Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reader Poll: Where do you put your Domino transaction log files on i5/OS?

When running Domino on i5/OS and using transaction logging, do you put the transaction log files in a folder under the Domino data folder or in a separate folder on the IFS?

There is a bit of a debate going on between us and IBM on this. All of our i5/OS Domino servers have their transaction log files located in a separate subdirectory on the IFS. Such as /TRANSLOG/Server/ versus using /Domino/Server/Data/logdir. Domino doesn't care where they are as long as you point to them. It looks like BRMS does care where they are. If they aren't located under the Data folder then they don't get treated as Domino transaction log files.

We have been running with them outside the data directory ever since we have had the i5/OS systems with no issues. However we are now getting corrupt transaction log files when BRMS runs every since the power issue discussed in my previous post. I also can't find it documented anywhere that they must reside under the data directory on i5.

We use circular logging versus archive so BRMS doesn't need to touch the log files but it still does.

Thanks for the input.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't pull that plug

It's never a good thing when any type of server suddenly looses power. I have been told it can be very bad when it happens to an i5/OS box. Up until recently we have been lucky. Our collocation has a bad track record of power outages which takes down one of our biggest i5/OS servers. In the past it has come back up with no issues but the most recent one caused some headaches.

On the 23rd the power went out again. When the Domino partitions came back up we started to see some corruption issues. Since these servers are members of a cluster we just recreated the replicas that were corrupt. Minor pain but no biggie. Then our system engineer started noticing issues with BRMS. Jobs were still showing as active that were not actually running. This started showing up on the Domino servers that were supposedly being backed up by BRMS with the phantom job. One Domino server in particular started crashing and having strange behavior. When I tried to do a manual shutdown and restart the server took a while to come down and then would not come back up.

IBM recommeded an IPL to clear out the phantom BRMS job so we ended all the Domino servers and IPL'd the system. This cleared the BRMS job but the one Domino server still would not start. It eneded up being 2 issues with this server.

1) The Directory= entry in the NOTES.INI was messed up. It had a bunch of symbol charachters after the = sign. We have seen this on occasion with Domino on iSeries. The solution is to put the directory path info back in.

2) The transaction log files were corrupt. The Domino server would stall at the point where it was trying to read the log files when starting. I renamed the current trans log folder and created a new empty one. When Domino restarted it created new log files and ran a consistency check against all dbs. Note: it actually took 2 restarts to get the log files built again. The first start ended with a panic telling you to restart the server again to finish the process. Thanks for the info.

This power outage wasn't as smooth as the previous ones but at least Domino was able to repair itself without a full restore. It also helps that these are clusted servers so any data that was in the corrupt trans log files will replicate back from the other server.

Now to find a new collocation provider. The funny thing is they were upgrading their UPS's when this latest outage happened.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Google - 451 4.5.0 SMTP protocol violation

I had an interesting issue with one of our outbound SMTP servers yesterday. At around 9am one of our servers would get the following error when sending to any domain hosted by Google...

451 4.5.0 SMTP protocol violation, see RFC 2821 s30si809416qbs.8 (in reply to end of DATA command)

We use Postfix for handling outbound SMTP internet mail and have 3 identical servers. The other 2 servers could send to google.com mail servers without error but this one could not. I started analyzing the actual communication and saw the following on the server having the issue...

250 2.1.0 OK s30si809416qbs.8
250 2.1.5 OK s30si809416qbs.8
354 Go ahead s30si809416qbs.8
451 4.5.0 SMTP protocol violation, see RFC 2821 s30si809416qbs.8

It was sending the dot (end of data charachter) and QUIT command without waiting for a response from the Google server. The other servers would wait for the OK after sending the end of data character before sending QUIT. After some reasearch I found out this is done when PIPELINING is enabled. It turns out that Google enabled this on some of their servers yesterday but it was broken. Today it is turned off and all our SMTP servers can successfully send to Google e-mail domains.

Here is what the response from an EHLO command looks like if pipelining is enabled by a receiving server.....

EHLO yourdomain.com
250-mx.google.com at your service
250-SIZE 35651584

Pipelining will cause your SMTP server to send commands in a stream without waiting for a response.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New family member

We welcomed a new family member into our home this past Saturday. This is Buddy our new dog. He is a 10 month old Beagle Labrador mix. He was rescued from a kill shelter and we suspect had suffered some abuse by a previous owner. The physical scars will heel and he doesn’t seem to have any emotional scars. He has found a family that will treat him as a family member should be treated.

He is still getting used to his new surroundings and is a very well mannered dog. The girls love him. They look forward to playing with him and walking him. I’m glad that I’m not the only male in the house anymore.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall color at the Morton Arboretum

I have lived in the Chicago area most of my life and have only been to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle a couple times. I made it a goal this year to get over there this fall and practice some nature photography. I took the day off from work since it is my birthday and decided it would be a perfect day for it. The rain that was forecast for today was pushed off until tomorrow and the sun was out.

I grabbed my Nikon D50 and only my Nikkor 50mm 1.8D lens. I wanted to constrain myself to this lens since it is a sharp lens and I wanted to see what I could do with it. My wife and youngest daughter joined me on the trip. The arboretum has a great children garden area with plenty to keep them entertained. With the expectation of spending more time there we signed up for the family membership so now we can go anytime without paying the entry fee.

It was a fantastic day for exploring. The sun was out, it was 65 degrees and a cool breeze. The trees are showing their fall colors. We stayed on the East side. I hiked one of the loop trails and then all of us drove the entire East loop.

Here is a link to the photo set on Flickr.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flight Log: Birthday Flight

I took my daughter for a flight in the Cessna today. It’s her 8th birthday today and my 38th birthday on Tuesday. So this was a combined birthday flight. It was an unusually warm day for October in Chicago. It was 80+ degrees on the ground so nature’s air conditioning at 5500’ felt good. We flew to Whiteside County airport (KSQI) just because I haven’t been there before and it qualifies for cross country time. We saw the trees changing colors from above and the progression of clean energy in the way of many wind turbines. I made a picture perfect landing on the mains and held the nose wheel off as long as possible.

When we parked at Whiteside Co. airport I noticed cars speeding around the tarmac. It turns out there was an SCCA race going on. They had orange cones outlining a track and members were doing time trials with their everyday cars. There were Miatas, Mustangs, Nissan Zs, and others. There was a lot of tire shredding going on with the tight turns.

On the way back to our home airport we were just below the lightly scattered clouds. It was almost like you could reach out and touch them. It was another good flight and always nice to get some practice in. Hopefully I won’t get into a drought this winter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Updated my mail template to 8.0.2

I have been running the 8.0.x Notes client for a while now at work but have kept my mail file on our production 7.x template. I decided to go ahead and add some of our customizations to the R8 mail template and apply it to my production mail file. The only thing I added were the functions for CommonStore so I could still retrieve archived content. We also have integration with our DMS in the R7 template but since I don't use that integration I left it out of the 8 template.

Overall it is a big step up in UI appearance. People I have shown it too also like the new look. This was the main reason for me upgrading my mail file. I want to show people what the new mail template looks like with the new client.

I can see how the new UI will take a bit of getting used to especially when coming from the older templates. It has taken me some time to get used to the new look of just the Inbox. New mail is bold black versus the color red, read messages are now a shade of gray versus normal black, and the message selection is white on blue background versus the black outline. I'm not saying these are bad things, they just take time to adjust to and I think it will take our users time as well. I do like the Shift-click and Ctrl-click multiple message selection and haven't turned the check mark margins back on. I also like the simplified message headers both on screen and on printouts.

There are many more improvments to the UI but these are just some that have stood out for me in the few days I have been using it.

I did get stumped on a design issue when adding the CommonStore views to the outline. With all the new Web stuff I couldn't figure out how to get a horizontal rule to appear above the CommonStore dropdown (see below). I can't find where these lines are being applied. Anyone know?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lesson learned in domain naming

I setup a new Foreign SMTP Domain recently so e-mail could be sent to a host outside of the Domino domain. Whenever I sent a message to this domain the Domino server hosting the connection would try to place the message in SMTP.box. SMTP.box hasn't been used since R4 SMTP MTA days.

