Thursday, December 16, 2021

Crazy 2021 Ending, The Streak Continues as an HCL Ambassador

The last 2 years have been brutal in many ways, and honestly, after my efforts with #HCLAmbassadorTips in 2020, 2021 for me was relatively quiet.

But HCL has deemed me worthy of continuing as an HCL Ambassador, now going on 9 years in a row, including the prior years as an IBM Champion.

Maybe I did something right for my clients, or I did something wrong, and no one complained. Yeah, I did blow some stuff up by accident at a client, but not like what I did in my first real IT gig. 

Maybe my sessions at the various events in 2021 were so awesome they had to make me an ambassador again. Then again, I doubt the 10-50 of you that showed up are on the voting committee. The rest of you that did not appear, that's ok, I was zoomed out already in 2020. Beers for all of us at Engage, I hope.

The long tail of those sessions, however, is massive.

And that is what HCL expects from its Ambassadors. To provide content, help, support others and find ways to assist the community and worldwide customer base.

Some of my slides posted this year have over 500 views. I wish I knew why so I could repeat it again in 2022.

Likewise, some blog posts about the topics I presented this past year are over 3,000 hits which for my blog, given how often I write these days, is pretty impressive.

So what will I do in 2022?

I have no idea. My post from last year did not promise much in 2021 because I really was worn out from the 366 tips I posted.

But, for those who want to understand this Ambassador thing better, I point you to my post last year around this time of the year for how you can join in the fun.

I told my oldest daughter that I may start a TikTok Tips thing.

She is still laughing hours later.

I had some other ideas but nothing concrete enough to commit to writing.

Until then, congratulations to all of the HCL Ambassadors wherever you are in the world, and I hope to see you in 2022 someplace, some time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

My Collabsphere Session on TOTP/MFA and HCL Domino R12

Great to be speaking again at Collabsphere. 

This was the first of my 2 sessions, feel free to download it and ask any questions about it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

SnTT - TOTP Needs an ID file in the ID Vault to Work, What if some are Missing?

Yes, of course, a properly managed Domino environment should have been using the ID Vault for several years now.

But we all have customers who, for one reason, or another, just never did it, or worse, think they did, but never checked it worked.

And then we hear from them out of the blue to help get TOTP installed and update their environment.

No big deal, right? Set up the ID Vault, and when people log in to their Notes client, their ID files get sent to the ID Vault. Newly registered people are also automatically added to the ID Vault.

But what do you do about people who solely use webmail/iNotes?

How do you get their IDs into the ID Vault?

This, I thought, would be an easy thing, but it turned out to be way more effort than first thought.

One option, I thought, would be to select the user in the Directory with the names.nsf open, right-click on their person document, and select upload ID to the ID Vault. A similar Action from the top menu bar option can be found in the Admin client when the Directory is not open.

Not so fast. 

First, the option and action did not appear. Second, even if they did appear, we had 2 problems: where were these people's ID files and the better issue was who had the passwords? 

You see, when you upload the ID files to the ID Vault, Domino asks for the password for the file being uploaded, and if it does not match, you are out of luck.

We could not resolve the 2nd problem. More on that in a minute.

The first problem, I reached out to HCL Support to find out what happened to the action/agents.

Turns out they were in the template but not in the database.

After reviewing it with HCL, we found the customer had edited the People view of the Directory and set it to not update with changes from future templates.

Changed that setting in Designer, the properties of the view, and then ran a replace design on the Directory, restarted the server, and now it worked and showed the action/agent items.

Now, back to the ID problem.

How does one register new users without wiping out all their details in their existing person document in the most optimal way?

I figured I needed to look at registering people with a text file and how to do it so as not to change their existing internet password or wipe out their mail file.

11 years ago, I wrote this post,, waiting for the moment it would be helpful again.

Well, that day has come. However, to be fair, I have used it a few times over the years.

I also was searching for how do you create a user but not create a mail file. This I did not get an answer to in my searches or when asking some people, so I decided I just had to work around the issue. If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments, and I will edit this post accordingly.

Using the spreadsheet I had created back in 2010, I started working out what the syntax should look like to get this completed.

After a few tests, ok, maybe a few more tests, I realized I needed to maintain the file names but change the file directory. That way, dummy mail files would be created, which could be deleted, saving their existing mail files. However, the person document would now show the wrong location for the person's mail. Hang on, we will fix that soon too.

These people needed ID files in the ID Vault but would never use them otherwise. The ID files require a password, but we do not want it to synch with their internet password because that would overwrite their existing one. Domino has a way to help us do this too, the explanation is below.

