Only one week to go before the marriage of Howard and Mel which quickly escalates into the week from Hell. The series follows the bumbling Howard as he lurches from one appallingly embarrassing disaster to the next in the week leading up to his wedding.
A fairly typical modern British sitcom - but based around a stuck up, middle class, fussy couple how love each other but just get themselves ina pickle. Funny, amusing and romantic. The missus loved it and it made me smile consistently. Soft Anglocomedy but, something anyone who likes British RomCom/Sitcom will enjoy. :)
I was reading an interesting discussion on Linkedin last night. The core of the conversation goes like this
"I found one of my old customers from the 1990s and my software is still running on it - bloody good the iSeries"
"Excuse me, but that's not an iSeries its IBM i"
"I call it an AS400"
'Its not an AS400 its IBM i"
"you can call it whatever you like but I'm calling it an AS400"
This has been an ongoing
argument disagreement in our IBM i and RPG programmer communities for over a decade. For some reason, there is still a sizeable group of IBM i Software Developers insisting on referring to the IBM i Power machine by an incorrect name. The AS400 was a great machine in its time but calling the current range of IBM Servers as '400's is referring to an old inferior machine from the 1990's. Of course, using these old model names also infers we are still using an old Legacy machine -- this means our end customers think of it as an old fashioned legacy machine. But its not... aaargh!
I found this by accident and it's yet another Telly series which reminds by just how funny and irreverent English TV can be.
Plebs is based in Rome at the time of the Roman British invasion - an easy play on the Latin word 'plebeians' -- and if you don't know what that word means that you need to jog back to school and give your history teacher a swift kick up the arse. Plebs is filled with stupid British comedy, occasional naughty words and frequent innuendo and sexual comments it just about sums up British comedy at its best. It's The Inbetweeners meets Ancient Rome:
PLEBS follows three desperate young men from the suburbs as they try to get laid, hold down jobs and climb the social ladder in the big city - a city that happens to be Ancient Rome. The series stars Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner), Joel Fry (Trollied) and Ryan Sampson (After You've Gone) as the three young men - Marcus, Stylax and their lazy slave with an attitude problem, Grumio.
Modernize old AS400 applications on IBM i and set them free!
If you have ever read one of my mumbling blogs about programming on the IBM i operating system, you will know that I have long been a fan of modernizing legacy RPG source code. The benefits of taking ten or twenty year old applications and rinsing them through a modernizer are more obvious than the simple (a) the code looks modern (b) the programs run faster and (c) its just good fun to resurrect old programs in a modern style.
Profound Logic Software offers a solution on modernization which does the lot - it modernizes your IBMi application software, upgrades RPG code to utilize the latest techniques IBM have to offer, as well as simplifying the whole web-enabling process. End result is an old green-screen application magically transformed into vibrant web 2.0 displays via any web browser. It's magic.
Jordan Antanoff, business development manager at Profound has written this excellent blog article that sums up the approach:
Psychoville is very reminiscent of A League of Gentlemen - not the movie, but its dark and twisted telly cousin. I love it.
Psychoville is twisted and dark but humorous and still scary but funny and sometimes disturbing.... confused enough? I sure was. The Clown is pure genius. The Silent Dancer is somehow super scarey. The blind old man, serial killers, porno dwarves and crazy nurse make this satirical comedy series something very special indeed. Pour yourself a stiff glass of WTF and enjoy it.
RPG is a vibrant modern programming language and its getting moderner.
is moderner a verb? it should be :)
If you are an established RPG programmer, its just too easy to use the same old tried and tested techniques when coding. Doing things the good old fashioned way (or perhaps you call it the tried and tested way) generally means no SURPRISE delivering program code to your customers, or Bosses... but... are you taking advantage of all the terrific new opcodes and programming techniques that have been flooding into our IBM i RPG arena in recently?
How do we know whats out there?
There's always the "good ole" RPG Redbook -- Who Knew You Could Do That with RPG IV? A Sorcerer's Guide to System Access and More -- which is probably still the best place to start learning about the more advanced part of RPG programing. This redbook has a bit of everything. Written for OS400 V4R2 (before the IBM i rebranding?) I think so a fair bit has changed. But it was partly written to show previous generation RPG developers how and why they should make the switch to RPG IV. Even years later, it has some neat programming techniques that still strike me as modern and just plain cool.
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.
For an ever growing list of decent/funny/gripping/weird TV series (or seasons as my colonial friends call them) just click here http://www.nicklitten.com/tag-cloud/telly
I always wanted a TR6 or even its pointy cheese wedge cousin the TR7... but this blog isnt about that. It's about the much more geekish IBM Technology Releases for IBM i operating system..
