SIMDATE 
Date Simulation for the AS/400

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does SIMDATE do?
What languages and programs are supported?
How do I get a copy of SIMDATE?
Is SIMDATE difficult to install?
Do I need special authorities to use SIMDATE?
Is SIMDATE easy to use?
Why do I keep getting these annoying messages that SIMDATE is in test mode?
What are the benefits of using SIMDATE? Can't I just change QDATE?
Are any commands restricted while SIMDATE is in effect?
Is technical support available?
How much does SIMDATE cost and what forms of payment are acceptable?
How do I order a SIMDATE license?
Are any PTFs required for SIMDATE?
What security levels are supported?
What if I have more questions?







What does SIMDATE do?

SIMDATE is a "date simulation" product for the IBM AS/400 series of computers. It allows a user to supply a "virtual" system date which is in effect only for a particular job. No changes are required to the real system date, QDATE. SIMDATE facilitates safe testing of programs or applications using dates other than the current date. For example, in a year 2000 project, a programmer might want to test his or her program to see how it will perform on January 3, 2000. By using SIMDATE, this test can be accomplished without changing the actual system date. IBM has an
excellent explanation of Date Simulators, although it emphasizes mainframe applications and systems.

What languages and programs are supported?

Currently, ILE RPG, non-ILE (OPM) RPG, and non-ILE (OPM) COBOL are supported. In addition, all known CL commands for extracting the system date are supported as is the DATE keyword in DDS. The Program Status Data Structure (PSDS) is properly maintained by SIMDATE. QUERY and SQL current date and timestamp functions are supported. In addition, all non-bound OS/400 APIs are supported. Future versions will support ILE Cobol if there is a demand. If you are interested in support for ILE COBOL or other languages, please
contact us immediately so that we can update you on the current status of other language support. Currently, bound ILE calls (CEE.. calls) are not supported. When completed, we will post the status of support for additional products on this page. SIMDATE requires OS/400 V3R1 or later.

How do I get a copy of SIMDATE?

The best way is to follow this link to our
download page. There, you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire and will find a link to follow for the software itself. SIMDATE is distributed as a self-extracting ZIP file. You need to download the software to a Windows (3.1, 95, 98, NT, CE) machine in order to run the self-extracting ZIP. (You may also be able to read the file from a Mac but we're not too familiar with them.) We try to discourage other forms of distribution because the download is so easy. However, if you require a quarter inch tape or some other distribution media, please contact us and we can immediately make the necessary arrangements.

Is SIMDATE difficult to install?

NO! SIMDATE is very easy to install. Just
download the software as explained in the previous question. We also have simple step-by-step detailed installation instructions online. The download includes all installation instructions as well. Installation can usually be accomplished in fifteen minutes or less! Please call us at 1-323-658-1146 or email us if you require any assistance.

Do I need special authorities to use SIMDATE?

NO! Using SIMDATE is easily accomplished by anyone with authority to the SIMDATE command which is, by default, PUBLIC *USE. Installing SIMDATE requires that the installer be logged on as the security officer, QSECOFR.

Is SIMDATE easy to use?

VERY! There's just one command to remember: SIMDATE. This is a standard OS/400 command with full prompting and help facilities. To enable SIMDATE, just type
SIMDATE SET(*ON) USEDATE('11/14/2056')
This will enable SIMDATE for your job and will return the date November 14, 2056 as the current date in response to all supported requests. This example assumes that your current job date format is *MDY. If, for example, your current job date format is *DMY, then type
SIMDATE SET(*ON) USEDATE('14/11/2056')
instead. To find out the status of the SIMDATE Date Intercept Facility, just type
SIMDATE -or- SIMDATE SET(*STS)
To turn off date interception for your job, enter
SIMDATE SET(*OFF)
Pretty easy, huh?

Why do I keep getting these annoying messages that SIMDATE is in test mode?

The version of the product which you can download is a trial version which works for thirty days. Each time you use SIMDATE during the trial period, you will receive a warning message indicating that you are using only the trial version. In addition, during the trial period, dates on or after Janauary 1, 2000 are not supported. However, you can set the date to any date on or before December 31, 1999 to see just how well SIMDATE works in your environment.

