Making YouTube videos and learning

I mentioned before that one cool aspect of making a YouTube video to perhaps explain something to others is that I often find myself learning more on the topic than I knew. And once again after working on a video to explain how to create a MVS stand alone executable, I found myself digging in and learning more. I often start out thinking this will be good for me to look back on. Then after a lot of work recording [OBS Studio] and editing [Kdenlive and ffmpeg] I start to think, that was a lot of work, maybe it could help others.

So yesterday I spend a lot of time working on this video explaining how to create a MVS executable, my explanation also used PDS datasets extensively, I would copy files to them, edit files in them, without giving much information about them, I already knew about them, what more needs to be said? I usually just submit JCL from Linux to create them…then just use them. Then I realize that perhaps most people would be working mostly from the 3270/ISPF side of things. PDSs can be a little obscure to people not familiar with IBM mainframes. So that caused me to dig into how to use those 3270 screens, which I wasn’t really familiar with, to create a PDS. In doing so I learned through trial and error, that using a single quote [‘] in the dataset name can make a big difference! Oddly the trailing quote doesn’t appear to be required? If I define WHB.SOURCE.LIB with a leading quote I will get that dataset name. But if I define it without the leading quote I instead get userid.WHB.SOURCE.LIB so for example HERC01.WHB.SOURCE.LIB. Sometimes they seem downright required.

So creating this 15min video turned into an all day event. I now had to record a video explaining how to use the ISPF screens to create a PDS, then edit the video to insert that section near the beginning of the video, so someone could follow along without missing a beat. One time I recorded a section only to learn that I had unplugged the mike. I also learned that if I plug the mike in while OBS Studio was running, it wouldn’t recognize it. That may not be true in the future, but it is today on my computer with my OS version, using the OBS version I am using today! Then there was a time where I explained that the program I was working on was displaying all 32767 prime numbers, what I meant to say was that the program was designed to display a maximum of all the prime numbers between 1 and 32767. So I had to go back and create a screen overlay text clarifying that point. I say had to go back, actually most people, with human brains, probably knew what I meant. However if my reading YouTube comments in the past, taught me anything is that there is often someone just wanting to set you straight on something. Someone who doesn’t actually have any videos of their own, but who want’s to correct you in a non constructive way. Keyword…non constructive! I’m sure there is already plenty to set me straight about without being obvious. It can be a vary tedious process, and a few hours into working on the video you just get tired of hearing your own voice.

I can already anticipate some areas of complaint. Often the real reason IMHO is a little introduction of how truly advanced that person is. They in turn can get thumbs up from other advanced people. I’m using Linux Mint, a Noobs Linux Distribution. I should be using Arch or Linux from Scratch. I’m using VS Code from Micro$haft. I actually don’t use that term…but they often do. Real programmers use VI or Emacs! Or better yet toggle the ASCII bits onto the hard drive using a Hex editor!

Note: When I refer to ISPF I really mean ISPF like.

Clonezilla restore problems

I wanted to restore a partition image the other day using the latest version 2.7.1-22 on a USB drive and it didn’t even offer the restore parts option. I selected the Clonezilla directory like I always did and dropped to the command line and did a ls /home/partimage/ and it didn’t include the Clonezilla directory only the root of that drive. I googled and found a few mentions of this problem from years past. My older DVD version 2.4.7-8 did display the restore parts option.

I’m guessing it was because the Save format changed. It looked in the directory and not finding a valid Save image didn’t offer the restore option. However I saw nothing about that in my Googling. Only explanations that ‘/home/partimage/’ should be pointing at the clonezilla image. Surely I’m not the 1st person that tried to restore an older image!

If the above paragraph is true then IMHO it’s an example of a programmer trying to be too smart. I’d much rather be allowed to choose the content of my chosen directory. And only then tell me it’s not a valid image. Better yet tell me it’s an obsolete image.

Then today I decided to use the new version to save my new Linux Mint 20.1 partition. Right after, I went through the procedure again and sure enough it offered the restore parts option. And showed the Contents of that directory along with 2 older obsolete images. I’m guessing they wouldn’t work if I tried to select them.

Customize 3270 screen

Here I wrote about changing the font size to something larger. I mentioned that the obvious choice of simply choosing a larger font wasn’t available to me. Well today it is! Perhaps because I also installed XFonts-x3270-misc and Fonts-3270, more likely the former. I simply chose Options>Font>20-point Font, and it worked. Then I chose File>Save changed Options for it to be the default. At any rate the first post is a good work around.

I also like to start my 3270 terminal,to get the wider screen like so: x3270 -model 3279-5

Hard drive migration

Replaced my 1TB drive with a 2 TB drive. The one TB drive still can be used for storage. Bumped up home from 300GB to 500GB. Will install my backup distro with 500GB home also. So reinstalled Linux Mint with newest version 20.1 and it still has x3270 and c3270 terminal emulators! So there Manjaro.

Recovering X-Plane-11! I didn’t want to do another 60+GB download. That took me days. Luckily I found a Steam backup on another HD I did before. It was an older version so it still needed a 300+MB update. After restore it still didn’t work. Finally figured out it was because proprietary Nvidia drivers weren’t installed. I thought I checked install proprietary drivers…oh wait that was a Manjaro option! Did that and it worked fine…except I lost all my settings, custom scenery and airports. I would have thought Steam might have realized it was a video driver issue, at least suggest that something to check, but at failure all I got was a pop-up box asking me if I wanted to send a crash report To Steam so it wouldn’t happen in the future. I need to invest in a flash drive just for my X-Plane Backup.

