My Blog

Less haste and more speed

John Donahoe

It's not often I blog about somebody elses blog... is that Blogging2?

But this morning I read this excellent article by John Donahoe, CEO of Ebay. Titled 'To Beat the Chaos, Take a Thinking Day', John explains that modern business often moves at such a pace, we find ourselves washed along in the frenzy of the tide. Taking time to step back, and review the global picture of what we are working on and what we have scheduled ahead might bring fresh insights.

I for one, am sometimes guilty of diving into the technical nitty-gritty of a project and hitting a wall at a later point. Often times, these walls could have been avoided if I had just stepped back and looked ahead on the 'virtual map of whats coming up'.

I really enjoyed reading this - smart advice:

One of the most under-discussed elements of effective leadership is how fast a leader must learn to stay at peak performance. Most successful leaders never stop learning. In fact, they are voracious learners who are always trying to find ways to improve and enhance their own performance and that of those around them.

SQLRPGLE getting a count with variable file name

as400 squirrel

Been having fun with SQL and RPGLE this afternoon... the question was "how do I find out if and how many Policy numbers exist in one of the Policy files at any given time?" So, this meant using a variable file name in the RPG code, with a variable policy number. Took some playing but it looks like this:

A Dynamic SQL statement with a variable file name in RPGLE


wSelectStatmnt = 'Select Count(*) '
 + 'From ' + %Trim(wInpFileName)
 + cBlank
 + ' Where LsPol# = '
 + cSqlQuote
 + %Trim(IwPol#)
 + cSqlQuote;

exec sql prepare stmt from :wSelectStatmnt ;

exec sql declare C1 cursor with return to client for stmt;

exec sql open C1;

exec sql fetch C1 into :wNumClaims ;

Dsply wNumClaims;  

exec sql Close C1;


how to import OPML playlist into Juice

This week I be mainly listening to:

Music... schmoozic!

When I'm programming and need some musical background sounds, I tend to prefer acoustic tinkering, mellow electronica or even a dose of classical from time to time. I simply reach for Pandora and let it do its magic. 

But when its a voice I want to hear either muttering in the background or actively engaging my forebrain I reach for my podcast list (during last years Transamerica drive I listened to 30+ hours of downloaded radio shows from the UK. I can honestly say, it made the journey more enjoyable and had me laughing out loud on a number of occasions with my traveling companion, Bailey the super dog, looking at me quizzically).

This blog and link of my regularly exported OPML file is really just for me. To give me somewhere to store my OPML file - what is this? It's a kind of data file storing all my podcast subscriptions. It can be imported, and exported from Juice so I can always just download this copy onto any new device and run a synch to get lots of listening material.

If you're wondering what I'm listening to this week:

Tweak WDSC7 to run faster

WDSC7 is the coolest (free) editor for RPG/CL programmers on the IBM i operating system. We know that right? But it's still annoyingly clunky to use at times, Unless you free it up to use some more memory and let it run free... like a gazelle... even if its a little bit of a parky gazelle...

Increase WDSC memory allocation is as simple as this. Edit the configuration file at C:\Program Files\IBM\SDP70\eclipse.ini and increase the XX:MaxPermSize in eclipse.ini from 512M to something bigger... 1024M? 1512M? 2048M? I use 1512M and it works great so make your INI file look like this:


C:\Program Files\IBM\SDP70\jdk\jre\bin\javaw.exe











I remember the IBM AS/400

Discussing a data interchange process with a software vendor today (who shall remain nameless), they told me that their product could talk to an AS400 but had no experience of iSeries or IBM i.... *sigh*

I am not telling you the company name because I can tell you they are idiots... ahh thats better:

  • The IBM AS400 hardware with OS400 operating system was around 20 years ago!
  • The IBM ISERIES with i5/OS operating system was around 10 years ago!
  • The IBM Power System with IBM i operating system has been the market leader for 5+ years

/me mutters 'DUH' and slaps himself on the forehead

what is an as400 and how is it 25 years old

IBM i Facebook Group

Folks, there is another Facebook group named "IBM i", please consider joining that group. The term "AS/400" refers to a computer that was discontinued over a decade ago. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not be associated with a discontinued product. We are IBM i professionals... let's use the current name.

