Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Start menu thought

Ever since Windows got rid of it's Start button, the world was starting to get confused. Or so I've read. 

But then, a friend of mine asked me to solve something on her Win 8 laptop, knowing that I'm a guru... ha.

And so, I couldn't but to realize that the world was right. It was confusing!

And now I'm reading that Microsoft is returning it's.... let's call it launcher?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/15/win8_start_menu_leaked_screenshot/

Linux desktop world has launchers with these minimum requirements:
- launch button.
- move it wherever on your side screen, horizontally or vertically.
- resize it, allow for larger icons etc.
- show the running apps, but also allow me to move them freely on the launcher.
- add the systray, clock time whatever else.

When looking at the mobile world (yes, for now Android), we also have launchers. Bit different than desktop, but I see two common points:
- Start somewhere on the screen!
- Allow user to change things, allow flexibility.

So, Linux Desktop moved on, mobile world moved on, maybe it's time for Windows to move on?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

4 years on Ubuntu ... thoughts crossing my mind

I was checking stats on my blog when I spotted that on 6/8/10 I wrote my first impressions after I've switched to Ubuntu

4 years later, here are some thoughts:

~ I've performed one upgrade, from 10.04 to 12.04 LTS (I don't remember the details ... ha)

~ as much as all my apps (including some internal ones) are working fine on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, the same is not true for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. At this moment, I'm NOT ready to move upwards.

~ I've NEVER looked back not only to Win XP, but not even to Win 7. In fact, one friend of mine asked me to help with a Win 8 notebook, I was looking strange for 3 minutes, then I gave up. Win 7 is still manageable, Win 8 is alien. To Excel credit, there is still a need for it, which is where virtualization comes to rescue. For everything else, there's OpenOffice.

~ I'm also looking strange to Ubuntu future: Desktop / Tablets / Mobile. meh ...

~ Both Microsoft and Ubuntu should reconsider: there's no such thing as one size fits all. Give us the base OS, come up with visualization / features / usability on top, for each device. I know it's tough, but that should be the strategy. So far, on my account, both failed. But again, I might be biased, haven't bought a Win 8 mobile device, they look alien :) As for Ubuntu mobile, Mark, would you please give us back the desktop ?

Above list leads me to the current status quo: I'm stuck :) I cannot move upwards for Ubuntu 14.04, I cannot switch to Fedora (another meh ...), I won't go back to Windows. 7, of course :)

Adding another item to make things worse: the wonderful Cinnamon desktop (which I currently use under Ubuntu 12.04) lost it's apt repo, which means no more updates for me.

I'll probably reconsider Ubuntu 14.04 when I'll get my hand on another TP, so that I will not break everything .... careful with that axe Eugene ...

Edit: time to celebrate my 200th post to the blog ! let's get a beer ...

Friday, June 27, 2014

interesting healthcare.gov story

This is an article which I first spotted on Twitter, via Stephan  who retweeted this article: http://newrelic.com/healthcare-team

I'm refraining from making too much comments, I'm drafting several points coupled with my own experiences working in governmental engagements.

  • when stakeholders say everything is ok, it usually is not.
  • when stakeholders saw things crumbling down, they wanted to get things back on track within one week (sigh....). It took 5 months. With the team working 24/7 or something, having synergies in place and pumping adrenaline within the team. 
  • having a cache added to drop response time from 8 to 2 seconds looks familiar. This point alone really shows lack of architectural decisions in the first place.
I'm missing some other technical details for adding more comments, but nevertheless that was a nice read. The only conclusion you can take is that in any project, it's not the technology that matters, but people making it work. 

Oh and yes, the industry should add another role in projects: troubleshooter


Sunday, June 01, 2014

added twitter timeline to this blog

I added a Twitter widget to this blog, from my timeline. I find myself ranting on Twitter faster.

Also, interesting enough for me, this is the first post on the blog written from the mobile app Blogger (by Google), which I discovered a while back. So possibly my blog entries will get shorter.  Or not...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

so long InfoCenters, welcome KnowledgeCenter

I was stoked 5 minutes ago when I spotted in an article that the well known IBM Infocenters will probably fade away. How come such big news for IBM techies did NOT get noticed ? Almost everyone I know in IBM's world complained about the Infocenter, not necessary it's looks, but mostly it's content (and I might add Chrome browser compatibility)

No matter what IBM's product you were faced to learn/master, you'd have to know what Infocenter means. It's almost a brand, they should keep it :)

The good news is that the new Knowledge Center seems faster: http://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter

About the content quality and breadth ... we'll have to see, I maintain my confidence in the power of community contributing to DevWorks and Portal wikis



Saturday, February 08, 2014

Worklight 6.1 Studio - linux drill

With my recent downfall into Worklight and understanding the mobile landscape, I installed Worklight 6.1 Studio on my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 32bit.

