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rdwrites iseries blog
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9243
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:44 pm    Post subject: rdwrites iseries blog Reply with quote

I applauded the Japanese iManifest initiative and the eye catching effort at a full page ad touting the iseries system i (goodness gracious I hope it's easier in Japanese than English to tout an i.)

On the other hand, consider out poor former AIX and mainframe OS/390 brothers who must live with touting p and z. Surely the entire IBM technical world is as disgusted with IBM executives as we are. And obviously they don't care because they think it's somehow related to their record service profits and happy shareholders. Such is life when Rochester giveth and Armonk taketh away.

So the iManifest is the right thing to do by all of us. Here's a suggestion. I think we can have a much more lasting iManifest statement with $150,000 than another full page ad which has already had the intended shock value. Time to follow up with innovation and integration, the hallmarks of the IBM midrange legend system i.

Here's what I think can be done with $150,000, a permanent system i marketing machine. Buy a hefty iseries box with plenty of memory and disk and outfit it with IBM's showcase software suite but short of the more expensive specialty niche stuff. Web Query, for example, but not a BI product.

Include full development capability on the products, including the Eclipse IDE for Java, Websphere, EGL, etc, as well as the ILE languages like RPG, COBOL, C++, etc. And of course PHP and PASE installs of the other script languages.

Of course Tomcat should be there to provide ability to run any open source Java Server Page software. And it should be a home for iseries third party software demo capability for vendors that want to participate in marketing iseries capabilities.

That's just the foundation, where the $150,000 goes. Here's where the innovation starts. Let's explore what Rochester has giveth. Sure, web pages are a common denominator starting point, although for example the iseries Apache admin interface as much more than a simple web page interface is a well kept secret, like nearly every other iseries capability, not least of which is an object based single level store operating system that would be considered revolutionary if it was invented today by another Linus Torvalds, instead of the genesis of a Frank Soltis legend the world knows as AS/400.

People need to have all of this visualized. Can we do better than web pages for a tour? I think so. What is IBM's vision for an interface? Certainly it's SWT based. They based both Eclipse and the latest Notes client on SWT. But that's too heavy and restrictive for a drive by demo.

Maybe a choice pallette of demo interfaces, Javascript, Flash, JavaFX, Silverlight, SWT, etc. The iseries talking to interface of choice is as much of the marketing message as one would ever hope to make.

Of course, Navigator, rdi, EGL interfaces are as important as anything else to demo, probably best virtually where it goes through screen shows with capability to pause. But ultimately it's the demo of the integration and power of iseries for business that is what it's all about.

What about a Web Query demo of a database of something that is of common interest, where the demo player can select and drill down into the data. This becomes the face of the iseries to them, something more than the letter i that is quite frankly meaningless, as is the name, such as it is, of any other computer operating system that has no meaning to them.

I would especially like IBM to step up to the plate and show what integration capabilities are available with all the ground work they've done. They probably have some good demos already.

Let's see them run on the perpetual i marketing machine.

rd
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rd



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminetwork.com:

whitecat15 wrote:
Let's see here...

System 360
System 3
S/32
S/34
S/36 - with it's model A, B, C, and D flavors
Baby 36
S/38
Silverlake
AS/400
iSeries
Power i
pSeries
and on and on and on....

Now, I hardly think that the name matters. As a famous Beatle once said "the words in the song don't matter"... How many of you remember the song that started out with "Jerimiah was a bullfrog..."? Which actually was not a Beatle song, however I have made the point I want to make in this situation.

It's also true that IBM has the image of being a "green screen monster" amongst the upper management people that everyone who posts here has to deal with. I've heard business folks where I have lunch daily scoff at the idea of "green screen monsters" and not knowing how versatile and flexible that environment has become.

You say AS/400... they think green screen.

I believe that it is up to us, meaning the ones who post here and on other iSeries forums to educate our own personal version of "upper management" that the thinking that the iSeries is simply nothing more than a "green screen" tool is outdated and needs revision.

After all, with CGIDEV2, JDBC4, and many many other tools in our programming toolbox, we've become the latest version of the "Six Million Dollar Man". Our machines do it faster, more efficiently, and with greater precision than ever before.

