Friday, 30 May 2008

Lotus Symphony 1.0 is released

It seems kinda strange, given that we've been using Symphony for such a long time now ( even before it had the formal name ) via Betas 1, 2, 3 and 4..Personally, I first showed it to a client in late 2006 via the Lotus Notes 8 alpha, and have been using it on an ever-increasing basis since then.

Mid-way through 2007, I stopped using Open Office, and moved to only using Symphony, either via Notes 8 ( now 8.0.1 ), or standalone - I always keep a copy of the installer on any of my demo machines or VMware images. I've also not used MS Office in a long time - not just through loyalty, but mainly because Open Office and now Symphony are good enough for my requirements - the most crucial aspect (for me) is the ability to save my presentations in Adobe PDF format.

Am just starting to download the Windows and Linux installers ... more stuff to pack onto my utilities disk ( back in the day, I used to carry all the necessary utilities on a 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy disk; those were the days ).

I *assume* that we'll need to wait for a fixpack to Notes in order to get the Symphony 1.0 code within Notes 8.0.X, but I'll check ...

Oh, hang on - did I mention the URL already ? Here it is ....

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Lotus TechJam - Wow, what an event

Congratulations to the team - it was a most excellent day, with a good
turnout ( more than expected apparently ) and great feedback from the
customers AND techies in their sexy black polo shirts.

Black is the new yellow is the new black.


Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Did I post this already ? On-Disk Structure (ODS) version for Notes/Domino 8 and how is it enabled

At LTJ this AM, we were talking about the new(ish) Lotus Notes 8 on-disk structure. Darren mentioned how his disk utilization improved when he converted.

Here's how to do it.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Dinner in Warwick

Went out for dinner with some good frolleagues this evening. A good time
was had by all but, sad to report, there were a few CrackBerry (TM)
addicts amongst us. It was quite sad to see.

Seriously, I can see my colleagues spending far less time time drinking
beer and arguing over LotusScript, Java APIs, notes.ini tasks,
breakpoints in Java etc. and spending more time with their metaphorical
heads in their metaphorical screens.

I'd love to expand on the point but .......... buzz buzz buzz .... I
just have this one email to answer ..............

Saw this and thought ............ hmmmmmmmmm

An interesting report from CMSwatch - Enterprise Portal Marketplace: 2008 Vendor Risk Profile :-)

It's been posted since January but it's worth a look.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Not RESTing on my laurels

Found two good articles on the WebSphere Portlet Factory wiki on developerWorks, showing how to use Lotus Connections and Lotus Quickr via REST ( Representational State Transfer ) APIs.

Lotus Connections Integration Samples

Creating a Lotus Quickr Service Using the REST Service Call builder

The Quickr sample worked out of the box, whereas the Connections sample only appears to work for anonymous users. In other words, if you configure the with a user name and password, the samples don't work.

I suspect it relates to SSL encryption, and I may well need to import the SSL certificate from my Connections server to my test WAS CE server. I'll work out how to do this and post further .....

PDA Free Zone - Could this catch on ?

Sounds good to me, not that I'll be going there anytime soon.

Using Eventing in WebSphere Portlet Factory

Some time ago, I built a demonstration using WebSphere Portlet Factory, and wanted to show how I could select from a list of reports in one portlet and display the report in a second portlet on the same page.

I know that this can be achieved using Cooperative Portlets and Property Broker, but I was looking for a more Q&D way to achieve it.

Therefore, I used the Eventing support within WPF.

I've now got around to properly documenting it here. I'm using the Event Declaration and Event Handler builders in WPF.

Hope this helps someone somewhere.

PS The ZIP file includes four Excel spreadsheets that need to be placed into a subdirectory called reports in the WebContent folder of your project.

PPS I've used the Summary and Drilldown builder to build the reports - this is only available with the builders that ship with WebSphere Dashboard Framework - if needed, you can use a View and Form builder to achieve similar results.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

"That don't impress me much"

My aunt recently acquired a new scanner, a Canoscan 8800F, which looks and feels like a solid bit of kit.

Having installed the drivers, I wasn't able to get it to work in MS Word 2000, and kept getting "TWAIN Failure", with Word completely freezing up and needing to be ended from Task Manager.

Even more wierdly, Paintbrush and Irfanview had no such problems scanning.

I was getting some debug in \temp\TWAIN.LOG but not really enough to go on - my usual route of asking Google didn't give me much help but ..... I did find a useful little program called Twacker ( aka TWAIN_32 Twacker ) from TWAIN.ORG.

Within a fairly short space of time, I was able to see that my aunt's PC still had drivers from an earlier Memorex parallel scanner ( that never actually worked ). It's my assumption that Word was trying, and failing, to use this scanner.

