About Duffbert...

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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Co-author of the book IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide
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12/31/2003

Team-TSG store... what a hoot!

Category Everything Else

OK...  Joe and I will be the first to admit that we're having way too much fun with the Team-TSG concept.  Having branded logo items for sale at CafePress was also a lot of fun.  What's even *more* fun is reading the descriptions of the items you can buy as written by "Little Joe"...
And guys...  Valentine's Day is less than two months away, so get your special lady a special gift...  the one, the only...


Team-TSG Classic Thong

Remember...  We didn't do any markup prices on these items, as we didn't think anyone in the world would be brain-addled enough to actually *buy* something with our faces on it.  But we were wrong, and you never know when the greed factor will kick in...  So buy now before we come to our senses!
A picture named M2


12/31/2003

Book Review - Dojo Wisdom by Jennifer Lawler

Category Book Reviews

OK...  my last book review for 2003...  ;-)

Dojo Wisdom by Jennifer Lawler is an interesting book written by a martial arts instructor who has applied her Tae Kwon Do teachings to all areas of her life.  There are 100 "lessons" in the book (each 1 to 3 pages long), followed by a paragraph of how you can put those lessons to work in your life.  By doing so, you will practice the way of the warrior in all you do.  For instance, there were a couple of items that spoke to me.  Lesson 3 was Revel In Your Awkwardness As Much As In Your Mastery.  In other words, learn to enjoy the learning phase of a new skill.  Everyone goes through it, so just enjoy that thrill of learning new skills.  As a consultant, you go through that phase with all new clients as you learn their processes.  The other lesson was #90 - Frequent Encounters With Fear Make You Strong.  Not too long ago, I would have tried to avoid certain activities that I wasn't comfortable with.  I feared them.  Now, I understand that I need to face those fears in order to grow past them.  

A good book, and I recommend it...

12/31/2003

My year in review...

Category Everything Else

Quite a few bloggers took the opportunity this year to do a recap when they hit their one year blogging anniversary.  But since I don't hit mine until February 4th, I decided that December 31st will be it.  So, here we go...

After a year's absence, I made it back to Lotusphere in January.  I thought that this was going to be the year of the portal for me, but it didn't quite work out that way.  I did learn some in that area, but it ended up being the year of networking.  I made a ton of contacts at Lotusphere that led to a number of other cool things throughout the year.

My freelance writing "career" started taking off.  I got a couple of articles published on e-Pro's website, I started an article series on Java with Joe Litton in Lotus Advisor magazine, and a couple of articles on blogging made it into DominoPower.  What's nice is that I'm getting the writing bug, and I want to continue to push myself in this area.  I have more articles in store for Lotus Advisor in our series, as well as a couple of articles due for print in e-Pro in the upcoming year.  While I hope to pick up a few more assignments for those magazines, I'm also going to be writing some query letters to other publications outside our niche to see if I can break into other areas.  

Duffbert's Random Musings (the blog you are now reading) came to life in February after Lotusphere.  It started as a Blogspot template, but then I got off my "duff" and transferred over to a Domino template hosted by Connectria (Chris Miller's company).  Much of what's happened in the way of personal networking can be directly attributed to this blog, and it has far surpassed my expectations.  I thank you all for tolerating my random ramblings.

My *real* work life stabilized nicely when I became a full-time staff person with Marquam Group (formerly known as Boom Vang Consulting) in May.  It was perfect timing, as my long-term contract with a client came to an end just about that time.  It's nice to not have to worry about whether there will be enough work to get a decent paycheck each week.  Conversely, now I worry about billing hours so as to keep the company profitable...  :-)  I also appreciate the support that MG has given me in my writing efforts.

And speaking of "efforts"...  Joe Litton and I, on the advice of others, submitted an abstract to speak at Lotusphere 2004 on Java for the Domino Developer.  It was accepted, and we're now "industry speakers"!  This is one of those professional goals I set for myself, and it could open up a variety of other opportunities for speaking.  As Rocky once said...  If you get good at this, you can travel the world, experience other cultures, meet other people, and bore them!

Most of what happened this year would not have been possible had I not finally took steps to deal with my chronic low-level depression known as dysthymia.  I just thought it was normal to feel that way, but I finally got to the point where I couldn't take it any longer without the possibility of going crazy.  I saw my doctor, explained the problem, got an actual diagnosis (much to my surprise...  I had never heard of dysthymia before), and started on some medication.  If you've been reading my blog since May or so, you'll remember the sharing I've done along the way.  Bottom line is...  I'm enjoying life again, I am looking forward to new challenges without fearing them, and I've accomplished much more this last year than I thought possible.  

Books, books, books....  Many of you will find this hard to believe, but I've read fewer books this year than any year since 1999.  I "only" read 145 books this year due to not being so stressed like in prior years.  For comparison, last year I read 180.  And yes, I do keep a database of the books I read.  I've also done a lot of reviews for tech publishers as part of their user group programs.  It's nice in that it gives me the chance to write, and I get a chance to build up my tech library at no cost.  

Those are the high points of the year for my techie life.  All in all, I'm able to say that it was a great year professionally.  And with Lotusphere 2004 less than a month away, I can also envision another great year in 2004!

12/31/2003

Trying my hand at being psychic... IT Predictions For 2004

Category Everything Else

Since most tech publications try to predict trends for the upcoming year, I thought I'd take a shot at it myself.  So, without further ado, here are Duffbert's IT predictions for 2004...
  • Microsoft software will continue to be hit by security holes.  OK, that should prevent an 0-for-? score this time next year...  :-)
  • The Linux desktop will score some significant wins over Windows in corporate America.  Yes, I know that IBM has hinted that they are going that route already, and I won't count progress on that front as a "win" for my prediction.  But I do think that there will be at least 3 major corporate defections from Windows and Office to Linux and open source in 2004.  2004 will be the "year of the Linux desktop".
  • Microsoft will face a major class-action or liability suit for defective software, most likely related to security.  Somewhere in 2004, there will be a Slammer-type worm or bug that will wreak havoc worldwide, and it will be the catalyst for a slew of lawsuits against Microsoft.  I know I mentioned this before, but I think that the next major virus hit will be too tempting a target for lawyers.  And it's not like Microsoft hasn't acknowledged that they need to improve their security...
  • Microsoft will somehow "embrace-and-extend" Linux in some form.  This is how I see it...  Longhorn won't see the light of day until 2006 at least, and Linux is making major inroads on ground formerly held exclusively by Microsoft (the OS and Office).  I don't think Microsoft can hold out another year (much less three) without doing something to help keep Linux devotees from completely and permanently abandoning the Microsoft platform.  I expect to see some sort of offering by Microsoft to attempt to hold all the Linux penguinheads attention until they can get Longhorn out the door.
  • The offshore outsourcing pendulum will start to swing back a little.  It seems like 2003 has been the year of the offshore programming migration.  Everyone wants cheaper programmers.  But I think that 2004 will start to see some flaws in the rosy picture that has been painted for offshore agreements.  Culture, language, quality of software, etc.  I also think that the government will start to intervene on behalf of the software industry, either under the guide of homeland security or election year 2004.
  • Grid computing will get a breakthough application in 2004.  The concept of being able to utilize unused CPU cycles on multiple machines is rather interesting, and it makes a lot of sense.  There have been a few applications I'm aware of, like disease research and searches for prime numbers.  I'm thinking that some sort of peer-to-peer application with grid computing built in will be the next wave to hit in this area...

OK...  I've gone on record with my psychic/psycho predictions...  and you?

