Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: October 2007

Switching between Domino server versions (Windows Edition)

When you upgrade a server there is always the possibility, that something goes wrong (you did a full backup,did you?) when running the new version. So you need to have a "Plan B" how to fall back to the original version. When upgrading from Domino 6.x to Domino 7.x or 8.x you can prepare a small script that allows to automate the fall-back and the fall-forward. This is what you need to do:

Let us presume your Domino program files location is D:\Domino and your data location is E:\Domino\data
  1. Shut down your Domino server
  2. Copy the program directory:
    COPY D:\Domino\*.*D:\Domino6\*.* /S /E /V
  3. ZIP away all system templates in E:\Domino\data\*.ntf (We will restore the ones that are not provided in the update
  4. Install Domino8 as update into D:\Domino and E:\Domino\Data
  5. Unzip the templates from Step 3. Do not overwrite exisiting files. Older versions of Domino run fine with the new system templates but the new Domino servers must have the new templates.
  6. Create the file SwitchDomino.cmd in a convenient location (Desktop?) with the following content:
    NET STOP  "Lotus Domino Server (Dominodata)"   <<<---- You need to check the exact name of your service
    IF EXIST D:\Domino6\*.*GOTO R8TO6
    IF EXIST D:\Domino8\*.* GOTO R6TO8
    ECHO Something is wrong - NEITHER D:\Domino8 nor D:\Domino6 seems to exist
    RENAME D:\Domino Domino8
    RENAME D:\Domino6 Domino
    RENAME D:\Domino Domino6
    RENAME D:\Domino8 Domino
    NET START  "Lotus Domino Server (Dominodata)"
  7. Restart your server
If you need to fall back you just execute the cmd and after a few minutes you switched versions. Caveat for R8: R8 can use the ODS48 format. Once you are there, there is no fast way back since you would need to use compact to revert to the previous ODS format which can take quite some time.
Remark: You do data backup do you?

On Linux systems you play with symlinks, but that's a story for a different time.

Posted by on 31 October 2007 | Comments (0) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

How much attachments are on your servers?

In a recent discussion a customer asked how much space could they save on their mail servers if they move all attachments to Lotus Quickr or an content management solution like IBM DB/2 CommonStore for Domino. While you can inspect a database easily for size and number of documents it doesn't tell you how much of this size is attributed to attachments. Since altering the mail template to add an attachment view was out of the picture I whipped up a little script, that will scan an entire server and report back the size figures into a database:
'ScanForSize: Option Public Option Declare Use "SizeTools" Sub Initialize Dim s As New NotesSession Dim db As NotesDatabase Dim curDB As NotesDatabase Dim dbDir As NotesDbDirectory Dim serverName As String Set db = s .CurrentDatabase If db .Server = "" Then serverName = "(local)" Else serverName = db .Server End If serverName = Inputbox ( "Please select the server to scan (local) for local" , "Server Scan" ,serverName ) If serverName = "" Then Exit Sub End If If servername = "(local)" Then Set dbDir = New NotesDbDirectory ( "" ) Else Set dbDir = New NotesDbDirectory (serverName ) End If Set curDB = dbdir .GetFirstDatabase ( TEMPLATE_CANDIDATE ) Do Until curDB Is Nothing Print "Working on " & curDB .FilePath Call countThis (curDB , db ) Set curDB = dbDir .GetNextDatabase Loop Msgbox "Run completed" End Sub Sub countThis (curDB As NotesDatabase , reportDB As NotesDatabase ) Dim curSize As DBSizeInfo On Error Resume Next Set curSize = New DBSizeInfo (curDB ) Call curSize .count 'We save only database information that has an attachment If curSize .AttachmentCount > 0 Then Call curSize .save (reportDB ) End If End Sub
This LotusScript was converted to HTML using the ls2html routine,
provided by Julian Robichaux at nsftools.com.

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Posted by on 29 October 2007 | Comments (7) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

There is no lesson in victory

Ernest is following his late grandfather Ernst in his passion for chess. So today he participates a chess tournament organized by our Nee Soon South community club. When walking to the venue I encouraged him to battle well and also reassured him, that participating is more important than winning. He looked at me and said: "Dad, there is no lesson in victory but a thousand in defeat". That before 8am
And 8am is so not his time.

