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.