Saturday, June 28, 2003

Fame via Ed

It seems that it is my turn for a brush with a slightly greater level of fame thanks to both Ed and Ed.

If you are at all interested in where Lotus is going, you should watch the webcast mentioned in my story yesterday. If I were you, I'd be bugging your friendly local IBM/Lotus Office to provide a presentation on Lotus Workplace to your IT Management and Architects.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Lotus Workplace Strategy

If you want to understand where the Lotus product strategy is going, you should spend 30 minutes and watch the webcast mentioned in this Lotus Workplace announcement. You can download the slides as a PDF once you have signed in.

Lotus Workplace is:

Provided as a Platform containing a Portal framework and all the collaborative and human interaction capabilities for a complete implementation. Capabilities present within platform but ACTIVATED and purchased as needed. Flexible utilisation: Per User, By Usage or Access, By Processor.

So, you install the Lotus Workplace Platform, which contains all these components, and then enable (and pay for) only those components that you require. Lotus will also deliver a number of specific horizontal products from the platform, such as Messaging, Instant Messaging, Learning, Document Management and more.

The Lotus Workplace Platform is delivered using a Portal Framework, with components from either Domino-based or WebSphere-based Application servers delivered through it.

This is a screenshot (click to enlarge) from the presentation showing what a more advanced version of Lotus Workplace Messaging might look like, delivered through a browser. This richer messaging tool is integrated in a portal window with Instant Messaging, Document Management, Calendar & ToDo, Discussions and Meetings.

This slide (click to enlarge) shows the clients that can interact with the Workplace Platform. As you can see, these include the Notes 6.5 client, a Web Browser, a mobile device and something tantalisingly called Rich Client.

The above is all public, via the Webcast mentioned above, but yesterday I went to a Briefing at our local IBM Office, where more details were forthcoming. Obviously, I'm going to respect what was told to us in confidence (Craig says I'm OK), but the story was all good. I think there has been some serious thinking going on over at Lotus and the results are impressive. They have not just been sitting around, painting things purple, and telling everyone to brush up on JSP. I was very impressed - this is a great story.

At the moment, my view is that the effort to produce a sophisticated web-based collaboration applications with Notes/Domino is much greater than to create the same thing targeted at the Notes Client. With the new Lotus Workplace strategy in place, creating web collaboration apps will much, much easier.

Notes is not dead, but there is a new dawn on the horizon.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

The Deep Ocean is not like Here

This story via BBC and The Age tells of an NZ-Australian deep oceanographic survey that found the usual collection of unusual creatures. Over 500 new species of fish and 1300 new invertebrates were discovered. They include:

Wonky-eyed jewel squid, which has a left eye much larger than its right eye. It seems that the big eye looks up for food while the small eye looks down for predators.
Spiders with such small bodies that some of their internal organs are pushed down inside their hollow legs.
A fish nicknamed Fangtooth which has teeth longer than its head. To avoid piercing its own brain when it shuts its mouth, its teeth fit into opposing sockets.
The articles are worth it just for the images.

6.0.2 CF1

I'm with Volker on this too. 6.0.2 CF1 won't install for me. The installer bounces a few times and then just stops. Nothing in console.log. I'm only glad it is not just me.

Of course the win32 version just goes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Concurrent with the release of Notes/Domino 6.0.2, iNotes Web Access (IWA) introduces a new user interface and many new features, including:

  • A new user interface, including changes to several dialog boxes to more closely match the Notes 6 user interface
  • The ability to specify IWA as your default mail program
  • Name searches based on organizational hierarchy, and the ability to differentiate between two people with the same name
  • Multi-line preference display when an entry list is long
  • Improved Calendaring and Scheduling capabilities, including easier addition of new invitees to a meeting, and support for appointments that span midnight
  • The ability to select the start day of the week, improved support for DST rules, the ability to specify time zones for calendar entries, and the ability to customize the Work Hours preference
  • Support for Client-side generated group calendar views and To-Do charts. The group calendar supports categorized views, including the category by color on the group Calendar chart
  • Expand/collapse default preferences may be set and saved
  • Support for on-line Sametime meetings, the ability for a Chair to view attendee status info, and support for a meetings notices view
  • Better editing abilities, with the ability to edit received/sent mail and received/saved calendar entries, in-line Calendar view editing, and edit undo
  • The ability to create tables and horizontal rules in mail messages
  • Drag-and-drop capability for mail and calendar entries
  • Set default view for mail file open, Reply with History/Forward without attachments, Next/Previous navigation within open mail messages, and rename attachments on download
  • Closing message window after a message is sent to a folder
  • A new server doc configuration setting for a default number of days for offline subscriptions
  • An improved spell-checking interface, including a check of the mail/calendar Subject line
  • The ability to set plain or rich-text formatting preferences
  • Bi-directional language and multilingual template support
  • The DOLS installation supports the proper forms and template version
  • Context-sensitive "follow me" help, and an NSF-based help system

