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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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11/28/2003

Book Review - The Absolute Beginner's Guide To Networking

Category Book Reviews

Over the last two or three weeks, I've been reading the book The Absolute Beginner's Guide To Networking by Joe Habraken (Que).  I've never been too "up to speed" on networking stuff, and needed an intro to the subject in a readable format.  I don't want to get a certification in networking.  I just want to understand the basics.  And for that purpose, this book works...

You can read the entire review over at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.

11/27/2003

Book Review - Contributing To Eclipse

Category Book Reviews

I finished a review for Contributing To Eclipse - Principles, Patterns, And Plug-Ins by Erich Gamma and Kent Beck (Addison Wesley).  A very good book for learning how to write plug-in tools for the Eclipse platform.  You can read my entire review at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.  

For those of us in the IBM/Lotus world, we're familar with Websphere Studio Application Developer (WSAD).  That package is built on Eclipse, so many of the concepts in this book will apply.  There has also been talk of a new rich client for web applications built on the Eclipse platform.  Once again, the concepts apply.  

Here's where I think the book is of great value to some of you.  People who build tools and add-on packages for Notes/Domino (like Ben) may want to explore how their existing tools can migrate in the direction IBM is moving.  This could be the ideal starting point in starting the thought processes.

11/27/2003

Book Review - Enterprise J2ME

Category Book Reviews

I just finished a review for the book Enterprise J2ME - Developing Mobile Java Applications by Michael Juntao Yuan (Prentice Hall).  If you have a background in J2ME development and want to push yourself, this is a good book to get.  If you're just learning about J2ME, you'll need to start with something more introductory, like Wireless J2ME Platform Programming.

You can read the entire review over at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.

11/27/2003

Tools to Show the UNK Table Size for a Notes Database

Category Software Development

Colin Macdonald passed on a great tip in a response to an earlier blog posting I made.  If your Unique Field Table (UNK) gets too large in a Notes application, all sorts of nasty problems will occur.  But you don't have an easy way to check that out.  Until now...

Head on over to the IBM Support site and download this command line tool.  When you unzip and install it in your Notes program directory, you can check the UNK size on your database.  A lifesaver if you're getting corruption problems on a large database design.  I wish I had known about this tool about two years ago on a database that exhibited this problem...

Thanks, Colin...

11/26/2003

Book Review - Red Zone

Category Book Reviews

I finished up Red Zone by Mike Lupica last night.  Entertaining read...

Mike Lupica is a syndicated sports columnist and ESPN commentator.  He writes a very good sports novel.  In Red Zone (a continuation of an earlier work Bump And Run), Jack Molloy decides (against the better judgement of his friends) to sell half of his half of a pro football team.  Dick Miles, his new partner, already bought out the other half of the team from Molloy's siblings.  When he starts to lose control of the team and doesn't like the direction it's going, Molloy attempts to get the team back before the deal becomes final at the end of the season.  Miles seems to be having financial issues that could prevent him from closing the transaction, and Molloy has to figure out the true picture in time to keep his team.  

Not a heavy duty plot, but good humorous writing.  And while it might be nice to read Bump And Run first, it's not a requirement...

11/25/2003

Generally speaking...

Category Everything Else

... most traffic is good traffic, but I'm getting a little worried when I start becoming the authoritative source for:
  • Suburban Auto Group's Trunk Monkey commercials...  Very funny, and worth viewing.
  • The EAAS Lottery scam...  Come on, people...  You DIDN'T win the lottery, and nobody is going to give you millions of dollars for a sweepstakes you didn't enter.  
  • Dilbert icon - I remember asking for logo contributions for this site, and mentioning that a Dilbert font style would be cool.  Never got that font, don't know WHERE to get that font, but you won't find it here.

11/25/2003

This will mess with your eyes...

Category Everything Else

Thanks, Ron...

A picture named M2

The non-animated animated GIF...  :-)

11/24/2003

Surefire Ways to Develop a Thankful Attitude

Category Everything Else

Surefire Ways to Develop a Thankful Attitude
by Chris Widener

Spend some time thinking about how good you have it. We know this, but we don't often spend time pondering it. Doing so will shape and mold your attitude and develop healthy thought patterns that will make you more thankful all of the time.

As the old hymn goes, "Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One." Take some time and write down every single thing you have in your life to be thankful about. Do this with your children if you have some, and you will all be astounded at all the good things in your life.

Look down the socioeconomic chain instead of up. Focusing our thoughts on the things we don't have, while being a motivator, can also be a source of envy and greed. Focusing, at least on a semi-regular basis, on those who have less than us, causes us to be thankful for what we have.

Go work at a food bank. The more success we achieve, the more apt we are to live our lives around others who are successful while eliminating or drastically reducing our contact with those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Working at a food bank will open your eyes once again to a world you may have forgotten about.

Send a good-sized check on a regular basis. To whatever charity you choose, of course. Richard Foster says in his book Money, Sex, and Power, that money desires to be loved, courted, desired and hoarded. Giving money away breaks the power money can wield over us. Remember, money isn't the root of evil, the love of money is the roots of all kinds of evil. Giving a good chunk away on a regular basis keeps things in perspective.

Simplify. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the true measure of a man's wealth is in the things he can afford not to buy. When we simplify, we realize how we can make do on so much less. It makes us thankful for all the extra's we have most of the time. Read the classic "Walden." If you really want to get radical, fast for a day or two. You will really be thankful when you get to eat again!

