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Brian May on the Modernization Redbooks Publication

Last August, while working on the modernization Redbooks publication in Rochester, Paul took the opportunity to chat with one of the co-authors, Brain May, about modernization, the Redbooks publication, the Redbooks team, mixing PHP and RPG, and learning from your teammates.

Paul: Hi everyone. This is Paul Tuohy and welcome to yet another iTalk With Tuohy. I am delighted to be joined today by another friend and colleague here in Rochester where we are working on the modernization Redbook so say hello to Brian May from Profound Software.

Brian: How are you doing?

Paul: How you doing? I am in an episode of Friends. That is great. So great to see you again, Brian, as always. So we are here in Rochester. We are working on this modernization Redbook so what do you think about the Redbook?

Brian: I think it is something that the community needs first and foremost. I look at the scope of this document and think wow. We are covering a lot of topics. I think you know it is prob—in my opinion, it is the biggest undertaking a Redbook has ever done and I am really interested to see what the final product looks like.

Paul: You and everyone else. So it is really some team they have put together on this, is it not?

Brian: Yeah. I am still trying to figure out why I am here. You know, I walk in and basically I look around and I see the people that I learned RPG from sitting around the table and I am saying okay so what am I going to contribute that these guys do not—that I did not learn from them? But no, I think the team is the best possible team that could come together on this. I mean there is from big-name educators to customers to IBMers. I mean there is just a wealth of knowledge sitting around the table and just to try to get all of that knowledge basically downloaded out of all of these brilliant people's brains and onto paper is just, it is just mindboggling.

Paul: Just as you said that, I suppose that is part of the reason as to why the table of contents was running to that 17 pages or whatever, you know. It is sort of that list, is it not, of all the things where people are going oh yeah, we should talk about this and this and this and this, and it just kept going.

Brian: Yeah and everyone had their own thing you know where every person—I will not say everyone had an agenda but everyone had that one thing that they really wanted to be covered and the problem with having 10 people in a room that have one or two things that they want to have covered is suddenly you have 17 chapters.

Paul: Well, now you gave me a leading question. You actually stated the question, just a second ago which is when you said okay what am I doing here? Right, so what is it that you bring to the team then?

Brian: Right. I do not know.

Paul: Let me say, I know what you bring to the team. What do you think you bring to the team?

Brian: Oh. Apparently, you are more informed than I.

Paul: I read the memos.

Brian: Oh. I don’t know. Maybe I bring a unique perspective. I spent ten years in the customer sector so I have been through the modernization process from that side of the coin, right? Then working at Profound now, being in the user interface modernization business, now I come at modernization from that angle so maybe I give a slightly unique perspective having sat on both ends of that conference table to try to move applications forward.

Paul: Okay. Well there is a little bit more than that though. You are one of guys on Open Access on that as well.

Brian: Well yeah.

Paul: And you are also one of the PHP guys.

Brian: Yeah, sort of.

Paul: So, for example, like one of the tools that we are using here now, that we have set up, is just one that you sort of just set up for us to use yesterday like in the, you know, 10 or 15 minutes that you had spare between writing a couple of chapters.

Brian: Yeah, well yeah, I set it up in 10 or 15 minutes and then actually fixed it a couple of hours later but yeah. You know Open Tools are just a great benefit to the system so I thought that this being a modernization team, why do we not take the modern approach on that too and let us use some Open Tools running on IBM i to manage this whole project, right?

Paul: So later on, you are going to have to show me how I can get that Web page back onto a 5250 screen, you know, so I can use it. No, I’m joking. Please do not tempt me. It is interesting though, is it not, that this thing, this perspective of getting the mixture of the RPG and the PHP together as well?

Brian: Yeah, it is—well I never thought they were exclusive anyway.

Paul: Yeah, no.

Brian: But to actually get them together in one book is going to be interesting.

Paul: Yeah, it is going to be quite a challenge as well.

Brian: Along with a few other things mixed into the book that we won’t reveal at this time.

Paul: So the other neat thing on this just coming back on the team though as well is—I mean a lot of us, you, quite a number of us have met many, many times over the years and spent a lot of time together as well but also maybe some of the people that we have not met before.

Brian: Yeah. There are some new faces on the team and some of them have really surprised me with their depth of knowledge of the topic and their ability to just put it out there and draw people in. It is just—

Paul: Yeah. And that is the—I mean like when it comes to dealing with guys like yourself and Mike and all of that, I mean I kind of know what to expect. We have been doing it together for quite awhile but it is great. I have—we are like on what now? Our fourth day in here and I have learned a lot from these guys so far.

Brian: Yes, absolutely. The mix is great. It is not the usual suspects. There are some of us usual suspects but there are a lot of new faces and from not just here in North America either. I mean—we count you as a North American anyway.

Paul: Oh thanks.

Brian: But we have got a real international team here you know. Let me see? Who do have represented? France, Italy, Columbia, Costa Rica, Canada.

Paul: Canada.

Brian: Ireland.

Paul: Ireland okay.

Brian: The US of A. I mean, that is all over you know, and for me personally I am somewhat honored to be on the team. I know there were a lot of applicants. Not everyone made the cut, you know.

Paul: Oh yeah.

Brian: So just to be able to be a part of it is, you know, I think it is a feather in the cap for all of us.

Paul: Okay. Well listen Brian, we are nearing the end of our time here and so thanks a million for talking to me. I really appreciate it as always but one of the things I am going to do in a few weeks when some of this pain is behind us is I am going to chat with you again about the Redbook maybe, grab a few minutes of your time.

Brian: Any time.

Paul: Assuming you are still talking to me at that stage.

Brian: I do not think I could ever stop talking to you, Paul.

Paul: Or at least at me.

Brian: Oh okay. Fair enough.

Paul: Thanks a million. Okay everyone that is it for now, signing off and hopefully talk to you all in a couple of week. Bye for now.

Paul Tuohy has specialized in application development and training on IBM midrange systems for more than 20 years.

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