Sunday, December 30, 2007

My 2007 In Review

This has been a year that was extremely different from anything I expected this time last year.

On March 15, we were blessed beyond measure with our 2nd child - Oliver (Ollie) Thomas!! He's crawling around really fast now, trying to stand up, eating some solids (with his 2 teeth), and generally just getting into all kinds of things with his wonderful big sister. Though we were expecting Ollie, he wasn't the only change in our household. The other big change was taking a new job with Lotus 911 and moving from South Carolina to Georgia. There were a lot of amazing little things associated with this move that still blow us away. I've not really shared it publicly, but we've seen God move in some great ways through it all. A quick run-down:

- I started my job on May 29.
- When I told my mother I had accepted the position, she told me that the night before she had been up all night praying and reading her Bible (for reasons she had no clue about at the time).
- We listed our house on a Saturday and had a signed contract by Wednesday.
- A former co-worker of my mother has a sister-in-law who is a great realtor in Kennesaw. Not only did she help with that, but she and her husband allowed me to live in their basement apartment for about 3 weeks. For free!
- My mom's sister works for a large mortgage company in SC but was able to help us with our loan in GA.
- About halfway through June we found our house in Acworth.
- We sold our house in Rock Hill on the last Wednesday of June and signed on our house here two days later and moved in that Saturday.
- As you can tell, June was pretty much a blur. The house is great and even the colors ended up matching the stuff we moved here!!
- And in the change, Emma Grace is just loving her pre-k school and her new friends!

That part of the moving experience was a true encouragement and we also saw God move in some other ways through that. Amazing.

I started off the year with some System i projects to work on and figured I would have a relatively quiet year with Domino. We got some new systems in at the phone company and IBM didn't have them put together, so that ended up being my job. It was pretty sweet piecing together a couple of 570s from the rack up and then working with IBM to build some LPARs and finally move over the Domino cluster. Along the way, there was also the whole DST debacle for the world! I did start working with the open Beta of Notes 8.0 and got a quote in Computerworld. I also finally took my last exam to become a PCLP for ND 7 (I plan on updating to 8 at Lotusphere 2008). But then I started talking to Nathan about whether there was anything open at Lotus 911. For the most part I was just looking for something different and more challenging. Of course there were some other factors, too. Things moved rather quickly and I was able to start with Lotus 911 the last week of May - after 7 years at Comporium.

My expectations of doing mostly System i stuff for 2007 were pretty much turned upside down and it's been "Yellow" work since then! I've been blessed to be working at a Lotus Beacon Award winner for most of this year!! I've learned so much and worked with many products that I wouldn't have touched otherwise. From working with a Whale Appliance to Quickr and Connections and participating in several Lotus Design Partner programs, I've been really kicking the learning into high gear. Then there's the customer assignments - some can be in swank locations, but they all allow me to work with Lotus products! The traveling has been cool (for the most part!), and the amount has been in line with what I was told (so that's cool too!). I've also learned a lot from seeing the different environments that we support. I could probably go on and on about this, but I'll just say that it's great working not only with some of the more well-known names in the community but with all of the other less public folks at Lotus 911. I had to laugh the other day because we were in an internal training session and there were 4 bloggers in the room and one on the phone!! I'm hoping that we can get some others blogging real soon... ;)

Some other highlights include:
  • Getting my review of Neal Morse's Sola Scriptura album linked from Neal's site! (By the way, Neal has a new album coming out soon...)
  • Going to see Gilbert, Petrucci, and Satriani at G3 in Myrtle Beach with Dale
  • Going to New York twice - I got to see the Yankees beat the Red Sox as well as hang out with Curt and Mitch the first time and then was in Times Square for a few days the second time.
  • I was able to also visit with some old college friends since we go through their towns going from GA to different places in SC as well as hang out with some of Jen's family while in NH

I could probably think of some other things that I didn't blog about already. As you can tell, it's been a year of transitions. I'm blessed to have a loving and supportive wife sticking by my side and two wonderful children! Even though it's been tough sometimes with the adjustments, it's also been a blessing - especially with my family with me. We've definitely missed our family in SC, but we've seen them a lot (and have been on the road a lot as well!).

So, here's wishing you and yours many wonderful blessings in 2008. And as you begin the new year, may this be your resolution:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:2-6)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christmas Story

I would just like to present to you a generally chronological synopsis of the Christmas Story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Those passages from Matthew are in italics. All scripture taken from the English Standard Version.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: "'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more." But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.

And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

Santa Mentioned in the Bible?

It's very possible. Check out Zechariah 2:6 in the King James Version:

"Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north"

There may even be a mention of the Christmas tree in Jeremiah 10:3-4:

3For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

4They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.

Of course these are not prophecies about modern Christmas customs, but they're cute, eh?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Domino 8: 101 - Unread Marks Enhancements

Anyone who has worked with Domino mail replicas knows that there is a history of problems with unread mark synchronization. With Domino 8, there have been at least two areas of improvements.