Remember, ultimately what we have has been given to us. Yes, we work hard, but Someone allows us the breath to breathe each moment. Billy Graham was asked what surprised him most about life and he answered "The brevity of it." Life is short. We can't take it for granted. We should remember that life, and success, is a gift. That is something to be thankful for.

11/24/2003

Online reference for Notes INI variables

Category Software Development

Late last week, my co-developer (Alex McNamee) found and passed on a site that lists and categorizes Notes INI settings.  The URL is http://tips.notesnet.com/tips/tips.nsf, and all you need to do is click on the INI link on the page.  Pretty cool stuff!

11/24/2003

Book Review - The South Beach Diet

Category Book Reviews

OK...  I've fought weight problems all my life.  And I'm now getting to the age where I REALLY need to do something about it.  Not only for the weight issues, but the health issues (cholestrol and such).  Since trying to manage it on my own hasn't worked in the past, I figured it was time to take a look at an eating plan that could help both of those problems.  To that end, I picked up and read The South Beach Diet by Dr. Arthur Agatston.  

Yes, this may sound like I'm trying to follow the latest diet fad.  Perhaps I am.  But there's some sensible logic to the eating style, and we'll see how it works.  I start the two week Phase 1 portion today, and I'll report back on progress periodically.  

The book itsself is pretty good.  It lays out the logic behind the diet plan, and touches on how to manage the plan in certain circumstances (like at restaurants).  It then goes into what's allowed on Phase 1 and Phase 2, as well as a sample menu and recipes for the dishes listed.  It's slanted more towards the practical than the theoretical, and that's a good thing as you're trying to get going on a new style of eating.

The value of this book will only be seen over time, but I'm mildly optimistic that this eating plan will help me achieve some of my health goals...

11/23/2003

Blocking some referrer spamming...

Category Blogging

I've seen an increasing number of referrers from a web site "z-d-e-n-k-a.a-c-c-e-p-t-e-d.c-c" (you can remove the dashes to get the actual site).  It's a porno site, so I really don't want to keep getting hits for people looking for this "z-d-e-n-k-a" woman.  Though I would be flattered if women who looked like that were interested in my random musings...  :-)

So...  I will stick that "z" word in the referrer blocking section, and no more referrer appearances!

11/22/2003

Book Review - Fire Flight

Category Book Reviews

Time off for some recreational reading...  Just finished John J. Nance's Fire Flight.  He writes aviation thrillers, and this one is pretty good...

A pilot who retired from fighting forest fires via tanker drops is called back into service to fight a raging forest fire that threatens Yellowstone.  He originally quit due to the deterioating conditions of the aging tankers, and he starts to get worried when a new accident occurs and a tanker loses a wing in flight.  While the maintenance records appear to be in order, there's a growing suspision that the planes are being used in the off-season in South America and the flight logs altered to cover up the use.  

Good action, and vivid descriptions of what it must be like to fight fires under those conditions....

11/21/2003

Spencer's Theory Of EvoLinux

Category Linux

Courtesy of Spencer F. Katt at eWeek...

A picture named M2

11/20/2003

It's now official... Joe and I are speaking at Lotusphere 2004!!! Whoo-hoo!

Category IBM/Lotus

We just received our email from IBM about our tentative approval based on final review and turning in our paperwork.  Joe Litton and I will be presenting a Best Practices session titled Java For The Domino Developer, based on our article series that started in Lotus Advisor magazine this month...

This is very exciting for us!  It's something I've wanted to do for awhile, but never thought I'd end up attempting.  But based on productive networking at last year's Lotusphere, this blog, and some article work, the pieces fell into place for us.  It's sorta funny...  When I went to work for Enron Broadband back in 1998, the CTO-level person was convinced we'd build an incredible company based on Lotus technology, and that Dan Porter and I would speak at Lotusphere telling everyone how we won with Lotus.  The thought of doing anything like that back then was rather scary.  We all know how THAT turned out!  Six years later, that thought is coming true, just not the way anyone envisioned.

I ran across my first Lotusphere notes from 1997 a couple weeks back.  There was one page devoted to the topic "Java And Lotus Notes".  My only sentence of notes...  "A little too beyond me at this point in time".  How times change!

11/20/2003

How The Fuzzy Search Option Works...

Category Software Development

This KnowledgeBase item gives a very good explanation as to how the Fuzzy Search option works in Notes, and how you can manipulate it to get the level of "fuzziness" you want...  

How Does the Fuzzy Search Option Work?

Document Number:  1088269

Problem
In the Notes client, the Fuzzy Search option is available on the Search Bar of a full-text-indexed database.  What type of results does the Fuzzy Search option generate?

Content
The power of Fuzzy Search is to find results that are not an exact match to the query term.  Fuzzy Search logic can be thought of as an "Expanded Or" search that allows users to find as many of query terms as possible but not necessarily all of them.  Fuzzy Search logic performs searches based on the similarity of character string but not based on meaning.  The Fuzzy Search logic used by the Notes Client allows specifically for text searching in which the logic has the ability to recognize incomplete hits in a document's text.  

This can be very important in the context in which documents contain errors or variables in the words or terms.  For example, documents that are converted through optical character recognition (OCR) may have many unrecognized characters within the words.  These types of errors can not be completely compensated for by wildcards and word stemming because there is no way to predict where the errors may occur.  If the error occurs in the stem word, the wildcard character and word stemming methods are ineffective.  Fuzzy Search logic determines that, if the hit term has at least some of the characters of the query term, it may be a valid hit.

Fuzzy Search finds matches using the base word described in the Notes Client Help under the topic "Word Variants" (as shown in the Supporting Information section below).  The size of the base word is determined by the parameter Matchinglevel but must be a minimum of three letters long and starts from the left side of the query term.  The Matchinglevel parameter determines what percent of the word needs to be matched.  The default value for this parameter is 75%.  

