Thursday, April 30, 2009

See Me..Feel Me..Touch Me..HEAR ME

Carl Tyler's blog post about an ad he saw had me thinking about something.

Where are all the Lotus Notes applications for you, me and the kid down the block on his skateboard?

Who or what Business Partner has written anything to sell to someone at home?
LotusLive and web enabled apps, The Cloud, iPhones and who or what is working on ANY app for these consumers?

If people can't see it in an ad or a commercial, why would they ask for it?

If someone can't feel connected to a device or it's software, why would they want to use it?

If you are the type of Admin that doesn't want people to do too much in your network, get out of the way. Meet the New Boss, it's not the same as the Old Boss.

If they want to run Webmail on their Wii let them, and let everyone know about it.

If no one you knew at work or on a plane or train or at a bar uses Lotus Notes, it's not because they don't want to. It's because they never hear you talk about it(or hopefully they are tired of you talking about it).

I'm the Lotus guy to many people and if I had something for them to use on their own that made their life better I'd make some good money I bet.

So listen to everyone around you and HEAR them and think about it.

SNTT - Lotus Notes Traveler fix for previous post

After posting about iNotes mail redirection, I realized I neglected to help you move Lotus Notes Traveler so it was still accessible for everyone and in a way that is memorable.

So here is what you do.

1)Open your names.nsf.
2) Go to Configuration-Web-Internet Sites.
3)Locate the Web Site: IBM Lotus Notes Traveler Web(or whatever your website is listed as).
4)Open it up, select from the menu of that window, Web Site-Create Rule.
5)Provide a Description name, traveler is fine.
6)Type of Rule is Redirection.
7)Incoming URL pattern is /traveler.
8)Redirect to this URL: /traveler/index.html.
9)Save it.
10) tell HTTP restart from the server console.

SNTT - iNotes Mail Redirection in 8.5

Edited 9/2/2010: Login page edits can be found at this post.

Edited 12/21/2009: If you need more information for internet site documents and configuration see this post.

It's a NEW template and so full of help and documentation one doesn't even need to post about it.

RIGHT!

To be fair this is one of those things you love to use and set up once go away and then something breaks it and you have to do it all....over....again.....from.....memory.

Not totally true anymore. Webmail redirect has come a long way so to speak since the old Sandbox. Needless to say, if your environment looks like one of our clients, well, then this is for you.

Here is a link to the Domino Administrator help file which is online at IBM where it provides THE ONLY documentation for this utility(outside of the database itself, read on for more on this). Appropriately called "Using iNotes Redirect to access mail in Lotus iNotes".

If you read it, there seems to be nothing to it really.
1. Create an application using the "IBM Lotus iNotes Redirector"(IWAREDIR.NTF) template.
2. In the IBM® Lotus® Notes® client, open the application that you created.
3. Click Setup and follow the prompts(I didn't get any prompts) to set up iNotes Redirect.
I'll add a step 4, at the server console, tell HTTP Restart.

Hold on, not so fast, what about all these settings and options you say?
Let's do it one step at a time.
I will presume you know how to create a database by now.

1) You will see one button on the page, Click on Setup.
2) Now you will see 4 buttons like this:
4 choices but still no prompts
3) Select server settings
4) Here the help offered is helpful, so use it if you need it. Select the Redirection type, I use dynamic and not a forced path in this case.
5) Choose SSL or not and debug or not.
6) Click on the UI setup button.
7) Enter the time to redirect in seconds. Why you ask...
8) What text do you want displayed while being redirected? So you can do a Public service announcement or have some fun with it like I do and tell them to relax and the server will be with you in a few seconds, please deposit 25 cents to continue.
9) You can also add a custom logo or color and enable the personal, login and cookie options as you so desire.
10) Click on ultralite/mobile settings and enable the ultralite button, it should already be populated with ipod(had no idea I could use it as a client)and iphone.
11) Now go to the application setup button and make the ACL changes as described.

And it.....didn't work for my client.

So what's wrong?

I get the Lotus Notes Traveler code home page. I love Traveler, but this shouldn't be coming up after I login.

OK, let's check the WEB settings in the Names.nsf.

Go to Configuration-Web-Internet Sites

I found a website for traveler on that server. Not unusual to have Traveler on the same server as one's mail, but Traveler appears to have taken over the default URL.

Open up the site, go to the Configuration tab and edit it.
The Home URL was populated with traveler/index.html.

Sorry, that will break iNotes redirection.

Copy this, or whatever you find there, over to the comments tab, as backup.

Now replace that with inotesredirector.nsf?open (please use whatever name you made the NSF when you created the database, BUT don't forget the ?open).

Try to log back in, it should work now. If not, run the tell http restart at the server console and try again. If that doesn't work, get a hold of me so we can fix it together.

