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July 2024

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Summer is in full strength in North Carolina, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees and humidity close behind. Now that the Independence Day fireworks are over, we can escape to air-conditioning and look forward to some vacation time.

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information. We would like to consider going back to our in-person meetings if we can find an appropriate venue. Let us know if you have any suggestions for a meeting location.

For our July meeting, join us for a presentation from Jerry Spencer of DTS Software. Jerry recently presented at SHARE in Orlando on the subject of customized z/OSMF plugins.

z/OSMF plugins is a feature that allows you to add functionality to z/OSMF. They even have sample plugins. In this session, Jerry will demonstrate how to install one of IBM's sample plugins as well as peel back some of the layers of the onion to show how you can take advantage of this feature.

Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for this informative and interesting virtual meeting.

We hope to see you online on Tuesday, July 9, at 3 p.m. on Zoom. Watch for meeting information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

July 9, 2024 (Special Date) - Jerry Spencer of DTS Software

August 13, 2024 (Special Date) - TBA by 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.

2024-2025 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 3 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 June 4, 2024 Meeting

• The June 4, 2024 meeting was called to order at 3:00 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Forty-third (April 2020 to June 2024) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Nine (9) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The business portion of the meeting followed the presentation.

• The meeting started at 3 PM to accommodate the speaker's availability.


• The minutes of the May 7, 2024 meeting as published in the June 2024 Newsletter were approved.

• The minutes of the last meeting as published were approved.

• The May 31, 2024 Treasurer's report as published in the June 2024 Newsletter was approved. As of May 31, 2024, 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 want 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):





July 9, 2024
Special Date




August 13, 2024
Special Date




September 10, 2024
Special Date

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update Kansas City, MO
Aug 4-8, 2024

October 1, 2024




November 5, 2024




December 3, 2024




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 (postponed to avoid the July 4th week).

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

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the June 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 if you are interested.

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

• There was discussion about a possible 2024 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.
• The Business portion and the meeting ended about 4:10 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 3:05 PM with no member introductions.

• Presentation Topic: Database Performance Optimization Practice (DPOP)
Alternate Name: All about Query Performance “The Possible Missing Link In Your IT Dept “

by Curt Triplett of DBG Software

• Agenda
• 1. Define End-To-End Performance
• 2. Query Performance – Current State
• 3. The Missing Link
• 4. Typical Sales Flow
• 5. DPOP — What is it?

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

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this June one with the presentation recording.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Curt Triplett
DBG Software, Managing Member
Eureka, MO 63025
Tel: 877-DBG-4DBA
Mobile: 314-578-4278
Fax: (905) 470-6507
Web site:

• The presentation and questions/answers ended about 4:00 P.M.
• The June 4, 2024 monthly meeting ended about 4:10 P.M. after a short business meeting.

Treasurer’s Report for June 2024

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $805.46 as of June 30, 2024.

SPARTA Financial Report
06/01/2024 through 06/30/2024


Opening Balance 06/01/2024


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

July 9, 2024 Subs (avoids July 4th holiday week)
Aug 13, 2024 BarBQ (avoids SHARE week of August 4-8)
Sept 10, 2024 Pizza (avoids Labor Day holiday week)
Oct 1, 2024 Chicken
Nov 5, 2024 Subs
Dec 3, 2024 BarBQ

SHARE Kansas City: Time is Running Out to Save!

contributed By Ed Webb

"Time is running out to save big for SHARE Kansas City, taking place Aug. 4-8, 2024, at the Loews Kansas City Hotel. Take advantage of the early bird rate before it's gone after July 12!

SHARE Kansas City will be packed with vendors, speakers, educators, and your mainframe peers, allowing you to soak up endless knowledge and build new connections. Join your IT community for Lunch and Learns, networking receptions, 300+ sessions covering the latest in IT education, and much more at a discounted rate by registering today."

z/OSMF Software Update Is Better Than Ever

Contributed by Ed Webb

Marna Walle of IBM recently discussed two major PTFs that enhance z/OSMF Software Update with customer requested improvements.