Using the example "Rossberg", 75% of the word to match would be Rossbe.  If a user types in Rossburg with an "u", documents containing Rossberg with an "e" are not returned because Rossberg does not match 75% of the base word.

To change the Matchinglevel parameter, in a Search bar, type in the following:

matchinglevel XX searchword

where XX is a number between 5 and 95, and "searchword" is the word to match.  Typing zero for this number yields zero matches for the base word, and 100 yields only exact matches.  Matchinglevel and the number must be entered to the left of the word to match.

In the case of double letters, a word will be returned if one of the letters is missing.  Using the Rossberg example, searching on Rosberg with one "s" will return documents containing Rossberg with two "s".

NOTE:  Fuzzy Search is not designed to work on small words.  Using the example of searching for the names James and Janet, if Janes is the search word and matchinglevel is set to 40%, the resulting base word is "Ja".  Fuzzy Search will not work with a base word of this size.


Supporting Information:

Examples of different types of search done by Fuzzy Search:

Various expression of phrases

Search for: new  technology
Returns: new  CMOS  technology

Search for:  user requirement          
Returns:  user group requirement OR user has a requirement

Incorrect Writing
Search for:  Califorrnia  (misspelled)
Returns:  California (spelled correctly)

Search for: Palalto (misspelled)
Returns: Palo Alto (spelled correctly)

Example of Inflection Searching
Search for:  communication    
Returns: communicate OR  communicating OR communi-cation

Search for:  Study
Returns: studies OR studied OR studio

Note:  for Fuzzy Search results on query term Study, studio is a valid result but may not be a result expected by the user.

Alternative expression
Search for: database
Returns: data-base OR data base

Search for: run-time
Returns: runtime OR run time


From the Notes Client Help (R5):
Use Word Variants
This option finds words with the base word + certain suffixes. For example, a search for "swim" will also find "swims," "swimming," "swimmer," and even "swimmed." It will not find the variation "swam," however, because the base word has changed, or "swimmet," or "swimsed" because the suffixes are not  acceptable with that word.

11/18/2003

Joe and I make our debut in Lotus Advisor!

Category Software Development
A picture named M2 In the December issue of Lotus Advisor, Joe Litton and I make our debut with the beginning of the Java For The Domino Developer article series.  You need to be a subscriber to see the article, unfortunately...  

Rather cool to see one's writing appear in a well-known magazine.  While I've written web exclusives for e-Pro, this is the first "in print" article I've had.  I make my "in print" debut in e-Pro in January with an article covering team development in Domino.

Joe and I have had some great feedback on the first article, and it is insight we can use for future installments.  If you have any input, feel free to pass it on to either of us!



11/18/2003

How to Optimize Database Performance Using Database Properties

Category Software Development

The following is a very nice KnowledgeBase entry that covers the different database properties and how they can enhance or degrade the performance of your application....

How to Optimize Database Performance Using Database Properties

Document Number:  1085205

Problem
How can you optimize the performance of your large application(s) ?

Content
You can specify the following options to provide higher performance and functionality for specific uses. Note that these options are for advanced Notes users. If the options in the Advanced tab are not visible to you, it requires an administrator to change them.

Don't maintain unread marks

Maintaining unread marks in a database slows performance. For some databases, such as the Domino Directory or the Domino log file, unread marks are not useful. If a database does not require tracking read and unread documents, consider disabling unread marks to improve performance.

Document table bitmap optimization

Notes refers to tables of document information to determine which documents appear in an updated view. Selecting the "Document table bitmap optimization" property associates tables with the forms used by documents in each table. During a view update, Notes searches only tables whose views contain forms used by documents in that view. While there is a slight performance cost to maintaining this association, this setting speeds updates of small views in large databases significantly.

To enable optimization using the table-form association, select "Document table bitmap optimization." When you change this setting, compact the database to enable it. Make sure your system has sufficient disk space as this compact makes a temporary copy of the database. You can also use the load compact command with the -F or -f switch to enable or disable bitmap optimization.

Don't overwrite free space

To prevent unauthorized users from accessing data, Notes overwrites deleted data in databases, which can reduce database performance. In some situations, this security features is not necessary, such as when:

  • The database is physically secure -- for example, on a password-protected server in a locked room
  • Space in the database is quickly reallocated -- for example, in system databases such as MAIL.BOX
  • Security is not an issue -- for example, in an employee discussion database

Maintain Last Accessed property

Domino databases store the date when a document was last modified or read. By default, the database records only changes to documents -- not reads. If you select the database option "Maintain Last Accessed property," the database records reads of a document as well as changes to it. If you set the database to delete documents based on intervals without activity, such as 10 days without being read or modified, select "Maintain Last Accessed property" and be aware this may negatively impact database performance. Otherwise, leave the option deselected for best performance.

Disable transaction logging

When disabled, turns off logging of all transactions for all Domino API functions. It also turns off full database integrity and a replacement of Database Fixup on system restart with high-speed transaction roll forward/rollback from transaction logs along with support for backup and recovery APIs.

Allow soft deletions

The "Allow soft deletions" property lets deleted documents remain in the database and not be permanently removed for a set number of hours. The hours are set by the database manager in the Advanced tab of the Database Properties box. After that time, the document is permanently deleted from the database.

Don't support specialized response hierarchy

Documents store information about their parent or response document, which is used only by the @functions @AllChildren and @AllDescendants. In databases that don't use these @functions in views, select the database property "Don't support specialized response hierarchy" to improve database performance.