As an extra benefit, don't forget you can redirect when people leave their email as well.

Using this notes.ini setting, iNotes_WA_LogoutRedirect=http://lotustech.blogspot.com you can send the person anyplace you want, I sent you to my blog if you cut and paste this.

As the help file says on this topic:
Use the NOTES.INI variable, iNotes_WA_LogoutRedirect, to specify a URL to redirect users to a Web page after logging out from server. The setting provides normal cache clearing with the IBM® Lotus® iNotes™ control, and clearing of browser credentials. This variable allows sites which have additional actions that need to happen on a logout (such as logging out of a reverse proxy server) to specify a URL to do this additional activity. Or you can use this variable to return people to an initial login page. The format for this settings is iNotes_WA_LogoutRedirect=URL. For example:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where's that confounded Bridge?

Yes, Robert Plant was always having fun at the listener's expense.
If you are too young to know what I am talking about, listen to "The Crunge" from the Led Zeppelin album, The Houses of the Holy. One explanation is here.

It's a quarter later, well about 90 days since Lotusphere and you can see the natives are restless.

Where is this or that? My customer won't go to R8 until 8.5.1 is out, or no Quickr upgrades they are waiting for Quickr 8.2. It never ends does it? Relax, you just need a refresher.

For those lucky enough to attend The View's Admin and Dev conference 2 weeks ago, you got your batteries recharged. For those that didn't go, how do you refresh?

Can't wait for the LCTY? Maybe it came too early for you? Is there a happy middle ground?

If you as a Business Partner, Consultant or employed Lotus professional feel any angst, imagine how your customers, clients and fellow employees feel right now.

Your influence is for better or worse. Choose the super powers of good, not evil.

Have some fun in your day. I know, you are saying I am crazy or you have fun already. Well if you do, great! If not, what thing did you do for fun today? Did you play your Wii/Xbox? Did you play guitar, drums? Did you go to an arcade or someplace with a video game or pinball machine and take your frustrations out on it?

Did you take a baseball bat and Sledge-O-Matic, a watermelon? Maybe you blocked all emails to/from your HR director? Changed a few employees passwords without telling them?(careful you can get fired for this type of fun)

Take some time to relax and have fun, sure we all love what we do, but forget about it for a little while, drop the phone/pc.

Our customers are constantly being reminded by us to use their software, plan for changes, upgrade to something new, play with mobile Sametime, think about Symphony and other ideas and applications. It is fun, and can be fun, and if IBM gets in on the fun at some point, all the better.

Maybe IBM will be bringing out a Wii/Xbox game based on how an I series (AS/400) saves Manhattan. Or better yet, a commercial or story book how a Mainframe(Z series) works in a way even a 6 year old can appreciate it, want it and love it. T. Rex indeed! IBM has a sense of humor and maybe it will surprise us this year.

Now about that Bridge.

Friday, April 24, 2009

HELP? Microsoft disables Help files in Vista and Windows 2008

I am sure everyone else solved this already, but I must post it because, well, I might be the only person on Earth still supporting and writing Lotus Approach databases.

Carl Tyler is of course the resident expert about how to use Lotus Approach in general but this is a little different.

I loaded Lotus Smartsuite on my laptop which runs Vista. I am quite sure previously I had no problems but when I went to use the help button to look up some fucntion code I received this error:

Funny, that error wasn't there previously
And it also brought up this Windows Vista Help window:

OK, maybe it is still out there
Follow that link to this page.

Which states succinctly:

Ever since Windows 3.1, Microsoft included the Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) with new releases. WinHlp32.exe is used to view 32-bit Help files that have the .hlp file name extension. Starting with the release of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has decided to no longer include in WinHlp32.exe as a component of the Windows operating system. Microsoft made this decision because WinHlp32.exe has not had a major update for many years, and it does not meet our standards for all new Microsoft programs. Microsoft realizes that this may cause some problems for customers who want to upgrade to Windows Vista or to Windows Server 2008 but still rely on 32-bit .hlp files. Therefore, Microsoft is making WinHlp32.exe available as a download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Very nice, it doesn't meet their need, but for those of us using slightly older software on slightly newer operating systems, this was not very helpful.

But if you follow the links it will take you to the appropriate download from this page.

And then download this version for Vista Windows6.0-KB917607-x86.msu or this version for Windows 2008: Windows6.0-KB917607-x64.msu

After installation I click on help and get the help file, with one slight error popup:

almost there, one more macro error
which I can live with for now, I think I know where the macro error comes from, but it's not important right now. Just that I get the macro done before COB today.

Enjoy your weekend.

Fud Buster Friday #37 - Exchange 2010 is Going to Kill Domino

While perusing InfoWorld magazine this week I came across an amazing piece of fluffy reporting from someone who should be able to do better.

