Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Microsoft, We'd like updates, Really we would

But when are you going to allow ANY browser other than IE to download them?
Sure I can go fishing to find downloads and set the auto update.

But like now, when I am checking multiple systems, please just stop demanding I run IE to get updates, it's just plain rudeness to your customers.

Or come up with a non-browser solution we can download.

That whole European lawsuit about tying the browser to the OS meant nothing to you I take it.

FAIL

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Search add-on for INI's from Firefox or IE7

In case you missed this gem of a blog post, I want to let others know about it.

My compliments to Bastian Wieczorek from the Lotus Notes Toolbox, on his/their excellent Notes.INI search add-on to Firefox and IE7.

Find it here.

It puts the search in the top right corner search bar.

As he describes it:

Because of the reason that so many visitors asked if there is a easier way to search for a notes.ini entry I build a small search plug-in for the Firefox +3.x or the Internet Explorer +7


Brilliant!

I am not one of those people that has memorized every notes.ini setting, which is why I post about the more obscure ones when I need to use them.

This add-on, along with my previous post on how to troubleshoot should be on every admins or developers machines.

And possibly your servers too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fud Buster Friday #33 - We Use Microsoft because...

Better late than never, client issues kept me busy all day and night. Sorry to those who expected it early this morning.

They provide everything we need.

Do they? In a way that is really practical?

If you bought a new car but before you could sign for it the dealer asked if you needed to steer? What would you say? Of course! Well they would add a steering wheel to your car, and charge you for it.

Will you be driving it? Then you will need brakes and tires. Again these get added to your price.

And what if they asked would you be driving at night? Then you need to buy headlights, tail lights.

If you live in a cold or warm climate would you like air conditioning or a heater? Again, probably you say yes and they charge you for this too. WAIT, this one actually happens still!

You get the idea by now. So why do you still buy Mirosoft products if they treat you this way?

Why do you still like them when they treat you this way?

You have choices, like the car companies and you bought your Lexus/Mercedes(examples only, I don't drive either) because it just came ready to go. Didn't you? Because you hate the headache of piecing together a car(Toyota that is why the Sienna loses to the Odyssey IMHO). yet your infrastructure is cobbled together the same way.

But it doesn't have to be.

We can help you, just ask, we promise to reduce your server count and headaches.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The "Death Patrol"

I was commenting on Karen's recent post about lack of privacy and the Social Media/Web 2.0 world and realized this may be of interest to some people.
What if you were the subject of "The Death Patrol"?

Some background.

My grandparents have some great friends who love them dearly, but heaven forbid my grandparents not show up to a regular event and I get the "are they okay?", "do you know anything?", "can we help them"?

Keep in mind, my grandparents from my mom's side are 89 and 87. They use the net and email and have done for years, not always efficiently, but it works for them, I am happy they do it at all. Okay, I have to adjust the screen resolution when helping them on their computer but other than that all is good. In truth it was their original IBM PC which I took apart, literally, many times over the years as I updated it and taught them how to use it. So much for training in the 80's.

So when I discuss Social Media with people I remind them that it's all fine and good until someone gets hurt. Stalkers are just one problem. ID theft, mail fraud, burglary, putting your kids in harm's way, hate groups are better informed as well, not to mention what a future employer or customer digs up on you via Google.

1984, close enough isn't it. Or maybe it leads to a Logan's Run scenario where everything about you is known and maybe you end up on a hit list for being too old, or in the wrong place or comment the wrong way and the government brings the Sandman(see the Logan's Run link) after you.

But I'd rather be seen and known than unknown and having "The Death Patrol" on the case. Maybe I just feel like that until I make my first million.

Only time will tell.

Cloud thoughts from CIO's

I attended the local CIO Council annual event which is State of the CIO with Gary Beach publisher emeritus of CIO magazine.

Nice attendance, over 150 I guess, many staffing people. A few IBMers, didn't see any Microsoft people, but there were at least 3 Microsoft BPs with tables. I opted not to have a table this year for various reasons and they didn't have any space anyway.

The discussion after Gary's session was a Q/A with 4 CIO's. What was interesting to note for me was 2 of them are large Lotus Notes/Domino shops, one a client of mine. The third was from a large software company based here and the 4th represented some of the local sports teams.

When a discussion about "The Cloud" came up, my client said that it made no sense whatsoever for them, the cost($) was too great. Plus they have their own infrastructure and like managing everything in house. Similar to my discussions previously about this idea that if you have built your own infrastructure why would you drop it now?

