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Sam Anderson
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$ 7. 0 0 U . S .
to Plan
How to Determine Goals,
Strategies, and Tactics
PLUS! SOX – Three Years
After: Did we go too far?
S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R
If you run
a business, are starting one, or
working on marketing You, Inc.,
you have to plan and execute.
Ajax is a powerful technique for web developers. It is
powerful for the Bad Guys, too.
still here, and changing.
Three years later, and Sarbanes-Oxley is
MultiValue talent.
2 0 0 6
Several recruiters discuss finding and hiring
Find out why one MultiValue
supported company didn’t even consider leaving MultiValue.
From the Inside
New Products
Clif Notes
International Spectrum and MultiValue
is a registered trademark of International
Spectrum, Inc. All other registered trademarks
and trademarks are the property of the
respective trademark holders.
security features available through ASP.NET.
Find out about some of the
Inventory, we learn about morphing data and…leeches?
In the last article about
Lee Bacall of Binary Star talks to us about the
history, philosophy, and features of Nucleus.
Revelation Software gives us an update about three
years of enhancements in the web features of OpenInsight.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
In our market, Business and Programming go hand-in-hand.
Managing Editor
Many of you are not consultants, but IT managers, or Small to
Medium-sized Business professionals. The magazine has always
Associate Writer
contained good technical content and information on how to use
technology to improve your business. But sometimes you may
have questions on how other businesses do things, or you are not
Henry Eggers, Independent Consultant
Tim Holland, Holland Consulting
sure how to do something specific within your business.
Bruce Johnson, Tag Consulting
Ronald H. Jones, Ron Jones Consulting
To help out with this, I have asked the magazine staff (Clif Oliver
and Shannon Stoltz) to seek out content that would be of interest
Nathan Rector, Natec Systems
Bryan Shumsky, Revelation Software
Melvin M. Soriano, Eagle Rock Information Systems
from more of a business perspective. As a result of this, he last four
issues have had Charles Barouch’s “Inventory for Programmers”
Series.This series has received a lot of positive feedback.
In this issue you will see two articles relating to business that I
hope you will enjoy: Finding the Right Fit (page 20) about hiring
International Spectrum
magazine’s editorial mission is to be the premier independent source
of useful information for users, developers, and resellers of MultiValue
database management systems, open systems business database
solutions, and related hardware, software, and peripherals. Published
bimonthly, International Spectrum provides comprehensive coverage
of the products, companies, and trends that shape the MultiValue
marketplace as well as the computer industry at large — helping its
readers get the most out of their business computer systems.
programmers and Goals, Strategies, and Tactics (page 8) about
business planning. In including this kind of article in the magazine,
my goal is to help enhance the technical content that we have
always had. For those Geeks out there (like myself and Clif, our
editor), don’t worry; I don’t plan on dropping the technical content from the magazine. The new business related articles were
added for you SMB sector people who not only have to maintain
Mentor Pro
Native PICK
your systems, but also run your business.
You will also be seeing more of this type of content at the International Spectrum Conferences. By adding this content to the
Spectrum Conferences, I hope to provide more Value to the Con-
ferences for the MIS managers and Small to Medium-sized Business
professionals. You can get a taste of these sessions at the Regional
Conferences by attending the “Marketing for IT Personnel” and
“Hiring Programmers” sessions.
I would enjoy hearing from you, our readers, with suggestions of
articles and conference sessions you would like to see,both technical
as well as business related.
International Spectrum is published six (6) times per year at the subscription price of $40.00 U.S. in the U.S.A.; $45.00 U.S. in Canada
and Mexico; $50.00 U.S. for other countries. Single copy rates are
$7.00 U.S. in the U.S.A. and Canada, and $9.00 U.S. in all other countries. International Spectrum is published by International Specturm,
Inc., 80 Garden Center, Suite 6, Broomfield, CO 80020; Tel: 720/2591356; Fax: 603/250-0664 E-Mail: [email protected] Copyright 2006 International Database Management Association, Inc. All
rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, without written
permission, is prohibited.
PRINTED IN USA • ART AND DESIGN: CP Design; 619-246-6878;
San Diego, CA
— Nathan Rector, President, International Spectrum —
[email protected]
International Spectrum is eager to print your submissions of up-to- theminute news and feature stories complementary to the MultiValue marketplace. Black and white or color photographs are welcome. Although
there is no guarantee a submitted article will be published, every article will be considered. International Spectrum retains all reprint rights.
International Spectrum is a registered trademark and MultiValue is a
trademark of International Spectrum, Inc. All other registered trademarks
and trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
[ Webonomics 101 ]
Ajax in a
It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The reports that Ajax
was a helpful and
robust approach to creating interactive web
sites has drawn the
interest of those who
play on the Dark Side.
So,whereas Ajax-driven
applications make it
easy for programmers
to build sites, it is also
an opportunity for the
virally-minded to attack
a PC.
Internet security companies are reporting
that Ajax has security
problems that can
make it vulnerable to an
attack. The blend of JavaScript
and XML has been called the Web
2.0, but it’s also fertile compost for
malicious code writers. So, while one
used to worry about Microsoft’s next
stand against the hacker posse, we now
see MySpace and Google trying to fend
off attacks from desktop as well as webbased software.
It’s all due to the transportability and
ease of intermingling. Let’s take
Google for example. You can work on
its online spreadsheets and share calendars, manage your photos and e-mail
somewhat comparably to some of
Microsoft Office; you merely access
Google services through a browser,
from any PC. Moreover, you can blend
blogs, news feeds and communitybased web sites with these services,
the data mixing into an intoxicating
online cocktail. But this lends itself,
unfortunately, to those more interested
in identity theft and viral attacks.
Yahoo mail was struck earlier this summer. Someone sent an email with
JavaScript embedded in the body. The
JavaScript executed the AJAX XML
requests and forwarded itself to everyone on the recipient’s address list.The
worm then was able to keep on propogating with any email reader that
allowed JavaScript/Ajax execution to
occur. The spam lists created by this
worm were probably enormous.
Google’s RSS news feed was hijacked
this summer as well. It was shown that
by twisting Google’s news feed
address request, you can redirect the
browser to a different site. Since most
web users make exceptions on their
pop-up blocker software to places
such as Yahoo and Google, the redirected sites can circumvent such safety measures.
This type of cross-site scripting was
blown open late last year on MySpace.
See, Samy (yup, some kid in L.A.) wrote
a lovely worm that had a sole intention
of making him the most popular person on MySpace.You see, on MySpace,
you can add someone to your list of
heroes. By exploiting a little Ajax code,
the worm was able to add a person to
Samy’s list without getting that person’s approval. Moreover, anyone viewing that person’s profile would be
infected and run the Ajax code. In
Continues on page 44
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
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© 2006 InterSystems Corporation. All rights reserved. InterSystems Caché is a registered trademark of InterSystems Corporation. 9-06 CacheInno14Sp
’06 is over,
what you need
to do to have a
killer 2007!
B y
R i c h a r d
L .
P .
S o l o s k y
Like,“smile when you’re talking on the
telephone, it will come across in your
voice.” Plus little time management
things like, “When is the best time to
make a phone call?” “Right Now!” And
one really important thing,“plan your
work and work your plan.”
pany take me under his wing. Per-
To that, I’d like to add,“Any plan is better than no plan!”
ome 25 years ago, I got my
first job selling office equipment. I was fortunate to
have the top salesperson in the com-
haps he saw a hidden talent, or maybe
I just reminded him of his little brother. Nevertheless, I still remember a
thing or two he taught me.
I’m guessing many of you are technicians, were once, or are at least technicians at heart. Remember when you
were first starting out? Maybe you
had a great idea that you just had to
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
run with. Maybe you developed a killer
application for a client and knew that
everyone would want it. Or perhaps
you just realized you could do it better
than your boss. No matter the circumstance, you did one of two things. You
just started, flying by the seat of your
pants, or you created a business plan,
because that’s what was expected.
Maybe that business plan is in your
head, or maybe it’s gathering dust on
the shelf. If I were a betting man, I’d
wager you haven’t looked at, or
thought about it, in years. There are
three things that every successful busi-
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Continued from page 8
ness does: Spend less money than they
earn, learn from their mistakes, and
plan for the future.
Every business needs a game plan. Not
that formal thing you wrote when you
first started out, with
lots of statistics talking
about the market, but a
basic game plan of what
you want to do for each
year. It’s a living, breathing document, one that
you revise and tweak all
the time.
ties and identify threats which are
external to your business.
Let’s take a quick look at each category:
Strengths: What do you do better than
anyone else? Can you identify what is
unique to your application? Exactly what
advantages does your
company or product
have? Do you know
what people in your
market see as your
your value
It’s never too late to get
started, and with ’07 just
around the corner, today
is a great day to plan for
tomorrow. In writing a
plan the most important
thing to do is to write!
Don’t fool yourself,
because until you do, you
don’t have a plan. Don’t
worry about format or
whether you’re a good
writer. It’s your plan.
Who cares how it looks?
out loud
and then
add the
SWOT Analysis
This core business development tool is
where you determine your strengths
and weaknesses, which are internal to
your company, and uncover opportuni
Weaknesses: Take a
hard look at your
business and identify
improve.Poll your customers and vendors
and find out what people in your market see
as your weaknesses. Then, think about
what you should avoid. Are you really
ready to introduce that new software
words, “so
In order to develop this
plan, you first need to
look at the big picture—the big picture
through the eyes of a thing called
SWOT Analysis.
In determining your
strengths, think about
what unique resources
to which you have
access and then play
them up.
Opportunities: What’s your market
doing? Are you aware of any interesting trends in your market or field? Useful opportunities can come from such
things as changes in technology and
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
markets, or changes in government
policies related to your field; does Sarbanes Oxley come to mind? What
about changes in social patterns, population profiles, and lifestyles? Do you
have a blog in your industry?
Threats: What obstacles do you face,
and what is your competition doing?
Are the required specifications for your
job, products, or services changing?
Is changing technology threatening
your position? Do you have bad debt
or cash flow problems?
Consider whether any of these threats
or weaknesses seriously menace your
business, either now or in the future.
Once you identify them, you can plan
to take action.
With your SWOT analysis completed,
you can begin to craft a strategy that
helps you distinguish yourself from
your competitors. This is also known
as positioning, and it helps you compete successfully in your marketplace.
What exactly is your marketing strategy? Are you the cost effective option?
Are you on the leading edge of technology and forging ahead of the competition with innovative products and services? Are you the solid conservative
voice of reason in your industry, or is
great customer service your hallmark?
You probably have several corporate or
product advantages in your head. But
have you compared them to where
your competition is aiming? A critical
element of every strategic, marketing,
or game plan is figuring out what the
competition is doing.
If you’re confident in your strengths,
you may feel strongly about facing your
competition head-to-head. On the
other hand, you may want to take a
close look at where the competition
isn’t focused. Employing this strategy,
you carve out a specific niche in the
marketplace, work hard to own it, and
then expand it to a position of
strength. Whatever your strategy, you
must define your position in the marketplace, and that boils down to your
value proposition.
Value Proposition
What value do you bring to the marketplace? How do you differ from the
competition? Why should anyone buy
your product or service? A value
proposition is a clear statement of what
a customer or client receives from
using your products or services. The
best value propositions are very specific and they clearly define what you do
better than anyone else. Or another
way to look at it is from the customers’
viewpoint,“what’s in it for me?”
A weak value proposition is the death
knell of the mediocre business. Voice
your value proposition out loud and
then add the words, “so what?” “XYZ
Company offers the fastest software in
the MultiValue market.” “So what?”
When defining your value proposition
you might try this neat little trick;define
it in terms of tangible results. “Our software routinely reduces our client’s corporate overhead by 15% per year.” In a
quantifiable way, your value proposition
needs to speak to the critical issues
your customers face every day.
But don’t jump the gun, because
before you get started on your journey,
the first thing you need to know is
where you have been, where you are
now, and where you are going. So it’s
time to set some goals.
They are crucial to any viable business.
Without them, you have nothing to
measure success against. The key is to
make your goals realistic and measurable so you can easily evaluate your performance.
Goal setting is the easy part of your
planning. One way to get started is to
look at your sales over the last several
years. Have they gone up, down, stayed
relatively stable? Just take last year’s
number, or find a reasonable average
and increase it by a modest percentage. Congratulations! You have just set
your goal!