Instead of looking at the actual current "name" of the black box in your data center or concentration upon the current "name" of the OS involved, maybe it's a good idea for everyone here and on other AS400 styled forums, to concentrate their efforts towards educating and challenging the upper management people to consider that buying and installing Winblows Enterprise Solutions is NOT always the best answer to a business problem.

From what I've seen in my business, the folks in charge tend to think that "You Buy A CD, You Install It... And It Automagically Works"... Folks like me and thee end up cleaning up the mess when that happens.


Best Regards,

Fred Williams



Three Dog Night.

That's a good description of the situation, Fred. Here are my thoughts on it.

First of all, although many scoff, most of us work with blue, orange, or other colors for our 5250 screens. Sometimes we work with black backgrounds and sometimes blue backgrounds. Quite frankly I find the 5250 screens much more beautiful to work with than "gray" screens or "white" screens commonly used in forms and web pages.

So anyone saying green screen first of all is doing it for one purpose, which of course we know what that is. They are attacking an enemy they cannot compete with by undermining credibility. It's the only attack they have.

And even in that attack, they are wrong. Our 5250 screens are loaded with information and functionality that cannot be competed with with "GUI" screens. What you have are dumbed down users scrolling and clicking and screwing around to try to see and do what they have been doing so well in 5250. I went through exercise after exercise in providing web page overlays of 5250 and never saw anyone choose to use it. They always turned it off and used straight 5250.

I note discussions on this topic with some interest through the years and have seen nothing but complaints on web page replacements for ERP systems. Everything from multiple screens to do the same thing to dumbed down interfaces to excrutiatingly painful slowness in replacement software, that being due to inadequate replacement technologies.

However, we have gone through a maturing in IT software and hardware that has changed forever our role in business processing, as well as a manmade disaster in the United States that if not reversed will amount to a permanent destruction of American business and by extension America.

When the AS/400 ruled we had businesses that needed ERP software and processing power that the AS/400 and AS/400 software delivered on. Intel and other microprocessors now have the power to deliver adequate business processing to small to medium sized businesses, and there are fewer and fewer of them every day in any event.

Why we should be wringing our hands about the AS/400 when Sun and Solaris went down the tubes for goodness sakes is beyond me. We have far bigger problems than the AS/400 and parent IBM's lack of interest in promoting one child over another. Not anything we can fix here on this site, but when there is a need that the AS/400 iseries can fill then people will consider it for filling it.

Right now there are more pressing needs. They aren't being handled well either.

rd

P.S. I tried to put an optimistic spin on it, but don't have too much to work with.
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rd



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from itjungle.com

http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh100509-story01.html
Moore's Law and the Performance Wall
Published: October 5, 2009
by Timothy Prickett Morgan


excerpt
RPG may be a different story. While IBM has added some multithreading features into ILE RPG as the core and thread counts have gone up in AS/400s and their progeny, I get the impression from IBM's own WDSc documentation that RPG and parallelism do not play well together. "Normally, running an application in multiple threads can improve the performance of the application," the WDSc documentation warns. "In the case of ILE RPG, this is not true in general. In fact, the performance of a multithreaded application could be worse than that of a single-thread version when the thread-safety is achieved by serialization of the procedures at the module level."

I am by no means a programming expert. But it seems to me that this will need to change for RPG to continue to be a useful programming language as more cores and threads are built into Power-based systems to increase their capacity. Either that or IBM is going to have to crank out special chips with lower core and thread counts for its i shops with higher clock speeds. Or take RPG and drop it into a virtual environment akin to a JVM and let it make use of threads. I think it will be a cold day in hell--much colder than in Rochester, Minnesota, in fact--before the former happens, and a portable, virtualized RPG compiler and runtime environment is something IBM does not seem to be inclined in creating but which it should have created more than a decade ago before Java was even a thought inside of James Goslings' head at Sun Microsystems. IBM might just suggest that you run multiple copies of your applications in logical partitions to support different sets of users. I dunno.




The whole threads thing concerning RPG is bogus. Before one starts questioning RPG's performance with multi-threading, one should ask what the need for multi-threading is.

The serialization wait warning is true for any language, and in fact is the same performance issues described so well by you for the multi-threaded CPU's. If for some stupid reason one writes a multi-threaded program and have shared memory data, almost always a requirement for the threads to communicate with each other, and something shared is locked up waiting for something, similar to a record lock, then yes, performance suffers as both threads are waiting until shared memory is available. Very similar timing and such to CPU threads waiting for shared memory.

