I have worked in many aspects of IBM computers prior to AS/400 since the mid 1960's ... dating back to punched card era. I have received education in IBM stuff & manufacturing topics from public classes, private classes, video tapes, audio tapes, books, trade press, watching another programmer at work, maintaining programs written by other programmers, local user meetings, participated in forums like this one, national conferences, presentations at closest IBM offices, gone to traveling IBM shows, visited IBM web sites, consultants & this is not a complete list. In my opinion, in terms of bang for the buck, the best education you can get in the shortest time frame on any AS/400 topics, is by going to COMMON on a regular basis, but if you cannot go to every COMMON, check their calendar & pick the ones that are in your part of the country (less travel expense). My current employer does not support this approach & is paying for other stuff, so I take what I can get. I believe that we need a diversity of eductational sources such as this list, and some AS/400 technical publications. If you have an AS/400 user group in your community, support it. Many user groups organize group travel to IBM events. Consider the value of traveling with a group of your peers, extending the educational experience. I remember a train trip a long time ago when a group of user groups reserved one whole passenger car of a train & we had a half day of user group meetings both to & from the joint conference. I remember a conference I attended when I was in college in which we got a hotel directory ... look up the name of some buddy or some SIG & get the hotel & rooms they are checked in at ... I would not go for that today because COMMON is as much education as you can get exposed to on minimum of sleep. I am more into the BOFS than CUDS in the evenings. The most thorough education I ever got on any IBM platform was when Willis Music installed a S/34 & decided that they would not let me get any format education in it whatsoever, so I had to learn the hard way what could be done & what could not be done. This was at a time when the SSP operating system was pretty new & I figured out tricks that you could do with it that the local IBM SEs said afterwards that if they had been consulted on what I had been looking into, they would have said that was flatly impossible ... I ended up giving a mini-seminar to a group of IBM SEs showing stuff I figured out that by today AS/400 standards is now meaningless. Of course I hated having to learn that way & the cost to Willis was several years of us doing all kinds of things messed up until we learning how to work the then new system. In another thread someone was asking about conversions & I referred to the repeating big bang approach where if it don't work, you just try try again every few months & after a few years you may be successful ... this was the scenario I was referring to. If getting to COMMON is not a practicality, then I think the IBM classes are next best thing ... overall $ investment will be somewhat higher to get same amount of education. There are massive savings to be made in travel both scenarios. IBM has a special hotel rate if you attending IBM University, but the last times I went to COMMON I shopped around for Bed & Breakfast. A disadvantage that IBM University has over COMMON is there is not much in the way of NET CHANGE education ... most all of us are coming to some aspect of some AS/400 responsibilities FROM some other responsibilities or FROM some other platform. The way IBM Education is structured ... here is everything you need to know once you LAND in this particular combination of responsibilities, but not much to help people who already know a big chunk & have holes to fill in their know-how. I find myself going to a 4 day class because I need something that is taught in 1 1/2 of the days. The rest is good review. But with COMMON there are all sorts of tracks for all sorts of knowlege ... you can pick & chose what to get in-depth education in & what to get an overview on. COMMON may have changed since I was last there. We could get the hand-outs (overhead projection foils) of seminars we did not even attend & I sought binders of them for a whole spectrum of topics, for study in the years afterwards. The volume of paper involved was more than you can take via air plane, which was another reason I liked a COMMON that was in driving distance, in which my car pool, on the way home, consisted of boxes & boxes of hand-outs. I would hope this stuff is now on CD ROM. There is a problem of when you go to these things you come back pumped up with 10,000 ideas of things you want to do to help your company do a better job with your systems, but you return to same old same old challenges & within a few months of only being able to apply 50 of the great new ideas you have forgotten what you have forgotten, or at least that is my situation. I deal with this by taking 1/2 week "vacation" after COMMON or IBM University or whatever & organizing my notes to try to prioritize which of the great 10,000 ideas are really practical to try to implement in the next 6 months. MacWheel99@aol.com (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac) AS/400 Data Manager & Programmer for BPCS 405 CD Rel-02 mixed mode (twinax interactive & batch) @ http://www.cen-elec.com Central Industries of Indiana--->Quality manufacturer of wire harnesses and electrical sub-assemblies - fax # 812-424-6838 +--- | This is the Midrange System Mailing List! | To submit a new message, send your mail to MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com. | To subscribe to this list send email to MIDRANGE-L-SUB@midrange.com. | To unsubscribe from this list send email to MIDRANGE-L-UNSUB@midrange.com. | Questions should be directed to the list owner/operator: email@example.com +---
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