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March 2019

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

March is here with the hope of spring being around the corner. It’s time to start dreaming of summer vacations and being one year closer to retirement. My company is preparing for a merger later this summer which is generating a lot of national attention. Most of us are still waiting to see the full impact of this merger, but we have to stay focused on daily mainframe activities and projects that have priority now.

This month’s meeting features a Senior Systems Engineer from SDS, Colin van der Ross, who will discuss FTP on z/OS and how FTP transmissions can be secured in both directions. SDS is one of our corporate sponsors. Come join us to expand your technical expertise in this critical area.

Your SPARTA group still needs a volunteer to replace Pam Tant as treasurer. This position would involve about two hours per month. Please consider serving and talk to me about the position.

Please plan to join your colleagues for subs, networking, and education on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

March 5, 2019 - Secure FTP by Colin van der Ross of SDS (Software Diversified Services)

April 2, 2019 - SHARE 2019 Phoenix Report by Ed Webb of SAS

May 7, 2019 - TBD

We need ideas and volunteers for future speakers. Presentations don’t have to be fancy, just informative and interesting. Even a 5 or 10 minute talk can start an interesting interaction. Contact Ron Pimblett by phone as noted below.

2018-2019 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

BB&T                  (919) 745-5241

3200 Beechleaf Court, Suite 300

Raleigh, NC 27604

Ron Pimblett - Vice President

MDI Data Systems

Land line 613 599 6970

Mobile 613 981 6919

190 Guelph Private

Kanata, ON K2T 0J7

Chris Blackshire - Secretary

Retired (Dell, Perot Systems, Nortel)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Durham, NC 27713

Randy Springs - (Acting) Treasurer

BB&T                  (919) 745-5241

see Randy

Springs earlier

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

SAS Institute Inc.  919-531-4162

SAS Campus Drive

Cary, NC 27513

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


Meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday evening of each month (except no meeting in January), with optional dinner at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m.

These monthly meetings usually are held at LabCorp’s Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology (CMBP) near the Research Triangle Park (see last page). Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn Left to the CMBP Building (1912 T.W. Alexander Drive). In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Call for Articles

If you have any ideas for speakers, presentations, newsletter articles, or are interested in taking part in a presentation, PLEASE contact one of the Board of Directors with your suggestions.

Newsletter e-Mailings

The SPARTA policy is to e-mail a monthly notice to our SPARTA-RTP Group. The newsletter is posted to the website about five (5) days before each meeting so you can prepare. The SPARTA-RTP Group is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

November 2018 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V496 (dated November 11, 2018) are available from

If you need help obtaining one or more files, contact Ed Webb at SAS (see Board of Director’s list for contact info).

Minutes of the February 5, 2019 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• The meeting was held at a LabCorp conference room in RTP, N.C.

• Fourteen (14) people were present of which all fourteen (14) are 2017/2018/2019 paid members.

• Everyone introduced themselves, told where they worked, and briefly described their job functions or their job hunting challenges.


• The minutes of the November 6, 2018 and December 4, 2018 meetings as published in the December 2018 and February 2019 Newsletters were approved.

• The November 30, 2018 and the January 31, 2019 Treasurer's reports were approved as published.

• Call For Articles: Articles are needed for this newsletter. If you would like to write an article for this newsletter, please contact Ed Webb. Keep in mind that you don't really need to write the article, it can be an article that you read that you would like to share with the membership.

• The SPARTA Web page is available. To access the SPARTA Web page, point your Web browser to this site: Please send any comments or suggestions about the Web page to Mike Lockey. Be sure to check the Web page every once in a while to see any new or changed information.

• Randy reminded everyone to leave the LabCorp conference room clean.

• 2019 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





March 5, 2019




April 2, 2019


Ed Webb

SHARE 132 Update
Phoenix, Mar 10-15, 2019

May 7, 2019




June 4, 2019




July 9, 2019




August 6, 2019




September 10, 2019



SHARE 133 Update
Pittsburgh, Aug 4-9, 2019

October 1, 2019




November 5, 2019




December 3, 2019




If you have suggestions about speakers and topics, contact Ron Pimblett.

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Labcorp in RTP.

• Food for the March 5 meeting will be Subs.

• The 2019 membership fee is due ($30) starting in February 2019. Please pay Randy Springs.

• Thanks to LabCorp and Bill Johnson for hosting the meeting.

• There are currently 86 people on the SPARTA-RTP e-mail list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA-RTP Listserv. You will be added by the moderator (Chris = sending you an invitation to Join the list.