I removed all the drivers ( mainly involving uninstalling the Canon drivers and then clearing down the \WINDOWS\TWAIN_32 directory.

Having rebooted the scanner and reinstalled the drivers, we're now back in the game.

The moral of the story ? Stuff is hard, even for old grey beards like me ....

Friday, 23 May 2008

WebSphere Integration User Group - 18 June @ IBM Hursley Park

The next WebSphere Integration User Group conference will be held at IBM, Hursley, on 18th June 2008. Put this date in your diary if you want to get the latest on WebSphere MQ, Message Broker and Process Integration.

Meetings at Hursley are always well attended, with many sessions being delivered by the IBM WebSphere product team.

Ol' Father Thames

would've been surprised to see the scenes tonight, as the entire Lotus
technical team traveled from Runnymede to Staines ( and somewhat further
) and back again on a boat with a free (for a while) bar.

We had a good time, and nobody fell overboard - I managed to spill my
drink over (a) a frolleague and (b) the floor - and I wasn't even drunk :-)

Still, all in all, a good night out. Time for some ZZZZZZZZ's


Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wow, what a week ...

and it's only Thursday.

I've been closeted in a hotel with 100+ techie colleagues from around Europe, participating in an education event that is 100% purely focused on Lotus software.

It's been an eye-opener, and the residential format definitely makes a difference - not having to flog my way through 2 hours of traffic each way, each day, certainly helps.

There have been some really good sessions .... and my own WebSphere Portlet Factory evangelist session which, I'm hoping, was OK - will wait for the feedback forms :-)

I observed that, for some strange reason, presenting to an audience of peers is somewhat more intimidating than presenting to a room full of strangers. I guess it's a true-ism but it was interesting to note how my stress levels increased at 1028 yesterday morning and then dissipated at 1216 ( guess when my session was ).

Either way, I had a great time, and learnt a few more neat things about my favourite tool - I found some great examples on the wiki covering areas such as Quickr and Connections integration using REST - the Quickr sample worked like a dream, although we had some problems with Connections; need to dig into it further today.

Had a great session entitled "What's cool, and where to find it", which was a good way to identify where the wider team go for demos, code, videos, links etc.

I did observe that social networking could lead to less 1-2-1 communication - in answer to a simple question, the answer is starting to become "It's in my Dogear" or "It's in my Cattail" ( Dogear being a shared/social bookmarking service and Cattail being a shared/social/tagging file sharing service ). Still, it's all in the delivery .....

It was also interesting to note how many people are turning to Linux - either because they want to improve their skills, or because the Compiz rotating cube desktop in Ubuntu is just SOOOOO DARN nice.

PS As I write this, I'm just doing an update on Hardy Heron via the hotel's free broadband - apologies to any fellow geeks who are trying to do anything useful on the net this AM, but I'm sure they're all busy sleeping after some sporting event last night ( foolball, iirc ).

So today - more good techie stuff, around WebSphere Portal futures, mashups, Lotus Forms, competitive positioning, Expeditor etc. May need to borrow the TARDIS to get around all the sessions :-)

Will also spend more time with my BlackBerry having finally got connected yesterday - making/taking phone calls is pretty easy, but I'm struggling to text - I used to be able to text one-handed on my old Nokia, but the BB seems to need a two-handed approach, and I'm having to play H&P to get anywhere.

Still, back to coffee and Ubunu .............................

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Ubuntu - The Journey Continues

Well, I was happy with the OS installation, and was able to get my VPN
client ( Lotus Mobile Connect ) and Lotus Notes 8.0.1 ( with widgets )

However, I did hit a few bottlenecks - although Linux could see/pair my
Plantronics 510 headset, I couldn't seem to do anything useful with it
e.g. use it for Skype calls etc. despite faffing around for an hour or
so - Google had many many fine answers, but none of them fixed it for
me, Jim.

Hardy also didn't want to see my iPod Touch - it thought it was a
camera, albeit briefly, but never actually showed me anything useful
e.g. a mount point etc. I didn't spend too much time on that, because (
I thought ) I could always use a Windows image running in VMware for
those apps/devices that woni't run under Windows.

Ha, think again.

No matter what I tried, I wasn't able to get VMware Workstation 6.0.3 (
downloaded from the VMware site as a RPM and converted using ALIEN ) to
install, despite hacking around with VMMON.TAR etc. I also tried VMware
Server, again downloaded - as a .tar.gz. In both cases, having finally
got the installation and the to execute, I was still
left with the situation that the vmware binary refused to run,
suggesting that my configuration wasn't OK, and that I needed to (re)run again.

