Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SnTT - SCT, What if you lost the Single Copy Templates

For those who do not use it or ever heard of it, R6 produced the Single Copy Template (SCT) option.

This allowed one to conserve disk space by not loading the whole mail template, or any template for that matter, into the mail file or application.

To enable SCT you can follow the steps in the admin guide as posted here in IBM Technote # 7002574.

Be aware of these details:
Restrictions for Single Copy Template

* To use this feature the templates and the databases linked to them must have an On Disk Structure (ODS) version of 43.
* Once a template has been designated as a Single Copy Template, it cannot be deleted through Notes, and it cannot be deleted while the server is running. Deletions are restricted to ensure that there are no unresolved pointers to the template.
* A Single Copy Template cannot have its design replaced.
* If you change the name of a Single Copy Template the databases that use it will lose their association to it.
* You must run Compact to remove the design elements after running the Convert task (preferably against the Domino \Data directory containing the files changed).
* If you "copy" a new Single Copy Template to the server by creating a New Replica versus a New Copy, the Single Copy Object template database property is de-selected; therefore, it defeats the Load Convert and Compact attempts (leaving you bewildered as to why these processes don't work, and the size of the database never shrinks as it should).

Well guess what happened. Yes, the SCT template was written over. And the backups, being incremental did not include it.

We started getting all kinds of errors that basically said unable to open database because it was missing the single copy database template.

Users could not open their email, email was in some cases stuck in the mail.box files and other scary messages appeared in the server console about attachments being invalid or corrupted attachments.

Go find documentation on how to resolve this problem. Not much, if anything is out there.

But customer pays for IBM support and IBM Support came to the rescue.

With a new mail template matched to the version we enabled SCT again on the template and hard booted the server, this was a key part.

We than ran the convert command.

At the server console run (substitute your template name for mail85):
load convert mail\username.nsf * mail85.ntf

If that does not work, as it did not for some people, you then do a Replace Design of the template, even if it shows the correct name, to the new template and include the folders too.

This will now allow your mail inbox to receive emails. prior to this, and you should verify it with some people, new emails and all other emails "lost" in the interim will be seen under the All Documents view. We tested new emails and found they did not go to the inbox until after this step.

But what about the "lost email" how do you get it back to your inbox?

You need to run an agent against EACH MAIL FILE, IBM was working on a batch utility but I am sure some developer out there could figure one out). The code for the agent is found here at IBM Technote # 1104973.

Go to Code-Agents in Designer and follow the technote. If when you paste the code into the Agent and get any errors, it usually is a break line that is misplaced.

Once run against the database, and it can take quite some time in larger files, the "lost email" returns to the inbox. We did find a small number of messages also returned to the inbox that were orphans, meaning emails without folders or a folder was deleted. These would show up as replication conflicts or similar error and by opening and saving them anew they would revert to normal mails.

Until you get the convert and replace done, iNotes also does not work.

So a lot of effort went into resolving something that should not be so difficult to start. One should be able to replace the design on any file no matter if SCT has been used.

And what did we change on site?
Backups are now 100% full backups and need much more time for a backup window.
SCT database is copied to a USB as well as backed up.
Backups of everything should be done before any work. In this case, there was not enough disk space to back up the Directory. Resolved with an external hard drive since.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lemons? Well then we will make Orange Juice!

Never in a million years would I have envisioned what transpired the last few days.

Our ideas have been validated and we are on a much more clearly defined path for 2011. It does take time and if you put in the effort, you definitely get the rewards.

Learn from your mistakes. Yes, I know, some I am still working on, but business mistakes or even accidents should turn into goldmines. Always look on the bright side of life.

Inspiration comes in many forms, and I know as an administrator it happens often when you least expect it. Can you just get inspired? Maybe you can, maybe you can't. Maybe you just need something or someone to help you, a muse, or a diversion. Watching the movie of A Few Good Men last night and Tom Cruise, as Kaffee, talking to Demi Moore as Galloway and Kevin Pollak as Weinberg says:
Lt. Weinberg: That's the plan?
Kaffee: That's the plan.
Lt. Weinberg: And how are you going to that?
Kaffee: I have no idea. I need my bat.
Lt. Weinberg: What?
Kaffee: I need my bat. I think better with my bat. Where's my bat?
Galloway: I put it in the closet.
Kaffee: You put it in the closet?
Galloway: Well, I was tripping over it.
Kaffee: Don't ever put that bat in the closet.

He needs the bat to help him think. He got it and knew how to get his mind working.

