Telly: English TV still smacks American tellys bum

  • Posted on: 20 February 2014
  • By: NickLitten

So, I emigrated over here to the New World (as my redcoat forebears used to call it) five years ago. During this time I've been lucky enough to travel all over America, driven coast to coast twice, lived in various States and met many wonderful people. The weather is fantastic and life is good... I wouldn't consider moving back to Blighty. Nope. Life over here is better but, I do miss British Telly. :(

American TV just doesn't have the... oh I don't know what to call it... the 'je ne sais quoi'

I enjoy watching Sci-fi, sit-coms and any other gripping drama that makes me say "just one more episode before bedtime"

So, in a mission to record what's good out there I've decided to blog about series as I watch them, and as I find them. For other ex-colonials, I will include magnet links to the Torrents.

Nuff said.

For an ever growing list of decent/funny/gripping/weird TV series (or seasons as my colonial friends call them) just click here




RPG example - How to retrieve System21 Background Job status

  • Posted on: 18 November 2015
  • By: NickLitten
L1017 Infor start stop application background jobs.png

"How do I check the status of the System 21 (JBA/GEAC/INFOR) background jobs from an RPG program?"

I was asked to hack together a quick little routine to check the status of the System21 background jobs, for some specific web-service calls that were talking to an IBM i system running INFOR's System21 ERP. Hmmm... That is an awful lot of words in that sentence! Let's try it again. I am trying to say this "a web-service call to JBA SYSTEM21 needs to know if a background job is running before it does something". In this case the background job its checking for is called "WH_CONFDSP" the warehousing confirm dispatch job (or post shipment as Americans call it).

So, we know that System21 ERP does some things interactively and some things in background (aka "batch") mode.

We can easily view the background job status' using the System21 Menus: we can either goto menu /L1S (or L1SUS if American) in both the green screen and Infor Client or simply call the program from the command line:

s21 background

Chain(NE) hang low....

  • Posted on: 17 November 2015
  • By: NickLitten

The wonderful IBM RPGLE programming language:

What is Chain(N) and Chain(NE)


For file I/O requests in RPG (ie: Chain, Read, Reade, Setll, etc) we can add some options using

(N) – No Lock

(E) – Error Logging

(NE) – No Lock and Error Logging


Writing code in RPG the CHAIN operation code is used to go and get a specific ROW (or record) of data from a file. It returns the first entry that matches the KEY that is being used. In this blog let’s look at what happens when the file(CustomerMasterFile) is defined in our program as an UPDATE file. So, if we wanted to retrieve the Customer information from a Customer Master file (assuming it is keyed by the company name and the  customer id number) we might code it simply like this:


CHAIN (Company : CustomerNumber) CustomerMasterFile;


which is basically the same as:


SETLL (Company : CustomerNumber) CustomerMasterFile;

READE (Company : CustomerNumber) CustomerMasterFile;


Does the B in BBC stand for Bigot?

  • Posted on: 15 November 2015
  • By: NickLitten
iain lee called homophobic views bigoted and he is correct

I've been a fan of talk radio for many years. I enjoy listening to all kinds of talk radio ranging from Political to Theatrical, from Religious to Sports. I regularly drive long road trips and listening to an engaging conversation on the radio keeps my gray matter buzzing. Even when I disagree with the point of view, it's always interesting to hear other peoples opinions.

Mister Iain Lee is an English radio presenter who excels at this art form  ;)   He must be good because sometimes he makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I disagree with him and find myself yelling at the radio and at other times I've got home and just sat in the car for 20 minutes to listen to the end of the show. For the last few months I've been listening to Iain Lee's podcasts from BBC Three Counties Radio...

So, I was surprised to see his name plastered all over Twitter yesterday and found out that the BBC has sacked him or maybe he quit lets just say they have parted ways after he was forced to apologize for an interview he hosted.

What was his grand mistake?

He asked someone with bigoted views on homosexuality if they were bigoted!

Program Source Code - Clever or Clear?

  • Posted on: 1 November 2015
  • By: NickLitten

I've been working on an interesting project focused on taking some old RPG code and re-factoring it to make it more efficient. Fascinating work for a client that is focused on doubling its IBM i throughput and reducing the CPU load of all its old programs. This has frequently made me choose between writing a single line of %BIF'd up code that looks slick and minimalist - or - writing 3 lines of code that are more readable and arguably (marginally) less efficient.

/me remembers the AS400 "SETON vs MOVEL *ON" arguments of yesteryear with a fond smile...