His quote
Reliability has improved in Exchange 2010
Damn well hope so! One of our clients who we are migrating from Exchange report failures monthly if not weekly. Conversely my Domino servers stay up until I down them for upgrades(OS,Domino,Java etc.) once a quarter.

So aside from the great title, "First look: Exchange 2010 beta shines", what is so great?

First, Support for Windows Server 2003 is dropped in favor of Windows Server 2008 only. Okay, so we will see more push to move up to Windows 2008.

OWA (Outlook Web Access) will finally be ported to work with Safari and Firefox. Nice, iNotes and DWA under Domino has had it for some time, in various iterations(yes I know version specific, but at least it exists today).

Voice Mail Previews?
OK, it provides a speech to text way to read your voice mail. Hmm, so why send the vmail at all as an attachment? Google just showed this recently. Nice piece actually, I hate listening to vmails and my phone doesn't play them so this I would like to see in Domino.

Users can create server distribution lists.
WOW! And to think users had that capability, with proper security in place since version 1 of Lotus Notes. Welcome to the security world Microsoft.

Managers can search other employees mail files.
With approved security. I hope so!

And they could not do it now because? Microsoft saw no reason to let you do it. Only Admins could search across mail files.

"The Exchange Control Panel (ECP) allows users to control their own server settings. Changing a user's mobile phone number in the global address list used to require a help desk call." It does? Really? Granular security coming to Microsoft finally. Thanks Ray for adding Lotus Notes functions that are 20 years old!

He says
Users can also control who can see their calendar information and in what detail: I might want my supervisor to know when I have a doctor's appointment, but all a colleague needs to know to schedule a meeting with me is when I'm free and when I'm busy.
What a concept, again, where have you been Exchange?


Mailboxes can now be moved live
without taking the user offline. Isn't that how it should always be done? Again, Microsoft plays catch up.

But he says
Moving a mailbox from one server to another formerly required taking the user offline for at least a couple of hours, not to mention night and weekend hours for the mail administrator.
OUCH!

There was also this amazing insight:
Exchange 2010 now allows mail federation between trusted companies. This is especially powerful when it comes to scheduling meetings using shared free/busy calendars; suddenly, you can schedule meetings with your business partners as easily as you can schedule meetings within the company. You have the same fine-grained control over the detail that business partners can see in your calendar as you do over what colleagues can see. Another improvement in scheduling is that conference rooms and other meeting resources can be scheduled along with the attendees.
Ho Hum, thanks for following the Lotus Notes world, again. And that improvement in scheduling is also nice to hear so you can gain some parity with Lotus Notes calendaring.

So your boss wants to stay, or go with Exchange because he likes being the laggard instead of the industry leader?
You can also go back and read Ed Brill's post from last week about this and the volumes of comments about it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lotus Domino SSL, Don't Force It (updated Post)

Can't save this for SNTT, that's on Yom Kippur.

Evidently one's intepretation of a setting can lead to double trouble.

A URL which should look like this(found on a Lotus Quickr server):
https://www.youarethe1.com/lotusquickr/...

Turned into this:
https://www.youarethe1.com/https//www.youarethe1.com/lotusquickr...

And of course prevents logging in.

The resolution for this odd appearance is the following:
In the Server document of the offending server go to:
Internet Protocols Section
Domino Web Engine Tab
HTTP Sessions Part
Force Login on SSL set it to NO

Setting it to YES caused this dilemna.
I am not going to delve into what this field is for exactly, there is no hover over or click on it help to tell me what it is for....so someone want to enlighten me I will be happy to add it on to this post.

COntinuing now with User Acceptance Testing.

Updated 4/23/2009 Per Patrick's post
Technote:
http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=899&uid=swg21283220

BES, Sametime, Java and Your Windows Upgrades

Warning, danger ahead, read only if you like Java, BES, Domino and Mobile Sametime clients.

I got tagged to resolve a Sametime clients using BES error which popped up after a recent NOS update to Windows 2008. BES works fine, but Sametime clients on blackberries couldn't login.

Naturally open up the BES manager and it shows MDS is not started, BB_IM is not started either. Go check the Windows Services, shows 3 services not starting, shows 1067 error when you try to start them.

Not much out there on this while searching.

I figured DNS issues or router issues.
Wrong. IP checks out fine and both ways.

Stconfig.nsf missing the BES IP address?
Wrong. It's still there.

BES had an update last week and I figured, well it doesn't work now....
Wrong. Oh, the update went fine, but ST on a BB still not working.

RIM released updated ST clients 2.1.18(and 2.1.21 for BB Curve). Maybe...
Wrong. They work fine and install properly if you follow my document I wrote previously. If you don't have it ask me for it.(will post it after I update it with new info)

Login bad? LDAP information missing?
Wrong.