For years I kept a yo-yo in my desk at whatever office I was in and could be seen wandering around a building or campus playing with it and it helped me solve many problems. Needless to say it also left a number of puzzled faces around Burger King, IBM and Citibank especially. Although it never bothered the Broadway theater staff where I worked earlier in my career.

What is your bat or yo-yo? Hopefully you know.

For if we do not step away from the computer or work or whatever it is that engulfs us, how can we lead or be inspired to lead others? I don't want my kids, or employees, thinking that the answer or idea is online or found by working harder. It isn't.

Although my wife will argue with me about having it, I do need the pinball machine to help me think sometimes. I should probably move it to the office but then the kids would be upset. Many of you probably play on your Wii or whatever devices.But I digress.

When I picked logo colors for my business logos over the years I always come back to the same ones. Orange and green usually. Squidoo had this to say about the colors:

How the color orange affects us mentally and physically
* Stimulates activity
* Stimulates appetite
* Encourages socialization

How the color green affects us physically and mentally
* Soothing
* Relaxing mentally as well as physically
* Helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety
* Offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony

They also happen to be the team colors of my favorite NFL(Miami Dolphins) and college football(The U otherwise known as the University of Miami) teams.

And so it is when I look at the logo or my business card or when clients see it.

Right now, thanks to a discussion I had earlier(Thanks John V.!) I also want to write some more, not just technical articles but other formats.

So next time life or work get you down, don't try to make the best of it, alter it entirely. Change your viewpoint, perhaps radically, and others will take notice as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Inspiration from your kids

Sometimes your kids listen to you and you have the power to change the world around them. Wouldn't it be nice if the same thing could be said of every client or customer?

But like your kids, clients don't always feel like listening. But it feels great when they do.

My 7 year old son was building a Star Wars X-Wing lego kit the other day. When it came time to put the rubber bands on it to enable the x-wing to open and close, the whole thing snapped and broke up. He would have to rebuild most of it. He was crushed. He has built at least a dozen large Lego kits and numerous smaller ones as well as amusing free forms of his own design, but I never saw him to do this before.

I told him I was sorry about it and if it was a problem, he should ask for my help or my wife's at the point of failure. I reminded him about his tenacity to learn to ride a RipStik, riding on 2 wheels before his older sister did and other accomplishments.

He looked at me and said he didn't care and he wouldn't build this kit again. He put all the Lego in the box, closed it up and walked away to his room. I followed him and suggested he try again when he was in a better mood because building Lego or anything when you are mad will just lead to more frustration.

10-15 minutes later he emerged and started building it all over again. He stripped the whole thing back down to pieces and pretty much rebuilt it all by himself, no help, including the rubber bands.

Sometimes in business you feel that frustration and rather than let it kill your day, let it out and take a break. It will still be there waiting for you of course but maybe a calmer mind will prevail.

You have built it before, you have done similar things, you know the answer is out there, don't give up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

SnTT - HELP! I lost my local Sametime Lists

This post is brought to you by my poor searching and also because it happened to me.

I have been rebuilding my netbook with the latest Ubuntu release and Empathy says it will work with Sametime. Well, it does, sort of. Let me explain.

Empathy logged in to only a few specific sites, not all of my usual sites. Then I got almost all to login after some configuration.

BUT when I went back to my normal laptop(St802 client) all of a sudden I could only see 3 sites and people. I was logged in, but my contacts lists were gone! I only had 3 public groups showing.


So eventually I realized I had loaded an ST client on another machine and most likely logged in with it not too long ago and could load the file from there.

One problem, no idea where the file is on a client side, server side I know.

My inept searching(Google usually indexes IBM Technotes) led me to Skype the Sametime Guru, Carl Tyler who reminded me that searching the Sametime Forum would find it. Equally so, the IBM Support Toolbar which I have not liked since they revised it, provided a link to a Technote when I reloaded it.
IBM Technote 1291253 which provides this information to find the buddylist.xml.

sametime local buddy list file location

If you are looking on a Vista client try this directory:

So be prepared, back up your local copy of contacts more often, and avoid this problem in the future.

Thanks again Carl!

I will now go back to installing Lotus Domino on Ubuntu, will blog about that later.

Customer Service without Social media

Unexpected, yes. Worth it to the company? Not so sure.

When my wife inquired about a specific food if it had nuts in it to avoid a situation with a guest of ours, the company was nice enough to help answer the questions.

They then offered to send a coupon for the product for the future.

Very nice of them. In the past we have received various discounts or free items.

This time we received, in a 44 cent stamped envelope, a coupon for 35 cents off the product.

