Saturday, August 01, 2009

land of choice == land with no highways

right. I generally do not speak about politics. This is however an exception.
Romania is a beautiful country. Below clip shows what I mean.



Most of you reaching this blog are from abroad, as shown by my google analytics. So, you must have heard about Nadia, Ilie and Hagi. But have you ever heard about a bunch of politicians which cannot make decisions so that highways can be build in 20 years ? Well, I have. These fellows lead Romania.

So, you'd better visit Romania only if you're willing to rent a helicopter to drop you here and there, to admire the beauties of this country.

To highlight above statement, I'll soon be driving 650km in this country. Instead of 5 to 6 hrs on a highway, I'll drive from 10 to 12 hrs. See what I mean ?

Friday, July 31, 2009

ldap browser

It's been a while since I highlighted free software to use. Now it's time for me to mention that I settled on the following:

JXplorer This used to be the world's finest LDAP browser for me, until 5 minutes ago, when I discovered LDAPAdmin.

Kudos to the developers of both LDAP browsers.

UPDATE: as noted by Brian in comments, the better alternative is: Apache Directory Studio . I'm using it on a regular basis, whenever I digg into LDAPs. It also has a lightweight Apache LDAP server implemented in the application, which allows for mocking with LDAP (ldif import/export, schema changes and so on) on your own station, without the risk of compromising the LDAP you are working with.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Domino to Exchange ? not again, this is proven. Useless way to migrate.

I think you'll find on this blog some posts already saying that Domino to Exchange/Sharepoint migration is useless from a ROI perspective. If you're running Domino, stick with it, invest in upgrade to 8.5 and skills around Domino, and better focus of delivering applications, solving your business problems and so on. Let Domino do its job because it does it better than any other MS technology.

Now, I'm posting this just to remind me to instruct MS enthusiasts on this subject, to Brian's post, highlighting some great points to pay attention to.

On the other hand, be aware that people counts to the project's success. No matter the technology, if not skilled, people can slam any technology against the thinnest wall, it will eventually break.

Friday, July 17, 2009

ibm's java troubleshooting blog

pass on the news. Via this Dave Hay's post, I found out about the new IBM's JVM related blog

Be it WebSphere or Tivoli line of products, all of them embeds WebSphere App Server, thus IBM's JVM. Do you work on something WebSphere or Tivoli ? You work on IBM's JVM.

For me, I'll follow the blog to see who to contact internally at the next big performance issue :) Finding expertise even when you're on IBM's internal network is no easy thing to do. With 400.000 people, go figure ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

programmer equals developer ?

I am starting this writing on a subject which has already been discussed over and over again. Younger fellows (not surprisingly) seems to not make a difference between "programmer" and "developer". Being in this industry for more than 10 years, I do.

For others as my fellow mates who cannot distinguish between the two, here are the links from the Sun's certification pages:

programmer vs. developer

From my point of view, I can summarize the following:

programmer: one writes lines of code which compiles, following a design.
developer: one understands what the lines of code means, creating the design.

I also think that above difference does not only apply to Java. It also applies to other languages. It's a matter of attitude towards your job. You need to aspire to understand your technology beyond the details of writing code.

This is not a rant. I'm trying to avoid arrogance in this post. Just that developer is not the same as programmer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RAD / RSA performance - tip

If you think other Java IDEs are snappier then either RAD or RSA, you might be right. This was my impression as well after recently starting to use Rational Eclipse tools on a daily basis.

However, just as I was posting an article on the internal IBM's blogging network asking for help, I ran into this article which gave me an idea to try. Right, afterall Eclipse is the foundation of RAD / RSA / RMC and whatever Rational products :)

So I did. On windows, in the tool's installation directory, you'd find the eclipse.exe / eclipse.ini pairs. What I did was to change following parameters in eclipse.ini:

-Xms1024m
-Xmx1024m

-XX:PermSize=512M
-XX:MaxPermSize=512M

In my install -XX:PermSize was not there, but looking at above article I added it.

What this does is to set the min / max size of JVM's heap the same, so that the effort to resize the heap is no longer necessary.

Guess what, my RSA install really looks snappier. I'll be working with the tool, hopefully these small complaints are gone now.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

the reason I don't tweet

here's why : an fellow IBMer responds on Twitter to some query about some sensitive project, read the story here

I have no details on the story itself. I only see that an IBMer gets in a mess because he allows itself to say the word 'ridiculous'.

