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But wait, there's more!

By Steve Hammond

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

Who remembers Ron Popiel? I remember the Popiel Pocket Fisherman and the Dial-O-Matic vegetable slicer from TV commercials of my youth. Now, if you spin the dial, it seems like every cable channel at some point during the day runs the infomercial for the Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.

Well, every time I watch one of those “shows” they’re always telling me, “But wait there’s more!” Whether it’s the flavor injector, or the rack to put the chicken on, there usually is “more!”

I was thinking about Ron and his oven as I watched the console on my Series 987 while I installed the latest version of my VeSoft software. As the files scrolled across the screen, I knew the last group in the VESOFT account would be one of the groups that begins with “ZZ.” But suddenly, I realized the files were still restoring. They are going into the VECSL account — but wait, there’s more!

VECSL is the VeSoft Contributed Software Library. It is an account chock full of command files and articles that help using VeSoft products, help you better manage your e3000 and just make your job a bit easier. Programmer-at-heart that I am, I always enjoyed trying to understand how the command files or jobs or customized files that were in the various groups.

In PUB, you find our old friend PSCREEN — still very helpful for those of you using terminals. The only file in the DOC group is the documentation on this version of PSCREEN - it’s version 94A from 1986 by Stan Sieler. Any of you out there still using dumb terminals know how helpful PSCREEN can be.

The meat of the account is in the other groups — for example, CMD has all sorts of command files. Each file has a description in the comments at the start of it (along with the name of the author and the date created) so you can determine what they were written to do in an instant. Many were written by VeSoft staff but some were written by users or other vendors’ employees. The comments include instructions on what variable to use if you are on the classic vs. the MPE/iX e3000 operating systems. They also provide details on what parameters you pass to the command file for it to function properly.

We used the command file FTPUT as the starting point for several of our processes that we use to move files from our 987 to several of our Unix servers. It did not do exactly what we wanted, but it got us going in the right direction. ALTDEV lets you move spool files from one printer to another and SPC lets you copy spool files to disc files. DBADG uses Adager and DBGEN uses DBGeneral to resize datasets, indicating the percentage you want the increase to be. LINES counts and reports the number of ‘lines’ in a fileset.

Move into the MPEX group and you find a file called DATES. This includes just about every variation and manipulation of dates you could use. If you USE the file within MPEX, it will display the date variations — it takes the current date and ‘calculates’ every day for the previous and coming week, along with the first and last day of this, the prior and the next month. It’s a good party trick, but you can use any of these dates as a template for something you need to do in your environment.

Do a CHGROUP over into SECURITY and you’ll find two helpful files. FORBID shows you variations on how to use the $FORBID keyword in the SECURCON file. There are 20 different $FORBID statements in this file — I had to create a fairly complex $FORBID many years ago and this helped me. The other file is LOGONXEQ, which contains examples of uses of $LOGON-EXECUTE statements again for use in SECURCON. They include one that logs off any concurrent sessions, one that displays the current date, time and logon device and one that will log the logon into a specific file if it is done onto a defined modem.

As you’d surmise, the VEAUDIT group has command files to help with issues discovered using that product. LOOPHOLE lets you find any users who have neither MPE nor SECURITY passwords. There are three related files — REMPMACC, REMPMGRP and REMPMPRG. These three remove PM capabilities from any accounts, groups or programs. In addition, I regularly used the file REMUDCS, which ‘unset’ UDCs that no longer existed — always problematic.

EBOOK contains 49 different files of various articles and papers written by Eugene Volokh, including both of his memorable “Truth about...” papers and many other examples of writing by Eugene and others about MPE, MPE/iX and MPEX. And the group LISTF contains various customized LISTFs — if you didn’t learn anything from last month’s column.

Some of the files are a bit obsolete and may not run, but overall, look at the VECSL account as a learning experience, so dig in and have fun.

Steve Hammond, who works for a professional association in Washington, DC, hopes to someday contribute something to the VECSL account.

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