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Posted by on 28 October 2007 | Comments (2) | categories: Twins

IBMers at your fingertips

IBM is very open about people working for IBM. We publish a list of all IBMer who have a blog. You also can lookup any IBMer's email and phone number. There is a community on XING. There are various groups in FaceBook as well as FaceBook's IBM network. We have a page with the Greater IBM connection including a blog. We even extend into Second Life.

Posted by on 18 October 2007 | Comments (2) | categories: IBM

Top ten signs you work for IBM by David Letterman

10 IBM You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their process.
9 IBM You get all excited when it's Saturday so you can wear shorts to work.
8 IBM You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as deliverables.
7 IBM You find you really need Freelance to explain what you do for a living.
6 IBM You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.
5 IBM You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.
4 IBM You know the people at faraway hotels better than your next-door neighbors.
3 IBM You ask your friends to "think outside the box" when making Friday night plans.
2 IBM You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.
  And, the number one sign you work for IBM...
1 IBM You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o'clock.

Update: This seems to be old news.

Posted by on 16 October 2007 | Comments (1) | categories: After hours

MIO oh my - Act 2

The day after the hotline operator called back. He confirmed, that it looks like a hardware problem and that I can come to the MIO service center to exchange the modem. This also was very necessary since the phone line stopped working this morning. It turns out, that the MIO service center is nowhere near any of the Singtel locations and I have to come to Playfair Road. This is an industrial area off any sensible public transport. In the building no sign about Singtel or a service center. Singtel actually has outsourced the handling of MIO modem hardware problems to a 3rd party. The sign (printed on A4 paper), that this would be the place was sensible pasted behind the open door (if the door is closed you could read it). A rather bored receptionist told me I had to fill a form and queue up.
Luckily the in-tray of the service was empty and I had to queue about 10 sec. The room where the service people were working is about the size of my study. With 4 engineers and 3 customers squeezing between shelfs and desks. Two engineers took care of me (maybe I looked scary <>). They were fast and friendly and I pitied them for the working mess. The engineer asked me if I had tried to disable the virus protection. So I explained that this is a rather bad idea to recommend such thing to a customer (how many systems stay switched off after such an advise) and that he probably is referring to the firewall. I explained that the problem is wireless and that I had confirmed the problem on Windows, Linux and Mac.
He then shrugged and reached for a replacement modem. He configured it (with WEP instead of WPA) and made sure it worked with the ThinkPad. Asking about the reliability of the modems he answered rather evasive, which I could interpret (but that is my guess), that they have a lot of "fun". On my question: will everything work including voice I got a nod. Well, it doesn't. Voice doesn't work. So no mother-in-law calls for the time being. - Over to the hotline

OK - that was fast, only 5 minutes in the queue and a quick setting. If Singtel's online help would have matched the real software I could have figured that out myself.

All in all: a disappointing experience. 25$ in Taxi bills. In total more than 2.5h of my time and the clear impression: support is an afterthought.

Posted by on 15 October 2007 | Comments (0) | categories: Buying Broadband

MIO oh my

MIO looks good on paper. It also can help to bring down your phone bill. However I'm not impressed by the performance. MIO suffers from the general congestion that plagues the Singtel connectivity. Also my installation is plagued by wireless problems. After a while the DHCP server will stop responding on the wireless network. It still works on the wire. Resetting the MIO box remedies the problem -- for a while. The ADSL modem router is a 2Wire 2700HGV-2 suitable for ADSL2+ and in theory capable of 25Mbit downstream (I subscribed to 10MBit).
So I called the MIO hotline. After the usual voice menu hell (why don't they publish the direct destination numbers on the website?) I talked to a support officer. He offered me to use a remote control software to take over the PC and check all the settings. Since the work laptop was connected to the wire I had to refuse. There is a rather clear IBM policy about that. Seems that support is getting better equipped. I explained the problem in detail: DHCP is not working, configuring manual IP addresses let me surf happily. I further explained, that all machines I have with all operating systems (Windows, Linux and OS/X) show the same symptoms. Obviously presenting a problem analysis threw him off the book and he insisted in checking the PC settings being blissfully unaware that Thinkpads are configured differently (using Thinkvantage for wireless network management).
Running out of options he suggested to reset the wireless to its default settings. I remarked: resetting will remove the problem for a while but not solve it. So it will be off his list but not solved.
Finally he concluded: "You need to call the modem vendor". I replied: "I'm calling the modem vendor, there is a Singtel sticker on it, I pay Singtel for it and a Singtel engineer installed it in my house, are you telling me that I have to call a third party to get that sorted out?". Sensing my unhappiness he suggested, that can arrange for a call back but it might take a while. So I'm waiting. At the end of the day the modem unit needs to be replaced (unless a firmware update could fix it). I'm curious how many hoops and loops I have to go through until that happens.

