Monday, December 28, 2009

Quickr Customisation Samples

As I sit here, all alone in our soon to be ex-office on the last days of the year, I found this little gem that got posted to the Quickr wiki last week.

As it turns out, when the developers are away I get to act like one.

Don't worry, they earn their keep, and I really don't as a developer.

But nonetheless in an effort to help others, and at our own company potential expense, if you want to customize Lotus Quickr on your own, (Danger Will Robinson)here you go. And if you don't want to do it by yourself, get a hold of us, we are happy to help.

The Quickr Wiki page that discusses this is here.

Openntf.org has the download here.

Kudos go to Ferdal McKenna for updating and posting it and Steve Castledine for putting it together on Openntf.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Roaming Users, Who Enabled them? Just Stop it

As some know, I posted on twitter today that I had the unique experience of having a client engage roaming for everyone, without our intervention on a new 8.5.1 Lotus Domino server we are building.

Still doing forensics on it to sort out how it was turned on. Especially since no Policies have been in place yet on the new server.

But what is important is the ability to turn it off was broken and prevented installation of users.

Not funny.

If you are having problems disabling Roaming users, here's one thing to think about.

The AdminP database may be corrupt. Delete it and make a new replica to the server and try again.

Also, use the administrative server to disable roaming, just in case. This is how we found the Adminp database was problematic when we compared the 2 we saw no request in the 2nd servers.

The steps to disable roaming, with out regard to a policy, are:

Open the administration client
Go to the People's tab
Select the user to turn roaming off
Select from people-Roaming in the right column
Then check the box to perform it in the background

And normally AdminP does its magic. But as you read it wasn't so in this case.

But now all is well. Hope this helps someone sometime and if so let me know.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ST-SNTT - Sametime Build Information

Syntax gets me every time. So if I write it down, or blog it, it stays in my memory better.

Hopefully for you too.

Ever want to know what version of Sametime is running on your server?

You can type without the brackets at a Domino console to get the Domino version but what about Sametime?

Go to a browser, enter the server name with /sametime/buildinfo.txt at the end, example: http://sametime.lotuslive.com/sametime/buildinfo.txt

And this is what you will see, for Sametime 8.5

Sat Dec 5 19:24:10 EST 2009
release
English
SAMETIME8.5_20091205.1727_WIN32AIXSOLLIN_WESTFORD
IME

Date=Sat Dec 5 19:24:10 EST 2009
Type=release
Language=English
Version=SAMETIME8.5_20091205.1727_WIN32AIXSOLLIN_WESTFORD
Flavor=IME

Sametime 8.5, Console Message

This came in from our internal server.

12/22/2009 01:00:05 PM HTTP JVM: WARNING: '[ERR 0635] Some generated functions
exceeded the JVM method size limit and were automatically split into smaller fu
nctions. You may get better performance by manually splitting very large templa
tes into smaller templates, by using the 'splitli
12/22/2009 01:00:05 PM HTTP JVM: it' option to the Process or Compile command,
or by setting the 'http://www.ibm.com/xmlns/prod/xltxe-j/split-limit' transforme
r factory attribute.'

Note for IBM, this website does not work. I believe it is looking to go here instead:
http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/javasdk/v6r0/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.java.doc.user.zos.60/user/xml/xslt_migrate.html

Some methods generated by the compiler might exceed the JVM method size limit, in which case the compiler attempts to split these methods into smaller methods.

* If the compiler splits the method successfully, you receive the following warning: as shown above

Where it basically says ignore this message it is working as designed.

Great so now the server is telling us it is being more efficient, but it's explanation is incorrect. Either way, don't worry about it for now, but what can we do to change this on our end?

Steppenwolf Fans look inside Sametime 8.5

By now we are all used to seeing odd error messages and funny snippets of code, but this one was fun to find this morning, although I believe it existed previously.

John Kay and Steppenwolf had a song, Magic Carpet Ride and well evidently there is a magic carpet ride in Lotus Sametime 8.5. IF only there was an Easter Egg to go with this, would love to see it.

While customizing the set up of a new Lotus Sametime 8.5 connect clients for download I came across this line in the plugin_customization.ini.

