Solar – The Start …

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been thinking of solar for a few years now and with Tesla changing the market I finally have the opportunity to actually get that technology on my house.

Ideally I would actually prefer the Tesla solar tiles as I can’t say I really think that solar panels themselves are particularly pretty. However, the tiles are still very expensive, take forever to get in line for an install and are likely just not really mature enough yet. I also have been reading of some new panel technology that is slowly making it’s way towards real world implementation and is likely a few more years out from being available in the market at prices I woudl want to pay.

Also, my roof has probably another 10 years or so of life in it and that is also the period that powerwalls are warranted for … so my thought is to get Solar now, not have to do any capital investment, get some reduction in our electric bill (even with the monthly rental fee) and have security from outages with the powerwall and then in 10 years or so re-asses and either upgrade,change or do whatever makes sense then. Tesla Solar Tiles Version 3 maybe? This simply works for me and has few potential downsides.

If you want to know more of what went into the decision (electric rates, net meetering in Connecticut, etc.) ask away and I will answer the questions.

In the meantime, here is what Tesla said my roof installation will look like:

Going Solar …

After years of waiting and studying … I am finally going solar. You might have read about Tesla’s new rental announcement – they are only offering this new offer in a few states, one of them is Connecticut. I am also getting a powerwall and will be able to withstand any storm, power outage and zombie apocalypse that might occur in the nutmeg state.

I will post, blog and probably video more as time goes along … I am still in the process of getting the permits etc. … but I am excited!

btw – if you want to get somethign from Tesla, use my referral link, maybe it will help me!

Phone Cameras – Lenses Do Help!

Anyone who knows me knows I like mobile devices. also, most of my friends know I like photography – but I am not really a photographer and my meagre abilities never warranted buying a decent camera in my opinion. Anyway, I always hear people who know more about it say that the best camera you have is the one you have with you – which is why I like the Google Pixel line of phones and do enjoy what they can do for an indifferent “photographer” (more like “photo taker”) such as me.

I always wanted to do more with my phone cameras and had been looking into the lenses you can attach to phones wither with clips or by using specific phone cases. the clip-ons always struck me as too unreliable to be worth anything and the Momentum cases and lenses were just a bit more than I wanted to spend .. especially if I found out that I might not be as interested as I thought I’d be …. I am more of a casual “photo taker” after all.

I watch allot of tech reviews on YouTube, and one of the (many) reviewers I follow was in my auto-play queue and he was reviewing the new add-on lenses and cases by RhinoShield … Here is the link to his YouTube video

What I liked about the RhinoShield lenses are that they are combo lenses – so if I buy one lens, it has a wide angle AND a macros lens in one …. and the combo lens is less expensive than Momentum …. I have had RhinoShield cases and screen protectors previously so I was not too worried about the quality of their equipment, I always liked their stuff.

Suffices to say … I went ahead and bought the case and the combo for less than what the momentum single macro woudl cost and … well, you can look at some of the pictures below yourself. I think I found a new hobby for myself!

Note: There are cases for many different phones, not just the Pixel 3 XL that I have: iPhones, Galaxy phones, OnePlus 6/6T, Huawei …

This is a petal of a cactus flower …. taken with my Pixel 3 XL and the macro lens
This is a herb from my herb garden (Dill) with some decent lighting.
A tiny, tiny basil plant ….

The wide angle lens is pretty good as well, here an example from my Pixel 3 XL: First without the lens, then I snapped the wide angle lens on and took a phone from the same location. As you can see, the picture gets much wider and also “higher” (that is how wide angle lenses work, they widen the view for the whole 360 degrees of the lens) without any noticeable distortion.

Normal, no lens.
Same setting, just added the wide angle lens

My verdict – definitely worth the money! If this were over $100.00 I would not have bought it, but as it is the case, the lens adaptor and the lens came in at $65.00. There is another higher level wide-angle/macro lens combo that costs about $25.00 more. It has a wider lens, closer macro
….it is worth it as well – I did go ahead and buy that one as well … impulse took over! But the basic one should do it for most people I think. For me, I will have having quite a bit of fun taking pictures of snow crystals and frozen over plants this week – take a look at my Instagram account over the next week or so, I think you might see a few interesting pics in that feed.

Phone in case, both lenses and the carrying cloth bags they com in. Notice the lenses comes with lens caps for the front and back. the larger 4K HD 0.62x lens is installed on the case.

The WebSphere Migration Tools – The Hidden Gem

Well then, it comes as no surprise that one of my first posts will be on a WebSphere related topic. I meant to write about this earlier but had no time over the last few months, but a recent project required me to work with a client on a WebSphere migration and go over the tools and their usefulness with them – so I decided to go back and briefly talk about the WebSphere Migration Tools and how they can me useful not only for migrations …


Where to get them:

The tools are made up of three parts, all of them are available at the IBM WebSphere/Liberty Developer site:

Just go to the [DOWNLOADS] area and do a search on [MIGRATION] and you can download them all.

Just be aware of one thing - if you install Eclipse (needed for all tools except the Binary command line tool) you can also just download them from IBM's Marketplace/Update site inside of Eclipse and install it directly - here is the URL for that site:
Just make sure you also install a Java J2EE environment inside of Eclipse as the tools require that to run correctly ....

The Tool Set

Basically there are four tools:

WebSphere Application Server Migration Toolkit

You need Eclipse to run this – it will analyze applications in the context of different migration scenarios (source system and target system) . This is the list of scenarios it can help you with: This tool will help you do most of what you need to do ….

