Systems! Start by clicking their photos to see their full profiles in the developerWorks community.

In addition to myself, the following IBM i community members were inducted …

The announcement was made at the IBM Technical University conference in Miami … although I was unable to attend, someone did get a video and posted it to YouTube … you can view it here:
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For years we have been hearing of its demise, even IBM tried to drive a stake through it’s heart with the much fangled Java? but ye old 5250 emulation, also known as green screen, and the programs written to run on it just won’t die.

After eleven years as an administrator, programmer and manager using the AS/400 and now the IBM i Power System, I still hear that frequently murmured phrase; green screen what? Frankly people need to realize that to do things the right way it’s about using the right tool for the job.

It’s not new, cool and it is definitely not sexy. The CIO might not like to talk about it at the IT steering committee meetings, but the character based green screen programs excel particularly when it comes to heads down data entry which typify most development on the IBM i. That is just a fact.

Do you want something flashy and alluring or something that actually works?

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Well … it’s getting closer at least.

According to Jon Paris & Susan Gantner’s blog iDevelop, you can now get the standard 70 day trial for RPG Open Access.

Details can be found on the IBM Announcement letter.

I still think the feature needs to be included in the OS … but at least you can trial a vendors product that uses the feature without having to buy it.

I’m pleased to announce a new free service for IBM i Local User Groups: Blog hosting.

Oh yeah, you say, big deal … there are lots of free blog hosting services. What makes your so special?

Well, how many IBM i oriented LUGs hosted in the ‘ibm-i.org’ domain?

The blogs will be hosted in a multi-site WordPress system … so you can get have a domain name like ‘yourlug.ibm-i.org’.

The blog can be used for anything related to the LUG …

  • Meeting announcements,
  • Board meetings,
  • Events recaps
  • Photos
  • etc.

RSS feeds and twitter integrations will be available.

A basic set of plug-in’s and theme’s are already available … and I’ll be happy to install any additional plug-in’s & theme’s that you want (within reason).

Contact me directly at support@midrange.com if you would like to use this new service.

NOTE: Since the initial posting of this blog entry the scope of the ibm-i.org site has been expanded to include ALL IBM i related content.  See http://ibm-i.org for more information.

I’m kind of annoyed with myself right now.

I spent the past two days trying to come up with a solution … when I didn’t really understand the problem I was trying to solve.

Now that I understand the problem … I realize that the solution I was creating (which was deceptively simple) was completely off in left field.

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Something I recently ran into … I use the Apache Commons Net library in some of my java code.

I ran into a problem where, when trying to upload a save file to the host via FTP, I encountered an IOException with the message “501 Unknown extension in database file name”.

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Today’s post comes from guest author Randy Dufault … Randy is a former president of COMMON and is currently leading the COMMON certification team and member of the COMMON Education Foundation Board.

I went to college in a completely different era (read: I’m an old guy). I attended a state school as a resident and I actually recall hardly believing how low my first tuition bill was. I also recall, in comparison, the ridiculously high price I paid for the accompanying, required books.

Oh how things have changed.

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