Goofing around with sparklers

Last night we started playing with sparklers — kiddo asked about taking photos of them and writing out various words or pics. Grabbed the camera, handheld, and these are the results. Very impromptu, not planned, framed, or scripted. Just goofing off with sparklers and the camera. Just to show how unplanned (or not thought out) this was, both of the “artists” were trying to write all the words backwards so they would show up correct on the photo. I didn’t even think about it until posting them here that they could have “written” normally from their context, and I could mirror the images in Lightroom. (sorry about that Nicole and Will!) Think we’ll do this again with a bit more planning and prep — interesting photos.

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Renee’

My sister Renee’ has been going through chemo and radiation treatments the last several weeks in her battle against cervical cancer. She started an internal radiation treatment program this week that is very painful. She’s struggling with her usual positive attitude — I’m not sure how she stays so bubbly to begin with! I’m at a loss of positive inspiring words for her, as I can’t really even imagine what she and her family are going through.

But, she has a Facebook page where she has been chronicling her treatment – link below. If you get a chance, read through it and you’ll see her positive attitude shining through! I know she has made some new virtual friends via her FB page – I’d like her to make some more.

If you can, go to her Facebook page, Renee’s Fight For Teal, and leave a comment, like a post, share the page, anything. I think she has been amazed at the outpour of strangers and acquaintances — I’d like to add to that as much as possible.

Thanks, Tony

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Changes for the blog

Well, it has been awhile since I last posted. I did not get off to a blazing start to begin with, and what embers were left had just about went out. But, I have been thinking about the blog and about various posts that I wanted to publish; just never hopped to it. Several times in recent months I had an idea, let it simmer for a while, then saw a more prominent blogger post a similar article. So, I waited until the next idea sparked, but fell into the same trap and bingo, someone else posted about it. The early bird really does get the worm!

Also, I have changed the blogging platform from the Domino based Blogsphere to a self-hosted WordPress site. This is not an indication of any issues with the Domino server as a hosting platform nor with Blogsphere as a blogging template. Quite the contrary: I am still focused on Domino solutions and software, but have been exploring other environments as well. What better way to learn a new platform than to actually use it!

The content will still be primarily Domino based (development and administration), but other technologies and tangents will crop up occasionally as well.

So, with my renewed interest in blogging and contributing, expect to see more activity here. As always, any feedback is always appreciated!

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Twitter finds users “undesirable”?

Twitter made a system change yesterday that disables the ability for me to see @replies to someone that I don’t follow myself. For example, say I follow @John, but I do not follow @Jane. Prior to the change, I could, optionally, see any replies from John to Jane. The key for me is that it was previously an option, and was not even the default setting. Yet another example of someone trying to think for me because they think I can’t think for myself!

If you read the Twitter blog post describing the reasoning, the change is even more confusing, or at least the reasons for the change are. Twitter states this feature is “undesirable” and “confusing”, presumably for you, the Twitter user. But it was an option that I had to enable in the first place. If it was truly so confusing for users, find other ways to mitigate, such as explaining it better in the settings section, or require additional verification when a user enables it. But don’t insult your users by telling them what is undesirable or confusing to them, let them decide.

My suspicion is the feature was undesirable to Twitter itself, causing the fail whale to appear too often due to increased traffic and processing on their servers. So they throw their hands up, find a traffic stream easy to disable, and blame their users intelligence as the reason for making the change. Unbelievable! A more honest approach would be to say we are disabling the feature due to the increased load on our system. Same end results, but a more honest approach and less insulting.

Now, to back up for a moment, I do believe that Twitter can change their system to work anyway they want; it is their system after all. And, while I disagree with the change itself, the real unfortunate part is the stated reason for making the change. The only folks who could be confused about the feature are those that took the extra steps to implement it in the first place. Stooopid users!!

I found the feature useful as it introduced me to other Twitter users that my followees conversed with. In some cases, I would follow the user as well, but in all cases it gave me a more complete picture of the folks I follow. Not that I follow a lot of people nor have a lot of followers, but this change just decreases the size of the Twitter universe to me, and potentially decreases the value of Twitter for me. Time will tell.

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IE8 and Notes R8 and slow email rendering

Quick post to let you know that Internet Explorer 8 is causing slow rendering problems in Notes clients, at least with version 8.0 and 8.5. And by slow, I mean up to 50 seconds to render any HTML email. Have not tested with any other Notes client versions.

If you revert back to IE7, all is normal.

I did find a these entries at notes.net:
link
link

No firm information as to the exact cause, but others are experiencing the issue, including one of my customers.

I am not aware of any configuration settings in Windows, IE, or Notes to effect this. Currently, the recourse is to revert back to IE7.

So, look out for any IE8 installs!

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Domino 8.5 Mail policy attention indicators causing errors

As part of the customer’s upgrade to Domino 8.5 last week, we reviewed and changed various policies and settings to better align with their intended deployment. On the Mail settings document, we established the various attention indicators and used the “set initial value” option.

