ICS/Lotus (mostly), Linux, Travel, Skiing, Mixology, and Random Musing of Interest

Interested in Speaking at Social Connections 10 in Toronto? Last Call for Abstracts is Quickly Approaching

Bill Malchisky  April 8 2016 04:56:25 AM
http://socialconnections.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/soccnx_logo_site.png

If you are interested in speaking at the tenth iteration of this excellent conference, then please polish your prose and submit your abstracts. The submission deadline is Thursday, 14 April, Noon, Central European Summer Time (CEST)/6:00 AM EDT/5:00 AM CDT.  The conference team picked a great location in the city of Toronto, Canada. So if you are new to speaking or a veteran with a following, please consider submitting a session. If you have something to say that you feel can benefit the IBM community, here is a great way to help build your speaking credentials. There are no guarantees on acceptance of course, so ensure the topic is of value to the event's audience. The submission page lists all six tracks with substantiating details for each, plus additional insights. Good luck!

Submit an abstract

Dates:
6th and 7th of June 2016
City:
Toronto, Canada
Main site
Questions? Contact the conference team.
To convert to your local timezone.

Train Tips for European Traveling -- Chapter IV

Bill Malchisky  March 30 2016 04:54:11 PM
This month, I took another trip to Europe, with a smaller focus and duration. I took the Dutch commuter rail round trip from Amsterdam to Eindhoven. What I learned about ticketing is that the Dutch rail system has not improved much over the past several years, despite reports that it has. Yes, they do accept some non-Dutch bank cards for purchasing rail tickets--which is welcomed by many travelers--there are limitations which can cause you to miss your train.

This Year's Story
What really surprised me that is today, in 2016, the antiquity of the Dutch rail system ticketing. As a couple people I know said they used their credit cards with ease, I resisted my usual approach of pre-purchasing the ticket whenever possible. Instead, I arrived early at the Eindhoven rail station (5:15a) for my 5:31a train intent on buying a ticket via the machine. This should be about a three minute process. For me, the machine would not accept my bank card, nor would it accept paper money, only coins and I could not get EUR32 in coins in the train station.

There were no ticketing agents available to assist at that hour, but I did find two rail employees who spoke English. After several tests, we all concluded my best option was to take a cab back to the hotel (another EUR10), get my fare in coins, and return. That would have me missing two trains and put getting through increased security at risk for the baggage check cut-off, which would then introduce a change fee and a fare increase. Upon running the numbers, I told the taxi to redirect to AMS (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) and we ultimately negotiated a fare of EUR225 (down from EUR300) - much cheaper than the alternative airline fee, plus missing a customer meeting.

Lesson Learned
So, if traveling in The Netherlands by rail, you can not guarantee that your American bank card or non-bank charge card will be accepted at either the rail ticket purchasing machines or the ATM for that matter--my ATM card was declined, despite working fine in two other countries recently. Ensure that you research the fare before leaving the hotel and convert your paper money into coins (as heavy as it may be) to ensure that you get your ticket with ease, and avoid the hassle of missing the target train or an expensive taxi ride to the airport.

Additional Reading
Rail Europe --- tickets, schedules, deals, and maps for all European train networks --- offers two booking sites:
US Site
World Site

My Engage 2016 Slides

Bill Malchisky  March 28 2016 07:30:00 PM
After a great week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, I worked with my co-presenter on last minute edits and ensure that we were happy with the final product.

Title: Adm01. Back from the Dead: When Bad Code Kills a Good Server

Abstract:
It's Friday and a new customer calls. Their mission critical app is taking :05 to open documents and the users are quite concerned. Where do you start when handed a 20 year old application you have never seen, on a server you barely know? Join two IBM Champions as they dissect a complex Domino performance problem from both the administration and development side to provide a complete customer solution. The session includes best practices around problem solving techniques and a checklist you can use internally to solve quickly problems you encounter.

Time slot (as per agenda): Thursday, March 24 | 08:00 - 08:45 | C. Jupiter

Get the file here.

IBM Connect 2016: IBM Champions Program Praised by Media Analyst

Bill Malchisky  February 1 2016 06:05:00 PM
Today, Monday, 1 Feb, during the OGS (Opening General Session) at IC16 (IBM Connect 2016), the attendees arriving early got to see on the big board, a rolling display of sponsor logos and quotes from Champions (e.g. one, two, and three) on the main hall-wide display. Rob Enderle being in attendance, liked what he saw and wrote a nice piece on how he respects the program and what IBM did by recognizing technical leaders in their community. The part creating intrigue is that he offered the same suggestion while working at Microsoft, but describes the poor execution of said good idea. He gives praise to IBM for a great job with their own idea. It's a quick article, but one that displays the good job IBM is doing here. Enjoy!

