Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Thank you Marina

I want to thank Marina Schwenk for taking the time, last night, to talk to the Central Texas IBM i User Group.

Our next meeting will be in July, the person talking to the group, subject matter, and the date will be announced later.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

May 2024 meeting

The Central Texas IBM i User Group will be holding its March meeting on Monday May 13 at 6:30 PM US Central Time .

This meeting is online, FREE, and open to everyone.

Our guest presenter is Marina Schwenk.

Presentation description:  Service Programs and Unit Testing the Perfect Pair
Do you have monolithic programs that you have to start breaking up into manageable pieces? Have you been tasked to start unit testing and don’t know where to start? This session is meant for you.

We will work through the benefits to modernizing your code and why you want to adopt unit testing. We will work through breaking apart monolithic programs and how to write their respective unit tests. We will discuss some best practices in unit testing and how you can take some of those best practices and apply them to your everyday development processes.


Bio:  Marina started her career in January 2015 at Everbrite LLC in Greenfield WI after graduating from Gateway Technical College in May of 2014 with an Associate’s degree in IT Software Development. Marina worked for over nine years as a Senior Programmer Analyst/IBM i admin at Everbrite and is now a Senior Programmer/Analyst/IBM i admin at Innovative Software Solutions and her role consists of RPG, SQL, mobile development, IBM i administration and Java. Marina earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems Software Development from Bellevue University in June of 2017. Marina is an IBM Champion, the President for the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association(WMCPA) users group, a member of COMMON’S New to IBM i (N2i) committee, a COMMON board member, a member of COMMON America Advisory Council (CAAC), the COMMON board liaison for the COMMON America Advisory Council (CAAC), a private tutor in English and Programming for students at an associates or bachelor’s degree level, a public speaker on topics ranging from RPG, SQL, personal development, standards and unit testing. Marina was named a IBM fresh face(Now raising stars) in 2019. She has also completed two open source projects the first is logging in RPG and IBMiUnit, a RPG unit testing framework.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

March 2024 meeting

The Central Texas IBM i User Group will be holding its March meeting on Tuesday March 5 at 6:30 PM US Central Time .

Our guest presenter is Gregory Simmons.

Presentation description:  Procedure Driven RPG
In this session, after demonstrating the fundamentals of a procedure, I will demonstrate the benefits of procedure driven RPG. Together, we’ll explore real world examples of how this mindset has improved code written by myself and my team with regards to three facets: Readability, maintainability and reusability. All three of these benefits translate into a more efficient development team.


Bio:  Gregory Simmons is a software engineer with PC Richard & Son. He started on the IBM i platform in 1994, graduated with a degree in Computer Information Systems in 1997 and has been working on the OS/400 and IBM i platform ever since. He has been a registered instructor with the IBM Academic Initiative since 2007, and holds a COMMON Application Developer certification. When he’s not trying to figure out how to speed up legacy programs, he enjoys speaking at COMMON and other technical conferences, running, backpacking, SCUBA diving, hunting, and fishing.

He is also an IBM Champion for Power for the first time in 2024.

Friday, December 15, 2023

January 2024 meeting

The Central Texas IBM i User Group wiull hold its first meeting of the New Year on Wednesday January 10 at 6:30 PM US Central Time. .

This meeting is online, FREE, and open to everyone.

Our guest presenter is Mike Pavlak.

Presentation description:  What is OpenAI and Why Should You Care?
Open AI and specifically Online GPT has captured the latest in IT headlines. In this session we will discuss the history of Open AI, how it has matured and the goals of the team behind the technology. We'll also explore (speculate) on its impact to education, finance and most assuredly, Information Technology. We'll wrap up with a live demo of the Copilot application and how it might add productivity to the typical IBm i shop, but at what cost?

Learning Objectives:
1) Learn the basics of operating OpenAI and ChatGPT.
2) Understand how to plug in to Copilot.
3) See how to leverage AI tools in actual development scenario.