First of all, there is a new notes.ini setting: ADMINP_EXCHANGE_ALL_UNREAD_MARKS=1. This new setting is available for Domino 6.5.6, 7.0.3, and 8.0. It is detailed in Technote 1245043. This setting will exchange all unread marks in new replicas created via the Administration Process (instead of only the default 90 days worth). Also, it requires that only the source server be running the fixed version of the server code.

Secondly is a new option in the Create Replica(s) dialog box. As depicted in the graphic below, there is a new option to "Exchange Unread marks on replication":

This works very similarly to the notes.ini setting described above. If the source server is at Domino 8.0*, then the Administration Process will "attempt to match all of the unread marks from the source database with the target database."

* - I had hoped that this would work with Domino 6.5.6 or 7.0.3 servers like the notes.ini setting, but it does not. The source server and Administrator Client have to both be at 8.0 or higher.

Congrats Lotus 911!!

Big congrats to Lotus 911 for winning the Best Philanthropy Award from Lotus for the work we've done with AngelFlight Mission Control!!

From Nathan's blog, "It coordinates flight plans for private pilots to take sick kids for urgent medical care in locations they can't otherwise reach. The system got particularly put under the gun in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when FEMA requested assistance in moving medical supplies and equipment."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Christmas Thoughts...

You may remember last year that I did a series of posts for "The 12 Days of Christmas" - I know we're about halfway through it now, but go check it out for some reading between now and Christmas.

Quickr HF6 Available

I think I beat everyone to the punch... ;)

Go get it at Fix Central

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Knight Industries Two Thousand

Or as we know it - KITT...

I was saddened to read at Derek's blog yesterday that the new KITT for the Knight Rider TV show will be a riced-up Mustang GTKR (that's King of the Road - an even more powerful Shelby GT500). You just don't go messing with the tradition of KITT being a Trans-Am!! Here's the pony-car KITT:

Personally, I think the last T-A manufactured would still be a great KITT - the 2002 WS-6:

But if they have to go with a new vehicle, might I propose something even better - that they wait a year for the show and use the new Trans-Am. Hopefully GM will produce a 2009 T-A when they produce the Camaro for next year. This is a mock-up of a T-A, but it's based off of the Camaro body.

Now, I have nothing against Mustangs - here's my father-in-law's. I would choose a T-A over a Mustang anyday, though. (Sorry Jen...) Even Jen thinks that it's just wrong to use a Mustang for KITT and she loves Mustangs!

Oh well...

Friday, December 14, 2007

My New Default Mail Client Is Outlook...

But that may be about the only thing I don't like about my iPhone!! I guess I could sync the contacts with my Yahoo account, but I never use that account except to chat with like 2 people.

Anyway, I've had the iPhone for about a couple of weeks now (early xmas gift from the parents...). :) My daughter really likes it too - we were watching some Veggie Tales clips on YouTube earlier! And she likes my new music phone too! She says "it plays music and it's a phone, and everything else". This device really is all it's cracked up to be. Of course there are some "oddities" to get used to, but it's extremely intuitive and simple to just pick up and use. Here is a quick list of some of my pros and cons...

- The screen is superb. Not only is the output great, but the touch screen is slick (think about how your car feels when you wax it) and is supposedly scratch-resistant. The sales lady told me to try scratching the demo unit with my keys (I didn't, though...)
- An all-in-one device. Sure there are others that could do most of what this does. But I don't know of any with as much storage. It would be nice to be able to add more, but an 8GB MicroSD chip for will set you back ~$90 (on eBay) for other devices.
- SMS - Love the chat interface with SMS!
- Apps - they're all browser-based. I like the Google and Facebook apps. My other app is iBibleSpace
- 8GB - The storage really isn't that bad. I can load up all of my favorite albums, podcasts, etc and still have room left over.
- Speakers - While they're not hi-fi, they work really well in a quiet room (good for spinning some tunes while working in the garage, etc...)

- Battery life - it's a full-featured PDA, phone, iPod Video with Wi-Fi. What do you expect. I can charge it every other day if I pushed it (depending on usage).
- Sync-only - Unlike the other iPod models, the iPhone is sync-only. I generally like to just drag files from iTunes onto my iPod (from multiple machines). I have resorted to dragging files to an "iPhone" playlist and just synching that playlist with my iPhone. Not quite as flexible, but it works.
- Bluetooth - It works well, but it's a little kludgey sometimes. For instance if my headset is on and I answer a call from the iPhone I have to manually tell the iPhone to use the headset.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Domino 8:101 - New Administration Features

There are many new administrative features available with Lotus Domino 8.0 and beyond. I have been working on a series of posts to cover these options. This post will be updated with links to the other posts in the series.

Mandated ID Encryption Standard - New feature with Domino 8.0.1 to allow corporations to mandate AES encryption in Notes ID files.