12/31/2003

Book Review - Sphinx by Robin Cook

Category Book Reviews

While waiting at the ice arena last night for Ian to finish his shift (it was snowing and I didn't want him driving), I finished Sphinx by Robin Cook.  This is one of his older books (1979) and is the first one of his I've read that wasn't a medical thriller.  I got the recommendation from  Ben Poole, and it was a good one.  The story involves an Egyptologist named Erica Barton who travels to Egypt to do some translation work and to satisfy a dream to go there.  She quickly gets emeshed in two murders and the trafficing of antiquities, as well as some personal issues involving her boyfriend and some mysterious people who are not quite what they seem to be.

The story moves quickly and keeps your attention.  Considering I'm not really into archeology, I enjoyed this novel more than I though I would.

12/31/2003

Bloggers... The New Face Of Journalism...

Category Blogging

From NewsScan Daily...  

----------------------------


The TV networks and major newspapers now face spirited competition from blogs (i.e., Web logs) offered by independent political commentators. Here are a few blogs you might want to become familiar with: Instapundit.com; AndrewSullivan.com; TalkingPointsMemo.com; DrudgeReport.com; DailyKos.com; RealClearPolitics.com; and Kausfiles.com. Washington lobbyist Ellen Miller says that blogging "takes the media out of the hands of the corporate world and puts it into the hands of guys with computers"; Glenn Reynolds, a law professor and blogger (Instapundit.com) says the blogosphere has become an "idea farm" for the established media; Andrew Sullivan (AndrewSullivan.com) says blogging is "like having a giant communal brain"; and Tom Bevan (RealClearPolitics.com) says that blogging means that "if you have something to say that's interesting, you will eventually be heard." (USA Today 30 Dec 2003)
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2003-12-30-blogging-usa...

12/29/2003

Do you want to have the hottest fashionwear at Lotusphere this year?

Category Everything Else


Do you want to embrace your inner runt?  We're here for you...


http://www.cafeshops.com/teamtsg

Man, we're having fun with this...  :-)

12/29/2003

My latest article in DominoPower... The World Of Domino Blogging

Category Blogging

The second article I wrote about blogging is now in DominoPower.  It's titled The World Of Domino Blogging.

12/29/2003

OK... It's not Penumbra, but it works for us...

Category Everything Else

Since Joe Litton and I are not Lotus Business Partners and thus are not part of Penumbra, we figured we had to form our own coalition in order to find strength in (little) numbers...  Thus, Joe and I are proud to announce....

Team-TSG

12/28/2003

Book Review - You Can Write For Magazines

Category Book Reviews

I finished a short book titled You Can Write For Magazines by Greg Daugherty.  It is 124 pages of practical advice on how to turn your writing efforts into salable material for magazines.  The book covers how to create ideas, how to write effective query letters to editors to sell those ideas, how manuscripts should be formatted, and so much more.  When you get done with this book, you'll have an idea of what you need to do in order to start your career as a part-time freelance writer.  If you've been writing already for publications or if you've read other books on this subject, you might not find an abundance of new material here.  But the information you will find is concise and readable, so it's worth reviewing it again...

12/28/2003

Christmas Toy #2 - Proxim ORiNOCO 11a/b/g ComboCard

Category Everything Else

As a Christmas present to myself, I picked up a Proxim ORiNOCO 11a/b/g ComboCard for wireless communication on my laptop.  This was the same one that Rocky recommended a few weeks ago.  Since Lotusphere is coming up, I knew I wanted to have a decent card so that I would not be stuck using the general computers available to the lucky few who get there first.  I must say it's a very nice card.  The client utility is very straight-forward and easy to work with, and the page for scanning networks is a joy to use.  If you're looking for a card that will handle just about any wireless network out there, this is a nice choice.

12/28/2003

Christmas Toy #1 - SanDisk 256 MB USB 2.0 Flash Memory Drive

Category Everything Else

My son received a SanDisk 256 MB Flash Memory Drive for Christmas from a relative.  Since this is one of those toys I've been thinking about getting, my envy started working overtime.  I was able to work out an acceptable price deal with him, and it's now mine!  This is a very nice little unit.  I plugged it into my W2K laptop and it automatically configured itself with no problems.  I can drag and drop files back and forth from it.  This will be a great unit to have as a software consultant as I work between home and the office and clients.  I think I'm quickly going to wonder how I lived without one of these...

12/27/2003

Book Review - Digital Video Pocket Guide

Category Book Reviews

So...  You got a new digital video camera for Christmas, and you want to be the next Spielberg?  Unless you've had experience in how to shoot good video, you'll end up with a lot of home movies in digital format that don't look any better than anyone else's home movies.  To remedy that, get a copy of Digital Video Pocket Guide by Derrick Story (O'Reilly).  In 113 pages, you'll learn the essentials of how your camera works, basic editing and shooting techniques, and tips on how to improve your video quality.  While this shouldn't be the only video guide you get, it will be more than enough to get you started on the way to making movies that people will enjoy watching.

12/26/2003

Book Review - Handbook For Freelance Writing

Category Book Reviews

I finished up Handbook For Freelance Writing by Michael Perry over the last couple of days.  If you're looking to start writing as a freelancer (magazine articles, stories, etc.), this is a good book to read.  He writes in a very practical and amusing style, and you'll get quite a few tips on how to start structuring your efforts in this field.  You'll learn the different types of freelance writing, what to expect during the process of seeking out assignments, how to make yourself easily acceptable to editors, and much more.  If you've been doing freelancing for awhile, you may already know most of this.  If you're just starting out like I am, then you'll benefit quite a bit from this read.

12/26/2003

Book Review - Capital Crimes

Category Book Reviews

I'm back from our Christmas trip to visit the relatives, so it's time to get caught up on a book review.  Yesterday I started (and finished) Capital Crimes by Stuart Woods.  Woods brings back one of his earlier characters (Will Lee) in this political crime mystery.  I must say I like the Stone Barrington novels better...  A serial killer is starting to pick off a number of right-wing government officials and media celebrities.  A web site is discovered that shows who is on the list to be killed, and the FBI has to figure it out quickly before he strikes again.  Perhaps it's because I haven't read the prior Will Lee novels in awhile, but this book lacked any depth or substance.  The story is OK, but the characters are just "there".  Not much development if they were meant to stand on their own in this book.  If there's no other recreational reading to be had, I'd say go for it, but if you have other titles you want to start first, this one can wait.

12/23/2003

Book Review - Babylon Rising

Category Book Reviews

I finished the book Babylon Rising by Tim LaHaye and Greg Dinallo last night.  This is the beginning of a new series for LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series.  In this novel, a biblical archeologist is sent on a hunt for for an ancient artifact known as the Brazen Serpent.  The bronze snake is thought to be the staff used by Moses to heal the Israelites.  But as he's searching for the three parts based on cunniform clues, he's also being pursued by a group who wants to own the relic for their own dark purposes.

A pretty good read if you like LaHaye's writings, and it could shape up to be a decent series.

12/23/2003

How to Fix Old Documents That Have "Store Form in Document" Selected

Category Software Development

This issue will definitely come up at a client I'm doing work for...  I'll stick it out here in my blog to make sure I have it when I need it.  From the KnowledgeBase...

How to Fix Old Documents That Have "Store Form in Document" Selected

Document Number:  1084841

Problem
Changes to a form do not affect previously composed documents if the form uses Store form in document.  That is, older documents in the database do not reflect the new Form changes.  How can you update the documents to reflect changes made to the form?

Content
To update existing documents that were created with the Store Form in Document form option with a new form design, follow the steps below.   Note:  These steps are also effective for forms which contain subforms.

