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Google Update and the New Google Applets for BlackBerry

A couple of days ago, I was checking a Gmail on the BlackBerry and noticed that Google had sent through a link to the Google Mobile Update applet. Since I love new gadgets, especially from Google, I quickly downloaded it.

This utility is impressive. It does the same thing as Google Updater does on the PC (which is more or less a google style Windows Update).

On the mobile, it lets you update the following;

SearchGoogle MapsGmailNewsGoogle SyncGoogle ReaderGoogle DocsPicasaand the Updater Applet itself.
I didn't have all of these but decided to add them anyway.

For me, the "New ones" were Google Sync, Reader, Docs and Picasa. I had the other apps, albeit older versions.

Google Sync
This synchronizes your Google Calendar with your Blackberry Calendar - and - if you've got a domino server running, you can sync with that too. This means that your three calendars can always be in synch. Obviously, this isn't for everyone as some people share their Google calendars on th…

How to Add a Button Bar of Links to Facebook, Delicious, Digg and Other Social Bookmarking Sites to Your Blogger or other Systems Blog

I've just added a bunch of social bookmarking links to my blogs. Since it took me a while to figure out how to do it, I thought I'd share my wisdom.

Note that this method supports Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress and others. At this stage, I don't know if it supports Domino Blogsphere - Any Domino people want to provide an update?

Getting the Link Information
1. Go to the Site: http://www.addthis.com
2. Click Get your Button
3. Choose Bookmarking Widget and select the type of Widget, where you want it and the blogging platform.
4. Click the button marked Get Your Free Button 5. You'll be prompted to Login / Become a Member
6. After this you'll be supplied with some code, copy the code for pasting into your Blog (see step 7 below).

and here's a picture to show how simple the selection is.



Making the Code Change (Blogger Only)
Note: The web site (http://www.addthis.com) gives you pointers for blogger, and I presume for the other platforms too, so if you use a different blogging…

The best developer community in the World.

As rightly pointed out by Bruce Elgort in a comment on my last post, IdeaJam is actually an IBM/Lotus developer community initiative. I did know that, but somehow I accidentally wound up giving credit to IBM/Lotus anyway. (sorry).

The IBM/Lotus systems are blessed with IMHO, the best developer community in the world. Sure, a lot of praise is due IBM/Lotus for their commitment to the community and to their evangelists, Ed Brill, Alan Lepofsky, Mary Beth Raven, Adam Gartenberg and Bob Balaban among others.

But the real credit has got to go to the generally unsung heroes of the Lotus Community...

The people behind initiatives like IdeaJam, OpenNTF and regular submitters to the IBM Lotus Sandbox. I could rattle off a huge list of names and linked blogs, but then I'd be competing with the likes of Facebook and Orkut.

If the measure of an application's success is at least partially determined by the quality of the people it attracts, then there can be no doubt in my mind that Notes…

Idea Jam - Another Giant Leap for IBM/Lotus

I've been looking at this site for a while now and am quite impressed. This concept might not seem complex at first but the business possibilities for this type of Web 2.0 app are endless.

Idea Jam (http://ideajam.net/)

The idea behind this site is to let people submit ideas, in this case for improvements to the Notes/Domino product, then allow others to comment and vote on them. The best ideas gradually move to the top.

Well done IBM !!


Also, today they announced code to allow you to embed your ideas on your web page or blog (though it doesn't seem to work in blogger yet) so...

Please vote my ideas :-) Obviously I want them to progress

Can we have a Code Wiki near the Forums

Clipboard access in LotusScript without API's

A bit more on BlogSphere (and some disappointments)

Continuing with my implementation of BlogSphere, I feel sadly let down, not by the product, which seems to be very good but by the documentation - sorry, lack of documentation.

At any rate, pressing on...

Configuring BlogSphere
You can't configure blogsphere without the ACL being set correctly. As far as I can tell, you can only be a member of one role (ie: not in multiple groups with multiple roles). This could be completely wrong but so far it's working for me. I put myself directly into the ACL with Manager rights and the [UI-Admin] role. Logging out and then back in gave me access to the configuration options.

Configuration can be selected by clicking the BlogSphere config button in the top left hand corner of the Navigator.

Side Blocks
The initial web view of BlogSphere V3 is much better than V2, cleaner and nicer. That said, I'm sure you'll want to add some content to the sides.