The exact opposite came from the software company. In fact they sounded like a company on the verge of death or the verge of being reborn.

They have employees bring in their own private laptops to work, no more company supplied ones. The company does provide some monetary amount in return. Can't imagine they have a hardware help desk anymore, so maybe its just about saving some money.

They didn't say anyone could work at home, which would be a better solution in my mind.

They also started to use their own software for their benefit. This is equally odd since one would expect a company to use the solutions they provide, if for no other reason than to show proof of concept or to help the sales people feel more comfortable in selling the solution.

I couldn't help but feel that perhaps they were barely treading water looking for any life preserver. Who knows.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stuck inside of Microsoft with the Windows Blues Again?

Apologies to Mr. Zimmerman, but this was interesting reading which had not occurred to me yet. Then again I am not really looking at Windows 7 so please forgive me if this has been posted elsewhere.

Read Samara Lynn's article in CRNtech print magazine for March 2009 over the weekend. The link here is to the online version which is slightly different.

This quote was interesting:

How Windows will be deployed on legacy equipment is a question that has been addressed by Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT), but rather nebulously. Consider statements made by Gavriella Schuster, a member of the Windows Product Management Team and contributor to the "Windows for Your Business Blog:" "If you are on Windows XP and are waiting for Windows 7: Make sure you take into consideration the risks of skipping Windows Vista and plan on starting an early evaluation of Windows 7 using the beta ... You may find your company in situations where applications are no longer supported on Windows XP and not yet supported on Windows 7."


OK, I'll bite, what possible application will no longer be supported on XP and not yet supported on Windows 7? Any of them? What company in their right mind would break something from working with XP?

DOH! Microsoft of course.

What company, aside from Microsoft itself, would produce products which did not work with what by now is the longest in the tooth operating system? And demand customers go to Windows 7 for support too most likely?

So before you go out and buy that new laptop/netbook with windows 7 on it,(as if it will appear this year)make sure you check if anything on it will work with your XP world.

Yet another reason to love Lotus Domino, all versions work together in harmony, new and old. Just follow proper guidelines as your R4 mail client might not like the R8 mail template, but from a server perspective that R8 server will work with your R4 mail templates. Try that with Exchange/MS Mail servers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fud Buster Friday #32 - Domino is so Hard to Update

Those who read this from Microsoft, I have nothing but awe for your marketing department.

You did your job real well, and convinced most sane people that only through pain and suffering can one update a server. In fact you trained your Business partners so well they complain and get it in their head that any upgrade is a multi million dollar affair.

Of course if GM had rigged cars so every oil change required new headers, pistons, spark plugs, fuel lines and a radiator, I think more people would get annoyed, don't you? And your jump from 2000 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2008 leaves many companies pondering why do they do this....JUST FOR EMAIL??!!?!

Well, as much as I wish that is was true it's a million dollar deal, it just isn't. I really would like to bill my first customer for a million dollar project, so would my business partners, really, so would many others.

Instead most Domino admins I know take care of upgrading the server as soon as they can and usually within 15 minutes to 1/2 hour it's done. Backups done previously of course.

And when we do an upgrade I can't bill for more than a day of work, in fact my 1st grade daughter can do it, she can read at least, unlike evidently many Microsoft Business Partners who are so afraid to touch Domino. It doesn't bite and it only makes your life EASIER as an admin.

So if it is so simple and as you can read in my previous post so cost effective in so many ways, why do you feel you must stay the course and keep spending your money with Microsoft?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Domino, the Ginsu Knife of Servers

Nothing but the Domino!

Yes you can do everything, like the old Ginsu Knives commercial from the 70's/80s in the US.

Domino it slices it dices it cuts, grates cheese and still it chops firewood like a champion.

Ok, forget the firewood part and the cheese.

So in the spirit of Ginsu, what do you get for your $8,050? To get to this number use this link. Then select the Enterprise Server and then go figure out the PVU's. I used a quad core Dell Intel Edgeserver for this purpose.

Note to IBM, this is lame by now. Just set a price for the server please.

So for 2-4 times the price of your hardware, what do YOU do with it?
Mail.

Right, what do you think this is? Microsoft Exchange we can only do 1 thing at a time?

Microsoft cost: $3,999 for Enterprise Exchange 2007 server from this Microsoft page. Note this limitation:

Enables creating up to 50 storage groups, with a maximum of 50 databases per Mailbox server role.

No limits on Domino, it keeps going, and going and going.