Ok, you’re getting closer to writing your
plan, so the next thing to think about is,
“what are you going to do to get the
word out and increase business?”
Your tactics will include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade
shows, and special promotions.
Continues on page 12
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Track your game plan progress
throughout the year. Create a regular
schedule of meetings, and make adjustments to the plan based upon verifiable progress indicators.
Stay tuned; because in upcoming articles, we will dissect many of these puzzle pieces and demystify some of the
ABC’s of growing your business and
taking it to the next level. is
Continued from page 11
There are all kinds of tactics you can
use to get the word out about your
products and services. In today’s technological marketplace, the rules
change daily. You can stick to the tried
and proven and choose the traditional,
like print advertising, mail campaigns,
brochures, and good old fashioned
Or, you may choose to work with some
of the newer tactics from e-mail blasts
and blogging, to streaming web video.
Whatever tactics you choose, make
sure everything points back to a well
thought-out website. In today’s world,
your website is the cornerstone for
marketing your business, services, and
products. Make sure that it captures
the reader’s imagination in the first few
seconds they arrive, and don’t let them
go until they understand your message.
Overall, keep in mind when you are
designing your marketing materials
and campaigns to remember a marketing basic; play up your benefits (not
features). Many confuse the two, placing too much emphasis on descriptions of the company and/or product
rather than on what practical results
the product will deliver.
the marketplace, you know what numbers you plan to achieve, and you
know what tactics you will employ
and when.You’re almost done. Now it
is time to put it all together.
Situation Analysis
With all this information in place, the
next thing to write is an overview of
your situation as it exists today. Nothing fancy, but it will provide a useful
benchmark as you adapt and refine your
plan. It should contain a short description of your current product or service
offering, the marketing advantages and
challenges you face, and a look at the
threats posed by your competitors, or
other outside forces that will affect your
business in the coming year.
Budget Breakdown
Now it’s time to mix all the ingredients
together. Add your goals, strategy, and
tactics to the plan along with your calendar and the final section of your
plan, a brief breakdown of the costs
associated with each of your tactics.
Putting it all together…
You’re done.That’s about all there is to
it! You now have a plan. It’s not that
daunting a task. While your first version
will take some effort, you will find as
you continue to define your products
and services and refine your plan, it will
get easier and better. Most importantly,
don’t forget that a plan on paper is only
useful if it’s put into action.
So you have done your homework.
You know what position you want in
So, with the plan in place, there is one
last thing to employ…
Lastly, it’s important to schedule your
tactics; stick to your calendar and follow through.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
has been involved in the
MultiValue software industry since
1986. Over these past 20 years, he has
been a principal in two software devel-
opment companies and thoroughly
understands the day-to-day challenges
faced by the typical SMB. He is Presi-
dent and CEO of Questus Strategies, a
business development consultancy ded-
icated to assisting small businesses
focus their vision, allowing them to
effectively work on their business,
instead of simply working in their busi-
ness. www.questusstrategies.com.
The Third Year
ven if you are unaffected
“The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was
by the Sarbanes-Oxley
passed by the US Congress and
Act of 2002, you have
The experts
at the top
and the
are in
that we did
too much.
probably heard of it by now.
signed into law by the President
on July 30, 2002.Among other
provisions, section 404 of the Act
These two guys, Senator Sar-
requires public companies
banes and Representative
registered with the SEC and their
Oxley, on the eve of their
auditors to annually assess and
retirement, have achieved a
report on the design and effective-
notoriety and a marrying
ness of internal control over
of their names into the
financial reporting.”
affectionate nickname SOX
– IT Governance Institute
that I’m sure they never
expected to see.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act demonstrates
firm resolve by the US Congress to
improve corporate responsibility. The
Act was created to restore investor confidence in US public markets, which
was damaged by business scandals and
lapses in corporate governance.
Although the Act and supporting regulations have rewritten the rules for
accountability, disclosure, and reporting, the Act’s many pages of legalese
support a simple premise: good
corporate governance and ethical
business practices are no longer
optional niceties.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
It was well-intentioned but not well
planned, and there have been a number of deadline push-backs and a
whole lot of confusion since its signing
into law. Now we’ve arrived at the end
of year three for the earliest filers and
the end of the first year for even the latest filers—“foreign private issuers” —
and things are beginning to settle
down (although section 404 filings
have been delayed for another year for
most companies).
After three years of newfound fame,
the language of IT governance has
worked its way into our vernacular.
Although we’ve gotten over calling the
SEC’s Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board (PCAOB) “Peek-a-boo,”
not many of us have forgiven them for
being so late to the party. They published what they called a “Guidance”
that finally shed some light onto what
on earth we were supposed to be
doing it—eighteen months after we
started doing it. But with that Guidance and new exposure for Cobit and
COSO we’ve come to understand that
a framework is not just two inches of
wood around a pretty picture, and controls can be more complex than the
ones on our VCR. (If Cobit, COSO,
framework and controls are not meaningful to you, you may have escaped
and should endeavor to remain pure!)
In looking back over these past three
years, I am reminded of the first time I
ever spent New Year’s Eve in Times
Square to witness the ball-dropping
and the debauchery first hand. Far
more memorable were the sensations
experienced walking down the street
the morning after—you can see, hear
and, I assure you, smell the party leftovers. The glaring morning sunlight
bears none of the whisky-softened,
neon-lighted abstraction of the night
before. In many ways—perhaps
excluding smell—the wind-down of
year three of Sarbanes-Oxley feels the
same. Granted, the party was not as
much fun. But it was every bit as frantic, noisy, and certainly more expensive. (I don’t care where your room
was on Times Square.)
So, here in the aftermath, most of us
want to know how we stack up against
other companies. For those of us in the
MultiValue space, it is particularly
interesting to see how we stack up
against each other and against what
we so lovingly refer to as “the mainstream.” It has been a revelation for
some of us to find out just how alike
we all are. Most of us were initially
“gapped” (this is a verbification of the
situation where there is a gap between
what is required and what actually “is”)
on the same things. Everyone was
changing software on the production
system, at least sometimes (some more
than others). And an incredibly high
percentage of companies were rou-
tinely editing data on production to
correct errors left by programs with
known bugs. And all companies have
under-resourced departments full of
mad-hatters (meaning people who
madly wear multiple hats). When suddenly these things were simply not
allowed, companies came crawling out
of the woodwork with these common
flaws. Flaws and practices that a lot of
us had come to think of as, well, nonmainstream.
The mad-hatter issue, which has actually come to be known as “SOD (Segregation of Duty) violations” are, in fact,
the most common lingering deficiencies. We’ve got to find some more
heads for those hats!
For the most part, our efforts to
improve our controls and to meet the
requirements have been fruitful. We
“passed SOX,” and we’ve even had the
luxury of the last couple of years to
work on improvements and cost-cutting. Sure enough the numbers are in
Continues on page 16
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
The Third Year
Continued from page 15
and costs dropped by almost 20 percent, both years.Whew! Everyone can
relax and breathe a sigh of relief … for
about a nanosecond before you are
smacked with the word sustainability.
Because, guess what? You don’t “do”
SOX compliance. You live it. It’s forever. (And just as an aside for any of you
folks still subscribing to the “It won’t
last” school of thought, cancel your
subscription. It’s not going anywhere.)
Not surprisingly, we found that the
minute we had our processes documented and our “controls” in place,
they became obsolete. So now we not
only have to have change control, we
have to have change control for our
change control controls.
One of my favorite euphemisms that
was born into “auditor speak” with
SOX is the term “operational efficiencies.”This is a fancy way of saying,“do
it better.” This is supposed to be our
payback for the effort. Yes, we complied, and nobody went to jail.Victory!
But what else can we get? If we were
clever about our controls or if we’re
prepared to get more clever about
them, we can improve process, save
the company money, and end world
hunger—all by improving our “operational efficiencies.”
Everyone—my own customers, the
auditors I meet in the field, the experts
at the top and the PCAOB themselves—are in absolute agreement that
we did too much.We documented too
much, put too many controls in place,
and stacked up way too much paper.
So the latest (April 2006) Guidance
issued from the PCAOB is now all
about how to trim down.
So what’s on our minds in the year 3 AS
(after SOX)? Each of the following
topics is a hot button for this year, and
each deserves far more explanation
and insight than is offered here, but
we’ll do what we can.
Sustainability: The biggest overall
focus this year will be on how to transition into a sustainable, or what those
of us in IT like to call “maintenance,”
mode. According to the ITGI Guideline: “At this point, IT management
should be in a position to assess the IT
internal control program effectiveness.
Effective internal controls, control
assessment and management competencies must become part of the IT department’s organization and culture and sustain themselves over the long term. Control is not an event; it is a process that
requires continuous support.”
Outsourcing and third-party vendors: This issue receives the Hot Button of the Year Award.When your company relies on an outside vendor or outsource for anything impacting financial
reporting, it is still your companies’
responsibility to have controls in place.
A SAS 70 report is a certification document signed by an outside auditor that
attests to a vendor or outsource company’s own internal controls. So the
battle began to get SAS 70’s from outside companies to varying degrees of
success, and in some cases, instigating a
change of vendor.There has been a certain amount of forgiveness around this
issue simply because reality has dictated that it must be so. But now this issue
is moving to the forefront. Some companies are waking up to the
realization that
SAS 70’s that
they have gotten from 3rd
parties and that
have been languishing in files
are coming up
flawed under
scrutiny. The
PCAOB is issuing new guidance to help
companies develop internal
controls around a vendor or outsource
whose own controls are flawed or who
cannot provide SAS 70.
EUCs/Silos/(Interfaces and Conversions): EUC is a new acronym this
year. Last year, we were focusing on
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
spreadsheets. This year the term End
User Computing expands that concept
to include access databases and other
PC-based software packages that are
relied on for everything from payroll
calculations to pension management to
fixed asset accounting to amortization
schedules.These data “silos” have been
the number one cause of material
weaknesses because often the interface is manual. So there need to be new
/more controls over the interface
and/or conversion procedure, if these
EUCs must remain. But the best case
scenario is to automate those procedures, to integrate them into IT (the
company’s main application software).
Top-down, risk-based approach:
When the PCAOB recommended the
COSO framework, many companies
used it as a checklist and incorporated
every control listed into their own internal controls.This is viewed as a bottomup approach. The PCAOB is re- commending that we change our view to
top-down and risk-based.This means we
should start with the financial reports
that we are striving to protect and work
our way down through the chart of
accounts for the accounts that have the
most significant impact and then view
those with an eye for which ones are at
the greatest risk. (See figure 4.All figures
in this article are taken from IT Control
Objectives for Sarbanes-Oxley, 2nd Edition, IT Governance Institue, 2006.)
These will be what have been coined
our “key controls,” or relevant controls.
We should start there and possibly discard the other controls that we may
Continues on page 18
Join Us at the International
Spectrum Regional Conferences
Cincinnati, OH
Seattle, WA
Sydney, AUS
New Jersey
September 24 - 25, 2006
October 11 - 12, 2006
November 1 - 2, 2006
Kings Island
Holiday Inn Seattle
SeaTac Airport
Star City Hotel
& Casino
November 14 - 15, 2006
Sheraton at
Woodbridge Place
Learn from the Premier MultiValue Consultants at your
choice of 6 three-hour in-depth training sessions.
Expand your knowledge at vendor-sponsored training classes.
Learn about the new products, tools, and features available
to the MultiValue community.
Meet International Spectrum’s new owner, Nathan Rector,
and see his plans for the future.
Enjoy lunch and breakfast.
Network with others in your area who use the MultiValue databases.
All this for $595. Register today at www.intl-spectrum.com
Can’t get away for two days? DON’T MISS OUT!
For $35, join us for the User Group meeting, dinner,
and Vendor Fair on the first night of the conference.
In one evening you can…
Check out new products,
Talk with vendors, and
Network with other members of the MultiValue
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
QM, A New Approach
to MultiValue
Only $119 per user
10 year upgrades just $30
Proven for 4 years
Thousands in use
U2/Prime Compatibility
D3 extensions
Network Ready
Remote files
Client/server API
Useful bundled items:
AccuTerm + GUI
Coyote Web Server
Companion GUI/Web 4GLs
OpenTPH $30/user
Neucleus $72/user
Supported Platforms:
Windows 98, XP
Windows NT, 2000, 2003
BSD, Linux
GPL on Linux w/ source
Don’t make the mistake of placing
your career in the hands of just ANY
search firm. We are professionals who
understand the importance of
job search, and our database of clients
is one of the largest in the country.