Registered a test user to validate various settings and to document the process for the customer. But, when I tried to open the test users mail database, either with iNotes or Notes, started receiving various errors. Dialog window that only showed “Formula error”; inbox not available, navigator pane not showing, etc.

Checked several usual suspects, but could not determine the problem. Called support and started a PMR. Support called back fairly quickly and asked if we were using Mail settings. Yes, we are. Are we establishing attention indicators in the policy? Yes, we are. They had me disable these settings in the mail database preferences, and all is ok.

I modified the Mail settings document to not establish these preferences, registered another test user, and all access is normal. You can set these preferences manually in the mail database with no problems, just not in a policy.

SPR LXLX7PM5E3 has been assigned, so if you come across this problem, log a PMR in hopes that it will be corrected in the future.

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Domino 8.5, iSeries v5r4, ptf SI30432

I was upgrading a customer last week to Domino 8.5 on iSeries, not for DAOS or ID Vault, but primarily for the new iNotes interface. I usually go through the release notes and various other documentation for system requirements for all platforms, especially so for iSeries. While I am not an iSeries admin, I have supported Domino on iSeries since Domino 5; and I always have iSeries admin folks available.

I followed the normal requirements gathering, and came across the a requirement for 5722JV1 Option 11, documented as PTF SI30432. I should have read more detail! Normally, PTFs are available as a download. But not in this case! You must order this as media and support indicated 5 – 9 business days! Ouch, there I was at the customer site, not able to upgrade to Domino 8.5, the sole purpose of the out-of-state customer visit!

Good news is that IBM support came through: they were able to find a test machine that had the PTF applied. Once they found someone with admin level access to this test machine, they were able to give me access to download. We were very lucky on many counts here (test machine available, my pleas to support, accommodating support folks)! We were very lucky as the expectation was we would have to order the media and wait.

To be clear, be sure you have this media ordered and delivered to your customer before showing up as it does not follow the normal PTF scenario. And, learn the lesson from my mistake: read the documentation thoroughly every time!

Thanks IBM support!

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Domino Express and Sametime on iSeries

If you are familiar with Domino licensing, you know about theLotus Domino Express license model. Domino Collaboration Express is a license purchased per user for SMBs (under 1000 employees I think). No Domino server license required. You can deploy as many Domino servers as needed to support your user community. There are a few restrictions with the Express license including no Domino server partitioning allowed. Take a look at the details, great offering for your smaller customers.

Lotus Domino Express is entitled to the Sametime Limited Use functionality, just like the normal server license is: licensed users can utilize the imbedded Sametime client in their Notes client with no Sametime license required. An excellent value for SMBs!

The usual implementation, or at least the best practice, is to dedicate a Domino server for Sametime. This gives you scalability, separation of services, separation of configuration options, and easier upgrades. I have several customers that use iSeries servers for other business applications. They love their iSeries! So much so, that some of them will not deploy any additional Windows servers. So with Domino and Sametime being supported on the iSeries, coupled with the less expensive Express license model, they have deployed Domino and Sametime.

Now to the point of this blog entry, finally! Since the Express license model does not allow Domino partitioning, these iSeries customers have used the same server for email and Sametime; that is, one Domino server supporting email and Sametime. From a performance context, this is not a problem as most of them are small customers, 30 to 60 users. But from an upgrade context, it is now an issue. Sametime 8.0 is not supported on Domino 8.5. Sametime 8.5 is announced, but no real details on availability nor system requirements.

If the Domino Express license model would allow for partitioning, problem solved! But it does not, as far as I know. Is anyone aware of an exception to this license restriction? For example, if the other partitioned server is only used for Sametime Limited Use, partitioning would be allowed? Does that make sense? I think this may be a small subset of customers for Lotus, but it is a not-so-small subset for me! They are ready to upgrade to Domino 8.5, but can’t without changing their license or deploying another server.

What do you think?

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And so it begins….

OK, here goes…. something!

I have been intending on starting this blog for a long time, a very long time. Just seems that I always found a reason to not start. Well, with the new year I have decided to just do it.

You can read more about my history in the About page. The short story is I have been working with Lotus Notes/Domino software since 1996 starting with version 4.5. I may have the specific version wrong, but it was the version prior to the name Domino being introduced. Version 4.6 is where I really started in earnest.

Prior to my introduction to Lotus Notes, my background is primarily software development in a corporate setting, starting with Basic, Cobol, C, some Java, and web development.

I have been working as an independent consultant focused on Lotus software since 1999. Starting out with development, extending into administration and infrastructure planning. I guess you could classify me as one of those hybrids (development/admin/customer facing). Maybe that means I am not an advanced expert in any particular discipline, but it does allow me to have different conversations with customers, partners, and peers.

Enough about me, the full story is in the About page. Now onto this blog. The purpose of the blog is to communicate with my customers, colleagues, and peers to share knowledge of Lotus software technologies as well as other business solutions. The focus will definitely be Lotus software, but other topics are possible. Hopefully, you can learn something here from me. More importantly, I expect to learn from you!

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