Jan 11

Upgrading to Windows7

We have finally taken the plunge and moved most of our PC’s to the Windows7 operating system. Some of the systems were previously running Vista Business 64bit so moving to Windows7 64bit Ultimate was fairly simple to carry out because we could use the upgrade process. We didnt try upgrading from 32bit Vista to 64bit Windows7 yet but that is in the list!

When we inserted the CD to start the upgrade process we took the defaults for making the upgrade such as checking online for the latest version of the installer, one PC had to be restarted due to a new config file but all of the others simply started the upgrade. The upgrade seems to have worked perfectly and all of the settings and programs with a few exceptions worked without any changes.

The biggest problems we had were with IBM software particularly Client Access, the first problem was due to IBM shipping old .hlp files so we had to go to the Microsoft site and download a couple of fixes to allow the old help files to be displayed. Then we tried to start Operations Navigator which just ended with a dialogue box stating it had ended abruptly? No further details? So we decided to bring down the latest PTF from IBM for V6R1 and install it, this failed because we had to bring down some addition fixes from IBM and Miscrosoft before it would install. After installing the fixes we then managed to install the latest fix pack for Client Access without any further problems.

We had to re-install the Lenovo Thinkvantage software as it didn’t work but after a couple of updates it is working in the main, we still can’t do backups but we will log that with Lenovo support later.

There are a couple of features which don’t work within some of the products, many of them already described in various forums around the web so we expect they will be fixed soon? One scary thing occurred after a couple fo Microsoft updates downloaded (9 in total), the Laptop had to be rebooted to complete the install which came back up with the blue screen of death. We were in the middle of writing down the specifics when the system restarted automatically again and came up normally? We have not seen the BSoD again so we hope it was just a minor glitch?

We have a number of trials to carry out to make sure all of the software stack works, but overall the experience was quite acceptable as system upgrades go!


Oct 29

Vista Business Connected to IBM ‘i’ NetServer

After many months of trying to connect to the Netservers and giving up in frustration I have finally managed to work out what to do. For those others who have the same issues here is a quick guide on how I achieved it! The Netshares were perfectly accessible from XP systems and we could connect to other SMB shares on other systems, just the IBM ‘i’ gave us problems! Go figure…

First of all start a DOS session and enter Secpol.msc this should result in the following screen:

Security Policy Editor

Security Policy Editor

Once here you need to select the Local Policies/Security Options folder from the left window then select the Network Security: LAN Manager authentication option as shown here:

Select the Security Options

Select the Security Options

Now all you have to do is set it to use the Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated which is done by right clicking the option and selecting the properties option which will show the setting panel, use the drop down to select the correct option as described above.

Authorization Level

Authorization Level

Once you have done this sue the Apply buttons etc to make the changes before rebooting your computer. When it is back up you should be able to browse the IBM ‘i’ netshares you have defined….

Hope this helps others who like us became frustrated with the Vista – IBM ‘i’ support..


Oct 09

First trial with Look Software sucessful!

We have recently teamed up with LookSoftware to use their products for Application Modernization, something which I am sure is going to be a key activity for the IBM ‘i’ community in the coming months/years.

One area which we are really keen to take a look at (no pun intended) is Web services using IBM ‘i’ data. Look Software has a LookServer product that runs on a IIS based server that allows Web Services to be exposed using the IBM ‘i’ data and screen content. The use of the screen content is something which is really interesting, we saw a demo on how it can transactionalize (not a real word) the IBM ‘i’ screens and provide some or all of the data from those screens via a Web Service!

Let’s say you had a requirement to display some data that is stored in your database, you don’t have access to the programs to bring out that data but your users regularly require the information to carry out another process. The normal method of getting the data is to sign onto the IBM ‘i’ and go through a number of screen before finding the information, writing it down and closing all of the screens before going into another application. With the Transaction recorder available in LookSoftware you can take all of those screens passing in any required data and return the data back to the user in a single request. That data can be displayed in another application or it can be exposed as a Web Service to anyone that needs it.

The initial requirement to test out the process is to set up IIS, we had a Vista 64bit install which we thought we could use, unfortunately IIS doesnt like 64bit Vista so we had to come up with a separate PC running Vista 32bit and IIS. That’s a whole other story, but I have to say Windows and 64bit is a nonsense, support in the applications supplied by ISV’s and Microsoft does not always play together as they should!

Installing the LookServer was easy and connection to the IBM ‘i’ was a breeze. We now have a web browser based interface to most of the IBM ‘i’ applications we run without any further changes. I say most because some applications that do not follow CUA guidelines cannot be rendered correctly using the web interface. Fortunately all of our products are CUA compliant due to our use of UIM which enforces CUA compliant screens and menu’s!

Our next project will be to create our first web service using the data and applications we have on the IBM ‘i’, but in the meantime we thought we would see just how cool the LookServer is.
I have an iPod touch that I obviously use for playing music etc, it comes with a WiFi connection so I thought I would see if I could connect via the LookServer to the IBM ‘i’, the iPod doesn’t come with a 5250 emulator so I thought I would give it a try and it worked immediately. I can now sign onto the IBM ‘i’ via the LookServer using my iPod touch and use the GUI interface provided by LookServer to access my programs and products. I could have set up the IBM ‘i’ graphical interface using the IBM provided tools, but this is definitely an option which works well.

This is early days for us and LookSoftware, but the initial response we have is very favorable. if you are interested in application modernization and would like us to discuss the product let us know, we will be happy to discuss the options with you and if possible show you what it can do with your applications.


Aug 15

IBM Does not support WSDC on Vista

I have a number of problems with the WSDC which require IBM’s assistance to resolve. None of them are critical (or at least they don’t appear to be?) but do need to be resolved at sometime. I requested assistance from IBM who asked for me to send them a copy of my workspace which I did from my Vista machine Continue reading

Aug 14

Vista Netserver share woes!

I have been struggling to get a drive mapped from my Vista PC to my i5 running V6R1. At first I thought it was simply due to the fact I was running V6R1 but trying to link to my V5R4 system came up with the same result. Every time I entered my user name and password it would come back with failed to connect and change the profile information! I could not understand why this was happening every time plus my profile was disabled on the Netserver! I trawled through the net looking for a solution and found Continue reading