I think I've finally found my official position on this: I prefer code readability over specialized (aka clever!) techniques. I would rather write code that is a little more verbose, and well commented rather than do the same thing in a cryptic or obfuscated manner.

Yes, I'm guilty of waffling in my comments and sometimes using variable names that make me smile:

If WineBottleIsEmpty;



Remember, Software undergoes beta testing just before it’s released.

Beta is Latin for “the program still doesn’t work". 



Autodesk Inventor problem with Win10 - Student edition needs Win7

  • Posted on: 13 September 2015
  • By: NickLitten
hotle room, win10 x1 carbon, win7 lenovo Yoga and a mental dog

Eldest son has started a new high school class - Engineering. I'm excited for him because Engineering Science was one of the classes that I really enjoyed. Back in the day, we used slide rules, sketched on huge sheets of paper with hard pencils, used sin/cos/tan to calculate angles and load bearing values. Things were different back then but the basic principles were the same! Computers were something that I only ever saw on my weekly dose of Star Trek, Space 1999 or Blakes7.

Nowadays, the students will be learning how to use Autocad 2014 on their laptops. Tapping away and creating perfect technical drawings in the space of a few minutes.

*sigh*   Kids nowadays - /insert rant about how hard it was working down the mines when I was a kid  :)

But I digress...

So, Nate inherited my two year old IBM Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 13s. It's a solid laptop, touchscreen and perfect for him to carry to from school and to play with Autocad on. Or so we thought.

JR Mobile Mechanic in Charleston SC - highly recommended!

  • Posted on: 5 September 2015
  • By: NickLitten
cheap mechanic in mount pleasant daniel island sc

Jerry is a friendly chap, accomplished mechanic with great prices and swift work!


It's not often I endorse a local business but JR Mobile Mechanic in Charleston is awesome! Jerry is a thoroughly decent chap, punctual, professional, did the job with minimal fuss and cleaned everything up afterwards. Great job Jerry -- you have a new repeat customer.

If you are in Charleston SC and need a solid reliable mechanic then call Jerry on (843) 345-5258



After recently relocating to Charleston, South Carolina, my stepsons Jeep Wrangler having the front brakes catch on fire -- well, maybe not a fire but a serious smokescreen for sure! He was driving along in front of me and suddenly the front drivers side started smoking heavily and I could see the Jeep juddering from side to side as he tried to slow it down. So, we swapped cars and I limp it home and get on Craigslist to find a cheap, local mobile mechanic who can come to our house and have a look at the thing...

First Experience

Encoding images in base64 for email signatures

  • Posted on: 2 September 2015
  • By: NickLitten
quills qweeels qwils erm pens

A couple ofyears ago, when I first moved to GMAIL, I wrote a blog (how to display images in Google mail). Things have changed massively since then, not least being the introduction of email .sigs in GMAIL itself. But, nowadays I get so much email fluff I have just decided to split my email into two accounts: GoogleMail for personal stuff and Office365 for business.

So I now have two seperate email sigs...

Personal email -- FACEBOOK Image in gmail signature

Now, with a basic knowledge of HTML you can edit the source code to include any extra bits you wish.

Nick Litten's Facebook Profile


Business email

I have a much more boring business email signature. So, when sending mails from my *work* account I simply use images pulled from the business server @

Speeding up SQLRPGLE using indexes instead of logicals

  • Posted on: 31 August 2015
  • By: NickLitten
never enough time to program in RPG

SQL is a wonderful beast for quickly getting data from huge tables (aka Files). The trouble with SQL is that it's so very simple to use; programmers get lazy and sometimes forget to do the analysis to make it as simple and #FAST as possible!

It's easy to overlook performance tuning because SQL goes out there and uses any existing access paths for the data it wants, and if it cant find one then it creates a temporary path to get that data. It's like magic. This is great but that split second of temporary path creation can add up when it's done over and over again.

How do we fine tune our SQLRPGLE programs?

We can use Index Advisor in System i Navigator to look for naughty indexes and take it's recommendations for action. But this needs IBM I Access to be installed. So, what if we don't have access to any tools to help us out?

I was at a client site this morning and they had a SQLRPGLE webservice running and complained about the run time. This is a fairly complex SQLRPGLE program that is getting a selection of data from a long list of tables and they were experiencing average response times between 5-9 seconds. But somtimes much much longer... anything over a couple of seconds is way to long in the webservice world.

Here is a SOAP/UI screen shot of a test run of the webservice. The time is shown in the bottom right corner - a whopping 23.956 seconds.