"The Magic Behind IBM Champions", by Rob Enderle, IT Business Edge, 1 Feb 2016

Image:IBM Connect 2016: IBM Champions Program Praised by Media Analyst

Linuxfest VII Gets a Slot at IBM Connect 2016

Bill Malchisky  January 28 2016 02:00:00 AM
Linuxfest VII - The Penguin Awakens

After many months of planning and working with the events team, we are pleased to announce that Linuxfest is back for our seventh year. This is the only session at IBM Connect dedicated exclusively to Linux and IBM software. As we moved back to the last day lunch break, be certain to bring your box lunch and join us for an informative session. New this year, we are in IBM Event Connect and Session Preview Tools.

Date: Wednesday, 3 February
Time: 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Place: Orange G
Session ID: TI-1118
Audience: Admins, Developers, Architects
Speakers: Bill Malchisky, Wes Morgan, and Daniel Nashed

Ask questions and get informative answers from three passionate leading IBM on Linux SMEs.

New this year -- find us online!
Registered attendees: Event Connect Link
Public curiosity: Session Preview link

Abstract

Whether you've already deployed IBM technology on Linux or are "just interested," join us for the seventh installment of what has become an IBM Connect tradition. In this open discussion of the latest on Linux from IBM, you'll hear Business Partners, IBMers and IBM Champions talk about the most recent developments around our favorite operating system, share tips and tricks, and open the floor to your questions, successes and commentary as well. This is not a roadmap/strategy session; instead, it's a chance for you to learn what's out there for Linux, pick up technical know-how to ease your deployments, and connect with other IBM customers using Linux.

Image:Linuxfest VII Gets a Slot at IBM Connect 2016

IBM Connect 2016 Saturday Events Schedule

Bill Malchisky  January 28 2016 12:26:00 AM
Well, it's that time of year again... where the customers and partners that help create the IBM/Lotus community gather in Florida to learn, network, collaborate, and warm-up a bit (except for our friends in the southern hemisphere). If you arrive early to IBM Connect 2016, there are a couple of activities planned for Saturday to allow you to meet and great early arriving speakers, sponsors, and fellow attendees. See you in Orlando!

First, the past several years we held a Soccer Saturday session Saturday morning. It is taking a one year hiatus. Look for it to return in 2017 in concert with the next iteration of this IBM conference.

Second, starting at 3:00 PM, is BALD. Yes, the Bloggers (and Friends) Annual Lotusphere Dinner returns in its new home at the Hilton Orlando. This year, we will meet at Tropics Pool Bar & Grill - on the Hilton Orlando property.
Please feel free to blog, tweet, text, and communicate the event in any way you see fit. Joe Litton was committed to ensuring this event lived on with IBM Connect in Orlando. Be sure to visit, have a nice refreshing beverage and meet the larger community poolside.

Finally, to round out the evening, the first ever Craft Beer Tour event is here! All you need is  your conference badge to be admitted. It is open to both business partners and customers.
Expand your craft beer knowledge while networking with colleagues and community members. IBM is making available some truly amazing beers for you to sample.
Event time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM, Orlando 4, in the Hilton Orlando Property.

Image:IBM Connect 2016 Saturday Events Schedule

Keeping Warm -- Winter Gear Test Results

Bill Malchisky  December 7 2015
In January 2014, I wrote about "Winter Warming Tips" and provided several ideas on clothing concepts to keep warm during the unexpectedly cold climate much of North America experienced. That post included a Where to Buy section. My thought process for this sequel post is to share some knowledge and help one avoid dropping a mortgage payment to find what can work or a cold learning process in the pursuit of enjoying (or coping with) the cold outdoors.  


Testing Insight

As new products emerged from some of the previously cited vendors, I decided to purchase a combination of offered items to learn how well they performed. As a scientist, the results were fascinating to me. Throughout the past two winter seasons in tough weather conditions, I ventured outside, with different combinations of clothing and backup items in my backpack (for safety). Some items failed to provide adequate warmth, others exceeded expectations. I tested gear while visiting three places: 1. Utah's Wasatch Mountains, specifically Little Cottonwood Canyon -- rated one of the snowiest places on earth averaging 500" of snow per annum; 2. Sunday River in  the foothills of Maine's Longfellow Mountains; and 3. East central Massachusetts in the heart of their record breaking snowfall winter for 2014-2015. I encountered cold weather, high winds, and lots of wind driven snow.  Overall, I enjoyed the experience immensely (as I love winter).

Image:Keeping Warm -- Winter Gear Test Results

Functional Feet

In three main sub-sections:
1. Boots
.
A. Gaiters, If you are going to be out in deep snow, a pair of gaiters is critical to keeping snow out of your boots -- a fast track to cold wet feet. Gaiters strap around the bottom of your boot and wrap around your foot, ankle, and shin. Thereby closing the pathway for snow to your boot's opening. There are many styles - low-end, to higher-end, with and without GORE-TEX®. I tried the Outdoor Research® Crocodile Gaiters with GORE-TEX. Simply incredible quality. Snowshoed in knee-deep to waist-deep powder for three miles in high winds and cold temperatures. Zero snow in my boots with snow free pants. That's a quality gaiter.