Steve Will, IBM i Chief Architect, talks about some of the highlights of #IBMi TR6 and TR7 that were delivered in 2013:
If you dont see the embedded youtube video then watch it here
The technology refreshes are key components for the IBM i operating system that are released in between major operating system changes. TR6 came out in mid-2013 and TR7 arrived for Christmas... these enhancements included lots of goodies ranging from
Since the introduction of the latest Service Pack for IBM i V7 -- cunningly entitled 'Technology Release 7.1 -- RPG programmers can now finally eschew the old fixed column coding and roam around a modern free format language. Lovely jubbly.
Long overdue and in the words of Jon Paris (RPG Guru and all round Nice Geezer):
1) I hate F-specs.
I can never remember which letter goes in which column, and of course the more I use embedded SQL, the less frequently I have to code them. I almost always end up either cloning or using the prompter in RDI (about the only time I ever use it) and even then I'll get at least one thing wrong.
I also find it frustrating to have to specify every little detail. For example, if I say it is a printer file, then of course the thing is output. How many input-capable printers have you ever encountered?
I've spent this week implementing a Cheque (yes -- that is the correct and very English way of spelling 'check') scanning solution for a client.
The basic idea is -- company receives lots of money payments by cheque, these are scanned, sorted and deposited direct into the companies bank account and the deposit information is then automatically uploaded to their back office accounting system (in this case an in house RPG IBM i application). It's been a fun project with some neat automated features which are now working nicely in production. *phew*
The clever scanning and talking to the bank bit is handled by a cheque scanner and some rather nifty software to control it, called RemitPlus by Profitstars:
Electronic check, remittance, and lockbox processing solution.
If you are using the IBM i HTTPAPI (LIBHTTP) opensource utilities, you already realize how easy it is to talk to a webservice from within your RPG programs.
But remember, after you have run your program, you will have a beautiful log of the entire SOAPey process stored in an IFS file in your temporary folder -- assuming you are running in debug mode.
So , in your program make sure you are turning on debug:
// Note: http_debug(*ON/*OFF) can be used to turn debugging // on and off. When debugging is turned on, diagnostic // info is written to an IFS file named // /tmp/httpapi_debug.txt /if defined(DEBUGGING) http_debug(*ON); /endif
and then after you have ran it you can see the results by typing: dsplnk '/tmp/httpapi_debug.txt'
You will see a gloriously detailed log that looks something like this:
Over the last year, I've found a marked decrease in productivity during project work due what seems like a lot more life interruptions.
I'm (a) easily distracted, (b) the king of procrastination and (c) frequently trying to multi-task to such a wide degree that I almost completely zone out and have revisit and rework things I've marked complete. Interruptions are insidious and I've discovered that its not the major breaks that break things but the small social ones. When I say 'social' I means by way of social media: emails, texts, facebook, twitter, instagram and the list goes on.
[ and thats not even mentioning kids, dogs and the missus wanting to go for a quick lunch at the beach]
But wait... I've found a solution!
OK - So I must admit to being slightly biased as Rob Litten happens to be my cousin but... Rob has grown from the gangly kid that I remember into a quite astounding musician. When he's not drumming away on any nearby acoustic surface (my granite kitchen has never quite recovered) he is either being very loud playing in his band or... in professional mode.... he earns his living by being one of England's best known drum instructors and the force behind the astoundingly successful Drums the word website and youtube video phenom.
Rob is college trained and one of the elite few to achieve a National Higher Diploma in drum performance as well as BA(Hons) Degree in music specifically for the drum kit. A Percussion genius. Nuff said.
Here's a blast from the past:
I was just testing an IBM i program that is importing data from a Windows Server, converting the data, juggling it, tweaking it and when its finished playing it finally shoves it into an IBM i Database. Fun Fun FUN! But if its running interactive and I want to quickly get the command line... I'm stuck. The green screen is input inhibited. Luckily, we can easily get command line access by tweaking the system request functions of IBM i.
HACKEAT EMPTOR - obviously only grant this command line access if your system i is properly secured. You dont want any old Tom, Dick or Harry getting to the command line to do you?
The system request functions do a bunch of neat things during any interactive session - SysRq/2 shows a DSPJOB command. Luckily its super easy to change the command associated with all the system request functions.
Right now, lets quickly tweak the sysrq/2 function.
WRKMSGD MSGID(CPX2313) MSGF(QCPFMSG)
A sitemap is exactly that -- a map that search engines read to find what is on your website.
Sitemaps are a simple way of keeping the main search engines like Google or Bing up to date with what is going on with your website. I mean, why bother writing a website if nobody every reads it right?