Unlike the rest, we will work in YOUR
best interests’ to help you further your
career. Because of our dedication and
professionalism, we are recognized as
the leaders in the PICK/UniVerse/Unidata
placement industry in the Tri-State area
and throughout the U.S. So if you are
tired of putting yourself at the
mercy of the rest.
CALL THE BEST! Contact...
Matt Hart
1 Penn Plaza, Suite 3306
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(212) 967-0505
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Fax: (212)947-8593
Email: [email protected]
Consultants Needed Nationwide
The Third Year
Continued from page 16
IT General Controls are Controls embedded within IT process, overall. Such as
password protection and change control procedures. (See figure 2)
In many cases the application level
controls are actually already automated
in the software, but the business-
have overzealously included in our framework.
Rationalize Controls:
Control rationalization (or
elimination) is another initiative that should take
place in the sustainment
phase. Undoubtedly, there
will be some controls that
are documented that, over
time, become less and less
useful. Companies should
periodically review their
controls to identify which
controls can be eliminated from the
control listing. In doing so, consideration should be given to the impact of
removing a control and documentation prepared explaining the rationale
as to why the control was removed.
Baselining and benchmarking: The
PCAOB wants to use the word “benchmark,” but I’m not the only one who
thinks that the term baseline more nearly describes this concept.But whichever
word you use, this will quickly become
a favorite because it is a method of identifying what we don’t have to do.We can
“benchmark” a control that has not
changed since the last test by stating
that it has not changed and therefore
does not need to be tested.
Automating application controls and
reducing the number of general controls:Application Controls are controls
embedded within business process
applications that directly support
financial control objectives. Such controls can be found in most financial
applications.A very simple example of
an application control is insuring that
an invoice can not be generated for an
invalid customer, or perhaps for a customer that is over their credit limit.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
owner doesn’t know it, and the ITprocess owner doesn’t realize what it
is. It’s a matching error. So a company
can realize a huge savings by getting
business and IT owners together to
walk thru controls and find places
where manual testing and manual controls can be eliminated simply by identifying existing application controls.
Even if application controls need to be
developed into the application, the
time is well-invested.A manual control
that must be tested with a sample size
of (typically) 25 is considered acceptable with a sample size of one. Or to be
thorough, two—one that passes and
one that fails. So in the long run, automated application controls are more
reliable and will save time in test and
audit. (See figure 26)
The number of general controls can be
reduced as well. For example, most
auditors are coming around to the idea
that Operating System level and Network level general controls can be
moved out of scope. An astoundingly
revelatory statement was recently
made by the PCAOB to the effect that
General Controls can never (by themselves) result in a material weakness.
Company-level or entity-level controls can be put in place that are pervasive and may reduce the need to
test the general controls at a more
detailed level.
“Mapping” Many companies are saving money in the long run by investing
the time in mapping the control frameworks to each other so that the same
control is not tested under its COSO
control in the financial audit, and then
tested again under it’s Cobit control in
the IT audit. Since this mapping
reduces the number of tests that must
be performed by outside audit, it has a
direct and immediate impact on cost.
Self-assessment: Further reducing the
money spent on outside auditors, many
companies have instituted programs of selfassessment. This means
that there are independent individuals
(from newly formed
dedicated departments or just cross
testing for each other) that pre-test
before internal audit. It’s like a nested
internal audit — someone to check
things over even before the internal
audit takes place. This provides
departments and process-owners
the opportunity to fix problems
before they become public and costly.
Often, the results of the selfassessments can be relied upon by
internal audit and then by the outside auditors.
It looks to this observer like the
fourth year of Sarbanes-Oxley may be
both easier and more productive,
allowing organizations to find ways to
capitalize on the investments made
hurriedly over the past couple of
years. is
is the author
of PRC, a complete, integrated Software Development Life-cycle Management tool for MultiValue-based IT. She
has worked with MultiValue software
the beginning (hers and MultiValue’s)
has specialized in quality, compliance
and life-cycle productivity issues since
the early 1990’s.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
by Shannon Stoltz
Finding the
Right Fit
Recruiting and Hiring
MultiValue Programmers
ot hiring the
right person is
a costly mis-
take, especially
when hiring programmers.
The process of recruiting,
interview, and training new
employees costs money and
consumes time. But how
and where do you find that
right person?
The first step is to identify what you are looking for in a
programmer and what you need.
How much experience do you need?
According to Matt Hart, a Senior Recruiter at Execu-Sys,
the average MultiValue programmer has 15+ years of
experience. In the 1980s, several large companies were
each bringing 10-15 new MultiValue programmers into
the market per year. Today, employers are able to tap
into that experience.
However, finding relatively new MultiValue programmers can be challenge. “You
really have to search them out,” said Matt Hart. Hiring someone out of school and
training them, is “easier said than done,” according to Matt.“They usually have no
interest in this technology… they tend to be difficult to retain, leaving within six
Another possible source is a non-technical person already in your industry or business. Nathan Rector suggests getting “someone who has the business background
and teach them to program.” Citing the ease of MultiValue Basic and the design of
MultiValue systems, Nathan suggests that it is easier and faster to teach someone
MultiValue programming than it is to teach a programmer business.
“I’m confident we can train up and mentor the person we need,” said Brian McMahon, owner of PICK Programmer’s Shop, who advocates hiring the right person,
regardless of technical skills. PICK Programmer’s Shop’s formal mentoring program
grew out of their internal need to develop programmers’ skills and blossomed into
a service offering for their clients.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Hiring and training a new MultiValue
programmer does take time. According
to Brian, it can take anywhere from
three to six months for a new programmer to be fully productive.
Does industry or vertical software experience matter?
Do you have the time to
teach a programmer your
business, your industry,
and your software package? Typically it takes up
to a year for a programmer to really understand a new industry. If
you are looking for
someone who can be
productive on day one,
you probably want to
look for a programmer
who is familiar with
your industry and/or
your software package.
Do you need a
coder, an analyst,
or both?
On the other hand, McMahon said,“the
largest mistake I’ve witnessed is hiring
non-thinkers —programmers who don’t
or can’t think.” They have the coding
skills but have no other skill sets. If you
need a person who thinks about the
business, can meet
with people, inquire, take notes,
and solve problems, look for a
candidate with
these skills.
“The largest
mistake I’ve
According to Hart,
finding a programmer with good
interpersonal and
skills, who can
do the full project life cycle,
including analysis, and who is a
good coder is difficult. A multitiered interview
process and talking with references who were
former coworkers can help
shed light on a
people and communication skills.
is hiring
who don’t
or can’t
What do you really want
in a programmer? Someone who codes according to requirements and
standards or someone
who can perform the complete software development cycle? Do you need
someone who will enjoy sitting in a
cubicle all day coding or do you need
someone who likes working with users
on a day-to-day basis?
Larry Okeson, Executive Vice President
at Software Search, Inc, points out that
“for a programmer to do what they
need to do, they tend to be introverted,
a detailed person.” He warns that an outgoing programmer with great communications skills may not be the best person for a position that requires a lot of
coding with little people interaction.
Does the Programmer need
to be Promotable?
Is your focus on grooming a programmer for a future in management, or are
you primarily interested in filling the
current need? Hart reminds us, “Some
programmers don’t want to be promoted.” Okeson recommends “hiring a
person for the job they are going to be
doing, rather than for the future.”After
all, the average programmer stays in a
position for three to five years, and a
good programmer does not necessarily
make a good manager.
Finding Candidates
Once you have a good idea of what
kind of programmer you need, it’s time
to start your search. Since MultiValue
programming is a niche market, some
methods are more effective than others. The first choice however is
whether to perform your search yourself or use a recruiting firm.
Typically a recruiting firm expedites
the hiring process by providing highquality, pre-screened candidates who
can be productive immediately.
According to Okeson, of Software
Search, using a recruiter who specializes in MultiValue marketplace is more
effective than using a general search
firm.“They don’t have any idea of what
MultiValue is, so it pays to use us or
Matt [Hart of Execu-Sys].”
In the MultiValue marketplace, both
Software Search and Execu-Sys have
extensive databases of MultiValue professionals and years of personal connections to draw from. Both companies report that they can provide
clients with qualified resumes within
24 to 48 hours of a request.
“People are scared by the [recruiting]
fees,” said Hart, “but they don’t think
about the return on investment.” If a
client is serious and has the time for
the interview process, he said a client
can be interviewing qualified candidates within three to five days.
In addition to screening candidates for
MultiValue experience, both recruiting firms cross-reference for the vertical industry and MultiValue software
experience. They both also check references, talking not only to the provided references but also others in
their personal network who have
worked with or side-by-side with the
Continues on page 22
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Finding the
checking references. Most successful
searches employ a three-step interview process, involving a preliminary
phone screening, an in-person interview, and a follow-up interview.
Right Fit
Continued from page 21
But using a recruiter isn’t for everyone.
If you have the time and the resources,
performing your own search is also an
option. The most effective means is
through networking. McMahon said
“word of mouth” is the most effective
recruiting technique for PICK Programmer’s Shop. Though, he does also
save all resumes that have been submitted to him through their web site.
ster.com ad can yield 80-100 responses, of which only a handful are qualified candidates. Software Search runs
their ads on CareerBuilder.com and
uses Monster.com to search for new
resumes. McMahon has tried newspapers and online advertising, but found
it to be ineffective.
“We know all the companies who are
running MultiValue systems in our
area,” said McMahon.“We can generally
call someone up and say ‘Hey, we’re
looking for the right person…’”
No matter how you find your candidates, the most important step is finding the right fit.That can only be done
through an interview process and by
Finding the Right Fit
The general consensus is that newspaper advertising and online advertising
can be time consuming and relatively
ineffective. According to Hart, a Mon-
Successful candidates usually show job
stability, a good work ethic, an ability to
handle multiple responsibilities, technical skills or aptitudes, and an attitude
and goals that align with the company.
The final interview often includes time
with potential coworkers to ensure a
good team fit.
Once you find that fit, be prepared to
make a decision and an offer. Hart tells
us that in today’s active market, “Time
kills deals.” Companies are losing out on
candidates when too much time goes by
between the interview and the offer. is
S T O L T Z is a freelance writer specializing in business
and technology. Have you solved a business problem with your MultiValue system? Let us share your solution with our readers. To be featured in a future
case study, contact Shannon at [email protected]
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Zumasys Named to CRN’s
Fast-Growth 100 List
Zumasys announced that
the company has been named
one of the 100 fastest grow-
continue to gain more strate-
advocate for and voice of the
gic relevance to our cus-
Channel, Solution Providers
tomers and as they outsource
turn to CRN first for immedi-
more of their IT, we expect our
ate information. With more
strong growth to continue.”
than 20 years of experience,
Zumasys offers national onsite installation services, tele-
ing solution providers by
phone support, disaster
Computer Reseller News
recovery, and business conti-
(CRN), a CMP Media maga-
nuity planning and managed
zine. Growing net sales by
services agreements for cus-
60%, Zumasys is one of 25
tomers looking to outsource
companies to appear on the
their IT infrastructure. The
list in both 2005 and 2006.
company was formed in Sep-
CRN’s Fast-Growth 100 iden-
tember 2000. Zumasys is
tifies the 100 fastest growing
headquartered in Lake Forest,
solution providers across all
CA with a Northern California
specialty areas and business
office in San Jose.
models. The profiles and data
CRN is the most trusted
source for 117,000 channel
professionals. CRN is published by CMP Media, a marketing solutions company
serving the technology,
healthcare and lifestyles
industries. Through its market-leading portfolio of trusted information brands, CMP
Media has earned the confidence of more professionals
and enthusiasts in these
fields than any other media
“As the channel’s vital
company. As a result, CMP
resource, CRN is solely
is the premier provider of
focused on the Solution
access, insight and actionable
Provider community. This list,
programs designed to con-
created by our editorial team,
nect sellers and buyers in
recognizes the Solution
each of these industries in
Zumasys specializes in imple-
Providers that have worked
ways that yield superior
menting innovative IT solu-
tirelessly to support their
return on investment. CMP
tions that reduce costs and
customers. We salute them
Media is a subsidiary of
boost productivity. Zumasys
on their superior growth,”
United Business Media
enjoys fast growth and high
said Dan Dignam, publisher
customer satisfaction by lis-
of CRN.
media.com), a global
developed by CRN’s editorial
staff provide insight into which
models and technology are
proving to be the most
tening to the needs of the
provider of news distribution
customer, building strong relationships, and custom tailoring
multi-vendor technology solutions that deliver results.
