FileZilla is one of the best FTP clients ever, however while they’re perfect everybody else isn’t
What this means is that if an FTP site isn’t configured correctly then trying to download files that have special characters or accents in them using the FileZilla client will fail, the FileZilla team don’t want to support it because they’re doing the correct thing standards wise (UTF-8 settings on the server) and it’s other people’s failings that are causing the problem but other clients DO support this kind of behaviour eg. firefox which is a shame…
This means that we do need to find a way around the problem with FileZilla, the first sign that something has gone wrong will be in your failed downloads tab
A quick glance at the file usually shows you that there is a special character or accent in it, in this case a “À”
To get round this I found easiest way is merely to select all of the items that have failed right click and export them
This will give you an XML file, open it up and look for the “File” sections and then find and replace the special charaters in the “localFile” section to a none special charater, save the file then import it into fileZilla (file —> Import), you will find that it will download all missing files.
It would be nice if there was an automated version of this but as far as I can tell the FileZilla guys are sticking to standards. :(
This is a social review post done when I should be doing technical posts but I REALLY enjoy this YouTube channel and as this particular YouTuber is moving to running his channel full time it seemed like a good opportunity to do a review.
The channel is called @ChristopherOdd and it’s a ‘let’s play’ channel or ‘long play’ as I used to know them, in which someone plays full video games while narrating what they are doing, there are hundreds of them out there so what differentiates this one from others?
Christopher Odds voice: His voice is far more like an audio book narrator than a gamer, he doesn’t get hysterical, he doesn’t make you wince, he doesn’t get over excited in a fake way (though he suffers baddly from jump scares in horror games) it’s a pleasant dulcet tone to listen too, as someone that listens to a huge number of audio books I’ve come to really appreciate the quality of a narrator and as far as I’m concerned Christopher Odd is the best narrator for games that I have currently met on any platform.
Mental speed: I don’t know his age and I haven’t looked into it (it feels a bit stalkerish to start looking at peoples age and things like that) but he’s about my mental speed, he solves problems at about the speed I do, I don’t want to jump up and down and yell for him to do things faster or slower, he just thinks at a nice pace and I feel after he has completed the game that I have seen all of that game and that it is as complete a play through as I would make.
Being correct without being too correct: Christopher is constantly correcting himself while he’s playing, you can see from one video to another that he is learning and changing his opinions as things grow and change, Cultural slips are corrected, things said in the heat of the moment are amended instantly and this is at a time when his popularity is at about 300000 YouTube followers when a lot of YouTubers think they can get away with saying offensive things without any backlash. It makes you think he is a good person in real life.
These and the choices of the games he plays result in a channel I can watch all day, a rarity in this day and age :)
But even if he is a joy to listen too, why would I want to watch a video of someone playing computer games? for me there are two reasons
He plays a series of games that I would never play!! I do not want to play Dark Souls, all the Dark Souls series are massively frustrating to play and that’s not something I am interesting in experiencing but I am fascinated with their worlds and want to learn about them 1.
He plays most of his games based on their story and that story is often better than a lot of TV series. To me watching him play is it enjoyable as a series, in fact more so because I can predict most elements of a TV story line (As can most people) but when watching a game there will be surprise elements based purely on his game play over and above the story, the same cannot be said of TV.
All this has meant that I am now a Patron supporter of his channel and treat the news of him going full time with great delight, his channel is by far the one I watch the most and at the current quality I see no reason to change that in the future. :)
This is an old tip that I never thought I would use again but has come back to life with the advent of the cloud:
We are migrating multiple servers from onsite to the cloud, the bandwidth of this copy means that it won’t happen within 24 hours and it definitely won’t happen within the maintenance window we have, normally with Lotus Notes migrations from one server to another this wouldn’t be an issue as Domino replication has been a model of stability and ease of use for well over 10 years HOWEVER there are tons and I do mean tons of complex replication settings in this clients setup a lot of them unknown or unremembered to the client, so they have found that using replication means they will miss some of these and after having a look at them I tend to agree so file copy it is..
NSF files tend to be a bit bulky and zip up really rather well so zipping them up before moving them over them makes sense but we don’t want to do one large zip, because 1) The target file system doesn’t have a lot of extra space on it, and 2) The actual copy will take several days so we want to do it one chunk at a time
First let’s get a list of all of the NSF’s files we want to copy over, this will have a double advantage of giving us an indication of numbers and size etc as well as giving us something that we can actually work through so that we can do one group at a time,
Once we have the list then the following little script popped in a batch file and with WinRAR installed on the system will give you an exact mimic of your notes folder structure but with each NSF zipped up and in the correct place
You can then copy them over in whatever method you prefer and unzip as suits you, this method may seem a little Noddy but this is the third time I’ve used it and every time the notes movement has been the easiest part of a migration.
Over the last few weeks my social media stream has been filled with pictures and memories of times gone by for Lotusphere/Connect, these memories have been more than a little bit painful as they were all great times, a meeting time for great friends as well as for a community spirit that I’ve never met in any other technology, not Salesforce, nor Java, node or MongoDB,
This community still does exist even though it has shrunk over the last couple of years, however there is hope that with the recent changes and the hopeful reinvigoration by IBM/HCL as well as the constant work of such core community leaders of Gabriella Davis that it will return and maybe even grow, having basically opted out of the community for the last year or so through a mixture of client demands and ever-increasing work load, I am now reminded by these pictures and memories how important such a community is and not just to work and to business but to friendship and general sanity,
Long live the yellow bubble!!!
—^ My First Lotusphere, young fresh-faced and not fat
—^ Presenting for the first time at Lotusphere
—^ On the Piss with good friends
—^ The famous “all bloggers” photo
In Salesforce the same bit of code can be triggered a lot of different ways and with calls to third parties there are different rules for the different ways of calling stuff.
For example take this bit of code, in it we are just passing a contact ID and it is going to go and talk to a third party web service, inside the “setUpRequest” it’s going to update the third party with the details of the Salesforce Contact and in return recive some bits and bobs from the third party to update the Saleforce side. Basic syncing between two parties
we want this thing to happen at two different times:
So this bit of code has to be callable both from a Schedule and from a save Trigger
let’s take the save trigger first, as it is now it won’t work, you will get the error “Callout from triggers are currently not supported.” error if you try, normally you would just pop the annotation “@Future(callout=true)”1 at the top of this function and that would solve that but as you will see later on we can’t do that so what we’re going to do is have a little wrapper function that has the @future annotation and from that it’s going to call are real function.
we can then put that wrapper functions in our contact save trigger and everything will work perfectly
Next comes calling it from a schedule, if we had put the @future annotation on the actual function this would fail because you cannot call a future function from a scheduled action but we dont have that issue now, what you DO have to do is bolt-on the “Database.AllowsCallouts” to your batch object as seen below
Now your batch object will be allowed to do callouts.
Putting all these bits together means you can have a single function that calls out to third parties that can be triggered from either a Schedule or an ordinary Trigger.
The “@Future(callout=true)” annotation basically means that the salesforce code does not stop and wait before doing other things this means that calls to third parties does not slow down the salesforce UI. ↩
So here comes the year in review blog post
I think it’s fair to say that I’ve never had a year that’s been so head down teeth gritted
Most of what would be considered the fluff or interesting things that you do in a year has been missing entirely, no conferences, no training courses, no anything other than client work. that is not to say I haven’t done new things, each week, each month seems filled with new technology, new things to code, new things to learn but it’s all been work that has to be delivered, work that has to be produced on time.
This resulted in the company itself doing well and thanks to that I’m in a better position then I think I’ve ever been before, a state that is all for the good because what with Brexit happening soon, UK companies now face an uncertain future so using the next two years to prepare for that is something that is going to be really important
Looking forward to the coming year it looks as if I have finally reached a point in my career progression where I do not have a major on-site client, all of my work can be done remotely which is a goal I’ve been aiming for some time but it’s still a little bit stunning to finally reach it, it will mean I need even more focus in how I work and that will give me a couple of extra blog posts as I formalise the way I behave on a day to day basis but I finally have the flexibility I’ve been after.
It’s always good to look back in the year and try and update your CV, what are you an expert in? what can you sell yourself as? what you are aiming for going forward? To be frank, knowing technology by rote plays less and less a part of what I provide my clients (both LDC and None LDC).
What I’m good at is learning new1 things, in adapting and providing clients with what they want when they want, the stuff that I’ve been hired to do going forward this year and stuff that I’ve been doing for the last 8 months at least hasn’t really been solely technologically orientated no one has said “oh are you an expert in x” they have just hired me to solve a problem, to make an issue go away, how that is done has been irrelevant or has already been set in stone by corporate decision.
However, I wouldn’t be me unless I still loved new technology and rolled in it like freshly cut grass.
Networks and encryption: This has been an odd one to go back to and get up to date with, so many of the solutions I have had to provide this year have not been code related, or rather code has not been the best way to solve the problem, hardware and network performance issues don’t just go away with platform as a service if anything they get more complex as they are not as transparent.
Salesforce offshoots: Salesforce continues to keep buying things and integrating them into their ecosystem so things like AMPScript have become commonplace.
But there have been losses and this year I lost my IBM champion status, there was the brief pang of “Bugger”, but writing this I can’t say I disagree with the decision, I did no conferences this year2, and thus no speaking gigs, this blog was very quiet on the IBM front, and all the stuff I did for IBM was behind the scenes at client sites and a Champion really does have to be seen …. C’est la vie
What do I think I will be doing in 2018?
Practical Cloud - The cloud has changed so many things and made them better, but in some ways we have gone backwards and there is a lot of work in such regressions, for example, inter-machine network speed that had reached really rather fast rates on internal networks has suddenly tanked when it is measured between existing onside stuff and new cloud services.
Hard Decisions - Over the last year, I have seen a growing trend of business actually having the budget and gritting their teeth over modernizing apps that have been around for 10+ years.
Security - Even things that have been trusted for years have failed in the last 12 months, and while there are lots of security people around that will load up your network and apps with new standards and firewalls, there does not seem to be anyone that is willing to fix the trashed performance when the heavy boots of the security forces have been in and done their work.
I suspect quite a lot of my year will be spent using both new and old tech to get things working again after someone has enacted the latest company edict……. :)
In a few weeks I pop off on my first holiday for 2 years, for this trip I really do not want to take my laptop, this would seem odd as the darn things have been practically glued to me for the last 20 Years, but:
But I’m not insane, nor can I leave my clients, sooo I needed to retain access in some way so that I can support as and when it is needed. someone sort of cloud desktop that I can reach from a cheap laptop or tablet seemed like an obvious answer.
AMAZON Workspaces: This looked a perfect fit to start with and I use AWS for lots of other services including this blog, but the setup was a right faff was slow and cumbersome and then I realised that it would not allow VMWARE or any virtualisation, undaunted I though I would at least check out the performance, only discover that despite stating “just connects from anything” it only meant large android screens (not my phone) and not from Linux at All.. so in the bin it went.(shame really)
VMWARE Remote Console: Wince!!..I have to own to a bit of paranoia here my self, direct access to the Clients VM’s is just too much of a risk from external, it just stops there. sorry VMWARE, I tried to mentally run through the conversation explaining my actions to clients, and none of them went well.
I started to look at Citrix then got a grip and thought, “OH COME ON” its just one machine. Just get another machine load your VM’s on it and get a good secure remote client… cue another 30 mins wasted looking at online hosting and then a small local server and more swearing comes from the office as I realise “JUST USE YOUR BLOODY LAPTOP YOU TWIT YOU WON’T HAVE IT WITH YOU”…. fsss.
So it just comes down to a good remote connection software
The 3 that stood out were:
Logmein : From my point of view easy to discount as it does not support Linux guests but would have been discarded anyway as it has a small company feel which you again make it a difficult sell to clients
Team Viewer : Used by many of my clients and supports a lot of nice security features, but a bit on the pricey side.
VNC Connect : I was attracted to this as I use the free version for my Raspberry Pi’s, I also like the VNC standard and it has been security hardened by many a grumpy sys admin and dev over the years, the VNC Connect platform provided by Real VNC ticks all the boxes.
I was actually hard pressed to pick between Team Viewer and VNC Connect, on paper they provided all the features/platforms and security that I could want, but in the end VNC Connect won though partly because of price (its is £422 a year vs £384) but mainly the fact that the android viewer on team studio does not support the use of a mouse via Android.3
OK, lets get the elephant in the room out of the way, how are we handling security.
Well VNC Connect is nicely paranoid about security so to get to my laptop now requires 2 logons both different 12 digit ones (1 to login to VNC Connect and 1 to get to my laptop ) then each VM is encrypted and requests a login appropriate to the OS used, then of course the normal password for each client to connect via VPN/Programs etc etc.
I ran that though potential questions via any of my clients and it came out OK.
I have attempted to do this kind of thing before and obviously used remote software all of my career, and thus have sworn at my fair share of thin clients, phones, and tablets
I looked at Chrome books but frankly all in the price range were poo, Microsoft surface laptops were too expensive and I’m not in the IOS ecosystem, So an Android Tablet it is, that meant a Nexus or Pixel as few of the other vendors keep the security patches up to date, thankfully the Pixel C was on special offer (most likely due to being replace in the next month or so) that meant I could get a good tablet with a great screen and a very pleasant keyboard, paired with the new Logitech tracker ball I had something that was very usable thank you.
