Please Send Me a PC that Works Like an iSeries Server


Dear Santa: I know Christmas isn't quite here, but I intend to be a good little lad in 2004 and thought I'd get an early start on the letter writing to beat the rush.

First, I'd like to thank you for all that nice coal you brought me last year. I've finally finished piling it up neatly in the backyard. I'm still not quite sure why my neighbors refer to it as Mount Fuji, but I hear we're in for a cold winter here in Virginia, so I'm glad to have it.

I have a confession to make. Before leaving for Christmas vacation last year, I delivered my regular PC to the PC shop for some presents of its own. Given how finicky hard drives can be nowadays, I thought it prudent to mirror the 120 GB drive I was using, as I've never known anyone who's been able to get a proper backup with it. The thought of performing a restore is enough to give even Boris Karloff the chills.

While it was in the shop, I thought I would give myself a present and upgrade the processor from the old 600 MHz to one of the new blazing fast Pentium 4 2.2 GHz models.

I was hoping to have a really nice solid box that would allow me to write my articles so fast that I could actually have time to play some chess. The latter proved to be my undoing, dear Santa. For changing the processor boards on these systems evidently opens a can of worms that would make all of the bass fishermen on the East Coast queue up with buckets in hand, eager for their share of my bumper crop of fish bait.

Dutifully, I took my old system to the wizards to work some magic while I was on vacation. I was shocked three weeks later when I was still without upgrade, much less the little box that used to stand beside my desk keeping my feet warm late into the evenings. The grand wizards folded, spindled and mutilated every means, manual and messaging system in their valiant, yet futile, attempts to escape the messages of doom, which indicated that their latest attempt to make all of the parts talk in concert had ended in yet another humbug that would make even the Grinch proud.

In the days that followed, I found myself wondering why all system upgrades don't happen as smoothly as when my CE comes in and swaps out a few boards on my iSeries server, restoring sanity in short order.

Were this a simple box of minor consequence, I would have paid it no heed. But its the one I use to research most of my other articles. Dear Santa, I confess, I was woefully behind deadline and my editor was tapping her red pencil, making a sound like the conga drums of darkest Africa rather than the patter of raindrops on roses. And hell hath no fury like that given to a lowly writer who's behind deadline.

So, Santa, this Christmas would you please bring me a new desktop computer that's simple to use and upgrade; does all of the nice things I want it to; has all of the support, features and trustworthiness of the iSeries server that I have in the office? And, Santa, it would be nice if this desktop also ran OS/400*.

Happy holidays, Don.


Don Rima has more than 20 years of experience with IBM midrange systems. Don can be reached at

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