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February 2024

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

This month, we canceled our February 2024 SPARTA meeting because of speaker availability issues.

If you have suggestions for topics or speakers for SPARTA or want to volunteer to speak yourself, please contact Ron Pimblett.

We hope to see you online on Tuesday, March 12, on Zoom. Watch for meeting information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

February 6, 2024 - Cancelled by Speaker Availability issue

March 12, 2024 (Special Date) - To Be Determined

April 2, 2024 - Tentative (SHARE Orlando Report by Ed Webb of SPARTA)

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.

2023-2024 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn


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

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn

see Randy

Springs earlier

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

Retired (SAS Institute Inc.)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Apex, NC 27523

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


Coronavirus Change: All meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online at 7 p.m. via the Zoom App. The link to meeting is sent to SPARTA Mailing list within 24 hours of the meeting time for security reasons. Stay safe.

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 distribution List is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

December 2023 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V506 (dated December 5, 2023) are available from

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

Minutes of the December 5, 2023 Meeting

• The December 5, 2023 meeting was called to order at 3:05 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Thirty-Ninth (April 2020 to December 2023) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Five (5) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The business portion of the meeting followed the presentation.

• The meeting started at the 7 PM time to accommodate the speaker's availability.


• The minutes of the October 3, 2023 meeting as published in the November 2023 Newsletter were approved (there was no November meeting).

• The October 31, 2023 Treasurer's report as published in the November 2023 Newsletter was approved (there was no November meeting). As of October 31, 2023, the current balance is $805.46.

• 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 at 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.

• 2024 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





February 6, 2024




Other dates




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, February 6, 2023.

• The annual dues have been suspended (motion passed in the March 2021 monthly meeting).

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the December 5 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently about 100 people on the SPARTA e-mail distribution list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA distribution List. The SPARTA meeting notices are being sent via a simple distribution list maintained by Chris.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• Randy Springs has setup a SPARTA group on LinkedIn. Please join.

• There was discussion about a possible 2023 in-person meeting, depending on vaccinations and room availability. Stay tuned.
- Randy will contact Bill Johnson to determine the LabCorp meeting place status.
- Jay Hall will look into using a NCSU Centennial Campus room.


• There was significant discussion about how to increase attendance at SPARTA meetings. After discussing ending SPARTA given lack of participation, the attendees decided to keep trying for another six months.

• We will continue meeting virtually for now with a future in-person meeting date TBD. Stay tuned.
• A board of directors meeting was scheduled for January 9 to follow-up on December's discussion.
• The Business portion and the meeting ended about 4:05 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 7:05 PM after “Around-The-Table” brief introductions.

• Presentation Topic: SHARE 2023 New Orleans (142), August 13-18, 2023

by Ed Webb of SPARTA (retired from SAS Institute Inc.)

• Agenda

• Presentation Access - See Below for a full outline of the presentation.

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this October one with additional Notes.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Ed Webb
Retired z/OS Senior Systems Programmer

• The December 5, 2024 monthly meeting ended about 8:45 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for January 2024

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $805.46 as of January 31, 2024.

SPARTA Financial Report
01/01/2024 through 01/31/2024


Opening Balance 11/1/2023


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2024

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Feb 6, 2024 Chicken
Mar 12, 2024 Subs (changed from March 5 as SHARE is March 3-7)
Apr 2, 2024 BarBQ
May 7, 2024 Pizza
June 4, 2024 Chicken
July 9, 2024 Subs (July 4 holiday falls in the first meeting week date)
Aug 13, 2024 BarBQ (changed from August 6 as SHARE is August 4-8)
Sept 10, 2024 Pizza (Labor Day holiday is in the first Tuesday meeting week)
Oct 1, 2024 Chicken
Nov 5, 2024 Subs
Dec 3, 2024 BarBQ

SHARE 2024 Orlando Technical Agenda Is Available!

contributed By Ed Webb

"...Join the SHARE community in Orlando, Florida, March 3-7, 2024. The technical agenda is available and ...features sessions on the latest enterprise IT topics including z/OS systems programming, security and compliance, machine learning/AI, plus much more.

