Friday, July 29, 2011

Wasted a Day on IE and Notes Previews

Foolish me, I thought IBM stopped hugging Internet Explorer inside the Notes client.

Now I know it is used as the embedded browser for a reason. No comment.

Thursday I spent a great deal of my day working on a laptop that had a unique problem.

It seems that when the employee tried to see his email in preview(852fp2 at the time, then fp3) it was blank! A whole bunch of them. If you reply or forward you could see the email, but in the preview window blank.

Checked their mail file on the server thinking it was a local replication or indexing issue. Same problem. Logged in using iNotes, everything worked fine.

Problem with the client? I tried logging in from a different machine with my ID and theirs, all fine.

All roads pointed to the one machine had problems.

Java wanted an update, seemed reasonable. But not so fast. Update would not install. Okay, uninstall all past versions, reboot, go back to and get the latest version. Reboot. Nope still not working.

Thought maybe Notes installation had gotten corrupted, reinstalled the whole client, Smart Upgrade kicked in to get it to FP2 and I had just downloaded FP3 for the customer so we put that on too. Still nothing changed.

Thought maybe it was a video issue. Drivers have caused us some problems at times, Nvidia comes to mind, and so tried different resolutions, nothing changed. tried beta drivers then went back one level, still nothing changed.

Scratching my head wondering what else could be wrong.

In the mean time we had another laptop that got a massive Virus, true trojan and messed up the MBR. So it was a fun day all around.

Back to Mr Unlucky. Another application was also having a problem. Tried downloading an update and when we tried to run it we got a Windows error message. Oh Joy. A real bad laptop and still nothing doing.

Tried to run Windows Update since maybe MS had messed something up the other day and wanted to fix something. And that failed. This was getting odd.

Firefox was fine, but we all know getting MS updates is just not so easy without IE. IE wouldn't start of course. Firefox helped me download IE8 and all its updates. Still couldn't get into MS Updates but what was interesting, and the point of this post, is suddenly Notes worked and the other application worked as well!

So now we got to the heart of the matter. Notes could not render in preview mode without some valid working IE installed. I was shocked and not very amused. You have got to be kidding me that when I tell the Notes client to use the browser selected by my OS, it still is not doing so as it relates to Previews!?!?

There may be some other things to square away on that laptop but I had enough, the user was happy to get back to work, amazing how deadlines make people feel, and I went home to ponder this blog post.

Some of you will tell me but you knew this. In truth, yes I did know it, but never put it together in this way because I NEVER use IE for anything except Windows Updates on XP machines. Windows7 and Vista just get them for me without opening up IE(even if it may be used under the covers).

What happens if you remove IE entirely from a PC? Will Notes fail to render previews? If I am wholly gone Safari, Firefox or Chrome that will break my Notes clients? Hopefully someone inside IBM will give me a better understanding of this. Offline is fine, hit me on Sametime if you want, or one of the other ways in the left side upper column of this page. 

So now you know if you have a Lotus Notes inbox in preview mode not showing or displaying the emails where to look first and how to fix it. Hope I saved some reader down the road from days of Troubleshooting. That's why I write this blog, to make you look better to your boss or your coworkers.

Helping a client get into Computerworld

It was a great surprise to see and read about Flexcon in Computerworld.

Saw the post from Ed this morning.

This is an example of how social media, client relationships, marketing and time can help anyone get their message out.

It is not always about IBM or Lotus but we work with various press people to get the word out either about our company and offerrings or about our clients and in some cases like this, get our client some great press as well.

At least 3 others in the Yellow Bubble work with  Flexcon and I am happy to say we all get along quite well and respect each others projects and efforts. Thank you to both of them.

Be open to opportunity, get legal or marketing on your side, get published, get quoted, do something for yourself and your company. There are opportunities DAILY if not hourly to get the word out so help your clients or company and provide this service to them.

Helping your clients is never a bad thing even if it does not involve a project, money or licensing.

If you want Lotus products, or for that matter, any products to stay for the long haul, help them by helping yourself.

To those friends and clients that could not take part in it, I will keep trying to include you, we will find something your legal will accept :-)

Fud Buster Friday #61: Cheap, Cheap, Fail

There are times when you can get by on the cheap, but there are many more times where doing so will cost you much, much more in the end.

Let's say you need to get some new laptops or desktops. Naturally you have a myriad of choices and not just Dell, HP, Apple or Lenovo. Operating systems, sizes, processors, disk space and so much more. But you decided that the most you can spend per employee is $500.

What will you get? Can you get something useful? Maybe if they already have a laptop with peripherals, like wireless or USB keyboard/mouse, LCD. But what if they do not? Do they need it? Further more do you need a docking station or network/dock hub? What about software licenses?

You get the picture. So you balance cost vs. need and forget about support, warranties and reliability. Help desk support and installation/setup costs get involved as well.

Before you are done you are at $1,000 and now what? Maybe it will be fine, maybe it won't.
But you ended up spending 2 times as much as you wanted.

This is paralleled in software, projects and almost everything else in life. The world is full of instances where someone chose to err on the side of saving a buck which later was the cause of great catastrophes in business and life. The Titanic inferior bolts, the Boston Tunnel, Airplane parts that were long past usage, car tires worn bald.

Taking the cheaper solution even though it will cost 2 or 3 times more before you get any retuirn out of it, instead of the one already working from day one that costs just a little bit more is daring, reaching and what leaders do.

It's always the same.
                                You can be different.
                                                                 Change your Reality! Don't do things the same old way.

My Comments on Bills Post

Bill, Well written and thought out.

As pointed out, Domino is not the leader of the pack and no amount of marketing will change that now, although an abrupt closing of Microsoft would help.

I get slammed by Exchange and Sharepoint ads daily, in every magazine, newspaper and online and in emails. I also see a lot of Smarter Planet ads.
But will IBM keep with this campaign?

If history is correct, it takes at least 3-5 years before people realize what IBM and Lotus try to do. Look at KM and where we ended up, but it took almost 10 years!

IBM got to where it is because they took and take a VERY long view of the road ahead and it has paid off for them.

While many of us are IBM BPs because they folded Lotus in there, not sure how many have branched beyond ICS or Websphere in any serious shape or form.

The real choice is what else do you start peddling? Jive? SocialText? Sharepoint? Because it is all about collaboration or do you go down a different rabbit hole?

When I was a customer, and not a BP, I enjoyed the future as IBM and others told it.

As a BP, it is not as important to my day to day business and one might argue we as BPs are rather cynical about some of it. But again we care about our day to day business as well as the future.

Lotus was so far ahead of its time and that is one of the things I loved about the company. It provided a future direction. But right now we do not have the future, Connections is today, the pinnacle of KM, but what is the horizon? Where is the reach goal? Cyncis will say there isn't one, I believe there is a goal, but it may very well be some place none of us have even thought about.

Where is the equivalent of the IBM iPod?

Something that could take them in a whole new direction and make believers out of people again in IBM. I don't buy that the Lotus name is that tarnished, but I accept a rebranding of it is in its best interest.

IBM has never catered to the people, but to the business world, and one could argue both sides of that argument. We can not change the reality of their view. Only IBM can, if they choose to do so. Lotus was the only consumer facing brand. When you are the only anything of a business, it gets very lonely eventually if no other plans bring forth a foil or twin partner. Would anyone care about the iPhones if the iPod had not impressed them so much?

