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!

https://ts.la/victorthetoalcom29329

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: https://developer.ibm.com/wasdev/

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

Note1:
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:
https://public.dhe.ibm.com/ibmdl/export/pub/software/websphere/wasdev/updates/wamt/MigrationToolkit/
Note2:
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 ….

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!

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!