Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Lotus Pinball Machine

If you don't know what pinball is, go check out the ipdb.org
You pull the mouse plunger and watch the tcp/ip ball of data roll around your network surface searching for ways to collaborate and thus score more points(money/revenue) for you and your team.
Make sure you hit the data with the appropriate reply settings(flippers) and try to knock down all the targets on the left side (Exchange, Sharepoint, Office, Outlook, SQL and especially BOB) and the right side (123, Improv, Organizer, cc:Mail and of course e-suite).

If you can get up the middle ramp your email can flow and connect to the internet mode in which a Lotus Mail Protector device which uses a magnet drags your data to the top left corner of the table where you can bounce off the SMTP bumpers and Anti-Virus pop-ups to see if indeed you can crash your server with one too many hops.

After it leaves this zone it may get sucked into the Agent/Mail Rules hole. Now the fun begins, you need to watch fast as you never know if it will pop out of the Trash hole, the Filed Folder hole or the OOO hole. Once found you can continue on your mission which is to reduce your total cost of ownership by hitting the right drop lane where the Symphony kicker is waiting to put the data back in play, while reducing your overhead and thus making you more money.

If you have made it this far, I ran out of time but please comment with some updates for this.
I hope you have a great new year and have enjoyed my postings.
See you in Lotusphere!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Harassing emails? Sexual content? Emails and IM

This may come as little surprise to any of my Lotus readers, but if you are new to Lotus or wonder why we champion it so strongly, especially for government organizations, read on.
My local paper, The Palm Beach Post posted this article on their website yesterday.

My immediate reaction was to laugh that it took over 3 months for the city to figure it out. Granted Domino does not check your websites from your browser although there are ways to do so.

The MTC(Mail Tracking Collector) task can be configured to monitor subject headings and report on them in a database or via email notifications.

If that doesn't sound like enough, how about one of the 15 or so reports the system can generate to let you know someone is wasting all your bandwidth, possibly with pictures or videos you don't approve of?

Either way, your Domino server can do many things for you, but only if you have an efficient administrator.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #20 - Your Customers Don't....

Hey it's the thought that counts, right
Care what you send them or ask them.

How many times have you sent out emails, newsletters, mailings, postcards, flyers, blog posts, notices in the newspaper or tweeted something commercial only to get quiet, no response?

How many of you sent out holiday cards in the last few weeks and either didn't make them new year cards or happy holidays but specifically sent out Xmas cards?
Did you know you have alienated as much as 40% of your clients by sending out Xmas cards? Whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Rastafarian or atheist, it is presumptuous to think your God is someone else's.

It is also not right that you as a vendor or sales person think you know your customer. Sending out information on your new offering is nice but focus it better. I know I am not the best at it either sometimes, but if you stay focused on the customer and their plans and future you will keep them much easier compared to thinking they are just like you.

In 2009, the more you can profile your customer, the better off they will be. The era of customization/profiling is here but how many of us are really taking advantage of it? Do you need to run Lotus Connections to help you profile better? How many have connected their clients to it already? Why not?

When I get asked about our offices I laugh because if everyone is remote/virtual workers why do we need an office? I see my clients online or in their office, I would never presume to make them come to me if I am working for them.

Likewise, if I want to speak to them on their level, I need to understand them better, Connections can provide it, as well as potential sales for you.

So the next time you wonder if your customers are listening, ask yourself what you are hearing from them because they do care about their business and want to work with someone that does too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Worst Practices Submission for LS10

pilfered from worstpractices.com, someone teach them about Domino Security please
I know Bill and Paul are not doing this session at Lotusphere this year but here's an oldie but a goody and it still happens today, er I mean recently(last week).

When moving your data center you should always:

1) Let everyone know with enough time in advance when you will be moving so things like the VOIP phones and Email/Webmail will be down and not surprise everyone.
2) At the cut over date, remind everyone in and NOT in the office you are about to down the servers.
3) Shut down ALL servers appropriately.
4) Tag and label each box, cable, jack, port, router, monitor, keyboard, hub...just....in....case!

Yes, there are a million and one other things to add to the list.

Now let's look at what really happened:

1) We were told the move would be on a Thursday/Friday. No time specified.
2) Thursday came everything was fine, figured they decided Friday was better.
Went to lunch, came back, nothing was up any more.
3) We hope they shut everything down properly, AIX box was the last man standing, luckily they hadn't removed it's console monitor or keyboard, although the whole network was already in pieces so we could shut it down gracefully.
4) Primary Web Server AWOL, although perfectly accessible internally, not accessible externally. Took a few days for them to ask me to look into it, I pinged it and yes it was down, but up on the inside. Pinged it inside, wrong IP address. Checked the box.....they plugged the LAN cable in the wrong Ethernet port on the server. Swapped and amazingly all was well again. Amazingly Sametime suddenly worked again too.

So the next time you move servers or data centers just remember the time you put in upfront saves hours or days in the end.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I hacked IBM ....And got away with it

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

I logged in to a certain beta site which some of us in the Lotus world know about and need to use..in my case not so often. I hadn't logged into it since the summer.

While building my portable server I wanted to get some updated code. I looked up the emails I had from the IBM team and went to download it. Got interrupted, Microsoft attacked my PC and then made it reboot. Forgot all about it.

A few hours later, got a call from Research Triangle Park and there is only one entity in my world from there. You guessed it, IBM.

They informed me that I had logged into a monitored site(It did say they do, but I figured they really don't, note the hours in time difference) and what was I doing there. Felt like I turned right on a red light or something.

I said I was downloading beta code and got interrupted so never really got it.
They asked how, I said, your pass code. Told the code was no longer valid, I reminded them I just logged in with it.

To cut a long story short, which really is amusing in many ways, they subsequently cleared all previous passwords on this beta site and proceeded to reinitialize me for the beta program today.

So the moral of the story is lax security controls exist everywhere, so let's be careful out there.
As Paul Mooney put it in his article titled:
Noah Built The Ark Before The Flood - Why proactive monitoring of your services architecture is critical and cost efficient.
found at GSX, simple mistakes can happen very easily.

Happy Chanuka for Admins now with Sametime

Sametime is edited on the bottom now.

Domino, Domino, come replicate the data,
Let's have a meeting, we'll all Unyte with our Sametime,
Gather all your admins and get them to log in here,
Firefox (3) is now working, so see you there.

I hear you, I tweet you, it's time for the nightly agents to run, watch out.

Who will go and who will stay(to Lotusphere),
Would you have it any other way?
On this night we help with advice
and discuss past upgrades done long ago.

I hear you, I tweet you, it's time for the daily backup.

On this day,
You will all get up and say,
You knew how to make LDAP work in such a way,
That you get to take off the next Friday.

I hear you, I tweet you, it's time for the website to go live!

And if you see any developers,
Staying up to all hours,
Then you know you and your staffers,
Get to enjoy who holds the power!
And rejoice like in days long ago.

Happy Chanuka from an old admin.

EDITED by Request:

Sametime, Sametime, Sametime,
I knew you when you were all Windows,
but now your J2EE...then Websphere I will play.
Oh, Sametime, Sametime, Sametime,
Why do you make LDAP vs. Domino so difficult,
Just use any old Directory and Sametime we will play.

oh.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fud Buster Firday #19 - 3 strikes you're out

Apologies whoever I got this from, it's on my hard drive
Maybe in Baseball, but what about blogging?

DOH! This is my 3rd attempt to write something. The previous 2 may appear down the road, but they weren't what I wanted to say right now.

In bowling getting 3 strikes is a Turkey, go figure!
In tic tac toe, 3 in a row wins.
If at 1st you don't succeed try, try again.
Evidently 3 is the key.

IBM recently posted some updates to how they work with their Business Partner(BP) community. Most of the document is about IBM Global Services (IGS), something I am a veteran of in a previous capacity.

IBM needs it's BP and IGS to work together and provide customers with services and support. But IBM itself must also be there to play ball with everyone.

Consider this verse in the Ecclesiastes 4:12 of the Bible: "A three-ply cord is not easily broken." The problems happen when only 2 strands are working.

Sometimes we feel like IBM has let us down as BPs or as customers.
Maybe we as BPs let IBM or our customers down.
Other times IGS is at fault.