Register now to lock in the ... available rate."

New SHARE Membership Option! Retirees Excited!

contributed By Ed Webb

On January 22, 2024, SHARE added a new Emeritus free membership option with SHARE Conference discounts but with voting and other restrictions.

"2024 is the year of maximizing YOUR impact and with SHARE's new membership structure you'll have more opportunities to learn, network, and influence. Learn more about our new membership structure ... and make sure you're taking advantage of all the benefits you have as an individual member!"

Learn more at SHARE Membership.

Where oh where, do I find base z/OS compatibility information?

Contributed by Ed Webb

Marna Walle of IBM has some strong opinions and enlightening information about a z/OS "compatibility matrix".

"I know a lot of people are doing compatibility product research now that they are planning their upgrade to the new z/OS release. I seem to be getting a lot of questions about what products are supported on z/OS 3.1, and how to find it. Also, I know that IBM and other Software Vendors provide something I call a “compatibility matrix” on web pages, and where does that come into play with a base z/OS operating system new release?

I’d like to offer information on how to do z/OS new release IBM product compatibility research, and add some strong personal recommendations on how it can be done with simple methods."

Read the more details in this blog post at Marna's Musings website.

James Webb Space Telescope

Contributed by Chris Blackshire

This Space telescope is named after James E. Webb, who was the administrator of NASA from 1961 to 1968 during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is designed to conduct infrared astronomy. Its high-resolution and high-sensitivity instruments allow it to view objects too old, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. This enables investigations across many fields of astronomy and cosmology, such as observation of the first stars and the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.

The Webb was launched on 25 December 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. In January 2022 it arrived at its destination, a solar orbit near the Sun–Earth L2 Lagrange point, about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 mi) from Earth. The telescope's first image was released to the public on 11 July 2022.

Webb's primary mirror consists of 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold-plated beryllium, which together create a 6.5-meter-diameter (21 ft) mirror, compared with Hubble's 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in). This gives Webb a light-collecting area of about 25 square meters, about six times that of Hubble. Unlike Hubble, which observes in the near ultraviolet and visible (0.1 to 0.8 μm), and near infrared (0.8 to 2.5 μm) spectra, Webb observes a lower frequency range, from long-wavelength visible light (red) through mid-infrared (0.6 to 28.3 μm). The telescope must be kept extremely cold, below 50 K (−223 °C; −370 °F), so that the infrared light emitted by the telescope itself does not interfere with the collected light. Its five-layer sunshield protects it from warming by the Sun, Earth, and Moon.

Watch the history, background, design, making, putting into orbit, and pictures on PBS.

Season 50 episode 4
Season 50 episode 10
Many more details

Official NASA website
Enjoy this most fascinating project.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

After you've heard two eye-witness accounts about an accident, it makes you wonder about history.
You can have a lot to live on, and still have nothing to live for.
There is no right way to do a wrong thing.

The nicest thing about the future is that it starts tomorrow.
The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.
Don't ever let your yearnings exceed your earnings.

It's A Pun-y World!

contributed by Ed Webb

Ever tried archery blindfolded?
You don't know what you're missing 

Procrastinators Anonymous Meeting Postponed Indefinitely

Laxatives give you a good run for your money

I asked my wife when her birthday is. She said March 1st.
So I walked around the room and asked again. 

I went to a bookstore yesterday and saw a book to solve 50% of your problems.. so I bought 2

The chains on my mood swings just broke....Run!

Yesterday I called my landlord and said..I gotta leak in my sink..
He said ..go ahead..I'm not judging

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 (Special Date)

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, February 6.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


To Be Announced


To Be Announced

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


No December 2023 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: SHARE 2023 New Orleans (142), August 13-18, 2023

by Ed Webb of SPARTA (retired from SAS Institute Inc.)

• Agenda

• Next SHARE is in Orlando, Florida on March 3-7, 2024

The presentation ended about 8:40 and the meeting ended at 8:45 PM after a short business meeting.