Top five percent linkedin

  • Posted on: 7 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I got this little digital thumbs-up from LinkedIn, telling me that my LinkedIn profile ranked among the top 5% of most viewed profiles during 2012!  Woooo! Queue long armed over the shoulder patting for Moi! 

I'm in the top 5% of my industry....

email from linkedin telling my I'm special... but i already knew that  :)

Well, thats not quite true. It's not even remotely true actually. To be honest, its a big fat lie! What it should say is:

Of all the lots and lots of people on Linkedin - 5% looked at my profile and thought "What has that clown got in front of his eyes?"

I've stored my online curriculum vitae, or resume (for my colonial cousins), on LinkedIn for the last few years. I can confidently say that it's one of the best places to leave your professional information. The bulk of my 2012 clients contacted me to offer freelance work directly from reading my LinkedIn Profile. It's free and it means I dont have to spend my downtime scouring job site boards anymore - How great is that?

IBM i #IBMiStepUp

  • Posted on: 5 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I've been working with a new customer recently which means I'm once again, finding myself in the i-vangelist pulpit.  I was about to say that I'm tired of responding with "Huh? You said AS400? Do you really still have one of those old machines? I thought IBM stopped making those in the nineties..." but a little secret part of me quite enjoys the sarcastic bluster of it all, and if I'm honest - gets a kick out of it    ;)

The IBM Power System is still being referred to as either (a) an AS400, (b) the 400 or (c) an iSeries. The Dinosaur developers need to be educated and reminded that our lovely box has been through some changes in the last ... fifteen... years! Yes, it really is that long since the AS/400 was replaced with the iSeries. How can IT professionals have failed to notice that the AS/400 no longer exists?

Mr Trevor Perry has long been a proponent of the IBM i moniker and tries hard to educate the masses via his excellent blog at

crank sensor makes no sense

  • Posted on: 30 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

Crank Sensor didn't fix anything   :(

the golden gateHowever, on my life mission of looking on the bright side, it did work for nearly eight weeks straight. Before refusing to start while parked outside a client office in San Francisco, which is only really a minor embarrassment. I suppose it could have happened half way across the golden gate bridge which would have been far more excruciating.

That is a world record for this dodgy Landrover LR3.

But it seems the ghost that used to haunt the engine has tracked me down again.

So, I'm typing this from my hotel room.. with a rental car parked outside once again. The most annoying thing is that when I go into the office tomorrow morning I can guarantee the car will start first time.

UPDATE: the bloody thing did run perfectly the next morning. At time of typing this update it has also been two weeks of error free starting. Aaaaargh



Rich Beyond my Wildest Dreams thanks to Rev Dr. David Anderson

  • Posted on: 24 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I got an email this morning telling me that I have somehow, miraculously, out of nowhere inherited over ten million dollars. Yahooo! I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams.

All I have to do is email my personal information, my bank account details and my drivers license information to The Very Reverend Doctor David Anderson in China. Once they have verified my information - they will send me $10,500,000.00!



using IBMi FIELDPROC encrypt sensitive data

  • Posted on: 23 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I wrote a data encryption routine a few years ago. In my ongoing mission to refactor my old utilities, I was looking at it this weekend thinking about ways to improve it. The basic premise behind my routine is to read a row of information from a file, perform encryption of said data based on a specific 'key' and then hide the key within the encrypted data - so it can be decrypted correctly at a later date. Keeps data safe from prying eyes even if they manage to get access to the file data itself. This worked very nicely for obfuscating the source code for my Projex4i programs, but has bitten me on a few occasions when somebody has tampered with the data in the file, therefore making my encryption key incorrect. Tampered data means I have effectively lost my ability to decode it.

There must be a better way right?

There is - FIELDPROC in IBM-i v7.1

What is Field Proc?