The purpose of the trial period is to give you an opportunity to install and evaluate the software. When you see how much time, money, and resources it can save during your year 2000 testing phase, you can easily license the software for full, unlimited use. After we receive your payment, simply call or email us with the information shown when you enter the command

SIMDATE SET(*KEY)
We will give you a key to enable the software for full production use.

What are the benefits of using SIMDATE? Can't I just change QDATE?

Please see our
benefits page for a complete discussion of the benefits of using SIMDATE. The use of Date Simulators, in general, is explained on IBM's Date Simulators Page, although the discussion there focuses mostly on IBM mainframes. For a one person development only shop, change the job date and changing the system value QDATE are acceptable solutions. However, remember that any change to QDATE affects all users, including production jobs! In addition, other programmers testing their code at the same time will also experience these unexpected date changes. And, if you forget to change the date back, production jobs will be affected as well.

Some shops have thought that having a dedicated AS/400 year 2000 machine is the best solution. However, aside from the expense and support required, this too constrains all programmers to using the same test date.

Are any commands restricted while SIMDATE is in effect?

As of release 2.33 and later, there are no restricted commands while SIMDATE is in effect.

Is technical support available?

Lifetime unlimited technical support is included with the product. Upgrades are posted to our Web Site as they become available and can be downloaded as you wish. At any time, you can call us at +1 323-658-1146 or
email us with any questions or problems which you are having. Of course, our technical support is limited to assisting you with SIMDATE. We are unable to debug your application code or that of any packages which you may have.

How much does SIMDATE cost and what forms of payment are acceptable?

The current price for SIMDATE, including lifetime free technical support and upgrades, is $2,995 per machine in US dollars, a terrific value. This is the price regardless of the size of the AS/400; we do not use tiered pricing. We accept checks in US dollars drawn on US banks or wire transfers payable in US dollars. Complete bank details and wire transfer instructions will be included on the invoice. We also accept Purchase Orders from major companies, on approved credit. Sorry, but we do not accept credit cards at this time.

How do I order a SIMDATE license?

It's very easy! After you've
tried out the software, you'll need to contact us to obtain a key to allow the software to use dates into the twenty first century. If your firm uses Purchase Orders, prepare a Purchase Order and fax it to us at +1 818-789-8433 or email it to us or just send it in the mail. If you do not use Purchase Orders, fax us a brief note on your company letterhead or email us stating that you wish to license SIMDATE and the number of copies which you wish to license. As soon as we receive your Purchase Order or note requesting a license, we will contact you and provide you with a temporary 30 day key which will unlock the full date range capabilities of SIMDATE. Upon receipt of payment, we will issue a permanent key.

Our company details are:

     The Firstech Corporation
     9595 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 212
     Beverly Hills, California 90212-2502
     USA
     Voice:  +1 323-658-1146
     Fax:    +1 818-789-8433
     email:  garyp@firstech.com

Are any PTFs required for SIMDATE?

Users at v3r1 should ensure that PTF SF38613 and PTF SF40450 have been applied. Users at v3r6 should ensure that PTF SF38970 and PTF SF39279 have been applied. Please be aware that IBM advises that OS/400 v3r1 and v3r6 are not year 2000 compliant. Several internal interfaces do not carry the full four digit year and, as a result, some results may be in error because the first two digits of the four digit year may have been discarded by the operating system. SIMDATE users have had good success with the product, however, and have not reported any problems related to this limitation of the operating system.

What security levels are supported?

RISC releases of SIMDATE beginning with version 3.01r support ALL security levels of OS/400. CISC releases of SIMDATE beginning with version 3.11c also support ALL security levels of OS/400. If you have a version of SIMDATE prior to these versions, please feel free to
download the current version and install it over your existing version.

What if I have more questions?

For more information, please see our list of benefits and our FAQ or  email  us.  You can always call us at +1 323-658-1146. 
 
 

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