Lotus domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio

Shipped on the CD as part of Domino 6.0.2 CF1:

The Lotus Domino Toolkit 1.0 is designed to assist developers in using Domino 6 custom JSP tags. Using the toolkit, major parts of an existing Domino application, for example, forms, views and agents, are exposed in the WebSphere Studio development tool, and can be reused as a starting point for a new Java Server Page running on WebSphere.
The toolkit helps Lotus developers quickly understand and implement the new Domino custom JSP tags that are included with Domino 6 by leveraging their existing development skills. For J2EE developers, the toolkit allows access to the Notes Domino data store, and application features within the context of the J2EE technology.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

New Role - Architect

Starting in July, my role at work will change. Since starting in May 2002, I have been part of the Domino administration team. The job has been part administrator, part architect and also developer liaison.

Starting in July, I'll be part of the architecture team for a new application the the organisation is building. We'll be replacing an existing Domino/Notes/Browser system with something new and wonderful. We have about as clean a sheet of paper as you can get.

Time to seriously explore the Brave New World of J2EE on a platform that would easily integrate with the existing Domino environment. Or then again, we might choose something else entirely. I'm sure I'll have lots to say about this as yet undiscovered country.

I'm really excited about the chance to work on something new. Amanda is just happy that I'll be getting paid for another 12 months.

Thursday, June 19, 2003


Quote for Today:

I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called brightness, but it doesn't work. - Eugene P. Gallagher.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Beware the man of one book

Quote for Today:

"Beware the man of one book." - St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
Not to be confused with:
"Zealots!" - Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story (1995)

Methodologies and McDonalds

I was talking with Greg at work today and we ended up talking about the differences between working for small and large companies. One difference, apart from the average smartness level, was that large companies tended to have a process, or methodology, to ensure consistent results are produced. He reminded me of this story by Joel Spolsky.

I think this hits the nail on the head. Methodologies are good for managing existing environments where everything can be measured and, to a certain degree, controlled, but bad when creating new stuff.

I like new stuff.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Forget Proust

I have given up on Swann's Way at about halfway through. Its wordiness, banal introspection and swirling sentences make me want to shout! It is like reading glue. I was hip deep in a muddy plot that is barely discernable through the haze. Spare me the elegies on the wonderful observation and detail - I too remember tea with my great-grandmother as a small boy.

I read one sentence (not even a particularly long one) to Amanda and she wondered if the text had been edited at all. She would have taken the knife to it for sure.

I have taken up Anna Karenina - more interest in the first chapter than the whole first half of Proust.

PS This entry is partly brought to you by the guilt of not making a blog entry today.

PPS Spent most of the day banging my head with readers fields being used to limit which documents get replicated between servers. So far the behaviour seems non-deterministic. I'll let you know if a pattern emerges.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Human Origins

I was watching Walking with Cavemen last night and have been surfing around for some info on hominid evolution. Some starting points are below.

I like using this blog as a public bookmark collection. It saves having to mess about with silly bookmark sync software or dragging files about.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Homo Sapiens idaltu

Nature (BBC, CNN) report today of the oldest homo sapiens skulls have been found in Ethiopia, approximately 160,000 years old. The skull have slightly more pronounced brow ridges than modern humans and so have been designated a sub-species homo sapiens idaltu.

Wheere is Spirit Now?

Another from NASA's where are they now series: Where is Spirit now?

JPL also has the locations of Cassini-Huygens and Galileo (101 days to splashdown). These images are a great way to help visualise where these spacecraft are.

Aviod 5.0.10

In case some of you were starting to wonder if I'd ever get back around to talking about Domino, I present this little tale. I said quite a few words about Domino yesterday - none I'd want my kids, or you, gentle reader to hear.

Most of yesterday was spent trying to keep our mail servers from spontaneously combusting. Three weeks ago we took them to 5.0.10 (we run both Quickplace 3.0 and Sametime 3.0 and Lotus tell us they both need the NAB to be a 5.0.10 design - so not 5.0.12 until these two are sorted). We have a few other servers at 5.0.10 and were starting to get them all to the same version. Everything was fine after the upgrade.

Midmorning yesterday both the primary mail servers in the cluster crashed the nserver.exe task within 30 minutes of each other. The third (failover) server in the cluster went on happily and we went looking for a dubious message as a probable cause. Happily we had our Lotus Support Manager here for the day - so logged a call and sent off the RIPs straight away. A bit later on, they both crashed again within half an hour of each other, the third still unaffected.

There was lots of running around trying to figure out what was happening - dodgy message? corrupt NAB? The KBase was scoured, RIP files were examined and it seemed to be pointing to a MIME conversion bug. Why had it taken 3 weeks to appear? - we average 35,000 messages per day through these boxes.