So, be carefully what you write, when you write and who's your audience.

This is why you won't see me on Twitter. I don't fancy this real-time kind of information exchange, to throw things out in the air, without second or third rethink about my writings.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Notes 8.5 widgets catalog out in the air

Continuing my last night saga, I wanted to get back some widgets I had with some Notes 8.5 themes. Looking into the internal widget database, drag'n drop a widget, and briefly saw it's connecting to www.noteswidgets.com

I said: WOW ! They released the IBM internal widget catalog to the public !! Cool stuff. But when did I missed the announcement ? I think this should have been marketed a little bit more, because it really contains useful stuff for the Notes 8.x users / customers.

For instance: there's a CSS Inspector Tool which allows one former power Domino user like me to change the Notes 8 theme on the fly, in the Lotus 8.x Client.

I'm not much of a fan for widgets connecting from the Lotus Client to different web sites. For instance, I don't need Gmail in my Lotus Client, which is business oriented. But this CSS Inspector Tool made my life easier. Because I no longer need mocking the notes.css file, as seen in the previous post.

recover from Notes 8.5 Eclipse breakdown

Don't do what I did. If it works, don't break it. And if you happen to not read this and you broke it, then you might find this tip useful. You might have a chance by deleting / renaming the \workspace folder. When you next 'reboot' your Notes client, it just might work.

And here is my story: I was not happy with the looks of my Notes 8.5 eclipse client. Since I already new about the com.ibm.notes.branding.xxx.jar file, together with its notes.css file, I started to mock with it. Because I was bored, like I didn't had anything else better to do ... Guess what, the Notes Eclipse client didn't started they way it used to, at some point. I was presented with an almost empty window of Lotus Expeditor stuff, throwing Java exceptions.

On the other side, the Notes basic client (good old Notes C instance, always reliable) was flawlessly working.

After about two hours of wasted time trying to get the Notes Eclipse back on its feet, the answer came in the form of the comments of Matt White, at this URL. So, Matt, if you're reading this, many thanks :)

The other things I learned today (as an retired Domino developer, please excuse the old news):

- It figures. Eclipse is working with workspaces. Folders on disk where you store projects. Notes-Eclipse client cannot be without it. Its default location is \workspace. Makes sense.
- Widgets. You know, composite applications, portal, and all this Notes-Eclipse stuff. When you add / install an widget, all data will go in the same workspace location.
- Finally, I also found the easier way to mock the notes.css file. The method is based on the Java jar utility, described here. Yes, I know, any decent Java developer knows about it. But I didn't, and I am not an Java developer. And all the other Domino addicted are not necessary Java developers.

Fine. Now let's get some sleep.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

free MS utilities - today, sysinternals

It must have passed about 5 years (or maybe more) since I discovered the ProcessExplorer.exe utility built by Mark Russinovich at sysinternals.com (at the time).

Now they've been bought by MS (good for them), and I sincerely hope MS will include Mark's utilities in their future OS (if they didn't already done so), and Mark would become a multi-millionaire, because it deserves it :)

I hope I'll never run my future OS on MS, since Ubuntu and Fedora come closer and closer to my ideal desktop. As a matter of fact, I've decided to wait for my next business laptop to make the replacement from XP to either Ubuntu or Fedora, since I cannot afford the waste the timeframe required to set everything up. But that's another story.

Every now and then I ran into "Windows experts", you now, those fellows with attitude, born with the MS OS in their arms, thinking they know everything ... and I ask: you're running ProcessExplorer.exe to kill that damn process which default Task Manager forbid you from killing, right ? And the answer is invariable the same: What is ProcessExplorer ?

So, if you read this blog or accidentally came on this article, or recognize yourself in above description, do yourself a favor and get the sysinternals suite, a 10MB download you'll never regret, if you claim the 'expert' keyword on your CV:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/0e18b180-9b7a-4c49-8120-c47c5a693683.aspx

There are more useful utilities in the suite, it just happens I use procexp.exe all the time, and I don't claim I'm a Win expert ...

Next time we'll run into each other, you'll have no excuse for not knowing what ProcessExplorer is :)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

ISA 4.0 glitch

For the Eclipse / Rational / Expeditor fans, I'we already mentioned how useful ISA (IBM Support Assistant) can be. Let me refresh this, as they constantly update the tool.

