Sunday, March 28, 2010

Preparing your Server and Clients for Passover

Been a bit quiet as I have been onsite at a clients and not always accessible.

That said, when I return home I have been preparing for Passover which starts Monday evening.

Lotus released 851 fixpack 2 a few days ago and you have to clean your server and clients just as well as you clean your house, car or desk for Passover.

There are always files hanging around, hot fixes, interim fixes, internal edits and other similar pieces laying about. Before you do this upgrade clean it all up.

Move ID files to the correct directory if you have amassed a bunch in the server directories.

Notes.ini parameters to change between versions? Check with DCT, the Domino Configuration Tuner on it if you aren't sure yourself.

Delete your swap file, and let the server reboot and have a clean one.

Check on your DAOS store, disk space, memory utilization and almost anything else that you never get to do.

Sometimes you find that lost bit of code or template you were looking for, sometimes you find a coke you forgot in the data center(I know you aren't supposed to eat or drink in there, but I also know what it's like).

So have yourself a clean and Kosher Passover and safe upgrades to your clients and servers and catch you all over the next week. Especially those Lotus lovers in town, let me know where you are.

For the record, I was unable to upgrade my client version on my vista laptop to 851fp2. Will keep trying.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

iNotes Can Be Saving You or Your Clients Money

How can you save money with IBM's Lotus iNotes or if you prefer LotusLive iNotes?

First a brief disclosure I will try to discuss both iNotes products but to keep some logic, LNi will be for Lotus Notes version of iNotes (webmail to you non techy people run under a Lotus Domino server) and LLi will be the LotusLive iNotes version which as one will gather has nothing to do with Domino.

Off the start, you will save bundles of money for the 1st year, if for no other reason than licensing alone, by using LLi. The average Lotus Notes license is about $75-$125 new with annual renewals being 20-30% of that price (rough numbers your contracts may vary).

LLi has no license fee and is ONLY $3 per user per month or $36/yr or even less in bulk and bought upfront(or so I am told by my sales and licensing team). So come year 5 all equals out. Of course if you really want Lotus Notes mail, then LLi is NOT for you, however, if your organization has temporary staff or doesn't need all that great Domino stuff in addition to email, this might be for you.

LNi saves you money since R8 came out. How you ask? To start there is only one mail template now, not 2 like in previous editions and no requirement to separate webmail users from Notes mail users. True some scalability issues may arise, but we have seen few companies that even come close to peaking out their servers even with a few thousand webmail people on them. So this saves server costs, disk space costs, electricity, air conditioning, real estate expenses and administrative overhead both of your IT staff and server processing.

LLi reduces your carbon footprint, at least your data center's, by relying on IBM's data centers. No buying hardware or failed drives, no cabinets, extended warranties or any of the other expenses associated with on premise email. Just use the cloud and free up some space and money all at the same time.

LNi is about breaking free from the desktop. Reducing your reliance on Operating Systems you pay for or beefy hardware. Get a Netbook or just a terminal client or a cell phone and you are good to go with your email, instant messaging, calendar and scheduling and possibly a bit more depending on your development team all from a browser. Think about it sometime.

May seem trivial, but when you throw in the space saving from DAOS for LNi or the simplicity and lack of support calls associated with LLi there are many ways to cash out using these packages.

As a side benefit you can renew the life of your development team to start writing more applications for the web and transform your entire infrastructure some day.

IBM can discuss it, you can dream it, we are doing

I encourage everyone to attend the LCTY (Lotusphere Comes to You) events or local LUG (Lotus User Group) events in your city, state, country or virtual world. Ask more questions of the speakers and other attendees about what you are missing or how to move your business forward in ways you have not even begun to think about.

If money is the only thing holding you back, we have an app for that as well.

Moving Quickr sites/places? J2EE or Domino?

Notes from Lotus Support just posted this on their blog.

The article is titled "The article, "Moving IBM Lotus Quickr places between server environments". Very nice...but it's for Quickr J2EE! I know so many of you out there have been asking this and they wrote a nice article.

However, nearly all of our clients are on the Lotus Quickr for Domino, so go check this page out which is the same idea, but for Domino.

Titled "Moving places and other items in IBM® Lotus® Quickr™ services for Domino"

Funny I was just asking a few people about this, guess even bloggers can't keep up with all the great information coming out of IBM these days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Remember Young Admins...there are 2 files

Us old timers don't remember everything after all.

I set up a TLS environment using the post from Gregg Eldred.

Additionally we self certified it from Domino (checked the vendor and the spam system accepts it) and all seemed well and good.

Except I received numerous errors (and since we use DDM, um, 1,000's of emails about it)which said the same thing:
SSL error: Keyring File access error

So I did what anyone else would do, I phoned a friend. Called Gregg, left him a voice mail and then pondered what else I might have done wrong.

