Tag Archives: mainframe

WordPress and the Systems Programmer

There are lots of people blogging these days … Lots! But not everyone has the skills or time to manually code the web pages necessary to maintain a blog. Fortunately, that is not necessary thanks to providers like WordPress.

WordPress is software that takes care of all the grunge work in keeping a blog. Bloggers can post without knowing a thing about HTML. However, the software has to be installed on their web host’s site. Many web hosts provide WordPress, but many others would require the software to be installed by the  customer. People that are not interested in coding web pages are by and large not interested in trying to install software on their web site, either. So WordPress also hosts their own software, and makes it available to bloggers at no cost. Over a quarter million blogs are hosted on WordPress.com. This blog is one of them, as is any blog where the address is in the format http://blogname.wordpress.com. I have registered a domain named theCICSguy.com, and have it pointing to this site, http://theCICSguy.wordpress.com.

It’s not real easy to find, so to start your own blog on WordPress, click here to find out all the info you need to know to get started.

No wonder there are so many bloggers! It is easy, and it is free … All that is required is the time to post your opinions, thoughts, or information! Systems programmers have a long history in computing, and thus a lot of opinions and tons of information to share. If you have a blog that systems programmers would be interested in (especially if it is CICS related), please let me know; I’ll post some links to my favorite blogs in a future posting.

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

LinkedIn and the Systems Programmer

LinkedIn is the most professional of the social media sites. There you will find over 70 million professionals networking with each other, and the site is growing at a pace of about 1 new professional per second!

You can think of LinkedIn as being Facebook for professionals. Instead of “friends”, you have “connections”. Instead of posting “what you are doing”, you “share networking activity”. To facilitate networking, LinkedIn can not only show you your connections (your “first connections”), but also their connections (your “second connections”). The idea is to make it easy for people to gain access to new contacts.

There are some job-seeking / employee-seeking  advantages to being on LinkedIn. Employers with a need can post job lists and search for possible candidates; they can also check with a connection for recommendations on applicants that are connected to them. Job seekers can search job lists, check the profiles for hiring managers and see if they have any mutual connections that may aid in their job pursuit, receive notifications for new job offers when particular companies are listing them, and they can bookmark possible job opportunities for review later.

There are mainframe, CICS, educational, and other special interest groups to join on LinkedIn to use to make new connections or revive old ones. I am currently a member of the Missouri University of Science and Technology Alumni (I am a UMR graduate), Mainframe Experts Network, System z Advocates, IBM MAINFRAME, CICS Special Interest Group, and SHARE groups. Please let me know if you find another z or CICS-related group that CICS sysprogs should be joining!

There are lots of reasons to be on LinkedIn. Keeping an active network can help keep you in touch with your current contacts and help you make new contacts that may help you now or down the road. If you are not on LinkedIn, sign up today and connect to theCICSguy!

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

Facebook and the Systems Programmer

Facebook is easily the king of the social networking world. It seems like everyone is on Facebook. While I mainly use Facebook for personal communications, many use it for professional purposes – to promote their business or services, or to socialize with others in their profession. And yes, there are resources on Facebook for the CICS systems programmer.

The first place to look on Facebook are the CICS- or systems programming-related groups. The I ♥ CICS group, where members are encouraged to post tips, experiences, and resources, boasts 448 members, and is easily the largest CICS group on Facebook. At least, the largest group interested in the IBM software called CICS; you will find that there are many other types of CICS groups that have nothing to do with transactional processing if you do a search! A newly formed group, CICS TS Q&A, looks to be promising as new members jump on board. Its whole purpose is for CICS folks to have a place to ask questions and get answers. A couple of others not specific to CICS you may want to check out include IBM Mainframe Professionals and Mainframe Sysprogs.

Why check out these groups? Because that’s where you’ll find others in our field! “Friend” all those you know (request that they become your Facebook friend), and read the posts for new info and to learn about others that you do not know yet. Scan their profiles to see if they blog, as most bloggers have a link in their Facebook profile. By “friending” them, you will also learn some interesting tidbits about some of the leaders on our field; for example, Leigh Compton is an avid reader!

