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Industry mourns loss of charismatic leader and visionary of global Australian midrange modernization firm. 

Marcus Dee, one of the founding members of looksoftware, and among the most colorful and best liked technology leaders in the IBM midrange industry died Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia, after a year-long battle with cancer. 

Although Dee's death was inevitable based on his prognosis, news of his passing sent ripples of shock through an aging AS/400 community whose members have seen too many high profile and energetic leaders pass away during the last two years. Dee was only 50 when he died, and he leaves behind his wife, Helen, and their four school-age children, Elizabeth, Lucy, Jacob, and Joseph, as well as his mother, Helen, and father Brian Dee. 

marcus.deeAs chief executive officer of looksoftware, Dee had a profound effect on creating a worldwide brand for the company known for its catchy logo and down-under color scheme. The firm was one of the first to embrace IBM's Rational Open Access: RPG Edition in its relentless quest to modernize clients' legacy IBM i green-screen systems. looksoftware was actually started by Brendan Kay and Gavin Rogers a few months before Dee joined them as director of sales in 1995, but he was always considered a founding partner. 

"Marcus was the guy that everybody loved," said longtime friend and business associate Trevor Perry, IT consultant and COMMON director. "Even though we all knew that it was coming, at the end it was quite a bit of a shock." 

Dee and Perry were close friends for 28 years having met in 1983 at a Sydney solutions provider called JBA, which was to become one of the largest midrange consulting firms in the Asia Pacific region during the 1980s. 

"He taught me RPG," says Perry describing how Dee first taught himself the language after joining the firm in 1982 and then began teaching it to others. "I spent about five weeks training with Marcus and we became fast friends." 

After leaving JBA, Dee went to work for Strategic Information Systems, and Perry joined him there later, both teaching RPG. Strategic was a Synon business partner, and the two men saw a potential teaching business users how to program. "We were going to teach computing to non-computing people," Perry recalls with amusement. "We had a history professor, a civil engineer, and a philosophy student, and we taught them IT. Then we taught them RPG and Synon."

Strategic became a branch of Synon in Australia, says Perry, and Dee eventually became the general manager of the Synon branch there.

In 1995 Dee teamed up with Kay and Rogers as a partner in looksoftware, and the three men made what some might think was an ideal match. With Rogers' creative technical prowess and Kay's application skills along with Dee's dynamic personality, the company grew to a worldwide staff of 25, a size that belied its large impact on today's modernization technology. 

Perry had left Strategic to move to the U.S., but the two men kept in touch. "I would see Marcus every time he was in the U.S., and we'd catch up," says Perry. "He would lean on me to go to work for him, which I did in 2000 for three years full time. Since then, we've been doing projects together on and off and have worked closely together for the past 10 years in one form or another." 

Until a few years ago, Dee was a smoker, and his friends used to chide him about the risks. Ironically, smoking had little or nothing to do with the skin cancer, so common in Australia, that eventually metastasized and claimed his life. Perry said an operation on a skin lesion four years ago is thought to have spread the disease throughout his system. It eventually went to his lungs and brain, and Dee underwent surgery, but it was a futile fight. 

"We always gave him grief about his smoking, which he ended up stopping about three years ago for the last time," Perry said. "We kept telling him it would kill him, however, it didn't, and, as it turned out—we were wrong." 

Perry said he also would tease Dee about his Australian colloquialisms including his most famous—"horses for courses." 

"It means having the right horse for the right racetrack, or basically, use the right tool for the job," Perry said. "But anytime Marcus would give a talk in the U.S., I always had to explain to to people afterwards what he meant. Eventually he got it and would make a joke about it... He loved to be telling stories and connected to everybody; everyone felt comfortable around Marcus." 

Dee was born Dec. 20, 1960, and he was 40 when he and wife, Helen, started a family. He was philosophical about his age when the first of four children arrived, but neither he nor his wife imagined that he would be gone before reaching his 51st birthday. 

During the past year, Marcus stepped back from the business to concentrate on his health, and Brendan Kay filled in performing many of Marcus' regular duties as CEO. Paul Hodgkinson, marketing director for the company, said that Kay will continue in the role as acting CEO for the immediate future, and there are no plans at the moment to put any changes into place.

"Marcus inspired and led the company's growth into a global brand in the IBM i marketplace," said Hodgkinson. "Colleagues, partners and customers alike will remember Marcus for his vision and passion for the business and the platform. His good humor and effervescent personality will be sadly missed by the community, as will his ability to inspire and motivate those around him. 

"The thoughts and prayers of all of us at looksoftware are with Marcus' family during this difficult time," said Hodgkinson.

