HHS pros answer call for help
- By Bill Murray
- Jul 28, 1997
The two specialists for the fee-based Information Technology Service of the Health and
Human Services Department had been besieged with requests from analysts at the personnel
office of the Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Md.
The HRSA analysts had to access 2,000 records that held 10M of payroll and personnel
data. It was stored in a Microsoft Access 2.0 database on a server from NetFrame Systems
Inc. of Milpitas, Calif.
Early last month, Joy and Saylor embarked on the first installation of IQ/Objects 6.0
ad hoc reporting software from IQ Software Corp. of Norcross, Ga. But Joy had forgotten
much of what he had learned in an April course about IQ/Objects.
Because Joy usually supports HHS' Borland International Inc. databases, he had to take
the training before starting the HRSA project.
IQ/Objects works as a knowledge base that tells an application what users are allowed
to see. In this case, IQ/Objects would act as a front end to Access and a National
Institutes of Health mainframe database.
Joy began the job at Lisa Ayoub's 120-MHz Gateway 2000 Inc. PC with 16M of RAM running
Microsoft Windows 95. He hit his first hurdle when he tried to activate an IQ/Objects 6.0
license as an upgrade from IQ/Objects 5.x.
Joy first had to enter the correct registration code of about 40 letters, numbers and
dashes--"worse than Microsoft," Joy said. After a couple of checks with Saylor,
he determined that he had inserted a letter O instead of a zero.
That corrected, Joy updated HRSA's Open Database Connectivity Administrator software at
Ayoub's desktop. The Rockville desktops run Win95 with the Saber LAN shell from McAfee
Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., so that the administrator can make changes
affecting all networked users' menus.
Saber LAN generally works well, but sometimes it gets in the way during software
installations, Saylor said.
"You have to go down to the Program Manager," she told Joy.
After the ODBC Administrator was successfully updated, Joy went into MS-DOS to make
sure the installation was done, then saved the changes to the iqobject.ini file. But there
was bad news--a system error caused by a sharing violation.
To make sure they hadn't missed anything, Joy and Saylor called for help. Within
minutes, John Harris of the Logistics Management Institute of McLean, Va., was at Ayoub's
Harris, an LMI fellow assisting HRSA on the project, said they had done the
installation right but needed to make sure users could share access to the database.
Thirty minutes later, Harris told Joy and Saylor he'd never seen such sharing
violations before with IQ/Objects. They had to find out why it wasn't allowing multiuser
After fiddling around with the iqobject.ini file and changing the parameters, Harris
altered the ODBC setup to read-only access instead of exclusive access--the default. After
changing the option on the ODBC drivers, Harris, his fists in the air, yelled, "All
He showed Joy how to ensure that Access 2.0 was the data source under ODBC and that
read-only access was selected for users.
About 90 minutes after Joy and Saylor had arrived, the first installation was complete.
Joy finished the second installation later that morning in less than an hour--two down, 38