(said sheepishly by the customer)Applications?
Damn straight applications.

But don't those require a developer? In some cases yes, but there are a number of built in templates for applications already on your client, yes yours, and your server. The server ones are "hidden" but if you know how to find them, and your administrator didn't block you from doing so, go look at them.

Here's a hint, CTRL-N, leave Server as local so it gets created on your pc, give a title and file name, then enter your server name from the drop down list. And find something like a teamroom or a blog or some other template you fancy.

What these are not exciting enough for you? Okay, go to openntf.org and search for what you want, if it isn't there, create a login and post what you are in search of.
Not everything in there is ready for prime time, but some of it is really useful and helpful.

Right, so now the customer says, what about indexing and searching the files on the server? No problem, full text indexing is included(the slices) and you can search on the fly through any database(it chops), the first time might be slow while it creates an index, but after it will take seconds.

Microsoft Price: $8,213 for Sharepoint Server with Standard Search 2007 based on this pages requirements, and this pages pricing. Again all from Microsoft.

Now don't forget you still need Groove 2007 (another $4,290 from this site), .Net and some other pieces of the Microsoft puzzle to accomplish what you get in one Domino server.

SQL Server 2008 by the way is another $8,000 or so, based on this search in Google. Because it might help to have a database, any database, run an application.

For more, you can have a limited Domino server which includes Lotus Sametime, a basic instant messaging system, but still, it's included in the price.
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Enterprise Edition: $3,999, from this Microsoft site, additionally plus another server.

In fairness, the Lotus Sametime Server is priced at, sorry the IBM site does NOT show pricing for Sametime Standard or Advanced for an equal comparison.

Microsoft: $24,000 +/-
vs.
IBM: $8,000 +/-

WAIT, don't forget to include, if you buy into it, hardware costs for all those "extra" services from Microsoft.

Domino wins again. Unfortunately not as seen on TV as much as the Ginsu commercials.

Sun, Sun, Sun Here it Comes

IBM to buy Sun? About time someone did, if only to own Java and get it fixed.

When I discussed it with Microsoft about 5 years ago, SUN's stock was around $3-$5 and would have been pocket change for them, plus they could have killed Java before it went open source and allowed C# to rule.

Well fast forward a few years and what do we have now? Java has been open sourced and IBM may or may not want their hardware, although a stronger UNIX/Linux server may come out of this. But the services people and sales force might be of use.

Is it worth $6.5 billion for IBM? No idea, I still believe IBM should buy RIM and stick to that idea. It makes more sense from a social media, communications, messaging and even device levels.

IBM for now is happy working with RIM but for how long will Microsoft share it and for that matter can Lotus Notes Traveler expand enough to replace a BES?

We live in odd times, interesting is so last century.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Live Social Networking isn't as Useful as Online

I am branching out in my old age to more local networking. OK so my friend asked me to help fill numbers, but lunch is lunch right? Some of the people I met may read this and maybe it will encourage them too.

While I mixed and mingled and got business cards, don't think ANYONE in there would know a Poken if they saw it or use it either.

What was more interesting is the people who either did not have an email address or their phone number or web site on their cards, or even have any cards, so what business did THEY hope to get from this?

If you are going to give one out, hopefully it's because you want me to contact you, or be something I should trade in for something at a restaurant, expo or business.

Looked everyone up in Linkedin, Facebook will wait, and created a group in Lotus Notes to email everyone so we can share some discussions further. Already connected one with a developer friend of mine.

No one is on twitter or shows it on their cards, or uses signatures in their emails. I am just confused in this day and age why aren't they doing so? But AHA, I see a business opportunity there in helping them get on track for this social world of ours. I am available to present on the topic of how to expand your connectivity.

Online provides more fluid ways to connect with others and dare I say it, instant gratification, or decision to continue talking to someone or connect them on the moment notice to someone.

The downside, for me, was this meeting, of over 75 people, was 2/3 financial(mortgage/investments/planning/insurance), real estate(commercial and residential), marketing and other life coaches, etc as many other groups tend to be.

One of my other groups is just IT executives and CIOs and I prefer that group and its sub parts, of course, but general networking just doesn't do it for me. How about you? Do you get to any mixers/networking events every week or even every month? Which ones are better? Maybe I am just not in the right places. I am trying to free up one lunch or evening a week for these but only if there is a real value to it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An error you can't find in Google, SPR however

um, this doesn't look like my basic mode is working

Do I like this? Oh No I do not!
My apologies to Dr. Seuss fans but weird errors that don't even exist on Google can be rather hard to troubleshoot don't you think?

