Deep Sleep Speaks

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The background material for this week's tirade was slipped to me in the utmost confidence by a highly placed government insider. He agreed to speak only under two conditions: First, I had to guarantee his anonymity. Second, I had to promise to never date any of his sisters, aunts, nieces, or cousins. He left his mother off the list, but I assume that was an oversight.

The second condition was easy to fulfill as I was in no mood to hear yet another recitation of the inevitable "friend" speech. Being a "nice guy" is nowhere near what it's cracked up to be. In order to honor the first condition, we agreed that I would use a code name whenever I spoke or referred to him. We settled on the moniker "Deep Sleep."

Deep Sleep's need for confidentiality is understandable. He works for a top-secret branch of the government. Even the most senior bureaucrats and politicians are unaware of its existence. Of all of the elected and appointed officials--from the head of state down to the lunchroom busboys--only one person, one person in the whole government, a part-time, fifth-floor janitor, knows anything about Deep Sleep's department. And he's not talking. Although that's probably because he speaks only Sassarese, an endangered Sardinian language that is not widely used in the corridors of power that he sweeps here in North America.

Deep Sleep's concern over the protection of his identity was recently heightened when a $537 million government appropriation, funneled through the Sassarese-speaking janitor, was given to his department, allowing it to undertake an ultra-top-secret study of electromagnetic radiation emanating from computers left on at night and, in particular, the effect of that radiation on the health of centipedes inhabiting government buildings.

The information that Deep Sleep provided to me had nothing whatsoever to do with that classified project, but he was concerned about divulging the information nonetheless. If he should ever be caught revealing national secrets, he would be placed on leave with full salary during a three-year investigation into his activities. If deemed guilty, he would receive only 18 months severance pay upon dismissal, which would occur immediately after the 74-member investigating commission's final report was vetted, published, and distributed. Furthermore, his pension would be reduced to just 95% of what it will be if he is allowed to put in time for the 15 years left until his normal retirement. Worse, his privileges at his department's subsidized cafeteria would be withdrawn seven years after leaving the government's employ.

To minimize the risk of being seen together, Deep Sleep suggested that I meet him in his office at 2:30 Monday afternoon, that being more than an hour after his fellow civil servants begin their customary post-lunch naps. By 2:30, they are well into REM sleep, giving us a full two hours to talk before the government workers wake up and prepare to go home for the day.

I was worried that I might arouse his colleagues as I walked past their offices, but Deep Sleep assured me that a particularly large herd of stampeding bull elephants would be insufficient to wake them. I weigh at least 10 pounds less than the average lone bull elephant, and I'm physically incapable of stampeding, so I was sure that I'd be safe.

To alleviate another of my concerns, Deep Sleep informed me that, unlike his co-workers, he is a light sleeper. He swore that a gentle nudge and a quick jolt from a 50,000-volt Taser would be enough to awaken him from his nap. He suggested that, in addition to the Taser, I also bring a two-gallon thermos of strong coffee, a long straw, and a cattle prod to prevent him from nodding back off.

After following his instructions to a tee, all of my hard work, not to mention a lot of exceptionally good luck, paid off. I now have the information that I desperately sought. It came from another multimillion-dollar study, the results of which were deemed to be so mind-numbingly tedious, pedantic, and redundant that releasing them would likely cause a popular revolt that could bring down the government. But The People have a right to know and, as an intrepid journalist, it's my duty to inform them. So here it is: After years of in-depth research by the highest levels of the intelligence community, it has been confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that technological change moves much more rapidly than regulatory change.

There. I've disclosed it. I won't reveal my source, not even if they throw me in jail. Not even if they torture me. Not even if they sing opera to me around the clock. If they threaten to bar me from Starbucks for the rest of my life I might reconsider, but nothing less will make me divulge his identity.

Consider this fact: Currently (although this might change if some politicians have their way), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates content on broadcast radio and television but not cable television or satellite radio and television. Did I miss something? Is there a law that prohibits households with children or particularly sensitive adults from subscribing to satellite and cable services? Are children only allowed to watch media that have been around more than a certain number of decades? Or maybe there's a law that says families are allowed to use these newer media outlets, but they just can't subscribe to the tier of channels that includes those that aren't also broadcast over the airwaves. No, that can't be right, can it?

