Thursday, March 29, 2012

SnTT- When log.nsf gets snagged

Sometimes what we know doesn't always work.

Take this situation. Client running an R5 server suddenly gets errors on the console that the log file can not be found or unable to write to it.

It seems the server crashed or had something happen to it and the log.nsf may have become corrupted.

The simple response is to move the bad log.nsf out of the Domino directory entirely so you can review it for what caused the problem. You do this by shutting down the server and physically moving the file, cut and paste style. Domino will start a new log.nsf file on startup if one does not exist and you are good to go.

Not so fast. What if, as it did in this case, the errors persist? Now what do you do?

The answer, in this case, was after reviewing the template was okay and all else looked good was to reboot the server. In this case the client did not want to do this as it was a remote box and no coverage at the time.

You can run, even on old R5 servers, nsd.exe -kill. Yes it was around then. And this will clear any open threads from Notes or Domino and sure enough afer running it and starting up Domino all was good again in the world.

More than one way to solve this but sometimes you need to think about the repercussions before committing to a resolution. What would have happenned if the server never came back online from the reboot? What would you do? What do you tell your client if it didn't work? There are always options.

Volunteering for FIRST Robotics the next 2 days

For those that do not know what FIRST is, it was founded by Dean Kamen.

Their mission :
Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

It is a great idea and this will be my first time helping. In fact it is the first one held at FAU, Florida Atlantic University here in Boca Raton.

I will be one of the Robot Judges checking everyone is playing by the rules and keeping safe robots. Unfortunately for me I will miss the real action of the finals which are on Saturday but with 40+ teams expected there will be a lot of action Thursday and Friday.

I look forward to meeting the students and other volunteers and will post pictures during the day to Twitter and Facebook. Load in was last night and I am on site from 7am to 7pm today and 7-12pm Friday. If you are in town and want to come by, it's free admission. We are at the FAU "Burrow" arena.

FIRST has a Twitter account, Firsttweets, if you want to follow them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the Moment Don't Forget About the Future

In a parsha filled with totally irrelevant information for modern times, what can we learn that helps in business?

I pondered this all week and came to the conclusion that it was known at the time, much of this would not be useful forever. If you believe God dictated the Torah to Moshe then why would God go into such detail about sacrifices that would have a use for a few centuries, even a millenia, but not forever?

Sometimes in business, we also go into serious details on topics or projects that it really will not matter years down the road, but it matters immensely to the short term. In some cases the choices we make have long ranging meaning. Choosing to go Token Ring or Ethernet, Netscape vs. IE, Coke vs. Pepsi think about some of the things that influenced the long term that the short term caused a paradigm shift. Some of these are still played out today. Others, are roadkill to history.

Knowing how to perform the sacrifices is something a small group of people today study and are preparing for the day when they will be reinstated as the norm. For many of us it is not likely in our lifetime, yet they persevere. Rallying behind a product or a company may provide some form of belonging to some people, for others it's a religion of sort. Still other people move on, drop the old, pick up the new, sometimes learning from the past, sometimes not.

At the end of the Parsha in 5:11 the alternative is offered for those that can not afford the more expensive sacrifices.
But if he cannot afford two turtle doves or two young doves, then he shall bring as his sacrifice for his sin one tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall not put oil over it, nor shall he place frankincense upon it, for it is a sin offering.
The alternative close, the always be closing effort stems from the idea that there is no one who is beyond saving or beyond a solution to their troubles. And so we get a hint that we should always offer an alternative solution because the long term is to keep the client, keep you in the fold, in some way, shape, or form.

Parsha Vayikrah in the book of Vayikra Exodus 1:1 - 5:26

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.3: Upgrader's Guide

Packt asked me to review this book, they sent me a soft cover copy. I have been an author for them and reviewer in the past, just for full disclosure.

It was written by some IBMers named Tim Speed, Scott O'Keefe and Barry Rosen. The book follows the usual Packt logic and formats which have proven to be pretty good from my experience as an author with them and a reader/reviewer. Two of the three of these gentlemen previously published the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 The Upgrader's Guide as well.

The back cover says this book was written for power users, admins and developers looking to upgrade to 8.5.3. And additionally could be read by management looking for a high level understanding of the new options.

My feeling is the second half of that statement is the truth. The book goes into a reasonable explanation of the changes in the 8.5. series from a server and client angle. In fact that is the 1st 6 chapters alone as well as Chapter 9 on development topics. Chapter 10 is about the integration with other IBM products and Chapter 11 is solely about the DCT. Domino Configuration Tuner which Scott.

The 2 chapters dedicated to upgrading (Chapter 7) and co-existence among releases (Chapter 8) are a very high level overview. Given 2 out of the 3 authors are from ISSL, the IBM Global Services Lotus arm, we get the benefits of an outline or workflow to follow when setting up the project to do the upgrades.

Overall, an excellent guide to What's new in the 8.5.x stream and how they interact with the client and server from an admin, developer and user perspective.

Unfortunately, we get little around the actual upgrading process itself.While in general Domino upgrades go smoothly for experienced admins, there are countless issues to be discussed and the authors touch on some of these but without practical instruction leaving the reader to go look up more details. Names.nsf updates, templates, Traveler updates (and subsequent notes.ini and internet site documents which may need editing) among other basic issues receive little or no discussion. The 8.5.1 book appears to go into some of these topics in a little more detail but still not as much as a junior admin would need.

Smart Upgrade should have received more than a go look at the administration help link. It is not that simple as numerous blog posts from many of us in the field have shown. Policies receive better treatment.

As an admin, not much for us here, as a reference for clients looking to upgrade from older releases, this is a must have book filled with the WHY you should upgrade. If you are a Lotus Notes admin who has been away from it for a while, this will get you up to speed in a topical way.

A good reference to have on the shelf for clients, in fact I recommended it already to 2 of them because they do not have strong backgrounds in the infrastructure they have inherited or merged.