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Recent News and Tips

Remote DBA: We Can Automate Anything

It may be New Year's eve, but some people at Robelle are still toiling away. Neil Armstrong doesn't think you should need to worry about ruining your weekend, just because you forgot to check all the datasets for potential overflow and performance problems. So he created a job stream to automate the checking and email you the statistics for any suspect datasets: read Neil's article.


Magnify Your Image

Do you need a really large dataset in your Image database? Would 10 Terabytes be big enough? Then read part 2 of Neil Armstrong's article on the MPE/iX 6.5 Express 2 version of Image.



We have enhanced our Robelle-L discussion list with the ability to search and browse past postings list via your web browser. This forum is a friendly place where users of Qedit and Suprtool can post tips and questions. For example, see the suggestion by Ole Nord on a simple way to delete related records from many datasets.

To webify the mailing list, we had to move it from our Nitro.robelle.com server to another server. Please check your email address books and any references to NITRO should be removed. If your address book has robelle-l@nitro.robelle.com then it needs to be changed to robelle-l@robelle.com


Is Your Security Policy Making Things Worse?

Sometimes strategies that make sense in theory fail when applied to real people. Jakob Nielsen is an expert on Usabilty. Every two weeks he publishes a usability column, normally about web topics such as Flash, drop-down menus, etc., but always intriguing and often applicable to general IT issues. Recommended reading. His column "Security & Human Factors" explores how complex password strategies actually make systems less secure in practice.


Can you tweak and tune your HP computer for maximum performance, and improve your company's bottom line by attending one seminar?

The answer is a resounding YES! But only if you attend the Performance Training Seminar in Florida (February 13-16, 2001). To get into the "meaty" topic of performance, a smaller, friendlier, and more intimate setting delivers much more value, and we'd like to let you in on our secret performance weapon... Neil Armstrong - the man in charge of Robelle's Suprtool performance software. Neil will be speaking about "Living With 400 I/Os Per Second" so be sure to read all about the seminar.


Suprtool Training Recommendation

From the Ecometry/Interex mailing list, a testimonial for Jeff Kubler, one of Robelle's authorized Suprtool instructors:

I recently attended a Suprtool class at Tech Group University and I would recommend it highly. The instructor was Jeffrey Kubler of Kubler Consulting, and he did a great job in presenting the material. -- Dean McBee, Fandom, Inc. (DeanMcBee@aol.com)


Special Robelle Page for Healthcare Users

Robelle has added another specialized area to its web site: the healthcare corner. Whether you are an AMISYS site or not, if you are in the healthcare industry you will find information you can use: training materials to download, a dedicated healthcare contact at Robelle, tips and stories from healthcare users, and more.


Paul Edwards Web Site

One of our authorized Suprtool trainers now has a web site for his business, Paul Edwards and Associates.


The Windows Key On Your Keyboard

The Windows key appears on most keyboards nowadays. The basic use is to display the Start menu but, combined with other keys, it can do a lot more. Here are some tips from Francois Desrochers of Robelle (assume that "+" means the Windows key):
+e : opens Windows Explorer
+f : opens the Find:File dialog box of Windows Explorer
+u : opens the utilities manager (not working on my NT 4.0 PC)
+m : minimizes all open windows
shift+m : opens all minimized windows
+d : minimizes all open windows and activates the Desktop (not working on my NT 4.0 PC)
+r : opens the Run dialog box
+tab : allows you to select an application from the Windows Taskbar using the arrow keys
+break : displays the System Properties dialog box
+F1 : opens Windows Help
ctrl+f : opens fhe Find:Computer dialog box


Control Your Source Code Revisions

Ted Ashton of Southern Adventist University writes:

Recent releases of MPE have included the free RCS revision control system. This is an excellent system for source-code control, but unfortunately works only with bytestream files. Here at Southern, as at most e3000 sites, our source code is stored in Qedit and flat-ASCII files. To allow RCS to work with those files, they must be converted to bytestream before being checked in or out and converted back to their original format afterward. I have a written a program SAURCS which does this work and a set of UDCs to invoke the program. SAURCS uses the QeditAccess routine of Robelle to work with Qedit-format files.