Since we are not IBM, and do not work for IBM, then we have a choice to pursue what we like and enjoy. And if that comes from some place else, at least we will always have Lotus for putting an idea into our younger selves that will see us through no matter where we end up on the business roads.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Tale of 2 Mail Servers Threading

This little server is an old Dell rack server, about 4 years old maybe and runs Windows Server 2003 and is up to date on all patches and fixes for the NOS and the Mail application.

The other is brand new (under a year) and runs Windows Server 2008, because it had to, and is supposed to be up to date as well.

The Old server is a happy go lucky type of server, runs mail, instant messaging and push email/mobile solutions in addition to a handful of applications for 6 domains.

The New server is also happy but not so lucky and ONLY runs mail for 2 domains.

The Old server is the primary work horse, all mail comes into it from the SPAM appliance, internal and external mail as well. Attachment sizes are reasonable(25MB) for sending and unlimited for incoming. We encourage good email habits this way.

The New server has no limits on sending or receiving. Here lies the problem.

If the New server needs to send an attachment that is 50MB, the server will refuse to accept any emails from the Old server while it waits for it's threading to clear from sending this monster file. This is bad. Very bad.
We do not manage the New server yet perpetually must explain how SMTP works, why security like TLS is important and why size matters for attachments.

I had no idea Exchange was single threaded, thought for sure by now it was mutli threaded, especially that beast of a 64bit server, but evidently not the way these guys built it.

Anyone have some insight on this I will be more than happy to point the New server team to how to resolve this.

In the interim Domino is perfectly happy to keep holding their mail in queue and DDM is sending us notifications about the issue, as it should be, so we are monitoring their servers in addition to ours. Should start charging them for it.

Let Me Count the Ways in Lotus 1-2-3

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I have been frustrated about my working on a Lotus 1-2-3 SmartSuite Millenium Edition Version 9.0 Fix Pack 6.1 spreadsheet with 3.5 MILLION cells..

This is Windows 7 compatible.
SmartSuite is my backup suite, IBM Lotus Symphony has been my primary for almost 3 years.
Evidently it does not like it went I run Google+, causes problems. But other than that is fine.
One thing you may want to get when working on 1-2-3 is a program to enable mouse scrolling, it is on my slides page.

So the big problem was how to create a simple drop down or select option for a very long list of items.
In retrospect it was so simple but it's been a while since I had to code for 1-2-3.

If you have a better way or any enhancements by all means let me know.

I will work in progression from simpler to harder parts.

What I did was use the Macro language control called CHOOSE-ITEM.

You get to this by either typing {CHOOSE-ITEM or the { and press F3 and type or scroll down to CHOOSE-ITEM. It will prepopulate with this:
{CHOOSE-ITEM list_range;results_range;[prompt];[title];[x];[y]}

I kept this simple and ignored the x and y parts so mine looks like this:
{CHOOSE-ITEM list_range;results_range;[prompt];[title]}

Prompt will place any text you want in the dialogue box that pops up, I used Please Select a Name.
Title is the title for the Dialogue window that pops up. I called it Names.
So so far we have:

{CHOOSE-ITEM list_range;results_range;[Please Select a Name];[Names]}

The list_range should be substituted with a named range.
In this case I used a name range of LastNames. Because I was pulling data from other spreadsheets I made a secondary tab B and put all the names in the B column starting at B2. B1 had a title of Names.
In Column A I made a fill from 0-2000 running in parallel.
Highlight A1 to B2000 and right click on Range properties go to the Basics tab then Range name and called it LastNames.

Why do we need the numbers? You see when you do the CHOOSE-ITEM lookup it returns the number of the item in the list. Not very helpful as I need the name, but we will get to that shortly.

Now our command is shaping up. It now looks like this
{CHOOSE-ITEM LastNames;results_range;[Please Select a Name];[Names]}
Results Range can be ANY cell. Let us use D1 as the cell. So our formula now looks like:
{CHOOSE-ITEM LastNames;D1;[Please Select a Name];[Names]}
Not done yet.

Since this will be an automatic Macro on opening the spreadsheet, we need to place it in the A1 cell and name the cell (after we typed in our formula) with a \0 that is slash and a zero for a Range name as above when we made the LastNames range. But with a \0 this will run automatically.

We can also name the range with a secondary name like \J and now if we need to refresh the list we have the lookup again.

But when you run it you get a number in D1 and we need the name. Remember the A column of numbers? Now we will write a VLOOKUP formula to match the number to a name and then the rest of the spreadsheet feeds off that one.

In E1 or wherever you want the name to appear put in a formula like this:
@VLOOKUP(D1, A1..B2000,1)
What this formula means is a Vertical Lookup using Cell D1 as the code key.
The next option is the cell  range by name or numbers where we should be looking up the data.
The 1 at the end is the number of columns to the RIGHT of the 1st column. So if I had 4 columns of info to grab, this would be a1..d2000 and a 3 at the end.

If you need the list in CAPS just add @UPPER like this:
@UPPER(@VLOOKUP(D1, A1..B2000,1))
Now you run the macro using CTRL-J, select a name which puts the number in D1 and in E1 it now shows the Name.

If you want to hide D1 and your Macro from prying eyes then right click on the cell go to Range Properties, Picture of a Key tab and click on the hide cell contents.

Hope this helps someone else out there and if you need help with 1-2-3 just ask.

Many thanks to everyone that gave me ideas, especially Theo and Mat.

Friday, July 22, 2011

BackupExec Logs Using Too Much Space? Poor Domino

This is for a friend but an excellent reminder to everyone else.

If you happen to notice your C drive rapidly losing disk space even though nothing is there, no temp files, no swap files, etc.., this may be your problem.

When you installed Symantec's BackupExec, did you install it to the C drive?
And if this was an older server, did C not have too many Gigabytes, like say 25?

Well slowly over time you may experience disk space evaporation. Not as nice as the Angel's Share of Scotch Whisky because this can and will impact your Domino server.

How you might ask? A small list of reasons:

File compaction or any utilities need SPACE to do their dirty work to make your server feel like a teenager every morning or weekend, depending on when you run these. As a rough estimate I like to have at least 2.5 times the disk space free as the LARGEST .NSF file. This ensures we have growth capabilities and some time before we come to a screeching halt.
Server stops processing. The console looks frozen. Well what do you do when you run out of energy...sleep! So does your server. It can hang on with swap file RAM and such but wait too long and it says hello to the fishes and goes quiet.
Mail stops routing. If there is not enough space to temporary store attachments and such conversions, no mail flows.
Replication errors and conflicts. I know you figured this one out already.
FTI or Full Text Index stops indexing or gets corrupted, and thus searches do not work properly. Help desk calls ensue and if you are not running a monitoring program (DDM/GSX Monitor/Vitalsigns)you lose! You get no chocolates, good day sir!

I could go on but you get the idea.

So how do you 1) know if this is happening? 2) Prevent the logs from gobbling up space like Pac-Man?

DDM, Domino Domain Monitoring the last few years I have been pushing on Admins to make even simple usage of DDM. It will help you in so many ways even if you set up the basic warnings. You can listen to it or get the slides from my Slide tab above or this link. At a minimum set up a disk space warning so when the server gets below, 10GB, or whatever is 2.5x the largest database, you know about it and can start planning.