Disk Space? temp file corruption?
Wrong, all fine and cleared.

Domino maybe? Updated Domino to 8.5 HF3 which shows 8.5 211 afterwards(don't ask see the chart on this technote).
Wrong. Oh and you can install the HF3 OVER HF1 or HF2, contrary to the wording in Fix Central.

Java Update? Check Java, type java -version at a command prompt.
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! No java version is shown, as an error is shown.
HMMMMMM

Went to java.com, checked had latest one and it did.
Checked Path statement....no Java path.HMMMMMM
Added c:\program files\java\jre6\bin to path. Nope no change.

Now I am wondering what else is wrong. Almost ready to give up then remembered previous problem from another BES upgrade. So I reinstalled BES upgrade to 4.1.6.5 just in case. Rebooted, still no luck.

Figured if Java didn't install correctly, maybe a fresh install will do. Found the download page and reinstalled it.

Miracle of miracles. Did Windows 2008 make a mess of this? Did the Java Updater get stuck or crash? Who knows.

The owner almost immediately Sametime's me from his cell phone! No better feeling than that one. Another happy customer. Wait till he gets the Connection client I sent him. Trying to seed his usage for a Connections project. :-)

So the moral of this story is think like a flawed machine to fix one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

JAVA, get your JAVA

While working on a problem tonight I found at least 4 different java.exe and javaw.exe and other files on a Windows server.
Domino uses 6.0 and 6.0.1.13 and has JVM5 still as well.
Sametime, Notes client and other pieces too.

What should one do with them all? Can you delete all of them except the java in the proper java directory in the program files directory?

If not, how do you ensure none break the others? Better yet can't all of them just run off one version?

Some technotes on Java versions and IBM Software compatibilities in case you are wondering now:

Supported versions of Java with IBM Lotus Products

What Java is installed with Domino server on UNIX?

Error: "JVM: Correct Version Of Java Not Installed" after Domino upgrade

Is Lotus Quickr services for Lotus Domino supported with Java 6?

Any ideas?

ST 8.0.2.1

The mystery is solved.

When I had posted about this no one replied with any ideas what it was talking about.

While downloading a copy of the ST gateway to test for a project I found this:

IBM Lotus Sametime Gateway Server 8.0.2.1 Windows, IBM i Multilingual (CZ0KPML)
Size 333mb
Date posted 20-Feb-2009

So another mystery solved, but now to start the process of downloading all the parts and pieces to get the Gateway up and running.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where did you go wrong?

Ever wonder why companies move to Exchange or Gmail for email? I often ponder this as well. I also deal with it weekly, sometimes too late in the game to save the poor souls.

I can understand the feeling that "it's just email", which we all know is not the way to keep a company on Domino. If they really only use it for email, they will leave Lotus eventually. Shame on me, you, IBM and others for not encouraging more workflow and application solutions in their earlier days of the network.

Maybe it stems from politics. A new CIO,or more likely a new CEO. They want "Outlook". Notice they never say "Exchange". DAMO (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook) allows for your users to have Outlook and run a superior server on the back end....Domino. The CXO will never know. Yet rarely does this get done.

The admin left, got fired, the server is in the middle of nowhere and thus it is difficult to find a Domino admin. A lame excuse if I ever heard one, yet also commonly put out as a reason for dropping Domino. If you are reading this and this is your predicament, call me NOW! Because of a similar situation we have hired 3 people around the country to cover these types of situations.

Server crashes all the time. I don't think so. Not if you have set it up properly, maintained it properly and of course cluster it which would mean you have 100% uptime.

The Client crashes all the time. Not on every one's machine. Just like Windows, Java or any other program if you have a problem, fix it. When your car gets a flat tire, do you trade it in for a new car? Again, if this sounds like you, call me NOW!

The UI is ancient. Really? So a tabbed interface is ancient? which is why Microsoft and Apple and Firefox use it? Show me another mail client you can manipulate what you see and move things around, not to mention dock or undock pieces and parts to anyplace on your desktop. Sorry that is the R8/8.5 UI. You probably have an R5 or R6 or R7 client which your IT staff has failed to upgrade in years and thus you are stuck in an old client.

And Outlook 2003, going on 6 years old now, is really new, isn't it.

Yes, if this is the case call NOW and we will help you, against your IT staff's wishes move to R8. Hang on, you can do it for yourself, go download it from IBM's Lotus site.

"Sharepoint is our strategic direction". Excuse me while I fall on the floor laughing. I had someone recently give me that line and I asked if they could elaborate on what that meant or quantify it in a value and ROI way. Received a nasty look and they walked away. Next time I should not ask about the ROI I guess.

What should you be doing more regularly with your customers, especially the ones only using Domino for email?