# the number of magic carpet worker threads available to dispatch events
com.ibm.collaboration.realtime/magicCarpetThreadCount=3


So there you have it, 3 magic cartpet rides per person? 3 magic carpet workers? Or is it the carpet is only made of 3 threads?

Maybe it's a nod to where Lotusphere is but if it comes with this Genie voiced by him, I'll take it.

EDIT Update: Matthew Perrins, Executive IT Specialist,IBM Software, on Twitter related this about the magic carpet:
That came from the internal SWT version of Sametime client I love the name of that API. have programmed it a few times. It's the API that you use when subscribing to sametime conversations so if you are writing add ons you get notified. Thanks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Webmail Redirection and Configuration Documents

Previously (April 09)I had posted a detailed "how to" setup the mail redirector.

This morning I forgot an important step, but also realized I had neglected some people's setups.

So with these ideas in mind let's provide everyone some updates.

First, I neglected to include the simple ?open at the end of the redirector.nsf so my server only would go to the "home page" which is the black background with links to the help files or in one case went to the NAB. Change the document and it's fixed.

Wait, which document? In this case, unlike my previous post, the client was using Configuration documents and Internet sites.

8.5.1 created the doc below and I have used mailredirect as the db name.
redirect the URL for iNotes

By adding the file name to the home page you will now be prompted for a login and be blocked from accessing the server.

Note this is found under Web -> Internet Sites -> Web site
Edited 2/4/2010: Please be aware that various products like Traveler, Sametime, Quickr can and will add their own web documents and this will wreck havoc with your environment as well. So either delete them or edit as I showed here. And let me know if there are things I missed too.

Also on the Security tab in this document make sure to set TCP Authentication to Anonymous=NO
Name and password = YES

And SSL if you are using it set accordingly.

In this way you will be able to force login when hitting the server and redirect accordingly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If kids were like a computer

I was joking to my wife tonight that a good reboot would be nice on one of them.

Somehow in the great development project called Parenting, some rogue error causes certain attitudes and personality issues which conflict with the primary program.

Naturally it is the mistake of the developer which has been shaping and adjusting the daily builds, forever, with no end in sight. An expensive and long drown out program indeed that at times may lie dormant while other sub routines are running.

Don't think the administrator is not to blame either! After all, some guidelines and policies must be in place to provide a framework for the developer to do their jobs and provide the program boundaries to work. And these policies are always evolving as future capabilities become accessible.

But sometimes it would be nice to have the ability to step through your code, find your errors and fix them and then restart it all. But this process doesn't run very well on human life forms. No, it's easy to reboot a server or change some code on it.

The real effort is from those of us that just look at what we have and just make it work or fix what is broken within reason and sometimes upgrade the software when all else fails. You can upgrade your kids software also but you have to work much harder to do it because you are the developer creating the fix pack. Start with the end in mind helps and if you haven't yet, now is a good time to do so.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Know Thine Enemy

If you could help the enemy? Would you?

What would you tell them? Why would you do it? Would it hurt anyone? Would it help your business?

Strange mergers over the years started because someone went to their enemy/competitor and asked the basic question, "What if we..."

In these economically challenged times almost anything is possible. Banks suddenly thank you for short selling your house so they don't have to deal with it. Credit card companies offering up to 5 year fixed payment plans for those in need. Car companies will take your car back if you can't make payments, with no problems afterward.

So why not ring up your competitor and see what can happen.

Perhaps you might find an interesting idea or new business.

Hubble vs. Mars Rover which is your client?

Space....the final frontier, poppycock!

Messaging is the final frontier and always will be. IM, email, voice, chat, video, but still messaging or in the words of Pink Floyd and Stephen Hawking... Keep Talking. Without communications we would not be very collaborative now would we? So why don't we take better care of it?

Based on some posts and discussions, let's look at this from a completely different view....Space.

Out in space, NASA sent some objects to learn about the galaxy and planets. One they continue to fix, maintain, update, clean the other they left to die, once it finished it's goals.

By the way the greatest motivational posters can be found on this site, Trekkies indulge.