In this example, I'm going to do a calendar because that one works - I haven't …

A bit on Blogger and Slideshows

I know I was going to continue on Domino's BlogSphere but I just had to mention this...

Google Blogger just keeps on getting better and better.

Today, my RSS feeds gave me a post on Blogger's New Slideshow tool entitled Show off your photos with the new Slideshow.

This is very impressive.

It allows you to add a layout element that will display your photos from a given folder in Picasa Web Albums.

The integration between Google's applications is spectacular. What's more, it's not limited to Google - It works with Flickr and Photobucket too as well as other sites supporting Media RSS.

Add this to features like the ability to publish RSS entries of interest directly from your feeds in Google Reader and (sorry IBM/Lotus BlogSphere) Google Blogger is, at least for the moment IMHO, the untouchable king of Blog tools.

IBM - If you're reading, this sort of integration is the main reason why you should be putting more effort into integrating your systems (and other people&#…

Web 2.0 without Notes 8 - Getting Started with BlogSphere on Domino

These instructions use Notes 7.

Getting hold of the Template
Go to OpenNTF.org and login. If you don't have a login, you should register for one. It's free, but you can't download without being logged in.

Download the BlogSphere Template. At the time of writing, the current version was 3.0

Documentation
Documentation for BlogSphere is at the BlogSphere Wiki. It's obviously going to be a better source of information than this blog. I'm only writing this because I want to keep my notes somewhere and I want to show how easy the product is.

[Note: Sadly, I've just had a look at the documentation and, at present, I'm not sure if it is actually better than this blog entry. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong - I hope so].

Save the Template on your Domino Server and Sign it with an appropriate ID.

Creating a New Blog
From the Notes Client select File, Database New.
Specify the Correct Server, Path and Filename to the Database (whatever you like really).

Choose the Bl…

IBM Lotus Notes/Domino TCO

I've been a little busy lately with all sorts of family issues (including an outbreak of chicken pox at home). Sorry about the lack of posts - this will be a short one too.

There's a few new tools coming out from Google to help migrate things from Exchange and Domino to Gmail solutions.

http://karteek.selfdabba.com/2007/11/18/google-apps-a-challenge/

This is great for a mail-only solution. I don't begrudge Lotus people on simple mail only systems moving to gmail. It's only people who are using Lotus Notes (properly?) for databases who shouldn't consider this option.

One thing I noticed about the article though was the nice comparison of TCO's.

Lotus Notes comes in much cheaper than exchange in all categories - well done IBM Lotus.

Examining Server Hard Drive Space

About a week ago, Ask the Admin ran a feature called What the Heck is Filling Up My Server?. The article was quite a good one and covered several products. I tried a few of these out.

IMHO, the best of these is WinDirStat.

This utility is free and quite fast. There's also some amusing pacman-like activity when you start it scanning a drive.

One of the really cool things about this app is that it recognises the extensions of a lot of file formats - including less common ones like .NSF for notes. An extension that many expensive programs of this type often miss. If it finds a few files of an unknown type, it lists their extension as well (see DES at the bottom of the colour code map).



The other exciting thing about this tool is that it creates a colour-map showing all files in relation to eachother. You can quickly spot the big files. If you click on a patch of colour, the name and path of the relevant file will be displayed in the status bar.

Imagine my horror at finding a coup…

Web 2.0 without Notes 8 - Getting Started with DominoWiki

For Notes 7 (possibly 6.5) and above.

This blog entry covers my installation of Domino Wiki from a business rather than a techncial perspective.

What is a wiki?
Wiki's have been around for years and probably the best known of these is the wikipedia. The simplest description would be a hyperlinked online encyclopaedia which allows web-based editing.

Ideally, wiki's aren't centrally updated in-house but could be updated by certain categories of users on the web. There's still a bit of debate over whether or not this is a good idea but I'm not going to spend time worrying about this, it's simply an ACL change for domino.

There's obviously better definitions of wiki's elsewhere but I'd guess that the best way to find out what one is, is to use one.

Why would my organization need a wiki?
At first, this may seem like a difficult question to answer. After all, if IT is meant to be a technology enabler rather than a business driver, there needs to be some f…

When your Air Conditioner tried to kill you...

I don't think I've ever worked in an IT environment where the server room wasn't plagued by air conditioning issues.