Talk to your clients, but listen once you have them in a discussion and let them lead you more to a solution they envision which will be much easier to "sell" to them afterward.

Show them. Try pointing them to an app on your website, encourage dialogue to find how an application can fit into their world. Xpages apps, even simple ones will go far.

Communicate with them. Send them links to openntf.org and ask them what they want to try to use.

Show them again, planetlotus.org and your favorite developers blog posts.

If you really get stuck, skip over your contact and go for the CXO directly so they can't say no one ever tried to talk to them or show them what is out there for them. After all you have nothing to lose at this point.

Business Development the old fashioned way

Centuries ago sales people, known as explorers, were on missions to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one had been before, and reap some rewards.

And pay back their investors too.

A modern day version might be to Twitter your way to some deal. But we have decided that sometimes real people in real situations are better than digital. Like playing online Poker, if I can't see your face or hear you, how does one know if the message is getting across properly.

So I, along with my family, will be in the UK for the summer. From mid June to the first week of August. We have rented out our house so we need a place to go anyway.

Working on some meetings and Business Development from here if anyone would like some consulting, speaking or training, while I am in the UK, please let me know.

Our lunch and learn sessions are always popular,as the summer is a slower time in Europe in general, maybe this is a good time to boost your Lotus awareness in your organization.

Will most likely be in Dublin as well and possibly, if there is enough interest, various parts of Europe. Let me know now so we can plan and book you in. We look to do these in various parts of the world over the next year as we expand our base of business.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Windows 2000 evidently still very popular


While cleaning my email inbox from 2 weeks of vacation I found an event local to me which I want to go to, but it's full already.

This section is from the
Moving to the Modern OS Roadmap:

In this welcome session, we will review the event agenda and discuss some of the key challenges IT Pros face in today’s economy. We’ll discuss scenarios around Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the importance of moving to a modern OS. In addition, we will cover Windows Vista and improvements that have been made with SP2 as well as review guidance concerning Windows Vista deployments.


What can they tell these people on Windows 2000 that they haven't told them in the previous 9 years or so?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quick Post about sales and the NFL

This article probably rarely if ever would get brought up in Europe.

The New York Jets American Football team have appealed to the league office to change a game(s) starting time, or even the location/date so their fans can attend and not get stuck 2 weeks in a row without attending a game. Or from a business angle, the stadium may lose 2 weeks of dearly needed revenue.

Why?

Rosh Hashana falls on the 1st game and the night of the 2nd starts Yom Kippur.

This is interesting to me on many levels of business, aside from personal reasons. But I am a Miami Dolphin and have to record the games anyway sometimes.

Sales and marketing get hurt. With 2 games out of 8 at home this "could" impact ticket sales at a time which already sees high prices and shortage of money, in some areas.

Business must think more broadly in terms of scheduling events or conferences to not alienate part or even a majority of their potential attendees. Although there is always someone, somewhere that may get offended, check your calendar, digital and in print. Note: Google and Yahoo calendars do not by default show holidays. For that matter neither does Lotus or Microsoft, go set them up and never use technology as an excuse again.

Oddly enough I wondered if there will be an ad campaign aimed at the jewish fans which could be interesting on many levels as well. In an age of individualism or customizations, can a niche market get any traction for something like this and if so, how many other niche markets can they try to target?
Anyone from the jets want to get a hold of me I have some ideas for you.

Fud Buster Friday #36 - Who needs IT when the Cloud is your choice, er master?

Ever take a vacation and come back to an alternate reality?
Well the last 8-10 days were bogged down in Passover holiday for me and I can say it is a new world.
One of my clients emailed to say the firm has committed to migrate to Domino 100%(they were 1/2 and 1/2).
Another client phoned and emailed that their server went down or rather as we found, the router failed.
Other clients emailed to say they had problems emailing specific people or domains and could we help them.

Also we will be a vendor for the Super Bowl, no, not as a Lotus item, but more on this as it materializes(if I am allowed to discuss it).

The nice thing is although I had a few hundred emails and a dozen or so voice mails, nothing horrible occurred. So the next question is who needs me or the IT staff?

Obviously we are still needed, on some basic level 1 support, all the way up to a migration of mail servers. But what would this look like if I pushed my clients to the Cloud I was wondering this week.

We would still need to provide relatively normal help desk functionality, so tier 1 but beyond that it would probably be out of our control and in the hands of our Hosts(IBM, Google or Microsoft).

So we then act as a middle man for the people with problems? Sounds like the IBM Support model we use where we sit on the phone instead of the customer to resolve higher level issues.

Services? Not so many anymore, applications is where it is at and this is my wonder.

If my clients can "download" an app and off they go, where do we fit in for this model of business? Yes we could design a new app, but really I'd rather do an iPhone app and make my millions that way, less headaches!