• No update from Chris on the process of putting a package together for Brad Carson, Tommy Thomas, and John Bryan's SPARTA contributions and death information on the web page under a new Emeritus section.

• No update from Randy Springs on the SPARTA website connection to LinkedIn.

• No update about whether SPARTA needs to change the website to HTTPS access.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.

- The treasurer position duties are:
- - Collect dues and pay expenses at each monthly meeting.
- - Deposit income at the BB&T bank monthly.
- - Make an updated monthly excel income-expense list for the monthly newsletter.
- - Give a Treasurer report at each meeting.
- - One Time: Be added to the checking account authorization.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update: No update as Bill Johnson as the move dates are undetermined.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 7:35 PM.

Presentation Topic: Mainframe Integrated Development Environment

By Greg Lackey of Compuware


- Compuware - Only does Mainframe software
- Mainframe - seen as slow for enhancements - Compuware working to fix that
- Topaz - make and move software updates quicker
- - Many automation tools
- - Batch regression testing
- - Virtual tools
- Tonight - The Topaz Workbench

Topaz Workbench
- Topaz Workbench is an Eclipse-based IDE designed for mainframe developers of all experience levels.
- The IDE accesses Compuware’s traditional developer productivity tools through a modern interface and provides core z/OS functionality that together help remove the esoteric nature of the mainframe platform.
- Access to z/OS and z/OS UNIX datasets with simple filters
- Manage z/OS datasets: recall, allocate like, copy, delete

Compuware Seeing Issues
- Turnover - Older mainframe support people retiring and replacements needed.
- Need agile people that can do many different tasks
- Issue: Getting up to speed
- - Need Simplify and Visualization
- - Need Data set access
- - Need Allocate like type datasets
- - Need to make data portable (drop and drag concepts)
- - Need data edits
- - Need to visualize the processes

New Application To Speed Up the Development Process
- Play execution of a program
- Show execution of a program
- Debug program as it executes
- See logic flow
- See data flow
- See dead code
- Easy to visualize as the program executes
- See Variables and Registers
- Setup data and vary data as the program executes
- Follow previous programmers development scheme
- Show all programs that use a copybook
- Show compile errors
- Compare changed program to production program

Move to QA and Production Promotes
- IPSW does compiles in the proper sequence
- Can put in approval groups for the production promote steps
- Can use a green screen approach approach as well as the GUI approach or both
- The GUI is a very visual approach
- Can setup scripts to do the promotes (so same every time)
- GUI promotes very visual and can show the errors
- Can download from Github
- Continuous pipeline to promote programs
- Control of pipeline promote processes
- Uses / integrates with open systems products

Summary Conclusion
- Visualize And Simplify
- Make it easier for millennials to support COBOL
- Agile environment to bridge the knowledge gaps
- Can provide the products that interface with many partner's software
- ISPW can integrate to almost any software

• Presentation Access - See the SPARTA webpage for the complete presentation.

Contact Info:
Greg Lackey
Technical Sales Engineer and Client Relationship Manager
Phone: (845) 309-2956

Carlen Self
Director, Enterprise Accounts
Phone: (478) 719-4755

• The December 4, 2018 monthly meeting ended about 8:45 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for February 2019

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1095.09 as of February 28, 2019.

SPARTA Financial Report
12/01/2018 through 02/28/2019


Opening Balance 12/1/2018


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand 




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2019

contributed by Chris Blackshire

March 5, 2019 - Subs
April 2, 2019 - BarBQ
May 7, 2019 - Pizza
June 4, 2019 - Chicken
July 9, 2019 - Subs (changed because of July 4 holiday in previous week)
August 6, 2019 - BarBQ
September 10, 2019 - Pizza (changed because of Labor Day holiday in previous week)
October 1, 2019 - Chicken
November 5, 2019 - Subs
December 3, 2019 - BarBQ

DevOps Tools for z/OS

Contributed By Ed Webb

From IBM Systems Magazine in January 2019:

"Can DevOps tools work for z/OS? Yes, and there are two current methodologies which can enable using tools like Eclipse, Jenkins, GIT and many others. One methodology, which most of the mainframe community has likely heard about, is Zowe. Zowe is the first open-source framework for z/OS and was announced at SHARE in St. Louis. The second methodology uses the Jenkins slave interface, with Rocket’s port of GIT and IBM’s Dependency Based Build APIs. There are pros and cons for each of these methodologies.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on the second methodology, using Jenkins and GIT with Eclipse. However, one of the challenges is how to marry the two different philosophies—TSO/ISPF and Java development—together. These two philosophies are very different in some regards, but also very similar."