Apart from the IBM support searches, it also includes IBM Java tools for different analysis (log viewers, java heap and core analysis and so on). All these tools comes and Eclipse plugins, deep burried within the install of ISA.

And here comes the 'BUT': if you install it as default, it will for sure clutter your c: drive, as the default install is made in 'c:\program files\...whatever'

Same happened to me, on some previous install of the tool, when I was amazed to discover that my c: drive was almost full. Digging a little bit with the 'TreeSize Free' tool (this unveal your biggest folders in size), I discovered the cause: ISA installed in the default location, with the results of analysis stored as well on the same location.

So, here is a workaround: install ISA 4.0 on different drive. How ? It's saying on the FAQ on the IBM site, but basically you need to launch the installer as:

On Windows
setupwin32.exe /v"RCPDATA=c:\myisadata"

On Linux®
setupwin32.sh -V rcpData=/data/isa

What triggered this article was that I've just discovered 7GB of my d: wasted on some unsuccessful MDD4J analysis, launched as a plugin from ISA (I've tried to look into some 250MB Java heapdumps .. oh oh). Appears that these analysis results are stored under: \rcpdata\.metadata\.plugins\

happy digging :)

Time-Tracking combination: Notes8.5 / timeEdition / Gcal

Finally, a solution for me to time track what I do, and have this information in my business Notes 8.5 calendar. It involves three pieces of software, but looks pretty nifty.

1. Notes 8.5 can display Google Calendar. If you didn't knew it, search planetlotus.com or Saint Google on how-to accomplish this.
2. I discovered a pretty nifty piece of time-tracking software, thanks to LifeHacker site. It's name: timeEdition
What this software do so great, beside recording time on events ? It will create an event in the Google Calendar.

So, here it is. timeEdition -> Google Calendar to display items I recorded -> Sync back with the Notes 8.5

It remains for me to see if I'll be able to remember to record items, when I work on them. This is a matter of discipline. However, the benefit is for me to be able to tell one what I've been doing at one particular time or day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

RMC 7.5 exporting to MS Project - estimates in Work column

today I discovered how to solve an issue which has been bugging me for quite some time. I owe it to Peter Haumer, whose answer I happened to saw on some internal forum.

I think I've spoken before about Rational Method Composer (RMC) and how well suited is this tool for architects trying to put pieces together in projects, engagements, processes and the like. If you have no idea what RMC is up to, have a look here

Back to my issue: today I declare that RMC is my replacement for MS Project. While I am fully aware that RMC does NOT do what MS Project does, I do NOT use MS Project as much as I use RMC, that is, further than drawing the initial plan for an engagement. Or, for that matter, to open up other .mpp I receive :)

Up to couple of hours ago, I didn't knew that RMC can export the estimates for activities / tasks. You draw and plan your stuff into RMC, put estimates, adjust using estimating factors, and so on. Then, export the initial plan towards MS Project. Then, open MS Project and load RMC generated xml file. You'll find all your tasks there, even with dependency (at least for waterfall). Then, look for the Work column in order to find your estimates.

This actually completes the circle. RMC is good for reusing stuff (tasks/work items/roles ...). Project managers and customers are constantly asking for mpp files.

For me (not needing to track *.mpp files), it is so much easier to get what I already have, put the estimates, export to MS Project, then off you go. Look for the Work column, as well.

Life got simpler with this, thanks Rational :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

partnumber zip files from Passport IBM SW Catalog

Scenario: suppose you are a new IBM customer. Or, suppose you work for an IBM Business Partner. Either way, suppose you have access to the SW Catalog Downloads of IBM. And you want to get your brand new packages for WebSphere Portal. Version 6.1, Extended. And final supposition: you want to download and install/test Portal on Linux, then on AIX.

So far, so good. You access the Catalog, search for Portal 6.1 and get a whole bunch (more than 100) of packages to download, worth several tens of GB. Not good.

First piece of advice: search for 'Portal 6.1 for AIX', or 'Portal 6.1 for Linux'. Do not search for 'Portal 6.1 for Windows' :) Portal on Win is not a good choice, and this comes from experience ... boinc ...