"After we delivered many of the high priority new functions in z/OSMF Software Management to help to install products, we [turned] our attention to the backlog of ideas for installing service. ....

1. ...delete Software Update operations that have been completed or cancelled.
2. ...install individual updates (fixes) from what has been acquired.
3. ...install updates based on a source ID, rather that have hardcoded values.
4. the Software Update operation as a different user ID than the one that logged onto z/OSMF and is using the interface.
5. New REST API that can query an SMP/E CSI."

Read details about these newly available enhancements in this Marna's Musing.

Why Do Mainframes Still Exist?

Contributed by Chris Blackshire

Just discovered Bill Sky z/OS Videos and many other z/OS helpful hints videos.

What is a Mainframe Computer? Wikipedia article

Who uses mainframes and why do they do it? IBM webpage

Job Control Language (JCL) Basic Concepts IBM webpage

Bill Sky The Computer Guy! with links to Bill Sky The Assembly Guy! and Bill Sky The C Guy! and Bill Sky The C++ Guy!

MainFrame Computers z/OS 01: Introduction and Setup
MainFrame Computers z/OS 02: Files-1
MainFrame Computers z/OS 03: Introduction to JCL

Bill Sky = The COBOL Guy (12 videos learning COBOL at about an hour each)
COBOL 01: Introduction to COBOL and Getting your Computer Ready
COBOL 02: Your First COBOL Program, Linux and Windows
COBOL 03: Defining Data within your COBOL Program
COBOL 04: Defining Floating Point and Binary Data in COBOL
COBOL 05: Single Dimensional Arrays
COBOL 06: Multi-Dimensional Arrays/Tables
COBOL 07: Display Data Types
COBOL 08: Introduction to Display, Accept and the Screen Section
COBOL 09: Moving data around in the Procedure division
COBOL 10: Mathematical Expressions, Equations and Intrinsic Functions within COBOL
COBOL 11: Making Decisions/IF Statements
COBOL 12: Binary Coded Decimals

Mainframe operating system IBM MVS on Windows for beginners - M241

The long-lost MVS/XA running on an old mainframe in Kazakhstan - M242

History of IBM mainframe operating systems - M243

How to use CICS | COBOL

I hope these may help z/OS beginners along their learning way.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

Swearing was invented as a compromise between running and fighting.
All the people who hate the rich are the same people who buy lottery tickets.
Conscience gets a lot of credit that belongs to cold feet.

No one would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Modesty is the art of encouraging people to find out for themselves how wonderful you are.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, July 9.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


Customized z/OSMF Plugins


Jerry Spencer of DTS Software

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


June 2024 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: Database Performance Optimization Practice (DPOP)
Alternate Name: All about Query Performance “The Possible Missing Link In Your IT Dept “

by Curt Triplett of DBG Software

The presentation minutes are shorter than usual as you can watch the entire recorded presentation on the SPARTA website.

• Agenda
• 1. Define End-To-End Performance
• 2. Query Performance – Current State
• 3. The Missing Link
• 4. Typical Sales Flow
• 5. DPOP — What is it?

• Slide Topics:
- End-to-End Performance
- Query Performance — Current State
- The Ripple Effect of Poor Query Performance
- DPOP™ Gap Fill
- DPOP™ Implementation
- What is DPOP™?
- Typical DPOP™ Impact
- DPOP™ Results are Dramatic
- DPOP™ Business Value
- DPOP™ Methodology
- Modes
- Phases
- Frameworks
- Success Factors
- Case Study: Major Rental Car Company
- DPOP™ Business Value Examples
- Case Study: Major Credit Card Company
- DPOP™ Business Value Examples
- Thank you!

The presentation and questions and answers ended about 4:00 PM and the meeting ended at 4:10 PM after a short business meeting.