Friday, April 29, 2005

Interesting Quote About Priest Scandal

I try to keep this blog free from "personal" things like Religion or politics, but I stumbled across this quote in some reading I was doing a couple of years ago. With all the focus now on the new pope, I thought it would be good to share it. This, by the way, should be one of the first things this new pope should resolve. You don't just slap a cardinal on the wrist and then invite him to speak at a funeral mass and expect people to take you seriously... Anyway, here's the quote:

"The bishops have forbidden marriage and burdened the godly estate of priests with perpetual celibacy... With this, they have given the occasion for all kinds of horrible, enormous, innumerable sins of unchastity. They are still stuck in these things."

Some people could read that and think that it's from a 21st Century American speaking of the pedophile priests we seem to have more of than other countries. However, that quote is from:

Article 11 of Martin Luther's The Schmalkald Articles from 1538!

Like Forrest Gump said "That's all I have to say about that."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The life of tech support

Do people just not believe Tech Support staff?

I got a voice mail this morning from a Palm PDA user. He was thinking of switching to a BlackBerry to have a single device. He asked if we could sync his Palm data (using Palm Desktop) with the BB. I left him a voice mail stating that we could do some importing/exporting but that he would have to use Lotus Notes to sync with the BB. He sent me the following e-mail:

> > I may not want to use a Blackberry after what you told me about
> > syncing to Lotus - I do not like nor want to use Lotus with my pda.
> > My current pda, a Sony Clie, is working beautifully with palm
> > software, which I greatly prefer to Lotus; also I cannot sync on
> > weekends to Lotus, so that's not an option.
> > Does the BB software not have a similar desktop program like Palm
> > software I can use and sync to even away from the LAN ?

To that I replied:

>> Blackberry can only sync to either MS Outlook or Lotus Notes. It
>> doesn't have it's own desktop application. It sounds like you may do
>> best to stick to the Palm platform.

Then I get the following:

>> Do you know for a fact that it will not sync to my current Palm
>> desktop software?

The final word from me was simply:

>> It will not sync with Palm Desktop

So I believe I told him in two voice mails and two e-mails that the BB would not sync with the Palm Desktop.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Linguistic Profile

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

40% Dixie

5% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

That 5% Yankee must have come from my wife's family....

Nice Try Ms. Spammer!

Got an unsolicited e-mail today to buy iSeries disk and memory. Lovely, more junk mail. Well, this email had a footer:

"This email is in compliance with the anti-spam legislation known as the Can-Spam Act of 2003 (S.877). According to this federal legislation (which super cedes all state legislation) a commercial email is not "spam" (even if it is unsolicited) as long as it meets Federal requirements.
If you wish to stop receiving our offers please reply with "remove" in the subject line. It is not our intention to inconvenience or annoy anyone. This email is intended to reach technology dealers who might profit from our offers to sell as well as our requirements to purchase."

So, I checked out the SpamLaws website to find this about the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003:

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-187, S. 877)

"The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act requires unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to be labeled (though not by a standard method) and to include opt-out instructions and the sender's physical address. It prohibits the use of deceptive subject lines and false headers in such messages. The FTC is authorized (but not required) to establish a "do-not-email" registry. State laws that require labels on unsolicited commercial e-mail or prohibit such messages entirely are pre-empted, although provisions merely addressing falsity and deception would remain in place. The CAN-SPAM Act took effect on January 1, 2004."

Note the section I bolded above. I'm sorry Amy at Workstation Hardware Services, but your spam is not "in compliance with the anti-spam legislation" because you did not provide your physical address. I will be telling her this in my reply to opt-out.

Monday, April 18, 2005

One Month To Go!

Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

For those who don't know, exactly one month from today the final chapter of the Star Wars saga will be released in theaters. If you're completely in a fog, go here for trailers.

I wasn't yet born when Episode IV was released, but by the time Episode VI was released I was at the ripe age to want all of the Star Wars toys. I believe I still have a lot of the action figures and some other items at my parents' house. Though there are a couple of items I really wish I still had - like the Millenium Falcon!

