Tuesday, 31 July 2012

VMware Tools Unavailable - Not Any More :-)

I've had a small gripe with VMware Workstation 8.0.4 for a while, and only just got around to fixing it.

I use VMware on my ThinkPad ( running Ubuntu 12.04 ) to run various IBM products, including WAS, DB2, Portal, Connections etc. and was building out a new VM for a colleague, who needs WebSphere Portal 8.

Having done the usual things, including using yum update to update the installed OS ( Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 64-bit ) to the latest release, changing the root password etc. I wanted to install VMware Tools.

However, I kept seeing VMware Tools Unavailable in the VM menu ( and greyed out ).

As ever, Google had the answer ( because Google is my friend ). This particular post: -


Ever seen this on your VMware Workstation and wondered what the problem was?

There's a really simple answer.

Shut down the Virtual Machine
Edit Virtual Machine Settings
Click the Options Tab
Change the Guest Operating System from 'Other' to what it actually is.
Restart the Virtual Machine and Update / install VMware Tools.

When I checked, my Guest Operating System selection was, as expected, set to Other. I changed it to Linux / Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 64-bit I was able to select VMware Tools from the VM menu, which allowed me to mount the ISO image that contains the tools, and actually install them - which was nice.

What are the chances ?

This absolutely excellent 5-minute YouTube video came to my attention this morning via ... IBM Connections, which was the first place that I went to see what was happening within my company's connected social business.

It's from Louis Richardson, who is a passionate advocate for #SocBiz and who presents a very compelling case for the business and organisational benefits of connectivity within a corporate.

What are the chances that becoming a social business can benefit you and your organization? Take 5 and watch this video and see if you can't find ways to improve your chances of success.

I strongly recommend that you take 5 minutes out of your busy day to check this out.

Hey, what's the best that can happen ?

Friday, 27 July 2012

Hot on the heels - scripting the installation of IBM Lotus Domino 8.5.3 Fixpack 1

Following on from my earlier post: -

Following the script - installing IBM Lotus Domino using a response file ( silent installation )

I also wanted to script the installation of the Domino 8.5.3 fix pack.

Apart from this being general good practice, I needed to get around an interesting little problem that I experienced when I installed the fix pack interactively: -

$ ./install

Lotus Notes for Unix Install Program
------------------------------------
Installer is initializing. It may take a few minutes, please, wait.

Error: The minimum supported terminal size is 130 columns by 24 rows.
Please ensure that the terminal/window used is at least this size.
If user just install hotfix not fix package, you can disable this check by.
LOTUS_NOROWCOLCHECK=1
export LOTUS_NOROWCOLCHECK

I was seeing this natively within the VM, whilst running without X11 loaded, but also within a terminal window whilst X11 was running. In addition, I also saw the same thing from my host OS ( Ubuntu 12.04 ) whilst SSH'd into the RHEL VM.

This Technote wasn't much use: -

Error installing hotfix or fixpack

as it mainly related to using PuTTY on Windows.

However, it did provide one insight: -

5. Use the silent install method.

Therefore, in the spirit of the series, I created a response file: -

$ vi script.dat

installation_type = 2

and then ran the installation thusly: -

./install -script script.dat

Lotus Notes for Unix Install Program
------------------------------------
Installer is initializing. It may take a few minutes, please, wait.


WARNING:
The following system commands were not located:
  rsh
Installation to remote systems will not be possible.

Fri Jul 27 19:32:18 BST 2012

Batch mode script file is:  /root/foo/linux/domino/script.dat
Installing  Domino Server kits ...
Replacing domino_6_5_6.dtd
Replacing xspClientDojo.js.gz
Replacing domino_6_0_6.dtd
Replacing domino_8_0_2.dtd
Replacing Bahia
....

I now have a nice shiny 8.5.3 FP1 server with which to play ...

Whilst I was on the journey to this discovery, I found this rather excellent presentation from DanNotes, which covers Domino 8.5.2 installation on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).