Don't allow headline monitoring

Users can set up their headlines to search databases automatically for items of interest. If many users do this, database performance can be slow. To prevent a database from being monitored, select "Don't allow headline monitoring."

Allow more fields in database

For a Release 5 database, you can select the advanced database property "Allow more fields in database" which allows the database's UNK table to contain up to 64,000 fields.

Note:        Not all areas of R5 have been coded to support the Large UNK Tables.  If you turn on the "Allow more fields in database" property, once your UNK Table gets large enough and starts using the Large UNK Tables, then areas of the product that cannot handle large UNKs will not work.  Currently this includes the following:

-  Full Text Indexing query by field
-  Query by Form

For a Release 4 database or a Release 5 database without this option selected, all the field names in a database when concatenated cannot exceed 64 kilobytes, which results in a database limit of approximately 3000 fields.

Limiting the number of entries in the $UpdatedBy fields

A document stores the name of the user or server that made each change to it in the $UpdatedBy field. This edit history requires disk space and slows both view updates and replication. If you do not need to maintain a complete edit history, specify the number of changes that the $UpdatedBy field tracks with the database setting "Limit entries in $Updated fields." Once the $UpdatedBy field reaches this limit, the next edit causes the oldest entry to be removed from the $UpdatedBy list. Limiting the number of entries in the $UpdatedBy field in documents improves database performance.

Limiting the number of entries in the $Revisions fields

A document stores the date and time of each change saved to it in the $Revisions field. Domino servers use this field to resolve replication or save conflicts. The $Revisions field stores up to 500 entries by default. If you do not need to track changes this closely, specify the number of changes that $Revisions field tracks with the database setting "Limit entries in $Revisions field." Once the $Revisions field reaches this limit, the next edit causes the oldest entry to be removed from the $Revisions list. Limiting the number of entries in the $Revisions field in documents improves database performance.
Consider limiting the entries in $Revisions fields in databases that:
  • Contain many documents
  • Replicate often or have no replicas
  • Contain documents that are rarely edited

Undelete Expire Time (in hours)

Provides the ability to limit the time that users can restore deleted notes by accessing them in a special view type. By setting the "soft delete" database option and creating this view mistakenly deleted documents can be retrieved simply and quickly.

11/17/2003

Book Review - I Am What I Ate... And I'm Frightened!

Category Book Reviews

Since I've been reading/reviewing a fair amount of non-entertainment material lately, I decided to treat myself to something a little lighter.  Specifically, Bill Cosby's I Am What I Ate... And I'm Frightened!  This is a short little book that covers Cosby's thoughts on growing old, having your body wear out, and how we're obsessed with wanting to be healthy without making any changes to our lifestyle.  

While he's trying to be humorous, I think he's trying to make some serious points about our society.  Such as, how people who are smokers will go to incredible lengths and discomforts to be able to have a cigarette.  Or how people who need to change their eating habits will play mental games to try and avoid it (or ask for drugs to erase the effects of the bad food).  Too much of it rings true...


If you have a chance to read it, I would recommend the book.  Don't know that I would go out of my way to buy it, but having a library a block away makes some things much easier...  :-)

11/17/2003

The best defense... is to blame others...

Category Microsoft

Over at the InformIT site, there's an article titled What Bill Gates Says About Security.  With all the talk about getting serious about security, this interview shows me that they STILL don't get it.  For example, the following quote:

"You don't need perfect code to avoid security problems. There are things we're doing that are making code closer to perfect, in terms of tools and security audits and things like that. But there are two other techniques: one is called firewalling, and the other is called keeping the software up to date. None of these problems (viruses and worms) happened to people who did either one of those things. If you had your firewall set up the right way - when I say firewall I include scanning E-mail and scanning file transfer - you wouldn't have had a problem."

So, I read this as "it's not OUR fault you got hammered with the latest virus...  You should have been running a firewall and you should have been applying patches every other day to prevent our software from breaking..."

Also...  If you don't like that defense, just spin the issue to make it look like you're the best...

"Not everybody has changed their code and done the recompilations to get rid of those things," he went on. "But, fortunately, the main system that's under attack today is the latest operating system. The fact is, there are security vulnerabilities in peoples' applications in many places. I mean, people act like some other systems don't have vulnerabilities. Actually, all the forms of Unix (as well as Linux) have had more vulnerabilities per line of code. They don't propagate as much because they're not as dense as our system is, so the things that prevent the propagation are particularly important for our world."
Making a silk purse out of the moth-eaten sow's ear, Gates concluded, "But actually, in a sense it's very good to have this maturity, saying that a high volume operating system will be the one that people have tried to attack. Low volume software is always attackable. It's only attacked when somebody want to be malicious. High volume software is attacked when somebody wants just visibility and glory, and the fact is that the hardening is part of the process of having the level of reliability guarantee that we need to make."

11/16/2003

Book Review - Moving To Linux

Category Book Reviews

I just finished reading (and reviewing) Moving To Linux by Marcel Gagne (Addison-Wesley).  A very good book to help you make the transistion from Windows to Linux both at the OS and the application level.  This book helps you understand what applications on Linux will allow you to do all the normal work you do on Windows (graphics, word processing, etc.)  Highly recommended...

You can read the full review at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.

11/14/2003

Book Review - Re-imagine!

Category Book Reviews

I finished Tom Peter's latest book last night...  Re-imagine!  I'm a Tom Peters fan, as I like his attitude and style of writing.  Having said that, this one was more difficult to read than his previous titles...

He switched publishers, and went with a more creative style.  The pages are colorful with numerous images and side notes.  As I found myself struggling to get through the book, I wondered if perhaps that was the reason.  Too much visual distraction...  The content is typical Peters...  The day of the corporate slave is over, you are the CEO of Me, Inc., you should be working on WOW! projects, really good products/services are not enough any more, it's the WOW! experience that separates you from the pack...

An OK book for some new ideas and outlooks on corporate life.  Not quite a "sit down and read it" type book.  

11/13/2003

Inside Notes: The Architecture of Notes and the Domino Server

Category IBM/Lotus

Ran across this item the other day...  Worth reviewing if you've been doing tihs for awhile...  From the KnowledgeBase...

Inside Notes: The Architecture of Notes and the Domino Server

Document Number:  7002793

The database "Inside Notes: The Architecture of Notes and the Domino Server" is available at

http://www.notes.net/notesua.nsf/0b345eb9d127270b8525665d006bc355/ec73cbf1c6392ba385256856005bd224?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,inside

Inside Notes  


In 1989 Lotus (r) Notes (tm) made the world a little smaller.

Since its first release, Notes has enabled teams of people to work together, even when separated by great distances or when individual contributions are made at different times.  Notes was the world's first viable groupware product, and it remains today the world's best groupware product.  Release after release, Notes continues to evolve innovative, new capabilities that support its initial core concept: Collaboration made possible through shared, secure, online databases.

Much of what has been written about Notes over the years does not contain enough information about how Notes works to satisfy the needs of IT managers, application developers, and other technical individuals who are responsible for purchasing equipment, integrating Notes into their organizations, and designing appropriate, efficient applications. The purpose of Inside Notes: The Architecture of Notes and the Domino Server is to describe the internal architecture of Notes and Domino (tm) in sufficient detail to enable you to make optimal deployment and programming decisions.
Inside Notes provides a single place where you can quickly learn about the overall architecture of Notes. It clearly presents gist of Notes design, without getting bogged down in details.  While some of the information included here has appeared elsewhere, other information has never before been published.


11/12/2003

Looking at my Google list...

Category Everything Else

... there are some common themes out there...

I think I'm gonna put together a massive post that addresses the top ten items...  THAT oughta get my hit count up!

11/11/2003

IBM Helps Promote Linux

Category Linux

An article in the New York Times today titled IBM Helps Promote Linux must have Microsoft conducting some interesting late night strategy sessions.  Nothing really earthshaking in the article over what we've heard the last few days, but still, it paints a rather ominous picture for the leading OS company...

My favorite quote:

Still, Linux on the desktop has a long way to go. Shipments of Linux rose to 2.8 percent of desktop operating systems in 2002, up steadily from 1.7 percent two years earlier, according to IDC, a research firm. Windows accounted for nearly 94 percent of shipments last year.

I don't think it was that long ago that the Linux server market was written off in nearly the same terms...

11/11/2003

Keeping up with the onslaught of new technology...

Category Software Development

Over at the Java Pro site, there is an article titled Keep Up Without Losing Sleep by Peter Varhol.  It talks about the steps one must take in order to keep from drowning in all the stuff we feel we need to keep up with in today's crazy techno-environment.  While written with Java in mind, it is very applicable to any technology niche you are part of...  Key points:
  • Focus On The Value
  • Graze The Field Occasionally
  • Make It A Group Effort
  • Rely On The Trade Press And Other 3rd Party Accounts
  • Find Your Focus

Well worth reading...

11/11/2003

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Bruce...

Category Blogging

A quick note...

11/10/2003

Vital IBM/Lotus Reading...

Category IBM/Lotus


Alan Lepofsky posted the following list of critical IBM/Lotus reading in today's Business Partner Forum.  So, with his permission, I forward this on to you...


New features in Notes and Domino 6.5

http://www.lotus.com/ldd/today.nsf/a2535b4ba6b4d13f85256c59006bd67d/38ce21a6f60cc20885256da40049eef9?OpenDocument

Lotus Notes 6.5

ftp://ftp.lotus.com/pub/lotusweb/product/domino/Notes_65_DS_FINAL.pdf

Lotus Domino 6.5

ftp://ftp.lotus.com/pub/lotusweb/product/domino/LOTUS_6.5_3252081_ss_e.pdf

Domino Web Access 6.5

ftp://ftp.lotus.com/pub/lotusweb/product/domino/L_DominoWebAccess6.5_G325-2069-00_DS-FINAL.pdf

Domino Designer 6.5

ftp://ftp.lotus.com/pub/lotusweb/product/dominodesigner/Lotus_DominoDesigner_SS_FINAL.pdf

Lotus Enterprise Integrator 6.5

ftp://ftp.lotus.com/pub/lotusweb/lei/LEI_DS_FINAL2.pdf

Domino on Linux

http://www.lotus.com/dominolinux

Domino Express

http://www.lotus.com/dominoexpress

Compare Domino with the competition

http://www.ibm.com/lotus/compare

Must read whitepapers:


Domino Applications and the Lotus Workplace technical strategy

This paper will provide developers, CTOs and other IT decision-makers with information on the tools and technologies used to support Lotus Workplace. This includes information about the application server platforms available for use with Lotus Workplace; a section on application platform considerations to assist with selecting the appropriate platform for your application; information on how to leverage your investment in Domino; and a brief overview of the future of rapid application development.

http://www.lotus.com/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/d3ecdf4b0897dda885256dc10054a4e2

Protect and enrich your Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino investments within a collaborative platform to drive productivity.