We need to work together especially in times like these to the best of our abilities. Do your share to become part of "The Power of The Community". Reach further, do something you never did before, IBM, IGS and your BPs are listening if you ask them for help.

If you don't need anyone's help, right now, then help us by blogging, commenting, evangelizing, promoting, attending, speaking or doing anything that will let others know you aren't out of it, but inside it all.

Your life is long and the road to the finish is full of opportunities so stick with it, try again, don't give in to the 3 strikes theory, you are worth much more than
that. A little imagination can go a long way. Homer never gives up and if he can make it happen, you sure can.

So no matter if your family, friends and colleagues tell you otherwise(3 again), do what you want to do and make it happen in 2009. You have a little time now to plan, think and get setup make use of it before it's too late.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Q-SnTT - Quickr J2EE vs. Quickr Domino, who Wins?

An old bmp I found and in this case, appropriate

This post was put together from various sources because there is nothing we found which put it together so a customer can make a decision. We being Stuart Mcintyre and myself as we tend to discuss many Quickr issues together and this one was just "missing" from our knowledge. So if we did not Google your document, please point us to it in the comments.

For simplicity, J2EE = the Websphere Services version

Quickr, we love you, but you cause some clients confusion with your 2 diverse paths.
Who wants to stay on Domino, raise your mouses high so we can count.
Ok, put them down.
Who wants to go with J2EE/Websphere Services raise your laptop in the air.
OK, drop it.

This is a serious issue, which is not so difficult once you have some guidelines.

I am not going to waste time with what is the same in both versions but focus on why you might choose to install one over the other and briefly hit some points afterward.

Skillsets:
Are you a Domino or J2EE shop? What if you have both? Other platforms than Windows?
This may have a lot of bearing on your choice.
For example, AIX or iSeries are only supported on Lotus Domino services, while Redhat Linux is only supported on the J2EE services.

Benefits:
J2EE has better Document Management functionality and connections.
Domino has more collaborative capabilities, offline access which is NOT available at all for J2EE, mail-in and automatic mail notifications.

Architecture:
1)The J2EE services are better positioned for a centralized architecture vs. Domino which thrives in distributed environments.
2)A stand-alone environment on Domino services is usually easier to deploy and maintain than one built on J2EE services, especially in a location without strong admins.
3)The J2EE services component-based architecture, Portlets, provides for a more powerful customization and integration.
4)Webserver(HTTP Stacks) for Domino Services is ONLY a Domino Server. J2EE can use many choices from IBM, Microsoft, Sun, etc.

How about Browsers:
Domino version includes Safari support for Mac users. Got Macs, here is your answer!

Templates:
Like the SNAPPS templates? They are only available for Domino services.
Also, for my foreign language readers, if you need one of these: Arabic, Hebrew, Catalan, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Ukrainian you can ONLY use the J2EE version.

Need Lotus Connections to integrate with Quickr? You are better off with the J2EE version for now.

My #1 reason why someone should use Quickr for Domino?
Extranet(Outside people)usage. Need to work with clients outside your network? No problem, in the Domino version. A gaping hole in the J2EE version.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sametime and BES, not So Happy Together

Apologies to Flo and Eddie of The Turtles for stealing their song title

Sure, RIM and IBM do not like the idea of these 2 sharing space. But honestly, if you are going to offer SMBs the opportunity of using Sametime and Domino and a BES "Professional Edition"...how many servers do you think they will set it all up on? 3? ROTFLMAO!

Another SMB client of ours ran into problems, not unlike the other days post, after they installed this BES version on their 1 Domino server which happens to also have Sametime running on it because when you have 20-30 people you only need 1 server.

After rebooting Sametime stops working mysteriously. Not like this post, with the ini setting change, but something deeper in the JVM, or so I believe. Any thoughts are welcome.

The only way I and IBM support work around it is to reinstall the Sametime code and then HARD REBOOT the physical server and all is well. Really it is.

I hate when someone says reinstall it and it will clear it up because it doesn't usually, but int his case it is the only way and really takes about 15 minutes including reboots.

So before you install Sametime on a BES server or vice versa, remember these posts and save yourself a 1/2 day of Troubleshooting.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #18 - Magic Dust Provides Collaboration

Who knew you could buy magic dust

Many times I run into customers who use Notes. I say it this way because they don't use Domino. They really just use email, nothing else.

When you inquire about it, you hear all types of answers:
- We have a different platform for development
- What else does it do, isn't it just an email server like Exchange?
- No one knows how to do anything with it
- No one wants(my emphasis) to do anything with it
- We are set in our ways, we don't need any more applications
- We pay our people so little, we don't care if it takes them an extra hour/day to accomplish a task (TRUE QUOTE FROM A CLIENT!), so why spend money on a new workflow application?

Surely there are more copout lines from your clients, feel free to add them in the comments.

The magic pixie dust(one of my personal favorite IBM ads) which will help these poor companies collaborate is some other software according to them, just not Domino. Google, Microsoft, Socialtext and others want to be the magic pixie dust for your clients.

But what about poor Domino? Nothing.

None of these companies, and probably even some of you reading this, have pushed an agenda with your clients based on all the great things in Domino they get for FREE. Why should they? Instead they push the magic dust on your clients that their server farms can create, when really Domino owns the magic dust and has for years.

What single offering from anyone on the planet can do what 1 Domino server(some items may not be available in all levels of server) and a Notes Client can do?

Wikis, Blogs, Team Room/Project Site, Discussion Boards,
Polling/Voting, email, Web Server, Push Email, SMTP,
LDAP, Run on multiple platforms of OS, have multiple clients,
Webmail, Directory Catalogs, RSS built-in, SSO, Chat/IM,
Document Management, Office Library, Run Widgets, PKI,
Encryption, Java support, Backwards compatible to Release 1,
archiving, Transactional Logging, Clustering across multiple platforms,
Host other Domains, Replication with no limits on location or distance,
Server Load Balancing, Anti-Spam filters, Mail Rules,
Calendar and Scheduling, Remote Server installation,
Conference Room and Equipment Reservations and Scheduling,
java console administration, Full Text Index and Search,
DB2 integration,
natively connect with many platforms from SQl to Oracle to SAP

and did I mention it all comes in one box?

So next time you hear about it or someone says they don't understand what Domino is all about you have no excuses, point them to this list.

Have more items to include let me know and I will add them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ST - SNTT: serverkeyfilename vs. keyfilename

2 in one day wow a busy day
Sametime 8.0.1 issues at a client have sucked in Twitter mateCarl and Stuart and now IBM Support.
This post is about the first oddity we ran into.
The server stopped working, Sametime services are not running.
After testing and prodding decided to reinstall Sametime.

Start install, pass the first screen or 2, then checks my Server ID for a password and then asks me for it.
Problem is the ID does not have a password associated with it.
hmmm.
Tried a backup ID as well, same problem.
Checked the notes.ini and ServerKeyFileName is correct.
Thus I called IBM Support as this was a new one to me, an ID with no password was telling the Sametime installer it has one?

Support tells me that KeyFileName must also have an ID listed and should have a full directory path as well to the file.

Funny that, I know in R4 the split was defined so you could run a server aned client separately but didn't realize the Sametime install checked KeyFileName before installing, how odd I thought.

Support sent me this note:
Sametime install prompts for server ID password
Product: Lotus Sametime > Install/Configuration > Version 8.0.1, 8.0
Platform(s): Windows
Edition(s): Standard
Doc Number: 1307005
Date: 06/30/2008

Problem
During the install of a Sametime® server it attempts to access the server ID file. The installer prompts for a password even though the ID does not have one. The installer will not continue beyond this point.

Cause
This will occur if the KeyFileName parameter in the notes.ini points to a nonexistent file.

Content
Remove the entry or modify the KeyFileName entry to match ServerKeyFileName.
This issue has been reported to Quality Engineering as SPR #TTRT7FGMY9.


Who would have thought? So after putting in the complete path the reinstall went through with out a hitch.

The problem is it did not resolve the issue at all. Services still are not running.
I keep working on it, I told you I get all the hard cases.