Now to prevent the problem from happening to begin with from Symantec.
There is a utility installed in your Program files\Symantec\Backup Exec\ folder called Beutility.exe.
This program acts like a super administrator to the BackupExec settings.
You see you can not just change the location of the logs by clicking on Tools-Options from the menu bar, go down to Job Defaults and find Job Logs and edit it. The field is not editable.

So open up the BEutility file and click on All Media Servers and then right click on your server and select Set job log and catalog location. Then click on the check box to change the locations and enter the new location. Save and it will prompt you to restart the services and handle it all for you.
Screen shots and more details from this Symantec Technote Article: TECH50241

You can verify it worked by clicking on Tools-Options from the menu bar, go down to Job Defaults and find Job Logs and you will now see it changed.

Hope this helps my friend, and you, if you ever see this happening.

Fud Buster Friday #60: Sharepoint is the Future

I love this graphic, no idea if it really was used but thanks to Sharepoint magazine for sharing it.

In a blog post, A Guide to Leaving Lotus Notes and Moving to Microsoft SharePoint, by Andrew Vevers which was a finalist entry for the Aspiring Authors Competition 2011 according to the post, we see a classic case of ignoring the obvious.

What is the focus really about here? Is it to gain Mr. Vevers new clients? Is it to be used as a sales tool to persuade companies to move off Lotus Domino? Maybe to teach other consultants how to make money off their clients? Like this line:
"If you think they might not be sure what they need to keep, consider offering to migrate the last six months’ data or implement a per-GB data migration charging model. That’ll get them thinking!"

No, I believe the focus is entirely misguided. It is focused on the past. Cleaning the data? Design? For what? To "convert" to Sharepoint? Really? Is that the best you can offer your clients Mr. Vevers? The past? Like this line:
"Despite these factors, your main focus should always be on reproducing the functionality, not adding unnecessary bells and whistles."

What about the future? Don't you think that if you were going to convince people to move off a well used platform that it should be to something new, improved and providing more benefits? But the bells and whistles could have been part of the Domino application all along, even in R7 where he last left his Lotus knowledge.

The discussion never hits web apps and stays focused on Notes apps.

While I agree that companies should have been building apps for the web for years, it has not always been their focus until the last 2-3 years, Notes applications are not impossible to update for the web. Recent efforts have been made to transform apps to Xpages and more web/mobile access and perhaps this would be a cheaper solution in some cases, if not all.

Those of you in a similar situation, the crossroads of business and technology should keep in mind. The future is bright but only if you can see it. If you can enhance your applications, do it. Be agile, customer centric, responsive. Help your management see the better future, do a mockup, do something. If you are an employee it costs you and the company nothing more to enhance your apps, and you should be doing it no matter who owns the app or how old it is. Your administrators will get their job done and get you to 8.5.2 but if you aren't helping the apps, then why bother going beyond R5 or R6?

Sharepoint is not the future. It may be new and shiny, but it is NOT the future nor does it represent it in any way, shape or form. It is just another platform which just happens to be licensing, server and hardware heavy. Posts like Mr. Vevers do not fairly discuss the issue because it is presumed already one will be migrating.

I don't believe that many companies have removed Domino from their data centers and I do not believe many will still for years to come. I believe at least 85% of the Fortune 500 still run Domino applications today and I hope at some point IBM will bring back the campaigns that highlighted the usage across industries because it is true and it is important to get that information into the minds of executives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Updating Symphony to 3.0 FP3 , Look for This

I already updated my Notes client to 852 FP3 and maybe that is what this is letting me know.
Except I purposely install Symphony separate from Notes.

So imagine my surprise when I go to update it and get this warning:

And as usual, Symphony will not install for me anyway. Just been one of those days.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quickr 8.5.1 Fix Pack 6 is out Today with Cross Product Info

While grabbing the 853 Domino/Notes code I also checked on some other items and today we have a new fixpack for Quickr at


What is also nice now there is the link to Cross Product Relationship Information which for those who haven't seen it, allows you to put in your versions of products and lets you know what matches what version.

NOTE Quickr 851 still is not supported on Domino 8.5.2 only on 8.5.1

The list of fixes wasn't linked yet so here is a copy of the text from the read me.

