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AI apps must be trained to evaluate data. However, some data uses are restricted by law or the logistics of gathering it. These difficulties created a need for synthetic data, and the market is providing it.

By John Ghrist

To most people, “synthetic data” sounds like a paradox, or at least a contradiction in terms. Synthetic is something made up, and data is presumed to be a collection of facts. In the realm of AI, though, synthetic data is not only real, it has become a critical tool. In fact, it is becoming so important that it may actually surpass the use of real data for training AI apps by the end of this decade, according to at least one prediction. Any enterprise that plans to use AI at some point will have to embrace this concept with the confusing name, if not become an outright consumer of synthetic data.

Moving to the cloud is supposed to save money. That strategy is often successful, but sometimes related expenses can start climbing. Some areas to keep a weather eye on can help mitigate losses.

By John Ghrist

Many enterprises continue to move to the cloud as a way of managing their computing expenses. Added security, reduction in IT-related expenses of managing systems in-house, and user convenience often top the list of corporate motivations. Unfortunately, a shifting of C-suite focus to other areas of business after migration can result in a slow escalation of costs associated with cloud, a trend that can eventually make that migration look like a not-so-great strategy. In fact, a 2020 Gartner report estimated that as much as 70 percent of public cloud expenditures are wasted money, largely because of inefficient cloud-management practices. With most cloud users employing either public or hybrid cloud arrangements, suboptimal public cloud use is a problem that must be taken seriously. Savings don’t automatically follow like pennies falling from heaven; they have to be cultivated.

Maybe these companies were able to pivot easily because IBM i doesn’t require the daily hand-holding required to keep other platforms working.

By Steve Pitcher

It’s easy to look at the year 2020 with contempt.

I’ve done it. Most all of us probably have. There’s no reason to do a recap of 2020. It started with a near-miss war with Iran, and it hasn’t let up since. I was joking the other week that the only thing we’re missing in 2020 is the equivalent of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And we still have a couple of months for that to unfold.

Now that you’ve learned (or simply refreshed your memory about) joining tables, let’s go over some handy column functions. I believe these will save you a lot of work, so keep reading!

By Rafael Victória-Pereira

SQL’s many functions are incredibly useful and can save you a lot of time. However, they can also be the cause of major headaches, so you need to understand and use them correctly. I’ll go over a few of these functions now and explore a few more later. Let’s start with everybody’s favorite: the COUNT function.

In this second and final part of this short series about mobile app dev, let’s talk about grids and glyphicons.

By Jan Jorgensen

In a previous article, I covered how the grid system in Bootstrap works, so in order not to bore you I will try not to repeat myself.

The grid system in version 4 is still based on a maximum of 12 columns! But even though the grid system seems the same from version 3 to 4, something has changed under the hood. In Bootstrap 3, the grid system was based on floats, but that changed in Bootstrap 4; it is now based on flexbox.

Carol reflects on the things she’s learned in the past year.

By Carol Woodbury

When it comes to the end of a year, I like to look back and see how things have changed and what I’ve learned. This article describes the things I’ve learned about IBM i security this year—some from our clients and some from practical experience working on the system. My hope is that you’ll learn right along with me, making 2023 brighter and more IBM i systems secure.

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Grid List

Ghosts and witches—they’re kid stuff. But there really are other things to be afraid of.

By Victoria Mack

This being October, Steve Pitcher has a bit of a Halloween scare for you. But this goblin isn’t a fantasy. It’s real. IBM has announced end of support for the exceptionally popular POWER7 machines. Will IBM offer extended hardware maintenance? Who knows? It hasn’t happened yet. Read Steve’s article to see his perceptions of what some may consider a truly horrifying announcement.

Not all projects are created equal. There are large projects and small projects, complex projects and simple projects, short-term projects and long-term projects, top secret projects and open source projects

By Colleen Garton and Erika McCulloch

Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from chapter 3 of Fundamentals of Technology Project Management, by Colleen Garton and Erika McCulloch.