UPDATED 10:00PM
Resolved the server issue. Finally. CLients are so much fun when they don't tell you what they have tried to do.
Reinstalling actually did work, mostly. However in my rush I did not reboot the server, doing so caused 99% to work. STMUX was not working.
We then found the tunneling had been attempted to be configured but stopped in the middle. Port 8088 to the rescue. technote here.
Also found IIS/FTP/SMTP/NNTP all running as services, shut them down too.
Lastly, they had installed BES recently and forgot to mention it was on the machine too and maybe that caused problems. It doesn't. Officially though IBM and RIM do not prefer this setup.
Thanks to Josh Edwards of IBM Support for trolling all the trace logs with me to get to the end.

ST-SnTT - Sametime 8.0.1 DWA Upgrade gotcha

Something Pink Floyd in Honor of David Gilmour's Grammy nomination
So you, thought you, might like to... go to the show....then your client IM's you.
If not for my traveling clients I would have a quiet existence.
They really push the boundaries of what works ....or doesn't in one's environment.

The Sametime contact list in DWA/iNotes which we recently upgraded to Sametime 8.0.1 and Domino 8.0.2 is throwing a 404 error.

Wait I think I have seen that, yet a review of my blog says maybe. I see that the links in that post have been updated and you will see they discuss the BES update, which I brought to light originally as well that started some of the problems.

In any event, this time, the problem was found to be an entry in the servlets.properties file, found under the Domino\data directory.

This line is necessary:
servlet.DWABuddyList.code=com.lotus.dwa.stbuddy.DWABuddyList

NOTE: If you are using reverse proxy servers in your environment, you may need to add the following line with the fully qualified domain name or IP address of the Sametime server in the servlet.properties file:

servlet.DWABuddyList.initArgs=stserver=sametime.company.com

Then tell HTTP quit and the load HTTP.

Why not tell http restart? On Sametime servers the server does not wait long enough in some cases for all the Sametime threads to close appropriately leading to other errors. Thus I prefer a full stop and start of HTTP.

To troubleshoot this deeper, please review IBM technote #1317895

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My 200th Blog Post

Who knew it would last this long or keep going for that matter.
When you start writing you never really think it will keep going, I mean how much can one person really have to say after all, right?
Luckily the technology world is not stagnant and there is always something to talk about.
I want to provide some insight to what I see from my analytics/woopra.

Firefox 3 is the top browser, 2 to 1 over IE7
XP is the top client 4 to 1 over Vista
1280 x 1024 is the primary way you like to view your screen
And German and French are my #2 languages of readers
PlanetLotus still provides much of my readers, but twitter is closing the gap slowly
While the US and UK are #1 and #2 countries, #3 is Unknown. I think I'd like to live there. You guys are so security minded.

Evidently WAY many more IBM support staff read blogs than any of us realize. My post about IBM Support were the largest viewership I have seen in months.

Thank you for reading! And looking forward to the future.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Name the DomCube and Provide Advice

Naturally I can not use the term Lotus and Domcube doesn't really roll off the tongue so I ask everyone to submit a name for it, a REAL name.(edited after Turtle's Tweets)
We have some ideas as well and the winner will get something yellow in return.
Cubino was nixed already
Cubomino or Cudomino maybe?
Domcubus?

These are being built for backup, development, portability, exhibitions, showcases, conferences, schools, training exercises and more.

In addition and more importantly what price range would be most appropriate for a solution which included:
1)Portability (sell for DRP into SMB)
2)Quad Core or at least Dual-Core Processor of the latest Speed (other requests?)
3)4GB Ram minimum, Motherboard will do 8GB, we can go to 16GB for you extreme people
4)2 Hard Drives, base is 250GB SATA2 but will go up to 1TB each right now.
5)Video is motherboard based only, its a server, what did you expect?
6)DVD burner with Lightscribe and Dual side DVD burning
7) Yellow primary box, but red, blue are available too should you want a development or stage server too.
8) Yellow Keyboard and Mouse Optional and red or blue
9) Depending on configuration RAID capability will be available as well
10) Wireless cards can be included as an option as well

OS Choices:
1)DOS....just kidding
2) No OS - Some other Linux version perhaps down the road?
3) Windows Server 2003 or 2008
4) Lotus Foundations

Lotus Choices:
We will preload your Lotus Domino, Sametime, Quickr needs on the box if you desire or if you need servers built for clients for additional fees.

Of course if you want one for Lotusphere, let me know and it will be built and shipped within 7-10 days of ordering.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Working Remotely? Domino Restarts after upgrading

Sorry no screenshot of it, but we have all seen it.

Maybe I missed someone's hint or tip on this one but since it just happened, yet again, I want to find a better solution.

When upgrading servers to R8.x, and we do this remotely via Windows Remote Desktop for 95% of our clients, we have seen a problem.

After finished upgrading Domino it asks to restart the server, which I would do anyway and here starts the problem. I can not reconnect remotely to the server.

a)You might think the Windows patches are being loaded, that has been the case at times and for delays but it will always come back.
b)You could say I told it to shut down NOT restart, yep done that too a few times.
c)You might even think some DNS issue occurred or rename of the server at restart that you forgot about. Been there done that too!
d)You may even think there is a hardware failure or NIC burnout.

No, what I am talking about is Windows restarts fine, Domino runs fine. BUT in the Domino console is a line asking for someone to click Y or N to upgrade the templates on the server from R8.x to 8.0.2 in this case.
Why does this hold up Windows Remote Desktop?
Any ideas how to get around it?
In the end called the client, they validated this was the case and hit Y and all was well.

Normally if you are in front of the server you can just hit Y for yes and move on, but not so for working remotely. Yes I could possibly use Remote console if it was enabled.
Maybe VNC would get around this? But I hate VNC unless I must use it like on Windows 2000 servers.

FudBuster Friday #17 - I Don't Know

How can you discuss something you don't know about?
Listen children, all is not lost....

If you are in sales or marketing, you probably don't understand this blog post already.
I don't know where I'm a gonna go when the Volcano blows...

If you work at a major software company you probably never hear these 3 words said by your executives. OK, maybe if you also worked at a bank, auto manufacturer, AIG, Enron, Worldcom, NASA.
I read the news today oh boy...

You see the problem is you can't know everything. When you don't know something is when the FUD spews faster than Superman can circle the Earth.
When the world is running down....

So why not stop and pay attention to what you say in front of customers. Sure some people can spin anything, but you will go further and build a better confidence with your customer if you admit what you don't know, especially if you are an experienced individual.
You got to know when to hold em...

Folding in Poker is the hardest thing to teach someone. So.is.this. As much as I try to train admins and sales people that it's okay to not know everything, just look at some of my posts, one can't really know it all. Once you start spinning or lying about a product, a sale, or a price, you dig yourself far deeper than anyone can pull you out.
Don't pay the Ferryman until...

Stop the FUD, Lotus is not dead, Microsoft doesn't suck, Google is not a startup.If you never expand your mind or accept you really don't know if these are true or not, then you will become the FUD you produce and that is not fun.
From you I get opinions, from you I get the story.....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SnTT - Waiter there's a local ID lost on my server

This one's for everyone at the IBM Support team, thank you!

Ripped from the headlines....well maybe one of my clients servers, I am happy to bring something to light which happens, sometimes, for no reason, that my client can say, yet I must fix it anyway.

Good thing I am not hands on anymore these days? Riiiiight! Because 15 years of Domino Admin experience gets me all the problem clients no matter what I am doing these days.

So back to why I asked you here today to read my minds thoughts.

The server console spits out, every hour consistently mind you the following:
Error updating local ID file: The public keys specified in the Name Change Request do not match those specified in the new certificate


Now raise your hand if you haven't seen a "similar" message before. It happens sometimes, in fact there are tons of technotes that start with "Error updating local ID file" but only 1-2 that include my error.