IBM is committed to supporting and advancing the Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino messaging server and application-development and deployment platform for years to come. So you can feel confident that your Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino investments are protected.   When you're ready, IBM can help you expand the collaborative capabilities of your Lotus investments by integrating them into Lotus Workplace. There you can continue to leverage Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino solutions-along with the value of integrated collaboration. You can customize your collaborative work environment with only the Lotus solutions necessary to meet your organization's unique requirements. Increase user productivity. And cut unnecessary spending. All these benefits help to reduce your total cost of ownership.

http://www-3.ibm.com/software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/jmae5sxlzr?OpenDocument&Site=lotus

The History of Notes and Domino

http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/today.nsf/8a6d147cf55a7fd385256658007aacf1/bc684f3a96b4efd185256b9c0064ae9c?OpenDocument

Go Inside Notes to learn about Notes/Domino architecture

http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/notesua.nsf/0b345eb9d127270b8525665d006bc355/ec73cbf1c6392ba385256856005bd224?OpenDocument

11/10/2003

Head First EJB - Author Interview

Category Software Development

Over at the ONJava.com site, there's an interview with the authors of Head First EJB (Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates).  It's a good overview of the Head First Style, why they made the book a certification study guide, and where this book fits into your education path...  Worth a read.

11/09/2003

Book Review - eBay Hacks

Category Book Reviews

My contact at O'Reilly kindly sent me the book eBay Hacks (David A. Karp) a few weeks ago, and I decided to start reading it this last week.  I was motivated as my dad wanted me to attempt to sell a very expensive item on eBay since I've successfully sold there before.  By using some of the tips in this book, I was able to spruce up the listing a little more than I usually do, as well as selecting some additional options that seem to have paid off with more traffic than I expected.

As with all Hacks books, it spends some time explaining the basics of the subject (like how to bid).  Most of the material is how to best take advantage of the features that are offered.  Some of the info is common sense, but some of the info is invaluable (like which add-on listing options are most valuable in generating a better chance at selling).  

If you sell on eBay (or if you'd like to get into selling), this is a book you should get.  It will save you time and money in a very short time...

11/08/2003

Book Review - Understanding .NET

Category Book Reviews

Over the last month or so, I've been reading through the book Understanding .NET - A Tutorial And Analysis by David Chappell.  No, I am not heading off in the .NET direction (to the best of my knowledge)...

As a technical consultant, I think it's important to be able to talk intelligently about all the options that are out there.  Although I've heard a lot about .NET, I really didn't have a clue as to the architecture of the framework.  This book does a really good job in covering the entire subject without getting overly wrapped up in the details.  By the time I was done, I at least had a basic understanding of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish.  I was amazed at how similar .NET/C# are to Java.  Same byte-code concept, same object-oriented concepts...  I was amazed at how much I understood based on what I already knew about Java.

If you want a decent understanding of .NET without having to work through a Visual Studio.NET or C# training guide, check out this book.

11/08/2003

IBM Warms To Desktop Linux

Category Linux

From ZDNet late yesterday...  IBM Warms To Desktop Linux

IBM's other Linux shoe could drop Monday, as Big Blue is expected to endorse the idea of Linux on desktop computers at a conference.

Big Blue has heavily promoted the open-source operating system for use on servers, but Sam Docknevich of IBM's Global Services group plans to discuss how Linux's popularity now has spilled over into the desktop market, according to the agenda for the Desktop Linux Conference in Boston.

Docknevich's speech is titled, "The Time is Now for Linux on the Desktop."

Not only does it look like we're going to have serious options soon, but it also looks like we're going to have to be knowledgeable about Linux.

11/08/2003

Book Review - Everyday Linux

Category Book Reviews

I finished a review on the book Everyday Linux (Prentice Hall PTR) by Kathy Miles and Ethan Metsger.  This book tries to cover both how to install and run Linux, as well as an overview of some of the open source apps that come bundled with it.  Since the book was written in 2001 and the Red Hat distribution was 6.2 at that time, this book might be a bit too outdated to be of great help.  There is good info in there, but just be aware of the aging factor.

Read the full review on the Portland Domino/Notes User Group website...

11/08/2003

Book Review - The Linux Book

Category Book Reviews

I just completed a review of The Linux Book (Prentice Hall PTR) by David Elboth.  If you're looking to jump into the Linux waters but don't have any experience on how to install it or what to do once you get there, this would be a good entry level option.

You can read the entire review on the Portland Domino/Notes User Group website.

11/06/2003

The Meatrix...

Category Humor

With thanks to Chaz and Brian Livingston, I present to you...  The Meatrix.

Caution...  all heavy moralistic messages contained in this Flash cartoon are theirs and theirs alone.  I don't share the sentiments, but I DO find the cartoon well-done and, I'm afraid, probably more entertaining than the real thing...

11/06/2003

Why IBM wanted a piece of Novell's SuSE action...

Category Linux

An article on ZDNet UK titled Why IBM Wanted A Piece Of Novell's SuSE Action does a really good job of following the dots...