So where does your CIO, and I act as one for 3 different organizations currently, stand in the middle of all of this? What do you tell your IT staff? What is our or your value you bring to the business that would either negate The Cloud or enhance it and provide more value to you or your client?

When email is down, and thus your Blackberry, who are you goiong to call? Will it matter? Who uses email anyway? Or wires anymore? Or who pays for applications anymore that cost more than a dollar?

It's not as bleak as this may sound, nor is it as simple either. Think about it this weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fud Buster Friday #35 - Twitter Users Complain

While replying to a number of Twitter users with issues related to their admins more than their servers, I was researching in Twitter's search and found these Twitters from a previous day this week:

TamaraBred: @lauriehevier Ooooo I hate it when Outlook doesn't play nice.
bethmshaw22: waiting for "IT" to fix my damn emails. hate outlook
DeepBlade: I hate it when PIM sync doesn't work 100% right... especially calendar.. Try mixing Exchange (Outlook) + BlackBerry + Google Calendar + iCal
BrightBold: I hate designing HTML e-mail. Tables and in-line styles and Outlook 2007, oh my! Go, Email Standards Project, go!
pikatchus: Outlook I hate you!
amatern: Enough lollygagging. There's work to be done! Outlook calendar, how I love to hate you (but I NEED you!)
kencamp: @jeff_hopper I hear you Jeff. I was very unimpressed with the whole of Office 2007 and hate Outlook 2007. What a hog!
LaMaite: Ode to Microsoft's Outlook: Oh Outlook. Sometime I love you. Sometimes I hate you. Today. Today is hate what I profess!
fredrikkjell: is archiving 6 months of emails. I hate Outlook quota limits.
michelleblogs: grrr. i really hate outlook and the fact that it doesn't let me send ANY HTML email templates without breaking SOMETHING.
sommernyte: I hate Outlook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
profexorgeek: --stupid outlook. I hate you.

I show you this to remind everyone that when you force someone to use a tool it is not pretty out there away from the Mahogany floor. Also if you are migrating someone to/from a product, they will hate YOU more than they hated the product, especially if you make their life worse.

One should make sure the following go with the tool at a minimum, otherwise you grow unrest needlessly
  1. Training You can't appreciate, let alone like, what you don't know how to use properly. Refresher courses or advanced courses are always appreciated too and not just some self study online. Some of us learn by doing, reading, watching, repeating and not via osmosis.
  2. Proper Support and Documentation Intelligent people that can answer the phone and help the customer. Guides to usage, documentation or videos, blogs or wiki's should be accessible and encouraged.
  3. Management/Administration If there is a back end to the product or an aspect which is not up to the user, it is your job to ensure it is not only up to date and tested and verified, but it is always available. These days someone somewhere is working, sawing trees, flying a plane or hoping their bullet proof vest works when THEY need it.
Sure there is more, but in discussions with customers these are the top 3 which the people using the tools wish they had from day one.

Where do you or your products fail?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passover - The Lotus Way

Slavery in Egypt or slavery to your money/PC/Phone/Twitter/Email/Internet/TV? Something's never change.

For those not familiar with Passover, go learn about it on the web.

If you are vaguely familiar you will know that there is a song at the end called Chad GadYa which is allegorical in nature and usually sung by everyone at the table who is still awake and closes the Seder, it is the grand finale.

As I will be mostly offline for much of the next 8 days, this is for everyone, Friday's posting is already done, so don't think I am online or something. I won't be. So here is my Chad Gadya...the Lotus way.

Won't bore you with all 10 stanzas, will just cut to the chase, Stanza #10 includes it all.

And came the Domino Admin that dropped the annoying users from the server, who went over quota or never archived, that had asked for Webmail and never used it, that was setup with Sametime, which integrated to Quickr which replaced Quickplace, that replaced the Team Room that your server came with for free for all these years. One Domino Server, One Domino Server.

Or for computer geeks:
And came the Mainframe, or As/400 or AIX or Linux which trashes Windows server which had killed off Novell Netware, which beat the VAX which was replaced by PCs which ran DOS that bit the MAC which ate the TRS-80 which we bought for like $3,000. One little TRS-80, one little TRS-80(or whatever your country may have had back in 1980 or so)

Started the 4 Questions but only got this line :-):

Why is this (Domino) server different from all other servers?

Chag Kasher V'Sameach to all and for my friends celebrating Easter, Happy egg hunting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

School Project Update - Solved by Chris Toohey

My posting the other day lead me to talk to Chris Toohey on Sametime about this and he said he did it already!

I had thought of some more ideas but was wondering from the start how I could produce a Personal NAB and get it to sync to so many devices.

WAP!

I should have guessed, so much for my memory and no, WAP is not dead, just forgotten in this case by me.