Yes, I know that many of the new satellite and digital cable services offer parental control features that let parents block the viewing of certain channels by their children. Of course, children will probably have to show their parents how to work these new technologies, but never mind. The point that I want to make is that the newer media outlets really are no longer all that special in terms of their relationship to children. Most new televisions come with V-Chips that allow parents to block programs containing inappropriate content even when those programs are transmitted over standard broadcast channels. And parents can get set-top boxes with V-Chips to provide the same capabilities on older sets. (Again, that's probably dependent on children educating their parents on the use of V-Chips. And, in the case of the set-top boxes, unlike their parents, most children are probably clever enough to take the cable out of the box and put it directly into the TV when their parents are out of the room but, again, never mind.) How long will it take for the regulators to wake up to these technological changes and treat media equally? History suggests that you shouldn't hold your breath unless you have superhuman lungs.

Full disclosure: Deep Sleep did not feed me this information about the FCC's mandate. I got it from a couple of articles in the July 21 edition of The Economist.

Another thing that I learned from the articles in The Economist is that the FCC regulates only the use of bad language and the depiction of sex on programs, not the depiction of violence. Great, the FCC is working hard to ensure that little 10-year-old Johnny doesn't learn bad words on television. Bully for the FCC. Children who see and hear only broadcast TV and radio will still have to learn swear words on the street or from their parents' slips of the tongue like the rest of us did. But the FCC doesn't give a damn if little Johnny watches an endless stream of people being blown to bits in blazes of glory. Oh yeah, that's much better for him than the occasional utterance of naughty words. It seems that, in the FCC's mind, the use of swear words is worse the use of weapons of mass destruction. What are they thinking?

Just to be clear, I am not, I repeat not, suggesting that the broadcast networks should run prime-time screenings of shows depicting a bunch of naked people running around swearing their heads off while having intimate relations. If I ruled the world, unsupervised children in their formative years would not be able to watch any shows containing gratuitous profanity, sex, or violence. And I think that it's parents' responsibility to monitor their children's viewing to avoid programming that may be harmful to them if seen without guidance before their knowledge and understanding of the world has matured. And the government should help to ensure that parents have the tools they need to do so. Because it's impossible to fully shield children from all objectionable material, parents should be available to try to remedy some of the more harmful effects of the offending programs. (That's easy for a childless adult like me to say, isn't it?) All of that having been said, when it comes to sex and bad language versus gratuitous violence, I think that the FCC has its @&*% priorities screwed up.

As an absolutely irrelevant aside that will hopefully get your mind off the last few paragraphs and, thereby, limit the number of vicious complaints that MC Press receives about me, consider this totally off-topic fact: It seems that Disney was correct. It is a small world after all. You, who may be in any country, anywhere in the world, are reading the words of a Canadian who drew on information from a U.K.-based publication to write about U.S. regulation in an article published by a U.S.-based online magazine. Three cheers for globalization. Then again, considering some of the ranting that I've seen and heard concerning the use of offshore workers by U.S. companies, maybe pointing out that I'm Canadian is not the best way to reduce the number of complaints. Oh well, c'est la guerre.

With that aside out of the way, we now return you to our regularly scheduled tirade.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the agency responsible for regulating the broadcast industry here in Canada, is not much different from the FCC. The CRTC depends on self-regulation by broadcasters to control the amount of violence on TV during children's prime viewing hours. And it too does not treat the new media technologies equally with the old. Actually, in order to protect the fragile Canadian culture from the onslaught of programming coming from the far richer and more popular broadcasters to the south, the CRTC's regulations are far less concerned with sex, obscenity, and violence than they are with ensuring that Canadian broadcasters transmit an adequate volume of Canadian content that absolutely nobody will watch. Go figure.

So what is the point of this seemingly interminable diatribe? The point is that if you're a mature adult who wants to find the best smut, forget broadcast television and subscribe to digital cable or satellite TV. Either that or get your DVDs from the local adult video store. No, wait. That isn't the point at all. I've lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, the point is that a nice nap after lunch can be very restorative.

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, a writer, and president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based marketing communications firm. Joel has 25 years experience working in IT, first as a programmer/analyst and then as a marketer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto. Contact Joel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Joel would like to make it known that Starbucks, which neither had advance knowledge of nor gave consent to the use of its name, did not compensate Joel in any way for the plug that he gave it herein. However, he would be amenable should Starbucks wish to provide him with a lifetime supply of espresso roast beans in order to correct this gross injustice.

Joel Klebanoff

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, writer, and formerly president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto-based marketing communications firm. He has 30 years' experience in various IT capacities and now specializes in writing articles, white papers, and case studies for IT vendors and publications across North America. Joel is also the author of BYTE-ing Satire, a compilation of a year's worth of his columns. He holds a BS in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto.

MC Press books written by Joel Klebanoff available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

BYTE-ing Satire BYTE-ing Satire
Find out the hilarious answer to the eternal question: "Is technology more hindrance than help?"
List Price $14.95

Now On Sale



Support MC Press Online





  • 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.


  • 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 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



  • 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.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • 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.