What does this spreadsheet look like before you copy the text to a .txt file? I figured I only needed to use a few fields, and this is what I used just 6 fields:


Now the fun part is you need a semi-colon (;) after any entry you want to enter, so my text file for registration ended up looking like 250 of these(see the 11-year-old blog post for details what goes in what order if you need more fields):


But you need one more essential thing before starting the registering process for everyone.

If you click on options from the Registration window menu, 
you will want to check the line that says "Allow Registration of previously registered people" and check the "Don't prompt for a duplicate person" option and select the most important option, "Update the existing address book entry.

When you use these settings, Domino will not stop for every duplicate user and just change precisely what we tell it to change in the person document.

In the registration form, you should make sure your ID Vault policy is set up for everyone.

As discussed earlier, we don't want to overwrite any existing Internet passwords; thus, you need to click on Password Options and uncheck "Set Internet Password"; otherwise, you will write over their current Internet password. HINT: Back up your Names.nsf before doing this, so if you do screw it up, you can get it all back quickly.

In the Mail tab of registration, you set the mail template to use and leave the mail file name field with just the directory name. The .txt file handles this.

Set the expiration date you want to use for everyone you are creating on the ID Info tab.

Now you import your .txt file, and Domino will tell you upfront if any of them have syntax issues.

Domino will then let you know if any person had issues or how many were completed when you run it.

Please test with 2-3 people first, make sure all fields and entries look right, and the mail file gets created where you specified.

So how do we change the mail file locations, which now were mail2 instead of mail for 250 people out of 500?

A few months back, I started adding scripts to under the snippets Admin Scripts area to help other admins and for just this purpose. 

I took one of the scripts, adapted it for the Mail File location field, and then selected the users to run it on, and in seconds they were all back to normal. 

I posted that new script as well in case anyone will need to do this at the openntf site.

Afterward, we had a few issues like:

  • Some people we were told were solely web users were not. This meant they lost their ID certificate and could not log in. Easy enough to fix by copying the new certificate into their person document and replacing the old one. 
  • A few people in our spreadsheet had mistyped an email or mail file name and a few similar names and file names that got by us in editing. Easily fixed, we had a backup to verify what they should have in their fields.

And there you have it, I know it sounds like a lot, but really, it is not that big of a deal.

Friday, October 8, 2021

SnTT - Changing Some, But Not All, User's Mail Templates

You know how to convert one person, you know how to convert a folder or a directory...But do you know how to convert just some people's templates in your company?

Well, here is my story, how I changed 250 out of 450 people's templates.

Feel free to do this another way, but this worked and worked well, once I figured out the syntax and other item details missing from the official documentation.

My hope is you, and future me will be able to benefit from this in the future.

This is the original R12 Detail:

Upgrade all mail databases listed in a text file

You can create a text file listing databases you want to upgrade and use it with the mail conversion utility to upgrade only those databases. For example, you can create the text file MAILLIST.TXT to list all the mail databases you want to upgrade and save it in the directory C:\TEMP. This example finds all databases listed in MAILLIST.TXT, determines whether the databases use a design template name that matches Mail*, and replaces the designs of the matching databases with mail9.ntf), the Notes® 9.0.1 Social Edition mail template.

load convert -f c:\temp\maillist.txt mail*.ntf mail9.ntf

First things to note that is ambiguous or wrong in the above documentation:

1) NOTE:C:\temp is a directory on the server, not your admin client workstation.

2) Instead of mail*.ntf you need to put the name of the template, not the file name(as shown, I think that is a typo copied from a different option on the page and not edited correctly)

3) There are many options for the conversion tool so check the documentation page for specifics you may need.

Now for the fun, how do you do this!

No, wait, before we run the magic convert command, we need to create the .txt file and fill it out properly.

You probably need an export of your Directory people so you can sort out who you need and the right details.

Open your Admin client and go to the Files Tab and find your Mail folder.

Select ALL (Ctrl-A)

Open a spreadsheet and paste it all in there.

Now we really don't need all of the data, right now, but I needed it for my second act.

I need to create IDs for people in the ID Vault as some people are solely web users and TOTP only works if you have an ID in the ID Vault. More from me about TOTP at Collabsphere.

Back to your data, I suggest copying columns A and B for the moment into a new tab of your spreadsheet, so as not to mess with the data in case you need it again.

Now you can remove the people you don't need to fix so the list is just people you need to convert their templates.

Next, add a column in front of the filename column which was column B.

