To give everyone an idea of what Tidlund IT Consulting can offer, perhaps a 'Life of Brian' will help. As the primary, and well, only, employee of Tidlund IT Consulting, I think it's important to show the diverse areas that I have encountered over the years. So here goes ...
Brian Tidlund started his training in Computer Science at the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1981. While at University, he worked at various companies as part of the Cooperative Work Study program - specifically Nova, an Alberta Corporation; SED Systems; the University of Regina; and IBM Canada. His time at these companies exposed him to enough areas to have a general understanding of computing in the mid-80's - Computer Operations, programming (in C and Fortran), and some of the operating systems available at the time - VAX/VMS, MVS, and VM. His University courses expanded this to Assembler, Cobol, and Basic on PDP-11 computers - state of the art in the 80's.
After graduating with a BSc in Computer Science with High Honours and a Co-operative Work Study designation, he joined SaskComp - the Information Technology arm of the Government of Saskatchewan responsible for supporting many Government departments. His initial roll was in the Mainframe Storage group where he supported the DFHSM (Hierarchical Storage Manager) product, did some S370 Assembler programming and moved data from IBM 3380 disk to, what was at the time, new, 3390 disks.
Around this time, his duties expanded to supporting the MVS/ESA system and participating in Disaster Recovery tests. Over the next 25 years, he participated in one or two DR tests each year. At each test, the mainframe operating system was recovered from, originally, physical tapes and by 2013, a virtual tape environment (TS7720).
Some of the other highlights include developing, using a 3270 'screen scraping product' called i2F, a consolidated tape mount display that the Operations staff could use to see tape mounts for multiple systems on one screen. With another employee, he coauthored a SHARE document called 'Tape Consolidation using i2F' explaining how the process was being used at Westbridge, the name of the company at that time. Later this company would morph into ISM and then today's name ISM Canada, an IBM subsidiary.
With the transition of the MVS/ESA operating system into OS/390 and z/OS, Brian was at the forefront of product installs of each variation. He attended various training sessions to learn about the new features of each upgrade and presented this information to both internal and external customers.
As Brian's experience grew through the 1990's, his assignments varied. For a while, he worked on Assembler exits for JES2, MVS SMF (Systems Management Facility) and TCP/IP NPF (Network Print Facility). When IBM outsourced its Question and Answer (Q&A) service for Level 1 assistance to customers to ISM for a few years, Brian worked on the JES2 queue answering these customer inquiries.
Brian worked with application progammers building new Logical Partitions (LPARs) to test changes they were making for Y2K. These new LPARs were IPLed with various future dates to monitor the effect of the transition; and on New Year's Eve, Brian watched the time on the LPARs go from 23:59:59 Dec. 31, 1999 to 00:00:00 Jan. 1, 2000 with no adverse effect to the environment. Contrary to the naysayers though, a lot of work was done on the systems at ISM to make that transition painless.
Later in 2000, IBM released a Linux operating system that would run on a mainframe processor. On June 7th, 2000, Brian booted up the first Mainframe Linux system at ISM and over the next 15 years, he would add the titles Linux System Administrator and z/VM System Administrator to his resume.
On the z/VM system, not being satisfied with the vendor tape management products available to him, and realizing that ISM's requirements were minimal in this respect, Brian wrote a z/VM Tape management product in Rexx. It was used successfully for many years at ISM for backing up Linux and z/VM disks and files.
While supporting the Linux environment, Brian had a chance to install and support a number of Tivoli products - IBM Tivoli Monitoring, Tivoli Asset Management for IT, and Tivoli Assed Discovery for Distributed. As well, Brian configured and supported Samba and IBM HTTP Server running on these Linux systems.
As new mainframe hardware was released by IBM and leases on current hardware expired, Brian was the primary z/OS support for the installation of new processors (from 3090's all the way to a zBC12). His duties included being the backup project manager for the overall installation process (plus the primary project manager for one successful installation), creating the Input/Output configuration of the new processors, confirming that software maintenance to support the new processor was installed, making sure that any new software keys were ordered and installed, and working with the customer to plan for a successful implementation.
A larger project which involved many of these same tasks occurred when ISM got a new mainframe customer and Brian was a major player on the team that designed and implemented the project to move the mainframe hardware from one city to another 250 miles away with minimal interruption to the customer. The transition went so smoothly that one customer director was asked by one of his clients when the transition was happening, after it had already been completed.
Though the technical responsibilities continued to increase through the years, Brian was also asked to act as the team leader for the System z Services team at ISM. For twelve years he was responsible for mentoring the members of his team, performing annual and ongoing performance reviews, assigning tasks, tracking and approving change requests, vacation and overtime, holding monthly team meetings, and acting as the focal point for the team for any security audits that may have occurred.
As you can see, I have covered many different areas during my years in the workforce. Personal computer history was not even mentioned - Amiga, PC, OS2, Windows, Linux. Neither was working with Lotus and Microsoft Office products. There are many things that I've picked up over the years just doing the job.
Most lately I've been trying to expand my repertoire by getting my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) designation, working on a SAS certification and learning more about Data Analysis using Python. Over the years I've gained knowledge on both of these programming languages but always want to learn more.
However, I am still primarily a mainframer at heart. Over 25 years working in that world means I know how to set up a new mainframe - get the hardware up and running; install and support the z/OS operating system; and debug a system dump if presented with one. I know how to write an exit to make the system do what you want or tell you why some JCL is not working as expected. I can install a new version of a piece of software and incorporate it into your system. I can lead a project to upgrade a processor or do the 'techie' work involved in an upgrade.
By the way, I do have other interests as well. I would love to learn Spanish so when visiting Mexico, I could understand and converse with the natives. I've been interested in Astronomy and Dinosaurs since I was a kid. I recently completed a Coursera course called Dino 101 - highly recommended for anyone interested in dinosaurs. I'm also interested in ancient history - specifically Ancient Egypt. A few years ago I did an online course to learn hieroglyphics. If you want to get bombarded by grammatical terms, I'd suggest studying them in detail. Related to that area and my programming side, I wrote an Android ap to have a hieroglyph dictionary on my phone. (I needed to teach myself Java to do that.) It has a database of over 30,000 words and terms and the only reason I never released it was the tedious task of reviewing each entry and cleaning up about half of them. I'm only about 1/8 the way through that review.