The deck also makes reference to Daniel Nashed's excellent script for managing Domino under Linux.

Following the script - installing IBM Lotus Domino using a response file ( silent installation )

This follows on from the series of posts that I started last month, which include:-

Following the script - installing IBM HTTP Server using a response file ( silent installation )

Following the script - installing and using IBM WebSphere Update Installer using a response file ( silent installation )

Following the script - installing IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator using a response file ( silent installation )

Following the script - installing IBM DB2 UDB using a response file ( silent installation )

More on automation - this time it's the DB2 UDB 9.7.0.2 fixpack ....

I wanted  to include IBM Lotus Domino, as I needed an LDAP server for my IBM Connections 3.0.1 installation.

So here goes ...

Firstly, I'm using Domino 8.5.3 Fixpack 1, which I downloaded as: -

lotus_domino853_xlinux_en.tar
lotus_domser853FP1_LIN_Intel.tar

*UPDATE* I've also since used Fixpack 2 as well: -

lotus_domino853FP2_linux_x86.tar
As before, I am using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 for the installation, which I performed as root.

Before installing Domino, it's necessary to set two of the ulimits: -

open files                      (-n)
stack size              (kbytes, -s)


This is done via a change to the file /etc/security/limits.conf to which I add: -

* hard nofile 20000
* soft nofile 20000


to the end of the file.

These are the recommended values for Domino 8.

Right, onto the installation itself ...

First, I expanded the Domino code into my /tmp directory: -

$ cd /tmp
$ tar xvf /root/lotus_domino853_xlinux_en.tar

I then created a response file: -

$ vi ~/unix_response.dat

-G licenseAccepted=true
-W InstallDataOnlyOptionPanel.InstallDataOnly=false
-P installLocation="/opt/ibm/lotus"
-W normalData.installLocationData="/local/notesdata"
-W NameUserGroupPanel.UserName="notes"
-W NameUserGroupPanel.GroupName="notes"
-W SetupTypePanel.selectedSetupTypeId=EnterpriseServer
-W ServerSetupPanel.ServerSetupType="Manual"
-P LicenseFeature.active=true
-P ProgramFilesFeature.active=true
-P BillingSupportFeature.active=true
-P ClusteringSupportFeature.active=true
-P bean2236.active=true
-P DataFilesFeature.active=true
-P beanRequiredTemplates.active=true
-P beanAdministrationTemplates.active=true
-P beanOptionalTemplates.active=true
-P beanCertificateManagement.active=true
-P beanWebServicesDataFiles.active=true
-P beanReadme.active=true
-P beanDojo.active=true
-P beanDojo2.active=true
-P beanXSPages.active=true
-P DECSFeature.active=true
-P DOLSFeature.active=true
-P DWAFeature.active=true
-P SametimeIntegrationFeature.active=true
-P RMEFeature.active=true
-P HelpFeature.active=true
-P OSIntegFeature.active=true

I then created the required Domino user and group: -

groupadd notes
useradd -g notes notes
passwd notes

I then started the installation: 

$ cd /tmp/domino/linux/domino
$ ./install -options ~/unix_response.dat -silent

This initially failed with: -

Lotus Domino for Unix Install Program
------------------------------------

The following OS patches or higher are missing. Please update all patches before starting the Domino Server.
    libXmu-1.0.5-1.el6.i686
    libXp-1.0.0-15.1.el6.i686


which I overcame by installing the required libraries: -

$ yum install -y libXmu-1.0.5-1.el6.i686
$ yum install -y libXp-1.0.0-15.1.el6.i686

Second time around, the installation completed OK.

Once the installation had finished, I attempted to start the Domino server ( X11 was already running ): -

$ su notes
$ cd /local/notesdata
$ /opt/ibm/lotus/bin/server

Sadly this failed with: -

WARNING: the maximum number of file handles (ulimit -n)
           allowed for Domino is 1024.
         See Lotus Tech Note 1221870 and set the allowable maximum to 20000.
./java -ss512k -Xoss5M -cp jhall.jar:cfgdomserver.jar:./ndext/ibmdirectoryservices.jar lotus.domino.setup.WizardManagerDomino -data /local/notesdata
Please edit your shell's DISPLAY environment variable to reflect an unlocked terminal that you would like to launch the Domino Setup Program on.
*Warning all runtime debug info will be logged to /local/notesdata/setuplog.txt
Now I have seen this problem before, and immediately looked at the following IBM Technotes: -

Setting up a Domino server on a UNIX-based system

Error: "Please edit your shell's DISPLAY environment variable..." when launching Domino remote server setup

including running the command ( as root ): -
$ xhost +

but nothing was helped.

I then found this Technote: -

Red Hat 6 Linux OS: Domino will not install

which said, in part, that I was missing a bunch of required libraries: -

Domino requires the following packages to be installed. They can be located on the RHEL6 distribution disks or installed via RPM.

glibc-2.12-1.7.el6.i686
libgcc-4.4.4-13.el6.i686
libstdc++-4.4.4-13.el6.i686

The packages listed above are sufficient to install Domino in silent and console modes.

To run GUI Domino installer, you will need additional xWindows packages:

libXtst-1.0.99.2-3.el6.i686

libXmu-1.0.5-1.el6.i686
libXp-1.0.0-15.1.el6.i686

To run GUI setup you will need two more packages:


libXft-2.1.13-4.1.el6.i686.rpm
libXi-1.3-3.el6.i686.rpm


In the end, this is what I ended up installing: -

$ yum install -y libXtst-1.0.99.2-3.el6.i686
$ yum install -y libXmu-1.0.5-1.el6.i686
$ yum install -y libXp-1.0.0-15.1.el6.i686
$ yum install -y libXft-2.1.13-4.1.el6.i686
$ yum install -y --skip-broken libXft-2.1.13-4.1.el6.i686
$ yum install -y libXi-1.3-3.el6.i686

Note that libXft didn't go on - this became a real PITA.

The solution, as with many other things, was to hook up my RHEL VM to my company's network, from where I can connect to a Red Hat Enterprise Network mirror, and run: -

$ yum update

as root.

Once I updated my system to the latest and greatest RHEL 6.2, I was able to successfully install libXft and then start my Domino server.

The moral of the story ?

Ensure that your RHEL boxen is up-to-date before you start installing Domino.

Other than that, all is good.

Finally, I then updated Domino to 8.5.3 FP2 as follows: -

$ cd /tmp
$ rm -Rf linux             ( to clear down the original Domino installation code )
$ tar xvf /mnt/hgfs/Software/LD853/lotus_domino853FP2_linux_x86.tar
$ cd linux/domino
$ ./install -script script.dat

This uses the supplied response file to update Domino to 8.5.3 FP2.

Job done :-)

OSX - Climbing the Mountain Lion

Well, after much furore, Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion was released on Wednesday 25 July.

I, like the rest of the world, downloaded it ( which took an absolute age - 2-3 hours on a 4 Mb/s ADSL connection, bearing in mind that it's over 4 GB in size ).

My plan is to install this onto my other Mac - a late 2008 MacBook Pro Core Duo with 8 GB RAM and a 320 GB spinny disk ( 5,400 RPM ), as a fresh install.

Rather than burning it onto a DVD, which I avoided because I'll eventually want to install it on my new MacBook Pro, which doesn't have a DVD drive, I chose to "burn" it onto a 8 GB USB key.

That, it turns out, was part of the problem.

So I followed one of a series of articles: -

Installing Mountain Lion Clean


How to Burn OS X Mountain Lion to a DVD or USB Flash Drive

How to make a bootable Mountain Lion install drive

all of which describe, in clear and precise detail, how to use Disk Utility to "burn" the installer onto a USB key.

However, Disk Utility would also fail with "Could not restore - Invalid argument" at the end of the process - after about 30 minutes and following the Verification process.

No matter how many times I tried, using different combinations of the advice given, I couldn't get away from that error.

Despite this, I tried the installation - I booted the MBP from the USB key ( having first backed up my data in a number of places - see below for details ), initialised the hard disk, and took the option to reinstall OSX.

This took the requisite 4-5 minutes and then .... failed with "Can't download the additional components needed to install OS X".

So back I went to Disk Utility, but kept getting the same error as before.

In semi-desperation, I tried a different tack - following a link from a Google Groups post,  I downloaded a piece of so-called donation-ware software - Lion Disk Maker - which used a different mechanism to burn the downloaded code ( InstallESD.dmg ) to the USB key.

This took an equally long time, and then failed with: -






At that point, I was ready to give up. I even started thinking about how I might somehow do a network install - I'm sure I heard @EwenRankin make reference to that on the @BritishTechMac show a week or so ago.

And then inspiration hit me - perhaps there's something wrong with my USB key :-)

So I popped out to Sainsbury's this morning, and picked up an Optima 8 GB USB 2.0 key for the princely sum of £7.99 - that's quite expensive, considering that it works out at an exchange rate of £1 for 1 GB, but hey .... it's only money.

I reverted back to the original Disk Utility method to burn the ML code onto the key - that took about 35 minutes (ish), but did NOT NOT NOT fail with any errors.

I'm just completing the installation of Mountain Lion as I type - the initial 4-5 minute process ( to install the boot loader etc. onto the MBP's spinny disk ) worked a treat.

So far, so good :-)

I'm sure I'll post more about ML shortly ...


Desktop SSO with WebSphere Application Server 7 and MS Active Directory - It's Ain't Working

Am posting this to remind myself how to resolve an issue of my own making.

Yesterday, I was working to resolve an issue whereby users from one of a number of Active Directory domains were unable to automagically log in to WebSphere Application Server v7 ( hosting IBM Connections v3 and IBM WebSphere Portal v7 ) using SPNEGO/Kerberos.

The user would arrive at the site, via a load-balanced URL, but would be presented with the login page, rather than getting into the application transparently.

I knew that this worked for me, in another AD domain, so was reasonably confident that the AD and SPNEGO configuration was OK.

Therefore, I enabled tracing in WAS using this trace string: -

*=info: com.ibm.ws.security.spnego.*=all

( I love the way that WAS 7 allows one to enable tracing in-flight, without needing to restart the JVM ).

I saw the usual bunch of SPNEGO messages, indicating that WAS was pulling out the userPrincipalName (UPN) attribute e.g. hayd@foobar.com from the SPNEGO token.

However, I also saw references to a First Failure Data Capture (FFDC) log, and a corresponding com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException error.

This was the main error within the FFDC log: -

...
[25/07/12 17:13:28:341 BST]     FFDC
Exception:com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException
SourceId:com.ibm.websphere.security.EntryNotFoundException ProbeId:190
Reporter:com.ibm.websphere.security.EntryNotFoundException@48104810

com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException: CWWIM4001E The 'bloggsf@snafu.com' entity was not found.
 at com.ibm.ws.wim.registry.util.UniqueIdBridge.getUniqueUserId(UniqueIdBridge.java:226)
 at com.ibm.ws.wim.registry.WIMUserRegistry$6.run(WIMUserRegistry.java:365)


Given that the error was coming from the WebSphere Identity Manager (WIM) component of WAS, I had a fair suspicion of the root cause.

I compared and contrasted the cell-level wimconfig.xml file, looking at the working domain ( for the UPN hayd@foobar.com ): -


     
       
          PersonAccount
       

       
          PersonAccount
       

       
          PersonAccount
       

       
          Group
...

and the failing domain ( for the UPN bloggsf@snafu.com ): -


     
       
          PersonAccount
       

       
          PersonAccount
       

       
          Group


Can you spot the error ? I bet you can ….