1.        Create an agent with the following settings:
-        When should this agent run:   Manually from the Action Menu
-        Which document(s) should it run on?:   All documents in the database
-        Formula:
SELECT $TITLE="Form Name";
FIELD $TITLE:=@DeleteField;
FIELD $INFO:=@DeleteField;
FIELD $WINDOWTITLE:=@DeleteField;
FIELD $BODY:=@DeleteField;
FIELD FORM:="Form Name";

Note:        If the form has an alias then the alias name should be specified rather than the form name.

2.        Refresh the affected documents.
Notes 5.x & 4.x does not have a menu option to execute Tools, Refresh Fields.  You must create a SmartIcon that executes the @Command for either "ToolsRefreshAllDocs" or "ToolsRefreshSelectedDocs".   (The "ToolsRefreshSelectedDocs" command is preferred when you need to update only certain documents, but you need a method to select those documents (such as a view with a selection formula).)

        Steps to create a SmartIcon that executes the "ToolsRefresh" command:

a.        From the menu, select File, Tools, SmartIcons.
b.        Select "Edit Icon."
c.        Scroll to the end of the icon list.
d.        Select an icon labeled "Macro Button."
e.        Edit the description field to read "ToolsRefreshSelectedDocs" or "ToolsRefreshAllDocs".
f.        Select Formula.
g.        Select "Add @Command."
h.        Select either "ToolsRefreshSelectedDocs" or "ToolsRefreshAllDocs."
i.        Select Paste.
j.        Select OK.
k.        Select Done.

12/23/2003

Why Is the Last Line in the NOTES.INI Not Taking Effect?

Category Software Development

Here's a KnowledgeBase item that points out a "gotcha" that I wasn't aware of...

Why Is the Last Line in the NOTES.INI Not Taking Effect?

Document Number:  1090821

Problem
When adding parameters to the NOTES.INI file on the Notes client or Domino server, you notice that the last line is not taking effect.  Why is this?

Some examples:

  • The following debug parameters are added as the last lines of the NOTES.INI on the server:

debug_threadid=1
debug_outfile=path\debug.txt

Without a hard carriage return after the last line, the DEBUG.TXT file will never be created and as a result information will not be written to this file.
  • The following parameter is added as the last line of the NOTES.INI on the workstation:

DSTLaw=

Without a hard carriage return after the last line, mail that is created and sent on the client is stamped as 1 hour early when in Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Content
Any parameter that is added as the last line in the NOTES.INI file requires that there be a hard carriage return (the ENTER key) after the last line to ensure that it will take effect.  Without a hard carriage return, the last line will not be recognized.

12/22/2003

No Matter How Busy You Are...

Category Everything Else

No Matter How Busy You Are...
by Jim Rohn

No matter how busy you are, make sure and find some time over the next two weeks to reflect, think, give and plan.

The week between Christmas and New Year's is the ideal time for this. Try and slow things down. Spend time with the ones you love and care about. Take some time to talk with your spouse and kids about goals and dreams for the year 2004. Use this as a time to recharge your batteries (and not just by watching TV the entire time) and with excitement think about a handful of changes or additions you want for your life in 2004.

I believe you will find the act of reflecting, thinking, dreaming and planning (with your family) to be one of the most important exercises you can do that will positively impact the next 12 months.

And remember, do not neglect to commit yourself to set this time aside or you will find that the business of life can and will get in the way.

So let's all take a moment to gather up the past year of victories and defeats, growing as well as those times of stagnation and use it to wipe a clean slate and thoughtfully design the next year the way we truly desire it to be.

And on that note, have a wonderful and blessed holiday season!

12/22/2003

Week 4 of South Beach diet in the books, and...

Category Everything Else

... I'm down 11 pounds.  I've started adding back in some of the foods that were not allowed in the strict Phase 1 portion of the plan, and it definitely slows down the weight loss.  With the exception of a couple minor splurges on holiday goodies (hey, it IS the holidays!), I've stayed pretty true to the plan.  I probably need to cut down portion sizes a bit, as I think that's what is slowing me down right now.  

So, while I would like to be a little further down at this stage, I'm still on track for my goal of losing 20 by Lotusphere.  This week will be tough as we'll be with family during Christmas and the eating/food availability will be a bit more out of my strict control.  We'll see how it goes...

12/21/2003

What is wrong with these pictures?

Category Everything Else


Picture #1...  my office desk in the basement, $2K laptop, blah, blah, blah...


A picture named M2

Picture #2...  10 feet away, Cam's (my son) $40 computer with his sound system attached...


A picture named M3

And you ask why why I outsourced my hardware needs to him???

12/21/2003

Book Review - Living With Prozac

Category Book Reviews

Continuing along the same general reading theme this week, I finished Living With Prozac by Debra Effenbein.  This is a compilation of personal accounts of people who took Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.  Each personal account is one to three pages long, and covers a very wide cross-section of situations and conditions.  The author is very up-front about this not being a scientific study, and she also recognizes that these are most likely examples from the extreme ends of the experience scale.  Still, a reader of this book will start to see some trends..

Most of the stories had individuals coming from severely depressed conditions and hitting rock bottom before going on Prozac.  Quite a stretch from dysthymia and where I started from.  For many of these people, the effects mirrored my own...  It took a few weeks for the effects to kick in, but one day you wake up and think...  I'm different.  I am finding pleasure in life again.  I'm not living at the extremes anymore.  I may still be sad at times, but it's "normal" sad.  On the other side, there were a number of situations in the book where people started with Prozac and went from bad to worse.  The drug exaggerated their existing conditions, and they had to discontinue it before they lost it completely.  

You'll also read about the wide range of side effects that may or may not affect a user.  Some people had nausea, some didn't.  Some people had problems sleeping, some didn't.  Some had more vivid dreams (I've noticed this one), some didn't.  Some had a marked decrease in their libido (especially women), some didn't.  Some lost weight, some gained weight.  About the only effect that I have (and that was mentioned by one other person) was a slight ringing in my ears.  This whole area of side effects reminds me of one of the statements in the book...  "Prozac can make you healthy generally, and make you sick locally."  While the overall effect of the drug can be a lifesaver, there are areas in which you'll be worse off than before (sleep, nausea, sex, etc.)  It then becomes up to you to decide whether the "local" should take precedence over the "general".  Treating conditions such as depression with pharmaceuticals can be as much an art as a science.

The book was published in 1995, so it's been awhile.  But the drug is still the same one, and the dosages are still the same.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the real-life experiences with SSRI drugs.

12/20/2003

Fix for the RSS validation problem with the latest release of the BlogSphere template...

Category Blogging

Ever since I upgraded to the latest version of BlogSphere, my RSS feed quit working in the Awasu reader.  Also, I couldn't pass the RSS validation due to an invalid LatBuildDate value and invalid entries in the Description tag.  In order to fix that, you need to make the following changes to the RSS/Stories view.  Basically, I fixed the date formatting to use 24 hour times and added a CDATA tag within the Description tag.  I'll pass this along to Declan for inclusion in the next release...