The list could go on and on. There are many different perspectives on which projects belong in which categories. If a company usually works on projects with a duration of three to six months, it would consider a year-long project to be long-term. An organization such as NASA would likely consider a year-long project short-term. A long-term project for them might be twenty or thirty years! Complexity is also subjective. What one company would consider complex another may consider simple. For these reasons, I am not going to try to specify what these terms mean. Each company will have its own definition for these terms and their meaning within the organization. If you are starting a new job as a project manager, you will need to ask for clarification on the terminology used within the organization. That way you can be sure that you are using the correct terminology and categorization for projects.

These days, consumers expect retailers to provide information tailored personally just for them.

In the industry’s current disruptive environment, retail and consumer product companies are competing with new business models and being forced to refresh their consumer experiences and brand engagements to be more relevant.

A new IBM study finds retailers' current strategies to deliver engaging brand experiences are not keeping pace with what customers’ expect and want out of their brick and click shopping experiences.

Do you realize how many of your personal or business devices are connected to the Internet? Let's talk about that.

By Jan Jorgensen

The Internet of Things (IoT): You've heard somebody talk about it; or you've read about it in a newspaper, in a tech magazine, or on a website; or you've attended a seminar or conference where somebody told you about the next big thing.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

By HelpSystems

Editor's note: This article introduces the February 2022 Report: 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results, which is available to download from the MC White Paper Center.

Cybersecurity continues to top the charts as the main concern when planning an IT environment.

Perhaps the most consistent data point in the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results is the ongoing cybersecurity threat. Over the past six years, cybersecurity has been the main concern for people planning their IT environment, and this year was no exception. Although it has decreased since last year’s results, 62% of respondents still said this was their number one concern. And although organizations prioritizing security seem to be implementing multiple solutions, it is still alarming that, on average, almost 30% of respondents do not plan to implement each of the surveyed cybersecurity solutions. If your organization has concerns over IBM i cybersecurity skills, managed security services could be a way of filling in any holes.

IBM Notes Domino gets a new future with HCL Technologies.

By Steve Pitcher

On October 25, 2017, IBM announced (well, they blogged it) that they were entering into a strategic partnership with HCL Technologies to give the following products a new lease on development life:

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  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!

     

  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.

     

  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.

     

  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails

     

  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

Book Reviews

  • Book Review: The Modern RPG IV Language, Fourth Edition

    This book isn't a training manual; it's a reference book.

    The Modern RPG IV Language, Fourth Edition by Robert Cozzi, Jr. is the latest version of a book that has enjoyed a long history of popularity in the RPG community. With this book, MC Press continues its tradition of providing relevant and timely materials in a quality book format.

  • Book Review: DB2 9 Fundamentals

    Whether you want to obtain an IBM certified DB2 professional certification or simply become well-rounded in the fundamental concepts of DB2 and general database theory, this is your book.

    Roger E. Sanders has created one of today's greatest technical certification books, DB2 9 Fundamentals, to prepare you for everything you need to know to become DB2 9 certified per IBM's standards.

    Sanders kicks things off with a chapter dedicated to identifying the various types of DB2 professional certifications that are available and the professional roles at which each is aimed. He also walks you through the complete process of obtaining your certification, first taking you through the steps to register for the exam and then providing examples of what to expect on the exam in terms of its format. If you were at all wondering what to expect, then wonder no more: It's all clearly spelled out in his opening dialog!

  • Book Review: SOA for the Business Developer

    If you want to know how SOA works in the real world, this is your book.

    By Phil Law

    There's a lot of hype and fanfare surrounding service-oriented architecture (SOA), but the authors of SOA for the Business Developer have obviously gotten their hands dirty participating in real-world SOA projects. The content of their book reflects that experience.