Sure enough he has the page defined and pretty straightforward.
Given the holiday I may not get to it until after, but it's great to know someone out there did a similar project and I can get some guidance.

Oh and if you haven't used it yet, take a look at his Showtime app for pushing icons to Blackberry.

Thanks Chris!

Monday, April 6, 2009

All Hands Request_Not $, just your Mind

Really, I love you for your minds :-)

I of the non-developer mind, volunteered to work on a project for my kids school.

Simple enough project, now if we can monetize it(advertising money for the school, even better).

I want to provide all the parents with a digital copy of the directory for each class which would include the student name, parents names and phone numbers and emails if provided. My thoughts were I am never where the paper list is and the school doesn't(today) provide an online list.

Simple enough, BUT what is the best route to get it to synch to each parents phone? iPhone, Blackberry(all versions), Windows Mobile, Palms, Nokias, Blackjacks and other and other not as smart phones.

Playing with ideas around an SMS request to a bot to send the info, but need to figure out how to get it merged into the contacts/address books. ideally a widget would be best as all phones, except the low end ones could use a widget to copy the info over.

So any thoughts or help is appreciated, and you will be credited as well for it.

The time frame is for September so no rush, we have a server for the project being donated by a local Lotus BP, thanks to Howard and TLCC.

Naturally would prefer a Lotus solution or BES, but open to what will work easiest.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Sametime 802 Update on Fix central

While upgrading a Windows server this weekend thought I would check on the updates for Sametime 802, because well, you never know.

I found 4 updates, 3 from march and 1 from 2 days ago details below, again for Windows although some are for Linux and Mac. The one from March 12 many people experienced.

What is puzzling me is the reference in Fix central to Sametime 8.0.2.1.


These are downloaded from Fix Central.




Fix name: ST-8.0.2.0-Windows-JJON-7PZL9K

Release date: 03-Apr-2009

Platforms: Windows

Applies to versions: 8.0.2.0

Upgrades to version: 8.0.2.0

Abstract: Fixes crash that occurs when T.120 Keep Alives are enabled

Fix name: ST-8.0.2.0-MultiOS-HYAG-7P892B

Release date: 12-Mar-2009

Platforms: Linux, Windows

Applies to versions: 8.0.2.0

Upgrades to version: 8.0.2.0

Abstract: Screen saver activation changes status for 8.0.2 Connect Client

Fix name: ST-8.0.2.0-MultiOS-JSIU-7PY5SS

Release date: 10-Mar-2009

Platforms: Linux, Mac OSX, Windows

Applies to versions: 8.0.2.0

Upgrades to version: 8.0.2.0

Abstract: Sametime 8.0.2 client crosstalk issue when login IDs are recycled after server restart.

Fix name: ST-8.0.2.0-Windows-ARIY-7PKLZ2

Release date: 05-Mar-2009

Platforms: Windows

Applies to versions: 8.0.2.0

Upgrades to version: 8.0.2.0

Abstract: Servers do not attempt to connect to each other in a community of ST 8.0.2 and Pre-ST 8.0.2 servers

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fud Buster Friday #34 - My Blackberry is FASTER than my Mail Client

Notice I didn't say Lotus Notes or Exchange. Yet how many complain about this and trash their mail server to go elsewhere?

I got asked this question in an interview once by a company which I really would love to work for some day.

A company was debating their future infrastructure, typical Exchange vs. Domino and asked what affects Blackberry notifications? Why do some execs (it's always execs isn't it? even my CEO has one) get email seconds or minutes before their mail client? Why would 2 people in the same meeting get notifications seconds or minutes apart?

Admittedly a loaded question, but it gets to the core of understanding messaging, telecom, wireless, devices, infrastructure and customers.

Here is my answer: As much as RIM would like to be able to say it's faster, it just isn't. Well not exactly. Where do you think your email is going first? Usually to your corporate email.

No matter what your email server, your admins, if they are smart enough, limit how often you can hit the server to replicate or for those MS impaired, synchronize. This helps server performance, network bandwidth and other aspects of performance in general. What it doesn't help is the user who absolutely, positively MUST have his email in seconds of it coming in to their inbox.

So let's say you can replicate every 5 minutes. Your Blackberry polls every (EDITED per comment)20 seconds. Now if you use Notes or Exchange on a server, and not locally, you will get notified, although not necessarily that it shows up in your inbox until refreshed. Blackberry wins.

If you run your email locally you must wait for the server to send you the email and that can be at anytime as specified by the admin or your client. Again Blackberry wins.

What about 2 people in the same meeting? Let's put aside they might have 2 different networks(Verizon, AT&T, etc.) and use the same devices. Which by the way is almost impossible as each carrier has tweaked the devices and use different networks. The next point of delay is the BES itself and it's proximity to one's mail file. Perhaps the 2 execs are on different machines for BES and even their mail and one is a slower machine or busier. There is also the possibility that each user has a different size inbox which can also affect the time to arrival on a device. You get the idea.