According to Lucas, this will indeed be the final chapter. Although there are rumors that he may release all 6 of the films in 3-D around 2007. This final chapter is purported to be "Titanic in space" and is supposed to be a tearjerker at some points. If you're a follower, you know that many things must take place in this film: the betrayal of Obi-Wan by Anakin, Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader, Anakin and Padme being separated and Padme's loss of their twins because they must be placed into hiding.

From some of the spoilers, story boards, and/or screen shots of the film I have found online, this movie will be very intense and it will be the first episode to be rated PG-13.

Let the countdown begin...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

DWA Bug With Domino 6.5.4

I just found a bug in 6.5.4 Domino Web Access (DWA). One of our PC techs noticed that setting DWA to be the default mail client wasn't working. I called in to Lotus support today and got the following response after the technician researched:

"I have determined that the problem seems to lie with the 6.5.4 versions ActiveX Control. I am creating an SPR (Software Problem Report) to alert development to this issue and adding your PMR to the SPR."

I guess this will probably be addressed in 6.5.5, though it is too early to tell if it will be included in a hotfix or fixpack.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

When A Coworker Is Out

Well, here's what some people in my office decided to do for a coworker who was out this week (sorry Dale...):

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Upgraded Production Servers to 6.5.4

Last night I upgraded my production Domino servers to Notes/Domino Release 6.5.4. I blogged about this release the other day after having upgraded my client (and about 20 others) to Notes 6.5.4 and upgrading my cluster and archive servers (on iSeries and Linux, respectively).

I upgraded my Blackberry Domino server (Windows 2000 Server) to 6.5.4. This upgrade went without a problem.

Then I upgraded my production mail, application and Lotus Instant Messaging servers (all running on a single iSeries) from Domino 6.5.3FP1 to Domino 6.5.4. The only problem after coming back up was that the IM integration with Domino Web Access would not work. I was receiving Domino Web Access (DWA) warnings and after restarting the DWA server with IM disabled there were no errors logging in. So, I figured there was a problem with the DWA/IM configuration from the upgrade. I called Lotus support and was informed that I would have to reinstall the IM software. Since I keep the current install files on the server, all I did was restore the licensed program. After doing so, I restarted the IM server and the DWA server with the setting changed to enable IM. The integration worked after that with no problems. Now all of our Domino servers have been upgraded to the latest release within 1 week´s time.

This was about 10:45 PM EST and the Domino for iSeries technician was extremely helpful and called me back within about 10 minutes (I was promised a call-back within 2 hours, so I was glad it was really fast). He immediately told me that there was a technote discussing the need to reinstall the Domino "Companion Products" (like Lotus Team Workplace and Lotus IM & Web Conferencing) when upgrading the Domino release. I've never had to do this before, but it worked. However, I told him that the release notes should state this. The release notes did mention needing a hotfix to make Team Workplace 6.5.1 work with Domino 6.5.4, but there was no mention of having to do anything for IM.

Regardless, the technician's solution to just reinstall the code (taking about 5 minutes) worked. However, while I was on the phone he was unable to even find the technote. I asked him to forward that to me when he does find it. If it's public I will post a blog link to it.

Oh, the mail server did crash when I brought it up the first time. The call stack from the NSD (crash log) showed that it was on the IMAP task. So I quickly removed the task from the Notes.ini file and the server started up well on it's on. When I reloaded the IMAP task the server hasn't crashed since. I'll chalk that up as a little install glitch unless it crashes again from IMAP.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Importing Data for Notes Project

Working on a project now to replace a 3rd-party application with a Lotus Notes database. My coworker built the database and we're working on the import of old data into Notes. The backend for the old app is MS Access. So this is good because I can dump that data into Excel. Then I have to match up the column headers with the proper Notes field names and run an Excel function to calculate some of the other fields. After getting that prep work done I have to save it as a Lotus 1-2-3 WK4 file. It's not a painless process!