About Computer
Reseller News
and specialist information
CRN provides Solution
than $3 billion. Providers and Technology
“Two years ago we recommit-
Integrators with
ted ourselves to providing
the crucial
excellent customer service,
and we began offering several
and analysis
new and innovative support
they need to
offerings. The response from
drive their
our customers has been
incredible,” stated Paul Giobbi,
sales. As an
services with a market
capitalization of more
Zumasys, Inc.
20472 Crescent Bay Drive
Suite 104
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Tel. (949) 334-0287; Fax (949) 334-0287
[email protected]
president of Zumasys. “As we
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
jBASE User Conference:
Spring 2007 - Florida
Product Roadmap: a look
MultiValue / Microsoft .NET
into the future from the jBASE
Development Team.
Integration: a demonstration
using Visual Studio .NET as
the development environment
for a complete jBASE
Upgrading to Release 4.1.5:
A jBASE User Conference
for sites who wish to investigate upgrading their 3.4
installation to Release 4.
is currently under considerAdvanced Compilation
ation for the spring of
2007 in Florida. The
Techniques: various usages
of jcompile on 4.1, including
the setup and usage of make
and makefiles.
Source Code Control:
options and strategies for
using source code control
software (i.e. Perforce,
CVS, Subversion, etc.) with
jBASE and jBC.
jBASE Case Studies: see
jBASE Tips & Tricks: a range
objective of this conference
is to provide a forum to
of topics including file sizing,
system performance tuning,
phantom processes, and
database structure.
share ideas, to learn from
Application Profiling: how
the experience of fellow
to analyze your applications
to determine potential bottlenecks or trouble spots within
the application code.
what can be achieved when
the power and flexibility of
jBASE is put to work.
Supporting jBASE: arm Help
Desk staff with the fundamental jBASE knowledge needed
to help answer questions
from a jBASE perspective
And many, many more: your
suggestions are welcomed!
users, and to discuss
Transaction Journaling:
products and issues within
the jBASE community. A
wide range of topics from
product direction, building
explore the various ways that
you can increase the reliability,
availability and redundancy of
your information by taking
advantage of jBASE transaction logging techniques, hotstand-by configurations, and
the latest in transactional
management methods.
jBASE Remote Connectivity
real life solutions, and
Services: delve into the inner
advice from the developers
workings of this true client-server connectivity library which
leverages the power of jBASE.
are being considered. The
DREM: Data at Rest Encryp-
BONUS: Visual Studio Development for MultiValue Data
jBASE Partner, BlueFinity
International, will be hosting a
one day seminar in the same
location immediately after the
jBASE User Conference!
This would be an excellent
opportunity to learn how
BlueFinity’s products enable
developers on any MultiValue
platform to take advantage of
the powerful Microsoft .NET
framework. And what’s more,
it’s free to jBASE conference
tion Module: learn all about
following is just a sample
of possible sessions:
this powerful new cross-platform jEDI that supports 128bit encryption and decryption
of data at the file system level.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Discover how to:
• Use .NET to create stunning MultiValue applications
in less time
• Liberate MultiValue data
through the full feature set of
Microsoft Reporting Services
• Profit from the new markets
being created by Microsoft
Binary Star Brings
• Exploit the latest Microsoft
technology while still leveraging all the traditional benefits of MultiValue
• Utilize effective tools to deliver rich client, web and web
services based applications
Your input is needed!
The jBASE User Conference
2007 can only take place
with your participation.
Please take a moment to fill
out the questionnaire at
www.jbase.com to help to
further plan for the event. If
there is enough interest in
the conference, dates and
locations will be announced
soon. Your suggestions can
help to make the jBASE User
Conference 2007 a success
Call for Speakers
Everyone at jBASE believes
strongly that customer-to-customer communication benefits the whole community. You
are invited to join jBASE in
making the User Conference
2007 event a better learning
experience. If you have a
topic that you think would be
of interest and you would like
to speak, please email
[email protected] P R O D U C T S
to MultiValue
Binary Star Development Corporation, the makers of the NUCLEUS, have
announced the immediate availability of NuWiki, the first Wiki for MultiValue platforms.
According to Lee Bacall, President of Binary Star, “Wikis are the hot topic in IT today.
They are quite possibly the killer-app for the next few years as businesses look to them
as a means of collaborative documentation.”
Bacall added, “Unlike most commercial Wiki packages in the market today that involve
a wide array of scripting languages and databases such as MySQL, NuWiki runs entirely
inside the MultiValue environment, so Pick shops can leverage their existing talent
without a huge learning curve.”
“NuWiki is much more than a documentation platform. It’s a new way of looking at
database applications that defy normalization to standardized input routines. One Wiki
site we know of is a large California bank who uses Wiki to track their in-house PC’s.
When a tech needs to know about a particular system, she can open the Wiki topic for
that machine, see its entire work history, and record any changes made to the system.
They love it. It simplifies paperwork and data-entry, and the data is always up to date.”
“Harvey pulled another rabbit out of his hat on this one,” Bacall said, referring to Harvey
Rodstein, the Chief Developer of NuWiki. Working closely with Jonathan E. Sisk, Chief
Editor, they researched how other Wikis worked and emulated the best of the features
into a surprisingly robust and feature-rich product.”
NuWiki can be seen and experienced at NuWiki.com. No registration is required to visit
NuWiki, but is required to Contribute to or change topics. And just like all of the public
Wikis, all changes and revisions to topics are logged in case a rollback to a previous version is ever required.
Additional details will be
posted to www.jbase.com
as they become available.
A number of NuWiki service plans are available, including publicly hosted and privately
hosted configurations. Custom installations on your own equipment to support unique
security and management concerns of any organization are available. Please contact
Lee Bacall toll-free at 866-882-1888, or +1 (954)791-8575 for more
information. I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
New Products
Informer Web
Reporting System v3.2
other with a single click. We
envision communities quickly
cropping up among each
group of our software VAR
Entrinsik Inc. proudly
announces the general
release of Informer
version 3.2, the culmination of months of
redesign and feature
ary fields they find useful,
quartered in Raleigh,
and to give those fields nontechnical descriptions. This
in turn allows Informer users
outside the IT staff to create
NC, provides software
and services focused
on the IBM U2 family
and modify reports without
requiring extensive knowl-
of database products.
Brad Leupen, Chief Technical
requiring IT resources to get
is the industry leader
Officer at Entrinsik. “By
to the data they need.
for reporting systems
exposing Informer’s business
Informer users become
logic API to the end-user via
empowered to access their
Web Services and RMI, we
data, and to customize the
UniData. Their SEMtek
have effectively enabled an
view to their requirements.
product is an enterprise
“This 3.2 release represents
solution for continuing
entirely new class of U2Now you can embed
your intranet or desktop
reporting solution vendor for
applications. This new Web
the IBM U2 family of data-
Service and RMI façade is
base products. “This release
also an exciting new feature
contains many new feature
for their growing base of
requests from our growing
OEM customers – many of
customer base,” according
whom are embedding
to Andrew Moravati,
Informer directly and seam-
Informer Product Manager.
“We are particularly excited
5 years of listening to our
customer requests and
Entrinsik’s Informer
Web Reporting System
for UniVerse and
education, training, and
developing the most feature
conference providers.
rich web reporting tool for
Founded in 1984 and
UniVerse and UniData,” said
Doug Leupen, President and
in the MultiValue mar-
CEO. “We are confident
ket since, Entrinsik aims
Informer is the most mature,
to provide leading edge
powerful, intuitive web
reporting software for the
technology and unsur-
U2 market.”
passed service to their
lessly into existing legacy
For more information
customers. For more
about Informer Web
information visit Entrin-
about the new Informer
Unique to Informer is the
notable ease of use for
report consumers, accomplished through the Informer
Meta File – an abstraction of
Entrinsik, Inc. head-
drastic decrease in users
tation as the best in class
reporting only those diction-
base structure, resulting in a
definitions directly within
share reports with each
files together and define for
uct underpinnings,” said
Informer reports and Meta
base application software to
edge of the underlying data-
mitment to maintain its repu-
customers using the same
allow technical users to link
changed much of the prod-
again demonstrates a com-
Community Feature, allowing
IBM U2 systems. Meta Files
“With this release, we also
data-driven applications.
With Informer v3.2, Entrinsik
the common dictionary in
Reporting Software including
a complete list of all of the
sik at http://www.entrin-
new features of 3.2, visit
sik.com or call
Entrinsik’s Web Site at
1.919.848.4828. www.entrinsik.com/Informer.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
by Shannon Stoltz
Thomas Home Center
Upgrade to D3
and Windows Terminal
Server Reduces
Company’s Overhead
“Without the computer system,
we’re dead,” says Tom Rector,
president and owner of Thomas
Home Center, a manufacturing
and retail operation serving the
home improvement and new construction market. Located in
McKinleyville, California, Thomas
Home Center is a multi-faceted
business covering retail hardware,
equipment rentals, overhead
doors, cabinets, trusses, and
pre-hung doors.
The business’ day-to-day operations
rely on its custom MultiValue-based
software. Over the last twenty years,
the company has built and adapted
their software to meet their growing
business needs. Today, quoting, bidding, and ordering processing for all
areas of the business are integrated
with inventory, cash registers, delivery
dispatch, accounting, payroll, and
human resources. Continues on page 30
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Thomas Home Center
Continued from page 29
Outgrowing AP/Pro
The company came to the MultiValue
market in 1987 when Tom upgraded
the company’s IBM System/32 computers to a PICK-based Fujitsu system.
“I wanted something that allowed us
to be much more self-sufficient in
hardware and software management. I
found that PICK was much simpler to
work with.” In the early 90s, the company outgrew its Fujitsu
system and moved to
AP/Pro running on a PC.
Last year, they outgrew
their computer system
again. The AP/Pro system
was only licensed for 32
people, but they had 50
users who needed computer access. On Wednesdays,when all the employees were in the office, not
everyone could sign on.
Since the company and
the number of employees
needing computer access
continues to grow, they
needed more licenses.
The existing system could
not grow any further.
Maintenance was becoming a headache.
Adding software was “a nightmare.”Any
Decisions to Make
They had two choices: 1) continue to
piece the system together bit by bit, or
2) change everything
out. Because the business is so reliant on the
computer system, the
decision was made to
price what it would take
to upgrade everything:
servers, workstations,
phones, and fax.
Because the
system easily
allows them to
evolve their
software with
the changing
needs, they
did not
moving off
of the
In addition to the AP/Pro
system, the company also
had a fax server, a Windows file server, an email/web server, and 30
different PC-based workstations all running on a
stand-alone attached network.Many of the PCs were Pentium I’s
running Windows 95 or Windows 98
and being primarily used as dumb terminals because the hardware couldn’t
support other Windows-based
time a new person started or moved to
different area, or even needed new software,an IT person had to physically go to
that computer to make the changes.
Power outages during the winter months
added to the maintenance overhead.
Because the MultiValue
system easily allows
them to evolve their
current software with
the changing business
needs, they did not consider moving off of the
Instead they decided to
take the natural upgrade
path from AP/Pro to
Having a “high level of
trust with Zumasys”from
past purchases, they
talked with Zumasys
about the choices for
hardware. According to
Rector, they wanted to
stay with “generic [nonproprietary] hardware” because they’ve
found it to have more upgrade options,
easier to get parts, and less expensive.
In the end, they chose two HP ML350
servers, one running D3/Linux and the
other running Windows 2003.The Windows 2003 server replaced the email/internet server, fax server, and
Windows file server.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
They chose to replace all but seven
workstations with HP Thin Clients.
Running active directory and terminal
services on the Windows 2003 server
allowed them to run both Windows
applications and their MultiValue software on the thin clients, without the
maintenance and overhead of PC
workstations. Seven workstations were
needed to run graphics-intensive CAD
and engineering programs.
To address the power outages, they
decided to replace their UPS systems,
which yielded 20 minutes of auxiliary
power, with a generator that could run
not just the computer systems, but also
the entire building,including phones and
lights,for the duration of a power outage.