The Hubble telescope sits floating in space above the Earth taking photos and other great images of the world.

NASA has had the shuttle send up new glasses, power, various add-ons and improvements. Basically it serves a great purpose and the powers that be want to keep paying for it and enjoy the benefits from it.

The Mars Rover
, while personally much cooler than the Hubble, was sent on a lonely mission to seek out the red planet and map it, test it, experience it. Sadly it took a few tries but there it is, barely hanging on for life.

No updates coming, no antennae fix, no power pack update, no booster to send it back home even! It's on a clear mission to die a slow and not so painful death most likely. But maybe the solar wings will keep it humming, who knows.

Do you see your clients this way? Do you present this to customers stuck on Exchange 2000 or 2003? If you can not spend the money on a solution that continues to enhance your business then you are inevitably waiting for the day when the power pack gives it up.

What will you do then?
It's cold in space and no one can hear you scream, but you work in IT or are the executive in charge and reading this.
What will you say when you reach this point?
Here's a hint, better have a huge budget available because emergency repairs always cost more than a fresh new system or one which is properly maintained.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sorry Ray, They Like Their Kingdoms

In a Computerworld article today they posited that Ray Ozzie may be giving up, or forced out, at Microsoft.

Don't cry for Ray just yet, he was after all blessed by Bill and is sure to get a nice pay check before leaving.

Microsoft is not a sharing/caring organization. It is a silo/kingdom group of people/organizations. Always was and always will be. They like to hire sales people to feed that belief too. Intelligent people with no sales ability, not going to hire you, no sir, best to keep going with what hasn't been working for them for a while.

I admit I don't know Ray, but did apply for roles at Groove during it's brief stint as a business because it was a new way to share, maybe an improvement on Domino, maybe not, but I liked the idea. So did many other people as can be seen on the internet with social networks and instant sites.

There is something about people that get sharing and collaboration and those that do not. Microsoft doesn't get it, Lotus got it, Google sort of gets it in a Borg type of way.

So is it any surprise that Ray's hope he could enlighten Microsoft hasn't panned out exactly? Not really. Could he have wanted to take over from Steve Balmer as CEO and that isn't going to happen now so he will leave?

I can see how Ray being CEO, could, I repeat could, have changed Microsoft for the better. But now we will wait and see what happens next.

If you see Ray at Lotusphere by some chance make sure to get contact details, he'll be hiring again soon and you might not get another opportunity.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ST-SnTT - The dreaded STPOLICY.EXE Error

Attention bleeding edge people, this is for you most likely.

Sametime 8.0.2 as we all know is NOT certified to run on Domino 8.5 or 8.5.1.

But as we also know, it does work.
(these are Windows servers I had problems with and I am ONLY discussing Windows 2003 server)

However some details must be known to get this to work correctly.

First, Install Domino 8.0.2, then Sametime 8.0.2.
Once all of that is okay, then upgrade Domino to 8.5 or 8.5.1.

Sametime will NOT install over Domino 8.5/8.5.1 so don't waste your time.

Great? All good? no

You may start to see this error(100's of times!?) in your server console and logs:

12/10/2009 07:35:33 AM Process C:\Program Files\IBM\Lotus\Domino\stpolicy.exe (6968/0x1B38) has terminated abnormally

This has plagued me before and I have fixed it. But as some asked me about it here are some more details.

A hint to fixing this came from IBM Technote # 1279888

It outlines how to fix this by stating:
The following JVM argument should be provided under the [Policy] section of sametime.ini file:

[Policy]
POLICY_VM_ARGS=-Xmx128m -Xms128m -Xgcpolicy:optavgpause

Possible workaround:
1. Shut down the Domino/Sametime server by executing the quit command.
2. Using Task manager, if nnotesmm.exe still exists, terminate it.
3. Delete pid.nbf from the data directory
4. Restart the server.


Great, why didn't I just use this after all its from ST 7.5?
Because the policy line is already in my servers!
If it isn't in yours, do this first, then do the next steps.

You see, I had fixed this earlier as I see the line in my sametime.ini.