Read details about zJenkins, Zowe and SHARE in this article.

Be prepared to participate at SHARE in 2019 at one of these announced venues:

SHARE Winter 2019:     Phoenix, AZ   March 10-15
SHARE Summer 2019:  Pittsburgh, PA  August 4-9

You can always see the future SHARE schedule here.

Interest in z/OSMF is abounding

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the Marna's Musings blog at SHARE:

" I've been happy to see that my email inbox has been very full lately. Not because I love email, but because many people have been asking z/OSMF configuration questions. I'm going to stick my neck out and assume that these emails are from those rapidly moving to z/OS V2.3 and are heavily interested in getting z/OSMF up and running before then. Maybe my "Big Mig" recommendation for getting ready for z/OS V2.3 is being taken seriously. One can certainly hope.

I did get some information from the z/OSMF Senior Developer, Xiao Zhen (Joey) Zhu, on some good resources to help with your configuration and other pertinent z/OSMF topics that I wanted to share. There certainly is no shortage of helpful information if you know where to find it. Let me list them here for those still are working on their z/OSMF configuration, or are even looking at exploiting more plug-ins if you already have the z/OSMF base up and running. "

Learn a lot more about z/OSMF resources including Workflows at Marna's latest Musing.

There's No Good Reason to Trust Blockchain Technology

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the February 2019 opinion by Bruce Schneier:

"In his 2008 white paper that first proposed bitcoin, the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto concluded with: “We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust.” He was referring to blockchain, the system behind bitcoin cryptocurrency. The circumvention of trust is a great promise, but it’s just not true. Yes, bitcoin eliminates certain trusted intermediaries that are inherent in other payment systems like credit cards. But you still have to trust bitcoin—and everything about it.

Much has been written about blockchains and how they displace, reshape, or eliminate trust. But when you analyze both blockchain and trust, you quickly realize that there is much more hype than value. Blockchain solutions are often much worse than what they replace."

Learn more about Bruce Schneier's skepticism about blockchain in this opinion piece.


Wit and Wisdom continued

Contributed by Ed Webb

• Don't ever let your yearnings exceed your earnings.
• The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.
• Never accept your dog's admiration for you as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.

• The squeaking wheel doesn't always get the grease – sometimes it gets replaced.
• No one becomes very good or very bad, suddenly.
• The best way to lose a friend is to tell him something for his own good.

Run the Very First Web Browser from 1990, WorldWideWeb

Contributed by Chris Blackshire

Have you ever wanted to know what browsing the web was like at the very beginning of the web, way back in 1990? Thanks to some retro efforts by a team at CERN (yes the same CERN that built the Large Hadron Collider), you can now try out the very first ever web browser, called WorldWideWeb (and yes, as you may have guessed that’s where the WWW name and acronym comes from). Best of all, this WorldWideWeb rebuild loads just fine in any modern web browser of today, and you can even load many modern websites!

Because the majority of the modern web still uses HTML, the 30 year old WorldWideWeb browser is still able to load most websites you probably visit today. It only loads text though (HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol).

Using the WorldWideWeb browser today is simple:

All you need is a modern web browser, which you’re likely using now to read this article (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc). Then just do the following:

1. Go to here.

2. To open a new web page URL, choose “Document” from the left side menu, then choose “Open from full document reference” and type in a URL (for example, then press the ‘Open’ button.

3. Double-click links to open them, each new link opens in a new window within the WorldWideWeb browser

Navigating websites with the WorldWideWeb browser is fairly awkward compared to what you’re used to, but it is three decades old and offers a look at the web at its infancy.

This is obviously not the most practical endeavor of all time, but it’s pretty amazing that you can recreate a historical web browser and get it working today in a very different era of the internet.

While WorldWideWeb is the very first web browser, many longtime users may have used other early web browsers in the halcyon days of the early web. Maybe your first web browser was WorldWideWeb, Erwise, ViolaWWW, NCSA Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, or Internet Explorer (remember when it used to be called “The Internet” on Windows 95?), or maybe it was Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or any of the other later and more modern web browsers.

Anyway, this is just yet another fun retro geeky thing to play around with, so check it out if you’re a fan of techy nostalgia. You probably won’t be using WorldWideWeb as your default browser anytime soon, but that’s not quite the point.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

7 p.m.

Location: LabCorp in RTP

Use 1912 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27703 in your map app.

Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto 1912 T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn left to the CMBP Building. In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Free Food before meeting: Subs, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


Secure FTP

Speaker: Colin van der Ross of Software Diversified Services


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services