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

https://thetoal.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 – Notesbuster.com -> ??????.????

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!

ICONUK Conference – Sep. 13-14 in Birmingham ENGLAND


Just in case none o you follow my Twitter handle @thetoal – I am part of the management team for this year’s ICONUK conference. It will be held in Birmingham (the original English one, not Alabama …) Sept. 13-14. If you have not yet signed up – I do urge you to do so! Also, if you think you have interesting content to share, we are still looking to round out our agenda and can fit some more abstracts in.

Go to https://www.iconuk.org/submit-abstract/ and send it in sooner better than later as we will be closing up the submission process shortly!

 

Hope to see you guys there!

 

ICONUK 2018 Wants You …


I have been somewhat quite over the last year or so – I hope to find more time – and more content worth posting, in the near future.

Here just a quick one – I will be at ICONUK 2018 in Birmingham, U.K Sept. 13-14, 2018.

 

 

 

Aaaand .. not only will I be there, I was also asked to be part of the team and put me in charge of the admin tract. Meaning, I get to work with the team on deciding the content that will be presented in the administration tract.

I hope to get too much good content to choose from (seriously, I’d like to have that kind of headache) and hope as many admins, engineers, manager, do-it-all girls and guys submit an abstract for me to go over. If you think you have interesting content pople are interested in and can present it within 30 – 45 minutes (we have different time slots) then go to https://www.iconuk.org/submit-abstract/  and give me that headache I am asking for …

 

 

Social Connections Chicago – Here I come!


Had an email in my inbox a short while ago …

Congratulations! Your abstract for Social Connections 11 was accepted!

 

Looks like I will be in Chicago June 1-2 this year! Social Connections is a great conference, you should check it out and attend if you can – there is allot of great content and I am not just talking about my session … and you get to meet and interact with allot of people at the conference and make really, really, really great connections for yourself.

 

Oh yeah .. what will i be speaking on?

IBM Connections – Take Performance Tuning Beyond the Documentation

 

Domino – Redirect Rules and Strict Redirect URLs


This one was a bit of a challenge until I finally found a solution – after HOURS of work.

 

My Scenario:

I have a Domino URL that gets generated with a query at the end and I can’t change that. I need to redirect that URL to another strict/defined URL on another system that will not work with a query added to the end of the incoming URL – here an (obfuscated) example:

Original Domino URL: https://www.mydomain.com/something/anyDB.nsf?addAnotherQuery
URL To redirect to: https://www.anewdmain.com/something/anyUrlHere

If you just use a standard redirect rule (either standalone or for Internet sites) the query [?addAnotherQuery] will be appended to the redirect URL resulting in this example:

https://www.anewdmain.com/something/anyUrlHere?addAnotherQuery

Solution

In my case this was a problem as the FW was blocking unknown URLs and would not let anything non-defined through. I tried everything – all sort of combinations of redirects to redirect to another redirect,  to substitution rules… the query was always appended to the end of the resulting URL and the FW was rejecting me. I even redirected to an IBM HTTP server to use the rewrite capability – which is when I had  an epiphany after 8 hours of straight work: In Apache, when doing a re-write,  you can add a [?] to the end of the rewrite and it will cause any queries to be stripped from the resulting URL. I jut thought … let’s give it a try and …. it worked!

Here an screenshot of the example:

The redirector rule is otherwise standard. You can match any incoming URL patters using asterisks etc. or point it to other redirector results. You can also point to a local URLs by changing the [Redirect to this URL] to string that the Domino server will resolve locally such as [/anyfolder/adifferentDB.nsf?] or a URL created by another redirector such as [/NewSiteHere/Results?] – and by adding the [?] in the end any query like function (i.e. the very common query [?Open] appended to the end of a dB in a URL] will be stripped from the resulting URL.

Connections 5.5, TLSv1.2, java.security and the tale of a log day


Let’s set up the background for our story first: Connections 5.5 CR2 on Windows. 3rd party products galore (Docs, Kudos, ProjExec, Text.IO/Ephox), heavy usage and then – above all – the off-and-on problem with the Rich Text widget. As my penchant for acronyms is well known by my friends, so I shall refer to this overall topic as TPP (this pesky problem) – and it kept rearing it’s ugly, mishapen and thoroughly ugly head off and on. We would squash it and then some other config change wold make it come back again.

I wanted to avoid having to switch WAS all the way to TLSv1.2 because of the well documented (potential) fall out for IBM Docs, Text.io and other products. If you want more background on that one, you can read up at the blogs of some of my colleagues – such as Nico, Ben and Robert. There are more, but you can start your education here and branch out.

So, our last defense this time is to enable TLS v. 1.2 ONLY on WebSphere which is a well documented process that actually does not take long – until it turned into the beginning of 8 hours of hell.. All went well until I tried to do a manual sync (syncnode) from any of the Nodes back to the Deployment Manager. I saw errors I had never seen before, all pointing back to SSL and formatting errors. A syncnode with the [-trace] switch wold give me 3000+ lines of juicy gibberish to wade through and no amount of searches on google helped me with anything. It all came back to this errors in the logs:

[Error parsing HTTP status line “\00”: java.util.NoSuchElementException].

After hours of pulling my hair I did what every IT guy does after a while – I looked for somebody to whine to and then beg for help. Multiple people responded, all felt bad for me but nobody was able to assist. In the end, it took my friend Nico going through a list of possible causes for TPP until he hit something that jiggled my memory: [Java Security].

The Cuplprit

This is where we go from prose back to techno talk – I dimply remembered that the install of ProjExec (btw, great project management tool – complicated but really, really good) has a requirement in it’s install documentation to edit the contents of the java.securty file of each node involved – the change is basically to change which SSLServerSocketFactory to use and here the change:

# Default JSSE socket factories

ssl.SocketFactory.provider=com.ibm.jsse2.SSLSocketFactoryImpl

ssl.ServerSocketFactory.provider=com.ibm.jsse2.SSLServerSocketFactoryImpl # WebSphere socket factories (in cryptosf.jar)

#ssl.SocketFactory.provider=com.ibm.websphere.ssl.protocol.SSLSocketFactory

#ssl.ServerSocketFactory.provider=com.ibm.websphere.ssl.protocol.SSLServerSocketFactory

 

The above shows what the change looks like, basically you un-comment the first two lines and comment the second two.

I reversed the change and – presto – TLSv1.2 works and the nodes can all talk to each other. We are working with the vendor to figure out if we really still need this change going forward. I am also thinking that this might have something to do with an SSL error on Activities file uploads I saw here and there – not sure.

So, the lessons of this days was:

  • If you are following documentation and other people can get it to work – it’s you, not the documentation
  • Peel back the onion: If you set it all correctly in WebSphere, step one pace back/up the chain of technology – it runs java, is java based -> you need to check up the chain to see what base java settings are in place, other than what you set yourself.
  • Don’t cry, it’s unbecoming
  • When friends who are kind enough to answer your Skype calls, LISTEN TO EACH QUESTION and think the answer through, you might not be seeing the forest because all those damn trees are in the way.
  • Say thank you – publicly. You might still be sitting there all night trying to figure out what went wrong

Technote: “Freemarker Template files are overwritten during IBM Connections CR2 install”


This happened to me, I was only saved by having a local back-up on my machine … don’t let it hit you!

Technote Link – swg21996243

Hving a good back-up before ANY upgrade, change etc. is important. If nothing else, do a backup config with WebSphere – that will capture all of the important files for you as well!