We have two in our computer room,
a. The standard building air conditioner
b. An extra unit

They draw their power from different circuits, so they have a degree of redundancy but... ...both draw their water from the same source, a water tank on the roof of our building.

Late last night I got a warning from our security company about the air conditioning. They report when it hits 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 F).

I live quite a distance from the city and while I have keys to the building, our floor and the computer room, I don't have keys to the air conditioner reset itself.

I decided that since I only had a few hours to go, I'd finish sleeping and arrive at my usual time 6.30am.

By the time I got there, the room temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 F). I left the computer room door open and it cooled to 27C (80.6 F) within 30 minutes.

I'm obviously g…

An Update on Dragon and the Sony IC Recorder

I'm getting a lot better at Dragon and the Sony IC Recorder. The trick, which was not reported anywhere on the Dragon site or in the documentation, was quite simple.

My older version of Dragon used to start up and load my personal user profile but the newer version needs you to pick it whenever you start. At first, I thought that this was just an annoyance of the upgrade but I've since discovered it's a "feature" of the "Preferred" edition.

Instead of loading my normal profile, I chose to create a new user and was asked, as part of configuration, what type of microphone was going to be used. There was a short list, or so it seemed until I started scrolling. Near the bottom of the list, I found the Sony IC recorder. I selected that and Dragon prompted me to go away and read a large chunk of novel to the stick and then bring it back.

Foolishly, I chose Arthur C. Clark. I think I have been put off his books forever now. If you thought that the movie 20…

Avoiding Injury - Using Dragon in the Open Plan Office

Well, my overuse injury is back and it's quite painful to type. I'm not as worried as I was a few years ago when it first flared up because now I have Dragon.

The problem is that Dragon doesn't lend itself to the open plan office environment. We've recently moved offices and in our old office, I used to be able to use Dragon without worrying about bothering my colleagues. This is no longer the case.

After much deliberation I've found a solution (of sorts).

I've managed to get a Sony IC recorder and have upgraded to Dragon Naturally Speaking version 9 Preferred.



So, now to type longer documents, I take the recorder into a quiet meeting room and dictate to the sony stick. There are some other advantages to this as it frees my hands up for looking through other paperwork.

When I get back to my desk I copy the MP3 file across and then from the Dragon Naturally Speaking menu I select Sound then Transcribe Recording.

It is possible to transcribe the recording directly …

RAID and Hot Swap Drives

Yesterday morning we got a defunct drive on our main Domino server. No problem, I called IBM and they arranged to send out a replacement drive within 4 hours. We got the drive within about 3. (Good Job).

I mentioned to my boss that although the drive was a hot-swap drive, there was a chance, however slight, that it could bring the server down. This is my standard disclaimer nowadays.

Well, I removed the old drive and waited about 30 seconds before plugging in the new one.

Instead of the expected rebuild operation, the RAID controller flagged the new drive as defunct and Windows Server 2003 obliged by giving me a blue screen of death.

Great...

I had a look at the packaging that IBM sent... Reconditioned Drives... not good.

I don't begrudge IBM for using reconditioned parts but I think it is a little bit cheeky.

At Any rate, following a call to IBM was told to update the firmware on the drives as the replacement drive have shipped with the very latest. Isn't that just a typical IB…

A Useful Little Routine to Change Data in Fields

Level: Beginner Development

Today I thought I'd just share with you a little routine that I use when I want to make field level changes to a lot of documents without having to edit them. It's beginner stuff but I use it a lot.

What you need
A document, or group of documents with a field called DocNumber
A view where you can select those documents.
Notes Designer.

Creating the Agent
Open Designer on the database (or template)Click on Shared Code then AgentsClick on the button marked New AgentIn the Properties box, give your agent a Name eg: Change Document NumberIt should be a Shared AgentIn the Target Section, it should read All Selected DocumentsYou don't need to change anything else in the properties box, so just close it.Now, in the intialize event of your Agent (just click on the word initialize and type in the box that appears).Type your code (or paste it from this page).When you've finished, Close the agent windows and choose YES to save your changes.



The code


Sub Initia…

Cut-Down PS3 doesn't support PS3

Normally, I wouldn't be using this blog as a platform for a quick rant about a gaming platform - I tend to keep it computers as much as possible but there's a post on DVD Bits that's really got my gander up.

It talks about the cut-down Playstation 3 being released in Australia for $700. As the article says...

"This shaves $300 off the current RRP, but also removes backwards compatibility with Playstation 2 titles; takes out the multi-card reader (for your Memory Sticks, SD cards or Compact Flash) as well as 20GB of HDD space. On the plus side, it is still a Blu-ray player, and may be one of the cheaper and more reliable options."

Now I'm a big fan of backward compatibility. One of the reasons why I felt that Microsoft's XBox deserved to fail was because they don't provide adequate compatibility with their own product.

The article goes on to say that

"Sony has confirmed that the 60GB model will only stay on shelves as long as stock lasts."

If…

Where did "Set Bookmark as Home Page" disappear to in Notes 8?

One thing has really been bugging me in Notes 8 so far. The apparent disappearance of the Set Bookmark as Home Page option.

I tried configuring myself a new home page but I kept getting greedy and wanting six-panel monstrosities which for some reason, the welcome screen refused to create. That is, I thought it refused to create... until I opened Notes this morning and was confronted by my own handy-work - yuck.



Whatever the cause, I decided that today I was going to get my old Navigator home page back. Here are the Steps...

1. Right Click on the Tab for your Database and choose Create Bookmark.



2. The usual bookmark window would appear.
You can put the bookmark anywhere but I'm going to put it in favourites, since it is one of my favourites.

So...

Click on Favorite Bookmarks.
Change the type to Application (default is view and this can sometimes muck up framesets).
Click Ok to add the new bookmark.



3. Click on Open, then Favorite Bookmarks, then Right-Mouse Click on your newly added …

Getting Domino Databases to Work on Mobiles without Extra Technology - Part 2

As promised last time, I'm going to have a look at views.

Suppose we decide to have a view called ITContacts.

We will also need a form called $ViewTemplate for ITContacts.

We can't change the $ViewTemplateDefault form because changing this will affect other web views of the database. Of course, if your database isn't otherwise available on the web, you can save yourself some trouble because otherwise you'll need to create a $ViewTemplate for each view that will be available on the mobile.

Tips for the View
Creating this view is pretty much the same as creating any other Notes view except that you need to be conscious of how much data you're pushing out.

For example;
Your normal web or notes view of IT Contacts might have;
|FirstName | Surname | Company | Phone | Fax | Mobile | Email | Support ID | Address | City | State |

This is fine for a wide screen but isn't at all useful on the mobile.

Concatenation
Consider concatenating fields; eg:

Instead of the first two fields, …

Getting Domino Databases to Work on Mobiles without Extra Technology - Part 1

This is a Beginner/Intermediate Domino developer post.

Most mobile phones these days will happily support web browsing. Some, like the Blackberry, will go much further and offer you an API for development. The problem really is that you need to find the common denominator rather than developing for one of the higher end platforms. I believe that the common denominator is probably plain old web access.

If you've got Domino running web services, you most likely have many of your databases already served over the web. The key things to remember with mobiles are;

Low Bandwidth
Narrow Screens
Simplicity

This post will cover one method that could be used to provide non-push mobile access to databases using a Notes-only solution. There are plenty of other options available but this solution should work well in Domino 6 & 7 (and I'd expect, 8).

Create a Mobile Page
Open your database in designer and create a new page, you should call it mobile.
This will be the front screen for your d…

How (and Why) to Use Different Search Templates for Different Lotus Domino Views

Why would you need to do this?
Until recently, I'd have been at a loss to give you a good reason. Now however, since I've decided to modify some databases for Mobile Phone use, I have a very good reason.

Suppose that you want your database to be searchable via the web and also searchable via mobile.
On the web, you can afford to spread out on the screen and you want to use a lot of fancy graphics and fonts.
On the mobile, you need to keep things as small and as plain as possible.

Working with your existing Database
Your database probably already has a $$SearchForm (or similar) and a $$SearchTemplateDefault. Leave these as they are and your web site will continue to work beautifully.

Make a copy of the two forms and modify them for mobiles

In these examples, we'll call...
the new $$SearchForm, MSearchForm
We'll call the new $$SearchTemplate for MSearchAll

On your MSearchForm, you need only have;

1. An Editable Text Field (called SearchWord1)
2. A Button
3. A Computed Text Field cal…

How to Get RSS Feeds to Work on the Lotus Notes R8 Sidebar

This is a Notes 8 Newbie Tip.

Getting to the Sidebar
If you can't see the sidebar, you should click on View, Sidebar, Open (In the Menu).
The sidebar will display on the right hand side of the screen.