Fear not, we have screen shot it, although you may need to expand them to better see it.

Before I begin, the situation is this:
R8.0.X client was updated to 8.5 Standard, but because of older equipment made an ini change to run in Basic mode.

The errors only appeared today, not of course last week when I updated them.

The error shown above is what was happening when the client first opened Notes. I was able to "break in" so to speak and get her connected again to the server and replicate her mail.

Problem was if she opened her PNAB(personal names.nsf) on her machine it would start with the error above. Then after clicking ok, you would see this error:

Loading Applications Status
CWPCA4006E: Exception while attempting to load application:nrpc:/__852572890061A02B/composite.xml?file=names.nsf&name=Notes%20Contacts%20Application.xml&caxmlts=Fri, 13 Feb 2009 19:37:00 GMT&launchUrl=notes%3A%2F%2F%2F852572890061A02B%2FContacts%26Groups%3FOpenFrameset%26or1flg%3D32%26hashId%3D05842910E1AACE76230B0F7F7603E854


How odd I thought, an Eclipse error in a Basic client. Hmm. On top of which it looked like a Standard client. Searching Google for CWPCA errors and such showed zero as did IBM support and some fellow colleagues. Stump 1, stump them all....BLOG it.

Called IBM support, John (Thanks for the quick reolution too) worked on it for me and what we found was the notes.ini setting was entered incorrectly to run the client in Basic mode. The proper line entry is:
UseBasicNotes=1 ours, while close, was incorrect.

This resolved the error.

Now there is an SPR out on this error and although I am one of few who received it, nothing as yet has been published about it nor that it is being fixed in future releases. No wonder as we created the problem, a hybrid Basic/Standard client.
But a technote would be nice, so until then, I guess this is your Technote.

As an aside we discussed the possibility of deleting the Workspace folder which would be recreated when running Standard mode as a fix for some other Eclipse corruptions. Which is good because it just so happens my 8.5 installation has some issues, which while I reported them, have not been found by others. Maybe it's just Vista :-)

Dear IBM DeveloperWorks

I want my DVD's back!

To be more exact, I want my 2009 SEK and I want it now! Well, if it is coming out soon, I can wait another month or 2.

SEK is Software Evaluation Kit. Site is here.

For those that do not know, this is an EXCELLENT piece of marketing for customers!It comes as a pair of DVD's with a full list of code, trial versions, in Windows and Linux versions with code from DB2, Websphere, Rational and of course, Lotus.

Now before you all go crazy and say download what you need from this excellent IBM download site, think about this:

Why is this important to me? Because I support clients going back to R5.
So you ask? Well, where else would I have various client and server versions of historic nature to rebuild a lost server code or test with? And this is nicely setup and on a gatefold dvd(used to be cd's years ago).
Plus I don't waste my time downloading over 30 products or having to find space to put it all or the time to burn it or store it.

Also, for those that want to parallel Linux/Windows environments, as I am doing now for a client, it is a great way to ensure you know what is and isn't on Linux. but always check latest updates just in case as these are usually twice a year issued.

IBM, I understand this costs money and the shipping is free when these are requested, but how much can the whole program costs vs. the benefits from even one company picking up ANY of the software on it?

Friday, March 13, 2009

IMHOReason #1 Why Notes 8.5 Rocks

It really works, no thanks to windows crashes

Nothing worse then working on the last email of the day for a client when windows hangs or the screen saver froze your pc or whatever.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this on restart of my client.
Some of you may have seen it previously but I have never until now and all I can say is thank you to Iris for making this happen.

Not sure if this will become more posts on this threadtag or if anyone else wants to use it but wow. Must go finish that email and go home now.

The Cloud has Closed and Google has some prices

Brick and Mortar 1, Cloud 0

In an article I read in a magazine, (remember those?)called Information Week this week they discuss a Cloud company that is folding. Coghead.

Won't bore you with the details but a new business will be popping up from Binary Tree probably any day now announcing how to migrate from Gmail.

Anyway, Google pricing in the article is interesting:

With Google's first-time payment structure for the previously free-with-quotas Google App Engine, customers pay 10 cents per CPU core hour, 10 cents per gigabyte of traffic in, 12 cents per gigabyte of traffic out, 15 cents per gigabyte of data stored per month, and $1 per 10,000 e-mails sent.


EDITED to just say
Once you let someone or something else manage for you it will cost you in the long run, maybe not today or tomorrow but....