Quickr Domino Release 8.5.1 Fix List

07/13/2011    PPOR8FAESH
LO59493    Regardless of the browser locale, Lists in Quickr show dates using the US format.      
07/13/2011    TJOR8J2S4Q
LO61760    Folder ACL settings are not saving changes made when using local groups in rooms.      
07/13/2011    TJOR8J4PF8
LO61860    When a responses to a topic in a Forum contains an apostrophe and responses are collapsed, the apostrophe is shown as encoded (').      
07/13/2011    MMOI8J5GS5
LO61883    With a specific customer place, a placebot caused the Domino Server to crash.      
07/13/2011    JRIE8HEKTZ
LO61283    “qptool repair” enhanced to fix some folder inconsistencies.      
07/13/2011    DAMC8JGGKL
LO62097    “qptool refresh -theme” does not update the theme of child places migrated from 8.2 after the PlaceType has been updated with a new theme.      
07/13/2011    DWHN8JNGAQ
LO62179    When going into a place via the place URL ( that was upgraded from 8.2 and that place has a room as the first element in the TOC, you will go directly into the room instead of the main room.      
07/13/2011    GAKI8JGHSZ
LO62105    Upgraded 8.2 places with posts / pages that have 1 attachment show in the Connector as an upload where the default action is to launch the document instead of launching into the browser.
(see fix GAKI8JGHSZ in “Additional Information for special fixes” section)      
07/05/2011    JHHO84BJ6P    In the Member Manager, the More Actions menu should not have the option to subscribe to a feed.      
07/05/2011    WBSI8H9AYV    When a member’s name contains an ampersand (&), the Table of Contents of the place does not display.      
07/05/2011    HMON8J2PWU
LO61752    With French set as a workstation’s locale, log in to the Notes Connector using incorrect credentials -- you will receive an authentication error that displays garbage characters.       
06/30/2011    MCOR8AZQUJ
LO61161    When creating a new task and select who the task is assigned to and tick “Send Notification”, the send notification dialog should be propagated with the name of who it is assigned to.      
06/30/2011    RTIN8HKKFJ
LO61387    Table of Contents items are not being translated for a non-English workstation on upgrade places.      
06/30/2011    CCOD8AVJ7H    When moving a page from the Table of Contents to another folder, the Original Location in the Folder Picker is blank.      
06/30/2011    MCOR8AZQUJ    In internet Explorer, if more than 1 task is new, then the “This Week Events and Tasks” tab doesn’t display any events or tasks.      
06/30/2011    GAKI8GJD28
LO60601    After registering an archived place that was placed into a directory name which was different than the place’s original directory name, the place’s title changes to the new directory name.      
06/30/2011    DTRR8J3FR6
LO61737    Using Domino Native Authentication, adding a group to a place and expanding that group in the member picker, a maximum of 10 group members display.      
06/30/2011    HMON8HFPER
LO61340    When searching for names in the Member Management Add dialog, if the member’s name is very long, the vertical scroll bar may be moved off of the dialog making it impossible to scroll.      
06/30/2011    RTIN8GTSKA
LO60847    When creating a new page in a room on an upgraded 8.2 place and inserting a picture into the body of that document, when clicking “send to server” you will be challenged for credentials.  If you either cancel the dialog, or enter your credentials, the image preview will display a red x.      
06/30/2011    JRIE8GXH2L
LO60874    When creating a new custom theme, the What’s New / Updates tab does displays WHATS_NEW.UPDATES.NEW_GENERIC.      
06/30/2011    TJOR8ESQZU
LO59143    Customer specific issue where Domino HTTP server crashes where the crash happens on ntdll.ExpInterlockedPopEntrySListFault.      
06/22/2011    ESEO8HSR75
LO61557    After upgrading to FixPack 5, replacing a file on an imported document on a place and document that was upgraded from 8.2 results in the new preview not being generated.      
06/21/2011    CSTS8GYRKE
LO60967    When using an Approval Cycle workflow custom form in a subroom and specifying that the pending approval is placed in the room index and the final approval into a folder.  When the workflow is approved it does not end up in the correct folder.      
06/21/2011    ALSR8HZB2C
LO61699    When using Internet Explorer and accessing Quickr over a slow network link, an error “Unspecified error on line 1781” may be displayed on places after being upgraded from 8.2.      
06/21/2011    PPOR8H9HHK
LO61168    Within the Library, a document’s modified date is incorrect when the document has been modified unless its attachment has been modified.      
06/21/2011    DAMC8HLFDJ
LO61407    Customer place specific issue using a custom form based off of the 8.2 theme, when clicking the “New…” button in any folder, Upload is not one of the selectable forms.      
06/21/2011    DTRR8HDJG7
LO61239    With Folder ACL enabled, the option to Check In from the Office Connectors is grayed out when selecting that folder to check in to.      
06/21/2011    JRIE8HNE99
LO61466    From the browser client, when moving a folder to a specific position within the TOC, if there is a room listed, the folder being moved will always appear under the room.      
06/21/2011    RTIN8HLJ8Q
LO61410    When changing the default form of a folder to Imported File and using the Imported File button to create a new imported document, the resulting document does not contain a preview tab.      
06/21/2011    YDZG8J28SN    Under certain circumstances, an attachment Edit link will disappear when using Internet Explorer 7.      
06/17/2011    JRIE8G3LYP
LO60179    When sending a notification from a room and tick Notify all members, all members of the place are notified instead of all members of the room.      
06/17/2011    MMOI8HUPCB
LO61623    Under certain circumstances a Form based PlaceBot may crash the server when the place is derived from a placetype.      
06/13/2011    WBSI8G5B98    Cannot create a List if Single Sign On not enabled.      
06/09/2011    SSCG8FLCWF
LO59698    When you create a Task page where the title contains a percent sign, the Task doesn’t load when clicked on.      
06/09/2011    EPIA87ZGEW
LO59905    When choosing to “Send Link” to other members, there is no way to select All Members.      
06/09/2011    GAKI8GQEEM
LO60719    Creating a room using the qptool execute command along with the correct input.xml does not succeed.
(see fix GAKI8GQEEM in “Additional Information for special fixes” section)      
06/09/2011    PNOT8HNJ2C    Using Domino Native Authentication, when sending a notification to all members the notification would not go to a member that was in an external group.      
06/02/2011    MMOI8FARNX
LO59549    Viewing Tasks when your browser local is French with show the Task as late regardless of the due date.      
06/02/2011    CSTS8G6Q2M
LO60349    In Internet Explorer 6, when importing a graphic file using the Imported File document type and previewing the graphic, the graphic doesn’t appear after switching to a different tab and then switching back to preview.       
06/02/2011    RALF8FNKRM
LO59841    After upgrading from Quickr 8.2 to Quickr 8.5, imported HTML pages are not displayed correctly.      
06/02/2011    ACHG8H74R4
LO61113    When a folder name contains both Chinese and English characters and the folder is moved into a different room, the folder’s name changes to something unreadable.      
06/02/2011    XYHO8E683G    With MSSO disabled an error is given when checking out a Page.      
06/02/2011    TMAI8D95Y9
LO57799    When using Notes with Internet Explorer as your default browser and the Notes version is Notes Client Standard, clicking Edit Document to round-trip edit a document does not launch the application to edit the document.      
06/02/2011    CSTS8G4Q6H
LO60264    Unable to take a place offline when using Domino Native Authentication.      
06/01/2011    RSOI8GLC2N
LO60600    When using the “Send Link” option from the browser client to a local member and an 8.2 upgraded place an error is given that the email address is incorrect.      
06/01/2011    ESEO8GGNZQ
LO60562    When using a custom form and the document based on that custom form is created with a user who’s DN contains one of the following characters: & < > “ ‘ , the document can not be displayed.      
06/01/2011    HMON8HDS9K
LO61267    Place specific issue where a Folder proxy document was in an incomplete state.  This folder would only appear in the Notes Sidebar Connector.      
05/26/2011    GAKI8BPEKX
LO56719    Running “qptool refresh” on an upgraded Quickr 8.2 place based on a PlaceType may not refresh the theme from the PlaceType if you had previously run “qptool archive” on that place.
(see fix GAKI8BPEKX in “Additional Information for special fixes” section)      
05/26/2011    KSAA7WTDFX
LO45318    When using an 8.2 upgraded place and logged in as an editor, moving a folder to another folder causes that resulting folder to no longer be expanded.      
05/25/2011    PNOT8H6L2Q    In a customer place certain documents created with a custom form in 8.2 do not show the Attachments tab in Connectors after upgrade, documents created post upgrade do show the Attachments tab..
**Please note, you must run “qptool upgrade -f  -a “ for this fix to be applied   

Symantec BackupExec for Domino Fix for Hang

I was not very happy with Symantec for dropping my ticket because we took too long to resolve it. See earlier post.
Some people at Symantec did care enough to get in touch with me and help resolve a problem that as it turns out plagued both Darren and I.
Thanks to Russ and Ron for their help.

The issue was after installation you want to set up your backup for Domino.

But when we would go to click on the list of Domino databases, well you clikc on the drive letter first, it would never come back and show the list. Eventually you have to exit or stop the processes and that got annoying.

What took 4 months+ to figure out is there was a file in the wrong place on the server.

The ndgts.dll file which should be found in c:\lotus\domino was in c:\lotus\domino\data incorrectly.
 What we both found was we also had a version in the correct place. the correct version was in the correct place, but the incorrect version, which looked to be from Domino 8.5.2 or 8.5.0 must have been installed incorrectly during a fixpack update or some other way. Maybe my IBM support friends will have some insight.

Deleting the file from the wrong place, rebooting the physical server(to clear the dll from memory) allowed the process to continue.

As Russ said on the comments to the other post:
It turned out in both cases that there was an older Domino DLL (NDGTS.DLL) in the Domino data folder that the Backup Exec agent was finding before getting to the proper version in the Domino binaries location. Have a look here for the resulting fix Technote.

Thank you to Symantec again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Domino Server Execution prevention on WNSD

One of our clients over the weekend had a server failure from a backup. Which if all goes well I will report on that later.

On rebooting the box, we saw the message above.

Something caused NSD to break.

Click Change Settings and let it run without issue. After all can't have it shutting down Domino because of NSD now can we.

Not sure what caused the NSD to go crazy either. We think a power surge caused a problem. The UPS units are do for checks and replacement of batteries it seems.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #59: Theory is Cheap

Reality is Expensive.

Anyone can provide theories, opinions or blog posts but are they worth anything?
What happens when the theory goes horribly wrong?

Ever get into a discussion about a project with a client only to find out that someone told them it should be easier, simpler, faster or cheaper than you just stated?

