Friday, May 30, 2008

evernote

Evernote is one of these amazingly simple, yet useful programs. If you want to take notes and remember things either on web pages or by notepad type of editor, then this is for you. I need to remember technical stuff and I don't want to memorize because I know that I will forget :) So I need a program which does just what Evernote is doing. I think it is worth a try.

If you don't believe me, check the video on the front page. It has sync with your online account, clipping screen on your workstation and for the most fancy people, mobile versions which keeps your notes in sync.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

for notes and outlook searches - IOPES

not sure how to start a recommendation for Outlook users .... oh yeah, switch to Notes :)

joking aside, I can highly recommend you try a program for searching all your mails. If you use and receive a lots of mails, I know your frustration when searching for something in old mails. Neither Outlook or Notes handle this job properly. Been there, done that. For some time I used to try Google Desktop Search which did a good job not only finding mails (it has a Notes plugin), except it took a whole lot of memory to do run. Since I am a rather organized person, I usually have no problem finding a file. But I need to find emails, since I also run at least one archive.

Since Notes 8 cannot search in archives (as I clarified this in another post), I needed a program to search only mails. Cannot say for Outlook since when I did used it I had another free indexer which was brilliant, called Lookout

IBM OmniFind Personal E-mail Search does this job and so far I have no complains. Well, the version I have uses a lot of memory too, but as I write this I am downloading the new version, I'll see if it handles memory better. Since I need from time to time to search for mails, I have no other choice. Do I ?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

little story about wmm_cfg.xml:512

Guess how did I spend the last three days ? I tried to get passed the WebSphere Portal Installation Wizard on Windows, on subsequent attempts to install it on my machine.

After the first successful install, I upgraded to 6.0.1.3, but I had the impression that Portal is hanging on the Internationalization service. This was not the case as it turned out, I still have to figure why Portal is spending almost 15 minutes to this point, when starting. But this is another story, I'm working on it :)

So I said, I upgraded without thinking, my Portal is not starting. OK ! Let's approach the Microsoft way of doing things ! uninstall, then reinstall !

Uninstall from Add/Remove ... waiting another hour or so .... then delete everything under d:\ibm\ (didn't deleted the ibm folder and this is the trick which perhaps is the explanation why I failed) .... reboot the machine, start over, wait another 2 hours or so for the Wizard .... and bang ! the error message that script wmm_cfg.xml:512 line didn't executed.

hmmm .... start searching on net .... some other folks complained about the same error, but could not found an explanation.

good. ok, this happens from time to time. I found that Portal actually was installed but at that moment it was trying to enable global security on WAS. I tried manually with WPSConfig, I managed to do it but I had no idea what password it had set on cloudscape, so I lost all access to WAS and Portal :)

So, instead of mocking around with it (I think I'm getting older for this), I started again, with the wizard, but this time I made sure I deleted ALL the installation path. That is, including the ibm folder.

And, to my surprise, this time it got through. The installation wizard for the Portal showed the 'successful message'.

And here comes the thing: appears that this wizard wants to create the install path by itself (as d:\ibm existed when it failed). I don't have another explanation.

ISA 4.0

my favorite tool for digging into IBM repositories, IBM Support Assistant, has reached its new version, which is 4.0

since it's free, do yourself a favor and download it, if you frequently search IBM Support site to solve different product's mysteries :)

Also seems that this version is made on Expeditor; I'm saying this by its look&feel.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

fixing was and portal

since I declared that IBM outpaced MS at efixes and fixes for WebSphere and Portal, let's see how do we apply these fixes. Until an equiv "Tools\Windows Update" will be made available for WAS/Portal, applying fixes has to be done manually.

Fortunately, for V6.x version there are two UpdateInstaller programs which should do most of the stuff:
- one UpdateInstaller is for WAS and is usually located into WAS install_path. If it's not, you need to download and install it.
- the second UpdateInstaller is for Portal itself, and make note this is different from the WAS's one, even if we do have the same name.

You most likely need an X server of Unix machines, though I think there are possible solutions to apply fixes from the command line. Still, the UpdateInstaller is a Java app, so you'd be better with an X server on your Unix (use export DISPLAY=your_ip:0.0 if your X is not running on the box).

I will not go into further details, as you need to carefully evaluate your current version of Java, WAS and Portal. I am saying that using WAS UpdateInstaller you can update both Java and WAS on your server, while Portal UpdateInstaller updates your Portal install.

A very useful link is now the Fix Central site, which requires your IBM id.

Instructions for each of fix applied need to be carefully evaluated. For instance, you cannot just upgrade to Portal 6.0.1.3 :) You need to upgrade your Java, then WAS to a certain version, if you want to be successful.

What did I said about similarity between this and the good old days of MS, when one patch depended on another ? :) Here's an area needing improvement on our side ...

useful firefox extension - scrapbook

In the spirit of FOSS, here's another discovery of mine, gratitude of one of my Rational colleagues who pointed it to me (thanks, Razvan): scrapbook

It's usefulness is shown with the fact that you can add your own notes, beside to the page-capturing features. Since probably 40% of my working time is spent within Firefox (search, learn, read, open portals and web apps), I find it very useful to make it my own place of storing personal knowledge.
Files can be stored wherever you want on your disk, so backup is available for what you save.

Give it a try or let me know if you already use it and I'm late to this party :)

first lesson of portal architecture

the first thing that struck me: Edge Components Caching Proxy (CP) is so ignored into our customers solutions, here in .ro

Even when looking and searching for resources world-wide I seem to have a hard time finding any good resources of people trying stuff and sharing with community ...

I am not into the sales/licensing stuff, but I think that any license of WebSphere Portal comes with entitlement to install/use the Caching Proxy.

So, why do I see so ignorance for this product which actually enhance the Portal performance ? How did I see this ? On my own experience, and here's how I saw it:
On my laptop (with 3GB RAM, well..) I installed two Linux virtual machines:
- one has Portal 6.1.0.3
- the other one has IBM HTTP Server with WAS plugin, plus the Edge Caching Proxy. IHS responds on 8080, CP responds on 80 and forward all traffic to IHS.

After I finished the setup (it took me a long time due to other stuff I am dealing with), I noticed a boost in Portal performance when accessed through the Caching Proxy. I mean, the performance is crystal clear visible when accessing: http://my_host_name:8080/wps/portal (without CP), versus http://my_host_name:80/wps/portal (with CP)

And, by no means I am an expert into Caching Proxy stuff, not just yet.
Sure, Portal has several layers of caching, out of which DynaCache is/can/should be used programatically by developers, but usually developers don't bother with it. Or, our developers here in .ro don't bother ...

So, when architectural decisions are in my hand, I am not going without a CP, set-up and used as a reverse proxy for the Portal. I think it should be installed whenever you get the chance, it finally looks good for the Portal solution itself.

more details to come, as I will learn more :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

websphere virtual portal and websphere content manager (WCM)

As I said before, administration of the portal is a pain :)

scenario: you create a virtual portal and want to use WCM.
symptom: no WCM authoring portlets on your new virtual portal. What to do ?
solution: using xmlaccess.sh (for *nix), do this:
>cd PortalInstall/bin
>./xmlaccess.sh -url http://PortalHost:10038/wps/config/VirtualPortalContextURL -in ../wcm/deploy/DeployWcmAuthoringPortletAndPage.xml

where:
PortalInstall for Linux is usually /opt/IBM/WebSphere/PortalServer/
PortalHost could be localhost ar your Portal hostname
10038 is the SOAP port for accessing the configuration of the Portal. Could be different in your environment
VirtualPortalContextURL is the URL context of your virtual portal.

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