As I mentioned, I primarily use Facebook for personal use, and I’m sure you will find many people you know in other fields that you may want to keep up with using Facebook. It’s a great tool for that. Just don’t overlook the ability to also use it to keep up with your CICS colleagues!

I’ll post more info about Facebook as new angles appear, or as I learn new things about it that I did not know before. By all means, if you have some additional insight, please share! Facebook … Get on it, and use it while it’s worth using, before it becomes overcommercialized!

Next time … Twitter!

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

Three Big Questions for Bob Thomas

I am pleased to present the first in a series of mini-interviews, “Three Big Questions for …” That’s it – just three questions to inform you about one of the leaders in today’s mainframe world.

Today’s mini-interview is with Bob Thomas. Many in our field will recognize the name, but even more recognize his publications. I remember reading Mainframe Journal back in the day. Bob has always kept up with the times, morphing that publication to Enterprise Systems Journal to z/Journal today, and you can now find him on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as on his own blog site.

Without further ado, here are … Three Big Questions for Bob Thomas!

Question #1: For those that may not be familiar with you and your work, can you please fill us in on your current position/responsibilities, how long you’ve doing that, and any background information you’d like to share?

I am currently publishing two magazines targeted to users of IBM mainframe computer systems: z/Journal and Mainframe Executive. In actuality, these two publications are direct descendents of my first venture into mainframe publishing in 1986 when I launched 4300 Quarterly, which became 4300 Journal when its frequency expanded (What was I thinking, GQ Quarterly is still a monthly!). I changed the name again from 4300 Journal to Mainframe Journal when we extended coverage from VSE/VM systems to include MVS. Then in September 1990, when IBM announced the System/390 (and temporarily killed the term “mainframe” in favor of “enterprise system”, I followed suit and again changed the magazine’s name to Enterprise Systems Journal with the October 1990 issue. Here we are in 2009: It’s 23 years later I’m still publishing to IBM mainframe users.

Please excuse the blatant plug here, but subscriptions to both z/Journal and Mainframe Executive are free worldwide. Feel free to read the latest issues at http://zjournal.tcipubs.com/issues/zJ-DigitalF-M09.html and http://zjournal.tcipubs.com/issues/ME/ME.Digidition.Mar-Apr09.html.

Question #2: I understand you are developing a new service to match mainframers looking for jobs with companies in need of mainframers. In these economic times, that sounds like a truly needed service. Can you tell us more about it?

As I say on my LinkedIn page, I am concerned that many experienced mainframe professionals have lost their jobs recently while many mainframe shops need good people. What is frustrating is that these two groups are not finding each other very well. And in my view there is just no good way right now for them to find each other. I don’t think today’s IT recruiters are real good at bringing these two parties together very effectively. I am seriously going to look into providing a good mainframe matchmaking service whereby we bring our mainframe expertise (as well as that of several mainframe gurus) to bear on this situation. At this particular point in time, I am saddened to see so many good mainframers without jobs. I welcome comments and suggestions on this matter to bob@mainframezone.com.

And finally, Question #3: What is something about you that very few people know about?

Because I have been in the publishing business for over 25 years and graduated from the University of Missouri many people assume I was a Journalism major (MU has about the best J-School there is anywhere). Not true, I didn’t take a single journalism course – rather I went on a football scholarship.

IBM Whitepaper – Why to choose CICS Transaction Server for new IT projects

IBM has issued a new whitepaper entitled “Why to choose CICS Transaction Server for new IT projects“. Authored by Andrew Bates, the document is targeted towards IT leaders who are considering their options for new projects. Andrew does a good job of justifying the mainframe platform as opposed to server farms, and positioning CICS as a desirable runtime environment. Not a whole lot to be found that is new for those in the trenches, but a good read to forward to managers. IBM needs to be striving to position more such articles where IT decision makers can learn more about how the mainframe environment can be good for ROI.