In the first cell of the new column put in the mail folder name, commonly would look like this: mail\

Copy that the length of your list.

Now in Column D at the first cell, use the =CONCATENATE(B1,C1)

 and you will now have a visual entry similar to this:




Copy the D1 cell the length of your list.

Now select all the concatenated cells and copy them.

Open notepad or a text editor and paste them in there.

Save the file and give it a simple name, like templates.txt and save it to your server.

Now you are ready for the magic!

NOTE: TEST with 2 names and see if they run, if not, you have a typo in the command or a syntax one in the .txt file, or an incorrect directory name problem. Domino is pretty good here to tell you why it failed.

You need to stop the router to prevent any inbound mail issues/corruption.

Server console Type: Tell Router Quit

Next, at the Server Console type (make sure you use the old template name NOT filename followed by the .ntf name for the one you require): 

load convert -f -u e:\up\mailtest.txt stdr10mail mailX.ntf

-u will update the folders the user has created.

-f reads the names to update from the text file.

The server should start processing everyone.

Cool, right? 

UPDATE: Upgrade all previous users' mail designs listed in maillist.txt to Notes mail design if there is no mail template specified. Use: load convert -u -f maillist.txt * mailX.ntf

We also ran a program document to run updall -R overnight (DBMT should fix this but if it only runs on weekends, then you need a program document or just run it at the server console) just in case some people had inbox issues like only seeing new mails, not all of their other emails in their inbox, they may have been replicating at the time.

That's it, a little trial and error on my part to help all of you out there and let you go home earlier than I did the last few days.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hacking Administrators, my AdminCamp session

 This is the second of my sessions from AdminCamp.

This session had a theme of the Avengers, but was about helping administrators do repetitive tasks faster, easier, and in multiple ways.

Thank you to everyone that came to listen and to MArtin for the shortcuts at the end for people.

I think we may have an idea for a future session.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

AdminCamp 2021: Modernizing Rooms and Resources

Thank you everyone that came to my session, given it was one of the few not in German, the fact that I had so many people listen in let me know I was on the right path for this session.

My session from AdminCamp 2021 has been posted on Slideshare.

The examples are all available, follow the links in the presentation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

SnTT - When you need OS Acces, but DON'T Have it, OPENNTF to the Rescue


I should tag this as #HCLAmbassadorTips, but that is so #2020.

Picked up a new client from my home state with a small but necessary business, which they run on their HCL Domino application.

The problem started when I realized I needed to scrape their old website from a hosting provider and then put it under HCL Domino.

Simple enough to get the site files and fodlers, but when I went to add the site to Domino realized I did not have RDP/VPN/FTP access to their server at the OS level.

What do I do?

As it turns out, there have been a few tools that existed that do this, but being an Admin and not a Developer, I never needed them and never looked into it.

I ended up finding a solution at with a project called Remote File Browser.

It was posted in 2010, still works, and I am using an R12 beta client to work with it on my end and the R11 server on the customer side.

It does just what I needed:

  • Create a folder
  • Delete files
  • Move Files
  • Upload file
  • Download files
Did you note an extra letter between the last 2 items? It seems you can download multiple files, but you can only upload 1 file at a time.

Okay, a bit tedious. I had about 40 files, but if I needed to edit the notes.ini or to change the SSL keys(if you are not using LE4D) and did not have access at the time, this does the trick.

Follow the instructions for it, copy it to the server, sign it, assign an ACL and then start browsing the server files.

Created a folder under domino\data\domino\html and then moved all the files.

Edit the Internet Site Document, so it knows which directory to read from and which HTML file to use as the primary page and restart HTTP, and it works.

If you know of anything similar and is available, free or for a fee, include it in the comments or message me to include the other options for everyone.

The best part is I get to cancel a meeting for later today that was about access.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SnTT - Adding a 3rd party Task to the Domino Admin Client Monitoring Dashboard


This has bugged me for a while. I may have just been a bit lazy as well.

But that's what friends are for, and Ted Hardenburgh came to my rescue in our Openntf slack channel.

You can join the slack channel here: if you have FOMO or just want to ask us your crazy questions.

Anyway, back to Ted's help with my situation.

We have a client running a task that is not a native Domino task, and I wanted to monitor it from the Admin client's Server-Monitoring tab that acts as a Dashboard.

You did know you have a dashboard built into the Admin client, right?

I will presume you know how to add your servers to the dashboard.

But when you want to add a task, you select a server and right-click and select Monitor New Task from the list shown. The default only includes the native Domino tasks.