Expecting Implementation Problems
‘We went into it assuming the upgrade
would not go smoothly,” said Rector.
“All upgrades have problems. Philosophically, we believed, one, things
weren’t going to go perfectly, and two,
we couldn’t anticipate everything. We
built the implementation around that
They implemented in two stages: a preliminary test and then full implementation. Early on, they identified the
processes that were no longer compatible and tested the hardware.
“Linux is new to us and new in its abilities,” he said. “We took a file-save and
loaded it on the new hardware and did
our learning that way—looking for the
obvious.There’s always a reality behind
the sales literature. We were looking
for the reality.”
Reaping the Benefits
Overall, they replaced the AP/Pro system with D3/Linux and experienced a
10x improvement in responsiveness
and speed as well as improved reliability.The Windows 2003 server replaced
three independent servers. Fifteen
workstations were replaced with HP
Thin Clients connected with Windows
Terminal Services. Seven CAD and
Engineering workstations were con-
nected using Active Directory and Windows Terminal Services.
Each employee has their own Windows desktop on the server. So no matter which thin client an employee
signs on to, all of their software and
settings follow them. For personnel
who share or float between workstations (thin clients), like retail sales personnel and backup receptionists, the
ability to perform their normal daily
duties at any workstation improves
Taking advantage of the centralized
security management, a utility was
added to the payroll and HR management system to automate adds,
removes,and changes based on employee status changes. If a new employee is
hired, the utility automatically creates
all the user profile and security needed
for that person and their position. If an
employee moves from accounting to
sales, then the utility automatically
removes the accounting authority and
adds the sales authority.
The new configuration also allowed
for better e-mail integration, implementation of instant messaging with
the appropriate security, and more
secure web access and monitoring.
Enhanced business continuity was also
a benefit to the new system. Not only
does the new generator ensure they
stay in business while competitors are
without power, the new operating system adds new backup procedures they
hadn’t had access to before and the
hardware has redundancies built into
it.“We’re dead without it,” said Rector.
“We needed to have a system that
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The centralized security management
and centralized application software
and deployment available with Windows Terminal Services cut the time
spent maintaining the computer system. Now, instead of spending a day
setting up a new workstation—unloading pre-loaded software and loading
new software—a thin client can be
unboxed and connected to the network in a few minutes.
could be saved…and reloaded on
another box quickly.”
According to Tom Rector, the upgrade
to D3/Linux and Windows 2003 server
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running Active Directory and Windows
Terminal Services has been a positive
move for Thomas Home Center; “It’s
nice to have a system you don’t have
to think about. It’s just there.” is
S T O L T Z is a freelance writer specializing in business
and technology. Have you solved a business problem with your MultiValue
system? Let us share your solution with our readers.To be featured in a future
case study, contact Shannon at [email protected]
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
ne of the many concerns to occupy web
application developers
is authentication. As
organizations increasingly deploy essential systems for
browser access, hand-coding secure
verification is no longer an option. For
the sanity of all involved, web application frameworks need to provide a
level of integrated security out of the
box that is as simple to manage and
straightforward to implement as their
traditional counterparts.
With ASP.NET 2.0, Microsoft added a
number of key technologies to address
some of the difficulties faced by web
application designers, including site
navigation and login security.With only
minimal effort,ASP.NET 2.0 developers
can secure their applications using
simple controls for verifying and registering users, presenting alternate
views for authenticated and anonymous users, and for enabling or disabling access to various sections of a
web site using role-based security.
good news is that Microsoft has made
it relatively simple to add customized
security classes that can integrate neatly both with the ASP.NET 2.0 runtime
at the front end and with MultiValue
data at the back end.
Security Providers
Security and role management, along
with many of the new facilities in .NET
2.0, are handled by specialist classes
called Providers.This “provider model”
is deliberately designed to offer maximum flexibility and extensibility. You
can replace the existing providers
with your own custom providers to
match the way you need to work.
For this article, I will present an
ASP.NET 2.0 web site interacting with
a UniVerse or UniData database
through RedBack, but the same principles apply using another MultiValue
database and the connection of your
Membership and Roles
The ASP.NET 2.0 security model is useful in its own right, but the real test
comes when you need to integrate
web security with existing application
security, such as that usually found in
mature MultiValue systems. Preferably
this means keeping credentials in one
Membership facilities are presented
through visual components that can be
added to a web application.At the heart of FIGURE 1
this are three Web UI
components: the CreateUserWizard, LoginView, and the Login
controls (Figure 1).
ASP.NET 2.0 typically uses SQL Server
Express to maintain a database of user
and role definitions, using a built-in
role manager. Microsoft also provides
out-of-the-box role managers for SQL
Server and for Active Directory. The
The Login control
(on top) presents the
user interface for validation. The CreateUserWizard control
(beneath) presents
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
the user interface for registration. User
credentials are created here, or by
using an ASP.NET configuration page
(Figure 2), launched from the Website
menu within Visual Studio, that sets
up users and roles.
Authentication can be implemented in
three ways.
Location Security
First, an ASP.NET 2.0 web site can be
divided into a number of locations
using a folder structure. Each location
can be associated with a set of access
restrictions in the web.config file. Navigation controls, such as the menu and
tree view controls, are aware
of the location
restrictions and
will not display
For example,
you may have a
series of pages
that between
them provide
the site administration functionality.To
secure all of these in a single operation, simply place them in a nominated
directory (here named AdminPages)
and restrict those to a role (here called
Administrators) as shown in Figure 3.
<location path=”AdminPages”>
<allow roles=”Administrators”/>
<deny users=”*”/>
Runtime Role Checking
Second,ASP.NET 2.0 pages can test for
the logged in user identity and user
roles at run time through the System.Web.Security.Roles class. Use this
to provide user-specific content or to
enable or disable features through
code (Figure 4).
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Finally, the LoginView control is a container that presents one of two separate
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views at runtime: one for authenticated
users and one for users
who have not logged
user id, signalling that you are now
Protected Sub EnableSaveButton()
into the website.
Dim CurrentUser As String
For example,a login page
Next, you can do the same using a cusCurrentUser = Context.User.Identity.Name
may present the Login
tom membership provider.
If CurrentUser <> “” Then
controls within a LoginIf Roles.IsUserInRole(CurrentUser, “Administrators”) Then
View for non-authenticatSaveButton.Enabled = True
Creating a Custom
End If
ed users only, and a sepaMembership Provider
End If
rate welcome message
Membership validation is carried out
End Sub
for authenticated users.
by a System.Web.Security.MemberAdding Membership Validation
to a Website
To see the Membership verification,create a new ASP.Net web site and add a
LoginView control to the Default.aspx
page. This offers two views. Select the
AnonymousTemplate view and place a
LoginUser and CreateUserWizard control into this view. The result should
look similar to Figure 1.
Next, select the LoggedInUser view
and type in the text “You are logged in
as “. Place a LoginName control next to
the text. The LoginName control displays the user’s Login Id.
Finally add the lines shown in Figure 5
into your web.config file:
Select the Website->ASP.net Configuration from the Visual Studio menus to
show the Website Administration page
in Figure 2. Click the Security tag and
add a new user named demo with an
appropriate password.
Finally, run your project.You will see a
page with the Login panel presented.
Log in as demo with your password,
and the view will change to show the
login welcome message and your
shipProvider class.
The standard ASP.NET 2.0 membership
details are:
User id
Email address (for password reminders)
Password question (optional)
Password question answer (optional)
<roleManager enabled=”true”/>
<authentication mode=”Forms”>
<forms loginUrl=”Default.aspx” protection=”Validation” timeout=”300” />
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Customizing ASP.NET 2.0 Security
Continued from page 33
For simplicity, create a file
named NET_USERS in a RedBack enabled account as
shown in Figure 6.
Field Name
Because the data is held in a
single file, we can access this
using a simple uObject RBO.
This is a RedBack Business Object with
built-in methods for reading and writing data to a file.
Start the RedBack Designer and open a
connection to the account holding the
NET_USERS file. Create a new RedBack
module named SECURITY, and within
that create a new RBO using a uObject
as the parent.
Name the new object uoUser, and complete the definition with the fields from
the NET_USERS file as seen in Figure 7.
Field No
App_Code as the save location. At the
start of the class, enter the text:
Inherits System.Web.Security.MembershipProvider.
Visual Studio will automatically fill out
the required members in your class
(Figure 8).
As a minimum, you
need to implement the
CreateUser and ValidateUser functions.
Add the declaration
and rough-and-ready
functions shown in
Figure 9 to instantiate
the uoUser RBO and
to read and write
data, substituting your
own connection name.
Creating the Website User Details
As always, test the RBO using the RedBack scoping tool before using it in
Building the Provider
To create the new provider, open your
web application in Visual Studio 2005.
If using RedBack, you will need to create a reference to the RedPages library
for the project. Click on Website->Add
Reference and choose the RedPages
type library from the COM tab.
Next, you need a custom provider to
read and write membership information to the NET_USERS file using the
uoUser RBO you created above.
Select Website-> New Item and choose
the Class template. Name the class
RBMembershipProvider and accept
Your web application needs to be told
to use the new provider in place of the
standard SQL Express provider. Insert
the text from Figure 12 into the system.web section of your web.config
file to instruct ASP.NET 2.0 to use your
new provider as the Default membership provider.
Testing the Custom Provider
Run the web application and complete
the Registration details for a new user
using the CreateUserWizard control.
Click the Create User button.This will
call the CreateUser function in your
new provider and will update the
NET_USERS file with the details of the
new user.
Public Class RBMembershipProvider
Inherits MembershipProvider
Public Overrides Property ApplicationName() As String
End Get
Set(ByVal value As String)
End Set
End Property
Public Overrides Function ChangePassword(ByVal username As
String, ByVal oldPassword As String, ByVal newPassword As String)
As Boolean
End Function
Now to implement
the CreateUser function. This is called
from the CreateUserWizard that you
added to your web page to register a
new user.The function is passed a list of
parameters from the registration control and returns both a status and a new
MembershipUser object (Figure 10).
Login User Validation
The ValidateUser function authenticates
against the supplied username and password,though you can add your own validations, logging or ancillary processing
into the function (Figure 11).
The CreateUser and ValidateUser methods
will suffice to demonstrate the custom
provider. Other functions are equally
self-explanatory and can be completed
at your leisure.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Using the Provider
Once the user details have been
stored, they can be used to test the
login validation.
Further Stages
You can complete your custom provider
by implementing the remaining functions: amending the user details, assigning new passwords, emailing password
reminders, and returning lists of users
for the administration pages.
You can extend the provider in other
directions by including your own features within the published functions.
You might, for example, wish to keep
track of logged in users, add your own
audit logs, and provide additional validation. You might wish to enhance
Private ro As REDPAGESLib.RedObject
<membership defaultProvider=”RBMembershipProvider”>
<add name=”RBMembershipProvider”
Private Function InitRBO() As Boolean
Dim RBOName As String = “”
RBOName = “SECURITY:uoUser”
ro = New REDPAGESLib.RedObject
ro.Open2(ConnectionName, RBOName, “”, “”, “”)
Catch ex As Exception
Return False
End Try
Return True
End Function
Public Overrides Function ValidateUser(ByVal username As String,
ByVal password As String) As Boolean
If InitRBO() Then
If ReadUser(username) Then
If password = ro.Property(“PASSWORD”).Value Then
Return True
End If
End If
End If
End Function
Private Function ReadUser(ByVal UserId As String) As Boolean
Dim prop As REDPAGESLib.RedProperty
prop = ro.Property(“ID”)
prop.Value = UserId
Catch ex As Exception
Return False
End Try
Return True
Public Overrides Function CreateUser(ByVal username As String, ByVal password As String,
End Function
ByVal email As String, ByVal passwordQuestion As String, ByVal passwordAnswer As String,
ByVal isApproved As Boolean, ByVal providerUserKey As Object, ByRef status As
Private Function WriteUser() As Boolean
System.Web.Security.MembershipCreateStatus) As System.Web.Security.MembershipUser
If InitRBO() Then
Catch ex As Exception
Return False
If ReadUser(username) Then
End Try
If ro.Property(“PASSWORD”).Value <> “” Then
Return True
‘ user already exists ...
End Function
status = MembershipCreateStatus.DuplicateUserName
Return Nothing
End If
your uoUser RBO to call existing security subroutines.