Now remember in my previous post I said do at least 5 things before calling support, well I did the following:
1) Immediately checked the server ID file and it's date of expiration, domain, certifier, etc.. All checked out ok.
2) Went to the Admin4.nsf databsse, otherwise known as AdminP's database. Oddly enough no reference to name changes, certifier changes or anything even remotely close to the name of the server at issue,
3) Next up Certlog.nsf, just checking expirations maybe someone inside decided to make sure the server's wouldn't expire in 2080 as designed. Nothing unusual, although a number of people's ID's are going to expire this year, made note, informed client just to check.
4) When specifics don't work, go back a step to more general areas like the Server Doc. No why would I do that for a name change you ask? Simple, what if someone decided to textually change the name without recertifying? Guess what server isn't going to talk to anyone? While all looked okay I noticed there was no entry under port in the Ports tab. Odd I thought didn't notice anything funny in the Admin4.nsf database for errors. Should go check..
5) The server's log.nsf. And what do I see, an admin process error every time the server was restarted. Swap over to the administration server, tell adminp to process all and notice errors and some other pieces getting done. Adminp must have been turned off or stuck.

Now replicate changes to the server in question and the ports field is now fine. I then check on security and some other fields I like to check and find the lookup to the NAB fails. Errors. So, check it out and on the server in question, the NAB shows a number of replication conflicts. Fixed them, deleted them, ran a quick CTRL-SHFT-F9 and restarted the server. No more admin process error but local ID error is still there.

This Technote, #1097801 explains how to resolve the problem.

Now for you newbies out there. It should scare you to do what the technote says.
I hate playing with public and private key information unless I really must do it. So many ways to mess this up and render your server DOA if you are not careful.

That is when I called IBM. Level 2, because playing with certificates is NOT something to be taken lightly. Luckily Geno was able to work with me on it.
We ran some debugging (set config debug_threadid=1) first to see if the error was from an agent or an application, you run (sh ta debug) but it didn't show us anything aside from it being a server process.

Went over many choices and ideas and we each searched our respective knowledgebases and came up with the Technote above. Well when all else fails, you try it.
So follow the Technote steps in simple are:

First make a backup of the certificate public key you are deleting from the server doc, just in case.
From the administrative client of the server:
1. Select File, Tools, UserID (assuming the client is using the same ID).
2. Select More Options.
3. Click Copy Public Key.
4. Open the Server document, delete the existing key from the Certified Public Key field and then paste the newly copied key into the field.
5. Save the document and restart the server

And it worked. Another client happy.

To turn off the debug code change the =1 to 0.

Plus I learned that Geno follows me on Twitter(Edited jan2009 with his permission) and reads my posts. As much as this is nice to know, it's better for me to know someone on top of it all is there when I/we need him.

So to Geno and his boss, Mark H. thanks and give Geno an extra coffee break, answering our calls can drive a person crazy.

Lotus/IBM Support Something you should know

IBM give these guys alogo already will you, nothing come sup in Google even
Note to IBM, make the Support teams have some logo, nothing on the IBM site for it that i could find. Even an orange circle with an H inside would be nice.

Many years ago they were the best when you needed help. Then like many organizations do they had some trouble spots along the way, but I am happy to say they are back in full swing and really worth their money.

But you should remember they are just like you, and you may have been one of them once, or still are in some ways, so be kind, be nice, help them too if you can and listen to their ideas, especially if you are out of them.

1st thing to know is always have IBM Support on speed dial.

2nd thing is DO NOT HARASS them until you have done at least 5 things first on your own to trouble shoot the problem, otherwise they will probably make fun of you in their weekly meetings.

In general if you can't come up with 5 things to check for any problem, I teach classes in general troubleshooting and of course specifically about Domino too when asked. Yes, pinging someone is preferable over the lazy web way of twittering for an answer. We are all here to help, just ask us.

Seriously though Lotus Support is very good these days and better at raising a flag to the developers if necessary so go ahead try them again. I am sure they don't make fun of you, well, okay, maybe some of you, even me!. You know sometimes your brain goes fuzzy, too many things on your plate, the game is on in 45 minutes, significant other is ....you know we all have reasons that we need an answer NOW.

Here are basic guidelines:
NEVER, EVER call and say it's a Level 1 unless your server is really DOA, finished, game over. It's just not fair to scream fire all the time.

Use level 2 for anything else that is amiss or odd, except questions.

Questions of general or what if or how about are Level 3. For instance does R8 accept importing from Excel instead of a wk3 spreadsheet. No it doesn't, stop bothering them.

And with that this PSA is over and I can go back to building demo's for Lotusphere.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All BES Support Calls Should Be THIS Easy

You may have seen my tweets about this, if not, follow me on Twitter.

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving I have a message from the support line about a user that can't synch their Blackberry and their personal address book or contacts database.
They are on R6.5(soon to be upgraded to 8.5 when gold) and it works for everyone else.

Figured some corruption or something in the service book. Did the usual BES push and checks and left a vmail to call me on Monday if it didn't fix it self.

Monday was busy and I never heard from the user. Tuesday morning emailed/vmail again and received a response.

The call can be closed, the device was lost over the weekend, something about a rafting trip or some other excursion involving water.

Thank you and have a great day was all I could say before falling over laughing after hanging up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Premier of UC2, from The View

The new webzine Logo and home of my 1st article for them
As some may know, I was lucky enough to be among the first writers for Wellesley Information Services,the parent of The View magazine and seminars, for their new UC2 online webzine, called The UCView.

Out of 8 articles in this "issue" only 4 are not from IBM teams. And in fact the other 3 articles are from one firm, Ascendant and then there is mine.

I must thank my editor, Erin Durkin who was a saint to clean up my original article and turn it into the final version. In many ways this was easier than my play writing editing. I have been informed I owe her Chocolate according to Esther and I expect to deliver it at Lotusphere.

You can read the abstract of my article, here on picking a Sametime client(or if you have a View subscription can read it all). I had more listed in the original document but we cut it down to 11 different clients for Sametime.

A non-technical article, but for my first one I preferred it. My next article will be more technical or at least aimed at a more practical solution benefit to everyone.

One thing I learned is my original draft was much more enjoyable to read. Evidently they want a high brow customer so before you think of writing for them, keep in mind it's a formal article. If anyone knows of a "fun" Lotus magazine I can write for as well please let me know.

If anyone wants a copy of it, ask me or if I am allowed, I will post it on my website.

UPDATED:
Under terms of my agreement I can not post the whole thing on my web site but can post the abstract. Apologies as the link evidently drops you to an abstract only view. If you are interested in reading it email me. Sorry about that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fud Buster Fridays #16 - Turkey Makes You Sleepy

Bad football does too. As does TV in general.
In honor of Thanksgiving and everyone being off, i decided to just post a filler and enjoy the day with my kids.
Catch you all next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sametime Is Controlling my Desktop

Sametime is in control of your computer, resistance is futile
Not sure what this is about. Yesterday while opening some db's to see if I needed them one kicked off some update and evidently this is the result.
Restarted Sametime Connect client and all was good again.
Wonder if it's a Sametime embedded problem.
Anyone know?

Lotus Twitter Advertising

Coming soon to a Lotusphere Near You

Sure you can advertise on Twitter, it just takes some thought, after all 140 characters really doesn't go far.

See if you liked any of these(I posted them all today while discussing advertising online with someone):

Competitive:
Does your email server fail regularly? Never get ahead of the curve to work on something new? Still running a 5yr old server? You need help.

Immediately Followed by:
Get Lotus Domino now like always for nearly 20 years,rock solid and easy to maintain, we can help you out of Exchange in time for 2009!

Sametime:
Never able to find coworkers or friends outside of the office?With Lotus Sametime you will never miss them again.Make it happen in 2009!

Quickr:
Work on many projects with many clients? Tired of trying to connect everyone to file servers,web sites and emails? Get Lotus Quickr in 2009!

Sales Pitch:
If any of these ideas interest you,let me know how we can help you with them.If you are a Lotus organization,let us help you into 2009!

So what do you have to say and how have you been advertising these days?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Real Life Client Migration Case Study - In Progress #1


Again, thanks to some discussions I have recently with various Yellowbleeders decided to post about a client of ours.
No name or anything and even if they read this they will never know it's them, sadly many are similar.

After some projects, and general IT work with the company, our sales guy follows up with them on some ideas from past discussions only to be hit with the now infamous line "We're moving to Exchange....can you help us?"

Sales guy says sure, but you guys are losers.(he didn't say that but we all think it)
In this economy money is going to come from some funny places and at least in this case it will be a long process and some upgrades on the Lotus side will get done.