I also noticed Domino was stripping the local primary internet domain off of the address. For instance, if the Domino domain hosted the abc.com internet domain and the foreign SMTP domain was setup to be external.abc.com, any message sent to test@external.abc.com would end up being test@external in the router mailbox.

After verifying SMTP connectivity to the external host and debugging the router it finally hit me. When setting up the Foreign SMTP Domain document I used the following example:

Internet domain: external.abc.com
Domain name: EXTERNAL

Since I named the internal domain name the same as the external internet sub-domain, Domino stripped the abc.com off of the address and tried to put it in SMTP.box. Changing the internal domain name to something else resolved the issue.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Check Subscriptioins causes the Notes client to take focus

This may be a known issue but I wasn't able to find it anywhere. We are in the process of upgrading our Notes client to 7.0.3 and people started reporting that Notes was popping to the foreground when they were working in MS Word or Excel. It turns out that Check Subscriptions was enabled with the upgrade and this was causing Notes to take focus. Once this option was disabled Notes no longer behaved this way.

Here is the scenario that caused Notes to take focus. Launch Notes, open the mail file then open a message with a Word document attached. Open the Word attachment and leave Word in the foreground. Wait exactly 6 minutes and Notes will appear in the foreground.

Funny thing is that this only happened with Word and Excel, not Notepad. If I opened a TXT attachment with Notepad Notes wouldn't take focus.

Check Subscriptions is controlled by the $HeadlineDisableHeadlines INI parameter. 1 equals disabled. Unfortunatley this settings isn't available via the current desktop policy document. Can you set $ INI parameters with a $Pref field in the policy document? Time to go into the lab.

Update: $Pref$HeadlineDisableHeadlines set to 1 in the Desktop policy document does work for disabling the Check Subscriptions via policy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Aviation weekend

This past weekend was filled with aviation related events. I had taken off of work Thursday and Friday in anticipation of AirVenture 2008 but didn’t have any firm plans. When the time came I had pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to AirVenture this year breaking my 7 year attendance run. However a friend of mine, Jeff, who gives a forum talk on PPG’s at AirVenture posted that he was going up for the day on Saturday and asked if anyone wanted to join him. Jeff owns a 1956 Bonanza and lives near me so I jumped at the opportunity to fly into KOSH during AirVenture. This is something I would like to do myself sometime but wanted to go with someone who has done it first. Jeff flys 737’s for a living and has flown into AirVenture many times before so who better to go with and learn from.

We launched from LL10 around 7:20 and were at AirVenture at about 8:30am. The flight in couldn’t have been smoother. It was a clear morning and we filed right into traffic at Ripon. Since Jeff’s plane is considered Vintage we got to land on runway 36R and park in the vintage aircraft parking. This parking is conveniently located right along the NS runway between the Ultralight area and AeroShell square. I mainly meandered around the grounds. Picked up some LSA brochures, took pictures of some planes, and met up with a few PPG pilots who were also attending. We departed right after the airshow ended and were back home by 8pm. This is definitely the way to go to AirVenture especially if only going for the day. It beats the 3.5 hour one way drive to get there and have now been to AirVenture 8 years in a row.

My photo dump is here. I have video of the flight in and out of AirVenture but am still editing it.

On Sunday I took some friends from church up for a ride in the Cessna. I’m part of the tech crew at church and I took Josh who is our tech director and Kevin who is also on the tech crew. They are both aspiring pilots. Since we were going up they decided to get some video footage for possible use in a future sermon series. We had a wireless transmitter hooked up to one of the audio jacks in the plane so the video camera would pick up our audio communication. I practiced turns around a point around the church while they shot video and stills. Then we headed out west to Illinois Valley Regional (KVYS). We got out to stretch our legs and Josh and Kevin changed seats. On departure I flew along the Illinois river next to Starved Rock and Ottawa, IL. We then headed to Aurora (KARR) airport so they could see what flying into a controlled airport was like. We made right traffic for 18 and watched the 2 C130’s that had just landed taxi to the ramp. The NS runway at Aurora is in disrepair. It’s almost a grass runway now with all the grass growing through the cracks. I did a full stop taxi back landing then departed to the east for LL10. We landed back at LL10 on 18 in the grass. The landing was a greaser except for the roughness of the grass.

This weekend I finally got to fly into AirVenture, log 1.8 hours in the Cessna, and give 2 aspiring pilots a little taste of what the freedom of flight offers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lotus Notes/Domino superior availability

This past weekend we had an issue with one of our primary systems which hosts 2 primary Domino mail servers. The system went down completely taking down all hosted Domino partitions with it. Since we have clustered Domino servers this was a non-issue. The cluster nodes for these primary Domino servers are on a totally separate system. Specifically a separate machine, disk, and location. Since the Notes client is cluster aware it failed over to the cluster nodes automatically. The most a user has to do is close their mail file (not restart Notes) and re-open it.

This is something Outlook and Exchange cannot natively do. Outlook is in no way cluster aware so there is no automatic failover. It relies on DNS to point it to the Exchange server. Exchange has 2 clustering methods neither of which is as good as Domino. You can use Windows clustering with Exchange which requires shared disk. If your disk goes or the storage group gets corrupted then this type of clustering does no good. Exchange 2007 has continuous cluster replication now which is simply transaction log shipping. This cluster replication is supported only on the same LAN meaning local. If the local LAN or building power goes down, so does the cluster.

With either method the DNS needs to be updated or a server needs to assume the previous server IP address in order for Outlook to work. This takes time and is not immediate.

This is why there is a whole third party industry built around keeping Exchange available. This third party industry and associated extra cost doesn’t exist for Domino. Domino provides the best of breed service out of the box.

Before the flames start about how Notes sucks this post is specific to clustering. Lotus Domino is far superior when it comes to availability options. Outlook may be prettier but it doesn’t do much good when you can’t send and receive e-mail.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Flight Log - PPG: Dream Flight

Tonight was one of those glass smooth evenings we haven’t had too many of this year. I arrived at the Polo field around 6pm to a light SW wind and setup for an easy forward launch. Another pilot was already airborne and two more showed up as I was getting ready to launch.

I circled the Polo field for a bit then headed for some high level cruising. Then it was off to the sod farm. After a couple passes I did some foot drags. This was the first time I have done actual foot drags. I have skimmed the ground down low before but this was the first time doing actual foot drags. It was fairly easy with the silk smooth air.

I then went back to the Polo field. I climbed up high and did some spirals down with engine at idle. This is a good practice to judge gliding and landing with an engine out. I did a few of these. It’s also fun when you can throttle up and do it again.

I put 1.2 hours on the motor and came in for a smooth landing right by my car. There was a storm front heading our way so I wanted to get down before anything hit. It was definitely the calm before the storm. The storm ended up going south.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The 30 minute Major Server Upgrade

I upgraded our Domino administration server to Domino 8.0.1 last night. This is the first production server to be upgraded to the R8 code. It took all of 30 minutes to accomplish. The title says Major Upgrade which it is in terms of features but not in terms of administrator time or down time.

I followed the IBM technote on upgrading from R7 to R8 except I didn’t see the need to run fixup, updall and compact on every single database on the server. Since this can be done while the server is online for non system databases I figured it could be done after the upgrade. Compact is run weekly and Updall run nightly anyway. So, I put together the batch files below. One to run prior to the upgrade and one for after. They take care of running the recommended utilities against the system databases. It took a while to compact statrep since it is 1 GB in size. I’ve been attending too many of Andy’s statistics presentations.

Since our Domino directory already had the 8.0.1 design applied a couple months ago I didn’t run the designer task for names.nsf. When you start the R8 server for the first time it will automatically upgrade events4 and ddm databases. So the only design update I ran outside of the server was for AdminP.

*** A warning about templates ***
If your users replicate their personal address books to the server for access by assistants or BES, delete pernames.ntf. If you don’t and replicate templates, all your users will get the R8 personal address book if they inherit from the standard template. This happened to me so a lot of people (not everyone) got a taste of the R8 PNAB. It works for the most part in an R7 client and people liked the look of it. Unfortunately we are converting it back now. Obviously you should remove any other standard templates you use and don’t want the databases upgraded just yet. I wish IBM would treat the pernames.ntf like the mail template. Make a separate pernames7.ntf, pernames8.ntf, etc...

Upgrade Scripts

@echo off

cd \Lotus\domino
nfixup names.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup admin4.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup events4.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup statrep.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup catalog.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup ddm.nsf -f -v -l

ncompact names.nsf -c -i
ncompact admin4.nsf -c -i
ncompact events4.nsf -c -i
ncompact statrep.nsf -c -i
ncompact catalog.nsf -c -i
ncompact ddm.nsf -c -i

echo Pre-upgrade process complete.

@echo off

cd \Lotus\domino
ndesign -f admin4.nsf

nfixup names.nsf -f -v -l
nfixup admin4.nsf -f -v -l

ncompact names.nsf -c -i
ncompact admin4.nsf -c -i

nupdall names.nsf -RX
nupdall admin4.nsf -RX

echo Post-upgrade process complete.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fly-In Report: Kankakee Ultralight 2008

I attended the Kankakee Ultralight Fly-In this past weekend. It was held at The Ultralight Place which is on the west side of the KIKK airport. This location is home to a bunch of PPC’s but during this fly-in many other types of ultralights descend on the field including us PPGers. Our group attending has been getting larger each year.

This year the weather didn’t do us any favors. We are already limited by wind and thermals in the mid day but the wind never really let up all weekend. There were also a few storms throughout the weekend. I arrived on Thursday ahead of some storms. I scoped out a spot for the weekend and setup my tent. I visited with other pilots while waiting for the storms to pass and hoping for a slice of time good enough to fly before sundown. Well, the storms and wind didn’t accommodate me that night. Two other pilots managed some air time just before a storm came through.

Friday morning looked like it might be a blowout but the wind eventually cooperated and mellowed. The sun was coming up but was behind clouds so the thermals remained at bay for longer than usual. I got all my equipment out to the field and setup to do a forward launch. Another pilot was setup next to me and launched first. He ended up slipping on his run and falling to the ground. His prop, netting, frame and later discovered his wing suffered damage. Since he was in front of me and off to my right I figured I would try to maneuver around him on my launch. The combination of this maneuvering and my anxiousness to get in the air didn’t bode well for me. My wing went to the right as I was trying to maneuver to the left. It pulled me right, I went to my knees and managed to only tap the ground with the frame. This was enough to ding the prop where a previous repair had been made. That prop needed repair and I left my spare prop at home. No flying for me that morning.

Mike offered me his motor later but I haven’t flown other motors before so wasn’t comfortable strapping his on. I have a high hook in motor and his is a low hook in motor. That is a big difference for me but the gesture was appreciated.

Since the weather forecast wasn’t looking very good and I only live an hour away I decided to pack up. I headed back home and watched the weather. I started the repairs on my prop and it was nice spending Friday evening in my own bed. Storms rolled through Friday evening and it rained most of the morning on Saturday. The afternoon cleared up and looked good so I headed back to Kankakee with my spare prop ready to go. A lot more people were there since Saturday is the main day of the fly-in. I missed the pig roast for lunch but there were left overs for dinner. They have a wonderful chef at this event who cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the fly-in.

There were many terms used to describe the Saturday evening air; salty, soupy, a lot of texture, character, active. It was active with a reported 4 on the bump scale early on. Even Jeff G. who flys in anything said he didn’t like the air. After kitting a while I decided to go for a flight right at sunset. It was an easy forward launch and the sky definitely had character. Down low it was turbulent but not rough. It was more of a smooth knocking around versus hard lift and sink. Up high were strong winds causing us to be para-parked. The sunset provided a nice view to look at while going nowhere. Turning to the east I had to be ahead of the wing mentally so as not to get blown over the main runway. I ended up with about a 10 minute flight which was enough for me in those conditions.

Everyone thought Sunday morning would be perfect. No storms and forecast light winds. I woke up at 5 am to the sound of leaves rustling already. That didn’t sound good. I looked at the wind sock and it was dancing around in the early morning wind. Some pilots launched and there were reports that the conditions were worse that the previous evening. Only one pilot stayed up for 20 minutes. The rest were down within about 10 minutes. I elected to stay on the ground and take pictures and video of the fun. The remainder of the morning was spent visiting, packing up, and talking about upcoming fly-in plans.

Even though the weather didn’t cooperate this weekend it was still a good time visiting with people that have similar interests. Below are links to photos I took at the event.

Kankakee Photos

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kankakee Ultralight Fly-In

The 3rd annual Ultralight Fly-In is taking place in Kankakee, IL at the Greater Kankakee (KIKK) airport July 11th through July 13th. All kinds of ultralights will be descending on the Kankakee area at The Ultralight Place which is on the west side of the airport.

This will be my first year attending and am planning on arriving on the 10th and staying through the weekend with my PPG. This is turning into a major fly-in for PPG’s. Last year was the first time a bunch of PPG pilots attended this fly-in and this year looks like even more (including myself) will be there. There is even word at least one international pilot will be there.

If you want to check out some ways that flying is still affordable or join us in the air come on out to the airport. Here are some videos from last years fly-in... Dave and Lance.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hawaii - Day 7

Today is travel day back home. We took our time getting up and packing. We stopped at the Kauai Harley Davidson dealership to pick up shirts for my sister and brother in-law.

We got exit row seats for out flight from Kauai to San Francisco so we didn’t have to pay for Economy Plus. They wanted to charge us $54 each for Economy Plus. What happened to $29?

On the flight from San Francisco to Chicago we were in standard economy which is not good for a 6’ 3“ long legged person like me. I tried to sleep on this flight but it didn’t work. We left Kauai at 1:30pm Hawaii time and arrived home at 5:00am Chicago time with no sleep. So we basically lost an night. Beth and I went to bed when we got home at 6am. I was then awaken at 10 by my kids. My mother-in-law had brought them home and they were excited to see us.

Now it’s time to unpack, clean up the house, edit pictures and video, and get back to a Chicago schedule. Where is that housekeeping service?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hawaii - Day 6

This morning I wanted to head to Waimea canyon and try to get some pictures of the canyon with the sunrise. We didn’t exactly make it there at sunrise but I got some good pictures. I think the canyon walls are illuminated more at sunset but there tends to be clouds around then. We drove up Waimea Canyon Road (550) from 50. Take this road up. Don’t follow the signs that take you down 50 farther and then up 552. This road ultimately intersects with 550 and 550 has much better scenery from what I hear.

We stopped at some road side view points and then at the Kokee Lodge. This lodge is part of the state park and serves breakfast and lunch. This is also one of the best souvenir spots on the island. We also had a light lunch here on the way back down. More on that below.

We took 550 all the way until it ends. There is a lookout here that looks over a spectacular valley that leads into the sea with spire cliffs on each side. There is a hiking trail (Pihea Trail) from the lookout that basically offers different views of the same valley. Be warned though, this trail gets tougher after the half mile mark. I hiked a mile down the trail but Beth stopped about three quarters of the way to wait for me. There is a lot of great scenery but it does get muddy and there are some steep, slippery climbs. We saw some people much older than us along the way so it’s doable by most anyone but be prepared. This hike and the helicopter tour are the highlights of this trip so far.

We headed back down to the lodge for lunch and to clean the red mud off of our shoes. There are public restrooms and washing stations near the lodge. Also be aware that going up 550 past the lodge the road gets a little rough.

We made our way back to the B&B and decided to just hang out at their pool for a while. No sand to clean off and it was close. We then had dinner at Poipu Beach Brolier. This place was excellent for me. A nice casual open air restaurant with great food (fish and steak fare) and right size portions for me. One thing we noticed with most of the restaurants is they are open air (roof with open sides) but yet there are no bugs. No mosquitos and very very few flies if any. There were more birds in the eating areas on Maui than Kauai but even they weren’t bothersome. Kauai has a lot of chickens roaming around but obviously not in the restaurants.

After dinner we went to see Spouting Horn. This is a lava shelf next to the water with a hole in it allowing water to shoot up into the air when the waves come in. There is also a second hole where only air is forced through making a sound like you hear when yo blow across the top of a soda bottle. There was another hole that would spout water much higher than the current one but back in the early 1900’s a land owner blew it up because the salt spray was hurting his crops. Today it is just a big hole where water goes in and out of from the sea. This is a neat thing to see if you are on the south shore of Kauai. It’s better during high tide which is when we were there.

Tomorrow we begin the trip home .

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hawaii - Day 5

We started today off with a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian. What a great way to see parts of the island that you can’t get to any other way. Being a pilot I was as much interested in the helicopter as the scenery. This was an hour tour of the entire island. Blue Hawaiian video tapes every flight and has the video of your specific flight available after the flight. They have a camera inside the helicopter as well as outside and the pilot switches between the 2 during flight. All audio conversation and music is also recorded on the DVD. We got a copy for the girls to see. The pilots narrate the flight and show where movies were filmed, the Na Pali coast, Waimea canyon, and we even were able to go into the volcano crater. We had Cliff for a pilot and he was excellent.

After the helicopter tour we drove to one of the easily accessible waterfalls, Wailua Falls. This is a tall waterfall and was used in the opening scene of Fantasy Island. I’ll have some pictures of it posted on Flickr when I get back home. Since we were headed North anyway I continued to drive to the North side of the island. We went past Princeville and stopped at some beaches and shops along the way. Unfortunately since this was an unplanned drive we didn’t have any swim wear with us. The North shore is supposed to be the best place for snorkeling on the island.

We made our way back to the B&B and changed into our swimwear. Marjorie’s (the B&B) has beach chairs, coolers, mats and snorkel equipment for use by the guests. We took advantage of this and spent the afternoon at Poipu Beach. This beach is a favorite with locals and has lifeguards. It is supposed to be good for snorkeling but from what I saw it was just rocks. A good spot for the beginner though. We also had some boogie boards from Marjorie’s but I wasn’t sure how to use them so we just floated on them.

After the beach we got cleaned up and had dinner at Duke’s Canoe Club. This restaurant is part of the Kauai Marriott so was very busy. We had about an hour wait and I was unimpressed with the service. It could have just been the amount of people in there. I had the prime rib which was good but a little too much fat. They also have calamari strips here versus the tentacles we have on the mainland. We have had these at 2 places now and they are good. Long meaty strips of calamari.

While we waited for dinner we strolled the grounds of the Marriott. It’s a typical Hawaii resort with many rooms (some with a decent view and some without), a very big pool right next to the beach, and a lot of activities available for guests. It’s located in a secluded bay so offers protected swimming on the beach. There is also the big pool if you like too only look at the ocean versus swim in it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hawaii - Day 4

Today is a travel day for us going from Maui to Kauai. I got up early to do a sunrise stroll on the beach. With camera in hand I got a bunch of beach pictures with foam water and distant scenery. Beth met up with me and we strolled for some time taking in the sights and sounds. We had breakfast at the Kihei Cafe again and it was hoping today which was Saturday. It looked like most people were tourists so I’m not sure if there was just an influx of them on Friday or they just decided to go to the Cafe.

We checked out of the condo and then started the fun of air travel. I stopped to get gas in the rental car before returning it. The gas station just before the airport had a line of cars waiting to fill up. When I got to the pump I found out why. They didn’t have pat-at-the-pump. What gas station, especially near a main airport, doesn’t have a way to pay by credit card at the pump. We returned the car and went to check in with the airline. There was a single line for Mesa Go airlines and it wasn’t moving. Evidently their computers were down. Good thing we were 2 hours early. An hour later we had our boarding passes and made our way through security. Guess what...we got flagged for extra screening. I assume that since United changed our itinerary so many times and ended up give us paper tickets because our itinerary and e-ticket were out of synch this made us security risks. Thanks United, Aloha, and Mesa Go airlines.

We got on a CRJ200 from Maui to Honolulu and then continued to Kauai. Each leg of the flight was like 20 minutes. They actually offer drinks on these flight for a fee. Why bother. Another unpleasant airline experience behind us. Oh, and it took them forever to get our bags to us.

We received another rental car upgrade since they were out of compact cars in Kauai. Rent a compact car from Alamo in Hawaii and you are probably going to get a full size car for the same price.

I brought my own automobile GPS on this trip and it has been flawless so far. Especially locating our lodging in Kauai. I had pre-programmed it before we left home with all our planned destinations. We are staying at Marjorie’s Kauai Inn which is a bed and breakfast in Lawai. It’s perched on a hill overlooking a valley near Poipu. The hardest part is finding the actual house. You have to pull into a driveway, pass a different house, then go down a steep hill and then go up to the top of the driveway. You end up parking on a steep incline so I hope the emergency brake holds. We have our own large lanai and there is a pool and hot tub for guests of the 3 room B&B. It’s nice having local innkeepers that you can ask for advice on things to see and do. They also provide gear for the beach and snorkeling.

We ate dinner at a local pizza place, Pizzetta, while deciding the activities for our stay. We then strolled through the shops near by. The evening was finished off with a soak in the hot tub back at the B&B.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hawaii - Day 3

We started out the day on the Maui Classic Charters Four Winds II boat for a snorkel trip to Molokini crater. The trip started with them serving bagels with cream cheese and fruit spread with coffee and drinks on the boat. We motored out to the crater while the staff explained all the things that will be going on during the trip. The have a photographer on board that creates a video during the trip which is for sale afterward. They also offer Snuba, scuba diving without the tank.

Once at the crater Beth and I went snorkeling. I wasn’t that impressed with the coral or fish here. The only coral was right up against the shore of the crater and there were very few fish. Maybe I was spoiled in Cozumel Mexico but that was 100 times better than this. We got back on the boat after about 45 minutes. The crew had hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken all cooked up on the grill and ready for lunch. It started to get windy and rough at the crater so the captain took us back to the Maui coast to a place call coral garden. This is just West of Maalaea right of the shore. This spot had better coral and more fish but the water visibility wasn’t as good as at the crater. After about another 45 minutes there it was time to head back to the marina. The boat itself was nice. It has an enclosed lower deck so you can get out of the sun and a glass bottom for kids to see the view under the water if they don’t want to get in. I’m not sure how many people were on it but it didn’t feel crowded. The captain is from Chicago and a Bears fan so it has to be good.

After the snorkel trip we hung out at the beach by the condo. Then after showers Beth did some more shopping. We had dinner at Fred’s Mexican Cafe in Kihei. This was a good open air casual restaurant. I don’t go for the swank places so this was good for me.

Speaking of swank we walked the boardwalk in Wailea after dinner. This runs along the beach past the Grand Wailea Resort, Four Seasons, and others. There were a few Hawaiian weddings going on at these resorts. I took a bunch of pictures of the lava rock shoreline and some of the native plants. I also took some sunset pictures using my new split Neutral Density filter. I’ll probably still have to do some PP on them.

Tomorrow we head to Kauai.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hawaii - Day 2

I woke up around 3 am Hawaii time due to the time difference between here and Chicago. I looked out the lanai window and there was a big full moon illuminating the ocean. It was something you don’t see in Chicago.

We got up around 5 am and got read to tackle the road to Hana. We stopped at the Kihei Cafe for breakfast. It isn’t much to look at but has good breakfast food. We also chatted with one of the locals. Even people that live on Maui say you need to go see Kauai. We will in a couple more days.

We headed out for the Hana Highway. I didn’t expect to make it all the way to Hana since we had to be back for a Luau but I did want to see as much as possible along the way. This road is very curvy. If you are prone to getting car sick then definitely take something before you go on this road. There are a lot of single lane bridges to be aware of and it’s best to pull over and let the locals pass. There are plenty of places to pull off to the side. There is a lot of great scenery too be had on this road. We stopped at the Halfway to Hana road side stand and picked up some Banana bread. This was recommended in the guide book Maui Revealed. I also made the slippery rock climb down to see the Three Bears waterfall. This is three waterfalls that empty into a pool but you have to climb down and over slippery rocks to get to it. I carried my Nikon D50 with me and took a bunch of pictures. We’ll see if any of them are good.