Now why would we do that with RPG? Often another thread is created for monitoring for messages, be it from an interface, communications such as sockets, or whatever. But we don't typically consider the socket or interface to be "waiting" unnecessarily and less efficient than before, etc. We in fact consider the overall end product to be more responsive in that input can be responded to while background processing is taking place whereas previously input would only be responded to when background processing took a break to check. Now it would check a shared flag with interface thread but to interface there has already been a more immediate acknowledgement.

The real issue here is Java and its multiple threads in a job calling an RPG procedure from multiple threads. The RPG procedures/programs that participate in threads need to be compiled as serialized (same as in any language) and of course could become a bottleneck. This is true of any shared resource in any language.

Obviously the solution is architecting such that as much is duplicated as possible to minimize shared resources. So for example a java class is instantiated for each thread and duplicated within the job and is not a bottleneck. Yet if that class accesses a common resource at some point you have to lock it with serialization and you can have threads waiting to access it.

I haven't tried any of this or dealt with these issues yet, but I've read the same warnings and considered it, and I consider the whole issue technically re:RPG specifically as technically accurate but bogus. If the RPG code is doing anything halfway useful, then of course it should process round robin as called and ensure data integrity. It is also good sound architecture to serialize at such a solid modular entry as a subprocedure or program call.

I would view as data queue processing with a dataq server. Same thing, same concept, same results. In fact, the threads could (and traditionally we would) write to a dataq server instead. However, serialization would likely be a few microseconds faster but as with any threading any shared resources including our RPG programs that can be called from multiple threads need to be compiled as serializeable to have only one thead executing in it at a time.

There was of course the whole thing about the RPG cycle code being non-reentrant so that by definition any RPG with a Main entry was a shared resource, and I understand that that has been improved in 6.1 for improved participation of RPG in multi-threading but don't recall the particulars on it.

I think it's enough that CPU threads can be granular at the job level for us to get full power from new architectures. I think it is totally bogus to suggest that RPG needs to be rearchitected for it. I also think it is totally bogus that Java would be considered better suited for it due to launching multiple threads. The bottom line is the actual work that needs to be performed, and if it was useful to launch multiple threads in a job we would have figured out how to work around it a long time ago.

regards,
Ralph Daugherty
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rd



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iBM wouldn't port i to Intel because first and foremost it runs on their Power processor. I could list the disadvantages of trying to sell i/OS on Intel all day long and the marginal additional sales on Intel would not come close to justifying the risk nor replicate the iseries experience for the customer, tarnishing the iseries brand in the process.

Concerning the $15,000 iseries 520, I believe iBM is right in their comparisons to M$ equivalently equipped server. While lots of talk of freebies bandied about, start comparing costs with a robust Intel server and start adding up the M$ multi-user production licensing for Windows Server, SQLServer, and Studio, and then start adding up third party software to attempt to duplicate i ~ i5/OS ~ OS/400 functionality.

I'd be real surprised if it comes in less than $15,000.

Having said that, Oracle buying Sun is now the competitor iBM has to face up to. With OpenSolaris open source for Intel processors and not limited to Sun Sparc processors (unlike iBM as mentioned above), its only the Oracle licensing which you have to add up, which of course is what Oracle wants.

But given Oracle's licensing for equivalent multi-user production and software development, I wouldn't be surprised if the iseries is still competitive with that setup.

Concerning aging iseries programmers, yes, I'm an old timer, but I've worked through the years with people on the iseries ~ AS/400 generally younger than me. When I interviewed throughout 2004 it was usually with younger people.

No, there are not reams of 20 somethings hired in to the iseries world like there are into Java and C#/BASIC, but when there's a business need new people are added and they are younger.

The problem is the business need. You can't outsource everything to cheap labor and still have a business need when you don't have a business.

Lastly, the single most useful thing we can do to increase interest in the iseries is to have enough useful open source ILE software (RPG, COBOL, C++, CL, etc. integrated with Java, PHP, etc.) to make buying a new or used iseries a reason to run this specialized software.

A different way of saying this is that if all people need are Java or PHP on Intel, then fine, no one needs the iseries anymore.

