Due a huge number of unfortunate events LDC Via are not at connect this year (though we will be at other IBM conferences), refusing to give up on the core tenant of such conferences we will be getting pissed and watching the OGS.
Time for the annual year in review blog post! This year has just about everything in it, everything apart from peace and quiet. A huge diversity of work and skill-sets, from Salesforce to Sametime, from AngularJS to admin work on SAML, so much so that my tiny mind is bulging at the seams.
My Salesforce skills have come on leaps and bounds: it is an interesting platform, with a lot of opportunity for the clever hacking I enjoy so much. I must give Bluewave a huge thank you for letting me work with it (Salesforce is very partner-oriented, with little place for true freelancers) and most particularly Barry Hughes, the most patient guru who also lets me sit in on internal training sessions despite having finished my full-time work (with Bluewave’s permission I might add).1
For the first time ever, I have a proper office rather than simply relying on client sites or my home workspace: my rented office is at Purple Patch, and it has proved to be just perfect. I can get tons done, and it’s also somewhere to meet, and work, with clients.
Proper Programming —> Java is still my core “serious” language. I’m using it enough to keep things sharp, but it’s not a growth area.
IBM —> Sametime, Domino, WebSphere, ISeries and the other staples of the IBM family continue to test my imagination with integration and upgrade work, ensuring everything stays up-to-date and relevant.
Two big items to guess about here:
Salesforce - I’m less sure about this. The model favours a race to the bottom, which is already starting to show. The company is also incredibly partner-oriented which means it’s hard for smaller companies and individuals to find work. I will just have to keep the skills sharp and see what happens.
Bugger knows, this year has been busy, but it’s been in fits and starts3, such is the joy of freelancing. I had a couple of quiet spots and a couple of periods of full-on mayhem. For 2017, I’m hoping to avoid the two things that make we want to scream: (1) the sudden cessation of all work, followed by a couple of stunned weeks looking around, and (2) the conversation with someone later on that year who says “I would have asked you, but you always seem so busy…”
OK, that is enough of the fluffy blog posts for a while. Next up: proper tech stuff!
I was there as a contractor to help take deal with a sudden heavy load, they have now hired permanent staff, but still treat me as part of the team and I’m there if they hit another peak. ↩
Including requests to Google and other web email vendors for native buttons and drag-and-drop meetings, etc., etc. ↩
or even ‘Stits and Farts’ ↩
Just a quick tip for developers who are coding and testing ical solutions with Google / Gmail web client, if you update a meeting in the past i.e. you reject a meeting in the past that you had previously accepted it will NOT send a notification back to the meeting organiser to inform of the change where as something like the Outlook think client WILL,
So IBM has renewed my IBM champion status for a third year.
Now according to standard corporate logic I should have lost my champion status because in the last year I have done more than just IBM stuff, I have worked with other technologies, promoted them and worst of all the product I have co-created can be used to migrate application data away IBM Domino and I bet that with most evangelist programs that would have meant expulsion, how ever IBM grew up years ago and are in this for the long hall, the best example of this is that Rene Winkelmeyer is still a champion and he bleeding works for Salesforce!!
What does this prove?? well to me it proves that IBM champions are not little “Yes” drones, they are people with a ton of expertise in IBM technology’s and will be honest about them and know how to get them to work as the client wants.
So thank you IBM for the vote of confidence… As an immediate return I can tell you that I am currently helping a large client implement AngularJS applications via REST services all running natively on an Iseries, again making sure that IBM stays up to date and relevant.
I’m writing this post before the IBM champion decisions come out this year and you get a glut of “I’m so grateful for the honour” blog posts..
Now Gabriella was a IBM champion long before the term existed
Let me explain. In a rough and ready sort of way an IBM Champion is supposed to act as an evangelist to the IBM brand and provide the following informal services.
Gab excels at all of these, Lets take an example of contact between myself and Gab to see what I mean.
In the middle of the week I had a problem I was REALLY stuck on with Sametime and so I howled on the champions chat, I was greeted with helpful suggestions by those awake at that time, but from Gab I got the following (which I will take apart)
“OK, I have a client deliverable that I am on, but that should be done in 2 hours can you hold on until then”
—^ Her clients came first, that is explained to me and expectations are set so I know where I am but help is on the way.
(2 Hours 15 mins later) “OK I read the chat.. I think it is XXXXX and we need to check the following, do XXX && YYY and tell me what it says”
—^ she has followed through on a promise, has given me an opinion and a number of things to veryify this, so I’m learning the deduction process.
“OK on the basis of that, it confirms that it is indeed XXXXX, to fix it we need to do ZZZZ, you can see that at this URL, and can double check by looking at the following files”
—^ A solution, with official backup and a way of checking to confirm the suggestion has taken effect.
and Bugger me if that did not fix it….
Now that does not make Gab a “free support desk”, it makes her someone I can turn to when I have tried everything I and mr Google can think off (and personally it makes me want to get better so I can reply her in kind some day).. it makes her a CHAMPION.
Now lets look at her broader input into the community…
How many of you would not consider an IBM conference or LUG complete without Gab taking apart one of the more horrible parts of the administration process, be it Authentication between cloud service providers or simplifying massively complex installations she provides a unique and constantly relevant voice at conferences.