The MembershipProvider is limited to
membership validation. To make full
use of role based security, you can
implement a custom System.Web.Security.RoleProvider using exactly the
same techniques. The RoleProvider
contains a simpler series of methods
for adding or deleting roles, and for
assigning users to those roles. is
ro.Property(“PASSWORD”).Value = password
ro.Property(“EMAIL”).Value = email
ro.Property(“PASSWORD_QUESTION”).Value = passwordQuestion
ro.Property(“PASSWORD_ANSWER”).Value = passwordAnswer
If WriteUser() Then
status = MembershipCreateStatus.Success
Return New MembershipUser(“RBMembershipProvider”, username,
Nothing, email, passwordQuestion, Nothing, True, False, Now,
Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing)
End If
End If
End If
status = MembershipCreateStatus.ProviderError
Return Nothing
End Function
is a UK
based U2 consultant specializing in
client/server and web development,
education services and tools. He has
In the May/June 2006 issue, we misspelled
Revelation Software’s product name in the title
of their article, “Ajax and OpenInsight.”
used UniVerse since 1990, VB and Delphi from their earliest days, and .NET
President of the U2UG. Contact him at:
In that same issue, the screen image shown on
the IBM SB+ 4GL Briefing was incorrect. This
is the correct Order Entry screen.
[email protected] or www.bri-
We apologize for the errors.
since it became useful. Brian is Vice
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Inventory for
(Part IV)
Nightly Morphing Dynamic Data
Inventory changes when you sell it, move it, or consume
it. Morphing data is different. It can change in meaningful
ways without needing any of the traditional mechanisms.
Other People’s Inventory
Obviously, if you are in the shipping business, you will
spend time managing other people’s inventory. However,
both overtly and covertly, many other businesses are running third party inventories. When you go to the supermarket, in many cases, you are looking at shelves which
have, in effect, been rented to suppliers and manufacturers.The laundry detergent you just bought from the local
supermarket doesn’t necessarily belong to them. It may
well be third-party.
Fulfillment houses, consignment stores, and many other
diverse businesses are overtly or covertly in the business of
storing,selling,giving,or holding other people’s goods.The
examples and the variations are nearly endless. The challenges which arise are much more definable.
This inventory is significantly different from your own in
many ways. The issue of ownership must affect how
inventory is handled by your computer system. For example, other people’s inventory has a value but it doesn’t
have a valuation. The difference is that value affects
things like insurance while valuation affects things like
the net worth of your company. A courier service who
ships diamonds needs to track the value (for insurance)
but they would be committing fraud if they added the
diamonds to the company valuation.
Another key point is that others people’s inventory will
increase without you buying more or making more. It can
decrease without sales or shrinkage (that’s the technical
term for loss of inventory due to damage or theft). If it is
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
theirs, they can take it back without paying you. They
can send more without your asking for it.
Other People’s Data
There’s also a secondary revenue opportunity with thirdparty inventory. If you hold it and count it, you will be
generating reports and inquires about it. This ability to
report it can be sold as a service. An excellent example
is the ability to track shipments by order number.
My friend Steve Christ used to, in the days of poor computer integration, move a pushpin along a map each day
to estimate, based on normal shipping times, how close
the boat from China was likely to be. He couldn’t query
the shipping company back then, so estimation was his
only tool. Nowadays, I take my ‘1Z’ number, pop on to the
UPS website, and track it myself. That tracking tool cuts
down on calls asking “where’s my package,”and that translates into savings for everyone who ships with UPS.With
all the major players and many second tier players offering
these sort of services, their customers (the shippers) save
money and their ultimate customers (the receivers) get
excellent service.
So, even if I’m a very small player, I can multiply my value
to customers by tracking part numbers, quantities, selling
patterns, and other facts that I have simply by having
their inventory. By doing this better, faster, easier, we can
turn the IT work of inventory into a profit center in third
party situations.
Virtual Inventory
Go to iTunes and download a song.You’ve now touched
the ultimate in (Just in Time) manufacturing. As we discussed in the last installment, downloadable music and
software are categories where we build finished goods
without consuming raw materials. Since it is generally
created at need — at the moment of download — it
doesn’t become inventory until it is sold.We still need to
think of it as another form of morphing inventory.
Since this inventory just sort of “appears”as it goes to the
customer, we could be tempted to say it isn’t inventory,
but we’d be going down a disastrous path.This magically appearing inventory still requires delivery confirmation, a return/refund policy, and all the other things that
define it as real inventory. If for no other reason than that
it has a financial value, it has to be tracked as you would
track any other sold item.
You could apply similar concerns to the generated forms
business. Let’s say you are a fulfillment house working
with colleges and you agree to manage the generation of
acceptance letters.The letter has no cash value, but as a
father of college-aged girls, I know the importance of
making sure it was delivered in an auditable, timely fashion. Even if the letters were delivered by e-mail—making
them even less inventory intensive than paper mail—
you would still need careful inventory control.
A broken air conditioner can void entire inventories.
Contamination can turn Prime Beef into hazardous
waste. Certain types of inventory have a shelf life or
value proposition that can be severely altered by environmental factors. Don’t just limit your thinking to food
items or other perishables. Ice (wet or dry) only exists in
certain controlled conditions. Just try shipping wool
sweaters that have been stored in a damp place and
you’ll see the shipping weight go up and the quality of
goods go down.
While environment effects inventory, it also effects
demand. Since demand reduces inventory, we don’t just
care about the temperature in the warehouse. We need
to look outside as well.You sell air conditioners cheaper
in the dead of winter. You sell fewer snow shovels if it
doesn’t snow. My brother-in-law who works for P.C.
Richard knows when they will be selling more barbeque
grills and when they’ll be selling more space heaters.Ask
the local florist and they’ll tell you that every flower has
a peak selling seasons.
Some stock is affected by the passage of time. If you stock
milk, no matter how carefully you store it, it will cease to
be salable after a set amount of time. Other inventory has
softer boundaries on when it will age out. For example,
when I worked for Quick International Courier, we
stocked leeches. Now, while no one stamped a “use by”or
“sell by” date on the blood suckers, they will certainly
become, shall we say, ineffective after a certain point.
By contrast, some things get better with age. A wine
inventory can keep gaining value, just by being held.
Other inventories follow more chaotic patterns. An
inventory of stock certificates can gain value, lose value,
or become worthless, just by being held.
The inventory most affected by time is time itself. If you
think about it, many professionals sell their time. Since
you can’t sell June 2006 hours in December 2006, every
service-based business which engages in time-based
billing is running a system with morphing inventory.
While you may not track hours as inventory, they do have
a potential value, and they are delivered to specific people or businesses with an expectation of cash return.
Time can change inventory salability, value, and category.
In summary, normal inventory usually starts with a purchase order (bought) or a bill of materials (manufactured). These morphic inventories can also start with a
shipment (other people’s inventory), a conversion (juice
into wine, stock into successor stock), or JIT creation
(music files, software, pay-per-view TV). Normal inventory usually ends with a shipment (sale) or a variance
(shrinkage—damage and loss—accounted during a physical inventory). Morphic inventory can also age out (food
stuffs), suffer thermal shock (livestock, frozen goods), or
perhaps it just evaporates (dry ice).
Writing software to handle this range breaks the normal
mold of buy-build-store-sell-ship.At the same time, we are
faced with the challenge of making some or all of this
work without breaking the parts of the system which
should enforce the traditional mold. If you look at advertisements for software and systems lately, you see words
like agile, on demand, and responsive. Our MultiValue
systems have an edge in all of these areas. It’s up to us as
designers and implementers to keep that edge by writing responsive, agile software that provides information
on demand. IS
C H A R L E S B A R O U C H is the CTO for
Key Ally, Inc. and Mount Olympus Systems,
Inc. He is also President of the U2UG and a
regular Spectrum Magazine contributor.
Charles Barouch [email protected] - Consulting; [email protected]
pus.us - ETL/Migration/Integration; (718) 762-3884x1
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
4 GL Briefing —
to be device independent. If you want
to deploy on a PC or
Mac running an
emulation of a green
screen, yeah, that
works. Or, attach the
StarSite interface and
deploy the same
code on the web. Or
incorporate it into
.NET. Use a GUI, like
AccuTerm’s if you
prefer. You get the
same set of rules. If
you have dumb terminals in the warehouse,they work,too.
Lee Bacall is the
President of Binary
Star. We sat down to
talk about his 4GL,
the history between
him and Nucleus
Architect, Harvey
Rodstein, John Sisk’s
new project, and
some insights into
what’s next.
S P E C T R U M : You and Harvey
Rodstein are the two stars of Binary
Star. How did you and Harvey meet?
Bacall: I met Harvey at a class that he
was teaching for JES. Harvey told all of
us that one day we would write programs around the data dictionaries.We
all walked out shaking our heads, but
we knew that if Harvey was saying it, it
would eventually be true.
I was blown away. I made a point of it
to get to know Harvey real well after
that. So, in 1985, he and I started a company, BinaryStar development, and had
our first client a week later.
We started developing the product as a
practical thing. See, just before we
formed the company, Harvey and I got
together at the Sequoia Users Group
meeting in Clearwater, Florida. He
showed me this tool kit he had. He
took an application I’d spent three or
four months building and he rewrote
the application in three hours. It didn’t
have any bugs in it, and it looked ever
so much better. It even had an underlying security structure.
S P E C T R U M : So that was the
genesis of Nucleus?
Bacall: Well no, it starts before that.
Nucleus is the outgrowth of a book
that Harvey wrote, John Sisk was the
editor, called PICK For Professionals:
Advanced Methods and Techniques.
In that book Harvey outlined a lot of
what became Nucleus. There are
ways to use the system resources to
do a lot of the heavy lifting. We built
on that idea.
S P E C T R U M : What does Nucleus
do for a developer that they can’t do
on the green screen?
Bacall: It’s not just an alternative to
the green screen. Nucleus allows you
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
It offers future potential, as well. For example, StarSite generates JavaScript,so we are already working
to extend it to Ajax.You aren’t limited.
We also can do things outside the traditional areas. We have an exiting new
project, NuWiki, that grew from our
problems managing our own documentation. John Sisk has a lot of experience
with documentation. He had some good
insights in how to manage soft data, like
text.We realized the huge potential that
it had for other people, not just as an
internal tool.With NuWiki, we have created a conceptual overview of the
whole Nucleus process.You can look at
files, interface layers, any one of those
things, and drill down until you understand. By looking at the things you need
to see as you need them, you learn
Nucleus much faster.
It does what a traditional Wiki does, it
allows people to work together. It also
answers a lot of regulation challenges.
Government requires all sorts of compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA in
the US, for example. With NuWiki, all
the changes — when, where, and by
who — are documented. You have a
full audit trail. You can provide those
responses during an audit. And our
source code control works the same
was as the wiki, so the logs work
together. So, we are addressing those
Also, we have all the commands for
OpenQM in a NuWiki. We’ll be making
that available to the world by the time
this article appears.(www.NuWiki.com)
S P E C T R U M : What is the relationship between Nucleus and OpenQM?
Bacall: OpenQM is a very interesting
product. Sam Anderson and Doug
Demitru, both very bright guys, got
interested in what Ladybridge was
doing with it.That got me interested. It
turns out, it is extremely fast and very
well supported. They are constantly
growing features.
Binary Star has agreed to bundle a free,
noncommercial version of Nucleus
with OpenQM, which is the noncommercial version of QM. You can get it
from www.OpenQM.org.
S P E C T R U M : Where else does
Nucleus run?
Bacall: We run on UniVerse, UniData,
Reality X, QM, D3, UniVision, Power 95,
R91. We’ve run on jBASE. We have a
conversion from OpenInsight and one
from RevG.
S P E C T R U M : You’ve mentioned
Nucleus and StarSite. How do they go
together? Are there other pieces to
the puzzle?
Bacall: The development tool set, the
full screen editor, version and change
control, life cycle promotion utilities
(dev to beta to release), security, three
report writers, several interface layers—
all that is included in Nucleus itself. It
also includes diagnostic tools, a
print manager, and
other built-in features that your
products inherit
just because you
build on top of
“If the developer understands
dictionaries, file structure, and has
basic BASIC programming skills,
they can begin to develop in
StarSite, which enables you to create
interactive web applications, like forms and the NuWiki, is
separate. We also offer NRG, Nucleus
Rapid GUI, which incorporates
AccuTerm’s GUI tools transparently
into Nucleus.We take advantage of the
design tools AccuTerm provides.Within minutes, your character based
Nucleus program is not only GUI, but
it takes advantage of all the add-ons
that AccuTerm provides. I think it’s
We also have other things, like MvLaser,
which let’s your applications work
with PCL5 printers.