Column 2 of the view - the formula should read:

REM {START - W3C UTC Time Conversion - Mike Golding - May 2003};
vDate := Storydate;
vWeekDay := @Select(@Weekday(vDate);"Sun";"Mon";"Tue";"Wed";"Thu";"Fri";"Sat");
vDay := @Text(@Day(vDate));
vMonth := @Select(@Month(vDate);"Jan";"Feb";"Mar";"Apr";"May";"Jun";"Jul";"Aug";"Sep";"Oct";"Nov";"Dec");
vYear := @Text(@Year(vDate));
REM {vTime := @Text(vDate;"S1T0");};
vHour := @Right("0" + @Text(@Hour(vDate));2);
vMinute := @Right("0" + @Text(@Minute(vDate));2);
vSecond := @Right("0" + @Text(@Second(vDate));2);
vTime := VHour + ":" + VMinute + ":" + VSecond;

vZone := @Zone;
vZoneDST := @If(@Abs(vZone-@Integer(vZone)) > 0 ; 1 ; 0);
vZoneOffset := @Integer(vZone) - vZoneDST;
vSign := @If(vZoneOffset > 0; "-"; "+");
vZoneFull := @Right("0" + @Text(@Abs(vZoneOffset));2) + @Right("0" + @Text(@If(vZoneOffset > 99 ; @Integer(@Abs(vZoneOffset)/100);0));2);

vWeekDay + ", " + vDay + " " + vMonth + " " + vYear + " " + vTime + " " + vSign + vZoneFull


Column 3 of the view - the formula should read:

REM {START - W3C UTC Time Conversion - Mike Golding - May 2003};
vDate := Storydate;
vWeekDay := @Select(@Weekday(vDate);"Sun";"Mon";"Tue";"Wed";"Thu";"Fri";"Sat");
vDay := @Text(@Day(vDate));
vMonth := @Select(@Month(vDate);"Jan";"Feb";"Mar";"Apr";"May";"Jun";"Jul";"Aug";"Sep";"Oct";"Nov";"Dec");
vYear := @Text(@Year(vDate));
REM {vTime := @Text(vDate;"S1T0");};
vHour := @Right("0" + @Text(@Hour(vDate));2);
vMinute := @Right("0" + @Text(@Minute(vDate));2);
vSecond := @Right("0" + @Text(@Second(vDate));2);
vTime := VHour + ":" + VMinute + ":" + VSecond;

vZone := @Zone;
vZoneDST := @If(@Abs(vZone-@Integer(vZone)) > 0 ; 1 ; 0);
vZoneOffset := @Integer(vZone) - vZoneDST;
vSign := @If(vZoneOffset > 0; "-"; "+");
vZoneFull := @Right("0" + @Text(@Abs(vZoneOffset));2) + @Right("0" + @Text(@If(vZoneOffset > 99 ; @Integer(@Abs(vZoneOffset)/100);0));2);
REM {END - W3C UTC Time Conversion - Mike Golding - May 2003};


"<item>" +
"<title>" + StoryTitle + "</title>"+
"<link>" + FullURL + "</link>"+
"<description>" + "<![CDATA[ " + TXTRSSABSTRACT + "]]>" + "</description>"+
"<dc:subject>" + StoryCategory + "</dc:subject>"+
"<dc:creator>" + StoryAuthor + "</dc:creator>"+
"<comments>" + FullURL  + "</comments>"+
"<guid isPermaLink=\"true\">" + FullURL  + "</guid>"+
"<content:encoded><![CDATA[ " + FinalStoryText+ "]]></content:encoded>"+
"<pubDate>" + vWeekDay + ", " + vDay + " " + vMonth + " " + vYear + " " + vTime + " " + vSign + vZoneFull +"</pubDate>" +
"<slash:comments>"+@Text(Children)+"</slash:comments>" +
"<wfw:commentRss> " + ShortURL + "/CommentsRSS?Open&amp;id="+ txtdocid + "</wfw:commentRss>"+
"<wfw:comment> " + ShortURL + "/PostComment?RunAgent&amp;id="+ txtdocid + "</wfw:comment>"+
"</item>"

12/19/2003

A time and a place for our Lotusphere session...

Category IBM/Lotus

Today we got the tentative room schedule for the Lotusphere sessions, and I think Joe and I did OK on scheduling.  As of right now, we'll be in Swan 7 - 10 (apparently seats about 600...  Whoo-hoo!) at 4:30 pm on Wednesday.  We're not up against any other bloggers except for Rob Novak, and his is a repeat session.  It also doesn't look as if we're up against any of the core AD sessions either, so we shouldn't get lost in the shuffle.  

And on the good news/bad news side, we follow Rocky's Extreme LotusScript session in the same room.  On the "bad news" side, it's going to be a challenge following Rocky's act.  On the "good news" side, you may just be tired enough by Wednesday afternoon to decide to stay put for our session after Rocky's.  I figure it's like network TV...  You take a new show that you want to succeed, and you stick it after a proven hit.  You hope people will be too interested to change the channel...  :-)

12/19/2003

Book Review - Prozac Diary

Category Book Reviews

Last night, I finished the book Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater.  Since I started taking fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac) a few months ago for dysthymia, I figured it would be interesting to read of some experiences of others who have used the drug.  

Slater was one of the first to start using Prozac in 1988 and talks about her 10 year "relationship" with the drug.  She had some serious mental disturbances, and taking Prozac was yet another attempt to deal with them.  She chronicles the changes in her personality, the highs and lows of those changes, and how she dealt with the effect called "Prozac poop-out" when the drug ceases to work after an extended period of time.  On the positive side, she went on to become an accomplished psychologist after being a drifter for the first part of her life.  On the down side, she still struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCP) and feels that in some ways the Prozac has suppressed a number of internal parts of her personality.

For me, I couldn't relate to much of what the author wrote.  For one, there's a vast difference between low-level depression (dysthymia) and OCP/self-mutilation.  I could go back to my "old" self and function ok.  I just don't want to...  :-)  She can't.  Also, her style of writing is very "artistic" for lack of a better term.  Readers who are in touch with emotional writing will relate, but those looking for a clinical examination and discussion won't find it here.  If you look deep enough, you can see some themes that might make sense (Prozac as a personality/intellectual "steroid"), but for me the writing gets in the way of that.

If you struggle with Prozac, this might be a good read for you in order to get a different viewpoint.  Just don't judge all Prozac users by this book.

12/18/2003

The "Allow More Fields in Database" Help Entry Is Changed in Notes 6 and Notes 6.5

Category Software Development

From the KnowledgeBase...

The "Allow More Fields in Database" Help Entry Is Changed in Notes 6 and Notes 6.5

Document Number:  1141080

Problem
The "Allow More Fields in Database" option on the Advanced tab of the Database Properties allows you to add additional unique field names to the UNK (UNique Key) table.  The Help entry for this option in Notes 5.x indicates this will allow 64k names, but the Help entry in Notes 6.0 and 6.5 reflects 23k names.  Has the number of names actually decreased?

Content
The "Allow More Fields in Database" option was incorrectly documented in Notes 5.x, and the documentation was corrected in Notes 6.0 and 6.5.  When using this option the UNK (UNique Key) table has a limit of approximately 23,000 fields per database.

From the Notes 6.5 Help database:

Allow more fields in database
This option allows a database to contain up to 23,000 fields. For a database without this option selected, all field names when concatenated cannot exceed 64 kilobytes, which results in a database limit of approximately 3,000 fields.

12/18/2003

I got my Proxim wireless card on eBay last night...

Category Everything Else

With Lotusphere coming up, I know I need to be prepared to run wireless on my laptop.  I used (with good results) an Intel wireless card last year, but it has somehow become lost in the chaos that is known as "my office".  I've checked all my laptop bags, Lotusphere bags, etc., yet to no avail.  Since I got it for free from Intel as a "user demo model", I'm not crushed...  just irritated.

Anyway...

Based on Rocky's recommendation, I decided to get the Proxim combo card that he blogged about.  Since there's some time before Lotusphere, I decided to go the bidding route on eBay instead of using the Buy It Now feature.  I found an auction about five days out starting at $1, and I bid a max of $65.  With about two hours left, the bid was at $51, and I thought I was going to get a real steal.  But as often happens, someone tried to snipe the bid in the last minute.  I was parked on the auction page with a minute remaining, and watched my price go from $51 to $55 to $60 to $65 as someone tried to do a last minute steal.  Since I was the first person at $65, he ran out of time before he could get another bid in....  LOSER!  :-)

So, for $65 plus $7.99 shipping and handling, I now am back to having wireless capabilities.  I can't wait to see the card early next week and try it out.

