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, Budhhist, 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 ont heir 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, as long as you admit it. Once you start spinning or lying about a product, a sale, 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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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.

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.