Posted by on 07 October 2007 | Comments (0) | categories: Buying Broadband

Bangkok, Starbucks and a holy man

Being on a journey makes you meet all sorts of people and hear their stories. Today before going to the airport in Bangkok I had a coffee at my favorite place. A large size hot late (venti as called in the current Starbucks lingo) is 100 Thai Bath which is about USD 3.16 or 2.24 EUR. I was approached by a man who introduced himself as Mr. Yogi. We had an very interesting exchange about life, purpose and spirituality. He shared, that he is following a holy man who has a temple in India that is helping the poor. The story sounded plausible, but in this day and age anything can be true or not. I know I have some readers in India, so eventually someone could confirm the existence of the holy man:
Gurmeet Singh
House No 3464 St. No 5
New Janta Nagar
Ludhiana, Punjab - India.
Please post a comment or drop me an email.

Posted by on 05 October 2007 | Comments (4) | categories: After hours

Lotus Notes Tips & Tricks in Thai Language

My colleagues Pong Yawagun and Nithitus Upatumvipanon from IBM Thailand have started their Lotus Notes Blog. They will provide their insights into Lotus technologies and also translate articles from others (including this blog) into Thai language. Go and welcome them! And yes NotesSensei seems to go into franchise.

Posted by on 04 October 2007 | Comments (0) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

Lotus Notes 8 Launch in Bangkok

my Thai colleagues know how to throw a party. Over a thousand people showed up for the Lotus Notes 8 launch event. Having the Thai Idol finalists perform on stage might have helped a little

Notes 8 in BKK

Posted by on 03 October 2007 | Comments (1) | categories: IBM Notes Lotus Notes

Greed 3.0 -- 2007 Edition

I've blogged about corporate greed before. Slashdot points to an article on arstechnica.com. It reports that Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG has a little unique view on copyright. In total denial of fair-use she states, that the CD licencing terms actually only allow to listen to the music from the CD. Transferring the music onto a PC or portable device would be " stealing". I'm quite surprised, that a high profile litigation lawyer doesn't get her facts together. Using copyrighted material without an appropriate licence is a copyright violation. That would be first and foremost a civil claim. It only recently has been added to the penal code (recently in legal dimensions, which goes back a few thousand years). Theft is the physical removal of assets. If you steal something it is gone from where it was. If you copy a CD its content is still where it was. So this is completely different.
Secondly copyright is bound to the use of copyrighted material (I don't like the term intellectual property since that is also smoke and mirrors mixing copyright, trademarks and patents), and not necessarily to the physical form. When I buy a CD I buy the right to listen to the music for my personal pleasure. That is what I do on my mobile player. Of course I need to make sure, that this right to listen is executed only from one source at a time. Since a licence contract could state different usage patterns (e.g. a broader licence to use music for events) there are legal limits to how much you can tighten the rights.
Enter fair use. Of course right owners would rather limit how you can exercise the right you paid for to make more money from you. However restrictive licensing terms stifle creativity and innovation. The whole DJ based music category, where DJ resampled and remixed music playing in clubs would have be killed before taking off applying today's copyright viewpoints of the music industry. Also there are strong indicators in other businesses, that fair use is actually beneficial for a country at large.
So the music industry might start to ask themselves if eventually other factors than people buying music on CD and listening on an MP3 player contribute to their decline. Some hints: treating your customers as criminals, installing illegal software (rootkits anyone), a decline in talented musicians, tighter personal budgets, fierce competition on discretionary spending: if I have my 3 latte/week I won't buy that CD or it is the WII game vs. a new movie DVD etc.
Anyway a quote attributed to Ghandi says it all: "The world has enough for everybody's need but not enough for everybody's greed".
So Sony stays OFF the buying list (I know it is SonyBMG, but they run the same ignorance).

Posted by on 02 October 2007 | Comments (0) | categories: After hours