Naturally, I figured there must be a way to add the 3rd party task, I was hoping without too much under the cover messing around, and that is when Ted helped me out.

My thought was there is a subform someplace to edit, and Ted pointed me to it.

Open the domadmin.nsf file in the Designer client.

Look at the Forms, and you will see a long list of Task\names.

The easiest way to start on this journey is to copy one of the tasks and paste it back in and begin editing it.

In this case, I am creating a task for bccdbt, I already renamed the task.

The name has to match the task name you would run when at a server console.

The fields you will need to edit from the above screen are the following:

Task name, Task filename, and Task Monitor Name and Description.

Task name field = Name as you want it to be seen in the Add Monitor Task pop-up window.

Task filename = the task name as you would enter it in the server console to run it.

Task Monitor Name = Should be how the task is described when you run a sh ta command. Like Router, Schedule Manager, etc...

Description = Edit according to what you need to tell your fellow admins.

Save it and then test it.

The task should show up within a few minutes, the dashboard updates automatically.

That's it. Many thanks again to Ted.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

SnTT - How to Stop a Domino Task/App using a Program Document

Here is something that I had no idea about.

In fact, I even opened an aha request to solve this.

Luckily someone else looked deeper into it than I did and found the answer.

I asked around but no one had an answer so here we go.

We all know we can create Program Documents to run tasks, but do you know how to stop the tasks?

A client had a 3rd party application that we had some issues with recently.

While waiting to get a fix or better understanding of the problem, we wanted to only run the tool during certain business hours to prevent the server from crashing as it had been doing every night around midnight.

But I could not figure out how to create a Program Document to stop the process.

Turns out Mike, one of their developers, had the same thoughts but being a developer had some ideas I did not think about. He gets all the credit, but we all get the benefit.

Turns out you want to enter the details as shown::

Maybe if the app/task has switches built-in, you can use them, like q, -q but in this case, we didn't have these options. 

Not everything in life has to be so difficult, nor requires a large blog post.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

SnTT - Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Something new at Openntf for ADMINS

Show n Tell Tuesday

That's right, I resurrected Show n Tell Tuesday for this post because I can, it's my blog, and why wait for Thursday anyway?

A few months ago, my friend Roberto had the luck to join the Openntf Board. 

If you don't know what Openntf is, click on the link and check it out. NOW! 

The TL;DR is Openntf is THE place to go when you need a template for an HCL Domino or Notes application to help your company. It is also where you can go for tutorials on various development topics and all kinds of developer code snippets.

Admittedly, few admins ever add to the site, because, well, historically there is not much for admins there and often what we see/know is proprietary to our clients and companies. This has been my perspective for many years. However, a new world, a new time, and progress is being made, thanks to Roberto.

Openntf was not ignorant of the issue, many of my friends and fellow IBM Champions, and HCL Ambassadors, have worked hard over the years to make Openntf as useful as it is today by their incremental changes and awesome templates and code bits, even if I don't understand all of them. 

We have come a long way.

Maybe we just got older and complained more, maybe they finally realized without Admins there is no server running, or maybe we do bring some benefit. 

After all, as we rise like an HCL Phoenix from the ashes of the IBM years we are seeing new people ask questions and post requests, young and old, and they need guidance from us old, er, wizened people.

Roberto asked many of us what we would like to see as Admins in Openntf and I said I would like to see Lotusscripts, Formulas, and other code bits that help make our lives better, easier, and faster. 

I was worried that as some of us move along or retire or cross the Golden Firewall, we will lose knowledge and that would be pretty sad, given how many years of managing Notes and Domino networks we represent.

I am sure other admins also gave him input and I hope they will look into it further after reading this post or you reach out to Roberto with more ideas.

In December I was asked to test something on the Openntf website and that is what this news is about.


In addition to the existing benefits of the Openntf site, there is now a dedicated section for snippets of code, which is what EVERY admin needs. Here is a link to it:

Now when you add a code snippet, the option to select the Language for it can be called "Admin Scripts".

There is a tag field so you can put whatever else you need in it to help your fellow admins find it when they need it.

I have posted 3 snippets which I use frequently, no doubt most of you will recognize the need for these as well.

  1. Create a Forwarding Address in a Person Doc based on Email Address
  2. Looking up and Converting a List of Notes Names into their Email Address
  3. Converting Regular Common Name Lists into Notes Hierarchical Names
The first one is a simple script to grab an existing email and edit it for another field. Helpful when updating domains or in merger situations. Edit it, select all, done. 

