Alex Woodie is Senior Editor at IT Jungle. He was previously editor of two of IT Jungle's main newsletters, Four Hundred Stuff and The Windows Observer. Prior to joining Midrange Server (as Guild Companies was formerly called) in October 2001, Alex was a products editor at now defunct publisher Midrange Computing, where he was first introduced to the AS/400 and covered hardware, software, and services for Midrange Technology SHOWCASE magazine. Before joining Midrange Computing, Alex was a staff writer for The Insurance Journal and a reporter and columnist with The Paradise Post newspaper. Woodie obtained his Bachelors of Arts degree in journalism from Humboldt State University in 1997. Upon graduation, Alex intended to make his way onto a major daily newspaper, but in 1999 he found himself drawn to the high-technology industry, where his background in science and engineering has suited him well. He lives in Northern San Diego County. When he is not writing next week's newsletters, Alex can be found in his favorite chair reading the day's paper, in the kitchen, or at the beach.
December 13, 2017 Alex Woodie
It’s mid-December, which means it’s time to look back upon 2017 and reminisce on the biggest stories of the year for IBM i and the overall midrange community. From a pair of Technology Refreshes and the scheduled demise of IBM i 7.1 to acquisitions and security breaches, there was a lot to take in.
It all started off innocently enough in…
IBM has had a good run of not changing the name of the platform. In fact, it hadn’t changed the name since 2008, giving it a line of uninterrupted starts that even Giants quarterback Eli Manning could appreciate. …Read more
December 11, 2017 Alex Woodie
Trinity Guard, the IBM i security software company founded by the original developers from Pentasafe, this month rolled out TG Secure, a new network security product that addresses a potentially serious gap in exit point coverage that many IBM i shops who use open source software may not be aware of.
IBM has done a good job of bringing new open source tools, technologies, and applications to the platform. The addition of languages like PHP, Node.js, Ruby, and Python; products like the NGINX Web server, the MySQL/MariaDB databases, and the Git repository; and everything else included in the 5733-OPS open …Read more
December 6, 2017 Alex Woodie
There are a lot of ways to “modernize” your IBM i application. You could create Web and mobile user interfaces. You could adopt free form RPG and migrate the database to modern SQL. You could host it all on the cloud. You could integrate analytic capabilities into it. Or, if you’re the IBM i ERP software vendor VAI, you could do all those things.
VAI has, in fact, done all those things leading up to this year’s release of S2K Enterprise 6.0, and according to CEO and founder Bob Vormittag, the company is reaping big rewards as a result.
“We’re …Read more
December 4, 2017 Alex Woodie
About 50,000 people descended upon Las Vegas last week for AWS re:Invent, the biggest cloud computing conference in the industry. And AWS didn’t disappoint, rolling out dozens of new services, including automated machine learning, a multi-master NoSQL database, and even a graph database for finding hidden connections among billions of data points. With all the innovation going on at AWS, it’s worth wondering whether cloud innovation is leaving IBM i customers behind.
AWS CEO Andy Jassy didn’t mince words in describing what he views as the current computing revolution. “We are going through the biggest transformation of technology in our …Read more
November 29, 2017 Alex Woodie
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of business intelligence software is a notoriously difficult thing to do. But when it comes to Lipari Foods and its implementation of Information Builders’ BI suite, it’s safe to say that its employees’ relationship to data has changed in a profound and meaningful way.
Lipari Foods is a midsize company headquartered in Warren, Michigan, that distributes food to 5,000 customers in 18 Midwestern states, a range that extends from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Thanks to the surge in popularity of specialty foods, such as gluten-free and halal, the privately owned distributor has grown quickly, and …Read more
November 29, 2017 Alex Woodie
There are lots of ways to make your transaction and analytic workloads move a little faster: optimize the database, add memory, tweak some code. But if you want to make them go a lot faster, pair them with a bank of high-speed solid state drives. That’s what IBM i banking software provider Fiserv did recently with IBM’s FlashSystem storage gear.
According to an IBM Solution Brief, the Brookfield, Wisconsin, software vendor went to IBM’s Rochester, Minnesota, lab in late 2015 to benchmark a FlashSystem storage array for a large commercial bank that’s a user of Signature, Fiserv‘s IBM …Read more
November 27, 2017 Alex Woodie
Despite sharing a similar name with Apple products, IBM i isn’t mobile. You can’t run IBM i on your smartphone or tablet, let alone on your watch or whatever IoT-connected gadget people need now. But that doesn’t mean developers haven’t written a bunch of mobile apps that connect to IBM i. Here are the top 15 iOS apps for IBM i.
Being a developer of propriety hardware and software, Apple won’t share much about, well, just about anything. In fact, the super secretive company from Cupertino, Calif., doesn’t even provide a way to browse the catalog of iOS apps on …Read more
November 15, 2017 Alex Woodie
It’s hard not to hear about Watson these days, especially since IBM changed the name of its Power Systems division to Cognitive Systems. But what can the cognitive service bring to pragmatic IBM i shops who are wary of change? The ERP software company VAI is at the forefront of experimentation.
According to VAI CIO Kevin Beasley, VAI started working with Watson in 2016. A lot of the early work that year involved manually uploading a bunch of ERP data into Watson, mixing it with data supplied by IBM, and then seeing what Watson came up with.
One of …Read more
November 15, 2017 Alex Woodie
It’s hard to have too much security on the Web these days, particularly with a preponderance of hackers, botnets, and keyloggers hanging around. One way to boost one’s cyber security is to use two-factor authentication, or 2FA, when connecting to sensitive applications and databases. Luckily, the technology is available for IBM i, too.
2FA is a technique that boosts the security of the log-on process and thwarts unauthorized access of sensitive systems. Instead of letting a person onto a computer based on the combination of just a user name and password, 2FA requires the person to have an extra identifier. …Read more
November 13, 2017 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops will gain access to new API tooling on Thursday, when IBM ships a new release of its Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) software that supports Swagger, a popular open-source specification for designing, generating, documenting, and consuming REST-based APIs.
APIs built using the Representational State Transfer (REST) protocol have become the primary way that companies expose their applications and data in a programmatic way. By defining one’s application program interfaces (APIs) in the RESTful style – as opposed to, say, the older, XML-heavy Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP) style – companies can join in, and partake of, …Read more