Monday, 23 February 2009

Twitter and W3C

I thought as I was now a Twit – and by that I mean I am someone who uses Twitter – that I'd add the Twitter widget to my Web site ( The only trouble is that my Web sites maintains the highest W3C standards, and when I copied the code from Twitter and validated it, there were 25 errors, 5 warnings and a page of red writing! What could I do?

You can get the widget by clicking on “Apps” at the bottom of the Twitter ( page. From there you can select Widgets. And it gives you the option of Myspace, Blogger, Facebook, TypePad, and Other versions. I chose “Other”. I then selected the Flash interactive widget.

The Twitter site says: "Copy this HTML and paste it into your web page. You can then set a custom size by modifying height and width in the HTML below". And here's the code:

<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase=",0,124,0" width="290" height="350" id="TwitterWidget" align="middle">
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="sameDomain" />
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="false" />
<param name="movie" value="" />
<param name="quality" value="high" />
<param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
<param name="FlashVars" value="userID=20425034&styleURL=">
<embed src="" quality="high" bgcolor="#000000" width="290" height="350" name="TwitterWidget" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" allowFullScreen="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="" FlashVars="userID=20425034&styleURL="/>

So I copied the code and added it to my home page at It worked. There was the information displayed exactly how it should be. A success.

I then used the W3C validation service at to validate the HTML on my home page. The result was a very red page listing numerous errors and warnings – and all from the Twitter widget.

So I did what any good geek would do, I modified the code to eliminate the errors. It now works and is valid, and is shown below:

<object data="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="290" height="350" id="TwitterWidget" align="middle" >
<param name="movie" value="" />
<param name="quality" value="high" />
<param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="sameDomain" />
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="false" />
<param name="FlashVars" value="userID=20425034&styleURL=" />

Feel free to use this modified code if you wish, just remember to change the userID to your one.

And if you need a new Web site designed and coded, or if you need your tired old one revamped, please contact me at

Monday, 16 February 2009

When digital gets physical

IBM brightened up its Pulse conference in Las Vegas last week with a number of interesting announcements. Interesting for two reasons: it gives users some new useful products and it hints at the direction that IBM’s thinking is taking it.

In classic business-speak we found out that by providing clients with greater visibility into the performance of their businesses and control over the management of business processes, IBM helps them improve their ability to respond to changes, and gain greater command over their hardware, software, people, and information assets. Which, to be honest, actually sounds useful for many organizations. If the banks had only known that they were loaning so much money to so many people who couldn’t ever pay it back, we wouldn’t be in our current financial crisis!!

Here’s a brief list of the announcements.

The Tivoli Service Automation Manager software automates the design, deployment, and management of services such as middleware, applications, hardware, and networks.

The Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager software helps organizations simplify the life-cycle of encryption keys by enabling them to centralize, automate, and strengthen security through key management processes.

The ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance helps eliminates redundant copies of the same data, reducing it to a single instance of the data, and eliminating duplicative copies. Thank you Diligent Technologies.

There are enhancements to the IBM XIV Storage System.

There is Full-Disk Encryption on IBM System Storage DS8000s, which can help increase security. By combining the DS8000 with its full-disk encrypting drives and the Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager, the DS8000 security solution can secure data and securely erase data from disk drives that are being retired or used for a different purpose.

IBM Internet Security System’s new data security services can help prevent information loss through: network extrusion prevention; implementing and managing encryption solutions to protect data even if lost or stolen; securing data more effectively; monitoring and controlling the use of external storage devices for storing and transporting data; and enhancing the security of inbound and outbound e-mails.

The InfoSphere Warehouse for System z beta software allows customers to more easily and cost effectively design and run a data warehouse that supports business intelligence applications.

The IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management software brings automation to the management and reporting of energy consumption by non-IT assets, eg an office building air conditioning system.

Quite a lot that will be useful to the business community. And IBM is clearly looking for a single point for the monitoring and control of much more than just the mainframe.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Mainframe on a stick!

In the past, I’ve looked at mainframes that aren’t really mainframes! You know things like PSI’s Open Mainframe, Fundamental Software’s FLEX-ES, Hercules, and a couple of other options. I’ve even mentioned the “L” word – litigation. What I haven’t mentioned is the IBM System z Personal Development Tool (zPDT).