I know large businesses need it, obviously the less you do the less you need. But I think even for lesser needs some integrated open source software utilizing full capabilities of the iseries would do more to show the advantages of running on an iseries than anything else.

rd
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(also posted on systeminetwork.com)

What UI would you recommend?

I recommend the right tool for the job. For corporate work, 5250. I have a sample RPG open source 5250 subfile program (/free ILE service program subprocedures, page by page, windowed screens, etc.) on google code:

http://code.google.com/p/rdwrites/downloads/list

code available for download as ascii files, save file source, or save file library and source.

Although this program didn't have a need for cursor sensitive prompting, most 5250 input that would be validated against a list should have prompting and selection from the list for each of those input fields. That's the kind of thing people want and get with those dropdown lists, which are cute for small amounts of data but require good AJAX technology to scroll from a server as we would in a prompt subfile window.

Also judicious use of color as in my sample code. I get a laugh out of green screen because I haven't seen any green in years. I set my default colors to colors of my choice, usually turquise. With that as default and use of highlighting colors, screens are easy on the eye.

And data presented? I took a look around the web tonight to see if I'm missing something after all these years about web pages. I'm not. Viewed some open source ERP info and visted a demo site (as well as Henrik's above, but not business screens and not what I was looking for. By the way, his server may still be trying to come up with Change Configuration. The wheels had been spinning for about 30 seconds by the time I moved on. Still, I appreciate any demos.)

The ERP screens. Pathetic. Pretty? Yes. Useful? Pathetic. Lots of transaction screens were basically a checkbook/spreadsheet looking form. Only could see half the width of the form on the screen with a big scrollbar at the bottom. Going to over 1024x786 would fit but text so tiny it's unusable. Others were typical web page data screens, which also didn't fit. Lots of pretty bubbly colored thing-a-ma-jigs with a few fields sprinkled here or there. Real iseries users would snicker. They have data crammed everywhere you can put data on 5250 screens that do real work.

I could go on, but the screens are but a petty issue in the big picture. Web pages give servers Alzheimers, and AJAX is Alzheimers on steroids. (I do not make that comparison lightly. It is truly a fitting analogy.)

How so? Imagine if every time a 5250 screen was displayed, the interactive session rolled up its tent and packed up everything and said sayounara. And then you press enter or a function key and hello world. Let's roll out the sidewalk and set up the tent again, someone's coming to see me. Let's see, what were we doing? Well, I'll lay out the data structures, variables, re-create the state we were in, figure out what we were doing, figure out who this dude is and what he can do and what he is doing and whether he can do that, ok, now I'm back up to where a 5250 interactive would be, now I can actually process the screen input and golly gee here comes a screen at ya. Sayounara!

That's for every screen every time from everyone. Imagine hundreds and thousands of 5250 interactive sessions on an iseries that are now brain dead by web page. But who cares? IBM is laughing all the way to the bank.

But wait, there's more. Let's put this patient on steriods. Forget something as concrete as enter or a function key or button. No, with Ajax, every time you flick your wrist across some hot spot you get to wake the sleeping beast and watch him reassemble the session over and over for every "AJAX" chatter you generate.

Fun, fun, fun. It was fun watching the ERP demo screen drip down my screen (on a high bandwidth intenet connection no less) and waiting to see whether demo 2 screen would ever show up. Yes sir, I sure love me some web pages.

Having said that, it is of course vital to have all the tools in your belt and having the best web page presence of your competitors for internet commerce is imperative. I've written the back end of a highly functional job site that ran on iseries for a vendor (actually was sponsored by this site I believe) and with good code and design web pages can be highly responsive but typically are of the "blog" type web site, that is, each web page a separate isolated transaction.

In other words, not your mother's iseries business app.

Sayounara!

rd
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(also posted on IBM's RPG Cafe)

ACabrera wrote:
Greetings!

I need some help! Any input would be great!!

I recently got hired at a company that uses RPG IV on iSeries (forgive me - I'm still learning the environment lingo) and I need to get up to speed asap on programming in RPG IV. Are there any resources that take you to through the basics of RPG IV? It doesn't have to be elaborate because my assignments are based on converting/migrating data from a new client database to our DB2. So simple file processing (read, write,update) is what I need.

The team currently uses RPG IV for these assignments and use the SEU (green screen) for editing....

