Product Review: Spool Organizer/400 from Broderick Data Systems

If there's one thing I've heard repeatedly over the last 25 years or so it's: "Users always ask for the impossible at the worst possible time and can make your life most challenging until they get it." One of the most frequent user gripes follows along these lines: "I didn't get that report" or "Can you rerun the month-end reports for me? Anderson in accounting deleted them, and we haven't a clue what the closing numbers were." Now, I know this has never happened to you, but I'd be willing to wager that you know someone that it's happened to-and in some cases continues to happen to.

Users tend to lose things, printers tend to eat forms, and, let's face it, there are many times when you just can't rerun something a griping user is moaning about without reloading a bunch of files (if you have them) and rerunning part of a major process.

Then, there are the users who wish they had the report as a PDF so that they could e-mail it to someone at the branch office somewhere a few kilometers north of Ayers Rock, or they're eager to inform you just how long it takes them to rekey a report into their favorite spreadsheet. Sound like any users you've dealt with?

Well, what if we had a way to help with all of those problem users? No, I'm not talking about sending a few Nerf balls to throw at them; more like a way to archive, retrieve and convert spool files to CSVs and PDFs.

So this month we turn the spotlight on SpoolOrganizer/400 from Broderick Data Systems.

The manual instructions are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. There aren't many of them. I wish there had been a LODRUN option, however, as this saves on the fat-finger mistakes and ensures that things are installed the way the vendor intended.

There are a few post-install security items you must setup. While they're relatively simple, I highly recommend calling in and getting the 30-minute walkthrough. Allocate the time to run through a few setups, and you'll be ahead of the game.

With a little planning or programming this little package will basically do most anything from archiving and distribution to conversion and on-demand archive retrieval.

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

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