Thankfully we only have to import 19 of the 121 Access tables! I've been doing a lot of work up front testing before we get the final refresh of the data. There are two categories of data. One has about 1200 records and the other has about 5400 records. Some of the tables are joined, so for the 5400 records there are over 32000 records associated with those that are in another table. Looks like I just got the main 5400 records imported. But it's 5:00 on Friday and I'm going to have to resume this on Monday.

Until then I will be upgrading our Mail Server, Application Server, and IM Server (all 3 on one iSeries) to Domino 6.5.4. It was painless on my cluster box, so I'm looking forward to a quick upgrade.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Lotus Notes & Domino Release 6.5.4 and 6.0.5

This week IBM released version 6.5.4/6.0.5 of the Lotus Notes & Domino (LND) software. For those of you who are not familiar with LND, this is one of the most versatile software products in existence. For instance, you can run the server on 8 different server platforms (AIX, Linux for Intel, Linux for zSeries, Solaris/Sparc, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 2003, or iSeries). LND is the world's leading e-mail platform right above Microsoft Exchange. One thing to note is that LND can STILL run on Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000. However, the latest version of Microsoft Exchange can ONLY run on Microsoft Windows 2003. But LND is not limited to running in a 32-bit Windows environment, the other platforms allow companies to host their e-mail on the latest 64-bit Operating Systems. This will suffice for my raving about the Domino server's usability for now.

Regarding the latest release - LND 6.5.4 and 6.0.5, IBM really listened to her customers with improvements to the client and server. Use the following links to view the full Release Notes:

Lotus Notes/Domino 6.0.5

Lotus Notes/Domino 6.5.4

One thorn in IBM's side for years has been HTML-formatted e-mail support. They have stepped up to the plate and made numerous improvements to the way the Notes Client handles HTML e-mail. For a list of these, see this fix list. I have noticed immediate results with these fixes. Oh, and for backwards-compatibility's sake, IBM allows users to turn this setting off via a client Notes.ini setting: "Use60HTMLCode=1".

One other improvement was general improvements for Domino Web Access performance. First of all, they have reduced the minimum Windows system requirements by 50% (you can now use a 400Mhz/128MB RAM PC). They cite an over 40% performance improvement. Secondly a new "lightweight UI" is available for DWA users: "By removing as many GIF images as possible from the default skin, the differences in the resulting lightweight skin are mainly cosmetic and only slightly less esthetically pleasing to the discerning user." I have tested these improvements and I have seen that on a 500MHz PC wtih 192MB RAM that I get the same performance from my cluster DWA server running 6.5.4 (iSeries 270 2-way) as that of my production DWA server still running 6.5.3FP1 (iSeries 820 4-way). I am anxious to see the improvements when I can load 6.5.4 on my production server!

For those of you who would still prefer to use MS Outlook, IBM has made some enhancements to Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook (DAMO). According to Ed Brill the enhancements to DAMO are significant enough that at least a dozen pilot customers trust DAMO enough to use it for production. I tested DAMO back in versions 5.0.11 and 6.0.0. I definitely did not feel that it was production-ready then and IBM even told me that it was just meant to be a catalyst to move users from Outlook to Notes.

Some other enhancements I have seen include many Instant Messaging fixes My favorites are the ones that will retain the last-used state. (Here and here...).

I am really looking forward to the release of LND Version 7.0 later this year (hopefully). Mega dittos to IBM for listening to us customers and continuing to support this platform!

Friday, April 1, 2005

Nightmare Is Coming True

Well, in a turn of events late yesterday, I am now able to confirm the inevitable. My company will be making the transition to M$ Exchange. Apparently the powers that be have a desire for a few things:

1) Standardize on Microsoft OS and WIntel hardware.
2) Pay outrageous fees to upgrade every few years.
3) Buy multiple servers to perform the same tasks that one iSeries can do with just a couple of Lotus products loaded.
4) Retrain our Lotus dev team to code in .Not.
5) Open security holes with the Outlook client.
6) Trade in stable systems for systems that cause many nightmares.
7) Force VPs to be without their mail because we have to restore Joe Schmoe's mail file because he deleted everything.

Not sure what's going on, but we are being assimilated...