Thanks!


hi ACabrera, and welcome to the iseries. While I agree you will need to purchase a book like the one recommended by Scott, I've also found in learning languages through the years that example source code was necessary for me to be able to figure some things out.

I have some sample source code available to download from google code that although is a set of programs supporting an interactive subfile program, most basic code operations you will use are in there. There's also some CL example code which will help you get started.

It is written in RPGIV /free form and has examples of subprocedures, service programs, include files and other things that should make you feel comfortable coming from any other language. I do not have any embedded SQL in this example but you should be able to find plenty of examples with a search. (I always precede searches with the words iseries rpg and in this case would add embedded SQL).

The source download is at http://code.google.com/p/rdwrites/downloads/list

The code is available as ASCII source files which you can copy and paste into Rational RDI ~ WDSc Eclipse IDE if you're using that or as a source file in a save file you can restore to your iseries for SEU or a library save file with the compiled programs and source. I developed it all in SEU on my system.

Hope it helps.

rd
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the large corporations I've worked for through the years, the AS/400 iseries programmers have been younger than what is commonly portrayed as the sterotype. And plenty of young programmers migrate into the field, although they (like myself) generally broke in with a consulting firm.

I've posted before that when there was a ramp up needed, there was no problem generating RPG programmers. The environment was standard, the requisite skills needed clear. You could train a programmer in a few weeks and know they could work on any AS/400.

I think most other major business technologies (Oracle, SAP, .Net, Java J2EE, Unix C++, mainframe COBOL) are still more standard but each a huge learning curve. But the curve to take is clear.

The technology solutions on iseries are so fragmented now that a decently clear path could be laid out, say standard IBM rdi environments (RPG, EGL, PHP), but unlikely very many iseries environments use these. There are just so many other commercial solutions in place.

And of course there are the very specific package requirements specified, in other words, someone experienced in precisely what we have here, ideally with more experience than previous exployees had, and so a dwindling number of specialists can continue to obtain employment.

I am a firm believer that it isn't settled out there on cost effectiveness of solutions, and that there is still a huge window to deliver much more efficient software-hardware solutions with the iseries, i5/OS, ILE RPG /free, and multiple user interfaces, with business logic in service programs callable from anywhere.

And of course any Java (which can be compiled), PHP (which can exceed other PHP environments with integration with ILE), or integrated Unix solutions included as well, for example SAP on the high end to any scripted language, and we can integrate ILE C and C++ even tighter.

That doesn't even get into the parallel Linux and AIX virtual environments which makes an even more compelling cost effective solution.

So it's really software that drives this, and I think just as BPCS used to drive AS/400 sales, the right cost effective software mix can drive the iseries again.

rd
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering a CGIDEV2 PHP comparison, which I liken to compiled versus script, Facebook is now rewriting their entire site in their own (apparently) proprietary compiled PHP language. Their benchmarks show they will reduce CPU usage by 80% and load pages in 20% of the time currently needed.

To the degree that RPG is used as calls from PHP, that difference would be reduced compared to all PHP, but just wanted to point out as I often do that there's no free lunch no matter how much hype abounds with new technology. A script is a script, just like BASIC interpreter. Compiled is compiled, just like compiled BASIC.

The fundamentals never change. They just get so much hardware thrown at them these days that the truth is obscured.

rd
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminews, Rocky wrote:
We have a Fairbanks scale at our landfill. We wish to connect it to a PC that is using iSeries Access to connect to our system. I want to receive the weight from the scale on the PC and communicate it to the host - and have the RPG IV program read that data. The user would be on the AS400 entry screen, press a function key to retrieve that value in order to record the weights. It's an interactive application.

Has anybody done anything like this - how would I go about doing it - or perhaps is there a program that we can purchase to accomplish this - or somebody who knows how to do this that would like to get paid to do it?


ahhh, the good old days. To do real-time feeds of weight scale data on the hog kill floor to an AS/400 at Kahn's (that alone dates this story to very early AS/400 days :), I wrote an 8086 program (all I did in the 80's) to read the serial port and write to the AS/400 with an interesting unsupported IBM product called PC/DDM. Unsupported because they stated very clearly in so many words that it wasn't. On the other hand, it worked quite well and didn't need support.