BUT now we have one more thing to do, with a few steps to it.

1) Shut down the Domino/Sametime server.
2) Check all the Sametime and Lotus Domino services have stopped
3) Open the Services running on the server and tell the Lotus Domino Diagnostics to stop running
4) Run NSD -kill on it if services are still running or server looks like it is not completing the tasks

Keep in mind, if you have not updated the Java code on the machine lately, do this as well, get it at java.com.

And if there are OS updates now is as good as time as any to add them, after all the server is down anyway.

Then bring the Domino server back up and all is well.

While I can not substantiate this yet, I believe that Microsoft and/or other updates, perhaps even Java which get pushed down without one's intervention may be causing the server to restart without waiting for all the Sameitme services to fully complete shut down. Which could explain why this error just "pops up".

EDITED 12/22/2009: If you still get the stpolicy error, try adding this to the end of the sametime.ini line above so after "optavgpause" add -Xrs with a space after pause. This shortens the java cycle to clean up.

Q-SnTT - Quickr Qpconfig.xml Errors

Bart agrees about the qpconfig.xml

All together now, repeat after me, I will NOT edit the qpconfig.xml while sleep deprived or during the night while attending Lotusphere. I will not...

If you like the above graphic, go make one here.

Here is why:
12/09/2009 07:25:48 PM JVM: Java Virtual Machine initialized.
12/09/2009 07:25:49 PM Agent error: [Fatal Error] :69:5: The element type "user" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "</user>".
12/09/2009 07:25:52 PM org.xml.sax.SAXParseException: The element type "user" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "</user>".


What is this error in my server console telling me?

I have an agent run amok? A java agent at that.

And some org.xml.sax whatever? Come on guys, I'm an admin not a miracle java debugger.

But that /user thing rings a bell....

So here is what happened. It seems in my over zealous creative way, I had edited the qpconfig.xml and misplaced a reference. Who knew HTML was so unforgiving, or in this case XML. Raise your hands, me too, yes I know, my bad.

But in any event, here is what it looked like:
qpconfig bad

and what it should look like:
qpconfig good

Mote the juxtaposition of the /user field.

So if you get odd java/xml errors in your server console after editing your Qpconfig.xml file, guess you know where to start now don't you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Black and White, the colors of a new millenium

Adam posted about color and what role/emotions it provides in logos and brands.

I questioned what does it say about iPhone users? they only get to choose between Black and White. Sure you can skin it, but by default why not Red apple color or Granny smith(never mind The Beatles would sue I guess).

Coke zero is black and white(and marketed to men specifically).

Why are (soccer)footballs black and white? Got to be better than, so one can see it in the grass.

Why are roads black with white or yellow stripes? Don't you think that the grumblings in traffic are worse because there is nothing but black out there?

All the talk about customizations and how this is the time for what you want the way you want it and some things still think like Henry Ford a hundred years ago?

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black. -Remark about the Model T in 1909, published in his autobiography My Life and Work (1922) Chapter IV


Is it a case of not now, later or is it cheaper? No idea, it would seem to me that once you are dyeing or painting, color should be the same cost. If I was producing millions of iPhones I would provide a bunch in colors, limited editions or whatever you want to call it, to those that would pay for it.

I had the same complaint against HTC since all their phones are either gray or black or silver mixes. tried to get a yellow one, but I will probably order a yellow pouch, so I can find my phone at least. Any one else want a yellow pouch for Lotusphere let me know or watch my blog for some info how to get them in a few days.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Always On Social Media and Winning the Lottery

Do you ever feel like you live out of place or time?

Technology which was to make our lives easier, has enslaved us more to a point that any device gets us connected to people or things 24x7x365 or in my case 24x6x300+/-.

Do our clients, friends, children, spouses, pets now take second stage to someone or something else on a daily, if not hourly basis?

When will companies start paying you for the true hours you work? Or better, when will they start letting you work on your preferred hours to accomplish your tasks?

Me, I'd prefer to work from 5am till 1pm but reality of my kids and carpools makes my days start around 9 usually. But then I am up fixing things, editing, blogging, tweeting and just "working" all night so to speak.