What do you do? How do you defend yourself? Should you even bother to defend yourself?

Usually this is a sign that you have not done your part properly and gathered enough information from the client. No, you may never get to find out what the other bids are, but you are not looking for those details. What you are looking for is the value or time, the customer feels the project will take/cost and how that could be worked on your end to a better deal for everyone.

If you know, for example, that creating a new ID takes 1-2 minutes depending on the server speed and network, you can safely say it takes less than 5 minutes. If another vendor came in and said it takes 15 minutes an ID, what do you, as the client or the vendor, think or do? The client usually has no idea or bases their knowledge on what the norm has been in their company. In some companies they really believe it takes a day. Bet you wish you had that client don't you? Or I bet you hate to hear that from your own employees mouth?

Maybe the client says, why do you need 15 minutes when it takes a minute or two? Sometimes clients do know what they are talking about. But, that other vendor has a job to explain the reality from the theory.

Let's see, they may say:
1) Log in to the client/server to create an ID
2) Get to the ID screen
3) Start entering all the pertinent information
4) Verify what you typed is correct
5) Add any security/access required or denied for the user
6) Save/OK the entry
7) Wait for it to say complete or
8) Push the change out manually so you can test the ID
9) Test the ID
10) Copy the ID, if a file is created, to a secure/safe secondary home
11) Email/IM/Tweet the user that they can now login

12) Document the user was created and the password assigned, especially if there is no log file for this or a way to fix it later.

Now when the client looks at this, they see a produced document which can also double for guidelines, training, certifications, documentation. They also now believe, because they were shown this list, this is a bit of psychology in how people think, that it takes 12 minutes to make an ID file. In some cases even longer, more because there are even more steps to some systems or processes. You get the picture.

But, what you want top do instead is this:
Ask the client, how long THEY think it takes their staff to create an ID.
Or what is the current time allocated for ID creation or what they think it takes if something is new to them.

Somewhere between your thinking and their reality is what you are looking for, in both time and money. Don't leave money on the table, but don't lie to your client either. If you use their time and their words, you can not go far off course. But taking advantage of someone who does not know the difference may come back to haunt you next time you try to do business with them. Don't be short sighted.

Theory works very well until someone needs to get work done. Then what should take a minute takes 15 or 15 hours. Sometimes, that is how it happens. Other times it really does take a minute. Be open and upfront with your clients and vendors, and they will be with you too.

Knowing in advance what to expect, for better or for worse, will help you more in your negotiations than anything else you can do.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog

4 years is a long time. On the 5th was the anniversary of this blog. Others have been started and dropped through the years, but this one keeps going.

This year saw the rebirth of the Fud Buster Friday posts. While the world has changed quite a bit over the year and I am not going to drag that up again, the animosity against IBM now comes in different ways. Google+ comes out swinging for the fences, Novell's Vibe has some of the Google+ going for it, but the comparisons of these against Facebook and eventually IBM Connections may be some of what comes in the future.

Details, details, details. Let's see, according to PlanetLotus this blog is 21 based on unique hits. Probably would have been better had PL not had a server issue once upon a time, but that is not important. What is important is how many people the posts within have helped others.

This year a handful of posts have claimed over 700 visits. Peanuts to some people no doubt, but as a non-developer who has some contrarian opinions, not too bad.

My iNotes redirector posts continue to get hit nearly daily, so although we all use it, obviously I struck a chord when I wrote them.

Naturally there is also the Sharepoint costs how much post that also gets hit daily.

Interesting to me is people using ipods to read my blog. A small percentage but impressive nonetheless. By far windows beats the next highest system, Macs but Linux/Unix are coming up stronger. Firefox, IE and Chrome represent 45, 30, 14 percent respectively.

So as I embark on the 5th year I have been guest blogging and starting a few more blogs, some that have nothing to do with these topics, some that view these topics in a different way. There is more outside the Yellow Bubble.

Google+, Cure for What Ails FB?

Now that I have spent a whole 2 days on Google+ I am still learning about it. But what is interesting to me is the sense of hive.

Google gets the hive mentality. Call it social, collaboration, whatever, but Google gets it, and can do it, because Facebook is really one uni dimensional. Sure everything inside Facebook may feed it, but that is never how (I feel when I use it. I feel like it was cobbled together.

Google+, or G+ as some call it, still does not have somethings needed, like RSS feeds or ways to suck in blog posts, but it does an excellent job of finding all your "stuff" and making it easily accessible. And downloadable. yes you can download your posted items, to a point. But it is possible. Something Facebook is fighting now.

The thing you may hear so much about is the Circles. Dante is probably ecstaticly happy. Circles allow you to quickly follow just your family, friends, work, or whoever you add to a Circle...without the clutter of everyone/everything else. yes there is the river flowing of streams but the ability to break it up into tributaries that you control is probably the number one reason people are loving G+. I know for me this is a great reason to use it. I rarely use Facebook, even though I only have friends there, but really I don't care about your politics people.

What is also interesting is you can search for someone and add them, nothing about how do I know this person or what's their email(sorry Linkedin), just, yes I want to follow them. Very Twitter like. and it works well because how else would I or you get to interact with various Entrepreneurs or thought leaders otherwise?

Will G+ kill Twitter? Perhaps in time. But for now, Facebook serves a few purposes, mostly around calendar, meetings and events for me. But little else. Ok, the Birthday thing is nice too.

So will Facebook fight back? Will Twitter or Linkedin? Will they embrace and extend rather than fight and exclude? Let's check in after 90 days and see shall we?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Edits, They Never Quite Look Right Do They?

You may have noticed I have changed some UI on the blog to clean it up a bit.
One thing which I am working on is bringing back the logo I love but in a smaller size, with the tag lines so it fits in less space than before. I fought with the html and lost in round 1, but gained a bunch of other benefits. So will try again in a day or 2.

The problem I am seeing is the UI looks different on my various devices, monitors. I can safely state that the nuance of which yellow or orange hex code is very important. It means the difference between legible reading or worse, much worse.

The funny thing is the editor/CMS looks the same no matter what I do to the blog itself. I'd like the editor to change with me and my colors. I know the Domino Designer doesn't do this either, but it can pick up some colors and trims. Maybe some one reading has figured out a way to customize their designer UI, color scheme and I'd like to hear about it.

All spelling mistakes are mine, but what happens when the editor shows it plain as day in a proper way yet publishes it askew? I also now understand more about what Ben discusses. I always knew but this last round has me wondering.

So in the old days we would test sizing, colors, now we test these and multiple browsers, devices and I guess add monitors to the list. It never ends.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do Software Companies Suck?

There was an article published on TechCrunch over the weekend which I got into some discussions in a few places about.

The article, titled "Building An Enterprise Software Company That Doesn’t Suck by: Aaron Levie who is the founder and CEO of

Aaron is correct about the future, but the current world is not quite there. For every Salesforce, there is an equal amount of unknowns. Companies that need to roll something out around the world don't like to hear/see a small company is handling it nor do they want to commit to something that then disappears overnight.

There is also the premise that better feedback will lead to faster changes and more upkeep over time of new products. I have yet to see this in nearly any product we use, iPhone, desktop, Linux or whatever. Fixes/patches get done, but whole UI changes/additions? Not often.

My original read on this was a dumbing down of applications to users. While I may have taken this to the extreme a bit, I don't doubt that we all would like a 1 step expense form. BUt it just doesn't work that It is getting better.