I spent an hour or so on this before giving up and watching telly.

Still a fun day all the same ................

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Travels and Travails with Ubuntu

Historically, I've dabbled with Linux on the desktop for the past five
or six years. I started with Mandrake on a Thinkpad 600e or T23, running
Lotus Notes 5 or 6 under Wine ( aka Notes Under Linux or NUL ).

More recently, I've used SuSE and Red Hat distros include SLED and
Fedora, but mainly ran Notes etc. via VMware.

This all changed a few weeks back when I installed Hardy Heron ( aka
Ubuntu 8.04 ) on a Thinkpad T60p. The installation was very smooth, and
I spent a happy few hours playing around trying to get Notes 8.0.1
installed and various VPN clients working.

In the end, I wimped out and went back to Gutsy Gibbon ( aka Ubuntu 7.10
) and then used a very slick utility provided by the company to get
Notes, VPN, wireless etc. all working.

Compiz is very nice as a a 3D desktop manager, and allows me to whirl my
displays around at the touch of a mouse button, which looks nice. I do
see a few glitches when, for example, I get stuck in a desktop that
rotates but shows none of my running applications - I'm sure this is
(l)user error, so I'll keep playing away.

I've also seen colleagues struggle with projectors under Ubuntu, so I'll
test it before I go further off piste ( if I can get a second display
working without restarting X, then I'll be happy ).

I'll also run VMware for the various Windows apps. that I need to use,
until everything is available on Linux ( or pigs start landing at T5 ).

Also spent a wee while helping a frolleague (Pete H) getting Hardy
working on his Thinkpad T61p - this uses the Nvidia video card ( rather
than the T60p's ATI card ) which looks rather spiffing. I believe
suspend/standby may also work better on the T61p.

So, this weekend, it's more happy hacking, whilst ensuring that I'm
ready to demonstrate WebSphere Portlet Factory etc. to an internal
audience at our spring Technical Sales School event next week.


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Respect to Johnny W

He took on the might of the VMware and Microsoft alliances single-handedly, and administered a large can of whup a$$.

In the words of Wayne, "We're not worthy".


Hey, Mr Advertiser (Wo)Man, get out of my youth

First it was Freddie and the boys doing chocolate. Then it was the team from Tracy Island doing sunglasses. Now it's Brains doing water.

Is nothing sacred ? Nope, I guess not.

Still, some more tunes for me to sing along to. Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball.

Lotus TechJam! - Wednesday 28 May 2008 @ IBM Staines

Those nice IBM Lotus people are running a TechJam session in Staines
later this month.

This will be a technical session, aimed at technical people or, in the
words of the invitation, those who are: -

Interested ?

Let me know :-)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Out in the Granite City tonight

Up in the north-east of Scotland for a few client meetings - had a very
pleasant journey from Glasgow, made more so by the fact that my
frolleague DH was driving, whilst I (cough) navigated using Mr TomTom,
and also checked my mail and did some worky-stuff.

Pleased to say that GPRS/3G worked throughout most of Scotland, which
makes a change from the so-called civilised south-east of England, where
one struggles to get .00003G some of the time.

Off out for a brew, and back to the hotel for a good night's sleep ( was
up at 0430 today ) ready for more work ...

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Windows' Wireless Woes

I don't know whether it's just me, but why do public wireless networks
seem to be such a pain to get into. I've lost count of the number of
times I've sat in airports or hotels trying to get the wireless to work
- getting connected is a breeze, but it's the web-based authentication.
It just takes forever.

I have a BT Openzone account and, in some situations, the BT Access
Manager does the trick - however, in some situations that's not an
option e.g. if the wireless is provided by some other vendor.

What am I doing wrong ? Once connected, I open a web browser ( makes no
real difference whether I use Firefox or Internet Explorer ), and open a
page such as It can take 5-10 minutes to get to a
point where I can enter credentials, or purchase credit etc.

Is it just me ? I'm also running IBM Access Connections which, perhaps,
doesn't help - however, that's really only focusing on finding the
access point and getting an IP address - it doesn't know about web-based

Someone else must have had this issue ? What am I doing wrong ???

Woeful without Wireless :-(

Friday, 2 May 2008

New toy :-)

Just received my first EVER BlackBerry - a 7130v. Had a quick play (
even though my SIM has yet to arrive ), and it seems pretty nice.

Have just put it on charge, hoping that the SIM will arrive tomorrow.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, toys are good

Thursday, 1 May 2008

What's better ? The Macbook Air or the Thinkpad X300 ?

There's only one way to find out .................... fight :-)

With thanks to Jon, here is the fight.

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