This must stop, not just for me, but for civilization as we know it. Some of us are happy to be online always, others, like me, drop it all 1 day a week.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you still be on Twitter or Facebook or blogging? Personally, I wouldn't, but I am sure some of you would. Right now it all helps business, each in it's own way.

And if I didn't have the business I wouldn't bother.

This may be why the pickup in companies for social media is up and down, if you have no stake in your company, why would you do it? And if you do take part in it all, and have no stake, why bother? A chance to be "known"? A chance to stand out, perhaps for advancement? And for how long? Business is not just about Q4, but you got to play all year long, always.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SAHD Understands Single Parents

For the last few days I have been a SAHD. For those that don't know what that is, it's a Stay at Home Dad.

To be fair I have been working too, but with my wife away I have been living a double life.

Carpool in the morning and afternoons, making breakfast(which I do anyway every day), lunches, and dinner, laundry, iron a brownie patch(damn thing won't stick), dish washer, homework review and whatever else. The pinball machine flipper needing to be fixed is still waiting though.

Then work from 9:30-12:30, 1:30-3 then whatever else after 8 or so every night.

So do I miss my wife? Has it been hard? Do I appreciate her more?

My friends today asked how I am doing, do I need help or how am I coping.

Did I mention my grandfather went back in the hospital also the other day after his valve surgery, which went well 2 weeks ago, but he has some fluid issues in lungs and heart.

The answer is I appreciate more what my mom went through as single parent raising us.

The issue isn't that I miss my wife, I can and do cook and always have, but you need a respite sometimes. Just to go shopping for simple things or even food. When you have little kids (2,5,7) you can't just leave them at home.

The hard part is when the baby is up at night as only you are there for the morning...and I don't drink coffee.

Luckily Lotusphere (college did too, but that was an eternity ago) helps! Getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night for a week proves one can do anything if they want to.

My Mom has helped by coming over on days I have 2nd carpool duty to wait for the sleeping 2 year old. Otherwise I'd have to wake her up which might not be a good thing every time. Thanks Mom.

I do feel sorry for all the guys out there that can't survive when their wife is away, what kind of a man are you then?

Those of us that travel for business and leave our spouses at home probably rarely get to experience it in reverse. If nothing else it is enlightening and if you have friends that are divorced or widowed with kids do them a favor this holiday season and help them. Take their kids with you if you go to the movies or something fun, invite them to a bbq or meal, have a kid sleep over at your house and try to sort the rest of them out too so your friend gets a real "night off". Maybe just give them a call and go watch the game at their house or bring over a beer or cigar or wine or whatever since they are not likely to get out much.

Trust me they need it and will be really thankful and happy for the offer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

In Place upgrade of Windows for Exchange? NOT

Thanks to VoWe for finding this. For the most part it discusses Exchange support in Windows 2008.

The simple detail is you can not run Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 R2 until 2nd half of 2010. Exchange 2003 however is good to go now.

They must really have screwed up Exchange 2007.
Later in the post comes this request, which most people have asked for from the start:
Finally I do want to update all on one other piece of feedback we have received - allowing the in place upgrade of the operating system under Exchange. Technically the work required to provide this capability is consistent with the work we would need to do to support an in-place upgrade of Exchange itself. As such the amount of work needed is outside the scope and complexity of what we can do in a post release product update. Still we do understand the demand and desire and it is something we will continue to look at for future versions of the product.


In other words, too bad, we don't care, go buy new hardware and pay your Microsoft Business partners more money.

Sometimes I wish IBM would do this, then I remind myself that while it would make us more money, it also makes life much harder as we would have to convince customers to upgrade which as can be seen, if there is such usage of Windows 2003 still, the Microsoft faithful don't sound so faithful do they?

Do you use this line in your contracts?

sleazy weasels
Don't waste your time, I am going to make you read this to find the line.

This is the point as well. Who reads contracts? Raise your hand!

Now who writes their contracts?

How many of you ask your client if you can steal money from them on every project?

Yes you read that correctly.

In subcontracting some work we received contracts which include a line that says something along the lines of:

This project may run over our estimates, we will provide additional billing upon client approval.