Anyway, for those of you who’ve tuned in late, here’s the story so far…
PSI’s Open Mainframe was able to run z/OS, but IBM wouldn’t licence z/OS for the PSI machines. Then IBM sued PSI, and PSI counter-sued IBM. For Fundamental’s customers, the wrangling with PSI meant that IBM didn’t re-licence Fundamental’s FLEX-ES. Similarly with Hercules, IBM wouldn’t licence products for their machines. At the end of last June, IBM bought PSI.

Now, I’ve been arguing for ages in this blog that IBM should support mainframe software running on platforms other than mainframes because it would be a way of seducing a whole new group of potential customers to the IBM way of doing things. A middle-sized user has a room full of servers doing a mixture of work. At the moment, the best choice for them is to get a couple of big servers and run VMware’s Virtual Machine software, and get rid of most of their other boxes. But what if they could have a go using z/OS instead. They may very well find it not only does all the work for them, but it also introduces them to a culture of back-ups and archives and logging, that’s an auditor’s dream. And that’s where the Open Mainframe, FLES-ES, and Hercules options came in.

I suggested previously that IBM might be planning to destroy the competition and then bring to market its own version of the product. And in a stealth-like way, that’s perhaps what it’s done. Way back in April 2007, it released internally the IBM System z Personal Development Tool (zPDT).

What do we know about it? It seems this z/Architecture emulation software runs on a ThinkPad/T60 (an Intel-powered PC) running SUSE, and on AIX (on POWER chips). It requires a USB hardware-key plugged in to enable the CPU. This is an IBM 1090 (or the IBM System z Personal Development Tool Adapter – zPDTA).

So what’s IBM’s plan? I suggest that the internal release gave them the opportunity to beta test their software and ensure it was pretty much bug free. But what does IBM do next? Does it e-mail users of Open Mainframe, FLEX-ES, and any other emulation package in town, and tell them about a new opportunity? Does it phone up all the other software vendors and ask them whether they’d like to test their mainframe software on a PC? Or does it start touring the PC conferences and exhibitions trying to sell this new product?

I’m not sure, but I can remember many years ago, coming across just such an IBMer (Mark Cathcart, in fact) at a mainly PC-based show demoing the P/390 machine. And he seemed to be busy with potential customers all day. I would guess that there could be a lot of interest in a PC-based mainframe emulator.

I expect to hear much more about it during the coming year.

BTW, I followed Dougie Lawson’s advice on the IMS-L listserv and joined Twitter – I’m at Now I just need someone to explain what I can do with it that I can’t do with Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc, etc. And they could also explain why every time I do try to do anything I’m told that Twitter is over capacity!

And finally, don’t forget to download your free copy of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2009 from

Monday, 2 February 2009

Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2009 user survey

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2009 has been available for download free from for just over a week. During that time we have had lots of e-mails saying nice things about the Yearbook including: "Excellent work", "Arcati's Mainframe Yearbook is probably the best publication about IBM Mainframe at the moment", and "It is very useful". It is full of interesting stuff, but particularly interesting are the results of the user survey.

Respondents all completed a survey on the Arcati site between the 3 November 2008 and the 5 December 2008. 38% were from Europe and 43% from North America, with 16% from the rest of the world and 3% declining to respond.

50% of the respondents worked in companies with upwards of 10,000 employees worldwide, while 15% had 1001 to 5000 staff. 12% of respondents had 0-200 staff and 9% had 5001-10000. In terms of MIPS 46% of respondents (down from last year's 41%) had fewer than 1000 MIPS installed, 23% fell into the mid-sized category between 1000 and 10,000 MIPS, and 31% were at the high end.

Looking at MIPS growth produced some interesting results. Larger, more mature businesses (above 10,000 MIPS) were mostly experiencing some growth, but none were growing by more than 25%. Sites in the 500-10,000 MIPS range were typically experiencing growth in the 10-25% range. Sites below 500 MIPS were generally experiencing growth of less than 10%, but only two sites reported zero growth or negative growth. The mainframe market does appear to be quite fragmented with competitive pressures at the lower end of the mainframe market.

With the environment and environmental issues getting so much coverage in the media these days, the survey asked whether IBM's recent green initiatives on things like power consumption and cooling had made the mainframe more or less attractive. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said that IBM's green initiatives made no difference at all. No-one said that the initiative made the mainframe less attractive. 29% felt it made the mainframe a little more attractive, and 9% felt it made the mainframe a lot more attractive.

There are a huge number of other gems of information in the survey. A wake-up call in its conclusion states that it is essential that businesses understand where the [mainframe] system's real strengths lie, and how it can be integrated most effectively with other IT resources.

How true!