Read more about Ted's RCS frontend and download the software.


An HMO Tries the "e" in "e3000"

In the last 6 months, Health Plan of San Mateo has been experimenting on their e3000 with a web server that uses the Perl scripting language and STREAMX to improve operations. Qedit for Windows is "the linchpin that holds it all together": Eben Yong's full story.


Increase Your Skills at the Solutions Symposium

Mark off February 7-10, 2001 for the second HP e3000 Solutions Symposium, an event which offers 4 days of extensive technical training for e3000 System Managers, Programmers, Webmasters and Application Developers. Meet with Paul Gobes of Robelle and catch his three training sessions: Paul describes the training.


Fight Spam By Hiding Email Addresses

Would you like to keep your email address out of the hands of spammers? One way that spammers collect email addresses is to "mine" web pages, which are public. They have robot software that looks through every web page they can find, searching for patterns such as "email: bgreen@robelle.com". When they find a match they add it to their list of possible new email addresses. A strategy to fight this is to "scramble" email addresses on your web pages, so that browsers can display the email address, but robot software will miss it. Read Bob Green's article to find out how.


Learn From a Master

Gavin Scott of Allegro recently attended a one-day course on "Presenting Data and Information" given by Edward Tufte, author of three incredible books on the subject. Tufte is Professor Emeritus at Yale University and now spends his time working on a new book and he gives about 30 seminars each year. He gave four consecutive day's worth of courses in the SF Bay area in December, and each one was sold out with 500 attendees each. He kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the day. Read Gavin's report on the course.


Publishing Reports to the Web

Anthony Ballo has written an interesting article on how he uses Robelle's STExport to create web pages, with a link to an alternative style suggested by Mike Shumko of Robelle. STExport is a part of the Suprtool product and every Suprtool user has it. This article is posted on Anthony's Ecometry.org web site for Ecometry users.


Cleaning Up Email Addresses

You may think that your database contains email addresses for your customers, but there are probably many useless ones: "NA", "ralph@aol@com", "000", etc. In this article, Chris Bartram shows how to create a Suprtool script to clean up the email addresses in an Ecometry database.


Why Is My Suprtool Task Hung

An observant system manager noticed that Suprtool appeared to be taking too long to read the last 5% of a master dataset. The progress messages that display every five percent showed quick progress through most of the dataset, then it seemed to hang for fifteen minutes after the 95% level. Find out the solution to the mystery in this entertaining article by Mike Shumko of Robelle.


HP Sells Open Skies

HP has sold their airline reservation eServices unit, which runs on an e3000, to PRA Solutions. Some airlines who use Open Skies are also users of Robelle's Suprtool product. (Link via John Burke)


Qedit and Helping Household Pets

We recently had dealings with a programmer who was developing a Visual Basic OCX control editor named 'Qedit'. What's interesting is that he works for 'Animals in Mind,' a charity in England that specializes in helping pets and pet owners. They currently have a campaign that is trying to raise UK 250,000 for a sanctuary for unwanted pets that would otherwise be destroyed.

Sounds like a good cause for all our UK customers ...

p.s. His editor will soon be renamed as 'RTF Edit control' if you're interested.

Paul Gobes, Robelle Technical Support.


DNS Via Your Browser

Domain Name Services: one of those arcane Internet services that is essential, complex, and easy to get wrong. This distributed database of host information provides fundamental plumbing: translating names into addresses and routing mail to its proper destination. One way to become proficient in DNS is to read O'Reilly's DNS and Bind book. Another is to use the EasyDNS web site. It allows you to maintain all your domain names yourself through a browser interface, rather than depending on a busy UNIX guru.

They also register domain names for $25 through OpenSRS, enable forwarding of your web site domain and your email, plus more. Think of it as the first step toward being your own ISP. And they can register and manage Canadian domain names at easydns.ca as well.


How To Keep Users From MPE Colon Access?