It was using the twinax connection of the IBM terminal emulator product (called Client Access back then?) The communications were pretty good. I think we were operating at 9600 baud. There was some additional data that came from the scale when the scale triggered, a lot number and a hog rating done by an inspector on the line. Data came streaming in RS-232 serial port, interrupts fired, data assembled into an IBM data type record format, then a write API done at end of record. Data recieved to a PF on AS/400 which was read with a EOFDLY loop and processed into records for the hog shipper, who by the way was standing in the office.

The processing on AS/400 was customized BPCS RPG, this lot processing system totally custom RPG. You could scroll a subfile and watch the processed records from the scale pop in. Check cut while he's standing there, and he's on his way. This was real time all the way through.

Still doesn't get any better than that, just a lot more expensive. We actually bought a new PC at the time for it but the specs are still embarrassing. Oh what you could do in DOS with assembler on an 8086 with less than a meg of memory back in those days.

I kicked IBM's butt with a setup like this in '88 going up against their PS/2 and ARTIC board for a real-time bar coding system for Time Customer Service. Their whole mega million dollar consulting project failed and I came in at last minute (pulled in off the street with a hail mary ad) and wrote the whole thing myself with a setup like this in less than 60 days to pull TCS's fat out of the fire and have it go into production as needed for the massive January sweepstakes processing. Used Tempus or something like that to mainframe instead of PC/DDM to a midrange on that one though, and had a multi-serial port board overnighted to me from the manufacturer in Ohio. I had a working demo in two days of scanning multiple 9600 baud bar code readers into a PC and displaying to screen, something IBM never was able to accomplish due to some combination of their ARTIC engineering problems and being a typical over convoluted IBM consulting project.

But I digress. I think I saw a serial port on a PC I bought recently, don't see them much anymore. Assembler, PC/DDM, twinax. Yes, we're dinosaurs. But nobody could beat us in the day.

rd
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminews:

bryan641 wrote:
I was always bothered by the assertion in "War Games" that "... you can't just unplug a computer like the Whopper." I'm sorry, but when millions of lives are at stake, yes, you can.
Not to mention the other problems, like the computer deciding to *really* launch some missiles without being programmed to. Right. And showing it that you can't win in Tic Tac Toe causes it to evaluate and decide that you can't win a nuclear war either? Right. And the creator of it can't figure out how to stop it, but a kid does? Oh, please.
--Bryan


Hi Bryan. It was well established with the 1966 book Colossus why you can't just unplug it (different story, but precedent had been set :) The cold war mastermind computer was built underground and power supplied by a nuclear reactor. When Colussus gained emergent AI, for example, it disconnected controls that could open doors, shut things down, etc.

This was the first major book on computers I read and I pretty much wanted to work with that stuff from then on. It was some time before we all found out that a computer gaining artificial intelligence or for that matter being given it wasn't going to happen. It always seems tantalizingly closer to do than harsh reality, just like every software estimate ever done. This is just the worst estimate ever done though.

Back in the days before fiilms routinely included monitoring from central command centers, every engineering scene had a guy walking around with a clipboard. Must have been one of those union requirements in Hollywood contracts. :) We know what the clipboard was for in real life, writing down temperature and pressure readings, etc. for reports, but it got generalized to a guy walking around with a clipboard jotting virtual readings without any gauges to read. Didn't matter anymore, just had to have a guy wandering around in the background holding up a clipboard.

Re: computer UI's in media, there was a slashdot thread not long ago on that with an interview with a guy who sets up a lot of the computer interaction scenes. Obviously, as we know, it's all about visualization of concepts and nothing to do with reality. Someone said it would be boring, and they're right. Although an interesting realistic screen rendering was BASIC code scrolling overlaid on Terminator's face as he makes decisions on hunting down his assignment, even though unrealistic in reality (see AI).

Concerning visualization of cracking conputers, IIRC Swordfish had some of that. But an intense computer UI scene is in a movie that I happened upon recently, Paycheck. Ben Affleck moves objects representing codes around in the air trying to find the combination to break the code to login, etc. One of those things that is virtually a visualization of a very non-visual act. That's computer UI in the media.

rd
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look foward to reading Timothy Prickett Morgan's The Four Hundred at IT Jungle every Monday. Today's column, IBM Fired Up About Power7-Based Smarter Systems, was great reading (for iseries enthusiasts anyway).

http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh021510-story01.html

Some feedback for Timothy:

Hi TPM, you've outdone yourself on the IBM Fired Up column. That's Renaissance Man level writing. You get better with every issue.