[Quote: Scott Klement in the AS400 Group on FB]

So, Here is a group specifically for IBMi technical banter at

IBM i on Power Systems is the best application platform in the world. IBM i has a strong heritage from i5/OS and OS/400. And, it runs on the most powerful commercially available server - the Power Systems server. This Facebook group is a community group, which includes customers, partners and use...
Page: 413 like this.

download and synchronise outlook calendar with google gmail

A few months ago, Google announced they were discontinuing Google Sync and Google Calendar Sync. These applications were designed to synchronize Gmail accounts with Outlook, various devices and other software via Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol.

So, before Google calendar synch vanishes from the digital world:

This is how you easily setup your Google calendar and outlook calendar to synchronize with each other.

If you make an entry in outlook and it appears in your Google calendar and vice versa. Edit a diary entry in either - the changes are reflected. Very cool. and very free  :)

The original free version of Google Calendar Sync (v still works for me and is attached to this post. Download it and install.

Once installed, simply enter your Google account email address and decide how you want to synchronize it. I choose 2-way synch:

Google calender synch

Thank you Doctor Frank Soltis

So, back in June 1986, at the tender age of 18, I went looking for a summer job. After seeing an add saying 'Warehouse Help Needed' in the local job centre, I rode my Yamaha DT125 down to a local company who needed young fellas to move boxes around a warehouse during the summer break. "Sounds simple enough" I thought and the possibility of driving a forklift truck spun me into a frenzy of excitement.

Who knew, that being denied the job on the basis of being 'over qualified' (ie: I had good school grades) I was ushered upto a beige coloured room with a huge star-trek like computer in it. After a brief chat with a chap wearing 1970's coloured trousers I was offered a job as a trainee programmer working on the project to migrate from the companies System/36 to the new and shiney System/38.

A couple of years later, with rumours of the new Silverlake system or Olympic System or 'application system 40' or AS/400 system about to land on British shores, I was already a confirmed IT-junkie. The AS/400 transformed the midrange computer industry. It's kept me employed and enjoying my work for the last twenty some years. The AS/400 sucessor, the IBM Power System running IBM i operating system is poised to do it all over again.

linkedin helps design smarter resumes - curriculum vitae

making a slick resume is simple

Build a Resume From Your LinkedIn Profile

If you keep your LinkedIn profile up to date—and need a hard copy of your resume—give LinkedIn's Resume Builder a try.

Once connected to your account, the app takes the information from your LinkedIn profile and generates a resume. You can choose from a number of templates—from "classic" to "law" to "executive"—and edit any blank fields right on the page. LinkedIn's Resume Builder also lets you save your resumes, share them and keep them private, if you prefer.

RPG coding tip #73 - using [H SPEC COPYRIGHT]

RPG4 (or RPGLE as its sometimes known) has a neat and little used header specification command called 'COPYRIGHT'

Presumably, this h-spec function was originally implemented by IBM so that software houses can embed their object copyright within the program source. But us RPG developers are a resourceful lot, and the copyright statement is an excellent way of storing the current modification version of any given program object. 

rpg programming hint

Growing up in Aldershot

willems park army quarters aldershot

I used to walk this route daily to get to school... but backwards... School was Heron Wood (near where you started) and home was in the old Military housing, Willems Park (which used to be near Asda where you finished). Thanks for the memory jogger   :)

Must try and find some old pictures of WIllems Park... it was a rather grim 60's style tower block but great fun for kids to run around and create mayhem:

Willems Park block was army married quarters on Wellington Avenue. It was built about 1964 and demolished in the 1990s, to be replaced by houses again used as married quarters. It was built on the parade grounds of the old cavalry barracks. 

left adjust alpha into numeric using RPG language

So, I was writing a little code snippet for a client after being told that all warehouse codes must be treated as 3 numeric character integers ranging from 1-999 and soon saw that the warehouse value was an alphabetic field? Huh? A little more digging around and I soon found a problem in their database design: They have a database storing warehouse codes, but in some tables they are stored as two character alphameric values, sometimes as three character alpha's and other times as 3 character numerics! :/

Now, if that doesnt set off all kinds of alarm bells in your brain, then you probably want to stop reading and go and make a nice cup of tea and watch a reality show on the Discovery channel. But, if you are a techie and just scratched you head and thought "WTF? Who designed that database then?" the simple answer is NOT ME. Obviously, it was designed by a maniac. Sadly, I'm the programmer who has to work with it and it's established in the business so us poor programmers just have to figure out how to best work with it.