The second one is really good for your AAs or Marketing people who need to extract email addresses of employees or clients, and upload those into bulk email sending services like MailChimp or into Salesforce. I have set those users up so they never bother me again. Okay, I lose some billing time but honestly, who wants to look up a few hundred or thousand people's emails anyway? This takes seconds to do it.

The third, a similar request to the second one, is because I was receiving very long lists of names to create ACL groups and mail groups. Names should be listed properly in these groups and this script helps you out. Again, in seconds.

Could these snippets be coded better? 
Could they be used differently?
Will I be adding more over time?
Can any Admin, or Developer, use them?
Should you use these?

The answer to all these questions is YES!

I tried to explain the code and how to use it, so if I need to edit it or you have problems let me know and I will try to help you best I can.

Looking forward to seeing more snippets up there and that we can say 2021 is the year of the Admin.

Have things you need or like to see, let me know, I might have them and get them posted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Metrics and Data when Viewed by Admins vs Management vs Users

 I get it, but not sure if I like it, or if users should see it, or if I should let management use it.

We have reached the era of metrics and data that can be measured.

But should it.

No question most systems have had usage reporting, patterns, logs, pretty but usually ugly data to make sense of for your boss.

In Twitter with Rachel Happe( from The Community Roundtable asked: 

Prompted some discussion and some replies from various people.

She found an answer for Microsoft Analytics from Alan Lepofsky:

And then Rachel asked about the admin side. 

Over my 30 years in IT I have been asked to provide metrics, sometimes network items, sometimes user usage. Naturally, as a good employee or consultant, I gave customers what they asked for and automated some of them and others needed some manual efforts.

Should software of course provide this information because it helps IT plan the future, and also be proactive in `their support efforts. 

What I found is many people are ignorant of the data available.

It seems even more people are ignorant of understanding their own data.

Does management really care about the usage internally? Yes, because in some cases they can shut off a service no longer used. Alternatively, they may need to up their licensing or merge some solutions.

But users, do users care what they do or how they do it, or when they do it? I am not s sure.

I know what I do, I think most people if pushed would also know what their habits are but does it imply you are a good employee or not? Does it mean you are goofing off or being more productive?

When I am managing clients or teams I have scheduled one day a week for most of my meetings. I reasoned I'd rather "waste" one day instead of multiple days on meetings. 

This usually has worked for me and my teams because 4 days a week we could work unimpeded.

Meetings don't last 30 or 60 minutes, the time before and after is lost, sometimes as much as 15 minutes or more on both ends before you get back in your groove.

SaaS apps live on the usage data, they want people using their apps and do anything they can to have people using them, but is it a false metric? 

I am in my email all day long, it stays open, so is 8 hours of email, coupled with my network/vpn login time and then my individual application usage(some Saas, some network) to get to some crazy idea I work 20+ hours a day. 

Who wants their company to view them in this way?

No employees.

But management has nothing else to work with usually.

Yes, revenue and sales, ok, that is the only given.

Back-office people, not much to show for their effort. You ran a campaign? You built a server? You rolled out an update? Nice work but quantifying it properly, not so simple, ROI vagueness.

What if all your meetings and online time were tracked to show your actual working time was minimal? 

How would you fight it? 

HR gets involved and guess who is on the chopping board?

People are working from home and the last thing they want is to be picked on for their work effort which they are doing the best they can with what is going on.

Hopefully, this is not going to affect you or your company but it is in the shadows, today. Soon it may be upfront and then it will get interesting with how employees push back or beat the system.

When I worked on Wall Street in the early 90s, we had a database someone wrote to track time. Nothing unusual about that, but the coder was not so advanced and could only set up increments of 15 minutes.

One of the IT guys I knew got yelled at but the boss because it turned out he billed for 30 hours in a day. 


It turns out he was delivering things to users, a mouse, a keyboard, software(they used to come in packages and everyone had a license and we had to leave them with the user) and so in theory if you spent 30 seconds dropping off a box or 5 minutes pugging in a mouse, you still billed 15 minutes per person because you could not select less time, because each delivery was billed back to the person and their business line expense code.

Data doesn't lie.

He got paid but was told to never do it again. 

Next time, he took 3 days off instead because he billed his 40 hours in 2 days and just adjusted the dates.

Not the best employee, but this is where interpreting the data is so important to change systems and metrics as the system is running.

Maybe in time the metrics and data will be edited to be more useful but right now it is still hard to get good data and you should be aware of how to handle this discussion when you get into it.

And the discussion is coming to a cubicle or zoom call soon.