Services are pending, but the family expressed a wish to send donations in lieu of flowers to Compassion Australia. Messages of condolence and remembrances may be left at www.marcusbdee.com.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Marcus Dee, one of the founding members of looksoftware, and among the most colorful and best liked technology leaders in the IBM midrange industry died Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia, after a year-long battle with cancer. 

Although Dee's death was inevitable based on his prognosis, news of his passing sent ripples of shock through an aging AS/400 community whose members have seen too many high profile and energetic leaders pass away during the last two years. Dee was only 50 when he died, and he leaves behind his wife, Helen, and their four school-age children, Elizabeth, Lucy, Jacob, and Joseph, as well as his mother, Helen, and father Brian Dee. 

marcus.deeAs chief executive officer of looksoftware, Dee had a profound effect on creating a worldwide brand for the company known for its catchy logo and down-under color scheme. The firm was one of the first to embrace IBM's Rational Open Access: RPG Edition in its relentless quest to modernize clients' legacy IBM i green-screen systems. looksoftware was actually started by Brendan Kay and Gavin Rogers a few months before Dee joined them as director of sales in 1995, but he was always considered a founding partner. 

"Marcus was the guy that everybody loved," said longtime friend and business associate Trevor Perry, IT consultant and COMMON director. "Even though we all knew that it was coming, at the end it was quite a bit of a shock." 

Dee and Perry were close friends for 28 years having met in 1983 at a Sydney solutions provider called JBA, which was to become one of the largest midrange consulting firms in the Asia Pacific region during the 1980s. 

"He taught me RPG," says Perry describing how Dee first taught himself the language after joining the firm in 1982 and then began teaching it to others. "I spent about five weeks training with Marcus and we became fast friends." 

After leaving JBA, Dee went to work for Strategic Information Systems, and Perry joined him there later, both teaching RPG. Strategic was a Synon business partner, and the two men saw a potential teaching business users how to program. "We were going to teach computing to non-computing people," Perry recalls with amusement. "We had a history professor, a civil engineer, and a philosophy student, and we taught them IT. Then we taught them RPG and Synon."

Strategic became a branch of Synon in Australia, says Perry, and Dee eventually became the general manager of the Synon branch there.

In 1995 Dee teamed up with Kay and Rogers as a partner in looksoftware, and the three men made what some might think was an ideal match. With Rogers' creative technical prowess and Kay's application skills along with Dee's dynamic personality, the company grew to a worldwide staff of 25, a size that belied its large impact on today's modernization technology. 

Perry had left Strategic to move to the U.S., but the two men kept in touch. "I would see Marcus every time he was in the U.S., and we'd catch up," says Perry. "He would lean on me to go to work for him, which I did in 2000 for three years full time. Since then, we've been doing projects together on and off and have worked closely together for the past 10 years in one form or another." 

Until a few years ago, Dee was a smoker, and his friends used to chide him about the risks. Ironically, smoking had little or nothing to do with the skin cancer, so common in Australia, that eventually metastasized and claimed his life. Perry said an operation on a skin lesion four years ago is thought to have spread the disease throughout his system. It eventually went to his lungs and brain, and Dee underwent surgery, but it was a futile fight. 

"We always gave him grief about his smoking, which he ended up stopping about three years ago for the last time," Perry said. "We kept telling him it would kill him, however, it didn't, and, as it turned out—we were wrong." 

Perry said he also would tease Dee about his Australian colloquialisms including his most famous—"horses for courses." 

"It means having the right horse for the right racetrack, or basically, use the right tool for the job," Perry said. "But anytime Marcus would give a talk in the U.S., I always had to explain to to people afterwards what he meant. Eventually he got it and would make a joke about it... He loved to be telling stories and connected to everybody; everyone felt comfortable around Marcus." 

Dee was born Dec. 20, 1960, and he was 40 when he and wife, Helen, started a family. He was philosophical about his age when the first of four children arrived, but neither he nor his wife imagined that he would be gone before reaching his 51st birthday. 

During the past year, Marcus stepped back from the business to concentrate on his health, and Brendan Kay filled in performing many of Marcus' regular duties as CEO. Paul Hodgkinson, marketing director for the company, said that Kay will continue in the role as acting CEO for the immediate future, and there are no plans at the moment to put any changes into place.

"Marcus inspired and led the company's growth into a global brand in the IBM i marketplace," said Hodgkinson. "Colleagues, partners and customers alike will remember Marcus for his vision and passion for the business and the platform. His good humor and effervescent personality will be sadly missed by the community, as will his ability to inspire and motivate those around him. 

"The thoughts and prayers of all of us at looksoftware are with Marcus' family during this difficult time," said Hodgkinson.

Services are pending, but the family expressed a wish to send donations in lieu of flowers to Compassion Australia. Messages of condolence and remembrances may be left at www.marcusbdee.com.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at chriswriting@cs.com.

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    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.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In 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

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.