How many screens is too many?

Doing a web seminar session yesterday I knew I wanted a second machine available. Partly as an HA failover backup (just in case), and partly to act as a view of what the other participants were seeing – which I can’t see on the system I’m driving a presentation from. Though as I cabled everything together, it did start to look a little silly. Or like a set from a bad TV show.

Five screens
Five screens, one desk

But I did actually find a use for just about all of the panels.

The secondary system had the live seminar contents, along with the text-based chat screen so I could see when people raised questions. And I had some written notes associated with the presentations that I could scroll through as the event progressed.

The primary system had one panel with the full-screen presentation, another panel with a preview of the next slide, and a further panel with all my other activities including a chat window where I could type private notes to my co-presenter if necessary.

Could I have managed with fewer screens? Probably, but having all that space did make it easy to manage and have the windows and fonts expanded large enough so I didn’t have to peer hard at small text.

I’ve now moved the 2nd laptop next to the big TV so I can use it to show the county championship cricket games available only via live streaming services. But it can brought back to the desk if needed for another web conference.

This post was last updated on April 30th, 2021 at 02:41 pm

What did Spring do to my queue manager

If you’ve done any work with the Spring frameworks for Java programs, then you will know that one of the good things about Spring is that it hides a lot of the underlying operations from you. But equally, one of the bad things about Spring is that it hides a lot of the underlying operations from you. I noticed that I was getting several questions about what was happening under the covers from people using the MQ Spring Boot starter. This post shows how you can see what Spring is doing to a queue manager.

Continue reading “What did Spring do to my queue manager”

This post was last updated on May 4th, 2021 at 08:50 pm

Different Logs

I was doing a crossword puzzle last week, and one of the clues required that you know about logarithm tables. I realised I hadn’t seen those for many years since we’d been taught how to use them at school – calculators were around but not ubiquitous. You had to know how to look up logs (base 10 and natural), sines, square roots etc in these pages. Feeling a bit nostalgic I did a search of bookstores, paid a small amount, and yesterday a book turned up.

Now if only I could remember where I put that slide rule …

This post was last updated on February 4th, 2021 at 04:28 pm

Using Loki and Grafana with MQ logs

It is odd how often similar questions come at the same time from unrelated places. Because of the projects and articles I’ve written about visualising MQ’s metrics in Grafana, I recently had a couple of people asking about using that same front-end but able to work with log-file data. Specifically would it be possible to use Loki and Grafana together with MQ. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t know what Loki was in this context, but clearly they couldn’t be asking about a Norse god or Marvel character. Instead after a very short search and a few minutes reading, I guessed that it ought to be possible to use it. Which was my reply.

But of course, I’m not likely to leave it there when I learn about a new tool. Especially when I have a reasonable starting point like a working local Grafana setup. And so I have done some very quick experiments to prove that the approach really can work. On the way I’ll also take a brief digression into using logrotate.

Continue reading “Using Loki and Grafana with MQ logs”

This post was last updated on February 9th, 2021 at 02:37 pm

More flexibility for user management in MQ

A new option in MQ 9.2.1 on Unix/Linux platforms gives more flexibility in user management, with no need to make operating system definitions for application users. This post describes why you might want this, how you can use the option and gives a simple example to demonstrate it. Note that this does not apply to Windows or the MQ Appliance.

Continue reading “More flexibility for user management in MQ”

This post was last updated on December 3rd, 2020 at 02:08 pm

Formatting SMF records

One tool I created a few years ago deals with formatting SMF records from z/OS. I designed it to take MQ’s 115 and 116 records and generate output that users could import to spreadsheets and SQL databases. I made a video about the original version of the tool here, and I wrote about more enhancements to that tool in this post.

If you want to know more about how to use the data after formatting, then Lyn has a lot of posts at her blog site talking about analyses she has run and lessons she has learned.

Most recently I’ve added (with help) some formatting options to deal with a couple of additional record types. That work showed how non-standardised SMF records are, and how much manual work is needed to create formatters. This post will talk about how something that supposedly has a common format does not really.

Continue reading “Formatting SMF records”

This post was last updated on October 29th, 2020 at 10:19 am

Improvising a teleprompter

For a web conference session I was giving this afternoon, I’d written a script. Although I might not follow it exactly, it was meant to give a structure and ensure I didn’t forget points I wanted to make. But reading it while looking down at a printed page would make it difficult to look at the camera. And looking at the camera would make it difficult to read the words. Not to mention the problem of driving the slides through, by clicking on the presentation application in a browser. Putting things on the laptop’s 2nd monitor would mean frequent eye movement so I was not “looking at” the audience. Not very satisfactory.

With an hour to go, I had a brainwave – I could use my standby laptop propped up behind the main system and use that screen. And because of the need to both click on the presentation system AND to scroll through the script, while not looking down to move cursors or switch between applications, I’d be able to use another mouse. I grabbed an empty box to act as a stand, copied a PDF to the other machine, and tried it out. I had left-hand for the teleprompter scrolling mouse; right-hand for the presenting mouse.

And it all seemed to work pretty well from my perspective. Other than running short on time. But that was not the technology’s fault.

Using a 2nd system as an improvised teleprompter

This post was last updated on August 7th, 2020 at 08:45 am