The all new AS/400 Office brings SAA-conformant office automation to Silverlake There is still some new software left over from the AS/400 launch that has not yet been dealt with, notably the comprehensive, integrated office software program for all models of the AS/400 system. The company says that AS/400 Office enables graphs and images to […]
The all new AS/400 Office brings SAA-conformant office automation to Silverlake There is still some new software left over from the AS/400 launch that has not yet been dealt with, notably the comprehensive, integrated office software program for all models of the AS/400 system. The company says that AS/400 Office enables graphs and images to be included in printed documents and includes powerful spell check and hyphenation capabilities. It also has one of those didactic features that seem to appeal so much to Americans – a facility designed to enable the author to write a document to a chosen reading level – US school grades 4 to 16 – and use the proofreading aid to flag words that some arbitrary source has determined to be beyond the specified grade level. Seems horri bly like confining subteens to Enid Blyton when they could be reading Richmal Crompton or Captain W E Johns (great vocabularies both). After a document or note is complete, it can be mailed electronically to anyone in the network by using a user ID or predefined distribution list. An unknown addressee can be quick ly located using the system directory. Diaries – why will they call the things calendars? – are provided to schedule daily activities, meetings, conference rooms and equipment. The diary can also be used to start applications at specified dates and times. The heart of the AS/400 is of course the System 38 data base system, and a menu-driven query system in AS/400 Office enables even the novice user to extract vital, up-to-date database information to facilitate decision making and problem solving, and include the information in a document or report. And the menus and screens use the dependent display Systems Application Architecture user interface standards. AS/400 Office also includes Application Program Interfaces so that customers can integrate the product with their onw line-of-business appli cations. Disconcertingly, there is no mention anywhere of any of IBM’s other office automation software such as Displaywrite, Profs and DisOSS. AS/400 Office costs $2,750 to $22,825 accord ing to the processor size; the natural language dictionaries are $300 a throw regardless of the processor; AS/400 Query is $850 on the bottom end B10, $7,050 on the B60; the Business Graphics Utility is $1,200 to $7,200 – and if you want AS/400 Office on monthly rental, it will set you back $817 a month regardless of the processor. Everything arrives with the machines on August 26 – unless you’re desperate for the Catalan langauge dictionary, which follows on November 25. Support for MS-DOS micros How do you interface IBM Personal Computers to the AS/400? Simple: you use AS/400 PC Support, described as an easy-to-use, integrated set of software (when did any company ever describe a new piece of software as hard to use and disintegrated?) that extends system resources and server functions to end users and application developers sitting at their micros. PC Support handles data transfer, file serving, print serving, communicat ions serving, and office integration, and provides access to AS/400 system databases and host-controlled printers, and to display station, printer and graphics workstation functions. Needless to say it presently runs only under MS-DOS, not OS/2, and you’ve got to have PC-DOS 3.3 or later compatible releases (there aren’t any, yet, are there?) The program provides twinax ial local and 5394 Remote Controller, IBM Token-Ring Network, and SDLC attachment of IBM Personal Computer and IBM PS/2 machines. Up to five concurrent host workstation and printer emulation sessions are supported – to a mix of AS/400s and System 36s if you like, and there is an Organiser which provides a single menu interface to both host and PC-DOS functions. It supports shared folders to provide concurrent access and update to folders for several users, with byte-level locking for applications. It also supports the EMS expanded memory system, and co-resides with the IBM PC Local Area Network program. No prices were given for the PC-DOS end of the software – perhaps you can m
ake unlimited copies for free – but on the host it costs $1,250 for the B10 up to a daunting $10,375 on the B60. For local twinaxial-attached personal computer support will be available on August 26, while Token-Ring Network, SDLC, 5394 remote twinaxial-attached personal computers, Expanded Memory Support and co-residence with the IBM Personal Computer Local Area Network program follow on November 25. AS/400 performance, capacity tools So you’ve got your shiny new AS/400 with all the new software loaded and humming away – but how do you find out exactly what its going on inside and whether the machine is serving your users to the best of its ability? IBM’s answer is that you spend a few bob – or bucks – more on the AS/400 Performance Tools licensed program. This consists of a new set of commands and programs put together to help determine the overall performance of AS/400 systems. Customers are expected to tailor the system to their own needs themselves, and the set of programs is designed to assist with performance tuning by reporting back with system usage information. And if you’re already hitting the ceiling, or are migrating from System 36, capacity planning support is also provided for the Models B30 to B60 – the real successors to the System 38 line – to see what you really need. The capacity planning support can also be used to help most System/36 users to pick an appropriately sized AS/400 to meet their performance requirements. And 38 users can modify Plan38 to pick the right sized AS/400: Plan38 is part of the System/38 Performance Meas urement Tools PRPQ (PRPQ stands for Program Request Price Quota tion, but doesn’t mean it any more: thus does IBM rewrite its history and create an impenetrable wall of jargon so that the cognoscenti can bandy terms with each other without fear of anyone not in the know understanding a word. Prices are $950 on the B10 to $5,700 on the B60, on August 26. Spook the spooks with cryptographics And if you’re not happy that IBM jargon is a sufficient barrier to penetration of the mysteries of the AS/400, there is the Cryptographic Support licensed program for encryption and decryp tion of data to the ANSI standard Data Encryption Algorithm, with facilities to help users manage crypto-graphic keys. Insur ance is seldom cheap and it’s $1,800 on a B10, $10,800 on a B60 and you’ll be uncovered anywat until it arrives on November 2.