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Mel Beckman


Mel Beckman is the senior technical director for System iNEWS. Before that, he was a System iNEWS senior technical editor for more than 20 years. He has built two regional Internet service providers and is currently president of Beckman Software Engineering, a technical consultancy specializing in large-scale, high-bandwidth networks. His past clients include Apple Computer, the City and County of Santa Barbara, DuPont Displays, IBM, Loral Federal Systems, United Airlines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Mel has presented seminars on computer programming and network technology throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Mel's hundreds of articles about networks and software development have appeared in e-Pro, InfoWorld, System iNEWS, Macworld, PC World, and Windows IT Pro magazines. Mel has received numerous writing awards, including the Excellence and Distinguished Technical Communication awards from the Society for Technical Communication. He co-authored, with Gartner research director John Enck, the book LAN to WAN Interconnection, which has been translated into more than six languages, including Chinese. Mel's personal interests include playing the classical guitar, flying helicopters, and studying marine biology, but not all at the same time.

Linux for IBM i Users
Linux for IBM i Users 
Learn how to augment your existing IBM i programming skills with the power of Linux. Mel Beckman explains what you need to know about Linux as an IBM i technologist, including how to run it directly on your IBM i and options for cloud deployment of Linux-based workloads.
IBMi25 celebration
Top 5 Reasons the IBM i is Still Tops after 25 Years  9

Last week was the IBM i's official 25th birthday. Mel Beckman spoke with IBMers Steve Will and Ian Jarmin about the keys to the system's success. IBM has launched a Facebook page for the celebration,, and established the #ibmi25 Twitter hashtag. The party is just starting, so be sure to participate with your own contributions for the entire year.

Top 10 Pretty Good Security Practices
Top 10 Pretty Good Security Practices 
Everyone wants a secure network, but the path to getting one isn't clear, or straight. These 10 important security measures you can take today will greatly improve your network's resistance to abuse and invasion.
IBM’s POWER7 Logical Partitions “Under the Hood”
IBM’s POWER7 Logical Partitions “Under the Hood” 
Mel Beckman covers a new document from IBM that covers the reasons behind IBM’s new best practices recommendations for IBM i virtualization on POWER7.
Bringing bash to IBM i Systems
Bringing bash to IBM i Systems  2
There’s only one true shell environment shipped with IBM i: QShell. QShell adopts many, but not all, of the features of the IEEE POSIX and Open Group shell specifications. But IBM might have hitched its wagon to the wrong shell. A more recent shell, The GNU Bourne-Again Shell, or bash, has been the de facto standard shell on many systems for years.
IBM i is 25 years old
A Long Long Time Ago, I Can Still Remember  3

Twenty five years ago this June marks IBM’s introduction of the AS/400, which is the same system we call IBM i today. IBM is marking the occasion with an intense celebration lasting several months, kicking off at the COMMON conference in Austin on April 7. IBM has launched a Facebook page for the event,, and established the #ibmi25 Twitter hashtag. I plan to join the fun, and I hope you do to.

Tech Corner (November 2012) 
Mel Beckman answers questions on accessing writes/updates in Commitment Control, determining single job queues, and other topics.
Tech Corner (October 2012) 
Check Directories Before Process Runs

Q  How can I check to see if a QNTC share is available programmatically? I have a process that needs to pull files off a remote server, and I need to check that everything is working correctly before starting the process. If there is an error, then I want cancel the whole process.


Is RPG Dead?  87
After years on life support, RPG should finally be declared dead, argues Mel Beckman. He asks a simple question for evaluating the viability of a programming language: Is it still used routinely to write new programs that solve current problems? RPG, Mel says, is not.
IBM’s New PowerLinux: Hardware and Virtualization Domination 
IBM has supported Linux on Power for years, but IBM's hardware has not been as cost-efficient as x86, nor its virtualization as able as VMware. With its announcement of the new PowerLinux package dedicated to "meat and potatoes" Linux deployments, IBM simultaneously erases the price barrier while leaping past VMware virtualization efficiency and security.
IBM’s New PureFlex: Just Say Node 
IBM's new Power Flex hardware architecture delivers multi-platform private cloud deployment in a single rack enclosure. Combining the best attributes of scale-out blades with scale-up servers, Flex's node-based chassis slashes capes and opex costs, and serves up a secret sauce with its embedded management node.
Six Easy Pieces on IT Security MVP eBook 

The six articles in this ebook present a half dozen simple yet powerful security topics that any IT pro can digest in lunchtime reading. The title comes from a similar collection of basic physics lectures by the brilliant physicist and Nobel laureate Dr. Richard Feynman. That original "Six Easy Pieces" tome compiles Dr. Feynman's lectures dealing with several basic concepts of physics. In Mel Beckman's work, you'll read of basic concepts in IT security.

Cloud Security: Top 5 Vulnerabilities of the Public Cloud 
The public cloud delivers an array of cost-effective offerings in three categories: Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS, respectively). Each of these categories has vulnerabilities--some shared, some unique--that you must consider before using the public cloud for enterprise operations. Mel Beckman offers a rundown of the five most significant vulnerabilities of the public cloud, providing knowledge that will help you assess cloud services and make acceptable risk/reward tradeoffs.
Is It Safe in the Cloud? 
You can put anything in the cloud these days. But should you? Out in the cloud, you lose direct control over your applications and data, and must trust cloud providers for security and reliability. Do they deserve your trust? Putting the wrong kind of app or data in the cloud could be a disaster for your organization, and might even result in criminal prosecution—against you! Learn the limits of cloud safety and keep your organization from getting zapped by cloud failure.
Dr. I Doctor (April 2012) 
Dr. I Doctor explains outdoor wireless grounding practices and how to limit FTP access for ODBC-authorized users.
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