Drupal7 MediaGallery Colorbox Integration

  • Posted on: 16 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I recently installed the DRUPAL MEDIA GALLERY module and really like it. Finding a simple to conifgure Drupal Image Gallery has been a thorn in my side for an age. This one works nearly perfectly - except it just will not handle COLOROBOX as its image handler because of its inbuilt integration with LIGHTBOX  - a similar function but I prefer the way colorbox looks looks. So before I was forced to unisntall colorbox and integrate lightbox instead, a quick Google search showed me this simply excellent blog post by Paul Junior.

It's not often I repost someone elses blog but this one is just spot on:

Anyone who has tried to user the Media Gallery module on a site that already has the Colorbox module installed will know that they do not play well together.  If you have both modules enabled, create a gallery (with lightbox capabilities) and try to click a thumbnail, the lightbox will not show.

This is because, essentially, Colorbox is being called twice, once by the Colorbox module and second by the Media Gallery module.  To fix this without applying any patches or editing any code, follow these steps:


RPG Debug display large field content

  • Posted on: 15 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

How to view big fat fields using the RPG Debugger

In my on-going mission to to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks… I learned a neat one today. I was trying to debug an IBMi Web Interface program (IBM RPG/FreeFormat Language) that was blowing the 64k field size limit when reading in an XML string containing hundreds of order lines.

"Yes, I know the upgrading to IBMi 6.1+ will solve the problem and increase the field limit to 16MEG (Yum!) but the client is on v5r4 and I’m stuck with that….”

So, after a little XML cleanup routine I go the field size down below the 64k limit but still had a problem with XML validation. More scratching of head and after running around in debug I discovered that my XML-RPG validation routine didn’t like something at character position 34,381 in the string. Of course, when in debug and you look at a variable it only shows you the first 1000 character of any fields data:


EVAL gReqData                                                         

GREQDATA =                                                            


   1   '<Message source="CWDIRECT" target="CWINTEGRATE" type="CWEmai'

SQL Joins in the world of IBM i - like Join Logical Files but sexier

  • Posted on: 20 December 2012
  • By: NickLitten
learning SQL is a balancing act

In my ongoing mission to use SQL rather than the older style direct file IO (which I will called DDS) - I've found lots of improvements and things that I really like about SQL in general. One of the confusions for me is remembering the SQL'style of describing its functions.

In DDS its a file in SQL its a TABLE

In DDS its Record and Field in SQL its a ROW and COLUMN

Thats the easy but but remember the various ways you can join two files together (called a JOIN LOGICAL FILE in DDS) but SQL offers us some rich and easy ways of joining everything, partial matches or even things that dont match. Here is a snippet of a great article from the coding horror website:

A Visual Explanation of SQL Joins

How to fix the RPG SEU HANDLER problem

  • Posted on: 19 December 2012
  • By: NickLitten

The “The keyword is not recognized; keyword is ignored.” is because SEU syntax checking is frozen at the 6.1 level for RPG. IBM is no longer providing updates. The HANDLER keyword was added to RPG after the support for SEU was withdraw. This means that SEU does not recognize the HANDLER keyword as valid, but it is valid and the compiler is very happy about it. IBM wants you to stop using SEU and switch to it's (expensive) code editor - Rational Developer for i.

You can ignore the SEU syntax warning when entering this new keyword, save the source and compile as normal.

how to make a quick simple and tasty Indian Curry

  • Posted on: 18 December 2012
  • By: NickLitten

Hello... my name is Nick litten and I am a curry-a-holic.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday and he asked what I missed most about England. I didnt even need to hesitate in answering the Good old Anglo/Indian Curry (closely followed by 'the local boozer').

I've now been on this side of the pond for nearly four years and have still yet to find an Indian Restuarant that comes close to The Surrey Tandoori for their excellent Chicken Patia or my late night favourite the Diwan-E-Khas, where I would stroll every week for a post-pub noshup. My mouth is watering just remembering.....

I love to make my own little spicey dishes of random stuff. Everything ranging from my vesion of a Curried Duck to a pot of left overs with lots of chillis and spices. The Hotter the Better!

Randomly surfing looking for inspiration for this evenings meal I stumbled across this excellent little page talking about how to make a simple curry sauce which can be cooked with anything... just add chicken, pork, vegetables, seafood, etc... Yummy!: