Friday, 29 February 2008

Domino Web Access ... totally rocks ...

Getting ready to deliver a DWA presentation and demonstration to a client this AM, so thought I'd spend a wee while really getting up to speed with it.

Installed Domino 8.0.1 and Sametime 8 on my Thinkpad, and started to dig into DWA, both the Full and Lite versions. Have to say I'm very impressed - I've only ever really played with DWA in the context of a portal, and haven't really dug into it too deeply. I also hadn't realized that, under Domino 8.0.1, there is one combined mail template so there's no longer a need to convert a mailfile to/from DWA.

Also got Domino Offline Services (DOLS) working so I can take my webmail offline - again, a very neat feature about which I knew too little.

Just geting Sametime working in DWA as I type ................

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Geek is Cool

After a lot of reflection, I've come to the (obvious) conclusion that I
like being a geek. As technology gets more pervasive and as people get
more tech-savvy, geeks are more socially acceptable in society.

Everyone geeks to some degree; my aunt is getting a DAB radio and is
looking at set-top boxes, my dad has acquired a Freeview box and a DVD
player in the recent past, and is getting a new PC soon ( although he
doesn't know it yet ).

Years ago, I turned up at a client site, suitably suited and booted, and
was black affronted to be described as "the engineer from ..." by the
receptionist as she called through to my host ( hey, I was young and
even more stupid in those days ).

Now, I'm proud to be considered to be an engineer ( especially given
that my father and both grandfathers were real engineers, with dirty
hands and callouses ).

As I sat on the plane this AM, reading the 30th edition of PCW and
reminiscing over the computers that I've had ( I was the proud owner of
a PET, a ZX-81, a Spectrum, an Electron, a BBC Micro, an Archimedes, a
PS/2 and various other PCs from 286 upwards ), I realised that I am a
geek, I've always been a geek and I may well be a geek forever.

On a recent customer visit, I described myself as an anorak; the
customer, who knew me quite well by then said "Oh no, I think you're
more of a donkey jacket; far more use". Of course, donkey jackets are
quite thick (!) but they do keep one warm in the winter.

On a final note, I saw an excellent badge at Lotusphere in Orlando ->
C:\GEEK\RUN.

Right, back to my tall decaff latte ..........

Monday, 25 February 2008

Egg, rather than coffee, on face

Do I feel silly ?

Spent a fair part of yesterday afternoon trying to work out why a previously working VMware image of WebSphere Portal 6.0 Express on Red Hat Enterprise Linux would not work. I could start the server, but not log in. I went through a lot of PD and, to crown it all, ended up assuming that I'd forgotten the admin. password so reinstalled Poral from scratch. Post-installation, that worked OK, but after a restart, I got the same problem.

I spent an hour on the train this AM, and couldn't crack it - this was the first error that I was seeing: -

[25/02/08 08:14:41:246 GMT] 0000000a SystemErr R com.ibm.websphere.scheduler.SchedulerNotAvailableException: SCHD0124E: Unable to initialize wps/Scheduler due to error: com.ibm.ws.extensionhelper.exception.UnableToInitializeException: java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: xaConnect

I did all the usual things: -
  • ensured that DB2 was started
  • ensured that I could see wpsdb in the database catalog ( DB2 LIST DB DIRECTORY )
  • ensured that I could connect to wpsdb ( DB2 CONNECT TO WPSDB USER WPDB2INS USING PASSWORD )
  • ensured that I could get some data ( DB2 "SELECT * FROM WPDB2INS.WMMUSERREG" )
  • etc.
I also checked that I could start/use server1, which doesn't use DB2 for authentication and, therefore, is fine ).

Thankfully, Google had the answer, Google is my friend :-)

And I'm embarrassed to admit that it was my old favourite WebSphere on Unix problem - WAS cannot "see" DB2 unless you ensure that the DB2 libraries etc. are added to root's user environment. This is most easily done using the command: -

. /home/wpdb2ins/sqllib/db2profile

( note the leading characters )

Now I've been working with WAS on Unix for about 8 years, and yet I forgot this most basic problem.

Can you say "Doh" ??

Anyhow, I ran the command, and WebSphere Portal came up like a dream - no errors in SystemErr.log and able to log in and play away, play away, play away.

In the end, I added this command to .bash_profile in order that it runs each time I boot up.

Hey, you learn something OLD every day :-)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Wow, what a week !

It started well with a combined demonstration of WebSphere Portal ( and
Portlet Factory, of course ) and Lotus Quickr - all went well, and it
reminded me how sweet this stuff is.

Following on from that, had another demonstration where I dug into WPF
in more depth, showing how Profiling can be used to allow business users
to change the way in which the portlet/application operates by making a
simple menu choice. Also dug back into Quickr and WCM, focusing on how
they form two parts of a comprehensive portal solution - Quickr for web
document management and WCM for ... well ... web content management.