This had me thinking, on one hand, it's a nice thank you for a simple inquiry.

On the other hand, it's not overly impressive to make you want to go out and try the product or buy it next time you go shopping.

Not saying either thought is correct or incorrect, just wondering if a more "WOW" factor could have been accomplished.

Think about it, you are a super large company that makes cake and brownie mixes, and probably rarely meet or interact with your customers. In this day and age, one would think that the opportunity to impress a customer would be worth it's weight in gold as even a small percentage change in purchasing habits can be a huge difference to their bottom line.

We received a simple coupon and a mostly stock letter, a mention of the company website for other promotions and not much else to endear us. No like us on Facebook, follow our recipe chefs on Twitter or catch our dessert bloggers.

In other words no effort at all to indulge the customer and consumer at a level that would speak to them or encourage them to try other items or look for more choices.

What does the Chief Marketing Officer or Customer Service Director do, if not encourage sales? If ever there was an example of a company in need of Social Media help maybe it is them?

To be fair, I did follow their website, which is for their holding company, down to the specific food items in question where there is a "Join the Baker's Club" Web 1.0 type of interaction with the consumer. I followed a few others that had nothing to offer at all or a similar "club".

Hopefully this will all be getting revised soon, if not, I'd be happy to help them figure out some ways to engage the outside world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sharepoint 2010 Costs How Much?

Admittedly, this has been done before, but a client just threw past us a quote from a MS vendor to perform the same work as we are proposing. And a potential customer from outside the US just told us they decided to look into Sharepoint.

Their proposal comes out as about the same amount as 2 weeks of work. Fine, except they proposed to install Sharepoint 2010 and migrate 3-5 Notes Apps to Sharepoint and .NET for this price.

We estimated 4-6 weeks to update them all or roughly a week per app.

So how can a Microsoft Business Partner say they will do everything for so cheap?
And this supposedly includes the licensing too! Which we know is impossible, so we are looking into the other details.

Licensing alone will equal over $15,000 with Software Assurance and here is why:

Hardware Cost for new box
Windows Server 2008 Standard License w/10 CAL $1,209 Pricing here
Windows Server CALs per pack of 20 users $799
Sharepoint 2010 License $4,926
Sharepoint CALs per user Enterprise $83 or Standard $95
SQL Server Standard $898 or Enterprise $8,592 Pricing here
SQL CALs per user $164

That is a a lot of licensing, but wait it gets better, Software Assurance adds between 25-40% to the price, if you want it.

This cost does not include any backup software or cluster/fail over options.

This also does not include the costs/time to write from scratch the apps.

Now compare this to their existing Domino environment.

Servers and licenses all paid for and support maintenance agreement is still in place and renewed.

The applications are already setup for multiple replication where a Domino Enterprise Server is not in use.

Before they get out of the gate, the Microsoft solution costs them at least $15,000 based on my conversation with Microsoft reps on the phone and to validate the pages above.

Honestly, how can they just give applications away for free? Ask them the next time you get pitched on a Sharepoint migration. Make sure you get in writing that they will not ask for more money or get any more money then their bid. Keep them honest and poor.

There is much more out there than meets the eye.

Caution: Internet/Social Media Ahead! What about your kids?

Parental Control of the Internet not very easy
Nothing new to many of us in IT, but to all of our friends not in IT, this may be an issue.

Ever wonder what you son or daughter is doing on their computer every day? Or their smart phone, iPhones or Blackberry(yes, high school students have BBs) or iPads or ipods?

According to some you should be very afraid. VERY AFRAID of what your kids and/or their friends are seeing, using or telling others about.

Not going to argue 1st amendment rights or however you view it or the "kids will be kids" line or "we did similar things".

I want to enlist all of your help to provide some insight to what works for you and your family, NOT your office.

How do we prevent it or support it in a way that helps our kids mature at an appropriate speed?

It's similar to how to prevent your kids from having sex, smoking...anything, drugs, reading racist or hate sites or whatever is your item that kids shouldn't be involved, but how does one do it?

Our kids school offers a class to the kids, at various age appropriate over the span of a few days and instills in them some good and bad views of the Internet and people/life in general. Yes, I live in Florida and we have some issues, all the more reason why I ask you all, from wherever you are, for your insights.

Education is not enough. There are many software vendors with tools, but those will not work on mobile devices. There are trust issues between you and your kids, there is the possibility you will create more curiosity within your child to seek this information out or you may create a puritanical, religious zealot.

As we go forward into a social future and a younger generation that has less cares about their privacy and security, how do we save our kids from technology so to speak?

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