So this is a license to steal. Why you ask? Because what incentive do you have to finish the project? What stops you from saying, in the middle of it all, we need 100 more hours and if you say no, well it's not finished so we will leave you in a mess.
And I have seen this many times happen through the years, used to be SAP projects or .Net applications, SEO companies, website designers, roofers/construction and movers.

I bet every single Microsoft Business Partner uses this line as projects from any of them came in under budget or under time. Especially those laughable attempts at rewriting Domino applications in .NET.

This is probably the best way to admit you have no idea what you are doing.

Now, I admit things happen, problems arise and delays occur but didn't you take any of that into consideration when you wrote the estimate? Even if you are double charging someone(like the armies $400 hammers) why would you include this line?

Our contracts never say this. We due exempt us and clients from acts of God, after all I live in a hurricane zone, but that doesn't change costs, just sometimes delays in completion.

If I quote a project, that is the price, don't ask me to discount it, unless you are paying upfront in full, in cash. I am not a sales person. I am a business man. Business needs can never be discounted, otherwise they are no longer needs are they?

So if you get proposals which include this line, just toss it and the vendor and find someone open and honest and upfront. You will save a ton of money in the end.

Or spend double having someone clean up the 1st vendor's cheap price or over time heavy project that is still not completed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Refunding a Contract? Huh?

I have been in business for 20+ years and can safely say this was a new one to me. Sure we have had accelerators before and pay per goal/deadline but never a full refund.

We provided a proposal to an organization which was deemed to be too expensive. Upon further review it was in actuality equal or less than their other estimates when viewed item by item.

That's not the point.

One of the key individuals asked for a complete refund if within 6 months they don't like the solution or want to drop it or go back to what they had. If we would agree to this they would do the project with us. Individually I would, as a business, we can not and will not commit to such a thing. It is an embarrassment to my business and theirs if such a thing occurred. I know this happens all the time, but we are not the size of EDS or IBM and can just shrug it off.

Never been asked that before. Really.

My reply was we were happy to do so, if they would agree to pay us twice the amount of the project cost if in 6 months they kept what we rolled out. So if it was a 10K project so pay an extra 10K. Seemed reasonable to me as a request, but we would still be on the losing side in many ways as it's their choice not ours.

Needless to say they decided it was too expensive. We await their next server failure and "woe is us" story when their vendor asks for more money than the contract stipulated when they run into problems.

See tomorrow's post to better understand where this is going.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

3 Different Conversations from the Yellowverse

In the last 12 hours I had very different conversations about Lotus, IBM, Business Partners and Lotusphere.
To protect the innocent will not state my friends names.

One posited that the idea of development is very different today from years ago. I agree, but I, as an admin, did not know some of the ideas tossed about and how they could help a specific issue. Again reminding me why I don't code and why discussing with other professionals, is truly how one learns. Even someone doing this for 20 years like me can learn something new.

Another, an ISV, is unknown to most of you reading this. They want to change this. The problem is they are well known at a level we all wish we are on. So bringing them down to our level, think Fortune 5 vs 1000, may or may not be a good choice. Pricing alone will make a difference for them. Still I like their products and maybe will post about some of them in time.

Lastly, a third discussed the state of development and applications. Is the iStore the answer? Can Domino applications be sold or both $1.99 and $199,000? Where is the true creativity happening? An interesting view as well from someone who has made an effort to do what few others have recently. When asked why I don't produce applications, the truth is I propose many applications to clients, but few get picked up for interest due to costs/expectations. My bad I know, but I work on there are no bad ideas, just bad timing. Seeding the information is sometimes just as important as the idea itself.

What is interesting to me is all three really are about marketing, sales and business decisions and one was about finding the customers. But each sees their world as easy, yet sees the other ones as difficult or at best just different.

It's not about back stabbing or stealing clients, but trying to work together to provide a better future. Some of us see it on a grander scale and some of us have the answer without a question and vice versa.

Either way it all is leading up to Lotusphere and the time when we all get together, put aside various past histories and enjoy hanging out and learning from each other.