Look in the Sidebar for an orange icon with the word Feeds next to it.
If you don't see it, you may need to click (on the menu) View, Sidebar Panels, Feeds




Adding a Feed
1. To Add a feed, click on the orange icon with a plus sign on it.

2. An Add New Subscription dialog box will appear.

3. Type (or paste Ctrl+V) the address of the feed you want to subscribe to.

You can usually get these addresses by right-clicking on the RSS icons (or orange icons) on web sites and selecting

Copy Link Location (in Firefox)
Copy Shortcut (in Internet Explorer)

4. Click the button marked Go. This causes the bottom section of the dialog box to fill in. You can change these settings if you want to, but often they'll be ok.

Note: You can change them later by right-clicking on the Feed Name and choosing Edit…

Live-Testing the Notes 8 Client

We're a Notes 7 shop and will be until November 2007 at the earliest (while we wait for the relevant blackberry fixes for Notes 8). That said, I wanted to get some familiarity with the client without Losing my Notes 7 install.

So far it's working, so here's how I did it.

A Near Miss
My first attempt at installing Notes 8 could have ended in disaster had I not been watching carefully. The software wanted to install right over the top of my Notes 7 installation and wouldn't give me an option to change directories.

Installation Procedure
I quickly located an IBM tech note on the problem which said to temporarily rename my notes directories.

I renamed them from Lotus to xlotus (both the Application and the Data directories). This was enough to allow me to do a fresh install of Notes 8. This time, I chose a different location.

After installation, I did the workstation setup and chose not to make Notes 8 my default email client (just in case it overwrote something impor…

Getting Hotmail to work on your Blackberry

Ok, this is just a really quick post.

I've been trying to get hotmail to work on the blackberry but it's just not as intuitive as Gmail and there's certainly no nice application available.

In the past, I've been able to browse to hotmail but it doesn't automatically recognize the blackberry as a mobile device. This is (I think) due to the way the blackberry browser registers itself.

Today, I stumbled upon this link and all my problems are gone.

http://mobilecentral.ninemsn.com.au/hotmail.aspx

It's still browser based, (no nice Gmail style app) but it's fast and works well enough.

I don't know if this is due to the recent hotmail/windows live updates or if it has been there all along and I didn't notice.

How to Get some Visitor Reporting from your Domino Web Server

This isn't intended to be the greatest method, but provides a quick method for setting up a means of reporting web site hits.

1. Copy the Domino Web Server Log Template so that you don't overwrite the original.

2. Create a new view (or better still copy/paste and rename the All Requests View).

3. Change the Selection Criteria to something like this...

REM {Normalize the adress: remove leading 'www.' and trailing ':'};

_server := @LowerCase(ServerAddress);

_hasPrefix := @If(@Left(_server; 4) = "www."; @True; @False);
_hasPort := @If(@Contains(_server; ":"); @True; @False);

_address := @If(_hasPrefix; @RightBack(_server; 4); _server);
_address := @If(_hasPort; @LeftBack(_address; ":"); _address);

SELECT _address = "mysite.com.au"


4. Leave the first column (Hits) as a Totals Column hiding detail rows.

5. The second column should be uncategorized ascending and hidden with a formula of @Year(@Created)

6. The third column should be unca…

How to Obtain and Install some decent free Games for the Blackberry

These notes come from some instructions I made for people today. I figured that they were worth sharing...

Blackberry applications, including games are generally loaded using either;
The Blackberry Browser (over the air)The Blackberry Desktop Manager
The method you use will depend upon the particular game/application in question as some vendors use one method only. The "over the air" method is easiest.

Ka-Glom, Medieval Chess, Circle Poppers, BlackJack, Spider Solitaire and Suduku
Note: Not all of these games will be available as Blackberry rotate them on their site.
You will also find some older games listed under Classic Games (Spider Solitaire is especially good).

On your blackberry device, go to: http://mobile.blackberry.com/Scroll down to Fun and Games and click on Super GamesClick on Free GamesAt the Terms and Conditions, click I acceptFind the Game you're interested in and Click on the arrow next to DownloadAt the next screen, click on DownloadYou'll get a bar gr…

Using Domino as a Normal Web Server

One of our recent projects involves the publication of an online annual report. As with most of these corporate things, the marketing people approach non-domino, non-windows designers and ask for what they want completely oblivious to the technical ramifications of what they have just requested. This isn't to say that we have bad marketing people, in fact ours are rather good. It's just that this is normal marketing behaviour and is typical of all of the organisations I've worked in.