When Arron says:
In the next generation enterprise software company, the customer support and services organizations are more important than ever before – committed to the success of customers throughout the entire life of product ownership.

Great, so we should all move into customer support because that is where the money is? Give me a break. When you pay your customer support people as well as your developers or better, then I will believe you. Zappos and Tony did a great job and I know his people love their job but at some point the average employee of any level of ability wants more.

When they want more, you come to the crossroads that says where do we get our revenue from? And that is where we are investing. Can the new generation of companies be the reverse of all those that went before? I'd like to think so, but Comcast who was out in front on twitter to start can't back it up with their own internal issues. Like not calling or mailing in real mail, when one's account is overdue.

Never mix up customer service with making money, the two go together but one side always wins, in the end. Can you do both together and keep the company afloat, maybe you can and maybe the next generation of owners will do it but so many things must change to get to that level.

Aaron obviously knows his history:
Try performing A/B tests on a Siebel system or Lotus 10 to 15 years ago, or pulling customer activity in real-time to drive product decisions. It simply wasn’t possible. Or, just imagine what enterprise software would look like if all enterprise vendors implemented Google’s 20% time, or quarterly hackathons?
That last line is the key and we would like to believe this is happening everywhere, but I don't think so. Jams don't do the same thing, although ideas flowing from these can lead to some breakthroughs.

I tinker as much as the next person but what companies say they do internally versus what they tell you to do as an employee are two very different things.

I worry because I see some of this as the dumbing down of the workforce. Others will say but it is great it frees you up to do more, and the simple apps do so much for you. But I do not want to have tons of apps to do so many things all over the place. I want apps that do work together and talk to each other and collaborate across the spectrum. And I know the difficulties involved in this and that is why this dream is still so far from reality in some ways. Standards should make this easier but every time a new standard is created more issues occur because not everyone holds to the full standard.

Makes corporates pull their hair out and that is why startups have a hard time breaking in to companies with established vendors. My friends in smaller companies that can move faster or be more flexible than MS or IBM or HP, keep going, you are on the right track. But so few are on that track at all it seems.

Lastly, I don't use and have nothing but respect for Aaron and what the next generation is building for the future, I am caught in a world that still doesn't want mobile devices or even web apps to be used outside their firewall and the frustration of that attitude is not only bothering me but others as well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #58: You want Open CRM?

which one is your data in
Which one is your data in?

Ever wonder when a client says they want a CRM application what they really mean?
When you push them, do they really understand what they are after?
Is it really yet another server to store repetitive data or a Cloud based solution to duplicate everything?

Or do they want to replace their existing solution...if they had one?

Some have had IBM Lotus Domino based solutions that were built in-house or from a now defunct consultant or company and want to get away from them because, well they are older solutions, and you want new shiny and exciting CRM applications. Right, because you have a 100% customizable solution and would prefer a 50% one? Sorry did we give you too many choices? Afraid to hire a developer?

Maybe you have a solution from an existing company who has kept updating it perpetually so it is not just web based but mobile as well and for all your devices. Maybe this solution is now part of SugarCRM which is open source and relatively cheap per user at around $30/month. Your Notes license is depending on the license type, renewed at $20-50/yr. So the new solution costs you 7 times as much PER USER as the one you already own.

Sure you can say development will be expensive, let's say your enhancements are $25,000. In a small company this would be overkill, but for your average 500 person company that is $50/user. Still think it is expensive?

But you say the money for an SaaS or Cloud offering comes from a different budget and out of the IT budget. Fine I can't argue with that entirely but what is more important for the data?

Huh? The data? Who cares about data we care about cost! You may say this, and that is okay.

But have you thought about how are you going to get that new solution, SalesForce, Sugar, MS CRM or whatever to connect across all your services, software, devices and secure it in a way that makes the sharing of data easier...not harder?

One client went the MS CRM route and then related to me how painful it was to integrate it into anything because of 3 things. Cost, Resources/time, knowledge. The last one especially was intriguing as they implied the Business Partner they used had no idea what they were doing. It happens. But A second client related similar issues as they dug in deeper to MS CRM. It is a build it to use it solution. Typical of Microsoft to make companies work harder to do the simple thing and leave the really hard stuff for some other time or version.

A new silo has been built and you paid for it, congratulations.

You were expecting the opportunity to merge various databases and depositories into one nice place. You still get all of that from Domino, it will connect to your MS CRM as well. One storage for all. No mess, no years of consultants.

You want a truly open solution and they are out there. IBM has worked out deals with SalesForce and SugarCRM for Lotuslive. They are partially integrated right now so calendar invites etc.. get fed through and some other points of integration. These may now start looking better to you.

In soem cases it is easier to get information into Domino, then push it out to whatever end source. No matter which way you choose, you have an open solution but that MS CRM hard to say the same.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Slides Posted for The View 2011+

I have been changing some UI on my blog since Luis Benitez showed me that Pages can be added.

The Page for FudBusters is not ready for prime time.

The Page or Tab
above that says Slides houses various slides, presentations and other supporting material links.

Including The View Admin 2011 slides, other 2010 items and 2009 Speedgeeking that are on this server. More to come as I dig them out.

QSnTT - Quickr Connectors Export/Import Option

At The View Admin 2011 when I was presenting my Quickr session, (will post slides shortly) and asked how many people new about this subject and only 1 hand int he room went up. And he was from Europe so I figured I should remind everyone about this.

This is really important for a number of reasons:
1) Backup your own sites or any user that needs to get a new laptop. Ever try to manually add dozens or hundreds of sites? Enough said.
2) Does your company supply prebuilt laptop images? And you probably need to keep these updated too.
3) Makes demo setups easier too

Probably many more reasons to use it but here are the links to using it from 8.2 and 8.5. I fixed the 8.5 link.

In my session I explained how to do it, then did a live export, deleted everything in my places connector then  an import. It took not even 2 minutes.

IBM Customers, Want to Speak at Lotusphere 2012?

I don't guarantee you a slot, I have zero say in the matter as a non-IBMer, unless you are a client of mine then I try my best, but this may help you in case you want the chance and are not my client. It isn't perfect or straight from anyone just my thoughts on how to populate Lotusphere with customers.

At The View Admin 2011 show I discussed in my sessions how customers have chances to speak at Lotusphere. The View shows are really about customers, not so many Business Partners attend sessions. And my job as a speaker and Lotus Evangelist is to encourage everyone's participation in getting the good word out and hopefully customer reference stories.

If you can, try to do a session for a local LUG if there is one near you. It gives you some live people to get feedback and helps you get used to speaking if you have never done it previously.

As a client speaking at Lotusphere there comes perks that your company will enjoy like over 5,000 people knowing/hearing your company name everywhere for a week plus other email, newsletters and PR opportunities.

You most likely receive a pass to Lotusphere of some sort (IBM's discretion of course) which should make your boss happy and finance happier.

Naturally you should get introductions to IBMers at many levels you would not easily find if you were on your own. Many of these people will be Product Managers or higher executives because they want to know more about you and how you are using the products. This is your time to shine and give great feedback, even about things you may not like, just be constructive. It helps if you want to later be nominated as an IBM Champion for Collaborative Solutions as IBM values your contributions as a client.

There are of course other benefits but those vary year to year(special sessions/roundtables, private executive meetings, dinners, outings of various types and of course a coveted Lotusphere backpack) but suffice it to say you will be very busy and be treated well by IBM. If you get accepted to speak.