Just have a minor quibble with the numbers from Rod Adkins. 30 terabytes for 10 million monthly meter readings is 250k per meter. That's not a reading, that's a customer bill PDF. Heck, you could throw in a picture of the meter when it was read for that.

And yes, daily is about 30 times 30 terabytes, or 1 petabyte as he's quoted. Except you don't generate a daily customer PDF. Or maybe you do in IBM's Smarter Planet. Smarter than what would be the question.

And 100 petabytes for reading the 10 million meters electronically every 15 minutes? Let's see what it takes from an old school seat of the pants calculation.

Let's see. A meter reading. Well, you have a meter id and a meter reading. Well, let's throw in a bunch of wasteful stuff and we still couldn't push 100 characters. So 100 byte record it is.

Now push 100 byte meter records from 10 million meters every 15 minutes for a year and you get 34.56 terabytes. Yes, that's right, about the same size as the year's worth of statements for the readings, so let's be generous and say 70 terabytes for the whole lot for the year.

At least I can't think of anything else that would take up 250k per meter reading. oops, fogot about a Websphere Java object persistent store per reading.

mea culpa. Now you know why I'm not an IBM salesman.

rd
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminews, BHowie wrote:
I've heard some things about disadvantages of CGIDEV2 when it comes to session management and how it handles it (basically that it doesn't handle it well). Would appreciate some feedback from that perspective. Thanks.

Most of that comes from those who prefer PHP and Java with libraries that include function calls to save (when exiting) or restore (when resuming with another web page) session data.

Although Java writes out the class instances as a binary blob to store, in the end storing session data is just writing data to files and/or user spaces and/or user indexes with a key to retrieve for resuming with next web page from session.

In the past in non-CGIDEV2 iseries web programming I stored data in records in various files, and will continue to do so with CGIDEV2. Renaissance is an open source framework over CGIDEV2 that provides session management and stores to user indexes. Most CGIDEV2 posts I've seen store session data to user spaces which CGIDEV2 supports.

A session id can be assigned by you when a user logs in to your log in page, then placed in a hidden field in each web page returned. CGIDEV2 has a call to create and return a new session id which will do nicely for that.

So CGIDEV2 handles sessions with library calls as PHP and Java does. You just decide what to store and where to store it rather than telling PHP or Java what to store for you.

I'm working on my first CGIDEV2 web app, and haven't written the session code yet, but this is what I've found out about it so far.

rd
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminetwork, Henrik wrote:
two miles from where I live is a little software company now a days called Microsoft Business Solution. Unless we come up with something that can compete with their .NET client interface they will eat the iSeries market up to the knees of a Power System 750 and then the most of us in here can put our head between our knees and kiss our a** goodbye.

I agree with Henrik for a number of reasons.

We should be pushing to deliver superior solutions with unique i5/OS capabilities. Henrik's front end is not unique, but he is pushing the i5/OS back end capabilities of supporting a beautiful rich front end to be sure. In another direction, I am hopeful that we can push in the direction of large scale serving that supplements our already proven transaction processing.

Also, although the solutions range more toward Websphere Java back end, there are high end web apps being developed and served with the iseries. In addition, not only are we able to run any PHP app, but I believe the i5/OS integration will allow superior PHP apps to the degree that intensive business logic / database serving is supported with i5/OS calls to ILE programs and/or DB2 MySQL engine.

For really intense web apps / performance, we should be able to push beyond other environments with CGIDEV2 on i5/OS. And still be a darn easy web development and serving for iseries RPG programmers.

In any event, let's look to expand the iseries market with superior solutions. Businesses buy OS'es to run software they have in mind, but once they have an OS solution in place they choose additional related software based on the OS. The more specialty solutions that take advantage of powerful i5/OS capabilities, the more opportunity there is to expand the market.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

from systeminetwork.com, Aaron Bartell wrote:
I am looking forward to what this group produces, but am worried that they stand a chance to "miss the mark" by not having a full path to adoption for anybody that might take notice of their efforts. For example, suppose you get the ear of a CTO of an existing IBM i company after he hears he has a modern machine capable of running modern applications - where will you point them? At EGL? - The language that is continuously trying to make a place for itself but can only do so by continuously making itself more "free"? At PHP? - the language that can be run everywhere else for much less and now you have to prove why the IBM i is the place to run it? At RPG? - the native language that SHOULD be getting pointed at, but what are you going to point at?

