The Bum Steer Roast started back in 1990 as a contest between local beers from the Rustbelt and the heart of Texas, to see which was the king of beers. Four years later, the hit song of BSR '94 was "King of the Code", an ode to the NOTIS Tech1s everywhere. This year, we turn again to the King for inspiration. The King of Rock and Roll was (or is, depending on if you believe the National Inquirer) Elvis Presley. Tonight's music is all inspired by the music of Elvis. We're going to break with tradition and break up the music, too. We'll have a first set now, followed by the awards, then a second set later to wake you up again.
Song 1: Rosemont Hotel
The band has lots of songs for you tonight, so they're going to try to combine the next three of them into a little medley. The only thing these three songs have in common is the key of C. If they go really sharp, it may end up as the Key of C++. They'll start with some advice to newbie Tech1s (if such creatures still exist in these latter days), then expose the truth behind Ameritech Library Services and end up with the wish of everyone in every NOTIS library: Just Let Me Run on NOTIS LMS.
Song 2: Don't Be Dumb
Song 3: Ma Bell In Disguise
Song 4: (Just Wanna Run On) LMS
I want to take a minute to introduce the band. A new member, also new to the world of NOTIS, is Roy Lechich from Yale on guitar. On bass guitar is veteran coder and picker Tim Prettyman, from the University of Michigan. Another new addition to the group, although not new to NOTIS land, is Nancy Colyar from Louisiana State University. Joining her on vocals is Carolyn Coco, of the LOUIS Consortium. Last, and probably least, is Alan Manifold, from Purdue University.
A distinguishing characteristic of most mainframe shops is how slowly they move forward. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but in the case of NOTIS release 6.2, waiting a while turned out to be a good idea. The next song features that sweetheart of LOUIS, Carolyn Coco, suggesting what you might want to do with Release 6.2.
Song 5: Release 6.2
Attendees at NUGM have had the great privilege of greeting a new head of the company each of the past five years at NUGM. The President du jour is Lana Porter, who has been on board for most of the last year, but who is suffering through her first NUGM. Some ALS staff members have been hanging around for years waiting to get their names in one of Alan's poems or songs, but Lana will no doubt be thrilled to discover that she is the butt, or rather the theme, of the next song, to the tune of It's Now Or Never.
Song 6: O Lana Porter
Most of the people who work intimately with NOTIS have been working intimately with NOTIS for many years. Although there aren't a lot left who remember releases numbered in the three's, there are a few. Some of the bugs that we fixed back in those releases have stayed fixed for years, and we were all quite used to them. Imagaine our horror, then, to discover that with release 6.2, much of the foundation of the system for the last three years or so had been yanked out from under us in favor of some new- fangled design that would cause Dr. Aagaard to roll over in his grave if he weren't still alive. We all know who made the system work before. Who's going to make it work now?
Song 7: I Was The One
The band's going to close this set with one final number. We spend lots of time ragging on NOTIS and on the company that sold it to us, but most of us have a soft place in our heads, whoops, that should be hearts, for this time-honored software. As many of us prepare to move on to our next generation library system, let's remove our hats in tribute to the software that has kept so many of us employed for so long.
Song 8: I Love NOTIS LMS
End of Set 1
How's this for a dumb question: Have you ever gotten a release tape from NOTIS that didn't work quite the way the documentation said it would? It's only recently that we got documentation with a release, and we have yet to get one that works the way it says. Some of us have had occasional fantasies of what we might like to do with those tapes after a few abortive attempts to load them. Here's one such fantasy, again featuring Carolyn on lead vocals.
Song 9: Return To Vendor
Looking for that next generation system is lots of hard work, and is fraught with peril, given the volatility of the market. We're likely to have library and university administrators pressuring us to make sure that we take into account every single factor that can ever be thought of. But being in the market isn't all bad. There are certain people in the business who want to make sure you're happy, and they'll do almost anything to brighten your day. Here's some advice to vendors from someone who doesn't mind the attention.
Song 10: Treat Me Nice
Over the years, some ALS staffers have asked Alan to put their names in his songs. It's widely suspected that the only reason some of them stay with ALS is the off-chance that they might be named someday. Two years ago, Alan named then-president Tom Quarton and VPs Maribeth Ward and John Kolman, all of whom have since left. Last year, one of Alan's songs featured Rich Zawislak, who has also since taken leave of the company (not to mention his senses). This year, Alan is doing the NOTIS user community a favor by writing a song for Ben Schapiro.
Song 11: Schapiro
Even in its early days, NOTIS was a company with a sense of humour. Throughout the years, this good humour has shown itself in the parties they have put on, in the noises we heard at the General Session two years ago, in the ability of the company's officers to poke fun at themselves, and in many of the people they have hired. In any case, Alan is very much counting on the company having a good sense of humour through the next song.
Song 12: That's When Your Headaches Begin
We in the field have often wondered what the Ameritech Support staff say about us after they get off the phone, or what they'd like to say while they're on the phone. The band is going to try another short medley, starting with one that might answer that question. The second song in the medley is another love song for our favorite system. These songs again feature Carolyn's searing vocals.
Song 13: LIB1
Song 14: Ain't That Loving You, NOTIS
The first topic addressed by Team NOTIS at its inception was the poor quality of the JCL distributed by NOTIS. The message was loud and clear: we need good-quality, tested JCL, as an integral part of the product. The ALS response on that point should tell you a lot about the efficacy of Team NOTIS.
Song 15: JCL
The band has one final number, but they're going to save it for a slam-bang finale. We'll pause here for an Ameritech response.
Jerry Specht and crew's "Joe NOTIS" act
Jim Lewis' poem
The biggest distinction between NOTIS and other systems on the market is that the customers get the source code with the system. Every site has had the ability to make NOTIS work best for them. After a while, though, hacking the code was just about as much entertainment sa necessity. We had to keep up with Michigan and FCLA, although most of us didn't try to keep up with Northwestern or Harvard. The band is going to end with a celebration of hacking. If you like to dance, now's the time to get up and go for it. Thank you all for listening.
Song 16: NOTIS Code