Brad Rish of Catalog Ventures, an Ecometry user in Chelmsford MA, asked how to keep users from getting MPE "colon" access. He wanted to be sure that his users could access only the programs he wanted them to use. Brad was unaware that as a user of Suprtool, he already had a Robelle utility that would do exactly what he wanted. SELECT, a bonus program that comes free with Suprtool and Qedit, is a menuing program that allows the system manager to setup exactly what choices he would like users to see when they logon. For more information, Suprtool and Qedit users can print the SELECT manual:
  :printdoc.pub.robelle select.doc.robelle

Tip courtesy Mike Shumko of Robelle.



Chris at 3kworld has written a clear and consise summary of how/when these two variables are changed. It is important that they be correct, otherwise your licensed software from many vendors may not run. Read the article.


Boost MANMAN/UDMS Performance

Lou Lange, Manman System Administrator at Kokusai has been integrating Suprtool into MANMAN/UDMS reports. One case cut 90% off the run time. Read his complete article.


Run Qedit for Windows From Host Sessions

Recently Robyn Rennie posted an article on how she invokes Suprtool from within Qedit for Windows to test her Suprtool host code. Now you can do the reverse: Invoke Qedit for Windows from a terminal emulator. To learn how, read this new article by Hans Hendriks of Robelle Technical Support.


Ecometry/Suprtool Discussion Group

This independent list is for the discussion and sharing of Suprtool streams and data extraction techniques among Ecometry( MACS) users. Stated Mission: To provide a forum for fostering mutual help and cooperation in the Ecometry community. Not associated with Robelle. Browse the most recent postings. One of the postings notes the new Ecometry/Robelle corner of our web site.


Get Ready for Really Big Databases.

HP has been busy rewriting Image/SQL so that you won't run into software limits as your database grows and become more complex. And Robelle has been busy revising Suprtool too. Read part 1 of a 2-part article by Neil Armstrong, Robelle Senior Programmer.


Clever Qedit Command File

Consultant Ray Shahan (email: Ray _shahan@hotmail.com) has created a command file that allows you to repeat specified Qedit commands. It prompts for a string to search for, plus the commands to execute, then repeats those commands on every line containing the string. Very clever. Read the full article to find out how it works and pick up the command file for your own use.


Smith-Gardner Changes Name

According to an announcement on the SG web site, they have changed their company name to Ecometry Corporation. The name change is to highlight the broadening of their application suite (formerly MACS, now Ecometry) to multi-channel retailing. Ecometry is a Suprtool reseller and Robelle has a special Ecometry corner of our web site.


Is Your Disc Being Eaten By MPE?

Article by Neil Armstrong, Robelle

While doing some consulting work offsite, I overheard the system manager discussing the possibility of having to get more disc space for the system volume set. They were looking at an upgrade from 5.5 to 6.0 shortly and were concerned that they had enough room to do the upgrade and disc space on the system volume set was getting critical.

I asked if they purged their log files on a regular basis, they replied yes they did this regularly. I then asked if that included the NM log files? The look I received in response was my answer, they were not aware of the log files that all network process write to. I told them to sign on as manager.sys and do a listf nmlg####,2 and see how much disc space the log files took up. A few screenfuls later they realized that the these log files took up nearly 1 gig of space, on the system volumeset.

We added the following commands to the end of their backup job, so they would never run into this situation again.

!purge log####.pub.sys
!purge nmlg####.pub.sys


Organizing Work Using the Web

"An option that is likely to be widely adopted in the near future is the web-based project management system. In this case, the software to support Project Management and scheduling runs on a shared eServices host. All you need is a browser. ... For example, www.iTeamWork.com is simple, free, advertiser supported, and makes good use of email. Users are identified by their email address, plus nickname. The first time you assign a task to a new person, they are invited by email to join iTeamWork. Projects and tasks do not currently allow links to external web pages, but you can request an email summary of your outstanding tasks to be produced on specified days of the week."
From a recent Robelle technical paper, Project Management Via the Web.


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