Three quick steps to prepare for the mainframe retiring work force

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The retiring mainframe work force issue has proven to be a slow erosion over time rather than some type of drastic drop off. No matter where your company sits in that continuum, here are three simple steps you can take to help reduce the impact moving forward: 1. Get Current “When is the best time to buy a Kirby vacuum cleaner? When the Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman is here!” That was the last ditch effort sales line of a door-to-door salesman … [Read more...]

The Impact of a Mobile First World on Modern IT Infrastructure

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Everyone from early educators, bloggers, and even President Obama himself, is encouraging the general public to “write an app”. While there are an abundance of tools and interfaces at our disposal, even for the rookie programmer, an important factor to consider is determining requirements on the back-end infrastructure. The general populace expects a certain level of app speeds and functionality; what kind of new or changed infrastructure will be … [Read more...]

Mainframers: Older and Wiser

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“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ― Jimi Hendrix I recently spent two days with our mainframe sales, consultants and technical field staff – those who are in contact with our customers every day – for our annual fiscal year kick off. I looked around the room and thought, “Another year older, but another year wiser.” We all have our own notion of what it means to be wise in our personal lives. In “The Science of Older and Wiser,” … [Read more...]

Connecting Technology Failures to Business Failures

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Techfails are inevitable. But they don’t have to be the cause of major disruption and lost revenue. With appropriate preparation, the right mindset and a proactive approach to performance, you can improve your reaction times and organize your response in ways that will reduce negative outcomes on the business. In Techfail, episode 2 of The Family Code, we get to see four different approaches to dealing with costly and disruptive IT issues. Most … [Read more...]

Should Defensive Programming be Used When Code will Never be Public?

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In a recent Programmers Stack Exchange Q & A session discussed on Ars Technica, codebreaker asks: “Why follow defensive programming best practice when code will never be public?” After writing a card game for Java, the developer described how they used “a method in the Zone API, move(Zone, Card), which moves a Card from the given Zone to itself (accomplished by package-private techniques).” They continue, “This way, I can ensure that no cards … [Read more...]

Your IT Leadership: Relic, Hipster, Hysteric or Guru?

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What kind of IT manger do you work with? These personality types might seem extreme, but they probably symbolically represent someone you’ve worked with -- or maybe still do. Those “types” are actually characters in a video series called The Family Code, about a family of IT managers – and they help make some great points. One character in particular possesses the skills and attitudes necessary to manage modern IT environments, while those … [Read more...]

Tools and Tricks for Jumping into a Pool of Unknown Code

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Many developers have found themselves in this potentially challenging and frustrating situation: taking over someone else’s code project. Where to begin? In a recent Q & A session on the Programmers Stack Exchange, this question was explored: “What tools and techniques do you use for exploring and learning an unknown code base?” Following are some methods that will hopefully keep the struggling programmer afloat in their pool of unknown … [Read more...]

Performance Trends: Finding Value Amid the Hype

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At a recent event, I took advantage of having some of the world’s most notable APM experts all in one place by convincing them to be interviewed on camera. What I wanted to know was whether or not the hyped-up technology trends that we see constantly in the news were really being implemented in companies. We discussed the state of cloud, mobile, big data and the process trend DevOps. I read plenty of articles on this stuff so it was surprising to … [Read more...]

Rapid Application Development: How Fast is Too Fast?

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Although there has been tremendous progress over the years, application development remains something of a black art. Results aren’t always quite what were expected, development costs may get out of hand, and at the end of the day, even the brightest guru may have difficulty pinpointing the problem. Rapid Application Development (RAD) – one of the most prominent attempts at taming development challenges -- has become an established piece of … [Read more...]

The Mainframe is All Grown Up

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During my IT career, I've found myself in various roles across multiple platforms. In that time, there's been one constant that I've observed: There is often a disconnect between different IT teams and across environments. We need to work to bridge those gaps, particularly in the evolving relationship between the mainframe and distributed worlds. Over time, I've seen a lot of change in the mainframe landscape, though probably none as seismic … [Read more...]