12/17/2003

How are Lotus Products Affected by the Discontinuation of Microsoft JVM?

Category IBM/Lotus

I had someone ping me the other day asking if I knew how the discontinuation of the MS JVM would affect Sametime.  I had this KnowledgeBase item sitting in my "To Blog" folder, and was able to answer him immediately.  I figured that was a good sign that I needed to blog this...

How are Lotus Products Affected by the Discontinuation of Microsoft JVM?

Document Number:  1110357

Problem
As part of Microsoft's settlement agreement with Sun, Microsoft has announced that it will no longer be authorized by Sun to have the ability to support the Microsoft virtual machine (VM) after January 2, 2004.  The following link provides additional information:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/evaluation/news/jre.asp

Effective immediately Microsoft no longer ships the Microsoft VM with its operating systems and new service packs will not include the Microsoft VM.  Some of their latest Service Packs may actually uninstall the Microsoft VM.

Note:  At this time, the following FAQ on the Microsoft web site indicates that Windows XP no longer removes the VM:

http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/java/faq.asp

Microsoft will not distribute new versions of the Microsoft VM for download.  Microsoft will continue to provide security fixes to shipped versions of the Microsoft VM until January 2, 2004.      

Details on which Microsoft operating systems and service packs contain the Microsoft VM:

Windows OS versions prior to Windows XP shipped with the Microsoft VM.

  • The Windows XP Service Pack 1 includes the Microsoft VM.
  • Windows XP Service Pack 1a does not have the Microsoft VM.  Note: Installing the XP SP1a may uninstall the Microsoft VM

For further details visit this posting on the Microsoft website: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/evaluation/news/jre.asp.

How does the discontinuation of the Microsoft VM affect IBM Lotus Products?

Content
As the Microsoft VM will not be supported by Microsoft past January 2, 2004, Lotus Software is taking steps to offer additional/alternative JVM compatibility in our products.

Microsoft has publicly indicated that customers who are currently using the Microsoft VM can continue to do so, and, as noted, that it will continue to provide security fixes to shipped versions of the Microsoft VM until January 02, 2004.  Warning: The operating system XP w/SP1 does include the Microsoft VM but if the Service Pack 1a (SP1a) is installed the Microsoft VM will be removed.

Details on how this affects IBM Lotus products follows.

12/17/2003

Book Review - The Footprints Of God

Category Book Reviews

With all my Lotusphere prep and such, my reading has slowed down dramatically this month.  But I did just finish a novel last night called The Footprints Of God by Greg Iles.  This is a sci-fi philosophical "thriller" (for lack of a better word) that was a great read.  A scientist is working on a top secret project called Trinity.  Part of the project involved an intense MRI brain scan, and now a number of the scientists who underwent the scans have neurological problems.  The book opens with him in a paranoid state looking out for people who want to kill him.  The first half of the story revolves around trying to stay alive, along with his psychologist who is falling in love with him despite his hallucinations.  The actual Trinity project doesn't really come into play until the second half.  I won't go much further, but you then get into some deep stuff about God, creation, artificial life, and many other areas.  A very good story, and it will appeal to sci-fi readers who like "near-future" or cyber type novels.

12/16/2003

Nasty little IE bug you need to be aware of...

Category Microsoft


There is a current bug in IE that will allow someone to send you a link that, when clicked, appears in your browser URL bar as one site but brings up a different one.  Read the article here...  http://www.eweek.com/print_article/0,3048,a=114456,00.asp


Since this is such a nasty bug with severe implications for phishers, I have clipped the relevant portion of the text below...


In addition, there's is a particular problem in Internet Explorer which allows a malicious coder
to make it appear as if the user is viewing a different Web site than they actually are viewing. The bug involved the use of a feature of Uniform Resource Identifiers (browser addresses) that is more often abused than used legitimately used: the '@' character.

When an '@' is part of the domain in a Web address, the browser treats the string to the left of it as a user name to fill in any userid prompts, and everything on the right side as the domain name. This is perfectly legitimate syntax. Click here for the actual standard document about URIs.

Malicious coders, such as phishers, often will use this technique to obscure the actual address of the site they send you to. For example, they might send you a message that appears to be from Paypal and include a link that looks something like this:
http://www.paypal.com@64.225.264.128/accounts/validate.htm (The IP address I used is illegal for the same reason they use 555 phone numbers on TV shows.)

Notice, the numeric string to the right of the '@' mark. This link will not take you to www.paypal.com, but to 64.225.264.128. But most unsophisticated users won't notice the difference. Still, all of this monkey business is perfectly legal (if immoral) under the URI standard.

The latest bug adds a twist: If you put ASCII 00 and 01 characters (designated as %00%01 in the spec.) just prior to the '@' character, then Internet Explorer won't display the rest of the URL when the user views the page. In Javascript you must use just the %01 character and also decode the string with the unescape() function..

So what does it actually look like? Try pressing the button below. In the Status bar, the link appears to take you to the White House site, but it actually takes you to the latest column of one of our eWEEK columnists.

<removed>

The actual link was: http://www.whitehouse.gov%01%00@www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1407901,00.asp

The applications for phishing attacks are pretty self-explanatory. The viewer will think they're on www.paypal.com, or whatever, but they will actually be who-knows-where.

There are many variations of this particular scheme, and surprisingly some of them partially work on Mozilla as well.

The anchor link version of this vulnerability also results in the partial, incorrect address being displayed in the status line as the user hovers the mouse over the link. Versions of Mozilla I tested (Versions 1.0 and 1.5) also showed the partial address in the status line, although they displayed the full address in the address bar. Just for fun, I tried Netscape 4.7 as well. Despite being one of worst programs ever written, it handled this situation properly, displaying the full URL in the address and status lines.

There is also the issue of HTML e-mail. If an HTML message is sent with one of these links, could the user be misled to the wrong site?

When you click on the link in a message in Outlook 2002 it opens a browser window with the correct address, and it even strips out what was to the left of the '@.' Ironically, Outlook Express 6 takes you to the site on the left side of the '@.' So in the above example, surprise, it actually takes you to www.whitehouse.gov.

Still, if you're reasonably skeptical of what you get in the mail and take reasonable precautions, you're probably safe from both of these problems. Unfortunately, not everyone is so careful.

So expect to read on these pages soon about the poor folks who credulously clicked away and got taken. It's like watching an accident happen and you're powerless to stop it. Just be careful about where you go in that browser.

12/16/2003

DisneyWorld and barf bags!

Category Everything Else

Now *THIS* is what I call a ride!  And people wonder why I'm taking a red-eye on Friday night so that I can spend Saturday at Epcot...  :-)

Disney Adds Motion-Sickness Bags To New Ride

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Walt Disney World is starting to place motion sickness bags on its newly-opened ride that recreates the stomach-churning experience of a rocket launch.

The motion sickness bags are a first for the theme park resort, which never before has used them on a ride.

Walt Disney World spokeswoman Rena Langley estimated that less than 1 percent of all riders get sick on the $100 million ride called Mission: Space. The attraction uses a multi-arm centrifuge to simulate twice the normal force of gravity.

The motion sickness bags are being used on a trial basis and are located in various spots on the ride.

12/16/2003

The value of books...

Category Everything Else

I get needled (in good fun) frequently about the volume of reading that I do.  While I will admit that I am on the *extreme* end of the scale when it comes to number of books read per year, I strongly believe in the value of books and reading.  This following piece is from the weekly Jim Rohn newsletter, and sums up many of my attitudes towards reading quite nicely...

Books/Library/Reading by Jim Rohn

Miss a meal if you have to, but don't miss a book.