So I did 2 basic tests, performance and usability
Performance: I connected my laptop to a VPN in Japan, then tethered the tablet to my phone, then connected via the remote and sat down to work, it was totally usable , there was that slight lag on the mouse you get on any remoting software but no more than I get when I VPN into any clients network, and that was going to be the real test, using a VM via another VPN while remoting to the host PC, here I have to say I cheated like a devil, as my laptop is in the comms room of the office where it has access to the AWESOME least line we use (and is physically secure), so in fact it was actually faster and more responsive than normal, which was a more than pleasant surprise
Usability: Not bad, not perfect but not bad, it worked as well as any remote program, with a couple of extra qwerks, it does not re-size the client desktop as it is a genuine KVM rather than creating a new session, which is both good and bad and easy to work around, the other qwerk I’m still working on, is that the top and bottom bars for the Real VNC client triggers very easily and they don’t always retract cleanly without an extra click, I would like it if you could allocate a special gesture to the client to stop it working in modal form, the same as VMWARE client, perhaps a 3 finger swipe from the top or something like that
OK, I have been doing dry runs of leaving my laptop in the office and just taking the tablet and mouse home at night then working on that and I have to say I am now comfortable just going to Japan without the laptop, this setup works…. wish me luck.. :p
I get told off about this about once a month. ↩
They do do a cheaper version but I wanted the higher level encryption. ↩
But I do have to give the Team viewer client credit for handling screen render better than VNC it would have been nice to get the best of both worlds, and I hope VNC improves on that front. ↩
I moved to a trackball instead of a mouse about 22 years ago when I got a twinge of RSI in my shoulder and the best one on the market at the time was the Logitech ps2 Marble TrackMan, since then I have upgraded with each new model resulting in the current M570, a week ago on an off chance and needing a blue tooth trackball I checked the Logitech site, squeeking with surprise I saw the new MX Ergo trackball was just out
A few days later it arrives in my sweaty hands and I discover that someone at Logitech seems to be a mind reader and has added just about everything I wanted. So this review is going to be a bit unbalanced but I will try to point out the good and the bad.,
Size and Feel is nearly identical to the M570 (which just shows they got it right the first time) with the addition of the 2 position rocker (Hand flat and hand at 20°)
The underneath of the MX Ergo vs one of my well-worn M570’s you can see the solid foot and absence of battery hatch, the MX Ergo just recharges via USB meaning I no longer have to carry around any spare batteries.
The detachable foot, with sticks on the MX Ergo with 2 magnets, cant say I’m in love with the solution and would like the option to leave it off but there is no denying that it sticks on well and gives both weight and stability.
Given the cost, less rugged nature and “waiting to fall off” base, the investment of a case seemed a prudent Idea I went with a Hard Travel Case by co2CREA
I love this mouse, I REALLY love this mouse, yes it costs more than its predecessor, yes you cant just bung it in your laptop bag anymore, but to use and in particular to use on different platforms, it is just a pleasure, comfortable, responsive and smooth…… Happy Sigh
A silly tip that has saved me tons of hours and make clients happy is having an Email domain that has “catch-all” routing on it.
Basically this is having a domain that any address that you use with it automatically routes to a central email address, mine is the “energywins.co.uk” domain, anything you send to that domain ends up at my main address, be it “clientTest1@energywins.co.uk” or “fakeUser200@energywins.co.uk”, this did not used to be that useful when all apps were internal, but in the world of cloud apps and PARTICULARLY with the Salesforce/Pardot world that only allows an email to be registered once it is invaluable and helps you to keep clients separated (they also love to have you use emails address that are specific to them ie “MicrosoftTEST@energywins.co.uk”
This can be done easily with just about any email provider, but I use Gmail for domains as it is easy, fast and cheap1.
Strangely the Gmail for Domain instructions keep changing, are oddly poor for Google and the setting is buried REALLY deep which I assume means they don’t really want you to do it. so if things change, just search for “Gmail Catch All” in the meantime:
That’s it, for most people this is not a suitable setting because it just slightly increases your spam content, but for me and anyone who needs a constant stream of individual email address and to not lose track of old ones used one 6 months ago, it’s invaluable.
Anyone who knows me will find the idea of me not wearing a set of headphone at all times a strange one, and for the last 6+ years I have been a faithful purchaser of the Sennheiser PXC range, gently working my way through the range over the years from the 360 to the 550, however when it came to buying a spare battery (after a spate of losing the devils) I found out that the style that I had been used to years had been changed, not a problem, all designs change and grow i’ll just get the new version…. Ah no I won’t… because the new ones are angled and that is a deal breaker, it means I can’t wear them the wrong way round 1 and I cant tuck one behind an ear which I NEED if I am on a client site as there is nothing that gets headphones banned faster than managers not being able to call you when they want.
I looked at the new Sennheiser PXC but they failed because of the tilt issue raised above and their other suitable models tipped the hipster scale too far, Bose cost too much and just feel like they are not going to last long under the strain of my life and Plantronics are huge and just fall off my head, so enter an outsider in headphones but a venerable name in music: Marshall and their Monitor Bluetooth
It’s still early days and the Marshals are not quite as easy on my ears as the Sennheisers but the sheer upgrade in nearly all features blows that out of the water, Recommended.
Which I want to do when I want the the cable or buttons on a certain side, or if the Bluetooth signal is having problems with my head!! ↩