Friday, 28 November 2008

RAR not Roar

Want to open RAR files using Ubuntu ? Got files over 4 GB ? If so, make
sure you install the non-free version of RAR via Synaptic Package Manager.

Initially, I installed the free version ( unrar-free 1:0.0.1 ) but got
the following error message: -

unrar-free: invalid archive 'RenovationsSoftv1.rar': Value too large for
defined data type

when I attempted to extract files from a 6.8 GB archive.

Once I installed, and used, the non-free version ( unrar 1: ),
all was well.


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

AMD/ATI Control Center on Ubuntu

The young Mr Wylie posted this with regard to the ATI Control Centre on Ubuntu, so I thought I'd repost the link for everyone's edification. Thanks John, you're 8-)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Problems with Virtual Portals and missing Administration link - don't Google it, Wiki it

Tomorrow, I'm seeing a customer who is having an issue with a missing Administration link in their Virtual Portal, using WebSphere Portal 6.1.

I've reproduced the problem ( or so I hope ) using WebSphere Portal 6.1 on openSuSE 11 ( it may or may not important, but I've recreated the customer's environment by installing two instances on the same application server, and securing both against OpenLDAP ).

After some digging around, I've resolved my problem ( and, I hope, my customer's problem ), thanks to the nice people who maintain the WebSphere Portal Family Wiki here.

The specific article ( WebSphere Portal 6.1 Admin Installation Virtual Portal Initialization ) describes how the problem occurs ( on instances where one installs WebSphere Portal in (ironically) administration mode ( a slimmed down installation with far far fewer applications and portlets ).

I, and (I'm hoping) my customer, have used this lightweight installation - it's a good way of creating a development or demonstration environment. I usually install WebSphere Portal Express 6.1 which can take 2-3 hours depending on the hardware ( bearing in mind that DB2 UDB and WCM are installed, along with a host of portlets and services ), whereas the slimmed down installation took 30-40 minutes ( on an openSuSE 11 VMware image running under my beloved Ubuntu ).

It highlighted how little I know about Virtual Portal creation - under the covers, an XMLAccess script is executed ( whereas I thought it was Harry Potter at work ). It transpires that the XMLAccess script neglects to add the Administration link to the theme of the newly created VP ). The article provides an updated script which fixes the problem.

More for me to learn ..... and to find out whether this does, in fact, help my customer tomorrow ...

Cross my fingers :-)

Wiping my BlackBerry

Am sending my BlackBerry back to Vodafone as it's still dropping calls, despite my upgrading it to the latest pertinent firmware level. On a 30 minute call, the phone disconnected me six or seven times. Having used the Vodafone SIM in my trusty old Nokia 6021, I know it's the device rather than the network.

I called Vodafone today, and they were very helpful - a courier will meet me in London on Thursday with a new device; I need to retain the SIM, battery and back cover.

I wanted to wipe my data off the phone before sending it back, but wasn't sure how to achieve this.

Thanks to some Googling, I found this which was of some use - the trick ( for my 7130v ) is, from the menu, to navigate to Settings -> Security Options -> General Settings -> Wipe Handheld. Once selected, I chose Continue and then entered the word "blackberry" to confirm.

After a few moments, the device is back to the oob defaults, prompting me to use the setup wizard, and showing the 'orrible default theme.

Let's just hope that the replacement unit does the trick ( now how can I persuade them to give me a Storm instead of a 7130v ? )

Monday, 24 November 2008

More on Mounting ( including my enthusiasm )

Having overcome my challenges with my failure to install VMware Tools in an openSuSE VM, I now had to work out how to mount a shared folder ( shared from VMware Workstation in the "normal" manner.

Despite my best intentions, nothing ever auto-mounted, and I didn't see the share on the X11 desktop ( when I bothered to start X ).

In the end, I found I needed to run: -

mount -t vmhgfs .host:/ /mnt

which would automagically mount my shared folder ( called Ubuntu ) as /mnt.

FWIW I also found the vmware-hgfsclient command which (merely) displays the shared folders by name e.g. Ubuntu in my case.

One step further forward ...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Trouble trying to mount ...

a USB drive under openSuSE :-)

I've chosen to run my openSuSE VMware image at runlevel 3 ( e.g. no X11 ) by changing: -


to: -


in /etc/inittab.

This means that mounting USB drives is a bit more difficult, as I have to remember the syntax of the mount command ( and/or use /etc/fstab ).

