Friday, March 24, 2017

IBM Announcement Letters

Marcus and Agata are still in the process of changing their lives. Today I'll talk about Marcus' long association with 

The IBM Announcement Letter 

A Confession
I have been a regular subscriber to and reader of the IBM Announcement Letter feed since 1985.   Yes that is over 30 years people !

What is the Announcement Letter?
As a young IBM Systems Engineer the explanation was:

When any IBM product is announced, upgraded or withdrawn it will have an accompanying text based announcement letter

Back in the day it was part of my many duties to print the ones that were relevant to my customer, in those days IBM Mainframes; in order to keep them abreast of new technology.  In those days there was no customer based Internet, though there began to be the ability to directly link to a public version of IBM Internal Databases.

So inside IBM there was a database called ULET and that was accessed using the VM operating system based service called HONE or UMIS.

IBM Customers, and I mean big IBM customers could dial into a companion IBM database called PLET

This was the position in about 1985 - 1990.

In those days IBM was well ahead of the game, but in 2017 other manufacturers have basically caught up.

Some Changes but basically the same

- Today the whole database is available on the Web

- You can search it just like you could 30 years ago!

- Announcements are normally on a Tuesday and the Summary letter is published the same day

- There is usually one letter a week.   So in the last 30 years that is some 1500 plus summaries, and assuming I follow up 5 articles per summary, it is over 7000 announcement letters read and committed to memory.

- Announcement letters may include tables but are generally just text, i.e. no pictures.

- The Sections are still pretty much the same as 30 years ago

- There is still a summary Announcement letter, I am email subscribed to that

- Inside the summary email are a one line title and a link to click thru to the individual detail

- The short code for the announcement letter is still

AANN-NNNN   example   AG17-0024

- Every Announcement letter can be downloaded in PDF format

- This is the search Page Screen

So Why the WriteUp?

After 30+ years of always reading the Announcement Summary and then following  up every interesting individual Announcement letter by reading it in full.

Well, it is time to stop :-(

Some of the letters still interest me but the majority do not.  The move from Real Hardware and Systems level software to the majority of service related, partnership related,  and waffle related announcements makes me shed a tear.  And besides, it's no longer my job to know, and my interaction with IBMers who might ask me some question which I can amaze them by replying to are gone.  I mean, these days they can simply just Google it, as can any end user.

I will miss just a little the Announcement Summary,  but I must learn to change my perception &  look forward to all the time that I will save.  Time that can now be spent on very probably Athletic and non Computer related activity.

Bon voyage IBM Announcement Letter.

Rodgers and Hammerstein: Goodbye