Fud Buster Friday # 31 - Hosted Mail is the killer app

Microsoft SVP Chris Capossela puts it bluntly: "Customers will write us bigger checks."
from this Fortune article. Thanks to Ed for posting it this week.

Couldn't resist putting this quote up here. Hate Microsoft? No. Jealous. I wish everyone bought our service and products so easily. Moving on...

Foolish mortals, it's a new world, full of fun, excitement, twitter and someday soon Football again.

I start this by admitting I have been and always will be a strong proponent of email but as my clients start asking for more hosted options I am wondering if hosting is the convenience people prefer because the cost savings really aren't there...yet.

Your world is not your own any more, everyone is screaming at you to use an ASP, I mean, an SaaS, no I mean a Host/Hosted facility, no Microsoft, no wait Google or IBM, no "The Cloud".

Save money right? Cut expenses. Reduce your budget. Fire some one, anyone, except yourself, of course.

In 2009 you have a choice to get off the Microsoft merry go round, but is Google a better answer? Desktop or laptop or netbook? Phone? What drives a company like GSK to make the choices they make?

The bottom line still is applications, not email. Email, while important, is secondary to the spreadsheets, documents, databases and yes presentation software.

What is the real killer app? I would argue wireless technology as a whole.
In Fahrenheit 451 the idea of a wall being a video screen seemed futuristic, today it's a reality and soon may be one for everyone, ok maybe not yet but soon enough.

Virtually unlimited drive space is also a killer app. We may be seeing a dawn of a new era for online everything, but who will make it happen well, not first.

Does IBM want to play in this space as Duffbert posited? Should they? Symphony is not hosted yet although it is conceivable but is it enough?

Should Google win? It's not about winning for them, it's about the greater good( I know some feel otherwise) of the world. Microsoft really doesn't care about the world, not in the same way. And maybe Redmond is experiencing some of the 90's IBM issues.

Perhaps someone else out there is thinking they can take over this space, maybe they can, but lead with an application other than email...the world has enough religions.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Costs Get Saved When Going to the Cloud?

Really, do you or your clients know?
Would you be able to provide a valid and true number, or at least a reasonable estimate?
Is Google/Microsoft/IBM or "Fred's Cloud" really a cheaper more efficient solution?
On what do you base this?

Ed Brill's post
had some comments which I was going to reply, but instead wanted to expand my answer.

What is really being saved is the question of course.
No company stops needing their telecom, wiring, firewall, routers etc just because they go to the Cloud. In fact one could argue some of these INCREASE.
Nor do they stop needing their administrators or help desk or support staff. Although you may be able to drop a few people or move them to a different project, they can't all be user/password admins.

Possibly the costs of some hardware(the onsite servers), SAN/Drive space and some related items, plus NOS cost and licenses, and their support/maintenance contracts are what is saved by going to the cloud.

What other costs are there you ask that could get saved? Backup solutions and costs, archiving, spam filters, antivirus which all have fees or maintenance.

Need more? Electricity, Real Estate/Data Center Space, A/C requirements.

Still need more reasons? Leave some in the comments.
What am I missing or not thinking of right now?

I will put together an ROI for it all once I have inputs from everyone.

There is no price for headaches, they are priceless. Going to the cloud may limit the ones you feel today, but will create other ones potentially even greater or worse. (Worse would be when Fred's Cloud goes under)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5 Update or How Not To Do It

We were updating our internal Lotus Domino 8.5 server with the latest Lotus Notes Traveler update from Fix Central ver8.5.0.1 (www.ibm.com/support/fixcentral).
One of my coworkers who hadn't done any work on Traveler yet was doing it and asked me how to install the update.
I hadn't thought about it and instead of saying, read the readme file, said run the exe.
I meant the download .exe so it would unzip.
Unfortunately for us the .exe file was run, but it was the ntraveler.exe. OOPS.

What to know what happens? Try it, in development, NOT production.
You get a lovely error in your Domino Server console which points to wherever you unzipped the file and ran the exe file. The usual process.exe has terminated abnormally.

Suffice it to say we did many things and finally the only way to resolve it we restarted the physical machine to clear any problems in memory and then reinstalled Traveler 8.5 and then properly installed the update.

It all works now.

So EDITED 3/12/2009: READ THE MANUAL and if you don't see it, search the IBM Toolbar or PlanetLotus.org or Google for it.