The XML sitemap module creates a sitemap that conforms to the sitemaps.org specification. This helps search engines to more intelligently crawl a website and keep their results up to date. The sitemap created by the module can be automatically submitted to Ask, Google, Bing (formerly Windows Live Search), and Yahoo! search engines. The module also comes with several submodules that can add sitemap links for content, menu items, taxonomy terms, and user profiles.
I can almost guarantee that you are reading this because you searched for something on a search engine and it bought you here. It only knows about this website because of the website map 'sitemap.xml'
The sitemap is pure XML (a kind of funky HTML) and basically lists everything that is on the website and looks something like this:
Thankyou -- Scott Klement!
HTTPAPI (LIBHTTP) on IBM i is the bomb. Luckily I am not boarding a plane at the moment, so I can use that kind of language without getting strip searched by some burly TSA agents.
Firstly, I have never met Mr. Klement but (like almost every IBM i Developer out there) have read many of his excellent articles about programming and tinkering with IBM i systems. Secondly, the man is a genius and I owe him a very large beer. After spending far too long investigating various techniques to get my IBM i system to talk to an external website (Authorize.net in this case) and being led down many wrong roads... I stumbled across scott's collection of open source RPGLE programs called HTTPAPI.
In Scott's words:
Download HTTP API source:
This is an RPG IV service program that uses socket calls to implement the HTTP 1.1 protocol. The HTTP protocol is the data transfer protocol that is used to transfer documents over the World Wide Web.
This service program can, optionally, also do "https" (HTTP over SSL) requests to an SSL-enhanced web server.
Hello websurfing chaps and chappettes,
Over the years this website has been through many, many changes – from HTML to Flash to Joomla to Wordpress and finally to Drupal. A couple of years ago, I decided to import lots of my old programming and AS400 specific documentation into the website and imported everything in Drupal ‘forums’. Primarily as an easy place to reference old technical articles and because I thought some of the older ‘RPG Programming’ questions just might help the IBM I community out there. Apart from my burbling blogs, the forums are easily the most accessed part of the website.
However, I now find myself spending (wasting) time every day deleting spam, moderating people leaving nasty comments and just basically being annoyed by the inability of some people to have sensible conversations using online forums.
So – whats the solution?
Social media is the answer. Over the last couple of years I've increasingly chosen to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate. I’ve also integrated DISQUS into every article on the website, as it has superb antispam tools built into it. Effectively the entire website is now acting like a forum with facebook and twitter being the new places for chatter and banter.
This mornings refusal to start was the final straw!
So, after doing the sums and realizing that I've spent nearly fourteen thousand dollars on repair bills since owning this Landrover in just two years, and he's still going wrong on a regular basis, its time to give up. To resign myself to the sad decision to banish Boris to a life in the wilderness, outside the walls of castle Litten. I havent got the heart to sell the car to another owner, or even to trade it into a dealer and be able to look someone in the eye while saying "Yes, this is a reliable little motor and I will be sad to see it go" so its time for the car auctions.... Everybody knows that its a case of 'buyer beware' at Auctions. You can get a steaming deal or a steaming Turd. I know which category I wold put Boris into :)
Sadly, Boris will leave me in negative equity as I expect to be upside down on my car loan to the tune of something like $9000 when I consider the trade value for 2006 LR3's.
It's time to bite the bullet, and find a cheap but reliable run around until I get the outstanding loan payments cleared. I've already got my eyes on a cheap, little motor that is reported to be reliable, looks funky and fits kids, dogs and other beachlife clutter inside.
More about Herman Later
So, for the last few weeks I've been working on adding credit card handling to a legacy RPG application with an static HTML website over the top. The application code itself was written in the eighties and has evolved through a number of different versions of RPG (a mix of RPG2, RPG3, RPG400 and even a liberal splash of RPGLE) so I've had an enjoyable task of taking a bunch of old code, re-factoring to RPGLE/free and then adding some funky web services.
Now I've added the Authorize.net CIM functions and windows to my website pages, I can manually test the payment process. Now, the authorize.net documentation is not for noobs and makes an awful lots of assumptions, so implementing this technique on IBM i (AS400) using RPG, without a modern PHP Server on the front, is not as clear as it seems. After reading everything I could on the various SOAP, XML, JAVA, RUBY techniques - I've opted for the XML route.
The next step is setting up the XML conversation to this lovely IBM i System talk to Authorize.net. After two days of googling, reading, studying, prototyping, re-prototyping, going down dead ends, trying sample code that doesn't work and repeating moaning and smacking my forehead with a wooden paddle.
So I want to