Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm blogging for more than a year now and I would like to thank every one who drops by from time to time. I would especially like to thank the people who put up a link on their site and those who sent me some nice comments over the last year.

But most of all I would like to wish every one the best for 2008.
A Happy New Year and good health to you and your family.

The picture you see is from a former colleague of mine who retired a couple of years ago and who's now making these nice pictures. Thanks, Wilfried.

And to top it off for this year, I came across this hilarious picture of Jimi Hendrix wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking back on 2007 - The Funny Part

Every one seems to find the time to look back on 2007 and it's not different over here. But I'm going to save the more 'serious' posts for next year, including a little review of the IBM mainframe in 2007.

Keeping it light towards the end of the year, the Enterprise Systems Update Newsletter from directed me towards 'Overheard: The 10 most entertaining tech videos of 2007' Well the title says it all. I took the liberty of including the two I like the most, but feel free to watch the rest too.

Helpdesk support in the Middle Ages
This is actually another version with better positioned subtitles.

Geek love song
As they say "Give this one a minute. Literally. I promise you’ll warm up to it".

And I would like to add one I came across myself.
It's in German but I'm sure you'll get the message.

IBM : Buzzword Bingo

Have Fun !

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IBM's next Five in Five

At the beginning of 2007 IBM came up with 'Five innovations that could change your life over the next five years' (Healthcare Prognosis, Real-time speech translation, 3-D Internet, Micromanaging our environment and Mind reading phones). Last week IBM came with another round of five 'predictions' : it's "a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. The list is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s Labs around the world that could make these innovations possible". The five technology innovations discussed this time are :
  • It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it
  • The way you drive will be completely different
  • You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat
  • Your cell phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, and more
  • Doctors will get enhanced “super-senses” to better diagnose and treat you
If you don't feel like reading the entire press announcement, I took the liberty of uploading the little video that's added towards to end of the announcement to Youtube.

That's how I also bumped into another video with a news flash on the first 'Five in Five'

Not all that mainframe related, but there's not much news for the moment and I'm really curious what will become true of all this.

Monday, December 24, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, my son had to make a presentation for school on a French city of his choice. He chose Le Havre as we've been there before and it's not as obvious as Paris. I helped him a bit finding the right information and Wikipedia turned out to be his best source of information. I wasn't really all that suprised because I find myself more and more often consulting Wikipedia, also on mainframe topics. I used to be a little sceptic about it as anyone can contribute to Wikipedia and you're never sure whether it's trustworthy. Still, Wikipedia has proven to be a good starting point when you're looking for decent information. Some examples ?

There's an entry on CICS. And we can immediately indicate why the information is usually quite to the point. I use this CICS page as example : there are always three additional tabs : if you want to check whether the information is up to date, you can check the history page. If you do not agree with some of the statements or if you think some of them need clarification, you can turn to the discussion page. And if you are a real expert on the subject, you can always edit the article yourself. And I think this auto-correcting character of Wikipedia (in most cases) just works fine.

You can also find spin-offs of some subjects with a wiki entirely dedicated to one subject. Again I can take CICS as an example. as there's a separate CICS Wiki. This "wiki is dedicated to act as a living knowledge base for CICS and CICS related products".

And of course there's also a System z9 page. But there's more. Here you can see that Wikipedia is really kept up to date. There's already a topic on a Future Machine. A couple of months ago there was quite a lot of talk about a new mainframe processor, called z6, that was announced by IBM. Well, this article already has a link to the presentation of this 4+Ghz processor. No, this is not a christmas gift by IBM. As the article states "As of November, 2007, IBM had not yet shipped a machine using this new design". And, for the time being, this hasn't changed yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.1

This week IBM announced version 4 of COBOL for z/OS under the title : IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.1 helps improve application developer productivity.
It should help "you to integrate COBOL and Web-based business processes in Web services, XML, Java, and COBOL applications". In other words, COBOL is here to stay, you can keep on running what you've got, but, it's also ready for the future.