So, we were suddenly faced with a very short deadline and a whole heap of html, css and other web files.

We could probably have put all of these files into a domino database and changed a lot of code, but the keyword here was "deadline".

The answer: Simply dump all of the files into the html directory on the domino server...

D:\Lotus\Domino\Data\domino\html

This path is correct... for our server at least. The word Domino does appear twice.

We also have a D:\Lotus\Domino\html folder on …

Remote Access and APEC

Due to the Apec conference taking place in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, management suddenly felt the urge to move all of our employees of the site and have them use remote access.

As this was done at very short notice, a couple of days at the most, we were concerned that most of our users would find the task impossible. Most of them had never used our remote access facilities before. Luckily we were wrong, with only one morning of constant calls.

We tried a number of different methods with the aim of fully proving our remote access DRP.

These methods included;
Complete Web based access (Web mail and notes databases via the Web)Lotus Notes clients via the InternetLotus Notes clients on a memory sticks (Nomad)Files (from our File Servers) on the memory stick or CD-ROMDrive mapping to the domain using a VPNVPN followed by remote DesktopOffsite server access for Lotus Notes DominoReplication of files from our file servers to an offsite server and access via Web based VPN using a remote de…

Benchmarks and Speed tips for preparing Lotus Notes Nomad USB Sticks

Last week, with the APEC conference looming in Sydney, I was suddenly called upon to provide a number of Nomad sticks to staff members.

Now, I haven't used Nomad beyond my initial testing when Notes 7.0.2 came out because I'm simply not traveling much these days and my home setup is too good to need it.

I dug out my old instructions and started installing using my work computer, which admittedly is an older model (2GHz P4) and I started the installation routines and it said that time to complete was 260 minutes.

I assumed that these were "microsoft minutes" (ie: ones unrelated to reality) but when, after a lunch break ,the install was still going - I decided to cancel.

I then tried installing to a directory on my PC. There were some good instructions from IBM and the procedure took under 5 minutes. Then I tried copying the installed files to the memory stick using Windows copy, but it was going to take 181 minutes.

I tried to cheat by ZIPPing the files (3 minutes), co…

Remote Desktop via Blackberry

I am a big fan of remote desktop and use it for all sorts of things with notable examples being;
Starting large downloads (eg: Domino 8) from Home to my work PCRunning MS Project on our Presentations Equipment even though it isn't loaded there.Getting better speed in Lotus Notes when I'm using the system remotely.It was only a matter of time before I tried to get it working on the BlackBerry.

I investigated a couple of companies but they weren't very helpful and I had problems getting their software to work. I specifically wanted Remote Desktop, not VNC - as remote desktop is built-in to Windows.

Eventually I found a company called Idokorro and their software worked first time.

What's great about this software is that given that our Blackberry Enterprise Server is inside our Corporate Firewall I can access my desktop PC without having to use VPN and without weakening our firewall.

One note: On the standard BlackBerry Enterprise Server settings I got the following message;

Figuring out the Server Name

A bit about our Off-site Server Project
The aim of this project was always to have an off-site server that was capable of providing us with alternative facilities in the event of a disaster. My employers were on Domino before I started working here (7 years ago) and many of our oldest databases are in relatively "untouched" form. One of the biggest challenges of our off-site server project was always going to be the detection and removal of server-name hard-coding.

Discovering all those server names was a tedious business which I won't go into here. This blog entry will provide you with one bit of code we used to replace a single-line server name. We used several different methods but this method is interesting in that it provides an alternative when the server is local.

Getting the Server Name itself
Generally, getting the server name in a late-domino server is quite easy. There's an @function (@ServerName) for it from R6 onwards, and prior to that it was accessi…

The Mysterious "Relay Host for messages leaving the Local Internet Domain" setting

We migrated our off-site server back on-site last Friday night and once again we were thrown by this setting. For this reason, I'll explain it a little.

The Symptoms
The most obvious symptoms of this value being incorrectly set are;
a. Mail routes internally happily.
b. Inbound internet mail is working fine
c. Outbound internet mail is not working
d. Other externally visible services generated by the server (eg: http) are visible on web.