So how do you get the ball rolling?

1) If your IBM rep or Business Partner hasn't told you before or started yet, ASK THEM. Yes, asking is the first step, just make sure you say you want to be a Business/Customer Session. You see there is a protocol involved that the IBM rep or BP has to go through. They ask their manager who asks theirs who eventually asks the Leaders of Lotusphere how to set it up for this year. You can of course submit abstracts like the rest of us when the window opens for them but this is about your company not you per se.

2) They will ask what do you want to speak about. Have some ideas, 2-3 topics, the IBM rep will eventually get a whif of what this year's theme will be and may steer you to a session in line with it. OR you may have some great application which would be amazing to tell everyone about. Either way think about the ideas from the perspective of "What session, as a customer, would you be interested in hearing about?" If you use Quickr and have 1,000's of sites and manage it well(kudos to you it isn't easy) suggest it. As long as it uses the products and has a good ROI or other metric that would help, try it.

3)Now you need to do some things in parallel. One is approach legal and get approval. Second is approach marketing/PR/advertising and let them know you are thinking about doing this and would they like it if you were accepted. Remember 5,000+ people a day for almost a week is a lot of people and just what they like to hear. Not legal, they tend to be rather conservative but without their approval you are wasting your time.

4) Your manager should be told after all the above, unless you are friends with them.Many reasons for this but if your boss is from Dilbert you get the picture.

5) Sit and wait. Maybe you will get accepted. Maybe you won't. The benefit is you will now get more respect to your IBM rep from inside IBM, I think it's on their goals for the year to get customers to speak and attend Lotusphere but I have no idea really, which should help your need as well. You help them, they help you and everyone is happy right?

If you get accepted, now what?

The sessions are either 20 minutes, 45 or an hour or more so you need to plan for it all at some point. But you can pull pieces out or add in later.

You should briefly describe your company with some company info/history to set the expectation about you especially if you are not as well known as GE for example.
Discuss the size of the environment and how mnay admins/devs/apps/mail files etc and OS types, basically anything that sets a picture of your environment.

Then discuss the topic, briefly, so everyone knows the minimum about the tool/solution/app before you get to the good stuff.

Then get to what you want to say about your topic.

Wrap it up with what you found, pro/con style so others are aware that it may not be 100% simple. There are always gotchas and people desperately want to know about them before starting a new project.

Finish with why Domino/IBM is so key to the company and going forward any plans you have to extend it.

Again, I have no connection to Lotusphere these days that influences anything but I do want to see IBM get more customers requesting to speak than abstracts for the rest of Lotusphere.

Prove the world wrong that not everyone uses Microsoft or Google but does use IBM and loves it.

So you 400 or so from The View conference start thinking about ideas, Lotusphere starts January 15, 2012 a mere 192 days from now! Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quickr Administrator Book now on Kindle

Packt let me know that our book is now available for Kindle's at Amazon.
The link is to the right of this post.

Like to know what people think about the price on this.
I question higher prices on electronic devices for books, and I am an author.

How an Admin Could Sell Domino to Management

Originally Found on Gavin Bollard's Blog
This post is based on conversations at The View Admin 2011 Bar Camp night in which I extolled how Admins are responsible for their own downfall, albeit unknowingly in some cases.

There are many out there who do great work, maintain infrastructures others would die for and seem to get anything they need/want or ask for, yet others do not have any of this. Why? I had been thinking about this for some time and when the opportunity came up at the Bar Camp it provided this post.

One example came from someone who had migrated users to Notes from Outlook and another who had upgraded from R6/7 to R8.5. Spell check was not turned on by default and the users complained. Now there are a few ways to deal with this but I put it on the Admin(we talked after and all is okay) because my view is shame on you! Policies exist for a reason, use them! When you install clients, didn't you pre-configure them for the PC support teams builds? If you would use it or set it, so would your users, so why make them do all the work? A little bit of time upfront saves help desk calls, irate employees, delays, unprofessional emails and a host of other items. So yes, we as Admins should take the blame because we don't know what we could be doing. Ignorance? Lack of training? Laziness? Lack of Resources? All the above? Go set the default policies for mail clients NOW, save yourself, and your help desk time and grief.

In my DDM (Domino Domain monitoring, it is the DDM.nsf) session I pointed out that there is a built-in dashboard, it is FREE, as in, um, zero cost, 100% FREE. This dashboard is what will make or break you annual review! You do want to get a raise correct? Well how does your boss know all the things you have been working on that NO ONE EVER KNOWS ABOUT to keep Domino and your servers running smoothly. This dashboard can be viewed by date, severity, server and even delegation. Yes you can delegate items to your staff. Think about how you look when you have server documented details for your review!

Now this will not save you from Microsoft happy CIOs or Google VP of Marketing but think about it this way. What if at every weekly/monthly meeting you had this dashboard for management(I know they can see it at anytime, but you know management, they get sidetracked easily) to get a gauge of what is truly happening in your environment? Get a screen shot of the server being up for 100+ days at a time. Ask everyone else in IT to provide a similar screen shot. Cheap and gimmicky? Yes but you don't want to hear from the new exec how Domino breaks down all the time, especially when it doesn't.

But if only you know this information, no one else will champion your cause. And this is the point.

Keeping your IBM infrastructure, hardware, software or anything can only be done when you provide management with reasons and examples for what you have and why it is good, working and forward thinking. Here is a hint, technology is not what is important to management. Quiet nights sleep, no emergency calls or screaming from the C level about something being down. And they like new shiny things to play with too. INSTALL TRAVELER! It also is free and you have no reason to NOT use it. Security perhaps?

Someone said they are not allowed to use iNotes or Webadmin because Security said they need 2 types of authentication. Get on Domino 8.5.2 and you will see that if you use Certificate Authority and ID Vault there are 2 separate transactions, maybe more involved. If you don't know, ask someone, search Google. But never, I mean NEVER let Security people push you around or Firewall people or OS or hardware or anyone. You are a Domino Admin, you know or deal with more than any one of these people ever will and they should bring information to YOU not have you prove it to THEM!  You are a swiss army knife they are just one solitary tool, use it or lose it.

If you are not doing these basic things you will lose control of your environment, to the Cloud or some other vendor.

If you run apps, get transaction details by day/week/month/quarter and get them into the executives hands. Make a simple view in the app if possible JUST FOR EXECS. Hint, ask the developers to help. If you run an app that every sale MUST get posted, send a report to the VP of Sales. They will love you for it because the sales people lie daily about leads and deals, but here you have details. Nothing signed, nothing entered, you know and now so do they. Make others accountable so they back you up when you need it. Think outside the cubicle!

If you run mail, point out mean time between failures, if any, and the number of messages sent hourly, daily, weekly, etc.. and the down time and what that equates to in emails which also equates to money. IBM was not wasting money on buying Cognos, management wants analytics and the more you provide the better for you.

Why? Because when the new CIO walks in and says where's my Sharepoint or Outlook, YOUR manager and others will point them to all of the details you have been sending, showing and backing up the premise that a whim does not make money. A well maintained infrastructure makes money or at break even doesn't lose any money because of down times. Which is just as important.

Talk about Uptime whenever possible. Sure we all patch servers and need down times but if you can show 0% downtime aside from planned schedule outages that goes a long way.

