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December 2002

Favorite functions for rookies

Inside VESOFT covers tips and techniques you can use with VESOFT’s products, especially MPEX.

By Steve Hammond

The State of Maryland is out to get me. Actually, not the entire state, just segments of the legislative and executive branches.

Specifically, the Motor Vehicles Administration of my home state and, by extension, its state legislature, have decided to ruin my life. It seems that no matter how much lobbying, cajoling, imploring, bribing and outright tearful begging I do, they seem to think my soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter is ready to drive an automobile. Now don’t get me wrong — she is a good, level-headed kid who has shown maturity, intelligence and sound judgment. But this is driving. This is not dog-sitting — she wants to drive a two-ton minivan!

Now look at me. I’m over 50, overweight and over-stressed. I’m a coronary occlusion waiting to happen! But does the even affect the decision-making of the MVA? No! They look at my daughter’s birth certificate, see she is 16 and say she’s qualified for a learner’s permit. At least I was able to get one concession on the family level — I will not be the one teaching her to drive. That decision took about 3 nanoseconds, with all parties (me, wife and child) in total agreement.

But this hasn’t stopped me from trying to pass on some hints to my soon-to be novice driver — how to come out of a skid, checking the oil, etc. My wife even offered a tip on the exact moment to burst into tears when stopped by a police officer.

Anyway, all these ‘hints for the novice’ made me think about how there must be some HP 3000 system manager novices out there, especially those who have had management of it dropped in their laps due to some Byzantine decision by whomever. I thought it would be nice to toss out a few of my favorite MPEX functions which would be helpful for any rookie with the MANAGER.SYS password.

GOD and MORTAL — These are two programs that can make system management easier. When you run GOD.PUB.VESOFT, which is lockworded, you immediately get full SM and OP privileges. Therefore, if you need to do something, or check something, and you are not logged on as MANAGER.SYS, just run GOD and you have it. I have used it many times when I needed to STARTSPOOL or STOPSPOOL or do a REPLY from my office. It also helps if you are at someone’s terminal and want to do just one thing as SM and not waste the time of logging on as MANAGER.SYS and then having them log back on as themselves. Once you are done doing whatever needed to be done, just run MORTAL.PUB.VESOFT, which is not lockworded and restores the session to its original capabilities.

ALTFILE — The MPEX manual devotes 20 pages to ALTFILE and maybe that’s because it’s so helpful. You can reset file limits, modify blocking factors and save space. You can move files from one logical device to another. You can change lockwords. But the ALTFILE option I’ve used the most, far and away, is CREATOR. Many is the time on a Monday, the operator came into my office and handed me a full backup listing with several file names highlighted. Those were the files that had not backed up because I had deleted the user from the system earlier in the week, but had not looked for files that had that user as the creator. ALTFILE...;CREATOR=... got a lot of use.

LISTF...,ACCESS — Just this morning a co-worker called me because she needed to add a field to a dataset. She started up Adager, but when she went to modify the database, she was told she needed exclusive access to the database. “Steve, can you tell me who has the finance database open?” LISTF FINDB,ACCESS did the trick, even showed me the program he was running to access the database. Yes, there are other ways, but this one is so easy.

PRINT...;SEARCH =... — Need to search through a group of files for the occurrence of a word or variable? Just try PRINT fileset;SEARCH=”word you are looking for”. You can do search for multiple strings in a line (that’s very important, since the print is done by line). You just do PRINT...;SEARCH=”word1” OR “word2”. That finds the line with either word1 or word2. If you are looking for a line with two words in it, the PRINT...;SEARCH=”word1“AND “word2”.

Of course, my favorite is PRINT...;SEARCH=caseless “word”. I generally code in lower case. My primary programmer codes in upper case. “Caseless” takes care of anything written by either of us.

EDIT, EDITQUAD, EDITTDP and QEDIT — wish you could do repetitive tasks to a set of files using your favorite editor? These four commands cover a lot of bases, using Editor, Quad, TDP and Qedit, respectively. Just issue the command followed by the fileset, followed by a comma and the specific editor’s commands and you’re operating at optimum efficiency. EDITCHG is related to EDIT. If you attempt to change a file with EDIT, every file will have a KEEP done to it, whether an actual change occurred or not. EDITCHG issues the KEEP only if the change was done.

HOOK — You can ‘modify’ existing programs so that you can run MPEX from inside them with the mere touch of a button - of key, specifically the ‘%’ key. Inside my ‘hooked’ copy of SUPRTOOL, I just type ‘%ALTFILE filename; CREATOR=STEVE’ to change the creator of a file to me. It comes in very handy.

SAVEJOB, SHOWSAVED and DOSAVED — When you take a system down, you generally lose the jobs that are in the WAIT or SCHED state. It happens — and generally, you get some very perturbed users who want to know what happened to that job that was supposed to run at 3 AM . Try doing a %SAVEJOB @;FILE=filename before you shut down. You can even define it to %SAVEJOB @.PROD or %SAVEJOB WAIT+SCHED. Just remember the file name you put all this into. You can do a %SHOWSAVED;FILE=filename to show you exactly what processes were saved. Once the system is back up, from MPEX just do %DOSAVED;FILE=filename. Then the jobs go back out into the proper state and will start at the time you wanted them to start. Made my job easier.

So I’ve just shown you some commands that will make you job easier. Now could you make my life easier? Just sign my petition to raise the driving age in Maryland to, I don’t know, maybe 27?

Steve Hammond, who works for a trade association in Washington, DC, doesn’t even want to think about what his auto insurance bill will be in February!

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