  • Cloud Migration Tool
  • WebSphere Version to Version Application Migration Tool
  • Apache Tomcat to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • JBoss to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • Oracle to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • WebLogic to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • Apache Tomcat to Liberty Configuration Migration Tool
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: JBoss
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: WebLogic
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: WebSphere to Liberty
WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool for IBM Cloud

This will also require Eclipse – the main difference is that it only uses the cloud as a target system – I have tested itonce or twice and it creates a great clone of your current system in IBM’s cloud infrastructure. You need to have an active cloud/Bluemix account to be able to use this.

WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool

This is my go-to tool to see if I can “just upgrade” a server/servers as is or if I will have problems …. the tool gives you a wsadmin command to run on the originating server (if it is WebSphere) that give you an output file – that you then import and the rest is “magic”.

Migration Toolkit for Application Binaries

A command line tool that will quickly analyze existing applications – it will tell you quickly if an existing app will run on a newer (or different) platform and/or what problems might exist.

Note: I often use this tool to analyse apps when trouble-shooting them on WebSphere – it’s not just useful for a migration/upgrade! I have often used this tool to figure out what Java jars are in an application and if there are any old opensource (and possibly incompatible) versions inside. Try this with the [-inventory] switch and then hand the report to the developer ….


Other Resource:

This is a great presentation on the tools and how they work. It is a bit long, but it will give you most of the details you need to get a start with these tools and learn how to use them. They are quite straight forward and not hard to use, it is the results they give you that cause the prolonged episodes of head scratching ….

Automation and AI – Change is Coming

If you take a closer look at the (rather short) YouTube video below, you will see some of the things that get me excited – and in some ways worried. Automation and AI is coming everywhere which is great but also will create an enormous disruption (another one of those trendy words) because change is hard and if change directly impacts your life it is ten times as hard.

I try to stay on top of most larger trends and automation and AI are of course smack in the middle of my radar – most analysts agree that if a job is repetitive and does not directly involve/require person-to-person emotional interaction then it is in the potential chopping block for AI and automation.  I think everybody knows that sooner or later drivers (taxis, limousines, trucks, buses) will be mostly replaced – but did you think about data entry clerks, paralegals, tax preparers, Walmart employees (stock that rack, robot) etc.?  … the list goes on and on. Even if not all of those jobs go away, the majority will eventually and having a human standing there to do something specific will be considered a luxury and one person will do the job that previously 20 or 30 did. Where you will see this come much later are things such as trades – if you are willing to stick your hand down a clogged toilet, your job will be safe for quite some time. Though, I venture that sooner or later the involvement in building new buildings from scratch will be automated in some shape and form as well.

Why am I talking about this? Because if you want a future you need to look for the jobs that either still have a mid to long term future or fall to the wayside. My nephew works for the team that is creating Trayzi – so there are jobs out there that will support you for years to come. So … part of the motivation for this post is an uncle’s pride – the other one is to tell you that if you have kids, think good and long what they might want to get into as a career. Trades are great and they will earn more than college grads but just make sure they also have a healthy interest for science and technology because even ditch diggers are using high-tech machines to dig ditches these days.


But seriously though – this is a cool system and the technology behind recognizing different foods and packaging of condiments is quite fascinating.


The Fresh, The New And A New Name

OK, I had announced a few changes recently – the first change is in – I have re-branded my blog.

We are officially called

TheToal’s World


Update your links, feeds ….


The focus of the blow will also shift – previously I was rather narrowly focused around IBM Software and software based collaboration with a  sprinkle of WebSphere thrown in for good measure. This focus will broaden now to better reflect the rather broad range of technical (and some non-technical) topics I am interested in. There will still be plenty of hardcore software and IT based content, but I plan to also bring in content around my other technical interests, especially around iot, cloud based technologies, solar energy, etc. …. I will also be creating more voice and video content so look forward to some YouTube content over time.

Ambitous, you ask? Yes, very – let’s take this thing for a ride!




Changes for 2019

Changes, changes, changes …. life is ever changing and mine is no different. If you work in technology you especially have to be open – and welcoming – to change as it is inevitable. either you adapt and update or you will be run over by the waves of change and be left in their wake.

So, what does all this really mean? As you can guess, it means some changes for me over the next few weeks, I will update in more detail over the next few weeks, but here just a few things that are coming:


IBM / IBM Champion Status

I have been an IBM Champion for the last three years which I consider to have been a high professional honor. However,  my status was not renewed for 2019 and along with the many other changes in the IBM Software landscape and the changes in my own focus  of work I will be making quite a few changes professionally. More on this will come in the next few weeks. I wish those who have

Rebranding – -> ??????.????

I started this blog waaaay back in the beginning – mid 2000’s and the name reflects the focus of my work at that time. As this has significantly shifted over time I do intend to reflect those changes here. I will be keeping the previous content, as allot of it is still valid to some degree, but the focus of my future content will change quite a bit. Look for more on this in the near future.

Along with the change in branding I will be introducing a wider range of content than the strictly technical focus I had been sharing previously.

Technical Focus

The probably biggest change that I have seen is the technical focus that my work has revolved around over the last few years. This has naturally shifted what I work on over time and has also been on of the reasons I have been posting much less – I will be sharing more updates on that front over the next few weeks as well, along with more regular content that is more focused around what I currently do and -(hopefully) be more regular.


There will be more to come over the next few weeks, stay tuned!