I'd forgotten to explicitly add: -

       
          PersonAccount
       

to the definition for the newly added realms ( for the two new AD domains ).

Therefore, WAS/WIM was correctly pulling the userPrincipalName attribute, but did not know what to do with that i.e. what to map it to in WIM.

Once I explicitly mapped userPrincipalName to uid, WAS/WIM could then correctly use it as a login attribute ( along with commonName - cn ), and SSO started working.

Something else to add to my ever-evolving presentation: -

Desktop Single Sign-On in an Active Directory World

Desktop SSO with WebSphere Application Server 7 and MS Active Directory - It's Ain't Working

Am posting this to remind myself how to resolve an issue of my own making.

Yesterday, I was working to resolve an issue whereby users from one of a number of Active Directory domains were unable to automagically log in to WebSphere Application Server v7 ( hosting IBM Connections v3 and IBM WebSphere Portal v7 ) using SPNEGO/Kerberos.

The user would arrive at the site, via a load-balanced URL, but would be presented with the login page, rather than getting into the application transparently.

I knew that this worked for me, in another AD domain, so was reasonably confident that the AD and SPNEGO configuration was OK.

Therefore, I enabled tracing in WAS using this trace string: -

*=info: com.ibm.ws.security.spnego.*=all

( I love the way that WAS 7 allows one to enable tracing in-flight, without needing to restart the JVM ).

I saw the usual bunch of SPNEGO messages, indicating that WAS was pulling out the userPrincipalName (UPN) attribute e.g. hayd@foobar.com from the SPNEGO token.

However, I also saw references to a First Failure Data Capture (FFDC) log, and a corresponding com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException error.

This was the main error within the FFDC log: -

...
[25/07/12 17:13:28:341 BST]     FFDC 
Exception:com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException 
SourceId:com.ibm.websphere.security.EntryNotFoundException ProbeId:190 
Reporter:com.ibm.websphere.security.EntryNotFoundException@48104810

com.ibm.websphere.wim.exception.EntityNotFoundException: CWWIM4001E The 'bloggsf@snafu.com' entity was not found.
 at com.ibm.ws.wim.registry.util.UniqueIdBridge.getUniqueUserId(UniqueIdBridge.java:226)
 at com.ibm.ws.wim.registry.WIMUserRegistry$6.run(WIMUserRegistry.java:365)

Given that the error was coming from the WebSphere Identity Manager (WIM) component of WAS, I had a fair suspicion of the root cause.

I compared and contrasted the cell-level wimconfig.xml file, looking at the working domain ( for the UPN hayd@foobar.com ): -

      <config:attributeConfiguration> 
        <config:attributes defaultValue="544" name="userAccountControl"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 
        <config:attributes name="userPrincipalName" propertyName="uid"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 
        <config:attributes name="samAccountName" propertyName="cn"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 
        <config:attributes defaultAttribute="cn" name="samAccountName"> 
          <config:entityTypes>Group</config:entityTypes>
...

and the failing domain ( for the UPN bloggsf@snafu.com ): -

      <config:attributeConfiguration> 
        <config:attributes defaultValue="544" name="userAccountControl"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 
        <config:attributes name="samAccountName" propertyName="cn"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 
        <config:attributes defaultAttribute="cn" name="samAccountName"> 
          <config:entityTypes>Group</config:entityTypes>

Can you spot the error ? I bet you can ….

I'd forgotten to explicitly add: -

        <config:attributes name="userPrincipalName" propertyName="uid"> 
          <config:entityTypes>PersonAccount</config:entityTypes> 
        </config:attributes> 

to the definition for the newly added realms ( for the two new AD domains ).

Therefore, WAS/WIM was correctly pulling the userPrincipalName attribute, but did not know what to do with that i.e. what to map it to in WIM.