Some people claim that it is okay to read trashy novels because sometimes you can find something valuable in them. You can also find a crust of bread in a garbage can, if you search long enough, but there is a better way.

Most homes valued at over $250,000 have a library. That should tell us something.

Everything you need for your better future and success has already been written. And guess what? It's all available. All you have to do is go to the library. And there's probably a library in every neighborhood.

Some people read so little they have rickets of the mind.

I now have one of the better libraries. I admit that I haven't read everything in my library, but I feel smarter just walking in it.

Don't just read the easy stuff. You may entertained by it, but you will never grow from it.

The book you don't read won't help.

Books are easy to find and easy to buy. A paperback these days only costs six or seven dollars. You can borrow that from your kids!

It isn't what the book costs; it's what it will cost if you don't read it.

12/15/2003

Merry Christmas? I don't think so!

Category Everything Else

The area of Portland, Oregon where Marquam Group is located is currently undergoing quite a bit of construction.  I would say in a 15 - 20 square block area, there are seven or eight construction crane towers that rise many stories.  Walking to work this morning, I took a picture of the tower that is a block away from our building...

A picture named M2

I think it's great that they decorate the crane for Christmas, but what poor sap gets the duty to string lights on the outside of that beast?  You couldn't PAY me enough to do that job!

12/14/2003

IBM to offshore as many as 4730 developer jobs in 2004...

Category IBM/Lotus

News is breaking this morning that IBM company documents show a plan to move as many as 4730 development jobs offshore to places such as India and China.  Around 947 will be notified at the end of January, with no details yet on the rest.

One quote from the story really irks me...

"Some workers are scheduled to be informed of the plan for their jobs by the end of January. After that they will be expected to train an overseas replacement worker in the U.S. for several weeks. The IBM workers marked for replacement have 60 days to find another job inside the company, likely to be a difficult task at a time when IBM is holding down hiring."

It never ceases to amaze me how management thinks that something like this will work...  You expect me to be outsourced offshore, and then spend the few remaining months of my life with the company training my replacement???  Not only am I irritated that I'm losing my job, but I'm losing my job to someone from another country who's sole qualification is that they are cheaper...  sigh...  I understand the economics of this whole offshore movement, but this type of treatment ("train your replacement") is just wrong...

Here are a couple of links to stories currently out there, and I'm sure there are more to come...

http://www.forbes.com/work/newswire/2003/12/15/rtr1180635.html
http://www.quicken.com/investments/news/story/?story=NewsStory/dowJones/20031215/ON200312150014000006.var&p=IBM

12/14/2003

Latest article... So What's All This Fuss About Blogs?

Category Blogging


Bruce pointed out to me that my latest article was published this month in DominoPower.  The title is So What's All This Fuss About Blogs?  It was a fun article to write, and I hope you enjoy it.

BTW...  there are a few typos (most notiably the URL for
Steve Castledine's blog which was mixed up with Declan's).  I'm working with the editor to get those cleaned up.  Sorry!

12/12/2003

Book Review - Ground-Up Java

Category Book Reviews

I just finished a review of the book Ground-Up Java by Philip Heller (Sybex) for our user group.  This is a very well-written tutorial for beginning Java developers,and it has a unique twist.  The author has a CD with Java programs that allow you to watch code evaluate and run to illustrate coding points.  For example, he has a formula evaluator that allows you to type in a numerical formula, and then watch the animation parse and evaluate the result.  Great way to fully understand how order of evalution affects your result.

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

12/12/2003

Whoo-hoo! Lotusphere sessions are posted, and Joe and I have an official number!

Category Everything Else


Joe Litton and I are presenting at Lotusphere, and we now have an official number and title...

BP117 - Java For Lotus Domino Developers

Sigh...  I'm so proud...  :-)


Might be fun to see if I can look back and see what other sessions have carried the proud number of BP117 over the years...  :-)

12/11/2003

How to Check for a Deletion Stub Using LotusScript

Category Software Development

This gem from the KnowledgeBase caught my attention the other day.  Since I don't often design by storing the UNID of one document in another document, I don't think I've ever been bitten by this.  But it's not an intuitive thing...  You think that if the document is deleted, it's no longer there.  So read on and be warned...  :-)

------------------------------

How to Check for a Deletion Stub Using LotusScript

Document Number:   1085749

Problem
You have a UNID for DocumentA that is stored in DocumentB. Now DocumentA is Deleted.  If in an agent or event you use the UNID stored in DocumentB to retrieve DocumentA using the Doc = DB.Getdocumentbyunid(UNID), you do not get an error.  If you continue to process the using Doc you will probably want to generate an error similar to the following:

If you use this code stub you can generate errors.

Set Doc = DB.Getdocumentbyunid(UNID)
If Not(Doc is Nothing) Then
     .... you think that you have a valid document but it could be a deletion stub
End

Content
The solution is to test for BOTH Doc is Nothing and Doc.Size <> 0.  Here is a sample function:

Function IsDocThere(TestDoc As NotesDocument) As Integer
        IsDocThere = False
        If TestDoc Is Nothing Then Exit Function
        If TestDoc.Size = 0 Then
                Set TestDoc = Nothing
                Exit Function
        End If
        IsDocThere = True
End Function

You can just call this from your code with this.  Upon return, if there is a deletion stub, the Doc is set to nothing so that it does not interfere with tests, and returns False regardless of whether it is a deletion stub or a non-existing document.

If IsDocThere(Doc) Then
      ........ Do Some stuff with document
Else
      ......... Process error if necessary
End If

12/11/2003

Memo to phishers...

Category Everything Else

Learn to use the freaking spellcheck feature, huh?????  I received this one today, and for kicks I clicked on the link to see where it went...  A Russian 404 page...  sigh...

--------------------------------------

Dear Citicard Mebmer,

This e-mail was sent by the CitibankOnline servers to veerify your email
adderss. You must cpmoetle this pocesrs by clicking on the link
below and enntering in the little window your Citbiank ATM
card nummber and pin that you use on local Atm machine.
This is done for your poetrction -8- because some of our members no
longer have acescs to their email addssrees and we must verify it.

To veerify your e-mail adderss and access your OnlineCitibank account, klick on
the link bellow. If nothing hapnpes when you click on the link -o coppy
and paste the link into the addres bar of your window.

http://www.blablahblah.....


---------------------------------------------
   Thank you for using Online-Citibank!
---------------------------------------------

This automtaic email snet to: dthomas38@msn.com
Do not rpely to this email.

12/11/2003

How to Check for Memory Leaks in a LotusScript Agent

Category Software Development

I ran across this gem in the KnowledgeBase today...  you may never need it, but if you do it could be a lifesaver...

------------------

How to Check for Memory Leaks in a LotusScript Agent

Document Number:  1109686

Problem

How can you determine whether a LotusScript agent is leaking memory?


Content
** Note**:        This technote should be distributed on an as-needed basis only - specifically, only when either you or a customer suspects that there are memory leaks in a LotusScript agent.  The agents included below are intended to be used only to identify memory leaks in a LotusScript agent.

If you suspect that a LotusScript agent is leaking memory, use one of the following scripts to determine whether memory is indeed not being freed once the agent finishes executing.

The following scripts monitor allocated memory for each thread.  Each executive process takes up one thread.  You need to be aware of this as you are troubleshooting - because the values may change when a different executive process runs your agent than the last time it was run.  When more than one executive process is being run on the sever, there is no way to control which thread the memory check agent will run on.  If it runs on a thread other than the thread that the leaking agent ran on, then the output is irreverent.  When possible, it may be best to limit the number of executive processes (set in the Server document) to 1 while troubleshooting the leak.

Each memory-checking script should be placed in an agent to execute before the agent in question and again after the agent in question.  Compare the two sets of numbers.  If the second set of numbers is higher, all memory has not been freed.