None of this may make a difference in some cases, but if you are not out there getting the basics to the people that will help you when you need it, then what are you doing with your job? Set the bar high, make it so high no one could possibly get into your infrastructure to knock out Domino or an i series or Linux or whatever is that important to you.

You the admin can do this, developers have a future in other languages but as an admin you may not get retrained or an opportunity to learn and experience more so make the most of it.

PS - Websphere IS IMPORTANT to your future, take the time, learn it or at least get familiar with administering it because Sametime, Connections, Forms, Quickr already are there.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Symantec Customer Service Fails

Due to the length of time to resolve a problem? Which is still unsolved.

Backup Exec will not work on one of the Domino servers at a client site.
We have been working this issue now for 3 months and have done various updates, system changes, debugs, and still no luck.

The backup fails when one tries to select Domino databases in a directory, it just hangs and never comes back. No other servers have this issue. The server has even been rebuilt and moved off VM, increased the RAM and other efforts.

Today I logged in to find this message. We were closed because it took too much time to not resolve a problem? Note they were to get some more details from me the next day, which I did send, but it was closed. Thanks Darren whoever you are at Symantec.

Recap of The View Admin 2011

View from my hotel room of the Planet Hollywood hotel and The Bellagio with the mountains in the background
Sorry this is a week late but I took a few days off with the family after my week in Vegas.

If you have never been to one of The View Admin or Developer conferences, you don't know what you are missing. Sessions are given by IBMers, ISSL staff, Vendors, Sponsors, (announced at the event)IBM Champions, Bloggers, Regular speakers from other Lotus IBM Collaboration Solutions events. In other words, the people that know what they are doing and have done that, blogged it and forgot some of it already. No marketing, okay some IBM sessions naturally but even those are aimed at YOU not some exec or business line person, you the technical decision maker.

I spent time with many of my friends some of which I only knew online, some which are lurkers on this blog (hi Missy) and others from Twitter or just rare glimpses from Lotuspheres. I did feel out of place surrounded by iPads everywhere. You'd think they were sold at the local store like chocolate bars.

This year every attendee received a recycled material backpack and inside were usual items from the sponsors and vendors but also chances to win the latest Plantronics headsets, $500 Best Buy gift card and I believe I heard an iPad was given away too. Thanks to Scott Hooks from GBS, their Transformer product was a big sponsor of the event and one evening entertainment, he was nice enough to donate his bag to me, I did not have a backpack with me and it really came in handy.

In conversation with attendees I pointed many to other sessions friends were giving and heard great reviews from those sessions. What is so bad about getting up close with the speaker in a room for about 100 people? And then you get to talk to them in the hall or at lunch or wherever? Really try to do that at Lotusphere, it just is not as easy or relaxed.

Mark Harper(L) and Keith Brooks
My highlight was meeting one of my co-authors of our Quickr book, Mark Harper. Here we are with a copy, we autographed a few for some lucky people. So it was a social conference as well.

My session on  DDM and what it is telling you ran the gamut from technical to professional aspects of how to impress your management and keep Domino in everyone's good graces. We also touched on the lack of updates to some of the events database details which I hope IBM will get to at some point. But that was part of the session, the ambiguous or odd messages from the server. Well received and a mostly full room.

The Quickr session went well and while I posted the qpconfig file already, one item I demo'd only 1 person had even known they could do it at all! So I will try to get that posted here as well at some point shortly.

The session I did on Hacking your server was a bit off the beaten path but the questions afterward were really interesting. As were the few stories others told me about the deleted servers from their names.nsf ...all 400 of them.

There was a Bar Camp, emphasis on the first word, where we discussed various topics, somehow, I ended up at a table about competitive discussions and how to save your world from the encroachment of MS, Google and others. A post will be coming on this topic too as it is important for everyone to keep some things in mind so your job is secure.

Lastly, thanks and compliments to the staff of The View and all who helped put on the show for treating everyone so well and letting me print out my boarding pass.

Fud Buster Friday #57: Management Knows What They Are Doing

Every company, school, university, non-profit organization goes through this at one time or another. When management says trust me, you know you are in for it. Like an interview with a questionable job/company, if anyone says trust me or us, just run away. Or worse, acts like they know what they are doing, doesn't say trust me and proceeds to act like nothing is wrong.
Hubris! Wikipedia says it means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance.

If management knows what they are did they get you into this hole to start? Was it too little management? Too much micromanagement? Lack of training? Too much training and not enough selling? The list is endless.

Everyone goes through rough patches, some weather it better than others. Others fly blind in the face of ignorance that their world has changed.

Do people ever tell Steve Jobs he's off his rocker inside Apple? Not likely. So how does he retain that respect? Aside from being the CEO and founder and a micromanager who just happens to get almost everything right?

There is a plan, sometimes half baked, but any plan is always better than NO PLAN.
The company encourages feedback on the plan.
The plan is distributed to all parties of importance, vendors, customers, press or whatever it is intended, but it does get out to the masses.
The audience may gripe or moan but the reality is if the plan makes sense there will be buy in. Does it make management look smart? No, not yet, wait until the plan gets executed and then who get scredit 90% of the time?

So what seems to be the problem? It is the Easy Way vs. the Hard Way:
  1. Easy way: Price cutting? Not a bad idea, but (now the Hard Way)did you also reduce the size, quantity or package on offer with that reduction? Sales people are not always good at this part, they usually stop at the price cutting. An excellent interview question when hunting for a new VP/Director of Sales by the way.
  2. Easy way: Firing staff? Not going to win any fans this way. Instead (now the Hard Way) did you think that there was a way to retain some of the people, on flex time or some other mutually beneficial efforts? Also a great question to ask of C level executives. This will tell you which side they are on, their bonus or your staff.
  3. Easy Way: Denying the customers are going to the competition. Hard Way says it happens quite frequently but not always because of price. Many times it is because of poor customer service or bad attitudes. Do you (Hard Way)tell people or do you (Easy Way) keep inside the degradation in sales? What can I say, I like competitive discussions, but few can answer these questions well in interviews.

So here is the problem, you trained your staff, your hired great people, now those great people are making you look bad and losing customers for you. Yet these are the people you kept!? Makes you wonder doesn't it. Makes the rest of the staff wonder about you as management. As I watch more and more people be let go from companies, some they had been with for decades, it really makes me wonder just who you did keep since these are people that have battled for your company for years. Loyalty obviously has no place in this post-9/11 world.

The Easy Way out will cause unrest among the staff. Attitudes do not get better, they get worse. Yes, they are following orders but when enough points of reference say there is a problem, staff stops working until management recognizes there is an issue. Woe to you if you are in a company that does not see this, I feel for you. Some of you have also had the revolving doors of executives, one after another brought in to be the savior but each one failing as well. Your Board of Directors should get tossed, but that is REALLY hard to do.

What takes a little more effort, goes a long way, but in this era of me, me, me, no one wants to make the effort. Companies could benefit from listening to staff recommendations, schools should listen to parents and their own teachers, sports teams should really listen to their fans. The alternatives is a complete break down which no one wants to see happen nor experience in an already fragile economic time.

It isn't always easy to be creative and save jobs or your PR but if management could try to work with everyone when business gets better there will be more business. But until then, Management doesn't really know what they are doing because they do not know what tomorrow brings. So don't be like the bad management and take the easy way out, instead take the hard way and be humble, be open, be candid and honest and in turn make a better world for your staff who is already doing all of this behind your back on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a million other ways.