S P E C T R U M : As a programmer,
what do I have to know in order to
use this product?
Bacall: If the developer understands
dictionaries, file structure, and has
basic BASIC programming skills, they
can begin to develop in under an hour.
One can become an expert in three
months.We are in the process of developing online learning, like the NuWiki,
to help accelerate the process.
Nucleus is an event driven environment.
Your code can respond to anything that
happens.You end up writing smaller bits
of code—pre-field events, post-write
events, and so on—for a continual cycle
of checking where the user is and what
they need done.It’s a state engine which
under an hour.”
determines what needs to
occur. It knows when to trigger your code.
One of the nice features Nucleus
has is that when you maintain an
application, you can isolate which code
happens when; you can drill down to
just the code that’s pertinent. Nucleus
let’s you extract subsections of your
code so that you are looking at the
right stuff, not running through miles
of code. It was designed by a programmer for a programmer.
S P E C T R U M : Since you developed Nucleus as you worked for
clients, did you find Nucleus taking on
a slant toward a particular industry or
category of business?
Bacall: No, it’s not vertical, it a horizontal piece of software. It’s for the
reseller who wants to create an application which he wants to resell to the
world.It just opens you up from the limits. It works for small shops and it works
for big shops. We have clients where
three or four hundred users are just
banging away at the applications all day
long. We are in lots of industries: education, city and county government,
courier, transportation, testing laboratories, you name it. It works for anybody
who has to manage complex data. is
C H A R L E S B A R O U C H is the CTO for Key Ally, Inc. and Mount Olympus Systems,
Inc. He is also President of the U2UG and a regular Spectrum Magazine contributor.
Charles Barouch [email protected] - Consulting; [email protected] - ETL/Migration/Integration;
(718) 762-3884x1
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
by Mike Ruane, Revelation Software
Revelation Software’s
Spin on the Web Three Years On
ver three years ago, Revelation submitted an article
to International Spectrum
Magazine entitled “Revelation’s Spin on the Web” (July/August
2003) in which we described our current level of technology and techniques
for working with the World Wide Web.
In the three years since, both technology and user expectations and demands
have increased. At that time, Ajax was
just a cleaning product line, Software As
A Service was what consultants did,
and ASP.NET was still in its infancy. We
at Revelation Software have made
advances as well with our web processing technology, and at the request
of some readers, we offer this update.
OECGI (OpenEngine Common
Gateway Interface)
Using OpenInsight, you can still
migrate existing and develop new
applications that provide static and
dynamic publishing of OpenInsight
forms and data to the Web in HTML format. Our HTML publisher can create
rudimentary HTML pages from
OpenInsight forms, which can then be
enhanced using your favorite web publishing software. More significantly,
OpenInsight provides web server
extensions in the form of CGI (Common Gateway Interface) services,
which let you request information
from an executing OpenInsight application and deliver that information to a
web browser.
With OECGI, those requirements are
no longer necessary, and the engine
runs in process with OECGI.exe. This
means that the web server only creates
one external process, and that the
process does not interact with the
desktop. OECGI significantly reduces
the overhead and security footprint of
an OpenInsight web application while
providing increased response time.
OECGI uses a System Registry Entry to
configure access to the OpenEngine.
The OECGI configuration options provide an advantage in that they allow
for different connection configurations
based on client needs.
When working with the Web, one must
make sure that the CGI gateway is configured correctly; the following sections deal with the theory and configuration of the gateway.
OECGI is Revelation Software’s CGI
(Common Gateway Interface) engine
that allows browser-based interaction
with Revelation’s Linear Hash data by
way of OpenInsight. For those familiar
with OpenInsight’s previous CGI program, OICGI, the OpenEngine CGI
interface connects directly to an OpenEngine without using the OpenInsight presentation server. OICGI
required that the desktop application
be running on the web server, along
with an internet gateway window
between the web server and the
OpenInsight program.
OECGI can be configured for persistent or non-persistent processing: The
OECGI may be configured so that each
web request gets a unique copy of the
engine (non-persistent); the OECGI
may start an engine and then leave it
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
running for the next request (persistent); OECGI can connect to an existing
instance of OpenInsight using a named
engine (persistent); or the OECGI can
work in a pure TCP/IP environment
With the most current release of
OpenInsight, Revelation has included a
new CGI gateway named OECGI2.
OECGI2 provides scalability by managing the use of multiple engines. To do
this, OECGI2 interacts with the
OpenInsight OEngine Server. The
OEngineServer is responsible for communicating with OECGI2 and for creating, communicating with, and shutting down OpenInsight’s OpenEngine.
The OEngineServer also manages
“caching” of OpenEngines for efficient
performance in non-persistent applications (e.g. web requests). Existing
OECGI calls are replaced with OECGI2
to implement this technology.
OECGI on Linux
With Linux becoming more and more
of a player in the series of platforms
that are supported by Revelation in the
last few years, we thought it best to
document the setting up of OECGI on
a Linux machine. The following documents how to configure OECGI on a
Linux machine.
First, it must be noted that in OpenInsight for Linux (OIL) the Open Engine
uses X-Windows—Apache cannot start
a dynamic engine. The obvious and
simplest solution is to connect to a static
engine. Second, OECGI uses the registry.
MainWin implements a user specific registry.The solution here is to have Apache
run as the same user as OI. It turns out
that Apache is hard coded not to run as
root.Thus,you want to run it as the name
of the user your machine is logged in as.
So,in the Apache configuration file,usually found at /etc/apache/conf and named
httpd.conf, some changes must be made.
In this file you have to find the User and
Group settings. If you’re running on a
local Linux desktop
need to set the User
and Group to match
the name of the user
name you used to log
into Linux. In figure 1,
we show that we’ve
modified the User and
Group to revguy, the name we used to
log into our Linux machine.
Since Linux does not have a registry such
as Windows, we need to make use of the
rudimentary registry that MainWin gives
to us.We have no tool for editing the registry from Linux (easily),so OI must do it.
The solution here is to use the window
and program supplied with OpenInsight
this screen, modify the OpenInsight specific settings as seen in figure 2. Please
note that we’ve specified the ServerName as well; this may change from session to session so be sure to check your
machine-specific information.
Finally, in the cgi-bin subdirectory on
your particular machine, make yourself
a file named oe.You may want to log in
as root on your machine to make this
file. The complete contents of the file
are below.
# call OECGI from the correct place
# that’s all
Seamless Integrations into POS,
Order Entry and e-Commerce
Single or Multiple Merchants
TCP/IP - Secure Internet
Single or Multiple Modems
Your Clearinghouse or Ours
VAR Partnerships
Visa MasterCard AMEX
Discover Diners JCB
Debit Cards Custom
Change the permissions of this file to
full read and write capabilities with
the command ‘chmod 777 oe’ from a
command line, and you should be
good to go.
[email protected]
The url is now http://localhost/cgibin/oe/trace.
Business and
For Your
Real World
Now, we can revisit the OpenInsight
specific tools for working with the Web.
The HTML Publisher
OpenInsight’s HTML publisher allows
the developer to create HTML pages
based on existing OpenInsight forms.
It will create an HTML table based on
the x,y coordinates of the
controls within the form.
The publisher is limited
in that each control,
which begins at a separate x coordinate or separate y coordinate, is created as new <TD> or <TR>
tags within the HTML
table. This translates to
the developer needing to
ensure that the existing
OpenInsight form’s controls are lined up in the
manner that they will
appear in HTML.
Continues on page 42
Business Services
Process Analysis
Needs Analysis
RFP Writing
Many more...
Object Oriented
Green Screen
Verticals We Serve
Fund Raising
And Others...
[email protected]
(718) 762-3884 x 1
Key Ally, Inc.
P. O. Box 540957
Queens, NY 11354, USA
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
requesting browser-based user. PDFbased documents can also be returned.
Writing your own routines
OpenInsight supplies a number of prewritten internet routines, which are
called Inet routines, mostly because
the program names all start with the
prefix ‘INET_’. With the exception of
INET_ABORTED, each INET function
takes the HTTP request as its first or
only parameter.There are other parameters that need to be passed depending on the function used. Each function will return an HTML page.
There are times, especially when dealing with business rules, when it is necessary to create your own INET functions using Basic+. INET functions are
fairly easy to create and have only
three requirements:
The procedure must start with the
prefix INET_.
Revelation Software’s Spin on the Web
Continued from page 41
The HTML publisher is a crude tool
from a graphics/publisher perspective;
however, it will translate an OpenInsight form into an HTML form with
tags containing the same name as the
OpenInsight form’s controls. The
resulting HTML may then be massaged
using your favorite HMTL editor. The
publisher is intended as a “quick and
dirty” tool to create web pages. One
can always choose not to use the
HTML publisher and create HTML
pages in any of the commercially available web tools.
The HTML pages that are created in
OpenInsight are stored in a repository,
which are easily accessible via programming, and OpenInsight can then
be used as a library of HTML pages.
The Report Builder
OpenInsight has a number of reporting tools of which one, Report Builder,
creates columnar reports. The Report
Builder is actually a wrapper for the everpowerful RList function, Revelation’s Linear Hash data selection function. Reports
created using Report Builder may be
accessed via the Web using the
INET_RLIST function, so the same report
may be accessed via the Web or through
the desktop application, without having
to edit the report.
For those that can and do develop programs in Basic+, much of the functionality of the OpenInsight Printer Interface (OIPI) can be used across the
Web. OIPI reports can be generated at
HTML pages and returned to the
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
The procedure must accept at least
one parameter, named Request.
The procedure is a function, and
must return an HTML document.
Creating your own INET function is a
perfect way to create dynamic web
pages. Your function would consist of
the creation of HTML or the reading of
already created HTML documents.Many
of our customers use third party webdesign specific tools to create pages
with lots of bell and whistles, or maybe
to have a consistent look and feel, and
then they read the document from disk,
swap data into the document, and then
return the page to the browser. The
options here are almost endless.
The cost and licensing of using
OpenInsight’s web capabilities is
dependent on your OECGI configuration. Non-persistent configurations utilize existing OpenInsight user counts
and therefore require no additional
cost or licensing charges as long as
there are enough users available on the
OpenInsight system. For example, if
your OpenInsight system allows for
250-user access, then those 250 users
can be drawn from both the desktop
environment and the web environment. A persistent configuration
requires that an OpenInsight Web
Deployment Pack be purchased. This
will provide unlimited OECGI access
to OpenInsight.
been around for many years and is in
use in many sites. It provides a complementary process and framework for
OECGI; details can be found at
There are a few others companies
working on products that interface to
OpenInsight via the web; watch our
web site for future releases.
Third Party Solutions
There are a number of companies in
the MultiValue marketplace that work
with OpenInsight; one of the more
popular ones is Freedombase, whose
web site is www.freedomsoft.com.au.
With Freedombase, one can take the
forms and pop-ups in an OpenInsight
application and generate web-based
versions of those forms. Search, drill,
security, optimistic locking, and session management, are automatic and
transparent. Business logic can be
applied directly, or via existing subroutines and functions.
DesignBais Pty Ltd,www.designbais.com,
has a web development product with the
same name. DesignBais is a functionally
rich tool set that allows developers to
design and create enterprise-wide webbased applications.The product supports
the creation of design templates. These
templates allow for creation of a standard
interface that can be easily applied
throughout an application or its modules.
With drop down top menus and side bar
menus as a standard feature, user navigation is simple and intuitive.
WebWizard from Via Systems, Inc.,
www.via.com, is a web development
environment that allows OpenInsight
developers and end-users to create
HTML, XML, or WML pages without the
steep learning curve required for new
technologies. Designed from the MultiValue viewpoint, WebWizard provides
both “wizard” interfaces to quickly generate web output without any programming at all and a fully-featured API
that’s integrated with OpenInsight’s
BASIC+ programming language.