Therefore, although I was able to mount my NTFS-formatted Lenovo USB drive via the command mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt, I wasn't able to edit files or change file permissions.

Of course, the solution was to change my mount command to mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdc1 /mnt and ... I'm good to go.

openSuSE 11 - My First Day Out ...

Downloaded the DVD ISO image of openSuSE last night, with a view to building a lightweight portal demonstration using WebSphere Portal Server ( limited installation with less portlets than normal ).

Having downloaded the ISO image, I installed it into a VMware image using VMware Workstation 6.5, but wondered why I couldn't get VMware Tools to install.

Happily I found this blog post from a whizzy City dude, and my problems are over.

Apparently, SuSE have included an open-source VM tools package ( open-vm-tools-2008.04.14-21.1.i586.rpm ) which is automagically installed when the VMware image is built.

Nice !

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Cracked It - Web Application Integrator Portlet and WebSphere Portal 6.1

I'd tried, and struggled, to get the Web Application Integrator portlet working within WebSphere Portal 6.1.

I had previously blogged about this whizzy little portlet, when I had it working with WebSphere Portal 6.0, but thought I'd hit a bug feature with the new version of Portal.

The last few times out, I was able to deploy the portlet without huge problems, created the URL link against the external page/site, generated the JavaScript tag, added it to the external page and ... nowt. I was able to access the URL as a new portal page, but there was no portal navigation presented.

I re-read the documentation, re-read a few wiki posts ( here and here ) and, eventually after patience, tea and biscuits, I got it working.

The trick was to add the the JavaScript tag immediately after the BODY tag.

I can now use the WAI portlet to integrate other applications, such as Lotus Connections and Lotus Quickr.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Adobe Flex and WebSphere Portal

Can't remember who asked me about this on the Portal PoT today, but here is a pertinent article, Using Adobe Flex in JSR-286 Portlets, that may be of use.

This article shall show you how the Adobe Flex SDK can be used in a Portal environment to enhance the user interface for a Portlet. It has also previously been possible to use Flex with JSR-168 Portlets and alike, but with the new Portlet 2.0 specification (JSR-286) some things have improved, such as the support for asynchronous requests, public render parameters and events. Support for the JSR-286 specification has been available in Websphere Portal since version 6.1. It will be shown what is possible with the technology combination Flex/Portlets and where the limits are. The article builds around a Flex demo Portlet example, which is available for download below.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Samba not salsa

Back with WebSphere Portlet Factory on Ubuntu again, as per my earlier post - this time around, the installation was far more smooth. I simply downloaded  Eclipse 3.3.2 from here, and installed it in my user's home directory ( /home/hayd/eclipse ). I then installed WPF into the same directory structure ( /home/hayd/WDF ) and pointed the installer at the Eclipse location.

I'm now trying to get WPF to work with WebSphere Portal beta, which is running in a SuSE VMware image on the same box.

Therefore, I need to map a virtual drive from my host Ubuntu OS to my guest SuSE VM. I ended up using Samba to facilitate this ( although I could have used NFS which would be a more Unix-friendly approach ).

In short, I needed to set up Samba to share the /opt folder from SuSE ( this is the directory structure within which WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Portal are installed ). I chose to do this as root (!) so added the following to /etc/samba/smb.conf: -

path = /opt
write list = root
browseable = yes
read only = no

However, before I could go any further, I needed to install the Samba client software onto Ubuntu using the following command: -

sudo aptitude install -y smbfs

( although I could have also used Synaptic Package Manager or similar ).

I then "simply" mounted the Samba share from Ubuntu using the command: -

sudo mount -t smbfs // /mnt/was -o username=root,rw

Once I'd entered my root password (!), I was good to go.

With thanks to a couple of other sites: -

and: -

Ubuntu - it actually rocks :-)

IBM WebSphere Portal Version 6.1 Tuning Guide

A number of folks, including John,  have posted this most useful document which is available on developerWorks, via the WebSphere Portal wiki.

Friday, 7 November 2008

VMware Workstation 6.5 on Ubuntu 8.10 - Good but keyboard no go

'tis now sorted, thanks to a fellow blogger's post here.

In essence, there's a missing VMware configuration file that needs to get popped into the user's home VMware directory ( ~/.vmware ).

This saved my life ( metaphorically speaking )

One of my colleagues moved a server that was running DB2 UDB and WebSphere Portal to Active Directory.  The server had previously been a standalone server, and now became a member of an AD domain.

