You probably haven't given much thought to this, but did you realize that four is the only number in the English language for which the number of letters in its name is equal to the number itself?
What other interesting things can I tell you about the number four?
Well, four is the smallest composite number, its proper divisors being one and two. Four is also what is called a highly composite number, and also the second square number, the second centered triangular number, and the first non-unitary square prime.
And please don't forget, four is the smallest composite number that is equal to the sum of its prime factors. This makes the number four the smallest Smith number.
Wow! Little did you know, right? Four is something special!
Groups of Four!
- The four functions of mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- The four classical elements of ancient Greece: fire, air, water, and earth
- The four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter
- The four points of the compass: north, south, east, and west
And don't forget the many socio-religious contexts that the number four creates for us!
- The four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
- The four overlapping cycles of Irish mythology: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster or "Red Branch" Cycle, the Fenian or Fianna Cycle, and the Kings Cycle
- The four horsemen of the apocalypse: war, famine, plague, and death
- The four noble truths in Buddhism: Dukkha, Smadaya, Nirodha, and Magga
And for the secularists among us:
- The four theme parks of Walt Disney World: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom
- The Fab Four (aka The Beatles): John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney
- The Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing
- The four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Rafael, and Michelangelo
Amazing, isn't it, how the number four has created a near-magical association with power, permanence, practicality, and possibility?
Introducing the Dream Team at RPG Developer
Well, today, here at MC Press Online, we are adding one more group of four, the four individual RPG experts from the System i Developer (SiD) consortium: Susan Gantner, Jon Paris, Skip Marchesani, and Paul Tuohy. These are the four technical educators and experts who are eagerly anticipating writing the articles that will grace this publication. They will be the content architects of the new RPG Developer newsletter to which you subscribe.
In the event that you are not familiar with the SiD team, let me introduce them to you one by one.
If you have attended COMMON, Susan Gantner's name is no doubt very familiar to you. She's become a regular speaker at COMMON conferences and holds a number of Speaker Excellence awards from COMMON. She also speaks at many other technical conferences around the world.
Susan's career has spanned more than 24 years in the field of application development. She began as a programmer, developing applications for corporations in Atlanta, Georgia, and working with a variety of hardware and software platforms. Then, in 1985, Susan joined IBM and quickly developed a close association with the Rochester Laboratory during the development of the original AS/400 system.
Susan worked in Rochester, Minnesota, for five years in the AS/400 Technical Support Center. She later moved to the IBM Toronto Software Laboratory to provide technical support for programming languages and application development tools on the AS/400.
Jon Paris is the second member of our team and also a renowned expert in the field of application development on the System i, speaking frequently at user groups and conferences around the world. He, like Susan, holds numerous Speaker Excellence awards from COMMON.
Jon says he initially fell in love with the IBM System/38 while working as a consultant. He says this love affair ultimately led him to join IBM. Then, in 1987, Jon was hired by the IBM Toronto Laboratory to work on the S/36 and S/38 COBOL compilers. Subsequently, Jon became involved with the AS/400 and in particular COBOL/400.
In early 1989, Jon was transferred to the Languages Architecture and Planning Group, with particular responsibility for the COBOL and RPG languages. There, he played a major role in defining the new RPG IV language and in promoting its use with IBM Business Partners and users. He was also heavily involved in producing educational and other support materials and services related to other AS/400 programming languages and development tools, such as CODE/400 and VisualAge for RPG.
Skip Marchesani is the third member of our team, and no doubt you've heard him speak at one of the many symposiums related to DB2 UDB and the System i. He's a recognized industry expert and another award-winning speaker at COMMON, where he also received its Distinguished Service Award.
Skip was a near "lifer" at IBM (but fortunately for us, he escaped!), where he spent much of his time at the Rochester Development Lab on projects for the System/38 and the AS/400. In fact, Skip was part of the team that taught early AS/400 education to customers and IBM lab sites worldwide. Skip is the author of the well-known book DB2/400: The New AS/400 Database.
The final member of our team—the one who certainly puts the magic into the number four—is Paul Tuohy. Paul has worked in the development of IBM midrange applications since the '70s. He has been IT Manager for Kodak Ireland Ltd. and Technical Director of Precision Software Ltd. and is currently CEO of ComCon, a midrange consultancy company based in Dublin, Ireland. He has been teaching and lecturing since the mid-'80s.
Paul is also the author of Re-engineering RPG Legacy Applications, The Programmer's Guide to iSeries Navigator, and the self-teach course "iSeries Navigator for Programmers." In fact, Paul is one of the frequently quoted industry experts in the IBM Redbook Who Knew You Could Do That with RPG IV? Paul also speaks regularly at COMMON.
The SiD Team
For each issue of the RPG Developer newsletter, the System i Developer (SiD) consortium will be crafting an article that is designed to help you be more productive and efficient in the use of the RPG language and the services the language uses.
But Wait, There's More
Written and compiled by our own WDSC expert, Joe Pluta, these video tutorials are designed to help your development team begin working with the code development platform that IBM has identified as the replacement for SEU and PDM: WDSC. If you haven't had the opportunity to start working with WDSC, now is your chance to learn the basics without cracking a single manual.
Each video tutorial is designed to take your team step by step through the initial configuration and on to the productive use of WDSC. Joe painstakingly points out the fastest way to get productive using WDSC, removing the conceptual obstacles that keep many of us from approaching the tool.
We've formatted each of Joe's tutorials in two streaming media modes: One for quick display through the popular YouTube Web site and the other as a fully rendered version that is suitable for full-screen presentation.
Joe has graciously agreed to create these videos for the true benefit of RPG Developer subscribers, and you will find these tutorials nowhere else. Bookmark the videos as a learning tool that you can pass to the younger (or older) members of your development team to review at their leisure. Getting up to speed on the WDSC IDE is one of the key elements that will help your organization modernize its approach to RPG.
What We're Still Missing
- MC Press Online's continued commitment to provide you with the best RPG-related content in the industry
- A "Fab Four" configuration of expert authors with the System i Developer consortium
- A series of educational video tutorials designed to help you get your feet wet with the WDSC IDE
But that's only three things! In order to make the whole thing work, don't we need four essential elements?
You! You and your RPG development team, asking questions in our forums, telling us what you need and want.
After all, you really are the fourth magical element of this newsletter. That's what makes RPG Developer so great! So please keep reading, keep posting, and keep contributing! Without you, RPG Developer is merely a Web publication. With you, we're the dream team that will keep the System i development platform alive, vibrant, and productive.
Thomas M. Stockwell is Editor in Chief of MC Press Online, LP.