midrange.com – In My Humble Opinion

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

I‘m posting this on behalf of the COMMON Education Foundation board (of which I am a member).

In 2008, after the untimely passing of Al Barsa, The COMMON Education Foundation established The Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship in honor and remembrance of Al. This allows the many people affected by Al’s life to honor him and continue his legacy through the support of education. Providing education, one of Al’s great passions, seems a fitting tribute to this great man.

In the esteem of doing for others in the i community, this award of a plaque and conference registration to the 2011 COMMON Annual Meeting will go to a recipient who exemplifies Al’s commitment and dedication to the i community.

continue reading…



Responding to a recent post in MIDRANGE-L about iSociety, Joe Pluta wrote …

What a shame! I remember the enthusiasm in the i community when isociety was rolled out. If there is anything that I can do to help please contact me offline. I am more than willing to do whatever I can.

I don’t think any “grass roots” effort is going to get any traction without at least nominal participation from IBM. midrange.com is one of the exceptions, and even so a small part of its success can be attributed to the fact that IBMers hang out here regularly and provide input and advice. That’s particularly true with the Rational tools, and of course Barbara’s indefatigable presence mentoring the RPG list.

continue reading…

There are a good handful of IBM’ers that take the time to be friends with me despite my sometimes harsh criticisms of their products 🙂 Such is the case as of late while I was attending an IBM ISV Advisory Council meeting and got flustered over a modified feature being implemented in Java when it could have been implemented in RPG and subsequently much more palatable by RPG programmers. IBM’ers Rob Bestgen and Tim Rowe decided to engage me in conversation about my concerns and through that we have some potentially interesting developments!

I wrote an entire article about the topic which can be found here

Please note that at the end of the article I ask some questions of the community and point you to the formal IBM RPG Cafe as a location where you can respond. Make sure to respond!!

Thanks Rob and Tim for going the extra mile on this one!




Trevor has an interesting post on his i4everyone site titled “What Downtime?

I suggest that “Downtime” is important … it’s crucial in fact.

All systems need downtime … a chance to relax, stretch the legs, have a siesta, etc.

The important question with downtime is: Who decides when it happens? The system or the users?

A more appropriate caption for the image would be “What UNPLANNED downtime?”

Trevor and I have an ongoing discussion about how long marketing blurbs should be.

IBM i Marketing

No comments

Trevor Perry has been creating, and collecting, a number of marketing ideas for IBM i.

Check out his IBM i for Everyone site.

continue reading…

An ‘original’ poem by Larry Bolhuis

‘Twas the night before Christmas in the IBM i house
Not an admin was worried nor even a spouse.

Their systems ran smoothly not so much as a care.
Secure in the knowledge no virus would hit theirs.

The sysops were talking about gifts of toy sleds
While visions of happiness danced in their heads.

When down in the rack there arose such a clatter,
The sysops went running to see what’s the matter.

It was windows they saw, gone down in a crash,
A screen full of blue made them mad in a flash.

The blue that they saw lit the whole server row
screen after screen they were all in a glow.

They called in the expert, begged him to appear,
he came in quite quickly for he had been near.

He opened his bag, whipped out a key-stick
Stuck it into a server and booted it quick.

He watched for the drivers calling each one by name
Memory Disk, video LAN, each in turn up it came

One by one each was started and it loaded them all
But the server yet failed and the tech hit the wall.

He turned to the sysops and asked what all was down?
They looked at each other and checked all around.

Each thing after the other was working just fine
So happy they were that they toasted with wine!

The tech he was puzzled. “It’s all working, But why?”
The sysops all in chorus: “Because we run IBM i!”

“Those things with blue screens run unimportant stuff now
We’ve learned not to trust them as they oft’ let us down.”

He shook his head slowly as as he walked out the door.
The sysops they taunted which frustrated him more.

“On iStar on sStar, on POWER, on Blades!
The best ever selection of servers we made!”

Yet they they heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

I’m please to announce that the Al Barsa Scholarship Challenge 2010 was a great success. $1,260 was raised with an additional $1600 in matching grants for a total of $2,860!

Thanks to the following members of the IBM i community who donated:

  • David Vasta
  • Brad Stone
  • Norm Dennis
  • Michael Smith
  • Carl Novit
  • Wayne Evans
  • Bryce Martin
  • Scott Ingvaldson
  • Philip Seay
  • Jerry Adams
  • Jim Franz
  • Marty Acks

With a special thanks to my fellow matching grantors:

Special thanks to Michelle August, Executive Director of the COMMON Education Foundation, for helping me make this a success.

Why COMMON? Because it just makes sense.

COMMON offers our power community much more than a few meetings a year. I believe in and have reaped the benefits of being a member of this community for a number of years. In addition to gaining education and technical advancements I have had the great fortune to network with some of the leading people in our industry. My involvement with COMMON has been a critical piece of my success on the iSeries.

continue reading…

Recently COMMON sent out an email blast notifying people announcing the candidates for the next board of directors election.

Running for the three board positions available are …

  • Jeff Carey
  • Robert Krzceczowski
  • Phil McCullough
  • Russell Meyer

As I did last year, I’ve offered each of the candidates a guest author spot on this blog. As usual, it can be about anything “i” related … but the intention is that it would be about COMMON and what they can bring to the organization.

So far I’ve received commitments from Jeff, Russ, and Phil to contribute to this blog.

Watch this space in the next few months.

Thanks to Ralph Gervasi for conveying my invitation to the candidates.

As many of you know, the COMMON Education Foundation’s Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship is very important to me.

A discussion thread on MIDRANGE-L was the impetus for the scholarship and midrange.com has made a yearly contribution.

This year, however, I want to try something different.

I’m going to borrow something from public broadcasting … and do a CHALLENGE grant.

A challenge grant is pretty simple … for every dollar contributed by other people, midrange.com will also contribute a dollar (up to a maximum of $300). This challenge is going to run today until December 24th.

Because this is somewhat spur of the moment, I wasn’t able to setup a formal mechanism to handle this … so I’m going to use the honor method of verifying contribution. Email me directly and tell me how much you are going to contribute and midrange.com will match it.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post or email me directly.

Duane Christen had a great idea also …

I would like to suggest that if anyone else is so inclined, to contribute to the Al Barsa Scholarship in memory of Lukas Beeler and /or Simon Coulter, two exceptional contributors to the IBM i community, and midrange.com specifically, who passed away this year.

Small disclaimer … I am, at least in theory, on the board of the COMMON Education Foundation.

Thanks to my brother Mitch (who happens to be non-profit charitable giving expert) for the idea.
continue reading…