Admin Preferences and Client Versions - New Admin Client preferences and details of the new Client Versions View

Enhanced Quota Feature - A new option to proactively enforce quotas

Inbox Maintenance - A new AdminP function to clean up the inbox

ODS 48 - Details about the new On Disk Structure

Preferred Simple Search and Deferred Sort Index Creation - Information on these two new features

Server OS Upgrades - What you need to know about the supported Operating Systems for Domino 8

Unread Marks Enhancements - There are two enhancements to better replicate unread marks on replica creation.

In Honor of Rich's Idea...

Rich posted an idea yesterday for more percussion at JamFest. This is in honor of that...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are These Good Ideas?

I think so - you be the judge...

Are These Good Ideas?

I think so - you be the judge...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Incentive to buy the $8 water?

Fox Files: Dirty Hotel Secrets: When you check into a hotel room, ever wonder how clean it is? FOX reporter Dana Fowle has an exclusive story that has county health inspectors reacting.

Santa's Visit 2007

Santa visited our two kids and my nephew at my parents' house on Thanksgiving... Thanks Santa!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Sametime 8.0 Stuff

While we're on Sametime...

The process for placing the network install package on the Sametime server to be able to download it from stcenter has changed (drastically) with Sametime 8.0. There is a thread on the topic at devWorks: Sametime 8.0 Client Download - "this feature has not been enabled". Even after following the instructions for setting this up, some (myself included) were still receiving the "this feature has not been enabled" error message.

Apparently, the trick is clearing your browser cache... d'oh! After getting it working, you get this cool little install window that will include a progress meter and an option to just save the files...

Update From IBM On The Sametime 8.0 Fixes

Adam posted some updates to the "kurfuffle" regarding the Sametime 8.0 hotfixes I mentioned the other day. Thanks for the updates regarding the fixes Adam!

Update on Lotus Sametime 8 hotfix
Follow up on Lotus Sametime 8 hotfix

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gospel of Judas Update

Back in 2006, I wrote three posts about the newly "discovered" Gospel of Judas:

Part I - General Information
Part II - Thoughts on the Translation
Part III - National Geographic Channel TV Special

We all remember a ton of fanfare about this finding. I even had someone tell me that it would undermine Christianity as we know it! Well, I doubt you'll see any fanfare about the latest information on this translation. To say that the translators made sophomoric mistakes would be an insult to sophomores.

All of the information you need to know is covered in this post by Dr. Albert Mohler: Revising the Revisionists -- New Controversy over "The Gospel of Judas". The real kicker is that the translator(s) chose to translate "daimon" as "spirit" - thus Judas is actually referred to as a demon in the document and not as just a spirit!

I believe that Dr. Mohler sums it up very well:
This controversy should serve as a sober reminder that media reports about supposed discoveries may not be at all what is claimed. Indeed, the bigger the claim of a blockbuster discovery, the more care and oversight is required. The impression of this story left in the public mind is based in a series of mistranslations. Most people will never know the real story.

I stated the following in my Part III post about a mention of this Gospel by Irenaeus in the 2nd Century:
"It should make one wonder what the producers of the NGC special had in mind when they couldn't quote the only verifiable mention of this gospel that has ever been recorded before the Gospel was abandoned not to be read again until the past few years."
Now we're left to wonder just what the NGC's thought process was after seeing all of the simple mistranlations described in Professor April D. DeConick's piece in the NY Times that Dr. Mohler references coupled with their deliberate exclusion of what Irenaeus wrote about the gospel shortly after it was penned.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

IBM Is At It Again! (or Get Your Sametime Hotfixes!)

So last month I wrote about the release of hotfixes for Quickr (or FP1) on the day after the fixpack was released. At that time I stated:
"First of all, I can see no possible way that enough customers called in within a day and IBM was able to reproduce, compile, and generate a Hotfix posted to Fix Central within the span of a day."
Today I see that there are Fixes to known stability issues with Sametime 8.0 server. And how long have these stability issues been seen in production environments for Sametime 8.0? Precisely 5 business days. The technote was published sometime yesterday and Sametime 8.0 was released just 4 days earlier. I also know that customers couldn't even download the files from Passport Advantage for most of the day Thursday (the release date).

My question is similar to the one I asked about the Quickr hotfix conundrum:
"I'm going to take it a step further and ask why IBM would release a known-buggy fixpack followed immediately with a hotfix? This should really not happen - take a little more time and get it all bundled correctly."
But now I'm not just asking the question about a fixpack, but about the gold release of a "dot-zero" world-class IM server.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that IBM is proactively releasing hotfixes. But I'm not thrilled that a product is released into production and then just days later there are fixes for "known stability issues"...

By the way, Carl Tyler has also posted about this. He simply states that "It always amazes me how IBM can release a product, and then one or two days later issue fixes for it. Surely these fixes were known about 1-2 days ago?"