As we noted in last week's blog, we're theoretically on vacation this week in beautiful Carlsbad, Calif. Apparently whoever controls the weather read that blog post and decided to make us feel better about working by cancelling the sunshine during our stay. Locals tell us that we're suffering from "June Gloom," which runs from late May to the end of June. Yes, we are very much aware that it is now nearly the end of July, but "June Gloom" is what they're calling it. Seems somewhat ironic that we may have to go home to Ontario to get some sunshine! Not complaining too much though--we've been taking long walks on the beach twice a day and thoroughly enjoying it.
So what's been happening this week? Well for us Mac users (and Linux users too) the big news was IBM's announcement of a "Technology Preview" of the new "IBM i Access Client Solutions." This is a Java-based application for 5250 display and printer emulation. It features all of the usual suspects, including support for multiple sessions and file upload and download. Interestingly it also provides support for 5250 emulation for LAN Console.
To obtain the preview go to the IBM i Access Web page and look for the download link. Installation is as simple as unzipping the jar file and launching it.
So how well does it work? So far we've been favorably impressed. The overall look and feel will be familiar to those who have been using IBM's Windows emulator client. This helps in familiarizing yourself with the interface, which is useful considering that because this new tool is platform neutral (you can even run it on Windows--but why would you want to? <grin>), it therefore does not have the native Mac look-and-feel.
The customization options are more comprehensive than we had expected in a preview version and it seems to perform well. Setting up a new connection is a breeze and does not seem to have the same limits on the number of connections you can store that the Mochasoft product does. So far we've only found one major annoyance. It doesn't adapt to a new window size as well as other emulators we have used. When you resize the window it often leaves a lot of black space round the edges. Other emulators we have used, such as Mochasoft, scale the font size automatically to provide a best fit for whatever window size you have chosen. It would be nice if IBM could make this new client work the same way since in every other aspect it appears to be a big improvement on the other offerings. Now if only Rational would hurry up with a Mac version of RDP ... oh well, we can but dream.
Time to wrap this up. There's a teeny tiny bit of sunshine creeping through the gloom and we hear a beach calling. ...