11/06/2003

And the hockey update for the three of you who read this blog for that... :-)

Category Everything Else

Last night the kids played Oregon City, who is the only team they've lost to this year.  Unfortunately, that streak is still intact.  Cam played well in goal for the first two periods, but our team had little offense and trailed 4 - 0 going into the third.  By then, the frustration level had mounted, and things went to pieces.  Let's just say the final score was 8 - 0, Cam is figuring out how to pay for a second goalie stick after snapping one across the crossbar after a goal was scored, and at this point in time, Ian is out for the next two games after getting a double game misconduct...  :-)

No, it's not as bad as it sounds.  At the final buzzer, there was a scrum in the corner involving two other players.  Ian came in to pair off with an Oregon City player who was in on the original fight, and pinned him to the board.  Another OC player came in behind Ian and started yanking his face cage.  The linesman grabbed Ian in a headlock and threw him off the ice first because they were right by the door.  I was down by the door already as I wanted to ask Ian if he was feeling OK to drive home after the game.  As Ian headed to the locker room, him and the OC player were yapping at each other.  Ian drew a five for fighting, the automatic game for fighting, and then a second game for trying to come back onto the ice.  Wrong!  There's apparently going to be an appeal process as a number of the penalties assessed by the ref at the end of the game didn't match up to what really happened.  Needless to say, Ian can arguably be out for a game (although it wasn't even a fight on his part)...  we'll see...

11/06/2003

Book Review - The Smartest Guys In The Room

Category Book Reviews

Over the last few days, I've been reading The Smartest Guys In The Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind.  It's the latest (last?) expose of the Enron disaster.  Having been part of the Enron Broadband group through a significant part of its existance, I have an obvious interest in this subject...  :-)

In my opinion, this might be the best book of any of the Enron titles so far.  It's not riddled with personal stories and juicy gossip as a couple other titles out there, nor is it an in-depth examination of the Special Purpose Entities (SPE) deals that ultimately doomed the company.  Instead, I see it as a balanced story of the different main players and groups in the company, the attitudes of greed and entitlement that ran rife through the corporate culture, and how the internal view of the company so drastically differed from what was being told to the public.

Ken Lay is cast as a clueless leader who wanted to be liked and admired more than wanting to run a company.  Jeff Skilling is someone who either was smart enough to leave himself "plausible deniability" (and thus was crooked) or truly bought into his own hype (and thus was incompetent - I tend towards the prior).  And of course, Fastow is a greedy individual who was more concerned with lining his own pockets and advancing his own image than with the welfare of Enron.

There's no new stuff here that hasn't been covered before, but it's good coverage of what happened...

11/05/2003

So why is it called i18n?

Category Everything Else

While doing some study into Struts, I kept coming across the term i18n as an abbreviation for internationalization.  That is the the process of making an application flexible enough to handle input/output based on the locale of the browser accessing the application.

But I kept wondering...  why call it i18n?  Was there some international standards group that covered that concept as standard #18?  No, nothing that complex...

It's called i18n because there are 18 letters between the i and the n...  :-)

11/05/2003

Memory Is Not Released by the LotusScript PRINT and MESSAGEBOX Statements

Category Software Development

Wow...  this is a sneaky little bug that I didn't know about...  Whoops...  'Cuse me...  That's a "feature" as it is now documented...  :-)

From the KnowledgeBase...

Memory Is Not Released by the LotusScript PRINT and MESSAGEBOX Statements

Document Number:   1089676

Problem
Under certain circumstances, the Print and MessageBox LotusScript statements consume memory without releasing it.

For example, when a particular customer included the Print statement in a loop with a large number of cycles, a crash occurred with the following error:

"Maximum number of memory segments that Notes can support has been exceeded"

Content
The memory used by the Print and Messagebox commands is released once the agent finishes running.  The workarounds are to avoid using the statement(s) in large loops or reduce the number of statements.

This issue was reported to Lotus Quality Engineering; however, it was determined that LotusScript is functioning as designed.
 

11/04/2003

All the Linux activity of late... Ramifications?

Category Linux

Prior to last week, my coworker and I had never even considered Linux for anything.  Now we're both running it under dual-boot on the laptops, and we're stocking up on books for it.  Now there's been a flurry of Linux movements of late...  I'm wondering if this is like buying a new car and then noticing them all over the road...  Was all this occurring all along and we just didn't notice as it wasn't on our radar screen?  :-)

Anyway...  So what will all this mean to the Linux community and to the future of Linux in the mainstream corporate world?  Obviously, time will tell and everything is just a guess right now.  But I'll venture to say that it's the best thing that could happen to Linux....

Linux has become viable in the server world over the last year or so, but still there's the "open source" stigma that prevents wider adoption by corporations.  I'm sure there are many companies who would never ever download "free" software and trust their corporate assets to it.  But if you downloaded software from Novell, well...  that's a different story.  Same software, but a known name behind it.  

I think the bigger ramifications are for the desktop.  Linux servers are no big deal any more.  But there are still VERY few corporate entities that will trust their workers and day-to-day activities to an open-source desktop and open-source replacements for productivity software.  The perceived lack of support makes it a dead issue before it gets out of the gate.  But what if you weren't buying an open-source Linux desktop, but Novell's OpenOS powered by Linux?  What if IBM converted and showcased internal staff running non-Microsoft desktops with no drop in productivity (and large savings in licensing fees)?  What if the press started to run with the story and it became airline magazine material?  What if your boss showed up after a conference and asked you to "check into this OpenOS thing to see if we can cut our software licencing costs?"...

With Red Hat going enterprise and Suse going corporate, I'm thinking that by mid- to late-2004, stories about adoption of Linux desktops will replace all the stories about offshore outsourcing...

11/04/2003

Welcome to Marquam Group!

Category Everything Else



Boom Vang Consulting and Boom Vang Technology Services are now:

MARQUAM GROUP
Consulting Services and Strategic Resources

Though our name has changed, you will find the best of Boom Vang in Marquam Group: our collaborative approach to working with clients and partners; our dedication to providing technology solutions with real business impact; and our commitment to earning the trust of each one of our clients.  Marquam Group works closely with clients, closing the gap between innovative ideas and the technologies that enable them. Businesses seeking improved performance turn to Marquam Group where a disciplined approach to strategic services delivers lasting value.