If a memory leak is found, isolate the pieces of the code that are leaking.  One way to do this is to break up the code into smaller pieces.  Execute the appropriate leak-checking agent, then execute the modified agent, then execute the leak-checking agent again.

Leak-Checking Agents:

I.  If the agent is running in the fore-ground, use the following code:

Sub Initialize  
    Msgbox(" Total LotusScript Memory Allocated: " + (Lsi_info(50)))
    Msgbox(" Total LotusScript Memory Allocated from OS: " + (Lsi_info(51)))
    Msgbox(" Total LotusScript Blocks Used: " + (Lsi_info(52)))    
End Sub

This agent displays a message box showing the amount of memory allocated via LotusScript.  Remember to run this code immediately before and after you execute the agent in question - to compare values and determine whether the agent is indeed leaking memory.

II. If the agent is scheduled, use the following code:

Sub Initialize  
     Print "Total LotusScript Memory Allocated: " + Str$(Lsi_info(50)) + Chr$(10) + Chr$(13)
    Print "Total LotusScript Memory Allocated from OS: " + Str$(Lsi_info(51)) + Chr$(10) + Chr$(13)
    Print "Total LotusScript Blocks Used: " + Str$(Lsi_info(52)) + Chr$(10) + Chr$(13)

End Sub

This agent writes to the server's LOG.NSF file.  Remember to run this code immediately before and after the agent in question - to compare values and determine whether the agent is indeed leaking memory.

12/10/2003

Attack Squirrel Of Death!

Category Humor

Passed on to me by a friend (thanks, Gwyn!)

WARNING..don't read this drinking coffee or tea in front of your puter screen! Enjoy! :-)

I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighbourhood could be so incredibly dangerous!  Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more
decisions per second, and more sheer data processing than nearly any other common activity or sport. The reactions and accurate decision making abilities
needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor situational awareness are pretty much the same for
both groups too.

Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight training, my instructors called this being "behind the
power curve". It is a mark of experience that when this begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation, and more importantly, does something about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things right again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up. Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding a motorcycle.at least if you want to remain among the living. In short, the brain needs to keep up with the machine.

I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally,
this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage that decided it needed my lane more than I did. This is not normally a big deal either, as it happens around here often, but usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not paying attention and avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action I nearly broadsided another car that I was not even aware was there! Two bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness.all within seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to get off the freeway.

I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty well, headed through a few big residential neighbourhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax, think, and regain that "edge" so frequently required when riding. Little did I suspect.

As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it-it was that close. I hate to run over animals.and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!

12/10/2003

Book Review - Point, Click & Wow!

Category Book Reviews

As part of my preparation for Lotusphere, I've been reading the book Point, Click & Wow! - A Quick Guide To Brilliant Laptop Presentations by Claudyne Wilder and Jennifer Rotondo.  I don't know how "brilliant" my slides will be, but they certainly don't suck as much as they used to!  :-)

The book is filled with a ton of practical material on how to prepare a laptop presentation, as well as how to deliver a great presentation regardless of the technology.  Everything from organizing your data to slide composition to presentation timing to pre-presentation preparation.  If you're an accomplished speaker, you may already know all this stuff.  If you're just starting out, you'll learn a lot.  Recommended.

12/10/2003

So your parents are thinking about buying a laptop... a cheatsheet...

Category Everything Else

Recently, I got a phone call from my dad (he's around 70).  They are moving from Palm Springs to Arizona, and they are going to get rid of their old computer (I helped him set it up during the Lotus DevCon in PS in 1998).  As a replacement, he wanted to know about laptops....  And my dad is about as non-techie as they get...

I think most of us fear this type of phone call.  A friend or relative knows that you "work with computers" and expect you to be able to dole out all sorts of expert advice (and you will be held responsible if it doesn't work out).  My dad's big fear was to walk into a store and get over/undersold.  Understandable, as I lose him when I say "CPU".  So, I came up with the following "cheatsheet" to help him frame his request to the person at the store.  Based on what he's getting from Dell, I'd say he did OK.  He also showed the list to my uncle, and now my uncle is going to use it to get himself a laptop.

Feel free to read on if you'd like, and use the list if needed...  :-)

12/09/2003

"The Active View Cannot be Deleted" Attempting to Delete "Untitled" View in R5

Category Software Development

This is one of those things that happens just infrequently enough that I forget how to solve it each time.  While the KnowledgeBase refers to the "Untitled" view, this also happens with other views, often the one you have marked as Default.  So I stick this out here more for my quick reference in the future...  :-)

Error: "The Active View Cannot be Deleted" Attempting to Delete "Untitled" View in R5

Document Number:  1085468

Problem
Using Domino Designer R5, you create a new database that is not based on one of the available database templates by selecting File, Database, New from the menu and selecting the default Blank option for the template in the New Database dialog box.  In Domino Designer, under the Views potion of the new blank databases, you see one view titled (Untitled) that is set as the default view for the database.  You create a new view, give it a title and make this new view the default database view.  This causes the view called (Untitled) to no longer be the default view.  However, if you attempt to delete the view called (Untitled), the following error displays even though the (Untitled) view is not the active view:

"The active view cannot be deleted."

Content
This issue has been reported to Lotus Quality Engineering.  In the Notes Client select the view you want to delete, then from the menu bar, select "Action" then select "View Options" and then select "Delete View".  This will delete the active view.  When you switch back to the Designer Client the view will be gone.

12/09/2003

Book Review - Trojan Odyssey

Category Book Reviews

Ah, yes...  A Clive Cussler novel featuring Dirk Pitt.  Trojan Odyssey.

Looking at the last couple of Clive Cussler novels outside of the Dirk Pitt series (such as Golden Buddha), I was less than satisfied.  The action was there, but it seemed to be missing some of the flair.  Might be because of the partnership with another author, but it's not quite the same.  Trojan Osyssey returns to solid ground and is a great read.

Dirk's two kids are investigating a strange brown sludge that is killing off marine life in the Carribbean.  Meanwhile, Dirk and Al Gordino get involved in the rescue of a floating hotel that ties into a strange secretive corporation that isn't what it seems on the surface.  Both of these stories tie together into a plot that threatens to destroy the economy of the northern hemisphere.  Non-stop action...  I liked it a lot.

There are a couple twists that apply to Dirk's job that makes me wonder if this is perhaps the last Dirk Pitt novel we'll see for awhile.  The door isn't closed tightly, but Cussler has written himself a way out (or a major directional shit in the characters) if he chooses to take it.  

12/09/2003

How to Create Links to Notes Documents in Microsoft Office Applications

Category Software Development

This is a question that comes up occasionally for me at client sites.  From the KnowledgeBase...

-----------------------------------

How to Create Links to Notes Documents in Microsoft Office Applications

Document Number:  1115709

Problem

You are using a Microsoft Office application, Microsoft Excel for example, and you want to create a link to a Notes document.  How can this be done?


Content
Within Microsoft Excel, you can create links to Notes documents as follows:

  1. Within the Notes document, right click and select "Copy as document link."
  2. In Excel, select Edit -> Paste Special from the menu.
  3. In the Paste Special options, select "Paste Link", "Picture (Enhanced Metafile)", and "Display as Icon"

or
  1. Within the Notes document, copy the document's Notes URL (Notes://DominoServer/UNID) or the HTTP URL (http://FQHN-DominoServer/UNID)
  2. In Excel, select Insert -> Hyperlink.
  3. In the "Insert Hyperlink" options, type in the text that will be displayed as the clickable link and paste the URL address into the "Type the file or web page name" field.

12/08/2003

Have you seen the latest IBM Linux commercial?