Obviously one size doesn't fit all, so I won't digress into why I think every existing IBM i shop should be using RPG+DB2+IBMi for the development stack [grin] - but where is iManifest documenting the various sizes that people can try on if they wanted to pursue RPG-CGI/PHP/EGL on the i? Where can somebody tangibly try out new technology without making a huge investment (IBM's Virtual Loaner Program would be a *perfect* fit for this BTW, the issue is that its for partners only and not customers).

I hope to eventually find a way to partner with iManifest, but I am not of much benefit until we get to the actual implementation stage.

The YiPs are working through the details of getting people access to such a machine where they can try out PHP and RPGUI (http://mowyourlawn.com/rpgui.html) and hopefully that would be a place where iManifest could point people so they could easily try out new technology on a "sliced up LPAR" by going through a tutorial of sorts.

Aaron Bartell - A YiPs rep (www.YoungiProfessionals.com)


Companies will buy iseries when it runs software they want to use. That's always been the case, and always will be.

Aaron and others are correct when they emphasize incubation for iseries software development. IBM has done a great job technically of supplying an integrated infrastructure to do anything outside of emulating Microsoft Windows, which for those enamored of Windows they should stick with a Windows server.

IBM has provided a technically superior server infrastructure in the iseries, and if software solutions that appeal to business aren't developed that take advantage of it, then it's not IBM's fault.

EGL is just a CASE wrapper around J2EE to make it possible for mere mortals to architect Websphere applications, so that is a continuation of the direction they've been taking with Websphere. Adding PHP and DB2 plugin for MySQL was an opportunistic move that was well done and should not be regarded as changing direction. Every technology is integrated into the i OS. The iseries sum is greater than the parts.

One of the greatest drivers of AS/400 sales was BPCS, which started out on a kitchen table. Aaron may be the next Roger Covey, I don't know, let's hope he makes as much money, but we all have a kitchen table, so let the incubation begin.

rd
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from slashdot:
<i>So my question to /. is this:

Are you and I the only ones who think IBM would have been better ?</i>

It would have been better for IBM, so much better that I doubt it would have cleared anti-trust. They would have just bought Sun for Java, and to eliminate any vestige of Sun server and OS competition. Of course what was released to open source by Sun would still be out there, but would be abandoned by IBM except for MySQL.

Instead Oracle is now in the postion of out AS/400'ing the AS/400, with built in Oracle instead of DB2 and Oracle / Sun's software stack instead of IBM's. Oracle will try to do that by including the ERP stack they own with the unified Java ERP infrastructure / apps. IBM lost billions trying to do that with the San Francisco project.

I don't think Oracle will outdo IBM, in that OS/400 - I5/OS - Power i / DB2/400, which includes AIX as a subset and Linux partitions, is vastly superior to what Oracle can do with Solaris / Oracle as an OS (from this veteran AS/400 programmer's perspective), but Solaris is no slouch and other than OS/400 Oracle now owns best of breed in both hardware and software and network services from top to bottom, including ERP software. Truly breathtakingly unprecedented. It's what Microsoft was also trying to do but only has succeeded at much more limited levels, which would continue unless they are somehow able to obtain SAP.

All three are hamfisted in their attempt to strangle the customer, and all three not surprisingly are very profitable as a result. I've seen the slashdot posts that consider the possibility of Oracle offering an integrated platform more for furthering Oracle and their ERP sales than ramping up Oracle type pricing for every component in the offering, and the potential in my opinion to offer some compellingly cost effective integrated solutions that will rival the best the AS/400 and its third party ERP offerings had through the years, one of the primary ones, JDE, which Oracle acquired but still supports on the IBM AS/400 iseries.

Oracle is also in the unique position of enjoying the largesse of Sun's open source offerings while only making moves going forward which are highly profitable. They have significant opportunity to take mind and market share from IBM and Microsoft systems offerings with an integrated competitive system to IBM's systems, but it won't be out of the goodness of their hearts.

Sun was a unique occurrence. If even Sun was considered evil, and posts here suggested it was, then you will find more, not less, evil going forward. The good that has been done has been done.

rd
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