This caused DB2 UDB to stop working because the local wpdb2ins user was no longer available. There was a bunch of errors on boot, including SQL1022C which (wrongly) implies that DB2 is running out of memory ( even on a 3 GB machine ).

I've done a more full job of writing this up as a PDF ( can share if needed ), but Vivek's blog post saved the day.

Customising Lotus Quickr Services for Lotus Domino

Thanks to Stu for sharing this, and for Amy for reminding me, to further share: -

Customizing themes in IBM Lotus Quickr services for IBM Lotus Domino 8.1

Customizing Lotus Quickr Wiki

Sunday, 2 November 2008

My thoughts about the BBC and the most recent events ...

No, no, no, not Jonathan Brand and Russell Ross, this is far far far more important.

I remember reading that there was going to be some kind of tie-up between the BBC and Canonical.

Well, I'd like to report that all is well; I should be able to play BBC iPlayer content via the Totem movie player, as per this and this.

Sadly, it's not quite that simple; I end up seeing: -

The program 'totem' received an X Window System error.
This probably reflects a bug in the program.
The error was 'BadAlloc (insufficient resources for operation)'.
  (Details: serial 46 error_code 11 request_code 140 minor_code 19)
  (Note to programmers: normally, X errors are reported asynchronously;

when I attempt to access some content e.g. Radio 5 Live via the BBC playlist within Totem.

A quick dig around the 'net showed that this was some kind of memory issue or conflict between Totem, the ATI graphics card in my Thinkpad T60p and the Compiz plugin.

And, by the way, this is all the latest stuff .................

Still, mustn't grumble .............. oh well, just a bit. Grumble Grumble Grumble Mutter Mutter Darned Stoopid Totem Doh!

More post-Ubuntu 8.10 changes

This time, this is the stuff I did to tweak Lotus Notes 8.5 beta 2: -

Enabling application installation ( so that I can install the Catbox plugin )

Edited /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini and added: -

Enabling file transfer via the integrated Sametime client

Edited /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini and added: -

Improved the overall performance/perception of the client

Edited /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/eclipse/plugins/ and changed: -


to: -


( as per my earlier experiences posted here )

and ... to really really sweeten the pudding: -

Disabling the annoying beep when doing stuff in an xterm window

Opened up an xterm window and ran: -

echo "set bell-style none" >> ~/.inputrc

( thanks to Ray for the last tip )

Hah, Google has the answer, Google is my friend

Within a few minutes of my previous post, I think I've cracked the "wireless failing to resume after suspend" issue.

I chose Connection Information from within the Network Manager applet ( the thing that shows the active network connection on the top right-hand corner of the screen ). This showed me that I was using the ath_pci driver.

I Google'd for the search string "ath_pci 8.10" and, c'est voila, the second hit was the Ubuntu 8.10 release notes here.

Specifically, the release notes contained this section: -

Wireless doesn't work after suspend with ath_pci driver
Wireless devices that use the ath_pci kernel driver, such as the Atheros AR5212 wireless card, will be unable to connect to the network after using suspend and resume. To work around this issue, users can create a file /etc/pm/config.d/madwifi containing the single line:


This will cause the module to be unloaded before suspend and reloaded on resume.

I'll try this circumvention, and report back ....

Installing and Using Ubuntu 8.10 on my Thinkpad T60p

In no particular order, an aide memoire for me if when I next install Ubuntu.

a) Used Synaptic Package Manager to install CompizConfig Settings Manager ( search for ccsm or simple-ccsm to find it )
b) Used simple-ccsm to set the display profile to Ultimate to get the really really whizzy special effects in Compiz
c) Added to Software Sources to get Open Office 3
d) Added to Software Sources to get Skype ( amongst other things )
e) Installed VMware Workstation 6.5 build 118166 ( as per )
f) Installed Lotus Mobile Connect and AT&T Global Network Client ( having two VPN clients may just be greedy, but it's nice to have a backdoor to a backdoor )
g) Installed Lotus Notes 8.5 beta 2

Still not totally happy with my wireless after a suspend/standby, but that may be just me, as Rob didn't have similar problems on a similar T60p. Will check the drivers etc. for the wireless card.

Suspend/resume does work though, even when I close the lid on my laptop ( which could be fun if I forget ).

Right, that'll do for now ...

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