Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More on Google's Services

I'm in danger of spending too much time praising google and no enough time on Notes/Domino, but here goes anyway.

The Latest Google Toolbar
I'm currently testing the latest google toolbar. There's a lot of new features in this one which are really quite useful.

Bookmark Wonders
This has to be my favourite part of the new toolbar. In fact, I think that this could well be my favourite computing enhancement in a long time - but.. since I've blogged about it before, I'll just shut up about it now.

The Buttons
Sure, the toolbar has had buttons on it for a long time - what's a toolbar without buttons anyway? These buttons are different.

1. Anyone can create them.
2. They can be hosted elsewhere and updated with a couple of clicks.
3. Google is building a library of them (they're not creating them, but they are testing them).
4. The buttons aren't simple one-click items, they work off the search field and can include RSS Feeds.

I'll post a lot more about the buttons in another post (I'm waiting on google to do an update).


The Google Home Page
This one is pretty cool too. I clicked on the customize link on the home page and found myself being presented with a bunch of options to add bits to the screen. I did so, and my screen now looks as follows;




Note that I've now got the Notes/Domino 7 forum open displaying the most recent postings. I've got my gmail account open displaying recent mail and I've got a bunch of my favourite bookmarks at my fingertips.

You can drag these things around and change their settings. You can also add more.

This really looks a lot like workplace and it certainly helps to get things done more quickly. If you haven't customized your google page, you should look into it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Final (?) Word on the Symantec Premium Anti-Spam Service for Domino

Last week, we needed to set up a secondary web site hosted from the same server. We did this by migrating from the standard Domino web setup to a configuration which used site documents.

All worked well...

Mail routed successfully, the old and the new web sites worked and everyone was happy.

This morning, I applied the Microsoft Updates. Now these, being Microsoft products, required a server restart, so I dutifully complied.

When the server came back up, no mail was routing.

The Culprit
After a bit of searching around (not very much searching really because I now tend suspect the Symantec MailSecurity services FIRST), I found a message saying that;

"The Symantec Premium Anti-Spam service could not be started because you are using a site document".

I rang Symantec and following a relatively quick game of telephone lotto, I got transferred to the right person. Yep, they confirmed it... Sorry - It's not supported. End of story.

I disabled the service, but still mail did not route.
I restarted the router, http task etc but still mail did not route.

I still had Symantec on the phone, so I asked about the ports and about the Microsoft SMTP Server task. They said that I might have to worry about the ports, but not about the SMTP Server Task.

WRONG! The ports were fine, but the MS SMTP Server (POP Server) task was still running. I disabled this and restarted the Domino Service. Suddenly everything began to route nicely.

Lessons Learned?

  • Any service that needs the MS SMTP/POP Server to be running on a domino server isn't worth running.



  • Just because YOU think that there's no connection between something, (The router and the site document) doesn't mean that someone hasn't made their own connection



  • Whenever you reboot as a result of any MS Updates, you need to go through all the tests - file server access, smtp, http/https, nntp etc. because rebooting always changes the picture.



  • Nothing is ever as easy as it looks in IT




So, the bottom line is now that since we NEED site documents more than we need Anti-Spam, Symantec's AntiSpam service is OUT. If we end up with a spam problem, we'll be looking for a vendor that provides proper Notes/Domino support.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Google Toolbar and GMail

Google Toolbar
I'm sure that most people are well aware of the google toolbar by now. If not, you should certainly give it a go. You can access all of the google tools here (note that this is the Australian site, and that you may be better going to the google site for your country and clicking tools on the menu if you live elsewhere).

You can download the the google toolbar by clicking the large button on the download page but did you notice that there's a smaller link underneath it which allows you to download the beta version of 4.0.629. I've been running this for weeks now, and I've had no problems.

The best bit though, is the new "bookmarks" feature. You can bookmark a page from the menu (as you would adding it to favourites). At the same time, or later if you wish, you can allocate categories to it. For example, my favourite online DVD shop is under DVDs and Shopping, while other things may just be under shopping. Effectively, this causes the bookmark to appear in two places.

Now comes the really good part.

I'm using GMail (more on that later), and the google toolbar knows how to log me on. I recently got a new computer at home. I downloaded the beta toolbar and logged onto my mail. Voila! All of my bookmarks from my work computer automatically appeared in the menu.

That's it for me... Microsoft's Favourites are DEAD.

GMAIL
I've got three email accounts that I use regularly. My work one (for work obviously), a Hotmail account (that I use for entertainment - ie: shopping catalogs etc) and a GMail account (that I use for IT-Related Newsletters).

I've always been quite impressed by Gmail, especially its categorisation features and it's large mail file sizes. Mostly though, I've been impressed by its simplicity.

Well... I recently converted my Hotmail account to Windows LiveMail. (the new version of hotmail). Microsoft has obviously decided to add more features....

The new interface is Much Worse than the old one and takes many more keystrokes to get the job done. It's feature set doesn't even manage to compare to google at all.

If Microsoft wanted to do some PRO-Google Marketing, they couldn't have found a better way to do it.