After the install ( Eclipse Juno and WL 6.1 plugins ) I started to look around and here's the picture I've got:

a) Eclipse Juno, WL 6.1, WAS LP 8.5.x, IBM's JDK 1.6 forms the local environment which allows one developer to do the work.

Then the developer discovers Google's ADT, ADB and wonders how the heck can he build the Android .apk for the Worklight application

b) Enter ADT plugin for Eclipse, which brings in Adroid SDKs and Android Virtual Devices, with it's tooling. But these require (Sun) Oracle JDK.

So the dilemma here is: how can one developer keep Eclipse Juno with IBM's JDK, while building the Android app with Oracle JDK.

One solution might be creating two Eclipse Juno environments, one with WL 6.1 Studio, another with ADT plugin, both loading the same project. I am yet to test this.

The frustrating thing for Linux Eclipse Juno users (where I discovered the solution in a forum) is that eclipse.ini has to specify Oracle's JDK this form, and this form only [notice the lack of java binary]

-vm
/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.7.0_51/bin


Monday, July 22, 2013

a look on the Google's two-factor auth

Now that I've been burned and had to enforce two-factor authentication for a private mail account (which obviously I thought it wasn't worth it), I get to look at the implementation options they've included. And I have to say I'm really impressed.

First factor - something you know - your password
Second factor - something you have - the phone or a dongle or a piece of paper. Or an application, as we'll see.

Right ? That we know.

A carefully crafted two-factor authentication which I've only started to use yesterday, being forced to do so ( ha ... ) gives you these options:

1. the mobile phone - receive SMS with the codes.
2. an app on the mobile phone. Google Authenticator. This generates the codes on your mobile, and it's the missing link between the site and you, because it won't involve your mobile operator delivering the SMS messages in due time. They tend to delay SMS messages, specifically when they're overloaded (on Christmas, for example)
3. backup codes. This is the piece of paper on which you write the access keys.
4. backup mobile phone ! You can add your wife's, or your second mobile, should you lose the main device. This looks like you can have the backup dongle receiving the SMS codes.

As a user, I now have:

- the dongle: my first mobile device
- at least one second dongle: my wife's device
- the application running on the first mobile device
- the piece of paper

So yes, they've implemented this geeky method in a smart way.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

being cracked on gmail

it's not pretty. I experienced this today, and the frustration is exactly the same as I discovered my car has been broken into, several years ago. 

It was a matter of minutes. Actually, when I received the SMS [we "prevented" a suspicious login], I actually had a browser tab opened to the emails ! When I refreshed, ups ! enter your password ! I think it only took 4 minutes to regain total control of the account, however: imagine my embarrassment when a friend SMSed me: hey you have a virus, you've mailed the entire gmail list of emails !

Whaaaaat ? no mail in the send folder, instead I started to receive tons of OOF and several "Mail Delivery Subsystem" informing that those addresses no longer exist. Doh .... the damage was done, the bot that cracked my account scanned the entire list and send a crap mail with a link to a phishing site, probably. I hope you've not opened it !

No other damage done and information loss on my side. Except for my reputation :)

So, more 30 minutes of frustration later [and some curses, we Romanians excel at that, English is really poor ... ] I thought I had to drop keeping contacts with Google and syncing with Android, pretty much the only commodity really useful on the smartphone for me.

Then I remember I have to check the Google's two factor authentication. This is not a new concept for me. We used it in at least two projects, I use it all the time working online with the bank, I'm rather familiar with it. But, I would have never thought I might need to get into it for private mails ! C'mon ! Two factor authentication is way too geeky ! I use gmail to register on sites and to exchange mails occasionally !

So here you have it, even if you think it doesn't matter, being cracked can be embarrassing, so get on the two-factor authentication. Times are truly changing.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Notes 9 finally search "All Mails and Archives"

I'm stunned, I must have missed this somehow since I upgraded to Notes 9, probably because I gave up on hoping it would ever work ?

However, someone else have to be joking me, they're suggesting how to actually disable the search "All Mails and Archives", they even did a video on it !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI_u4jz0UTQ

Really, you're kidding ! Why would I want to do to that ? Recall 2009, when Radu's started to get frustrated on the exact same issue, being an early adopter and mocking upfront with this beautiful platform

http://cadariu.blogspot.ro/2009/01/notes-85-first-impressions.html

So ... no no no, I'll not disable it, on contrary, I'll use it more often now !

Process for new kids on the block, I keep seeing bad usage, here's how to correct:

1. Have your local mail replicas -- NEVER use the server one, NEVER ! -- if you don't know what a Notes local replica is .... saint Google's here to help, search for "Lotus Notes local mail replicas" :)
2. Setup your archival process. Usually nowadays one archive will be enough. I still see people making one archive per year ... neah, those days are gone now !
3. Use the menu's top right hand side "All Mails and Archives" as you see in above video, just make sure you DON'T disable it ... ha

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