Consulting Services
- Business Technology Consulting. Our consulting staff goes beyond replacing or changing a software application. Marquam Group works with our clients' business and technology executives to craft an Information Strategy Plan that aligns technology initiatives with business goals.
- Global Delivery Consulting.  Successful companies know how to invest in their core competencies while maximizing the efficiency of less strategic processes. Marquam Group guides clients through the process of balancing the risks and rewards of utilizing a global delivery model.
- Application Development & Systems Integration.  From portal implementations to custom Java or .Net applications, Marquam Group provides comprehensive development and integration services to ensure that your solution fits your environment and business requirements.

Strategic Resources
- Staffing Services.  Marquam Group provides highly qualified people for your technology projects.  We deploy our consultants in project teams or as individuals, on-site or off-site, depending upon your requirements.
- Recruiting Services.  When you need to build your workforce quickly but don't have the internal resources to accomplish the task, Marquam Group provides the necessary HR expertise and processes.
- Placement Services.  When you need to fill a permanent position, let Marquam Group's Skills Vault TM candidate database, our screening
procedures and our commitment to your hiring objectives result in the right hire the first time.

Our new home:
308 NW 11th Avenue
Suite 200
Portland, OR 97209
www.marquamgroup.com
503-276-1590 (consulting services)
503-546-2082 (strategic resources)

11/03/2003

My latest article in e-Pro is now online!

Category Software Development

Domino and XP (No, not THAT XP!) is a look at Extreme Programming and how you can begin to use those concepts in the Domino development world.

Check it out at
e-Pro magazine...

And if you're looking for Kent Beck's book Extreme Programming Explained, just follow the link...

11/03/2003

The difference between notes.exe and nlnotes.exe...

Category Software Development

I thought I knew the answer to this, but I was always a little fuzzy on it...  From the KnowledgeBase...

What Is the Difference Between Notes.exe and Nlnotes.exe?

Document Number:  1092749

Problem
What is the difference in function between the two executable files, Notes.exe and Nlnotes.exe?  Both of these files are located in the Notes program directory.

Content
Notes.exe does the following three main things, then calls Nlnotes.exe:

-   it displays the splash screen
-   checks to see if Notes is already running (and aborts if so)
-   loads Qnc.exe if you have it configured to do so.

So, if you load Nlnotes.exe or create a shortcut directly to Nlnotes.exe you don't have to wait for the splash screen.  You can run multiple versions of Notes simultaneously, and avoid loading the debugger.

11/02/2003

Book Review - JSTL In Action

Category Book Reviews

OK...  I think this is the last book review of the weekend...  I'm nearly caught up!  :-)

This review was for Manning Publications and the book JSTL In Action by Shawn Bayern.  If you're unfamiliar with the acroynm, it stands for JSP Standard Tag Library.  JSTL is a technology that encapsulates common JSP functionality in a set of standard tags so that developers can reuse proven code instead of reinventing the wheel each time they code a JSP page.  This is a well-written book on the subject, and that's a good thing as there are few books that cover this subject in depth.  If you are using JSP technology in your application, you should check out JSTL and this book.

The entire review can be read at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.

11/02/2003

Book Review - Java Web Services In A Nutshell

Category Book Reviews

I recently found that I still had an O'Reilly book sent to me that required a review.  So, here's the review for Java Web Services In A Nutshell by Kim Topley.  If you're past the "what is a web services" stage, then you might want to take a look at this book.  It's not an introductory text, so don't get it thinking it will serve as your tutorial on the subject.  You can read the whole review here at the Portland Domino/Notes User Group site.

11/02/2003

Book Review - Core Servlets And JavaServer Pages - Volume 1: Core Technologies

Category Book Reviews

I completed the review of Core Servlets And JavaServer Pages - Volume 1: Core Technologies by Marty Hall and Larry Brown (Prentice Hall) for our user group.  Since portlet development is based on servlet technologies, this is a very good book to learn the underlying concepts before you start coding your own portlets.  You can read the whole review on our Portland Domino/Notes User Group website.

11/01/2003

Book Review - Upgrading And Repairing PCs

Category Book Reviews

I just completed a review of the book Upgrading And Repairing PCs by Scott Mueller for Que Publishing.  So what's a software guy doing reviewing a book on hardware?  Let's just say I'm tired of having my 15 year old leave me in the dust when it comes to fixing the household PC.  :-)

The 15th edition of this classic title is one that you really should have if you ever have to repair/replace/upgrade some part of your PC.  You can read my full review on the Portland Domino/Notes User Group website.

11/01/2003

Book Review - Struts In Action

Category Book Reviews

I wrote a review for our Portland Domino/Notes User Group on the book Struts In Action by Ted Husted (and others).  This is a book by Manning Publications that covers the use of the Struts framework for developing Java web applications.  Pretty good book, and I'm working my way through it.  I would recommend it if you're looking for a book to cover that subject.  You can read my full review out at the user group site.

11/01/2003

Book Review - Ready For Anything

Category Book Reviews

A couple days ago, I finished the short book Ready For Anything by David Allen.  This is a companion volume to his book Getting Things Done which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.  It's a series of 52 short chapters that touch on ideas and mindsets that will allow you to organize your life and mind, thereby freeing it for greater levels of productivity.  

While you can get some good ideas from this book on a standalone basis, I would recommend you read it after  reading Getting Things Done.  The system will make more sense at that point, and you'll get a lot more out of it.

Good stuff in here...

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Thanks!

Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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