By this time Lotus Support (after first convincing them that our support agreement was still valid - we do this every 2 months or so!) had interpreted the RIPs, found the problem and given us the relevant SPR. There was a hotfix, which was also incorporated 5.0.11 and above. Joy!

Lotus support provided excellent, responsive service to us yesterday - thanks!

Then the third server ripped - all by itself.

We then had a long and circuitous discussion with many management folk about whether the hotfix was the way to go, or should we just jump to 5.0.11/12 (along with fiddling ACLs to stop the design getting to Sametime and QuickPlace). Threats were made and termination of employment was canvassed if we made too couragous a decision. In the end, we applied the hotfix. It was only a DLL that had to be replaced - easy to back out of if it all turned the shape of a pear.

All three servers have been up since the hotfix - 18 hours so far.

Our Migration Plan for 6 is well underway - can't wait for that one!

A Sign from God - this morning's mail delivered Quickplace 3.0.1 and Domino 5.0.12 from Lotus. It must be time for 5.0.12.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Virus scanning is now part of the OS

These stories tells us that Microsoft has purchased an anti-virus software development company.

This must be easier than writing robust code in the first place.

MER-A Launched

The first of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers successfully launched yesterday. MER-A will be known as Spirit and MER-B as Opportunity.

Opportunity should launch on June 25.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Klingon Programmer Ethics

Things overheard from Klingon programmers:

  • Perhaps it is a good day to die! I say we ship it.
  • Specifications are for the weak and timid!
  • This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!
  • Indentation?! - I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!
  • What is this talk of 'release'? Klingons do not make software 'releases'. Our software 'escapes' leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake.
  • Klingon function calls do not have 'parameters' - they have 'arguments' - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
  • Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.
  • I have challenged the entire quality assurance team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again.
  • A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!
  • By filing this bug report you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!
  • You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!
  • Our users will know fear and cower before our software! Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they are!

[via Andrew Barker]

Gifted Education Reference

Amanda has started collating information about Gifted Children and special education programs with a view to publishing them on our Primary School's site. I have gathered a few links on my travels and this is as good a place as any to keep them.

The best metaphor I have found is Is It a Cheetah?

NSW Assn for Gifted & Talented Children Inc
UNSW Gifted Education Research Resource and Information Centre
Educational Resources Information Center
Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
Austega - Gifted Resource Library
Stephanie Tolan
Gifted & Creative Services Australia
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
Talent Development - giftedness
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
GT World

Uta Kreimeier's Gifted Adults Info & What's New
Discovering the Gifted Ex-Child
Mary Rocamora's Gifted self-test

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Half Baked Ideas

Ever wondered if there was a place to find all those half-baked ideas that we all have? The power of the internet brings us The HalfBakery.

Happily you can register and then share all your own half-baked ideas. Some ideas include Metric Time, new Bizarre Metaphors or Helicopter Crisps.

[via Greg B]

DDN Blog Directory

DominoDeveloper.Net has introduced a Domino Blog Directory, making it easier to find more Domino bloggers. They also say:

If your Domino-based blog clearly demonstrates a valuable contribution to the Domino community, you may be eligible for special discounts on our hosting services! Contact us for details.

I have only been using their hosting service for a couple of weeks, but the service is good, and the couple of questions I have asked have been answered promptly and with the right answer. There is also a 30-day risk-free trial - so what have you got to lose ?

I suppose I'll have to lift my game now - I don't want to be known as the slacker on the list (there are people from all over the globe on it). Maybe I'll get me a shiny domain name too.

iSync 1.1

iSync 1.1 was released a day ago. It is now a much speedier sync for my Palm M505, T39m. dotMac and G4. No sync weirdness either - except for disabling the Palm Acrobat conduit (Version 3 out this week too).

Just don't forget to download the separate Palm Conduit.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

The Geek Test

Do the test. At least have a look at the questions - if they don't make you smile, you should not be here .......

Here is a clue to one question.

[via Volker]

Mars Express ready to launch

Launch - 18 hours and counting.

In other news:

Mars Exporation Rover - Rover MER-A is set to launch on June 8 and MER-B on June 25;
Galileo will plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere on September 21; but

Cassini is still 394 days from reaching Saturn.

Leonardo da Vinci

We took the kids to the Library on the weekend as Joshua needed to do some research on Dreamtime creation myths for a school project. While browsing down the shelves (Dewey Decimal, of course) I came upon volume two of a set called The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (this link is the closest I could find). The one I borrowed was first published in 1956 and it is a 1970 edition).

It is amazing to read Leonardo's thoughts and see the small details of the ideas in his head. The few illustrations are not lavish but you can follow the link below for visual gratification.

If you are ever in Milan, you should plan to spend the day at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci. You will feel intellectually inadequate in comparison to a man who died nearly 500 years ago - it's great!