Computer problems – Pt. 3

Now perhaps my computer problems were not the SATA connector on the motherboard. I sure hope not, because if one fails…how soon before others? I say this because in the efforts of installing the new HD, I needed to shuffle drives around in an attempt to save any important data. So I was able to move 1TB home drive to 2TB home drive with no problems.

However, I was unable to retrieve X-Plane-11 data from small 160GB HD. No matter where I put it, by switching SATA cables…it would hang my system. Wouldn’t even get to the BIOS screen. I had just recently started fooling with X-Plane-11 after a long break. It was the only thing of meaning…I think, on that HD.

So I once again change my guess as to my system failure…the 160GB HD. Yes I probably didn’t need to buy another HD. However it’s not going to waste, and I have an additional 2 TB of space. And isn’t it just easier to add more space than to clean up all of my clutter?

Computer problems – Pt. 2

So in order to proactive about my HD failure, I bought a 2TB drive to replace the suspected 1 TB failing drive. However when attempting to create partitions on and formatting the new HD by reinstalling Manjaro, I got “The installer failed to create partition on disk…”. I found a boot-able gParted DVD and thinking it is probably more powerful that the one in the installer. gave it a try, but it failed also. Thought about it for a while then removed a 160GB drive and moved new drive there and it worked fine. Meaning the old 1TB drive was probably OK, and it turned out it was.

So barring a cable problem it also means the SATA HD connector or more likely underlying controller (I’m assuming this) on the motherboard is bad. That leaves one next to the Blu-ray connection. Don’t really remember but it seems like there is some issue concerning placement of the Blu-ray so I’m not sure I can use the SATA connector next to the Blu-ray for a HD. But it’s worth a try. Seriously considering removing the Blu-ray anyway, it hasn’t worked well since I got it.

All this is a reminder that I need readily accessible recovery media…probably on USB drives.

Computer problems…me thinks!

Disk to be specific. Shutdown problem last night, didn’t shutdown cleanly. Suspected it, hoped it would come up this morning…it did! This disk command was first thing I ran at startup. Of the 4 disks this is the only one reporting bad sectors…of course it holds all my home directories.

Copy a PDS to another PDS

Thinking about this new YouTube Video and thought maybe it would be more useful to others to do it on a 3270 using ISPF. Which I assumed would be intutitive…but it wasn’t. See the copy utility below. It wasn’t clear to me how to copy looking at this panel,from the beginning, after I decided I should enter the dataset name where I did, I was looking for a different place to enter the member name. Finally I did decide to enter it like I did below. But I still had problems, because I wasn’t using single quotes, as shown below, in the data set name. There were no spaces, so why should I? I had to google for that little tidbit. I don’t use single quotes in the DSLIST utility!

Anywho, it would have been quicker for me to do everything on my Local host by submitting JCL. This is what I mean about learning more myself by digging for information to explain things to others.

My YouTube videos

I’m not a put myself out there kinda guy. Also since I tend to have a lot of sinus problems, my already pretty bad speaking voice is even worse by my sniffing and throat clearing. But I want to make another YouTube video. These are Hercules MVS (Tk4-) vids. I have no desire to be a content creator in that space. The Moshix Mainframe channel already has that covered, and very well I must say. I’m basically making them for myself, but if others wondered about the things I do, then maybe they would be of interest to them too. These are topics that I looked for information on but either didn’t find it covered, or wasn’t covered sufficiently for my purpose. If I had this video on Virtual Tapes when I was looking for a way to get a lot, keyword a lot, of data to MVS/Hercules…it would have saved me a lot of time. I posted this video on March 31st and don’t think it has any views. But since I’m not trying to be a prolific content maker, it doesn’t matter that much. Besides making the video as if others might be interested, causes me to perhaps do a better job than if it was only for myself. I find myself digging for info a little harder, researching a little more, than I might otherwise. So it really is good for my own learning.

I don’t have a list of things I want to cover. However in the post I’m talking about on Virtual tapes, I made a statement that made me want to post another video showing a solution to something I brought up. I’ve already prepared steps then redefined those steps to make them better and clearer. I’m only waiting for my sinuses to improve!

As a side note, making these videos gets me more comfortable with OBS Studio and Kdenlive, my open source solutions, because I’m a Linux only disciple. I’m only scratching the surface of the capabilities of these programs.

Manjaro – No 3270 emulator

Tried to install x3270 today…and it doesn’t exist in their repositories anymore! As a matter of fact, no 3270 emulator could be found. I thought Arch had everything? Maybe the writing was on the wall, the last time I installed it on Manjaro recently, it was in a foreign language! No love for mainframes? Just considered a dinosaur? Well maybe it’s time to change my backup distro from Manjaro. It’s a big enough issue for me to change. And no I don’t want to install from source.

It’s ironic that now they chose to remove the 3270 emulators at a time when mainframes are perhaps the most popular they’ve been in a long time! Maybe a few years ago you could have used the long standing argument that the mainframe is dead, a dinosaur and obsolete. But have you googled mainframe or COBOL in the last year?

You know which Linux distro still thinks mainframes are important? Uh, the one who IBM bought…Redhat! So that would actually be Fedora in my case! I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff about Fedora in general lately. I think the last time I used Fedora it was version 5, as of today it’s on version 33. OpenSuse may also be an option, if I want to stick with KDE.