Within a few minutes, and a quick search of my own internal documentation, I realized the problem was I forgot to copy BOTH files from my client when I set up the keyring file. I only copied the .KYR but not the .STH.


And thus ended my errors and all was good again.

If you have a similar error message and are 100% sure you copied both files, then I suggest you check out IBM technote #1218820, titled "
Frequently Asked Questions: Using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) with Notes/Domino".

That will probably lead you to this IBM technote #1109822 titled "Web server error: Keyring File access error or Page cannot be displayed".

So next time you have a problem leave Gregg a message describing the problem and you may have it solved within minutes. If you do, please do a session at MWLUG 2010 on this phenomena.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Webmail Redirector #4 - Unable to Login Issue

I posted the other day that I was unable to login for iNotes for some unknown reason.

While that specific issue I did not test on THAT server yet, a different one has occurred and since it is all part of my session at The View conference, might as well help some poor admin pulling their hair out with what I learned, the hard way, and from ignoring my own notes in one case.

So no matter how I tried I could not login. I searched the web, I Googled till I could Google no more, IBM support toolbar probably hates me from asking so many variations of the same bad error message. Namely the infamous:
you provided an invalid user name and password

But I did not enter an invalid name or password.

Here in no specific order are what you need to do, take a deep breath, we will fix it! And if not, you know how to find me as many already have on this topic. If you have any other pointers please advise as well in the comments. Two paths for you to follow, specific users unable to login and ALL users unable to login.

If a Specific user:

1) Obvious, but check the mail file(if it is a specific user), that their administration server exists or is the proper one. In a demo environment like mine right now, it's easy to not pay attention to this. For a different but same conclusion, read this from David.

2) Replace the design on the mail file to make sure it is the correct version. Again in my demo environment I was using a slightly tainted template.

3) Check the ACL of the mail file that the user did not do something, um, user like, and change all the ACL settings.

4) Make sure the user's name is properly shown as the owner in the preferences section. (More-Preferences from the Inbox view)

5) Check the person document is correct for the server name, file location and name, etc. Mail jump, depending on how you configure it, can be, shall we say unsympathetic to your errors.

6) Change the users internet password...just in case.

When done, do a CTRL-SHIFT-F9 on the names.nsf and try again.

If no one can login:

1) Many places to check but let's start with the key databases. Did you set up the mail jump properly? Did you set up the Domino Web Services Configuration properly? Check the ACL's on both of those, set Anonymous to reader.

2) If you have many websites on the server or many services(like Traveler which is most common), check the Internet sites documents are set up for proper redirection or Override Session authentication. See this subsection from an Excellent IBM Technote, titled "Configuring IBM Lotus Notes Traveler 8.0.1.x and Domino Web Services on the same server". technote # 1298016

IBM Lotus Notes Traveler and Domino Web Access (DWA)

After Lotus Notes Traveler has been installed and configured, DWA is still functional, however with Internet Sites enabled and Single Server or Multiple Server specified for Session Authentication, the default DWA login mechanism is changed from a 401 challenge to an HTTP login form. Many devices and web clients are not equipped to handle the HTTP login form. Follow these steps to revert back to the 401 challenge.

* Once Lotus Notes Traveler is installed and configured open the Domino Administrator Client and connect to the Domino Server
* Navigate to the Configuration Tab --> Web --> Internet Sites
* Locate and open the Internet Site document entitled "IBM Lotus Notes Traveler Web" or your equivalent Internet Site document for Web (HTTP) protocol.
* Choose the Web Site button and select Create Rule.
* Enter these values for the rule:
* Description: DWA Rule (any value here is fine)
* Type of rule: Override Session Authentication
* Incoming URL pattern: /mail*

Note: Choose the URL pattern appropriate for your organization. The default URL for DWA is /mail/username.nsf so in general /mail* will work fine.
* Save and Close the rule.
* Restart the HTTP Server.

3) Check that the security sections in the Internet Sites Document shows this as well:
name and password in mailjump redirection for inotes

4) Make sure proper fully qualified name and/or hostnames or IP addresses are stored in the proper place of the Internet Site Document Basics tab under "Host names or addresses mapped to this site:"

5) This wiki page might help if you have an HTTP Authentication issue preventing people from completing their login.

6) Lastly if you did follow my previous posts and edited your login forms, try reverting it back to a basic login and see if that works.

Now I know some of you reading this are saying "Of course, who wouldn't think to do that"? The problem is not who wouldn't think of it, but who wouldn't stop to check they spelled something incorrectly or the IP/name was incorrect. Years of experience tell me all the time that what should work and doesn't is probably my fault, especially if it works everywhere else I set it up.

So the moral of the story is what you learn in a demo(or in my case what I am playing with for a demo) and what you configure in real life do not always equal perfectly. Different versions, even point releases can have major differences and while I and other bloggers, even the IBM Infocenters and wiki's, try to keep our posts up to date with changes in the software, don't rely only on what you read, your intuition will help you decide as well.