I got stuck into a thorny little challenge - how to use WPF on a Windows
PC to automagically deploy portlets to a Portal Express server running
on a separate Linux box - this involved Samba, file permissions and a
bit of jiggery pokery - thankfully, I had a document from a colleague
confirming how it could be done - I'm going to spend a little time on
this tomorrow, and write up my own notes.

Finally, I had lots of fun with Notes 8.0.1, including adding in the
Symphony/Quickr Connectors: -

http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/plugin!default.jspa?threadID=4051

as well as configuring the My Widgets sidebar to allow me to drop in
widgets, gadgets, Notes views, feeds etc.

Anything else ? Nope, think that mostly covers it :-)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Lotus Notes 8.0.1 Released ( AND INSTALLED ALREADY )

Looks very very nice - especially the integration of Quickr document libraries in the sidebar. Will get to grips with widgets and smart text in due course.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Pride goeth before a fall

Well, this post was going to be entitled something witty like "Street Life" or "Fun in the City" 'cos I was strolling through the streets of Edinburgh on the way to my office, backpack on my ... er ... back, and a venti hazlenut triple shot skinny latte in my hand, thinking that life was just so darn good ..........

when .....

I tripped ( obviously due to uneven paving rather than my own incompetence ) over.

Managed to keep the latte (mostly) in its cup, apart from the bits of frothy foam that flew all over my suit, jacket and topcoat .....

Nothing damaged apart from my pride - if you were sitting on the Number 10 bus across the road, then I hope I gave you a bit of a giggle.

Still, despite that, life is good - coffee is going down nicely, VMware is doing its thing and WebSphere Integration Developer is just about to be downloading ( the bandwidth is better here in the office than in the Rad - you get what you pay for with free broadband ).

Right, back to ............. coffee

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Another day, some more neat technology

Having evangelised about WebSphere Portlet Factory all week, I thought I'd change tack and do something completely different today.

Therefore, I'm installing the latest beta of Lotus Notes 8.0.1, as I'm hoping to see/use the Quickr Connector from within the Notes sidebar, finally allowing me to drag/drop attachments out of emails into Quickr places in the same way as I do so into Activities.

This will help me separate the stuff I want to keep ( in Quickr ) with the stuff that's more transient e.g. based around specific tasks/projects.

The other trick will then be to include links from the Quickr document ( all nice n' secure, with backups, version control etc. ) in the Activity, rather than bloating my Connections server with content that should be held in a much better place.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - BETA FOR BOYS, GOLD FOR GIRLS ( not my phrase ! )

New toy - and it just works out of the box

I'm on my third Bluetooth headset - I cannot find one that I really like e.g. one that's comfortable, holds a charge for more than 50 seconds, that will connect to my phone and laptop etc. etc.

I've had a Jabra BT250v( or summat ) for a while now and it's kinda OK, but it's not perfect - AND I WANT PERFECT.

Well, I took the plunge and ordered a new headset the other day - it's a Plantronics Voyager 510 ... and it's totally awesome.

It comes with a USB charger ( now that is soo cool ) and will pair with TWO devices simultaneously. So I have it paired with my good old Nokia phone AND my laptop.

One wrinkle - the manual comes on CD-ROM ( along with a slew of other paperwork ) and I didn't have my CD-ROM drive to hand.

Nae bother, I just Googled for the model, and found a post from some review site where they told me which magic buttons to press to pair it and ... voila, it just bloomin' worked.

Got back to the hotel tonight ( am in Edinburgh which is why my accent has changed ) and paired it up with my Thinkpad - 30 seconds later, I've got Skype running, and am chatting with Her Indoors.

So, 10/10 for Plantronics - lightweight headset, good noise cancelling ( means I can use it when cycling ) and a bloody USB charged - how cool is that ?

Now to get it to work with the iPod Touch - darn, no Bluetooth ( yet ).

:)

PS Looked at the Which? website - the Jabra got their best buy rating ( 77% ) and the Plantronics wasn't even mentioned ! Hah

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

All Right Now !!

Well, I scratch installed my Thinkpad ( using a Ghost image ) and ran
the WebSphere Portal 6.1 Beta installation again, and all went well.

This time, I did RTFM, and stuck with the default admin user ID and
password - this is beta software, after all.

All worked as expected, so I'm pleased to be out in the tent again.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

WebSphere Portal 6.1 - The Adventure Continues .....

Well, I just got bitten by the RTFM bug :-)

<snip>
You are required to install with the default user id and password
(xyzadmin/xyzadminpw). If xyzadminpw does not meet the password
requirements of the install machine, please alter your password
requirements or wait for the next beta release.
</snip>

This is, after all, a beta - beta for boys, gold for girls ( as one of
my colleagues likes to say ).

Just uninstalling ....................................

Don't get caught like me - check out the comments etc. re the beta here: -

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=187822&tstart=0

Cheerio

WebSphere Portal 6.1 Beta

Have just installed the latest beta code - I'm sure it took less time
than previous installations, but it might just be me.

It's installed and started - just bringing up the front-end, but have
already noticed that it's now based on *WebSphere Application Server -
ND 6.1.0.11* rather than 6.0 - which is nice.

Will post more when I know more ....