What astounds me is the executives who say this never happens in Outlook. Forgetting they mean Exchange, of course. I remind them that Exchange would not like their 20GB+ mail file they love in Lotus Notes. Imagine trying to search it on Exchange, if it could handle it at all efficiently.

What does one have to do with another anyway?

BES is slow, must be Lotus fault? And that logic would lead you to believe sales are down we should fire all the sales people and get new ones. There may be some truth in both opinions, but not much sense.

So is Blackberry faster than your email client? Do you really care? Is that really where you want to be spending your time and resources right now?

In the future you may only be using wireless as your medium of choice, if you are not already, and you will never know if it is fast or slow.

But you probably still hate it when someone gets an email before you....don't you?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lotus Quickr, The Outside World and You

More than half of the installations we do for Lotus Quickr are for companies that want and need to work with outside vendors or customers. Do you or your clients fit these molds? Step outside of your network and see the world outside and expand your horizons, embrace the Extranet.

Sometimes this is on a project basis, like our retail firm that specializes in enhancing sales.

In one case it's so a Fortune 50 company can provide even more attention to their suppliers and customers in a real time way, using Lotus Sametime integrated with it in an industry where time is of the essence.

Or an auto company that uses it internally but provides limited secure access to it's suppliers to ensure all parts and designs are always available and correctly designed.

Maybe a law firm that wants to stop the sending of large files, packets by courier and other expenses to find a better way to provide even more return to their clients.

Pharmaceutical firms that need to track their patents, testing and other items around the world using blind tests and results in an updated dashboard daily.

Can you do these with Sharepoint? Perhaps some of the simpler side. And with enough development maybe most of the rest. But it will cost you 10X what it will cost doing it in Domino. Plus your replication of the data for offline usage when traveling is just an added benefit, built in of course because Lotus Domino is behind it all. And you don't need an extra server just to enable email for all of the workflow, like you would under the Microsoft way.

So when you think about Lotus Quickr, what are you doing to expand your companies usage?

SnTT - The "You Cannot Authenticate Server" Error

Finally got to write this one down

I mentioned previously about my client that lost or corrupted their certifier IDs. you can't make this stuff up can you?

So way back when they had some person create their Lotus Domino infrastructure and used the name Bill & Ted as in
Adventure/Bill & Ted
for one of the server names.

Fine, not ideal, but you can work around it.

A few years later, their certifer IDs expired. And some one else came up with the brilliant idea to change the Organization name. Thus BillandTed was created.

Two problems ensued over time.
1) Not everyone was moved to the new Organization name for unknown reasons.
2) When other IDs expired, no one certified them properly or if they did they found the wrong certifier!

When we found them they warned us about this and I figured we would deal with it after the main project was completed. Well it is and we dealt with it.

One problem is you might see this error when playing with unknown certifiers:
server certificate error in Lotus Notes...NOT Domino

This threw me off the track a little. An odd message to say the least.

Searching the IBM Support toolbar I found this technote.

However, I do not agree, entirely with the recommendation. If indeed the cross certificates are bad, the ones found in the Notes/data/names.nsf fle under Advanced-Certificates then you can just delete them, hit Ctrl-shift-F9 and then start a new.

Either way you cross certify the new Organization name and if all is normal you get prompted for the cross certificate option to add it to your personal NAB.

Once we get everyone cleaned up, the CA (Certificate Authority) will be used and that should keep them out of trouble.

But wait, recent comments from the blogosphere about how in 8.5 you can not use ID Vault with the CA have come to light, see Paul Mooney's post for more details on how this all interacts.

Edited per Stepha's comments.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Phone Activated Shaver



April Fools? nope, this one is real. Beware your Cell Phone especially when it is connecting to something, like your email server.

Mainframe's Get Your Mainframes

More power Scotty!
Not likely, but if you throw enough Mainframes at the cloud, IBM will rule the world.

Happy Fool's Day!

UPS everything

The big brown trucks are everywhere, but that's not what I am talking about.

Yesterday we had a seriously nasty rain storm, okay I live in South Florida, so for many of you it would have been a typhoon.

Our power was lost. No problem I have a UPS on my routers, core machines and VOIP phone. And share space with a Candy wholesaler so we had food :-)

What I don't have in the new office yet is a backup telco.

And guess what also went down.

So the moral of the story is you can plan and God laughs so you should just enjoy a nice cigar while waiting. Thank you to the Hillel PTO for providing them at the Golf tournament.

PS - It got worse. I get home to find the rear passenger floor board in the Camaro has an inch of water in it. You can read and see how this happens here. and a client has corrupted and/or lost their certifiers but that's for another day.