Take a vacation after this, you'll need it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When iNotes Access just doesn't work

I am working on my Mail Redirector presentation, Under the hood of mail redirection and its effects on iNotes and iPhone users, for The View Admin conference and ran into a problem which I will now add to my slides.

Go to login to a clients server to check on mail or reply to something from within, which I do all the time, and got this message AFTER logging in and getting the redirecting temporary page, it then reverts back to the login page and says:

Kbrooks, you are not authorized to access mail/kbrooks.nsf.
Please sign in with a name which has sufficient access rights:

Huh? Since when does iNotes have superior access to me as the admin and Manager of my mail file and full server access etc.

Wondering if I messed up the redirector or is there something else going on here that I am missing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Streaming Video from PC to TV via Wii

I don't post much on these topics but this was kind of fun and cool.

Wondering the best way to watch videos we have on our PCs on our new LCD without a whole PC connected to the TV...for now.

Found some interesting ideas about using one's Wii or Xbox which is easier.

But we have a Wii so I found that there was a port for VLC called mplayer_CE which you need instead of the program they use in this web post.

And it worked on the first try. I can now access my shared data files and watch movies of the kids or evidently there is a way to share skype this way too, which would be interesting.

Just one of those geek things we do. And yes the LCD is software upgradeable via USB. Wish my car was as easy to upgrade its software.

Friday, March 5, 2010

We went to R8, now we are going to...

This was how a call I had today went. Let's just say they are not staying on Domino and went looking for a more web based offering.

Details are not important, but what is interesting is a company went through the process to upgrade, etc.. and then wants to move away from the platform.

Not what we are usually hearing.

So is this something new? Is there something missing? And if so, what is it?

While I discuss with them the ins/outs technically facing them, I wonder what led them to this point. Their admins certainly know what they are doing and I presume would have stopped this if they could, so I must presume it came from high up.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Session at The View Admin Conference

I decided to go on tour this year and see more people, places and customers.

First stop is the great conference for Administrators run by The View, Admin2010, May 12-14th.

They have been kind enough to accept my abstract and for those making the trek, I will be expanding, we have 90 minute sessions, on the ideas I discussed at the MWLUG conference last August in Chicago.

This year's MWLUG 2010 event will be in Cleveland August 19-20 and I will be there, even if I don't speak there.

Session Title:
Under the hood of mail redirection and it's effects on iNotes and iPhone users

Getting iNotes mail redirection working properly in today's environments can be a challenging task. Come to this session for step-by-step instructions on how to configure mail redirect for all users including iPhones,setup the options,and best practice advice for dealing with multiple servers and clustering. Get a thorough understanding of the many benefits in using mail redirect such as avoiding server maintenance windows, the ability to leverage SSL, and providing shorter and simpler URLs for your users to remember. Find out how to troubleshoot configuration issues that occur between iNotes, Quickr, Lotus Notes Traveler, and Sametime. Take home documentation with step-by-step instructions to configure mail redirect so you can cut and paste it into your compliance or business continuity documents.

So if you are going and have any questions you want me to cover let me know.

Edited many years later: The slides are here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DAOS Saving Time and Space

Another client, again a small firm, just under 20 active users.
DAOS cleans up so much and so easily. Use it today.

Logical Size Physical Size DAOS Count DAOS Size
13,810,688 9,699,328 17 4,111,360 (30%)
20,466,129 9,961,472 27 10,504,657 (51%)
30,035,168 9,699,328 45 20,335,840 (68%)
74,118,808 30,932,992 101 43,185,816 (58%)
75,443,129 24,903,680 113 50,539,449 (67%)
108,258,760 25,690,112 80 82,568,648 (76%)
138,161,997 42,205,184 165 95,956,813 (69%)
199,254,983 15,204,352 15 184,050,631 (92%)
235,477,728 48,496,640 256 186,981,088 (79%)
327,722,054 33,816,576 344 293,905,478 (90%)
439,068,264 77,856,768 802 361,211,496 (82%)
624,075,282 76,546,048 620 547,529,234 (88%)
825,961,183 196,083,712 1,186 629,877,471 (76%)
1,342,534,391 116,391,936 1,461 1,226,142,455 (91%)
2,100,974,083 233,046,016 2,621 1,867,928,067 (89%)
2,609,055,353 285,736,960 2,863 2,323,318,393 (89%)
3,680,872,371 328,466,432 2,369 3,352,405,939 (91%)
4,171,338,707 416,808,960 3,809 3,754,529,747 (90%)

An average of 76.4% disk savings. With a high of 92%.

