In 1993, I moved to Toronto Ontario, to work for a small consulting firm called Nidak Associates. A month later, it was swallowed up by SHL Systemhouse, which was, in turn, swallowed up by MCI Communications. (My boss, Nigel Stokes, lives on as the founder of a new company called DataMirror. Life at SHL really didn't agree with him.)
One of the people I worked with was Patrick McPhee, who describes himself as "just another failed musician making a living in the computer industry." That certainly understates his skills, which include being a TeX guru, one of the few to truly understand virtual fonts...
I continued on with SHL until early 1996, doing all sorts of messy stuff as a Systems Engineer. During my time in Toronto, I served CORS (Canadian Operational Research Society) in various capacities, notably as the editor of their roughly-quarterly newsletter, the CORS Bulletin.
Work involvements included the following:
My time at Nidak Associates Ltd. can be described as follows:
Performed maintenance, specified and coded enhancements for various programs used by one of the Schedule 1 Canadian banks. This included software used to validate and transfer mortgage information collected at branches to the central system used for maintaining the accounts, as well as programs used to manage RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Funds) and HOSP (Home Ownership Savings Plan) funds. These applications are written in C using a custom "NAG" application generator which uses dBase compatible databases and produces applications that run under MS-DOS on Novell networks.
Performed maintenance and significant enhancements for software used by a provincial government department to track funds due to employees of troubled companies. This application was written using the "NAG" system, and was in operation until the department was eliminated due to Ontario government downsizing activities.
These tasks continued under the SHL moniker through late 1994, along with the following:
Position: Programmer Analyst (July 1993 to February 1995)
Evaluated business requirements in order to recommend integrated accounting and manufacturing software for a paper mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Acted as a technical resource on the implementation team for the software that was chosen, an Oracle-based product called Dynamic*. This included writing software in Perl to translate data from the former IBM S/36 system into Oracle SQL*Loader form.
Assisted in installation of the SAP R/3 system within the Toronto SHL branch. This included disk partitioning and system configuration for the host HP/9000, as well as configuring the Motif-based X-Windows client software. Tasks included:
Programming in C under SCO Unix, DEC OSF/1, VMS, MS-DOS, OS/2,
Programming in XBase, DEC VAX DCL, Perl,
System Design and Specification,
General Software Project Management tasks
In the fall of 1994, I started involvement with a project to install SAP R/3 at (what was then known as) Cominco Metal Sales, assisting a Basis consultant with integration of fax functionality into the R/3 system. Things quickly grew from there...
Position: Systems Engineer (March 1995 to March 1996)
Chief SHL technical resource for an R/3 installation at Cominco Ltd. (originally known as "Cominco Metal Sales") which went into production in June, 1995. Many technical tasks, including:
Configured SAP R/3 version 2.1F under DEC OSF/1 and Oracle, including some work doing system tuning.
Designed, installed and configuration printing services including software-based signature printing.
Designed, installed, and configured a Unix-based client/server fax system that includes MS-Windows front end (based on OMTOOL Fax Sr). This included writing software in ABAP/4 to extract telephone information from the R/3 system.
This was just a tad more robust (and much more functional) than using SAPLPD to route faxes to Delrina WinFax. It is now interesting to note that SAP recommends that clients not use SAPLPD to route documents to printers.
I can summarize this by saying that given:
Control of /etc/printcap,
The PERL programming language, and possibly a C compiler,
And possibly a couple hundred MB of space in /usr/local, that will likely be occupied by text editors and a copy of Ghostscript,
I could do things that nobody expected could be done, and that certainly couldn't be readily or reliably done under any of the popular GUIed PC operating systems.
Just about all of my early R/3 work involved some misuse/corruption of an RFC 1179 - LPD Dmon.
Wrote shell script workarounds to deal with problems in R/3 2.1F in the CTS system.
Programmed some financial reports in ABAP/4.
System Administrator, January 1996 to March 1996. Various and sundry sorts of BASIS-related problem solving.
Received certification as a Certified ABAP/4 Consultant from SAP America in Fall 1995.
My involvement was been with the coding of interfaces between R/3 and legacy systems relating to assets and internal orders, most notably the conversion of approximately 93,000 assets valued at over $20 Billion.
The project has been characterized as follows: " The AMR SAP Financials project implemented successfully on October 1, 1997. This project consisted of a 22 month effort to migrate ten core legacy financial systems for all domestic and international AMR companies (excluding SABRE Group). This $40 million project was an installation of the packaged SAP Integrated client server financial software. It included constructing 42 conversions, 49 interfaces to legacy systems, 44 custom reports, and 35 SAPSCRIPTS (SAPSCRIPTS are SAP's special print layouts for business documents such as checks and invoices.) A batch processing network has been put in place to support the SAP Financials jobs which includes 300 mainframe and 460 SAP jobs. AMR has over 1,600 users of this system worldwide. Infrastructure hardware and software implemented to support the implementation includes four Unix client/server environments for development, training, testing and production with five data base servers, 13 application server and a total of 1.4 Terabytes of data storage capacity. In addition, the SAP graphical user interface software was installed on all 1,600+ end user workstations. The project was completed on time and 7% under budget."
As a member of the successful team, I was awarded the Pyramid of Gold "You're as Good as Gold" Team Award, which apparently means that I was a good team player.
Since then, I have been involved with BASIS and CTS activities along with others; and creating utility programs for the SHARP R/3 HR/Payroll project.
Organizational details are somewhat better documented here.
I am also a published author, having co-written two books for Wrox Press, as well as editing others.
A more formal resume might be found here; it was written using an SGML system that allows ready conversion of the resume into such forms as HTML, ASCII text, RTF (Rich Text Format), LaTeX, thereby producing attractive output in Postscript , PDF , and some less-well-known formats...
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