     

    They begin by pointing out the simple truth that "SOA includes ideas that have been around for decades." Comparing and contrasting new concepts with old, familiar software design principles quickly brings the reader up to speed with the overarching principles of SOA.

  • Book Review: JavaScript for the Business Developer

    There's no faster, easier way to become proficient in JavaScript.

    jan_jorgensen.jpgBy Jan Jorgensen

    This book landed on my desk just before my holiday in Greece. I looked at it and thought, "How can anybody cover such a large subject in just 160 pages? That's not possible." But it is possible, and that's the strongest force about this book: It's short, it's down to business, it's concise, and most important, it's full of great and useful examples and sample code that you can download.

  • Book Review: The IBM i Programmer's Guide to PHP

    Both a primer and a reference, this book is a must-have for anyone who wants to program in PHP.

    By Mike Pavlak

    After developing Web solutions for the iSeries in Net.Data and then getting a sour taste from Java, I wanted something better. PHP was certainly the right choice, but making it run on an iSeries at the time was no small feat. Then Zend came to the table, and the rest, as they say, is history. There is no way any of us on the ground floor of this amazing union could have anticipated this level of excitement and interest. We continue to see huge numbers being drawn to PHP on IBM i as well as Linux, UNIX, and Windows. And this book comes at just the right time; it's both a primer and a reference.

  • Book Review: You Want to Do WHAT with PHP?

    If you're serious about programming in PHP, get a book that treats you that way.

    cal_evansWritten by Cal Evans

    I hate getting books for review that are written by friends of mine. I have a strict policy that I won't review a book I don't like. This leads to awkward conversations if, after skimming the book, I decide not to review it. Thankfully, that isn't the case with this book. Today, I want to talk about You Want to Do WHAT with PHP?, written by my friend and former co-worker, Kevin Schroeder. (I used to work at Zend; Kevin still does.)

  • Book Review: Selling Information Governance to the Business

    Who governs the information that runs your company?

    tom_stockwellWritten by Thomas M. Stockwell

    We've all witnessed the explosion of information within our organizations. Recent studies have estimated that nearly 15 petabytes—15 million gigabytes—of data are created every day. This data represents the backbone of how our industries interact, how they manage their businesses, how they perceive themselves, and how they position themselves to compete. It doesn't reside on any individual computing platform, application, or corporate silo, but it has an incalculable value that represents the lifeblood of our commerce.

  • Book Review: DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration (Exam 541)

    This book, written by the creator of the certification exam, reveals exactly what you'll need to know to prep for the test.

    kent milligan 117x117Written by Kent Milligan

    A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Roger Sanders on the creation of a couple of DB2 certification exams. During the exam creation process, I was impressed by the deep knowledge and thoroughness that Roger brought to the process. As I made my way through this certification book, I found the same qualities coming through the pages time and time again as Roger reviews the various aspects of database administration for the DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (LUW) product.

  • Book Review: IBM i Security: Administration and Compliance

    If you have any interest in IBM i security, whether as an administrator, a programmer, or an auditor, then this book is the perfect resource.

    robin tatamWritten by Robin Tatam

    In this era of legislative and regulatory mandates, computer security has quickly become one of the most popular—and critical—initiatives for organizations of every size and in every business sector. Even those that are not forced to comply with an official directive should consider enhancing their security to ensure protection of their business data assets.

  • Book Review: Big Data Analytics: Disruptive Technologies for Changing the Game

    The disciplines of data analytics are evolving to meet the new challenges of big data.

    tom stockwellWritten by Thomas M. Stockwell

    Most traditional approaches to data analytics aim to align the operational activities of the organization with the specific business strategies of C-level executives. The process accomplishes this by identifying key measurements of business performance, developing the internal (or external) metrics and governance principles, and then implementing a data analytics framework to deliver the information accurately. This enables management to monitor the key performance metrics and instruct managers where improvements are required.

New Year Sale 2023 106 Books for 4.95 to 49.95 popup