But, before cursing IBM for tens of partnumbers instead of a clean *.tar file containing all you need, think about this:

- Your IBM software runs on 10 platforms (you'll count them below)
- You are just about one of IBM's several thousands customers, and IBM needed a way to package SW for below 10 platforms.
- Have some patience and I'll explain in short my revelation, so you'll find it a little more comfortable to download and prepare your packages.
- I think IBM has special services attending the needs for packaging. So if you want DVD's with everything packed and ready to go, search and call these IBM services.

Following are my considerations:
- Download the partnumbers files and keep them as they are.
- Because some of these are mixed and contains components for different platforms. You need C1U2WML.zip for Linux and for AIX as well.

Before the final consideration, I'd say that RTFM, occasionally, is useful. At least, seems to me that InfoCenter (for Portal) gets better and fills new and useful information, not only for the current version but for previous versions as well.

- In InfoCenter you'll (re)discover how to organize and unpack these partnumbers zips in order to perform your install for either AIX or Linux, as you wish. And here comes the quote:

"Copy CD content to a file server
This option has the following benefits and is best if installing on multiple machines:
Installing from a network drive may be faster than from a CD-ROM drive; review your network and hardware options to determine the best choice
The installation program finds the CDs it needs
Perform the following steps to copy CD content to a file server:
1. Create a directory for the product; for example, /wpversion_number
2. Copy the contents of each CD into its own directory; for example:
/wpversion_number/OS_code-Setup
/wpversion_number/OS_code-1
/wpversion_number/OS_code-2

The operating system codes are:
AIX (32-bit and 64-bit) = A
HP-UX (32-bit) = H
HP-UX (64-bit) = HI
i5/OS = I
Intel Linux (32-bit and 64-bit) = IL
PowerPC Linux (32-bit and 64-bit) = PL
zLinux (64-bit) = ZL
Solaris (32-bit and 64-bit) = SS
Solaris (64-bit) = SO
Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) = W
Note: (UNIX only) After copying the content, set read and execute permissions for users doing the installation. "

And final thought: how would you organize SW packages and different components (WAS, WASND, Forms, Sametime, Edge Components, TDS, and all other stuff coming into Portal Extended) for 10 platforms ? What if you want to offer another dimension, like Server, Enable and finally Extended ? hmmm ... tough, ain't it ?

Would you go for each platform to offer a single *.tar or *.zip ? If so, you'd multiply the storage to host this amount of space by 10. And what about the three licensing options ? ... even tougher ...

So, you need modular approach. Here you go, you've got your modules. They're the partnumber zip files :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stanford Engineering Everywhere - Programming Methodology

Via my Thunderbird feeds, I ran into this post from Stephan's blog.

Going from that, I opened the first lecture from YouTube, from here and here's my confession: I would love to attend this course back in my university days. Particularly this question from the lecturer (Mehran Sahami) raised my attention: "how many people (in this room) recognize when a computer is on ?". Seems like fun going through these lectures, so here I will.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

notes 8.5 - first impressions

You must already know by now that notes 8.5 goodies have been released.

I upgraded. Took some long time (about 20 minutes) to upgrade from 8.5 beta 2. So when you upgrade, plan some time.

I actually upgraded without any previous local data backup, no issues.
I also increased the Notes 8.5 JVM Heap, by altering:

\framework\rcp\eclipse\plugins\com.ibm.rcp.j2se.win32.x86_1.6.0.20080709-200808151631\jvm.properties

vmarg.Xmx=-Xmx1024m

Overall impressions: it's definitely worth the time to upgrade. Snappier, faster, better looking.

Old issues solved since Notes 8.5 Beta 2 (for me):
- integrated Sametime client seems faster. At least the chat windows appears faster when I open a conversation.
- appears that Notes 8.5 now shuts down cleanly (no longer do I need to kill Notes2.exe with the Sysinternals Process Explorer)
- Lotus Symphony (I think it's now 1.2) became usable as programs within the Notes client.

And a new thing I noticed: I can search IOPES from within the Notes client, which is fun. Apparently the 'Search all mail' toolbar does not search local mails together with all archives the local replica is linked to. I expected this to work, in order for me to drop IOPES. It didn't, at least I no longer need to open a separate FF window.

This is how the search toolbar looks on my client:



The Personal Omnifind entry might have been there in the beta, I happened to noticed it today :)

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