And finally there is her efforts to help IBM expand their position in the changing world of IT with such things as the CSC events, showing people how to integrate existing IBM offerings with internet darling technologies,
So for you new IBM champions (and existing ones) this year there is a life time standard for you to be aiming for and Gab is it…. She is in my opinion and as I have public stated multiple times The Best IBM stack administrator in the world.
now if you will just excuse me I need to go and find a pit to hide in in case gab reads this post and pulls my lungs out.
Disclaimer: I am a long time friend of both Gab and her husband Tim the Geekmeister, I have both worked for/with/employed her for years and wont get anything from this blog post other than a savage telling off for embarrassing her ↩
Another silly support tip for Domino and Third Party SAML XML documents,
If you are hitting this post it is most likely you got here via a google search, so it does not have the whole back ground on SAML but after creating a Idp configuration and restarting you might get this line in the console:
HTTP Server: Error reading IdP configuration for server saml XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:Invalid arguments
This odd little error is nearly always down to character returns in the X509 certificate in the imported XML file (easy to find and fix just go and edit the XML document provided by your SAML provider and remove them)
However the XML document I had did not have any character returns (cue a little head scratching), what it did have right at the sodding end of the very long line was an extra space….
so in the <ds:X509Certificate> tag in the SAML Import XML make sure you don’t have ANY characters that are not part of the certificate.
If this still does not work and you actually want to see if you have got a proper certificate you can you the wonderful http://www.keystore-explorer.org/ to have a good look at it
Just get the text in between the <ds:X509Certificate>CERT TEXT</ds:X509Certificate> tags and paste it into a empty text file with a *.cer extension, then open it up with the “inspect a certificate” Option.
So it was a standard install on a client site on clean windows 2012 servers built by the client. with only basic services to be provided, simples eh?
instead we get this bundle of fun when trying to login on the web client for meetings
CommunityServ W com.ibm.collaboration.realtime.stproxy.services.community.CommunityService doService, SID: 12345678-AAAA-1234-ZZZZ-123456789555 CLFRX0030E: Login is not completed in 10 seconds. User XXXX XXXX will be logged out.
that login is not completed in 10 secs
After a good deal of grumbling and checking of settings it was decided to make sure IP6 was not used, I checked in the windows setting and it did not look as if it was enabled, Gab however point out that that would not be enough and sent me to this
which is a little download to completely disable the feature, I ran it on a the various servers and voilà , suddenly everything works.
Just a tip in case it is needed……
I do pardot implementations amongst my other salesforce stuff, which always seem to involve a number of hacks to bend the Salesforce and Pardot functions to meet the existing behaviours that the client wants.
Now pardot has “completion actions” these are very useful jobs that are performed when a form is submitted, but limited in that they are not conditional, i.e. you cant say “if field X = Y then do W action else do Z action”, Pardot them selves show you a way round this using form field based completion actions.
This is a nice trick and can be used as a base for more complex things, namely running MULTIPLE completion actions, an example of which is shown below
This means that you can run a lot of conditional rules based on the fields in the one form, the most common use I make of this is of a Custom Email Preference Center Pages but one where a user can fill in more details than just their email address.
Oh one final note, you will see on the pardot instructions they close their iframes with a “/>” this wont work if you have multiple iframes on one page you need to close of iframes properly with “</iframe>”
Silly little post and more an aide-memoire than anything, but recently I have been doing a bit of work on a VERY secure site, one that does not permit bluetooth of any form even for such things as mice, resulting in a quick pound down to PC World, after a squint down the rows of mice I realised that wired is really dead and there was none that I would not feel ashamed to use, dead that is apart from serious gaming, in that area there was a very pleasant and quality mouse in the form of the Razer deathadder chroma.
All was fine till I plugged the darn thing in and discovered its ultra sensitivity meant it was nearly uncontrollable and the normal UI sensitivity settings went nowhere near far enough down to make it usable, so back to command line we go.
So first lets get a list of the input devices on the system with:
Now lets check this list for the first instance of “Razer Razer DeathAdder Chroma” in the pointers list and get its id number (in this case 12), then change its sensitivity as below, I find a value of 3 takes it down to the same level as a normal mouse
There we go, a usable mouse.
For me the big revelation was the PSC presentation on migration strategy, not for the strategic partnership announcement with LDC Via which I of course knew about as I was there as LDC Via’s representative but for the “this is the truth of the world we live in, it is time to accept it” statement which has been an undercurrent of our yellow world for so long. This has lacked someone articulate enough to say it in a non IBM bashing way also Mr Head in one slide managed to sum up LDC Via’s position in the application structure better than the 4 tech that wrote it had managed in 2 years….
The Conference its self was excellent with some stunning content and very enjoyable from both a learning and a social angle, I could have done without the heat of Austin but the city its self is amazing and I can see why the residents are so proud of it.
The Session with Gab went well with a good attendance and no hecklers (security people can be weird), my individual session was the last of the day and thanks to the conference running a bit on the late side was not well attended (I went and checked if the attendance was as bad in the other sessions and it was), but EVERYBODY in the session ask questions and multiple people came up and thanked me again latter .. Weeeeeee
LDC Via was well received and people are starting to see what it can do and that is is not a threat either to IBM or to their jobs and ecosystem, more of a evolution of storage but I really should have brought more marketing stuff to give away :(
I also attended my first Penumbra meeting and ended up not doing hardly any of the full days work I had brought with me (I hate meetings) because the conversation was so interesting and engaging, I now understand why people join.
And thus the answer to the question at the beginning of the post is: “Yes, it was very much worth it”