I Love Domino Document Manager

Really, I do.
When it is setup properly and running it's as smooth as a jet fighter, although nowhere near as fast usually.
My new rebuilt laptop, is relearning all the clients I support again and when I went to check on a Doc customer and open a file cabinet it pops up very nicely and asks if I need the enabler installed.
It's great when these things just work isn't it?

Client today asked me about Doc to Quickr project and we are good to go!
Doc enabler really needs to be made into Lotus Quickr Connectors but that's a whole other post.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Domino.Doc could make you money

Domino Document Manager, or Domino.Doc as some of us call it still is on it's retirement tour. Like Springsteen or the Rolling Stones, eventually the great ones have to admit to getting old.

Which is why we are so happy to see all the Doc clients.
We haven't been this busy on Doc in probably 3 years. And it's great!
If you aren't or don't have the knowledge on it but have the clients, let us know we can work with you or your customer.

We are working with some of our clients to help migrate them to Lotus Quickr from Domino.doc. Others Filenet looks like a better fit, but either way it's a lot of projects.

How do you get such a project approved you ask in this economy? Well let's see, at the risk of helping competitors(IBM, Microsoft and other BPs) here are some ideas:

1) It's not about cost, although that does figure into it. Yes, your data is going from Server A to Server B and some costs are involved there so how do you justify it?
Look at it this way instead:
You are bringing the clients to a more modern software which connects or interconnects with the latest versions of browsers, MS Office and operating systems. Why is this a benefit? Because your cost base can be spread out now to almost any individual or group or vendor instead of a small group which is limited in their hardware and software updates, which also causes other organizational problems. Maybe not a cost savings, but a better budget line item. And you can push that onto suppliers, vendors or even customers depending on the situation. Or add it into the costs of those expensive Vista laptops you are buying.

2) Maybe the problem was you had the solution sitting on such old hardware by now that every attachment would take a minute or two just to attach it. If you think about it this way, the average business line employee makes $60,000(random #). If an updated version was installed on a new server and could save 100 clients, 15 minutes a day, how much would that save your company?
100 people x 15minutes x 5days x 52weeks = 390,000 minutes or 6,500 hours a year.
A dollar figure to that is $187,500 in wasted time costs that could be recouped or reused that right now are an absolute loss. 3 whole man/woman salaries and time. OUCH!

3) Support and Maintenance may be an issue. It costs more to support older software and hardware than newer systems. Like an old car which reaches a point of diminishing returns. Fixing this, repairing that, corruption, broken enablers, you get the idea.

4) There is also shipping costs to consider(savings to you by having a more open system), saving network bandwidth by using more recent software with better compression and network awareness and even possibly electrical costs.

5) PLUS you get to have Filenet or Lotus Quickr for free in a swap out. Now that's a really great deal you can't just walk away from. You leave an old product for a new one with no licensing fees.

In the end a migration is probably in your better interest sooner rather than later and we can assist you with however much help you need to accomplish the task before you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

LotusWorld, the next AppStore?

This showed up in my email box sometime in the last few days.

Coming soon! Find tons of great applications designed for your BlackBerry smartphone in one convenient place - BlackBerry App World.


So now RIM is doing it too. Makes sense for them.
Imagine, if you will, What a Lotus or Domino World would be like.
Openntf could be one way to do it and I am sure IBM has some other view on this as well.
or do they? Or have I forgotten someone's site and if so, please let me know.

Imagine if every little app you or I offer for free, instead charge a nominal amount of money, say $1-$5 per template or programming effort. Could we micropay our way to riches as some have on the Apple AppStore? Lotusworld.com by the way is some Lotus car site, but the name sounded good to me.

An interesting idea which maybe is worth it for those not quite an application but more a nice to have idea. Maybe I am being a capitalist.

Then again what if every organization needed your little app?

EDIT Update 3/12/2009 Lotus911 I believe showed an app like store and was trying to expand that idea, as was I think Planetlotus at some point. But I could be wrong in this memory.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fud buster Friday #30 - The Cloud Will Save us Money

Let me start by saying if you are committed in a relationship, either stick with it or drop it.

2009 will go down as the year, in the US at least, where everything changed, from the President to your bank and your bank account or job or home or life in general.

Evidently the companies of the world are choosing to drop long time relationships in favor of what some see as short term crutches and it is upsetting quite a few companies, the ones still in existence.

100,000 GSK employees are going to the Cloud. 100,000 in various price points too.
How many of these lucky people will also get to work from home? After all if you are going to do this, why not go all out? Commercial Realtors you are about to get FUBAR(look it up).