The return trip on the Hana Highway was a little tedious. It didn’t seem like we had driven that far. After all the twisting and turing I (as well as Beth) was ready for some straight pavement. I went there and back without scratching up the rental car though.

We had reservations for the Old Lahaina Luau this evening. This Luau came highly recommended. This was also our actual anniversary day so we wanted to do the Luau this evening. We picked the conventional table and chair seating since we weren’t sure how long we could sit on the ground with the traditional seating. We ended up at a table with a family from Wisconsin so it was interesting talking with them.

They serve food buffet style that includes the traditional pig cooked in an Imu oven. The pork was very juicy and the steak they had was good as well. They served deserts with a Hawaiian flair and all drinks were included. The wait staff was very friendly and was eager to get you more of anything they had.

The performance consisted of story telling of ancient Hawaiian beliefs and traditional hula dancing. Since they strive for traditional there are no fire twirlers here. I would recommend this Luau if you are in Maui. It’s a permanent facility so they don’t setup plastic chairs on a multi use area like the resorts do. They also have native Hawaiian people demonstrating some Hawaiian crafts.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hawaii - Day 1

We left for Hawaii today for our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are going to Maui for 3 days and then Kauai for 3 days. I started scheduling this trip back in February with our airline purchase. With all the flight cancellations by Untied and partner airlines going under our itinerary changed about 5 times. Sometimes without me even knowing it had changed until I reviewed it. We ended up connecting through San Francisco both going there and coming back. I was able to upgrade us for the flights to Maui. We had business class on a 767 from Chicago to San Francisco and first class on a 757 from SF to Maui. Man business class on the 767 is nice. It blows away first class on the 757. We will be sorry back in coach on our return trip. I have long legs and it’s torture in the economy section. Hopefully we can get Economy Plus on the way back.

We rented a car at the airport and drove down to Kihei. We are staying at the Mana Kai condominium complex. This condo building sits right on the beach and every condo has a view of the ocean. We are on the 4th floor so we look out at palm trees and the ocean. I’ll post some pictures on Flickr.

We went to happy hour at the attached Five Palms restaurant for some drinks and appetizers. We were going to stay for dinner which doesn’t start until 5 but it was a little pricey for us. It does have the best views of any restaurant on Maui I hear. We ended up at Cafe O’Lei in Kihei. This was a good place with reasonable prices. It’s located on top of a strip mall so Beth had to go shopping after dinner. After that we went for a post sunset stroll on the beach outside the building. We went to bed shortly after that. It was only 8:30 Hawaii time but it was 1:30 am Chicago time. It was a long day.

This place gets windy in the afternoon. With the wind and the waves it’s a little noisy as well but everything calms down at night. The cool ocean winds blowing into the room means they don’t need air-conditioning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flight Log: Trip to Lansing

This trip consisted of taking our kids to KIGQ to drop them off with Beth’s parents for the week while we went to Hawaii. It also was an opportunity to give Beth’s mom a ride in the plane. We left at 2:30 pm for the short 18 minute flight. It was the hight of the afternoon bumps with gusty winds so the ride was a little bumpy.

Winds were forecast for 300 gusting to 19 - 22 depending on the reporting station. Actual winds were anywhere from 290 to 320 with a peak gust reported at 28 knots. Most gusts were 19 knots. Steady wind was around 12 knots. Lansing has both a 27 and a 36 runway so I could pick depending on the winds at the time of arrival. I ended up using 27 for both landings. The first arrival landing was a little squirrelly but we made it.

I took my mother-in-law up for a ride with the warning that it would be bumpy. We headed west and made it out to the intersection of I-80 and I-355 before turning back. I got the ‘I’m ready to go back when you are’ from the passenger. That means go back now. I setup for a landing on 27 again and a King Air was nice enough to wait for me on 36. Not sure why he was launching on 36. The distraction made my pattern a little messy but it ended in a nice landing.

Beth and I then headed back for LL10. Beth was a little queasy from bumps but I was able to take her over our house. Back at LL10 I planned on landing on the grass 27 runway. I had to wait for a helicopter coming in from the west to hover down 27. I was coming from the east and had to maneuver for the 27 downwind so I waited outside the pattern or the helicopters more direct approach. We landed on the grass and taxied back to the fuel pumps.

Putting the plane away is a workout in itself. We have to fuel the plane for the next person. Put the plane back in the hanger which involves moving 3 large sliding doors and hooking an electric winch up to the airplane to pull it in the hanger. Then we wash the bugs off of the leading edges and the windshield. Naper Aero just installed some new fuel hose reels which wasn’t working properly for me. The reel wouldn’t lock into position after pulling the hose out. I eventually got that working. Then one of the wheels on the stairs we use for fueling the plane kept falling off. I fly a high wing Cessna so we need stairs to fuel the plane. I was exhausted after all this. It makes you wonder if short trips like this are worth it. In the end though the plane is ready and clean for the next pilot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

HD Camcorder

I picked up a Canon VIXIA HF100 HD Camcorder recently. I wanted one for our trip to Hawaii and for doing some video from the PPG. I’m coming from an 8mm Digital camcorder so this thing is way ahead of that in terms of video quality, size, and weight. The HF100 uses SD cards for storage and records at full 1920x1080 resolution using the AVCHD storage format. The small amount of test video I have shot looks great even on the small LCD but looks fantastic connected directly to an HDTV. An 8 GB SD card can hold one hour worth of video at the highest quality. The highest quality (FXP) is the only one that records at 1920x1080. The others record at 1440x1080 which is anamorphic wide screen versus true 16:9 wide.

The confusion starts when you want to take the video from the SD card and publish it someplace like Vimeo or display on an HDTV through AppleTV. With all the various resolutions and frame rates to deal with it takes some time figuring out the right combinations. The HF100 not only records at 1920x1080 resolution but can also record at 60i, 30p, and 24p frame rates. Personally 60i has the smoothest playback but it is Interlaced. Everything computer related likes Progressive video. I did a lot of searching on the Net and there are good pieces of information out there as well as contradicting information. Since I’m using iMovie 08 to import, edit, and export video I found this guide, DVC Guide to iMovie 08 Editing. It explains all the differences between resolutions, frame rates, storage formats and also shows how to edit in iMovie. It gives steps on how to export video for various destinations; Vimeo, AppleTV, YouTube, etc. It also shows you how to save the original AVCHD files off of the SD card for backup.

iMovie can import Full 1920x1080 video but it takes a lot of hard drive space. In the testing I did a 2 minute video at highest quality was 250 MB on the SD card. When imported into iMovie at 1920x1080 it was just under 2 GB on the hard disk. Basically, if you aren’t uploading the video to Vimeo for 720p HD display then use the Large 960x540 import option in iMovie. Even the AppleTV only uses 960x540 when displaying on an HDTV.

Here are some test videos I shot with notes on recording, import, and export settings. I think test video #2 is the best workflow for Vimeo. Although Vimeo converts its videos to 24p and this was shot at 30p. This causes the video to be not as smooth as it would be at 30p. The camera will do 24p but I’m not crazy about the ‘film look’ for all my video.

I have noticed some jitters (jidders) in the video when recording at FXP. I’m not sure if this is due to the speed of the SD card or the OIS system on the camera. It seems to happen when panning and when the camera stops it kind of stutters the image. My testing was done with a 2 GB Class 4 card but I have 8 GB Class 6 cards now. I’ll do some more testing to see if it still happens. It may have just been amplified hand shake. You can see it on test video #3. I’ll post my findings if I figure it out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ND8 Directory and Policies - Policy Name Issue

I noticed this little gem today when modifying an OU Organizational policy. It looks like there is additional code in the Policy form that updates the Policy Name field on save. What happens is as follows....

Create a new Child policy document from an existing Organizational policy (ex. */Acme)
Name the Child policy as usual (ex. Chicago/Acme)
Then click Save & Close
The Policy name is modified to */Chicago/Acme*/Acme
The Parent policy field shows */Acme*/Acme

This is not correct. The policy name should be */Chicago/Acme. If you go back and modify the name it will stick.