Once I explicitly mapped userPrincipalName to uid, WAS/WIM could then correctly use it as a login attribute ( along with commonName - cn ), and SSO started working.

Something else to add to my ever-evolving presentation: -


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Monday, 23 July 2012

IBM Worklight Education - Free Free Free

Thanks to Rob Novak for sharing this: -

Course description: Introduction to IBM Worklight V5.0 for Application Development and Deployment - New

This 2-day, self-paced course explains how to develop mobile web applications by using IBM Worklight Studio, a plug-in for WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT) for Eclipse. It also covers how to deploy the applications to an IBM Worklight Server running on a WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile.

The course covers applications and adapters, and looks at security issues such as user authentication and how to protect sensitive data that is held on a mobile device. Other topics include notification of updates, globalization, and the various JavaScript languages that can be used.

In addition to the lectures and demonstrations, students can download optional sample applications and exercises for further study.

and the cost ?

Free Free Free

Want to enrol ? Go here.

Thanks for sharing, Rob :-)

And more on passwords in IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator

Want to know how to stop passwords being held in clear text in your TDI Assembly Line property files ?

Simple - add the string {protect}= to the beginning of any line that you wish to encrypt in the property file - I'm using profiles_tdi.properties in the following example.

As an example, we change: -

...
source_ldap_user_password=Passw0rd123
...

to: -

...
{protect}-source_ldap_user_password=Passw0rd123
...

and then run an Assembly Line such as populate_from_dn_file.sh ( I'm using IBM Connections as an example ), and you'll then get this: -

...
{protect}-source_ldap_user_password={encr}89ae788e9f88bbc8877a7729e99ac9d990ea
...

Now I'm not sure how strong the encryption is, so you should, as always, protect your property files via other means i.e. physical access control, Unix permissions etc.

Nice :-)

Potty Password Problems with IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator and IBM Connections

This seen last week whilst trying to add new users into my IBM Connections 3.0.1 environment using IBM Tivoli Directory Integration 7.0.05

javax.naming.NamingException: [LDAP: error code 1 - 000004DC: LdapErr: DSID-0C0906DC, comment: In order to perform this operation a successful bind must be completed on the connection., data 0, v1db0 ]; remaining name ''

When I checked profiles_tdi.properties I found that the LDAP password wasn't properly set, with: -

{protect}-source_ldap_user_password={encr}

rather than: -

{protect}-source_ldap_user_password={encr}89ae788e9f88bbc8877a7729e99ac9d990ea

Simple when you know ...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

IBM WebSphere Portal Unified Task List Portlet

I'm looking at a new project to deliver a process portal using WebSphere Portal 8 and IBM Business Process Manager (BPM), and was checking on the status of the Unified Task List (UTL) Portlet.

This is a portlet that I've had cause to use in the past, so I went straight to the Catalog to download it: -

Description: The IBM WebSphere Portal Unified Task List Portlet version 5.0 for WebSphere Portal 7.0 aggregates tasks and activities from multiple systems into a single user interface. WebSphere Portal 7.0 users access the Unified Task List portlet to view all tasks relevant to them. They can then complete these tasks using task processing portlets created with the included Unified Task List Business Process Support package for Web Experience Factory. The Unified Task List portlet in this release contains a task provider for WebSphere Process Server 6, WebSphere Process Server 7.0.0.4, IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition 7.2, IBM Business Process Manager 7.5 and 7.5.1. Also Included are two Coach portlets for Lombardi and Business Process Manager Coach processing in Portal Server.


However, having noticed that it only listed WebSphere Portal 7, I asked a colleague when the version for WebSphere Portal 8 would be released.

Imagine my surprise when she told me that it's shipped as a component with WP8, so it's already there in the box :-)

She also kindly drew my attention to the WP8 documentation that covers UTL: -


Review concepts about the Unified Task List portlet to understand the different elements.