85,000 x $15 = $1,275,000 a month
15,000 x $3 = $45,000 a month

So for about $1.3 Million dollars a month or $15.6 million a year they will get online version of everything Microsoft can offer.

Now surely someone said we are already paying Microsoft about $1000 per employee for Windows, Office, plus Lotus costs for email and well sure this looks good.

But hold on, what are all these employees going to use for accessing the web? Linux machines? That would make perfect sense, but no, the SAME machines they have now will still be in use. Saving money? not yet.

Also all those small offices are going to need more bandwidth or if GSK goes whole hog to let everyone work from home hopefully they are picking up the tab for the internet bill. if so, let's imagine 40% of the company works form home.
40,000 x $50(average per month)= $2 million a month or $24 million a year.
This doesn't include the real bandwidth which may be added at corporate.

So at $40 million a year this is saving them money? Right. they expect to shave off 30% of their costs over time. How? Once you start with a host the costs only escalate. Have you ever seen them go down? I didn't think so.

So let's say GSK is smart enough to lock in some pricing growth limits, like $1 for higher users or a quarter for the lower ones that's still quite a chunk of change in year 2 and going further.

Wait, don't forget there are admins for all this. I don't see any of them losing jobs soon. Microsoft is going to manage their user base? I don't think so.

So that cost doesn't go away. IT Support also is not going away although maybe they cut a deal for that as well.

And classically, what happens when you lose the connection at the wrong moment? What is the BC plan? Business Continuity can be costly to or is Microsoft making GSK pay for a complete redundant data center on both sides of the ocean?

Maybe GSK's costs are much more than this, and I know this is not even all the possible items on laundry list of costs(security, disk space, integration to their back office solutions), and a deal like this is probably being underwritten by Microsoft in one form or another.

A smarter way to look at their environment could have saved them even more money. But they needed that money for the day the try to get off the Microsoft hosting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I got, you got, she's got, he's got

MUTEX. CreateMutex too and the perennial MVP CglobalMutex.
Yes, it's true, you may have this too, but only if you have an old version of Symantec Mail Security for Domino (SMSDOM.exe).

Imagine my surprise when setting up an LDAPsearch test with a client and see this error:
SMSDOM Panic: CreateMutex failed in CGlobalMutex constructor
[Windows Err Num: 5 (0x5): Access is denied.]


Now I know BES has the discombobulator and Domino has its own funny messages, but never hit this one until today.

Quick search of the IBM toolbar shows only 2 references, this and that technotes. The latter one is related to an LEI error of the same nature.

This says:
This issue with terminal service is fixed in Domino 6.5.6 and 7.0.2 levels. If running at levels below, issue the command locally on the server.


WAIT! That's not what we were doing at all, but it explains a lot, server is 7.0.1 What's interesting is we were running ldapsearch of course locally and in a command prompt. Maybe I should let support know this message needs to include these options.

They basically tell you to go here(syamntec's technote) which of course says:
To mitigate the problem, install update your version of Symantec Mail Security for Domino.
The Symantec Mail Security for Domino extension manager must load Nnem.dll in the same instance of NNTASK for proper operation.


So go get an updated version.

Client decided they don't need it anymore and anyway they have the new version just never installed it. They are going to Barracuda, thus the LDAP call.

I am never amazed at the excellent coding error messages displayed from vendors.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rebuilding a laptop is like Converting to Exchange

Sorry, laptop ran out of batteries and caused some problems. Here is the post.
It's just painful, especially when you didn't plan properly(we know it wasn't YOUR fault).
For admins even more painful is the magnitude of problems they will face.
Especially if you have missed a step or in my case a file or maybe 2.

Clients don 't think about the fact you now have to manage multiple servers compared to one previously(or multiply by at least 2 for moving off Notes to Exchange if ALL you want/use is Exchange, otherwise multiply by at least 4 to get the full package).

In my case I have multiple backups and drives now after getting my HP laptop returned with a new screen hinge, and a new drive(thanks tigerdirect for the 320GB for $60, maybe even get one for my ideapad) but these are killing me as none will "fix" vista. Not that XP is better, but I am better prepared now for the next backup. Bought an external 2.5" case and that works really well. But I digress.

So you have to get your whole network updated to 2008. But you knew that going in...didn't you? No? Your Microsoft rep forgot to tell you that one? And your Business Partner suddenly hit you up for extra consulting fees too? All this to change email platforms, now you have to upgrade your whole infrastructure of Microsoft pieces or nothing will talk to properly? You don't say.