Anyway, before I spend too much time moaning about lazy programmers and their crappy database design, this is how I got around it.

Bloody Boris the Landrover

boris the landrover lr3 starter problem - break down in the rain

Bloody sparkie thing... so I'm just brave enough or rich enough to start switching out the electrical components yet... but maybe next month... but on the plus side - at least I think I just *may* have found a solution to this intermittent starting problem. I'm going to try this same technique for the next month or so and will report back if anything changes.... *sigh*

Is the engine haunted?

boris the landrover lr3 starter problem - break down in the rain

After the last bout of engine work (replacing the crank sensor thing) Boris was nice for nearly 3 months... before acting up again. Although a lot less frequently.... Up until this month hes only refused to start once every few weeks... I've been just living with it.

Last month he had major sulk and left me stranded on several occasions... I left him at another LR specialist in San Francisco who could not reproduce the starting problem (imagine that!)

Luckily he happened to break down within an hour of me collecting him from the garage and they came straight out... saw him refusing to start.. plugged in a spark plug tester and it started first time. The same thing happened a few days later... plugged in a sensor and it started again.

I had a kind of "aha" moment.... so left the plastic cover off the top of the engine so I could get to the sparks quickly when it happens again.

he's been good for 2 weeks now.... including a cross country drive back to here (Folly Beach, SC)

This morning it happened again..

But this time... is there a spark of light at the end of the long dark tunnel of Landrover ownership? (pun fully intended)

Living on the edge of america

life on Folly Beach South Carolina

Last week was an exciting one... driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas on Friday (including the obligatory but less than amusing Boris Breakdown)... packing and loading my moving truck on Saturday/Sunday and then driving across country to my new home here at Folly Beach South Carolina.

Unpacking was fun, courtesy of three little helping hands (Nate, Fin and TIggy) and four little paws (Bailey) and now a week later I'm delighted to say that I'm mostly settled. Pictures on the wall, wireless network up and floating around the beach air, media server is serving and the coffee maker is bubbling.

Bailey the super dog is getting his regular walks around the neighbourhood and I'm feeling myself de-stress on a near hourly basis. No wonder folks who live at the beach have this perpetually smug, self amused and content look to them.... Life is Good!

Twenty years of Marriage

freedom joke

A woman awakes during the night to find that her husband was not in their bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him.

She finds him sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee in front of him. He appears to be in deep thought, just staring at the wall. She watches as he wiped a tear from his eye and takes a sip of his coffee.

"What's the matter, dear?" she whispers as she steps into the room, "Why are you down here at this time of night?"

The husband looks up from is coffee  "Do you remember 20 years ago when we were dating, and you were only 16?" he asks solemnly.

The wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and  sensitive. "Yes of course I do" she replies.

The husband paused. The words were not  coming easily. "Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car making love?"
"Yes, I remember" said the wife, lowering herself  into a chair beside him.

Valentines Day with a Landrover

happy landrover lr3 day

Kate flew out to San Fran to visit me for Valentines Day. We had a lovely time visiting the wine region of Napa, and when Boris refused to start we were prepared. We still hung around and tried to start for 30 minutes. No joy as expected! Wander off for a coffee and croissant, returning an hour later and it still won’t fire up. So, never to be deterred, we just googled ‘car rental’ and walked five minutes to rent a cabriolet for the day. This really is the only way to look around Napa.

Sure enough, later that day – returning to Boris and he fired up as if nothing had ever happened.

Anyway, it’s an hour or so drive back to San Francisco then we went out for a lovely Valentines evening at a great Curry House. It’s a Indian/Mexican Fusion restaurant which satisfies my craving for eye watering Curries and Kate’s craving for Mexican grilled chicken wrapped in flat bread.

The only shame was coming out to find Boris sulking again.

Total refusal to start.


Short cab ride back to the hotel.

breaking down in Napa

boris the landrover lr3 starter problem - break down in the rain

In the never ending quest to break down in every state of the United States of America, Boris the Land Rover most recently refused to run while visiting the beautiful wine regions of California. Miss Kate is inside Avis Rent-a-car while I type this and Bailey the superdog and me are amusing ourselves standing around outside.... sigh