Hello Jon,

“I must apologize in advance, but I have to bring up a DOS window to do this next part. It hasn’t been integrated into our modern software yet. I know it makes us look terribly old-fashioned but it is the only way I can do this.”

Interesting. The wording seems strange. Modern software? That's maybe not a typical clerk. :-)

I ask myself: Why does a manager care about what the customers perceive when he's using an internal system to do his job? I never encountered anything similar in Germany. Heck, most people do banking in their homes in here for a long time. Only elderly who don't do for their very own reasons still go to the bank clerks to submit remittances via paper form.

The fact that it was probably more than adequate for the task was irrelevant to him.

I guess because nobody dared to explain the background? So he made up his own explanations. It's his personal opinion, derived from don't-know-what. Maybe another one would be like "Now I'm opening a super safe connection to our mainframe for the next part, please don't worry." :-)

The maximum number of attendees we’ve ever had is 5. Of those who have attended, we’ve seen some interest from 4, but real interest and subsequent usage of RDP from only 2.

IMO that's the stereotypical "we did id that way ever since" attitude from some RPG devs which I never have encountered myself yet. But a friend of mine chuckled about the AS/400 guys in his former employment, always looking relaxed, doing secret stuff nobody else understood or dared to try to understand. They were confined in their own world.

And that is where the friction comes from. After learning a bit about about the social component around the IBM worlds (Midrange and Mainframe), I encountered that the clocks were ticking *much* slower in these worlds.

Common platforms are all about running around, applying updates, fast-pacing lifecycle duties, fixing stuff which broke during updates, learning and compensating for security flaws, fixing something a colleague or customer complained about, learning that this fix breaks something else, more running around. All nervous, all fast-paced.

In the IBM world, it's all much slower. It's all about having a stable foundation so people can actually do their jobs with the computer as a tool. Everything is done much more cautious. Can you do a quick fix? No, we have to evaluate possible side effects. Can you please patch the flawed SSL implementation? No, there's no fix from IBM yet. Can I quickly have a test LPAR for development of something? No, we need to shovel around resources and check impact on the systems overall performance.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm sure, if some guys would cease to do some apparent quick and short-sighted fix and thus break something else, the overall stress level would go down considerably. In my 25 year career in IT, I learned: Most failures arise from human errors. If you leave the stuff just running, it will just run with only minor problems.

Since everything is networked logically and socially today, pace increases in this world also. People are used to a certain level of stress and don't want it to increase. I perfectly understand that it's very tempting to find a niche and do your thing in your own pace until retirement. Unfortunately, especially in IT, it's all about change.

Friction everywhere.

What’s going to happen when the company starts making decisions about who to keep based on who’s willing to change?

The Market will solve that problem and government provided social security measures hopefully kick in. Sad but true. Modernize or die. It's also about attitude and willingness to learn new stuff. Not just about putting some fancy web UI over ancient COBOL programs by screen scraping. (For example.)

Btw., new as in "new for you", not "new in age", that is. The Midrange world may be old but for me it's still relatively new. :-)

The next time someone suggests that a new application might be better implemented on a “more modern” platform or that you should transfer data to a “database server” for data analytics, why not say, “i can do that—probably faster, easier and more reliably.”

This can only happen when "we" have enough spare time to do so while fulfilling everyday's duties in parallel. More work, maybe more stress. I can perfectly understand if people try to avoid that. Especially if you had a 20 year career in a shop and that 20 years made deep impact on daily routine.

Managers seem to mind less throwing people at Windows stuff than to hire more guy to bring on the IBM i stuff. The common platform stuff breaks in a more or less drastic way ever so often, so it's easy to have that as a perfect reason to cry out for more colleagues. IBM i just works and the one programming guy keeping all together maybe can't just handle more than that: Keeping all together.

But thanks for that article anyway. More insight for me. :-)

:wq! PoC

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