So we hear this from the lead IT manager, not the CTO mind you or the VP of IT who he is running interference for or from our admin contacts.

We agree to have a conference call to discuss pitfalls, issues, thoughts time frame, etc. We did the call and came off that call wondering what really goes through people's minds.

They are doing this because they want to use Sharepoint and were told it would not interact with Notes. Well, sure not as well as Exchange but that isn't really the point as was pointed out to them that they both can have a nice coexistence.

See the graphic on top, that was the manager. They have a dispersed infrastructure which they want to bring to a central data center and consolidate 8-10 servers down to 4.

Sure, we let them continue and point out problems along the way. BES? Yes? Ok so you need a BES server too in the mix(they want to test the Exchange Push Email, our MS certified Partner asked them to heavily rethink that idea in favor of BES due to among other ideas security and performance/server costs. Maybe a Microsoft Connector for Lotus Notes Server too.
Client: We need a SQL server too? For what?!
Me: Didn't Microsoft tell you anything before promising it all? You can't expect your whole architecture to work without all the pieces of the puzzle?

And by the way, the licenses and CAL's which are promised to you for free in Year 1, guess when the bill comes in for them? Yes that's right year 2.

And they hadn't thought about what to do with their applications on Domino? Consolidate it now? Don't you think if you wanted to do that you could have previously? Why the rush now?

Everyone has broadband. I love this line, so US centric.
I reminded them that more than half of their IT data center's were outside the US, some in paces with barely a 64k line in place. Suggested they test some point to point applications like even their email files and see how they enjoy it now because when they load in Exchange it will only be worse. Again my Microsoft BP stated that to the client as well. He does my job so well sometimes it's amazing he plays for the dark side team.

This is an ongoing project/discussion and more will come out but for now, this is a good place to start. Questions or want more info, leave me comments and I can fill in some blanks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #15 - Exchange 2007, What? You thought Clustering would Work this time?

Picture #2, Clustering, there but not exactly there
Picture #1, Exchange 2007 still needs help

Continuing from my post yesterday, I listened to a call from CIO magazine about Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Exchange 2007. Professional courtesy, obvious interest for my benefit, but what I wasn't expecting was a complete sales pitch from Dell. I really wanted to know what does or doesn't work and how they get around it, it's the geek in me, probably should have realized this wasn't a CTO call.

Well the good news is I did get some of that information. Bad news was I had to listen to the presenter, Samy Aboel-Nil, Director, Product Management for Dell MessageOne and it's co-founder, about why Dell is better equipped to handle the task of migrating, yes he used the word migrating, your infrastructure from 2000/2003 to 2007. To be fair he sounded a bit under the weather.

Maybe some want to use Dell, but I am still bothered by the fact that if you have IT staff and don't trust them to do your work, then why have them at all? They are too busy? Why because the existing infrastructure has problems perhaps? It's not because of all the cool new functions they are rolling out in 85% of your companies.

So the 1st graphic is about the idea that Exchange 2007 doesn't do everything although you might think that because of their FUD. Sure neither does Domino, but you know Microsoft has your customer convinced that Exchange can do it all. Granular real time retention? Interesting choice of words. And Exchange has a comprehensive high availability solution.Which leads me to graphic #2.

Clustering in 3 flavors, none of which covers all bases and some of which is no better than previous versions. Cluster Continuous Replication still can not be done unless the servers are close to each other physically? And they want you to work off the Cloud with Azure? With what? A Mini Cloud outside your office or home?

Still that's better than Standby Continuous Replication which will lose data and take 30 minutes to kick in! Amazing! Where do I sign up for such sloth like functionality?

Lotus Domino servers fail over immediately and without the user knowing or caring it happens. Even across the US on 2 different platforms, Windows and AIX in our case, it just works and in seconds. And Microsoft boasts 30 minutes?!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was your CIO on this call?

You could substitiute Lotus for Exchange but given my year, the % is MUCH lower for Domino
Just got off a call from CIO magazine in which Dell was hawking their MessageOne solution.

I am not happy about this. Maybe it's my fault, I expect more from CIO, or maybe I expect more from other CIOs.

If I wanted a sales pitch I could call Dell or anyone else to do it, so why bother me with this? Enticing it was to discuss issues corporations face when migrating to Exchange 2007 with other CIOs but that wasn't what it became.

The presenter not only related why 2003 was so bad, but why 2007 in some cases still is and only Dell has the services to help you. You'd think IBM Global Services gave it.

Although it was to be about Dell the last few minutes of the hour, it was about Dell from about 1/2 way through the call. You can try to listen here, but I don't vouch the link will work.

Companies are trying to conserve money, don't you think they could let their own employees do some work for a change? Everyone is busy, but Domino admins get their servers upgraded regularly and easily. Why do Exchange companies take 3 years to finish an installation then months at a time to do upgrades?

Both systems are unique and difficult in their own way and have similar issues of backup, down time slots, resources but somehow I never hear about Exchange admins getting servers updated the day a release comes out like Domino.

CIO should be providing harder sessions and questions to the CIO community out there than what is shown. In the last few magazine issues the stress has been CIOs need to do more with less, be proactive, reach for greater returns, yet they then provide wimpy sessions like this one. This could have been a solid session on what to do, how to do it or when to do it, but instead it was a "let Dell do it for you, as much or as little as you need".

IBM probably does similar sessions and I am against that as well if done purely in a sales selfish way. Speak to be understood, not to sell. No case study or client references were used either for recent work. If you do your job properly, they will buy from you or at least listen in the future.

QSnTT - When an Error Message Gets Misplaced

My Browser is a Notes Client?! Call the UX lab
Quickr Show n Tell is Back Again



Sometimes one gets away from you. This must be Quickr's for R8.1.
I received this after converting a Quickr server from using LDAP as it's Directory to Domino as it's Directory.

I am using a browser, yet the error believes me to be using a Notes Client. Has Lotus taken over Firefox? Has Firefox embedded a Notes Client in itself?

Remember to revert any changes in the qpconfig.xml for LDAP when doing this.

Evidently there are some hard coded references to LDAP or Domino Directory in the Main.nsf that must get touched (or reinstalled). Anyone who's done this let me know, Stuart and I have similar issue doing the exact reverse processes. He is going to LDAP from Domino Directory.

UPDATED 30 minutes later: My problem was a looping caused by 2 references in the DA file and removing the 2nd NAB from the Quickr server. So we are back on LDAP, now to fix port 636 to be open at the firewall for SSL LDAP. Never a dull minute.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sorry to hear about your Small...

Don;t want spam traps to block my post but you might think this is going down a path we don't want to visit.

Well let's say we keep it clean and above board, for the minute.

Following another excellent post by Duffbert I found a gem to discuss in this article from Computer World.

Google gives you a 25GB mail file when you pay the $50/yr for their GAPE product as discussed previously.

Microsoft in their new found Cloud of Azure claims:
There are limitations in Exchange Online. Mailboxes default to just 1GB. Every additional gigabyte costs $2 per gigabyte per month. The maximum size is 4GB, despite the service being built with Exchange 2007, which supports mailboxes up to 16GB.

The 4GB limit is "to ensure the best performance in Outlook," said Betz. "Customers we talk to tell us that overly large inboxes create many problems for their organizations," which have to comply with rules around compliance and e-mail discovery.


Duffbert quoted this part too, but my interest is in the 2nd paragraph, overly large inboxes create problems? You don't say? So the answer is to limit the users to 4GB to prevent their inbox from getting too big?

HUH?!

Domino also doesn't like very large inboxes but that never stops you from having a 10gb file or larger, although your antivirus will not be happy with you nor will your autoindexing function as they slow down to a crawl but traffic in Manhattan has been the same for decades too.

Don't you think better mail filtering or even end user training could help?
No, just quota them to death, no wait charge them for it too. Google doesn't seem to have this problem....or do they?

By the way, Microsoft charges you for this benefit $15/month but I guess with the extra 3 GB that would add an additional $6 so $21 a month over the year is $252.
$202 MORE than Google is and you get what in return?