What’s happening is the new QuerySave subroutine is looking for a field called SetParent which doesn’t exist in previously created policies nor does the field exist by default in the new form. If this field isn’t there it will modify the Policy Name field to contain both the existing policy name with the Parent policy name tacked on to the end. It will also then add the SetParent field with a value of 1. When you modify the document in the future it will see the SetParent field and not modify the Policy name field again.

I’m not sure if this new naming structure (*/Chicago/Acme*/Acme) works but I would guess that pre-ND8 servers and clients wouldn’t recognize it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BES 4.1.5 and Notes 8 PAB

Service Pack 5 for BES 4.1 has support for Notes / Domino 8 but we have discovered one area that isn’t. The address book on the Blackberry has fields for Work 2 and Home 2 phone numbers. Up until Notes 8 there haven’t been logical fields in the Notes personal address book (PAB) for these fields to map to. With Notes 8 the PAB now has Business 2 and Home 2 phone fields but there is no support for these fields in BES. RIM doesn’t have any plans on supporting them either.

This normally wouldn’t be that big of an issue but we have been getting a lot of heat internally for this. Users are entering numbers in these fields on the handheld but they don’t get synched back to Notes. This is also being portrayed as a Notes issue which it is not.

Also be advised that RIM does not support the ability to synch phone number labels from Notes. In the Notes PAB you can change the label associated with a phone number field. For instance, change the field labeled Home Phone to Mobile. When this entry syncs to the handheld it will still have a label of Home on the handheld. RIM has no plans to support this functionality either. Again, this is also being portrayed as a Notes issue which it is not. It’s a feature of Notes that is not supported by RIM.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Flight Log: Abbreviated Breakfast Flight

The wife, kids, and myself set out to fly to Janesville, Wisconsin for breakfast this morning. Then we were going to fly to Lake in the Hills to drop the kids with my sister then fly back to LL10 in Naperville. I knew the winds were going to be gusty out of the WNW but all the airports had runways mostly into the wind. I was looking forward to some crosswind practice. A last minute call to flight services revealed an AIRMET for moderate turbulence. I don’t mind the bumps but my wife does.

I decided to go up and head toward Morris airport just to see how it was. It was bumpy with some mild dips down low. It smoothed out around 3000’ MSL. It was still a little much for my wife so we decided to just have breakfast at Morris. It’s about a 10 minute flight from Naperville. The wind was out of 320 at 12 with no gusts reported yet. Morris has a 360 runway so I did a nice slip landing. There were some minor gusts coming in. I taxied up to the restaurant and there were no cars out front. Not good. The restaurant at Morris is closed again. By now the family is starving.

We thought about going to Clow airport since they have a restaurant as well but I didn’t want to try landing on their 50’ wide runway in these winds. I decided to go back to LL10 in Naperville and we would drive to the local IHOP. Back at LL10 I used their 270 grass airstrip. Their is a nature preserve on final with walking paths. I love coming in over people out for a stroll. Landing in the grass was uneventful. I didn’t need that much correction angle.

We stuffed ourselves at IHOP and now my wife is driving the kids to meet my sister. The toughest thing about flying isn’t learning how to fly the airplane, its predicting the weather and making the correct go / no-go decision.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Road to Domino 8.0.1

We started our walk to Domino 8.0.1 last week by upgrading the production Domino directory to the 8.0.1 design. I pushed the new design Thursday evening and after a week not a peep from anyone. Just the way I like it and is generally the norm with a directory update.

You need to be aware of the fix for the Domino 8.0/8.0.1 directory which Andy referred to in his blog. It can be found here. I manually updated the scripts from the technote since I had already built the 8.0.1 template with our minor customizations.

Next up is the Admin server in a couple weeks.

Notice this post says Road to Domino 8.0.1 and not Notes/Domino 8.0.1. Our organization is going down the road of evaluating their e-mail platform. More on that later but we are at least moving ahead with some back-end pieces to be ready for Notes 8 if wiser minds prevail.

Monday, May 5, 2008

ADMIN2008 Recap

I’m a little behind in posting this but here is my recap of the ADMIN2008 conference in Boston. As in past years it was packed with technical information from those that live and breath Notes, Domino, and Sametime. I have never made it to Lotusphere so I can’t compare it to that event. I noticed that Andy Donaldson compared them both and calls ADMIN more of a training event than a conference. I agree with that.

Most of the sessions I attended were with the dynamic trio of Chris, Andy, and Rob (where is Rob’s blog?) doing the ND8 Upgrade sessions. I also attended some Sametime sessions since we are in the pilot phase of rolling out 8.0.x. All these sessions were excellent and loaded with real world information. The presenters are always available (for a short time) after the sessions and in the Ask The Experts time in the evening. They are also open to responding to questions via e-mail after the event which amazes me. I guess the Notes/Domino community is a nice group of people that don’t abuse this generosity.

I also attended Ed Brill’s Birds of a Feather talk on Sending a Message to Management: How to keep Lotus Notes and Domino in your Company. He took some heat from people that are fighting the ‘Let’s move to Outlook for absolutely no business reason’ in their organization. I am in the same situation in our organization and all I can say is promoting Notes 8 from within has probably been the best approach so far. Ed handled the questions as best he could and as he said there is no silver bullet. If business decision makers take a thorough technical look at both platforms the smartest choice is obvious. I have worked with both platforms so I know the capabilities of both. Domino is the only viable platform for any company over 100 employees that deems e-mail as mission critical.

The last session I attended was Jess Stratton’s on Giving Your Users the Complete Notes 8 Upgrade Experience. This was essentially a look at how to promote the upgrade to Notes 8 to end-users. She showed how to communicate the new client to users and get them excited about it. She also included words that should and shouldn’t be used in communication to end-users. It was a good chance to look at the upgrade from a non-technical point of view and put ourselves in the end-users shoes. After all, if the end-users aren’t happy then the Outlook banner starts waving.

I attended this year with 2 other co-workers; another admin and a developer. We arrived on Tuesday and had the day to bum around Boston. It was raining so we didn’t do much walking around. We toured some of the old Boston buildings including the Boston Public Library. We ended the day at a sports bar where they put the Cubs game on for us. Wednesday evening we saw the Red Sox play the Blue Jays and Fenway Park. This was a first for all of us. I’m not a huge baseball fan but I enjoy going to games. The Red Sox won by a run in the bottom of the ninth. Then Thursday evening we hit the local Legal Seafood which has become an annual thing. Maybe we will find a different seafood place next year. We flew back late Friday afternoon and missed most of the earlier flight delays the affected flights to the midwest.

It was another week of getting excited about all the things Notes and Domino has to offer. Now lets upgrade the servers!!!!

PS. I’m trying out MacJournal for this posting so hopefully it posts clean. More on that later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

First PPG flight of 2008

I had my first PPG flight of the season tonight at one of our local fields. It was a short flight but worth it. The winds gave me some trouble and I ended up with a sore back but nothing broken. I'm ready for another season of flying, fly-ins and camaraderie.

If you want to read all the gory details you can here at our local PPG group list. Please ignore all the bickering that has been going on in the other posts on that list. We have some strong willed pilots.

If you are wondering what the heck PPG is then you kind find out here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twitter Two Dollar House Challenge

Evan Courtney is someone I have been following on Twitter. He and his wife are in the process of making an offer on a new house and only $5,000 separates them from their first home. He decided put a call out to all his Twitter followers for a $2 donation. I thought this was a creative way to reach a large audience (I think he has something like 2500 followers) and it's a relatively small donation for each individual. So, if you would like to help a couple get into their first home out of the kindness of your heart you can do so by clicking the image. You can check out his blog here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where did the OK button go?

I continued the progression into Apple land. First came the 2nd gen iPod Nano for my wife, then the 3rd gen iPod Nano for me, then the Apple TV, and now this past week, a MacBook Pro. This is a life long Windows users first impressions of using a Mac.

I can sum it up in three words; easy, pretty, and just works (ok, four words). I have been bombarded by coworkers who use Macs for some time so when I decided it was time for a new laptop I was ready to try it. Our current laptop is a Compaq 15.4" that weighs 8 lbs and was never meant to be a 'portable' computer. Just one to use around the house. I wanted one that was more portable and the Macs fit that bill.