Category IBM/Lotus

http://www-3.ibm.com/e-business/doc/content/lp/prodigy.html?P_Site=S94

I don't know how effective it will be, but it's interesting...  reminds me of some of the R5-style commercials that used to exist...

Thanks, Scott...

12/08/2003

Book Review - An Introduction To Web Application Development With IBM WebSphere Studio

Category Book Reviews

Over the last week or so, I've been working through the book An Introduction To Web Application Development With IBM WebSphere Studio by Gary Craig and Peter Jakab (MC Press).  I've done some work in WebSphere Studio Application Developer (WSAD), but I wanted to know more and possibly pick up my first WebSphere cert with test #285.  The book is labelled as a certification guide, but it's more general than that.  It seems to be more of a tutorial on WSAD and J2EE than a study guide, and it's probably not big enough to do both completely well.  Still, a good addition to your library if you're getting into WSAD.

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

12/08/2003

I think I just found the next modification I want to make to my home computer...

Category Everything Else

Fun with thermite...  Be sure to click on the video link!  http://www.techtv.com/unscrewed/ihateyou/story/0,24682,3527597,00.html

Thanks, Bas!

12/08/2003

Week 2 of the South Beach experiment... still on track.

Category Everything Else

Today marks the end of week 2 (and Phase 1) of my experiment with the South Beach diet.  I'm down another three pounds, bringing the total weight loss up to eight pounds (or 40% of the way to my goal of 20 pounds by Lotusphere).  The expectation is that you will lose 8 to 13 pounds the first two weeks, so I'm right in that range.  The pants are looser, I can notch the belt another hole if I need to, and I will admit to feeling better.

Overall, phase 1 was pretty easy.  The hard part was bread (or lack thereof).  I like sandwiches, and there was none of that going on.  I didn't cheat during the two weeks, but I was oh, so tempted quite often.  The cravings for starches were supposed to go away, but I can't say that happened.  

I now move into the phase 2 portion.  That's where you start introducing items back into your diet (such as whole-grain bread!).  It will be interesting to see how it goes since there are more choices.  I'm also going to start being more diligent in using the gym.  I wanted to see how the first two weeks went under "diet-only", so I was staying away from the workouts (sounds like as good of an excuse as any other).  Now I'll start kicking up the activity level a notch (BAM!), and we'll see how that affects the loss.

12/06/2003

Just got back from seeing The Last Samurai...

Category Everything Else

I just returned from seeing the movie The Last Samurai, and all I can say is...  wow!  By far the best movie I've seen this year, and could well be one of the best movies I've ever seen.  The main character (played by Tom Cruise) is a captain in the US Army in 1875, and is a "hero" for his success in fighting the indian wars.  He is ordered to go to Japan to help train the emperor's troups with modern firearms to flush out the last samurai rebellion.  What follows is an outstanding story of honor, duty, and loyalty.  Wonderful film work, solid story, and if you're at all inclined to get wet eyes at movies, take kleenex.  Be forewarned that the battle scenes are graphic but terribly realistic.

While I don't know that I'd choose Tom Cruise for an Oscar in his role (although I wouldn't argue and he should be at least nominated), I am convinced that I just saw the Academy's pick for movie of the year and a classic movie for historical purposes...  Go see it.

12/06/2003

Book Review - Proven Portals

Category Book Reviews


I've been reading the book
Proven Portals by Dan Sullivan (Addison-Wesley).  While not a technical "how to" book of implementing a specific portal brand, it does examine the whole portal concept from a higher level, as well as covering the architectural design considerations.  Great book for management and project managers.

Read the entire review at the
Portland Notes/Domino User Group site.

12/03/2003

I'm now running the latest version of the BlogSphere template

Category Blogging

If you notice any strange quirks or such, please let me know...

12/03/2003

LotusScript function to do character replacement in a string variable...

Category Software Development

In some of my coding projects, I have a need to, within a LotusScript agent, scrub certain characters out of a string variable, like line feeds.  I use the following function to take care of that for me.  I'm posting it here mainly so that I can easily find it when I need it next time (and I don't have a copy of an app that uses it), but if you find it of use, feel free to "R&D" it (Rob & Duplicate)...

Function scrubString(strField As String, strBadStuff As String, strGoodStuff As String) As String
       
     'This function will search the passed string for the "bad" stuff to be removed, and will replace it with the "good" stuff
        Dim intLength As Integer
        Dim intReplacePos As Integer
       
     'Keep ripping and replacing while "bad" stuff still exists
        Do While Instr(strField, strBadStuff) > 0
                intLength = Len(strField)
                intReplacePos = Instr(strField, strBadStuff)
                strField = Left(strField, intReplacePos -1) + strGoodStuff + Right(strField, intLength - intReplacePos)
        Loop
       
     'Return the cleaned up field to the calling routine
        scrubString = strField
       
End Function

12/02/2003

NOW maybe we'll all believe Ed Brill and Alan Lepofsky...

Category IBM/Lotus

... when they say that the brand barriers within IBM are a thing of the past...

A follow up to yesterday's story about IBM refocusing on vertical industry solutions.  In Computerworld, there's a story about the reorganization with the following paragraph:

"The company plans to retrain its staff so that more than half of its 13,000 worldwide sales employees focus on industry-specific product sets. It will also shift its marketing and development efforts away from a focus on IBM's five software brands and toward cross-brand application packages tailored for specialized industries, according to company spokesman John Reilly."

This says some very significant things...  "Cross-brand application packages".  Lotus playing with Websphere playing with DB2 playing with Tivoli.  

Here's your glass...  half-full or half-empty?  Your isolated Lotus-only world is a thing of the past.  Does that scare you?  It shouldn't.  You can now leverage what you know in Notes/Domino, and apply it in even more areas.  In addition, you will have a nice transition point to pick up additional knowledge and skills in complementary areas (DB2, Websphere, J2EE, Linux, etc).  

The more I read about yesterday's announcement, the more I like it.  There will be more information coming forth about this, I'm sure.  I'm more convinced than ever that my personal decision to concentrate on IBM technologies was a correct choice with some interesting opportunities for the future.

12/01/2003

IBM Plans Shakeup For Software

Category IBM/Lotus

Over at the Financial Times, there's a story titled IBM Plans Shakeup For Software.  The gist of the story is that starting in early January, IBM will start aligning their software development efforts along 12 vertical industry segments, and will start concentrating on delivering business solutions for those industries.

I can see where this will play to IBM's consulting side very well.  They can have consulting groups focused by industry, and that's a strong position to be in.  I'm a little less sure as to how it will play out for the software development groups.  The good thing is that all the brands will continue to play together to create a single solution.  But will having 12 groups trying to blend software for 12 segments be productive?  And how much will this take away from core product development (like core development for Websphere, Domino, etc.)?

More fun stuff to discuss at Lotusphere!

12/01/2003

Week 1 of the South Beach Diet... not bad!

Category Everything Else

Well, week 1 of the South Beach Diet (SBD) experiment is in the books, and so far, so good.  I dropped five pounds, which is 25% of the way towards my goal of dropping 20 pounds by Lotusphere.  I still need to lose more than that, but I figured that was a good short term goal.  The diet is fairly easy to follow for the first two week period (Phase 1).  No fruit, no starches, and watch the fatty meat consumption.  There's no measuring and weighing of food, so that makes it even easier...

The fruit ban isn't a problem, but the bread issue is.  I SO wanted a few rolls on Thanksgiving.  But the fact that I could make it through Thanksgiving and still lose significant weight was a nice thing.  The hard part will be as we get closer to Christmas and all the sweets start flooding into the office.  While stuff like chocolate isn't banned in Phase II, you just have to limit yourself.  That will be the real test...

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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