Likewise I am reinstalling drivers and software and it is taking MUCH longer than expected. If I had only made the effort before hand to test my backup I would have noticed the thing missed some open files. Or had the external case.

I know some of you are thinking loser, and you are right. But there is no fun like reinstalling anything Microsoft. So much so I am tempted to try the MAC osX idea and dual boot my machine.

The moral of this story is I brought this mess on myself because of the following reasons(in no particular order) and most of the same goes to you if you are moving off of Domino:

1) I trusted my backup solution (The White House lost emails are legendary, they should have stuck with Lotus)
2) Microsoft told me their software could back up my drive and transfer my data and I believed them, well i wanted to at least, figured they could get this right...WRONG.(I could put almost anything here I guess that Microsoft says which is never reality for 2 more releases....or 5 years)
3) Listen to your friends on Twitter every time or Sametime.
4) HP made me do it, I didn't want to send them my hard drive (Substitute your favorite quote from lousy analyst companies and blame them)
5) It was done on the cheap and may just end up as a cutover and not a migration(how MANY migrations from Lotus end up this way because companies "suddenly" realize what they got into and can't change their budget(for 2-3x more) later in the cycle?
6) I read that other business people (Thanks Bilal for your tale of woe)sent their laptops back and had problems but this would never happen to me. (Other companies committed to Microsoft and never moved or have taken YEARS to do so, that won't happen to us....Riiiiight)
7) I like my new Ideapad so much I just can't go back to the old laptop. Just kidding, I do love it, but working on it the last week or so has reminded me why it is for TRAVELING. And the Ideapad is inheriting the 120GB from the HP soon and that is really needed on it.
8) My kids(clients) like the new stuff. (If you don't keep your server updated NOW by running older versions of Domino, what makes you think you will keep it updated on the new solution? Right you HAVE to otherwise the rest of your infrastructure will stop talking to each other)

So learn from my woes, spend the $10 and get an external drive case to do a perfect backup of your drive next time.

If only I could cluster my laptops, but that's a whole other post.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Repeat after me

I will get more sleep before tackling problems.

My daughter has been up the last few nights and then up early, makes me not so clear thinking.

In fact a request came today which I know and just could not step around what I see in my client and server docs.

Keith Nolen posted this last year. Thanks to Richard Schwartz for finding it for me.

Client called and said Security, you know the guys in red shirts on Star Trek, also always the first to die on every episode, informed them they can no longer use port 1352 on an external Domino server. And the reason is....wait for it...they can't monitor that port.

Have I got a client for everyone to go hack then because they can evidently ONLY monitor ports 80 and 443. Right. Actually they say they ONLY have opened these 2 ports.

Anyway so there is a way to do it, but we will test it as 80 and 443 are in use already naturally.

When you read Keith's solution it becomes obvious but in my state of sleep deprivation I just couldn't think about it.

I saw what I wanted to see instead of thinking about how I would fix it. luckily I am moving away from support items for a little while, its good to get some perspective sometimes.

A Tale of 2 vendors

As some know I had sent my laptop back to HP for them to fix the screen hinge damage. An estimated 10-12 business days or in normal language 2-3 weeks was expected.
Imagine my surprise when the email came 48 hours later that it would be on its way back.
Very excited to hear this news I brought it to the office this morning and unboxed it to find a note that says the ominous words "Drive reimaged".

Uh oh! Yep, HP wiped the drive. Now to be fair, I believe they gave me a new drive as well as a monitor because the problems may have been heat from the processor or drive or both which burnt or melted the hinge. Well that is my story and I am preferring it over the fact that for no reason at all they restored my drive to day one.

My laptop I notice now is slower than before but only because I compare it to my Ideapad, which I love, aside from its wi-fi finickiness.

Now the problem is in restoring my data to the laptop will take hours, about 7+. And I won't know if anything works properly or not until it reboots.

Thanks HP, but next time when I ask if I should include the drive, just say no and also don't promise my data will be fine if you know it won't be.

So moving on to Seagate. My love, we've been through many drives together, some good some bad but when you have a monopoly you will be the one everyone comes to. So it's a good thing they stand by their warranty and sent me a new drive so easily. Online site to handle it all, includes directions for packaging and within a week got a new one, in fact it just came.

Can't wait to use it, it will be part of a new server I am building, a Red Hat version for our portable server line as a few people have asked about it.

No data was on the previous drive and if it was, well no big deal it was on our mule. So off I go to format a new drive and play with Red Hat.