It isn't that a Mac can do anything more than a PC can but it does everything better and more eloquently. Apple has thought of the little things from the magnetic power connecter, illuminated keyboard (on the pro), built in camera that works out of the box, and simple clean design. PC makers try to tack on more features to their laptops often making them confusing. Apple adds more features without losing the simplicity. They actually put thought into the design.

Operating within the OS does take some change of mindset from the Windows world. Like the concept of installing apps is in most cases as easy as dragging an icon to the applications folder. Clicking on the X doesn't necessarily close an application so you get familiar with the Apple - Q key combo to close an app. Although leaving an app running in the background isn't necessarily a bad thing in OS X. The preference dialogs don't have OK, Cancel, or Apply buttons. You just set and forget. This is all part of the simple elegant design.

It still has it's faults like everything else. I installed a 3rd party desktop widget which caused some slow return from sleep issues. I have the issue where a noise is emitted through the audio out port when the laptop is connected to the power supply and no audio is playing. I believe this is due to some power saving feature where the line amp is turned off and lets some noise in from the power supply. Once you play audio the noise goes away. Not a big deal but I have started using the MacBook to play pre-service music at church through the sound board. I just have to remember to mute the channel when I'm not playing anything.

There is no right mouse button on the laptop but I got used to putting 2 fingers on the trackpad and clicking the button to bring up right-click menus. There is no separate Backspace and Delete key. There is one Delete key which actually functions as a backspace key. Not a big deal for me but I know there are people that hate it. There is no Insert key which I have found distracting. I use Lotus Notes and the Insert key toggles the message read and unread indicator. I use this quite a bit. There is probably some other key combo to emulate this. 

I'm avoiding installing XP in a partition because I want to maximize OS X. I can run most programs I use on OS X including Lotus Notes and if I need a Windows OS I have RDC installed so I can just remote to another machine. I'm not planning on transitioning my photo and video editing to the MacBook. I use Adobe products which run on OS X but I would rather wait for an iMac to do that stuff rather than do it on a laptop. I will take the MacBook on vacations though as a temporary computing platform for photos and video. Flickr also has an uploader app for OS X.

Anyway, these are my initial impressions. I can seen Macs taking over our house in the not so distant future. I just have to convince my wife now. That shouldn't be too hard if I can stop using it long enough for her to try it. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

How I got started with Lotus Notes

Here is the story of a man named Kevin and his journey down the IT road which led to Lotus Notes. I started work with a small technology company created by a couple of ex-IBMers while I was in college. They specialized in providing services for IBM's Advanced Function Printing products as well as some Sun Solaris services. I started out turning paper forms into electronic forms to be used with AFP and IBM high speed laser printers. I then became a system integrator for the IBM PSF2 product running on OS/2. This product tied the PC printing world with the Mainframe and AS/400 printing world so I was exposed to many different systems. Then I became the in-house system administrator managing all the IT resources; servers, network, workstations, and printers. This included getting to learn the following OS's; OS/2, Windows, OS/400, VM, AIX, and Solaris.

One day a manager handed me a yellow box that said Lotus Notes Release 3. He asked me to get it installed and see if we can use it. Just as Ed mentioned I too struggled with getting my head wrapped around Notes PKI. I installed it on an OS/2 server and then gave everyone the Notes client. It was an instant hit. I then setup our RS6000 system to be an SMTP gateway for Internet mail. Then we opened another office in Florida so a Notes server was setup there with modem replication to the first Notes server.

I left that company in 1997 and went to work for a consulting company. My first assignment was with a global company running Notes on a large scale. I went from a company using 2 Notes servers to a company using 50+ Notes servers. This is where I really learned the power of Notes and how to configure it properly. I also received my first Notes certification on Release 4 while I was at this client and have maintained it with each release since. I spent time with other clients during my 7 years at this consulting firm mainly doing audits and fill in system admin duties. Then the consulting firm turned more and more Microsoft centric and the Notes/Domino assignments started to dwindle. I became certified in Exchange but couldn't understand why any organization that deemed e-mail as mission critical could use this product. Not after knowing the scalability and redundancy available with Notes and Domino. I decided to find another job where I could work full time with Domino and didn't require the travel that the consultant roles were.

That leads me to my current position with a global law firm using Notes and Domino as it's mission critical e-mail platform. It still has the variety that I liked with consulting but with a steady location. We run Domino on Windows, i5/OS (oops, now it's just i), and SuSE Linux. We have server clusters across separate physical sites which gives us excellent uptime and I believe a competitive advantage.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. As long as I'm in the IT field I believe I will be working with Notes and Domino. As everyone should know by now it isn't going away.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boston Bound - ADMIN2008

I registered for ADMIN2008 today and managed to get a room at the Sheraton. I'm going with 2 other coworkers this year. We tried to get tickets to a Red Sox game but they were either sold out or didn't have 3 seats together. We could probably get them on StubHub and pay extra.

I'm arriving in Boston around 1pm on Tuesday and we'll bum around Boston that afternoon.

See you there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Viral Sametime

Our Sametime pilot is well underway with almost 170 users setup on the Notes 7 integrated client. Once the word was out it spread like wildfire. Even some people that couldn't see the business need for it are now using it and discovering its potential. Adding more people is simple; apply the explicit policy and add the Sametime server to their person document and the next time they start Notes there it is.

We have received the following comments so far:

"What is with the Windows 3.1 interface." (Notes 7 integrated client)
"Are the chats being logged?" (No)
"Is there a Blackberry client?" (Yes, but we need licenses)

My team is using the Notes 8.0.1 integrated client and the Blackberry client so we can show people what is to come. Still waiting on a business decision for that though.

I had to use Chris Linfoot's solution for getting Domino single sign-on to work with the Notes 8.0.1 integrated client. Prior to this the check box would not stay checked. This could be just an upgrade issue with my Notes client. You know how upgrading an administrators Notes client isn't the same as upgrading an end users. We do all kinds of things with ours (beta software, tweeking, playing 'what if' scenarios).

Hot Wheels and girls

Who says having only daughters isn't fun. I was up in our playroom with my youngest daughter last night and spotted some old Hot Wheels cars. I started playing with them on the carpet but thought it would be better to have a track that we could race on. A trip to Toys R Us and now we have a Hot Wheels race track. The girls love it. However they always want to use my car since it's the fastest.

Today when I got home all the Barbies were lined up track side to watch the race.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

CommonStore for Lotus Domino advisory

Sergio has a posting on a gotcha in the latest fix pack for CSLD. It appears it creates phantom section headers in Reply with History messages when attachments are archived. These phantom headers will cause all but Notes 8.0.1 to crash when the message is opened.

Fix Pack IF0036 of CommonStore for Lotus Domino

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Becca!!!

It's my daughters birthday today. She is 4 years old...or should I say 1 year old?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Welcome Sergio Bascon - CommonStore it!

I want to welcome Sergio Bascon to the blogsphere. He and I are co-workers in this crazy world of messaging. Sergio skillfully manages our CommonStore for Domino environment in all its ups and downs. He will be sharing his technical experiences with CommonStore for Domino and I'm sure will be a great asset to people using or thinking of using CommonStore.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Notes 8.0.1 Widgets - DDM

Like most people I have already started playing with widgets in Notes 8.0.1. I thought one useful widget would be a view of the DDM events. I usually only go through DDM events once a week since I have to remember to go look at the database. If the view were in the sidebar I might notice Fatal events sooner.

I created a new view in the DDM database from a copy of (Open Events By Severity) and called it (SideBarView) with and alias of vwSideBar. I removed the first totals column since I don't need the totals in the sidebar view. I also changed the server column to use CN since all of our servers are in the same OU. This was in an effort to slim the view down as much as possible. I'm sure there is more that can be done but this was a quick and dirty approach.

I then created a frameset and called it SideBar. This frameset only contains the view (SideBarView) and has Show action bar and Show header turned off.

Then configure a new widget component from Notes and point to the Notes URL.