Still another is the Sprezzatura Group
and their S/Web product. S/Web has
Please email your resume as a Word attachment
to Chuck Okeson, Vice President at:
[email protected]
Future Directions
Currently the OpenInsight HTML Publisher generates HTML-based documents. We’re currently investigating
two possible additions at this time:Ajax
and ASP.NET. As Ajax was discussed in
depth in one of our recent (May/June
2006) articles, we won’t go into more
detail at this time.ASP.NET is a technology developed by and available from
Microsoft. The creation of the source
pages for ASP.NET is similar to that of
Ajax in that it is composed of a mix of
HTML and scripting elements.When an
ASP.NET page is requested, it is transformed via a process on a .NET server.
It is relatively simple for OpenInsight
to generate pages in one or both of
these formats, and we have done so in
the lab. In an upcoming release of
OpenInsight either one or both of
these options will be available. We’re
partially relying on you, our users, to
let us know which direction to focus
on. Send your suggestions to [email protected]
As the web becomes an even more
integral part of our daily lives (perhaps
evidenced by the fact that ‘Googled’ is
now a verb), it is more important than
ever that the systems designed with
and using OpenInsight are able to connect and communicate via the web.
The days of stand-alone systems running on their own hardware and not
interacting with the rest of the computing environment, or even with your
customers or remote users, are long
gone. Revelation Software’s web tools
are a viable, affordable solution. is
800-949-5423 x 203
Have a new software
product for the
MultiValue market?
Combine the power of your AD in
Spectrum magazine with a marketing
campaign to one of our qualified email lists!
It’s more affordable than you think.
for a free quote today.
Get It Right From
the Source.
Want control over the changes
you make to your software?
PRC can help you get it
right — and keep it secure.
For U2/MultiValue and
SB+ environments
Problem Reporting
Change Control
Project Management
Time Tracking
Test Management
SJ+ Systems Associates
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
Continued from page 6
almost no time, Samy had over 1 million of MySpace’s 54 million lavishing
praises to him.
Sounds bad, but it can be worse. An
online financial company that deploys
Ajax could be similarly vulnerable to
such short-term identity theft, with far
more serious and expensive consequences.
The upshot of all this? You certainly are
not going to see Google or any other
site drop Ajax technologies. It’s too
powerful and too many of the statistics
that deliver advertising revenues to
these companies are tied to Ajax. It does
mean, however, you cannot deploy Ajax
in a haphazard fashion.The use of Ajax
on your web site needs to be examined
so that malicious JavaScript cannot be
inserted and that should any JavaScript
make its way into the web site,it should
be filtered and incapacitated.
Who are You?
The simplistic ways that Google and
MySpace confirm your identity are easily hacked. Enter user name and password. Are there more sophisticated
ways to identify who you really are?
Some tech companies such as IBM
and Microsoft are now revisiting this
need. Of all things, it’s not just financial companies and eCommerce sites
that need these services. Apparently
social networking and dating sites are
also eager to make sure that their cus-
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
tomers can trust whomever they are
meeting online.
Using hardware, there are different
gadgets that use finger prints of USB
keys that identify you as the appropriate person. But hardware can be cumbersome and certainly don’t help you if
you’re going to use a PC at your friend’s
home or at an airport.
Advanced software approaches involve
a more tedious approach. You sign up
with an account and are asked a series
of questions that uniquely identify who
you are.This database is kept on a thirdparty system and can be used by multiple sites who wish to use your ability
to answer these various questions to
confirm your identity. Sometimes, the
questions are not even asked of you.
The e-commerce or shopping site
might ask about your mortgage payments which would be matched against
banking records. To some extent, however, I shrink from such probing. It
might be a way for companies and customers and vendors to recognize me,
but it might also be a way for identity
thieves to collect highly detailed information rather easily.
So, for now, sophisticated but easy
identification still seems a distant goal.
Google Spreadsheets
I mentioned earlier that Google has
spreadsheet technologies online. It’s a
free service that gives you basic
spreadsheet capabilities. It’s not
sophisticated enough to handle charts
or statistics, but what it does offer is
pleasing and sufficient for most users.
You can open a spreadsheet that automatically saves itself back to Google.
The spreadsheet has cells, rows, and
columns with simple font faces, italics,
underlines, colors, and bolding. Borders and boxes around cells are available. Basic editing using cut and paste
is possible.You can do straightforward
mathematical calculations and functions. Most if the Microsoft Excel functions are in the spreadsheet, including
SUM(), COUNT(), MIN(), and MAX().
Sorting is also featured. You can save
the document in external formats as
well. The supported formats are currently Microsoft Excel, HTML, and CSV
You can also upload and open your
existing spreadsheets. Google Spreadsheets does not seem to perform the
macros, but for simple documents, it
offers amazing support.
Why use Google Spreadsheets? It’s
free. You can share your spreadsheets
with others who are remote and may
not have access to your servers, or
with those who you do not want to
have access to your servers. For example, you can publish your spreadsheet
as public information.
In general, I’m impressed. The feature
set clearly uses Ajax at its fullest.
Free Aol
Now that broadband has undercut its
business model, AOL has had to
change. Hmmm. Let me rephrase that
comment. Now that AOL recognizes
that broadband has been undercutting
its business model for several years,
AOL finally has changed.
E-mail? Free. Yup—you too can now
have an AOL email address.Apparently,
AOL believes that this is a premium
address, for unlike Yahoo and Google
and Hotmail, it felt that its address was
worth the extra fee. Now, I’m not one
to swing into a Rodeo Drive store and
buy the first name brand I see, but I
never viewed @aol.com to be comparable with Gucci. Discount stores,
maybe, but not 90210. For some time,
after all, the net savvy rolled their eyes
whenever a message board posting
came from @aol.com. But hey, it’s free.
Most interestingly,AOL Security Center
was made free. This was a highly
attractive feature for families and may
actually be useful to many who aren’t
in need of AOL’s other services.
Lastly, in a nod to the TV-manic society
we live in, AOL Video is also free.That
media convergence has to be good for
something I suppose. is
Melvin M. Soriano
works at Eagle Rock Information Systems (ERIS), an
Internet Application Service
Provider and WebWizard/MultiValue
Developer. ERIS has deployed
enterprise-wide solutions on most
MultiValue platforms and operating
systems. HTM-Mel can be
contacted at [email protected]
and visited at www.eriscorp.com.
You can always call him directly
at ERIS’s Pasadena, Calif.,
offices: (626) 535-9658.
Continued from page 46
Clif es
Cultivating the courage
gene could also help
preserve and expand
the MultiValue marketplace. You frequently hear
the complaint at conferences (not just
Spectrum, by the way) that the presentations are little more than thinly-veiled
sales pitches. If you suggest to the complainer that they could give a technical
presentation, they are apt to act like a
frightened crawfish in full reverse. Public speaking takes a lot of courage. The
same is true with writing technical
papers and articles. The courage gene
has to be in good working order for
someone to put their knowledge,experience,and techniques onto paper for publication, knowing that a certain number
of people are going to pick it to pieces,
point out every tiny mistake or perceived
fault, and pontificate at length to anyone
who will listen (or are unwilling victims
sitting in the cubicle next to them) about
how the author doesn’t know a third of
what they know about the topic. But if
the same folks had the courage and the
self-discipline to put their knowledge
and opinions in print (or pixels), we
would have an explosion of publicity
about our MultiValue environment.
We’ve just scratched the surface of the
characteristics of the Über Geek we
might like to build in via genetic engineering. But then, I look back at Sarbanes-Oxley and imagine what government mandated programmers
would be like, and I think maybe we
are better off leaving behavior modification to the people being modified.
I just hope the dudes at McGill don’t
screw up and accidentally create a
race of flesh-eating Reaver mice…
C A R E T O C O M M E N T ? Send your
thoughts and opinions to [email protected] Hitchhiker’s Guide was
a gimme.Identify the other two science
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IS 7/06
Clif es
in her article SOX:
The Third Year
(page 14), a lot of
what we did involved
increasing our self-discipline, like fixing bugs rather than editing the data
on the production systems. Or discussing what we were going to do
before we did it, and having a back-out
plan should it go wrong. One wonders—if we had been able to apply
enough genetic engineering techniques, would we have been able to
have avoided that whole SarbanesOxley thing? Probably not. But I’ll
leave that to those who enjoy arguing
“nature versus nurture” to decide if
that whole mess was caused by a
minority of C-level business executives
lacking an ethics gene coupled with a
majority of politicians missing the
common-sense gene.
And finally, we have a gene that doesn’t
do much by itself. It acts to amply or
mutate the expression of the other
genes. In a lot of IT professionals it
seems to be present, but dormant until
triggered by some horrific event, such
as an announcement that the company
is moving to Oracle. I refer to the
courage gene.
Increase the effect of the self-discipline gene, and you have a programmer who keeps accurate records, time
logs, bug tracking, and the like. Combine this with the courage to review
those records, learn from them, and
then stand up to managers and C-levels
who turn red in the face and spew profanity when someone points out that
their “pulled from thin air” schedule is
unrealistic, and you have a professional
who can estimate.“Everybody knows”
that programmers can’t estimate. But is
it really caused by ego, changing
requirements, and any number of commonly stated reasons? Or is a lot of it
caused by not really knowing how long a
task took last time and/or the fear of the
repercussions of stating a truth that is not
what someone else wants to hear?
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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S P E C T R U M S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 6
recently read an
article that said
that the depart-
ment of psychiatry at
McGill University had
developed a genetic
technique which might
eventually lead to a
new treatment for
clinical depression.
The experiments were
done, of course, using
laboratory mice. However, since mice are
among the most
evolved life forms on
the planet Earth (a fact
well known to anyone
who has read Hitchhikers Guide To The
Galaxy), it is hoped
that the research will
sure you have had the irritating experience of talking to (or at) a Help Desk or
Tech Support person who refuses to say,
“I don’t know.” Instead of admitting they
don’t know, they start guessing, or
worse,they just make it up as they blather on.You find yourself muttering under
your breath, “If he tells me to re-load
Windows, I am going to reach through
the phone line and strangle him!”
Well, I thought. Instead of going
through all this time, expense, and
trouble to find and then hire an IT professional who may not even work out,
wouldn’t it be nice if we could apply
genetic engineering techniques and
build us a geek to specification?
Curiosity is also a quality that is good
to engineer into a programmer. One of
the things I notice in a lot of MultiValue shops are IT people (thankfully a
minority) who simply do not want to
learn anything new. They started in MultiValue on brand X years ago, have gone
through three platform changes, and
have never read the Basic Language Reference.What they learned on brand X is
the only thing they know; it is the only
thing they want to know. I know that
this trait is not unique to MultiValue
people. But we need to be careful about
looking down our noses at the COBOL
people when we have programmers in
our own shops who haven’t a clue how
a REMOVE statement works or why one
would want to use it.
Like any other mad scientist (ok, so I’m
not a scientist), I couldn’t help thinking I could improve on the genotype
while I was at it. So what would be the
characteristics we might like to accentuate, de-emphasize, add, or eliminate?
A particular gene, known as TREK-1 (I
am not making this up), apparently
effects the use of serotonin in the brain.
Mice that were produced lacking this
gene seem to be happy all time. In the
words of one researcher,“they acted as
if they had been treated with antidepressants for at least three weeks.”
Since that is also a fairly accurate
description of programmers operating
Honesty might be a good characteristic to crank up a bit—okay, a lot. I am
lower life forms, like
Homo Sapiens.
with sleep deprivation and large quantities of caffeine and junk food, I think
that may have been the first factor in
the juxtaposition of two concepts in
my warped brain.The second was the
arrival of Shannon’s article Finding
The Right Fit (page 20 of this issue).
This article deals with the topic of hiring and/or training programmers for
your MultiValue shop.
I think the first adjustment I’d make
would be to increase the sense of
humor and turn down the volume on
self-importance. Yes, what we do is
serious work. But we don’t need to
take ourselves so seriously. After all,
people, none of us is getting out of
here alive. Of course, increasing the
humor level goes a long way to
decreasing self-importance. It is hard
to maintain arrogance when you can
spill a can of soda in your lap and find
it (and the rest of the day) amusing.
be applicable to
Clif es
It is curious that curiosity has a dark
side.The saying is that “curiosity killed
the cat.” In our arena it is more likely to
kill the Month End Run.Trying something
new just because it’s new causes its
share of problems in IT shops, too. So if
we are going to fiddle with the curiosity gene, we had best amplify the
expression of the self-discipline gene
at the same time. As Susan points out
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