Go Green, Go DAOS. Use less tapes and reduce replication times, inbox opening times and all around utilities.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Future of RIM

I like RIM. To be fair, I loved them for a long time. Even if I only carried a Blackberry for about a year. But recently I have begun to believe what I saw when I posted this about a year and a half ago may never come to be reality.

I remember seeing the original Blackberry in discussions back in 1999. I called it a mushroom. It was a funny looking thing, but it had a reality which I knew and wanted and loved, but in a better form factor, that thing couldn't fit in any pocket I had at the time.

Most people who know me understand my passion is in messaging and has been for nearly 20 years. A joke to some because of my lack of ability to argue coherently at times or my proven ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time in some circumstances, perhaps a few times over, or because I prefer to keep many things private as well.

Yet when people ask me why I do what I do, it's because I want to see people share ideas. Not your political views or biased monetary perspectives but your real ideas. True ideas are never right or wrong, but sharing ideas leads to a greater insight and more productive business in many cases. Others have written about this and we see it daily in our crowdsourcing ways on Facebook, Twitter or whatever your method of asking your friends for input.

But from an early time I believed that business suffered because of a lack of sharing of information. When I first saw Lotus Notes, and this was version 2.0, I could see a better way and thus sparked my corporate life in messaging and collaboration and wireless technologies.

While I saw the Blackberry as a great step forward, I also realized the great downside to the individual who could and would be connected 24x7. A scary possibility which has basically come to fruition.

With the Blackberry Server RIM laid claim to an almost impossible leadership level not seen since Novell 3.x ruled the network file server world. Good Technologies, subsequently bought by Motorola and last week bought by Visto was never really a competitor. Time will tell if Visto has the right idea by breaking into RIMs key area, telcos, in a similar way to how Microsoft toppled Novell.

And although we the Lotus faithful may love Lotus Notes Traveler, it is not a BES although it does do much of what we want...just not for blackberries.

Will BES work with iPhones? Or Android? Or will it die because of the recent Visto purchase of Good?

We are watching the tide change again, but to whom and when? Apple? Google? Someone or something unknown today?

I still like RIM, but the ability of it to lead us, the client or the vendor, perhaps has left them. The company that could change it's direction at the whim of it's executive team needs to dig in and look at a greater reality and point their compass anew and take that step to another level once again.

I hope they do.

I submitted some ideas for WES 2010 and it wasn't because I think RIM is dead, but about a renewed growth which might be on the way for them and my wish to see it continue.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Why Microsoft? Has it come to this?

Has Redmond really hit the lowest point in their economy? They need to convince people to stay with Office? Perhaps the numbers we hear and see are more meaningful than Redmond lets on.

You may have been pointed to this site from a blog post or a tweet or the link to it.

It's the Microsoft marketing machines newest effort to provide reasons for companies to not use IBM, Cisco or Google and OpenOffice. Makes you wonder doesn't it if they want to not play with 3 of the biggest names in the industry. And why would they bump openoffice in this list as well?

You see this is really a competitive discussion about applications like Microsoft Office and Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice and Google Apps which happens to piggy back on the Notes/Domino platform discussions.

So this is a nice effort in synchronized marketing, a blog about it, which links to the website which is linked to lists of business partners and Technet(links don't work for the Technet).

If you saw this quote come across your desk:
Our infrastructure gives the choice and control you need to respond to evolving business needs. You can choose from on-premises, online services, or hybrid solutions. And, because our solutions are built to work together—not as an isolated set of applications—they’ll help you make the most of your assets and eliminate costly redundancies.

Who do you think would be saying it? In this case, it's Microsoft believe it or not.

With more lines like this:
Our software-based approach gives you the flexibility to choose the business partner that’s the best fit for you.

It would seem Redmond is accepting the criticism thrown at them and redirecting it in a positive light. Choose the business partner that is right for you? Based on the software you are using? What an original idea, why would anyone NOT do that is a better question, did they think customers are not that smart?

While it could be argued OpenOffice and Lotus Symphony do not do everything in Office itself, but then 80-90% of the people don't use more 10-20% of the product. Numbers may vary but why is Office treated by Microsoft like everyone must use it?

Where is the simple stripped down version for companies to offset the high cost of the Office suite? And I don't mean the version without MS Access installed.

Could it be their web offering? And will they now be cannibalizing their own pocket with a web based Office suite that surely can't include everything? Just as they claim about the others? Read this article from Bloomberg to see how in June we might see a web based Office suite...for FREE.

“Elop’s challenge is to move carefully and not undercut the traditional software business,” Rosoff said. “You don’t want to give everybody free Office over the Web because that jeopardizes a highly profitable business, but you have to do something.”

So it IS just about the money after all. Not about helping you get your work done.

If you as a Business Partner or an employee or executive are trying to fight this and can't let me know, it is really about Office more than Exchange in this case. But there is so little of substance in this site, even junior staff will excel at defeating it's points.