I know someone reading this is saying, yes but IBM just did the same thing. Well yes and no, IBM is billing the usage at $8/month, still more than Google no question but you get to keep your Notes apps and mail. At $46 more per user that's not funny either and the real question, if you are an SMB is what is more important to you, cost savings, reliability, long term leadership or ease and efficiency.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Google Gets one from Microsoft

While Duffbert and Ed discovered an interesting set of articles which you really must read, one thing was not discussed.

In this article from Cnet.com there is a little reference to Serena Software (800 users)

Just last week, Serena Software said it was switching to Google from Exchange in a move it said would save it $750,000 a year, according to several reports.


This equates to about $950 PER USER to make this move.

In an article in Eweek the explanation gets deeper, for $50/yr per user the cost for GAPE, the premier service
GAPE includes Gmail, Google's Postini messaging security software and 25GB of mailbox space, as well as greater uptime and 24/7 phone support. It also includes other Google productivity and collaboration applications, such as Google Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentations, and Google's Sites wiki.

(I love the 25gb mailbox and who wouldn't?)
As noted in the article Serena is really only using Gmail right now because they have Sharepoint installed but are seeing a progression to the online apps. You will notice there is an implied additional expense if and when Serena moves the other 750 people to GAPE's sharing software. 50 are test users for now.

Google is learning to crawl and it's only a matter of time before they stand up and start running....possibly after your clients or organization or after Lotus and Microsoft's core clients.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Language Translation Made Easy

Thanks to Charles, the Code Poet's post, more of us should do this.
I am sure somewhere a Websphere sales person will have a heart attack, but Google Translator is set up now on my blog.

Pick a language and poof! The entire site gets translated, and mostly correctly too!
Relatively easy, one I figured out the Blogger settings.

The wonders of modern technology never cease. Now you have ammunition for your respective country battles.
Go out and win!

No Session in Orlando? Now What?

How you going to go, what are you going to do?

Well I know of at least one company with space for you, if you want to help them with their pedestal. A little company called Elguji' and let Bruce know you want to help.
Or Twitter him.

Other BPs may have space. You get an exhibitor's pass which usually does not allow you to go to the OGS or any sessions. However, based on past experience we all know people and there are ways to get you in some sessions. No hands on though, sorry or anything requiring registration.

Other than this, there are many ways to share hotel/car and other amenities. We have covered many times the options for food, drink and other luxuries.

Oh and you will not get a Lotusphere 2009 backpack or t-shirt(the freebie given for filling out the conference review form). However the backpacks usually go on sale late Wednesday or early Thursday if you really MUST have one. Usually about $20 for them.

Fud Buster Friday #14 - Gmail is Great for Business

In this corner wearing yellow, well it should have been, we have Lotus iNotes
In this corner we have Gmail sporting a pale shade of blue a rather unGoogle like color, don't you think
Bruce of Elguji fame asked why i don't pick on someone else for a change, Microsoft is so Turn of the Century.

To indulge him, and for Phigment's sake or was it Chris Toohey I have decided to focus on Gmail this week.

As pointed out by one of the latter individuals I can't compare Gmail to a Notes client. Fine, but I can compare it to the Webmail/iNotes/Domino web Access client.

As of 8.0.2 it has been renamed, again, back to iNotes for webmail and this comparison is really R8 iNotes vs. Gmail.

So first things first you get with Gmail currently 7GB of space for your email files.
GIGABYTES!
You also FOR FREE get Postini on the back end clearing your spam, which is very nice too.
Plus you have an embedded IM client(Gtalk of course) and it's all in a browser and it's free. Really, not Microsoft Free where they nail you in year 2 for everything, but really free....for now.

OK, this is a consumer side, I am not paying the $50 for the year for better service levels. Still so far sounds good right?

Now, what about iNotes? Licensing, server admin and costs and you can easily see where this is a losing proposition right and everyone should move to Gmail?

Not so fast, we have some other issues here.
Uptime. Domiono is solid, my servers are up until I need to upgrade them or enough Microsoft downloads are bugging me to restart my server. If yours aren't, connect with me and we can help you. Exchange too and Groupwise and cc:Mail but I digress.

Attachments, the reply with attachments options in iNotes is nice and helpful as is the ability to send ANYTHING. Gmail will not let me send zip or exe files. Why not? Can't Postini handle it? I wonder....

UI. Here I prefer iNotes hands down. I would like to see some items moved but unlike iGoogle this page is static. iNotes has a nice spacing in between everything so you don't feel all cluttered.

Also where is preview mode in Gmail? Yes some will say if you have it set to show Snippets you can at least read the 1st line, but it's not the same, is it?

Backups? none, unless I offload the mail to my Notes client which I do as an IMAP user.

OOO (Out of Office) is there too, simple piece in Gmail, but how much does one really need?

Accessible from your phone? Check for both.
Accessible offline? iNotes yes using DOLS for the offline service. Gmail nothing right now.

So if I need information from previous discussions, unless I have downloaded my emails to a mail client I have no way to access them when needing them potentially in front of clients. HUGE problem for Gmail.

If your server goes down, your IT staff fixes it. If your Gmail goes down, who do you call? What do you do? What backup plan did you have? If my ISP went down I could walk over to Starbucks and use their free Wi-Fi but that doesn;t help me if Gmail is down.

If you travel as much as I do, what would you do? I usually send out and reply to emails on flights because it is quiet time and I can catch up and replicate them out to send when we land. Gmail? I don't think so.

If I had a business where no one traveled and no one left the office I would probably be running a prison or a library but real world business is rarely sitting in one place. Maybe you go to see a client and they have open Wi-Fi, great, but usually that isn't the case.

So is Gmail great for business?In my case, no it isn't, although it may provide a better case if and when they go offline and provide some better UI.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feedjit Is Cool

Decided to start taking better care of my readers and myself.
Being ignorant of your readership is never a good thing and although some people think I should cover other areas or be more case study related, I don't see it that way.

Not that these changes will help me in what to write, but knowing for instance that I have a big following in my previous country of England does help at times.

So slowly been changing items here now that I can focus on the blog.

So Feedjit is a nice little app that tracks where people are coming from via IP and thus provides you some idea of which pages/posts others read and how much of the world reads your site.

Having traveled fairly extensively in South America, Europe, Middle East and the US it's nice to see more followings.

So far I am impressed by it and the background posts people have been reading makes me want to revisit some of them.

This was just a tech post, not Lotus related.

But I still haven't heard from a few sessions and there may be hope on the horizon.

Sharepoint, The Cloud and the Environment

An article in Information Week, which appeared slightly different in print from the online version covered some pros and cons.

The software's Swiss Army knife approach helps companies create more useful intranets, set up document sharing, offer blogs and wikis, and build a richer online company directory. This boundary-blurring nature is part of its appeal..


J. Nicholas Hoover, the author of the article could be describing Domino but no, it's Sharepoint.

While IT manages master page layouts, business units can build one-off sites without IT's help. "This is why SharePoint has taken off like wildfire

General Mills Manager of .NET

So how do we counter this? What can we do? What should Lotus do?

Sharepoint is already under the covers, maybe even paid for in licensing, so why not use it? Sound familiar? It should, Lotus asks the same question, and has for years.

When you put Domino into your organization, you had, from early on, the capability to do so much more, but few understood it all or do today. The discussion databases that predate wiki's, the Team Room's that predate most collaboration software in the market, plus a built in messaging system and strong server options all provides a great package.

Now it looks like companies want to go modular. Server for this, a server for that.

Doesn't this go against the thinking of modern times?
Less power consumption, fewer servers, reduced carbon footprint, fewer Administrators, reduced expenses?

And now The Cloud hovers ever closer and may provide the myth of all the above.
You as a customer will experience all the benefits just listed, yet your provider/host of Cloud Computing just took it all on.

How are they doing with it? What are they doing to minimize it?

Does this interest you? Will it make any difference for you to go with IBM, Amazon or anyone else?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fud Buster Friday Lucky #13 - Exchange is Everywhere

SO WHAT! Microsoft laughs to the bank every single day because your CFO doesn't talk to the CIO or CTO about why this solution must get rebuilt every few years.

Why does this sway your CXO's mind so easily?
What causes people to have a herd mentality and be so fiscally irresponsible?