A couple of highlights :
  • XML enhancements : the XML GENERATE is extended and the XML PARSE support is enhanced
  • Performance enhancements : the performance of COBOL UNICODE support has been improved
  • DB2 coprocessor enhancements : there's support for new DB2 9 functionality and SQLCA and SQLDA control blocks are expanded in the compiler listing for all DB2 releases
There's one other significant change as opposed to previous versions. There's no more 'alternate function' and 'full function' version. This COBOL comes only in a 'compiler only' version, the equivalent of the alternate function version. If you had the full function version (with debugging capability) you'll need an alternative for the debugging functions. IBM offers 'Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions V8.1 for z/OS' which was announced late september. It's IPLA software including much more than the debugging capabilities of the previous COBOL versions and I'm not sure everyone will be happy with this move.

The new version of COBOL requires z/OS 1.7 and planned availability date is December 14, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Boss and Prince

No, not my boss, but THE one and only BOSS. Ok, ok, I'm a little off topic here, but I went to see The Boss last Wednesday night - on my birtday ! I can't imagine a better present to get from my wife. For those not getting it : Bruce Springsteen.

I've been a lucky guy this year : I've seen two of my favorite artists in action and I guess they're two of the best performing artists of the moment, if not, ever. Don't ask me to compare Prince and Bruce, because you can't. Prince is by far the better musician, playing nearly every instrument better than Bruce and the E-street band but then again Bruce is the rocker pur sang playing with an enthusiam that "rips the bones from your back". Check out the review over here : Just scroll down a bit, cause newer reviews are added.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Arcati Mainframe Yearbook Annual Survey

I've mentioned the Arcati Yearbook already several times in the Dolmen Newsletter and in this blog as a valuable resource for the mainframe community. One of the most interesting items is always the annual survey based on the input of mainframe customers. Those surveys give a clear view of evolutions taking place in the mainframe world. Some examples : main operating system, annual MIPS growth, mainframe processors installed (z9EC+BC represented 26% in Januari 2007), use of middleware, SOA . . .
Now, you can fill in this survey yourself at the Arcati site. The more mainframers who fill it in, the more accurate and therefore useful the survey report will be. You have time until the end of the year.
So, my advice this time is not 'just check it out', but 'just fill it out'.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Software withdrawal IBM System z Products

This week there was also an announcement for the withdrawal from marketing of some System z software : 'Software Withdrawal: Selected IBM System z Products - Some Replacements Available'. It includes the Withdrawal from Marketing for Tivoli and Websphere products, DB2, IMS and CICS Tools. Most of them will be withdrawn March 2008.
This also includes the WDFM of NALC pricing only for z/OS. From April 2008 onwards you will only be able to chose for zNALC pricing.
Another date that's changed (again) is the WDFM of RSCS. First it was September 2007, then it became September 2008 but now it's been fixed to May 26, 2008. RSCS has now become an optional feature of z/VM 5.3. You can find some more information on RSCS on the IBM RSCS page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

z/OS Java SDK Version 6

Two announcements yesterday for the Java Software Development Kit : IBM 31-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6 and IBM 64-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6. As the overview sections are quite similar I only quote the 64-bit version :

64-bit SDK for z/OS®, Java(TM) Technology Edition, V6 provides a software development kit (SDK) at the Java technology level, designed to be compliant with the Sun SDK 6 application programming interfaces (APIs). With 64-bit SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition, V6 you can:

  • Test and deploy Java applications in a 64-bit environment
  • Continue the "write once, run anywhere" Java paradigm
  • Use your System z Application Assist Processors (zAAPs) available on z9 BC, z9 EC, z990, and z890 servers to run eligible Java work
  • Leverage traditional System z benefits: scalability, reliability, availability, and serviceability

The program will be available from the IBM System z Java Web site and on tape from IBM Software Delivery and Fulfillment (SDF). It is a no-charge product.

You can find additional information on the IBM Java on z/OS page. The site is not fully updated yet, but if it's the same as for V5 , the non-SPM/E installable format is available only from the web. The SMP/E installable format is available only through ServerPac or CBPDO.