Bio:  Mike Pavlak has been working with IBM midrange solutions since 1992 and IBM Mainframes before that. After years of developing applications using RPG & CL he managed IT development and IT for power protection manufacturer Tripp Lite. Mike was instrumental in developing the adoption of PHP as the first open source language on IBM i and later joined Zend Technologies. Today, as a Solution Engineer with Perforce (Zend), Mike helps companies approach the challenges of modernization and open source technologies. In addition to several roles as a volunteer with COMMON Mike also teaches PHP & Python classes part time at Moraine Valley Community College in Suburban Chicago.

Mike lives in suburban Chicago constantly searching for the best microbreweries in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Monday, October 2, 2023

November 2023 meeting

* Date change again, this time it will be: Tuesday December 12 *

The Central Texas IBM i User Group holds its last meeting of 2023 on Tuesday December 12 at 6:30 PM US Central Time.

This meeting is online, FREE, and open to everyone.

Our guest presenter is Simon Hutchinson.

Presentation description:  Recent addtions to the CL language
The CL programming language is under-appreciated and is used by many as just a JCL. In the past few releases a lot has been added to CL that give the IBM i programmer an alternative to doing everything with RPG or Cobol.


Bio:  Simon has been writing his highly acclaimed IBM i blog, RPGPGM.COM, for over ten years sharing his knowledge, experience, and giving many detailed examples of the latest RPG, SQL, and CL. His work has led him to be recognized by IBM as an IBM Champion for Power and IBM i Community Advocate. He is a subject matter expert for COMMON North America and, in 2023, winner of their John Earle Speaker Scholarship in recognition for his contribution to the community.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

September 2023 meeting

The Central Texas IBM i User Group' next meeting will be on Tuesday September 12, 2023, at 6:30 PM US Central Time.

This meeting is online and is FREE and open to everyone. Spaces are limited, and you need to register by clicking on this link here. Register now to avoid disappointment.

Our presentation is by Andy Youens.

Presentation description: When Pi meets i
Andy will be presenting 'When Pi meets i' demonstrating how a Raspberry Pi can help to extend and enhance the capabilities of an IBM i?

With its low cost, small size, and versatility, the Raspberry Pi can be a powerful tool to enhance your business operations.

In this presentation, Andy will reveal how the Raspberry Pi can be used to integrate with the IBM i server with great effect - thereby enhancing the capabilities of both as they each play to their own strengths.


Bio:  Andy is the Managing Director of FormaServe in the UK. He has over 40 years IBM midrange experience. From the System 34 through to the IBM i. He is an IBM Champion and member of IBM ISV Advisory Council.

An accomplished instructor in programming on the IBM i, he regularly writes articles for the PowerWire publication.

Now an advocate for open-source on the IBM i, he gives presentations/workshops at user groups around the world.

Prior to his IT career, Andy is proud to have served 10 years in the Royal Navy.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

July 2023 meeting

July brings another IBM i expert who will be sharing a very unique subject with us all. The meeting is on Tuesday July 11 at 6:30 PM US Central Time .

We welcome Vern Hamberg, someone I can only describe as one who knows a lot of interesting stuff that may be a little off the path more travelled.

Presentation:  There are many Magical Instruction functions, MI, that can be used in RPG programs. This does not mean that you have to learn how to program in the MI language, instead, you'll see how IBM have exposed some functions for use in high-level languages such as RPG.

  • Learn what MI is
  • Learn how to read the MI documentation
  • Learn how to prototype MI functions
  • See some useful MI functions for everyday development


Bio:  Vern has worked on IBM midrange systems for over 30 years, beginning with the System/38 and AS/400. At present he is a Senior IT Developer for the Pest Elimination division at Ecolab. He also serves on the COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC) and SET and is one of the SMEs for Db2. He is degreed in both music and mathematics, which gives him a distinct approach to the art and science of programming. In his spare time he participates in various musical pursuits, such as playing trumpet in a community band, singing in a pretty-good a capella choral group, working with local musical theater productions, and most recently playing keyboard in the Zuhrah Shrine Flames big band and accordion in a weekly jazz workshop – quite a stretch!