Yes, Windows is almost everywhere.
But when a new version comes out it doesn't FORCE you to upgrade your hardware. Naturally more RAM is always nice but you don't HAVE to go buy a 64-bit laptop to run it.

If I knew I had to go out and purchase new equipment and redesign my network every 3-4 years JUST FOR EMAIL because the vendor required it, why would that be a good business decision on my part? And if you argue it does more than just email, I would counter with the premise that you now MUST UPDATE YOUR WHOLE INFRASTRUCTURE!

I want a consistent solution from a company that wants to limit my downtime, reduce my expenses, and provide upgrades which I can maintain in a reasonable fashion with minimal disruption to me, my staff or my end users. I have that with Lotus Notes & Domino and ALWAYS have had it from day one.

The next time you hear your executive talking about going to Exchange, ask them about how they feel about the "solution" from Microsoft and the expense related to it that just keep billing you and billing you and billing you.

Q-SnTT - DA Configuration Reminder

Quickr- Show n Tell because inquiring minds have questions

When involved in the Quickr world, at times(ok, almost all the time) you may want to connect external people to your server.
How do you do it?
Create a Directory Assistance database (Ctrl+N, select the server and advanced templates to find it). Name it da.nsf.

In the DA document select LDAP if you need to include an external LDAP server or Notes for internal Directory Catalogs (DirCat) or Extended Directories.
Fill in the blanks. It is fairly obvious what to fill in where....EXCEPT for
the field called Domain, which is NOT asking for your Lotus Domain.
Name it anything else and then save it and you are good to go.

Why is this? I don't know, but it is.

On the tab marked rules(the middle tab usually) select trusted for credentials and say YES.
On the LDAP tab, if you selected it, if you are not using SSL make sure to select the proper options, otherwise you will not find your LDAP server.
Caveat, AD (Active Directory) requires a Base DN to be used, o=companyname most likely)
If you selected Notes instead of LDAP on this tab you would put any of the other Domino directories you will be using, no need to include the names.nsf itself, it searches that by default.
And don't forget to mark it Enabled.

Next save it all.
Then add the da.nsf to your server document on the basics tab.

Now go to a server console and type "Show X R" without the quotes.
You should see names.nsf first then your LDAP server.

Any problems, you know how to find me.

Who has older versions running, Exchange or Domino?

About a year ago, just before R8 came out, IBM made this announcement:
More than 93 percent of Lotus Notes customers are using the most recent two releases

So presumably almost everyone was on R6(which came out in 2003) and R7 and this perhaps ONLY included those paying for maintenance or support.
My luck I know the 7% on R5 but moved them to R7 and R8 this year.

Anyway, Microsoft in contrast, has about 25% or more still on Exchange 2000 which is now 2 revisions back. Did IBM get marketing right this time?
I posted about this previously here.

As a comparison, Exchange 5.5 came out in 1997, about 11 years ago.
Based on this article from 2005 this has been going on for some time with large chunks not willing to Migrate forward.

The difference between an upgrade and a migration varies but IMHO if can upgrade a software product in place with no extra hardware requirements(aside from RAM or Disk space) that is an upgrade. If I must move to a different platform or require middle man servers or other systems to complete this task, then it's a migration.

Then we have clients that have committed to Microsoft to move off of Lotus platforms, yet as Ed points out, not all have moved or if they have not entirely.

What if there is a correlation between these ideas. Can Microsoft, the epitome of a Marketing machine to those of us on the outside, not actually sell their own products to their own customers?

Perhaps Vista's marketplace issues really stem from a broader problem within Microsoft that has been hidden away for some time but now is leaking out. No matter how much money or stars they can strut in front of us, the problem may be an internal flaw.

Known for announcing something long before it sees the light of day, Azure for example is at least a year from general availability, could they be digging their own hole?

I have some ideas about what they can do, but why should I give them all of my free advice. I figure a potential market valued at $464,000,000! (Total is $1,856,000,000 based on this study from Microsft and Radicati) is worth something, don't you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

LS09: Blogger's Lounge Update

Sorry to everyone that has been hanging on, I can now fill in the gaps.
We planned for an open and active group of people to provide assistance to the lounge.
Some topics were discussed and various promotional vendors were invited to assist.
Our intention is to host a party if you will, that lasts 4 days.
It was never meant to exclude anyone and in fact was viewed as an extremely good way to enhance communication, collaboration and just meet other like minded people or even people you have no other way to meet.
Ideally we saw it as a way for some specific time to blog, downtime, or just meet up with others.

Unfortunately, the Lotusphere team has decided not to grant us space for a lounge.
Although I did try to bend their ear with a few people, the bottom line is the premise fell on deaf ears as they saw it as a divisive item instead of a unification one.

Can't say I see it that way. In fact NOT having one creates more division because now I have to try to find or locate 50+ people I want to meet when it could have been much easier.

Twitter and cell phones will once again play a large part for most of us in Orlando trying to find another. Perhaps the RFID tags at Lotusphere can be enabled so the attendees can find other people they are searching for.

Having said all this I live in hope that we can all still come together somehow, aside from a certain BoF which usually gets accepted. Whoever handles the Blogger dinner, let me know if we can expand that idea and have it Sunday night or something like that. I know I for one would like to put face and voice to many of you and hopefully you feel the same.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Proctor and Gamble Stole the Lotus Logo!

Remind you of any Lotus Logo's perhaps?

So I wake up on this early morning Sunday after Daylight Savings Time messes up my kids sleep habits and what do I see in the coupon section?
Lotus logos!
Not one but many, then I put my glasses on and saw it.
Still, how odd I thought.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fudbuster Friday #12 - Lotus is Going J2EE

Sorry for a lack of postings this week, was traveling but watch out next week!

Yep, you saw it and heard it everywhere. Maybe even from various vendors.

But is it true? Yes
Is Domino itself going J2EE? Not likely.

We know the products coming out soon or announced either run with Websphere as an option or solely run on it or with it.
Lotus Quickr, Connections, Sametime all have it in one form or another.

But is it that different from everything running from a browser? Or a universal inbox which is NOT part of your email system?
Or is it like running your car with petrol, ethanol or electric? It still does the same work, just presumably more efficiently, with some changes to your engine and auto parts.

Where does this leave your admins? As an Admin, the last thing I want is to have yet another platform to manage on top of the others. But you either embrace change or distance yourself from it.

It's a great time for other vendors to attack.
What do you want do? What is your company prepared for? Does IBM have enough Websphere professionals in existence to help people?
And at what expense?

Does Websphere scare you because you think it is how it was 10 years ago? Or do you see it as a much needed piece of architecture to raise your entire offering beyond your competitors.

Let me know your thoughts because some out there are on both sides of the fence and we need to push them off it and take a stand.

And on that note I will close and remind all Americans to vote on Tuesday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #11 - Your Vote Counts

Yes, the original from 2000 Chad hanging Voting Booth, I got one for $10 in 2002

I should save this for 2 weeks from now.

In Florida....
Do not vote in advance, they will misplace the ballots.
Do not do absentee ballots they may never arrive or be delivered.
Do not mail in your votes.

DO vote in person on Election day.

I gave my 4, soon to be 5, year olds class a voting machine as seen above.
One of the infamous 2000 election hanging chad ones.

So they can see what it is like. Why? Because I have one, and this is why I have it.
Because to drag my kids to wait in line for 2+ hours to vote and all they would get is a stupid "I voted" or "My Vote Counts"(these were given out in 2004 I think in Florida only, for obvious reasons) sticker and no ride at Disneyland will not make them very happy.

Nor will all of you who are staunch defenders of your 1st Amendment rights to say whatever, whenever and wherever you like and feel. Please remember kids do listen to adults and you should pay more attention to how you act on Election day in front of them or better yet, volunteer at their school to help discuss the election, if you have a valid interest or role for it.

Teach your children about voting, elections, taxes, war or whatever you want but leave the choice to them to understand and make their own choices. Don't repeat the lies and biased opinions you feel deserve to be known, from either side.

Sorry, if you wanted something more from this week's post, especially the non-US readers, leave me an idea in the comments, I will write about it next week. I promise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Q-SnTT - Domain name doesn't compute



Q stands for Quickr.
I don't do many SnTT but seeing as this one bugged me, I will let you all know about it.