Add it to you sidebar. You should see something similar to this:

Also notice I added Planet Lotus.org to my sidebar. I used the http://mobile.planetlotus.org URL since it has a slim format.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I was downloading 8.0.1....

...but the word is out now. My connection was lost once already and is now crawling along. I like it though. It shows that Notes and Domino are still very much alive and kicking.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Apple TV - HD Movie Rental

So I applied the 2.0 update the day it came out and am now getting around to trying the HD movie rental. I purchased Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End about 1 hour ago and the download is at 35% complete. Two minutes after selecting the HD movie rental a message popped up saying I could start watching it but I wanted to see how long it would take to download the entire movie. At this rate it will take 2 and a half hours and the movie is only 2 hours and 9 minutes long.

So the question is, how could I start watching the movie and not have it freeze if play time is faster than the download time? Guess I'll have to try that on a different movie. I'll let this one finish downloading. It could also be that it's Friday night and every Apple TV owner is doing the same thing.

Viewing the HD movie previews is fine for me. They start right away and don't 'hiccup'.

Setup: Cable Internet ~5Mb download speed, Apple TV on 802.11g wireless network.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This is SPAM (Not)

AOL has an interesting email feedback feature for organizations to use in order to see which messages AOL users are tagging as spam from your domain. I have had this enabled for our domain for some time and it is interesting to see that every message tagged as SPAM by an AOL user is legitimate e-mail. The e-mail is either a response to an e-mail the AOL user originally sent or was a legitimate e-mail between 2 people that obviously know each other. This shows that people have no idea what the This is SPAM button is really for. Most use it for a quick trash button. I'm not sure what this feature looks like in AOL mail but it must not be explained very well.

So far AOL hasn't taken any action against our domain because of these false reports but I feel it is only a matter of time. ISP using this tactic need to explain the ramifications better to their users.

Today I get this message on our SMTP servers:
(host f.mx.mail.yahoo.com[] refused to talk to me: 421 4.7.0 [TS01] Messages from (IP address) temporarily deferred due to user complaints -; see http://postmaster.yahoo.com/421-ts01.html)

What can I do about this? Fill out a form and hope someone gets back to me. Evidently some Yahoo users have marked messages from us as SPAM or we have exceeded some message limit from our SMTP server. Again, based on the AOL feedback, I suspect the majority of these messages marked as SPAM are false.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sametime implemetation update

There is 10 inches of snow on the ground so far today here in Chicago. The schools are closed and half the people stayed home from work. However, I'm at work so I decided to provide an update on our Sametime implementation.

In a previous post I discussed my LDAP directory quandary. After some thought, research and reviewing posts from others who have been there, I decided to go with Domino LDAP and utilize Notes ID password synch with the Internet password field. So far the password synch setting is working well. As soon as a client receives the password synch setting from the policy it will initiate an AdminP request to update the Internet password field. Then every time the Notes ID password is changed it will submit another AdminP request. Using AdminP makes it easy to track password updates. I was afraid that the user would have to initiate a password change in order for the synch to happen the first time but just changing the setting does this.

We are using a combination of Integrated Notes client, Sametime Connect 8, and Sametime Connect on BlackBerry. When using just the Notes Integrated Client with Domino SSO you don't need the Internet Password field. It will use the Notes authentication in combination with an Ltpa token to authenticate with Sametime. The Sametime Connect Windows and BlackBerry client will need the Internet Password field populated.

I started out by installing the Limited Use version of Sametime 8 on our test System i server. This lets you use the Notes Integrated Client only. No meeting services either. I tried installing the Trial version of Sametime 8 server and was met with a message that stated "Trial Sametime must be installed on a trial version of Domino server". This makes no sense what so ever. Most people trying Sametime will be existing Domino shops with full versions of Domino. This might be limited to the i5/OS version of Samtime but still doesn't make sense. I was unable to install the trial version.

We have now purchased our initial set of licenses and have the full Sametime 8 server installed. As a side note this was very easy to do on i5/OS. The LU version of Sametime on i5/OS has a single save file to install. The full version has 2 save files. The only thing you need to do to upgrade from LU to Full is install the second save file that comes with the full version. This is a 1 MB file that just enables all the features contained in the initial save file.

Full Sametime Connect is working as well as meeting services. You can be logged into the Notes Integrated Client and the full Sametime Connect client at the same time but logging into the BlackBerry Sametime Connect client will kick you out of the Windows clients and vice versa. This is actually a nice feature. I don't have to remember to log off of one before logging into the other. When I leave the office I just log into the BlackBerry client and that's it.

I chose to run the back end Sametime chat servers on i5/OS because we run all of our Domino mail servers on i5/OS and have a large investment in System i hardware. Why not just pop another Domino server on them. For production we will run one server on our Chicago System i and another clustered server on the System i in our Colo facility. I am planning on installing muxes on SuSE Linux in each office to handle the client connections. We already run Domino on SuSE Linux for handling our outbound Internet e-mail so we have familiarity with it.

The next steps are to get some more pilot users on it (not hard to do since they are beating down the door). Then transition to Sametime servers on the production System i's and muxes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bleeding Yellow

I am now registered on Bleed Yellow and have added myself to the Notes Admins and Photography Enthusiast communities. I will probably leave my blog here for now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chicago 9 - Orlando 46

It's 9 degrees here in Chicagoland and I am up early on a day off from work to watch none other than LotusphereLive!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I get it now!!!

When the Apple TV was first introduced I didn't get the idea. Pay $300 for a box that plays content from your computer to your TV. I can hook my laptop directly to the TV and do the same thing. Now with the announcement at Macworld 2008 of Apple TV Take 2, I get it. Direct movie rentals from iTunes in HD, viewing photos on Flicker, and playing the entire MP3 music library in the living room without CDs. The latter is what got my wife to agree to it and now I have it!

The latest version of the software isn't available yet but is supposed to be soon. Until then I'll try renting from iTunes on my computer and see if the Apple TV will display it.

My wife and I are currently enjoying The Office, the Benihana Christmas episodes.

PS. Sorry Mark, I couldn't resist any longer :).

Friday, January 11, 2008

USE_ST_IM and Policies

Summary: If you are unable to see the IBM Lotus Sametime server field in the Notes 8 local Location document, check the desktop settings Instant Messaging provider field. It must be set to IBM Lotus Sametime and NOT empty.

I had an interesting thing happen on our road to Sametime deployment. I was looking for the IBM Lotus Sametime server field in the local Location document of my Notes 8 personal address book and it wasn't there. I thought that maybe it had been removed in Notes 8. I was on the Pre-Lotusphere call with Chris and Carl yesterday and asked if it was supposed to be there to which they said it was. This started the investigation.

I noticed the field is there when viewed through the designer client and is hidden based on the USE_ST_IM environment variable and other things. Looking at my NOTES.INI file showed $USE_ST_IM=0 and $Use_WCT_IM=1. This would explain why the field wasn't showing. Then I set off on looking into how this variable was being set.

I exited Notes, set $USE_ST_IM=1 and $USE_WCT_IM=0 and restarted Notes. The IBM Lotus Sametime field was still missing. Looking at the NOTES.INI showed those variables had reverted back. This lead me to believe a policy was in force.

We have a Desktop Settings document applied in a policy and on the Basic tab is a field for Instant messaging provider. In our settings doc this field was blank. I would expect this to not have any affect on the desktop setting. I created a new desktop settings doc with the Instant messaging provider set to IBM Lotus Sametime, applied it to an explicit policy and then applied it to my person doc. When my Notes client applied the new explicit policy the USE_ST_IM variable changed to 1 and I could now see the IBM Lotus Sametime server field in the Location document.

The original desktop settings doc has been in place for a while and I remember being able to see the IBM Lotus Sametime field in my Notes 7.0.1 client. I believe the Notes 8 client is treating the Instant Messaging provider field in the desktop settings doc differently. If it is blank it will set USE_ST_IM to 0. Notes 7 ignores it. I tested this by removing the explicit policy which would apply the blank Instant Messaging provider field and restarted both my Notes 8 and Notes 7 clients. The Notes 8 client set USE_ST_IM back to 0 and the Notes 7 client left USE_ST_IM set to 1.