Some of the Domino server console error messages you may see if this is wrongly configured include;
DNS Not ImplementedMessages about Relaying being Denied or Relay HostsNo messages transferred to xxxxx via SMTP: SMTP Protocol Returned a Transient Error

Where is it?
The setting in question lives in the Server Configuration documents on the Router/SMTP and then Basics tabs. The actual name of the setting is: "Relay Host for messages leaving the Local Internet Domain".

What should it be set to?
This depends mightily on your configuration but if you…

A Blackberry Newbie

I wasn't terribly excited about the prospect of getting a Blackberry server especially at this technically "crowded" time of my life but now I'm fairly convinced about the technology.

Before I join the converted and start spouting the virtues of the blackberry system, I first want to go over some of the bad bits - chances are I'm not likely to look back at them.

The Bad Bits
The Telstra people who sold us the system told us that you could use any pc running the Lotus Notes Client - this is wrong... Beware: The Blackberry Enterprise Server is expensive, though not necessarily in terms of the Blackberry software.

In order to run Blackberry Enterprise Server (for Notes/Domino) you will need;


A reasonably powerful PC or Server, they recommended 4GHz but realistically it can be a little lower in spec.
Lotus Domino Enterprise server - yup - now that is a serious extra expense if you don't want it running on your production server
A fair amount of hard drive space. The…

The Move - Complete

My blogging has slowed down considerably lately due to an office move which used up most of my time. There were two aspects of the move;

1. The move itself
Whereby all equipment had to be disconnected and packed up then unpacked/reconnected at the new site. There was a lot of planning and testing involved with this.

2. A Temporary Domino Server Switch
In some ways, this was more work than the move. Management decided that they wanted our systems to remain running throughout the move. We used the server setup for the "temporarily abandoned" clustering project to set up a new offsite domino server. We did a lot of testing of applications and needed to make a few changes to some of our applications.

I'm happy to say that the off site server worked well and kept our systems running throughout the move. I'll provide more detail on changes made and difficulties encountered in later posts.

When your ISP tries to kill you....

I've just edited and anonymised my last post in case I can't control myself here...
If you haven't read it, you should read that one before this one.

We've had no SMTP inbound mail since lunchtime yesterday.

We contacted our ISP (PT) but they weren't interested in the problem. They told me to reboot the Domino server....

No thanks.

Internal mail is working fine.

I tried using a VB Application to send SMTP mail to the server's internal IP Address. It worked fine - proving that if mail were reaching the server it would process it.

All indications were that there was a duplicate IP on the internet - but that couldn't be right - we got that problem fixed yesterday...

After hours of wasted IT time, we finally discovered the truth. Our ISP (PT) who duplicated our IP Address yesterday had removed the address as requested. They then put the address back into their system and allocated it to a new customer.

I can't think of a closing statement that wont get me in tr…

When your ISP is your own Worst Enemy...

[This post was edited to provide anonymity to the ISP - Not that they deserve it]

Our current internet service provider, (I'll call them PT to anonymise them in case this blog takes too much of an annoyed tone) is a medium sized provider in Australia. When I say current, I don't mean that we plan to change... heck, we only change ISP's once, but have had five ISPs. We made a switch from Ozemail shortly after they were taken over by a less service-conscious entity (can't remember who). From there, we moved to Davnet, who were taken over by NTT Australia, who were taken over by PT. All of the service we've received since the initial switch to Davnet has been top-quality. Until, of course, we get to PT.

In our early days of PT service, we were affected by an unplanned outage that lasted approximately 2 days. It was (and still is) the biggest total outage in my computing history. Even worse, they didn't seem to be in control of the situation but were at the me…

Who has the Right to Perform Updates on your Computer and how Important are they?

These days, it seems that just about everyone feels that they have the right to update your computer automatically and for the least important applications.

But the questions need to be asked;

Exactly how critical is the update and what will happen if I don't do it?
How much testing has been done on the impact of this update on the applications I like to run?
What is the update doing to my startup?
Who gets to decide the timing and what warning is given?
What will the application do to my network?



I'm not going to attempt to answer these questions in this post. I'm basically just going to whinge and then post updates as I get my policy in order. At the moment, I don't know what the best answers are.



The Microsoft Whinge
Microsoft used to provide only important security updates as "critical" but they are now putting out all sorts of unwarranted updates, like Internet Explorer 7, via the automatic distribution system.

The really annoying thing about Microsoft's up…