So Abbott & Costello(not client's real name) have a Domino network which will now be using Lotus Quickr. Their domain is of course called Abbott & Costello because someone a decade ago set them up that way.
I Love my job.

What's so unusual? SPACES
Usually Domino Domains are listed in concatenated ways, like abbott&costello.

Now those admins out there probably now this technote VERY Well, if not, now you do.

The highlight is:
Domino domain names should be a single word or string (maximum of 31 characters). Do not use periods (.) in the Domino domain name as they are reserved characters.

AND

Domino server names can consist of one or more words (a maximum of 79 characters) and can consist of any characters except: parentheses, at (@), slash and backslash (/ and \), equal (=), and plus (+). Using spaces or periods is not recommended.

If you use spaces, you must enter that server name in quotes ("") when entering a command at the server console. As the Domino server name is also used within the given protocols name to address resolve process the use of underscores and periods can create lookup failures within different protocols. As such they are strongly not recommended.


Great! I tried that in my QPCONFIG.XML but no luck. You see XML works in a different way.

Your QPCONFIG.XML file may require the Domain name of Abbott & Costello but if you put it in this way you will see an error which looks like this:

10/10/2008 10:16:26 HTTP JVM: [Fatal Error] :43:41: The entity name must immediately follow the '&' in the entity reference.

I tried the quotation marks no luck, and IBM support came back and told me to try swapping the & sign for & amp ; (as one word) and that worked.

For more substitutes for XML characters you may have in your domain name, check this page.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Microsoft CALS cost how much?

What you thought I would forget about this? No way!

I found a nice site which is happy to provide some pricing for CALs.

Stop guessing, just work it out, use your spreaedsheet or calculator of choice and price it out. Post it to your blog or your boss or comment here with your findings.

Granted it may not be discounted or even be correct, but as they list pricing for SQL 2008 and CALs I must presume it is fairly up to date.

To understand the CAL's you will need, check this out for some background:
Directions on Microsoft
MSDN Blog Site

Will try to work out some numbers and report on it, but if you want to go ahead and have fun you can't say you don't have the numbers anymore.

IBM Pricing is usually found on the home page of the product in question.
Sorry the site referenced above only has pricing for Smartsuite.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sharepoint Costs HOW MUCH!

Sharepoint Price Guide

Not even going to question it's pricing ideas, but if it was true, YIKES!

Thanks to Phigment for Retweeting it.

Look up a 100 users and 1 server.

Still think Sharepoint is Free?

UPDATE #1:
After Scott's comments I revisited and wanted to post the Official Microsoft pricing calculator.
Well at least it is on their website.

Update #2:
To be fair I tracked down Quickr's pricing per IBM's website.
In my mind, and maybe I don't entirely understand Microsoft's pricing theory, all else being roughly equal(they are) until Microsoft adds on CALS on top of the basic license for Sharepoint.

IBM Quickr Pricing

And you may need this for PVU definition

Fud Buster Friday #10 - I Love Microsoft

Really? You do? Like I love Jelly Belly's and their Candy Corn?
mmmm, Candy Corn, Lotus Colors too!
Well maybe you don't. After all many readers are Lotus lovers, but the gang from Redmond who read this, do YOU love Mirosoft?

When I was with Lotus we all Loved Lotus. Sure we may not have liked individual people or management some times but we loved Lotus.

I don't see this from the client base. When I ask people about how much they love Microsoft, I never get that feeling. I get, "I/we hate Lotus." I prefer Microsoft", I use it(Outlooki) at home" but never do I get a real love going.

YET, many BPs and Sales people claim their client(soon to be ex-client) LOVE Microsoft.

I love Visio, really, I do. Now do I love Microsoft for buying them out and adding it to the Office suite? Actually, in some ways I do.

Now on a Lotus side, I do like most of the product line, Love Notes & Domino and Sametime and in general do have a fondness for Lotus that is beyond explanation. It's just software.

And so it is with Microsoft, yet somehow instead of creating a ground swell of Love for their product they instead have an audience which feels captured at times.

If customers don't like Microsoft, why do they keep buying from them?
When I dislike a restaurant or car dealer or online shop or credit card company I won't use them again.

Perhaps some of these customers were in this same place 5 or 7 years ago and Lotus had sent them packing...now these same customers need to go packing from Microsoft but to where?

They can not go back to Lotus, even though it might be the right choice, after all they still have Domino applications running their business or operations, because they feel it would be a poor decision because it would lose them face or faith from their employees.

It takes brains and brass to say "We made a mistake", or even to say we are going to move forward with Lotus Notes because it truly does provide the best benefits to our company.

Or will these customers go to Google, The Cloud or some other direction.

Time will tell, but just don't tell your manager the Client Loves Microsoft because they know it's not true and you need to stop hiding behind your own FUD.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #9 - Religion

This post is for anyone in one of the following religions:
Democrat vs. Republican
Job vs. Outsourced
Imported vs. Domestic (Beers! What did you think I meant?)
Coke vs. Pepsi
Oracle vs. Anyone
Google vs. Microsoft
Blackberry vs. iPhone
Microsoft vs. Everyone
Lotus Notes vs. Exchange

Say what you will but there is a lot of religion going on in your life and mine these days.
Just finished Yom Kippur, a solemn day of thinking about past sins and trying hard to change one self for the better.

So I can relate to the problem of religion in the IT world.

Religions for centuries would impress on others to join their own, sometimes at the threat(and it wasn't just a threat) of various tortures and death, sometimes with bribes and others with a shrug.

Luckilky, in modern times we don't still do this...within IT, other countries is another issue entirely.

The put downs, FUD and other ideas put forth often times come back to bite the speaker.
You as the speaker look bad, I don't care if you are Steve Ballmer or Steve Jobs or Steve Cohen. Someday, and that day may never come, the payback is going to hurt.

It is one thing to not confess everything, it's another to lie or just make up stories which aren't valid pr blame someone/something for no good reason.

Admittedly I may post thoughts to Twitter which at times can unsettle my Microsoft followers, but they are truthful in their wording, albeit at times harsh criticisms.

I do try to stay on the open and honest path and please correct me when I haven't! As happenned once with a post I made that was deleted because I didn't check all the facts.

So the moral of the story is if you must go and have converstions along any of the topics in the front of this post, just remember to play above board and try to be respectful of the other side.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Defining Lotus Notes & Domino for the Next Gen

In a truly perfect world, The Beatles would never have broken up, Jimi Hendrix would still be alive and MACs would rule the Earth. And Tech shows would get attendees when they are int he right place at the right time.

I went to a tech show today, ITEC, hoping to meet and listen to Chris Brogan. Sadly, as he informed me on twitter, he had to skip us in Ft. Lauderdale.

I ended up meeting a possible new SPAM solution provider for my clients and learned a great deal about using Facebook for Business from Chris's replacement, a really nice guy from Boston, Brett Wohl(He's on Facebook, go say hi!). Thanks Brett!

What I was not prepared for was defining Lotus to him. Sure, I do it all the time, but this was the first time I had really sat and explained it to someone more in tune with Facebook than Redbooks.
I appealed to digital rights and the ability to secure them in the app or db and allowing for selective exposure, plus replication capabilities for working on applications when traveling. We discussed it's messaging side, it's open source side, variable Operating System platforms, and even more important to their customers, scalable clustering within a heterogeneous environment. Even hit on document management and serializing data via RSS and other means.

In a way I feel like I failed to get across what I wanted, but he got what made sense to him and I leveraged what I knew would make sense to him so we were both happy in the end.

We discussed Sharepoint being used as a file sharing program, not in true collaborative style. And that Domino did sharing and does still, long before Sharepoint existed, but then I start to sound like I am 50 or 60!

Another really interesting conversation was with a Microsoft BP, who works in the SMB area. When I asked about his dealings with Lotus customers he said he doesn't see many naturally. He informed me that many customers are still running Windows and Exchange 2000. His hope was for the new Small Business Server, which has Exchange inside, would help migrate these people.

Naturally, Lotus Foundations came to mind and why IBM is pushing that as a solution. I wished him well and continued on.