Task providers

Task providers are services that access back-end systems to retrieve tasks. The task providers also use a Web Experience Factory Transform builder to provide a uniform data set that display in the Unified Task List user interface.

Task provider instance

Task provider instances are services that access back-end systems to retrieve tasks. Task provider instances reside in the Task Provider Instance Registry (TPIR) and contain the parameters that you specify in task providers.

Task Provider Instance Registry

The Task Provider Instance Registry (TPIR) contains task provider instance configurations. A task provider instance configuration contains a set of parameters required to connect to a back-end system and a unique ID to map the parameters to the appropriate task provider. The Task Provider Instance Registry service resides in WebSphere Application Server and stores the task provider configurations in an XML variable. The Task Provider Instance Registry service also provides a service to get and modify task provider instances.

Task dispatcher

The task dispatcher acts as a link between the Unified Task List portlet and the task providers. When an action occurs in the portlet, the task dispatcher retrieves task provider instance configurations from the task provider instance registry service and calls a getTaskList service operation on each task provider instance configuration.

Task handler

Task handlers define what the Unified Task List portlet does when users select a task to advance a workflow. The task handlers determine how the Unified Task List portlet connects to the tasks that the users must complete.

So, there you have it, UTL is now an integral part of WP8, which is nice :-)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Case Study - IBM helps Birmingham Metropolitan College to create a “Classroom in the Cloud”

http://www.bmetc.ac.uk/i/birmingham_metropolitan_college.png

Utilising social learning to boost student engagement and transform college operability

The need

Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) is constantly seeking new ways to engage students and make education accessible to a more diverse user base. In order to synergise with the digital lifestyle of learners and compete in different markets, the college recognised that it needed to transform how it delivered learning.

The solution

Embarking on a strategic relationship with IBM, BMet began building "Classroom in the Cloud", based on IBM SmartCloud® for Social Business. When the project is complete, up to 25,000 students and 1,350 staff will be able to use the solution to access learning through a variety of mediums including the web and smart phones.

The benefit

Enables staff and students to collaborate across departments, providing access to a wealth of resources not easily available before. Potential to increase student engagement, retention and make education available to a wider population. Expected to cut down on travel costs and carbon footprint and increase productivity with staff and students.

Want to know more ? The case study is available as a PDF here.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Flushing DNS on Mac OS X Lion

Found this linked from an internal forum post, and thought it worth sharing - mainly so I can find it again :-)

Flushing the DNS on Mac OS X Lion is quite simple. Just follow the below steps:

1) Change to "root" by using the following command:
su -
Enter the root password when prompted. If you don't know the "root" password for your system, you can set it by following this Apple KB article: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1528

2) Type in the following command to flush the DNS:
dscacheutil -flushcache

The DNS has now been flushed.

Thanks to djlaube at Lewan & Associates for sharing

Thursday, 5 July 2012

WebSphere Portal version 8 Installation Social Workshop

IBM WebSphere Portal Support team ("Portal support" henceforth) is pleased to announce that WebSphere Portal version 8 Installation Social Workshop will be held from 7/9 to 7/26. This is a great opportunity for IBM support to engage customers, business partners, and IBM service and technical sales personnels ("customers" henceforth) on our current social media presence, i.e. Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/WebSpherePortalSupport) and Twitter (@PortalSupport, or http://twitter.com/PortalSupport). 

Want to join in ? Then click here for more details ….

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

WebSphere Portal - Performance - How to trigger the reload of public pages

I saw this in an email earlier today, and thought it worth sharing more widely.

Thomas Hurek has written here about portal performance, and the reload of public pages: -

Public pages are pages that are visible to anonymous users. Once the user authenticates the protected area of Portal is rendered. The protected and public area of Portal have different URLs - e.g. in the default configuration it is /wps/portal for public pages and /wps/myportal for the protected area of Portal.

It's definitely worth a read, as are the other articles in the series on WebSphere Portal Performance.