B. I talk to my friends about SOREL® boots a lot during winter topic conversations (included in my 2014 post too). Purchased my first pair of SOREL boots in c.1986 (a 1964 Pac Boot) and still use them today for snowshoeing. For around town and impromptu trips, I wanted a pair that I could use with dress pants, or just going to the store. I selected lower height model. Went to an outdoor NFL® game, keeping my feet on the concrete in 20F temps. My feet remained warm until the final :20 of the game (actual clock, not the game clock). Very impressive as concrete is an incredible heat sink. SOREL delivers.

C. Now, once you wear a pair of boots, it is always a good idea to keep your boots (and other footwear) dry after physical activity or getting soaked in the rain. Most modern running shoes allow for airflow to dry the sneaker quickly. Shoes and boots do not. For my ski boots, SORELs, and other outdoor footwear, my Original PEET® boot dryer is invaluable.

Tip

For traveling, try the Go! PEET travel boot dryer. I dry my ski or snowshoe boots in the hotel each night and en route to the airport after the last use; thus my boots avoid fungus growth and odoriferous emanations. PEET  also offers a 220V charger, so you can take the Go! PEET abroad, and dry your boots there--which I do each March. It's an excellent product.
Note: They now offer a lighter, smaller, thinner Power Cell PEET dryer and their very portable Ultra Dryer & Deodorizer PEET.

2. Socks. Previously, I tried several types of wool or wool and silk ski socks--sometimes with a polypropylene undersock. This worked great for most skiing until I tried skiing in Minnesota, then Utah. Single digit temperatures and ski boots tend to mix poorly and thus, I got cold toes within a couple of hours. I then tried the WSI® Sports WikMax® HEATR® ski sock. It allowed me to ski noticeably longer before getting cold toes in similar conditions. Where I could only ski two hours before, I could ski four hours now--which brought me right up to lunch. Huge improvement. I highly recommend their ski sock. For snowshoeing I had terrific success with both the WIGWAM® El Pine heavy ragg wool socks and the L.L. Bean® Boot Socks which are both very warm. Note in these tests I donned a polypropylene undersock, then a WSI HEATR undersock for contrast. The several other unsuccessful sock permutations are omitted.  

Tip

Want warm feet all ski day? Keep a second pair of ski socks in your parka and change them at lunch. Now you will start the second part of your ski day with dry warm feet and can ski right to last chair.

3. Traction
. Tested the STABILicers® Lite (made for L.L. Bean®), which appears to be placed between the STABIL® Hike and Walk models. What I like about STABIL's products is that they are built in Biddeford, Maine. All American Made. I ran them through the paces up the side of Sunday River's ski trails, then across their snowmobile runs in 11F temps. They impressed me. Excellent traction on the hard pack and groomed ski trails, whether using a long stride, short stride, quick pace, deliberate push-off, or easing into the stride: they always held firm uphill or downhill. Highly recommended.


Hand Refrain

This area gets interesting, as the mitten shell product I tested, loved, and recommended to friends the past two years, became discontinued this season. I called L.L. Bean to double check my URLs and they gave me the unfortunate news. Rather than cite a non-existent product, I would say that next season they will offer a replacement product. So, I will wait to see what they and other companies offer.

Tip

If you really dislike mittens and want dexterity, I tested successfully in 7F to 14F on windy days with two pairs of WSI HEATR glove liners (windstop base, then standard) and a pair of fleece gloves. Two layers proved insufficient for me, whereas three kept my hands warm almost all of the time.


Filling Your Heart with Warmth (Torso)

Years ago, I skied with four or five layers. On more challenging terrain, I learned the lack of appendage mobility caused issues when on the steeps, increasing fatigue. Thus to simplify, I purchased a WSI Sports HEATR Hooded Shirt  and put that under my insulated ski parka. I was quite nervous at first, as this attire deviated significantly from my norm. One day I got caught inside a storm cloud. The summit temperature dropped from upper 30'sF to 18F in less than one hour with 40-60MPH sustained winds (see photo above). I skied throughout the storm's duration and was quite impressed with how warm the WSI Sports product kept me. I absolutely would recommend their long sleeve hooded shirt to anyone who enjoys outdoor winter sports.

Note:
I still wear at least five layers when snowshoeing -- different use case completely: no warming huts, longer exposure duration, more perspiration, and usually much colder temperatures. Now, my base layer of choice is WSI Sports HEATR: shirt, pants, socks, and glove liner.

A quick news story on WSI - "Eagan-Based Co. Makes Cold-Resistant Clothing For Seahawks" [for NYC's outdoor Super Bowl]


Any questions, please let me know. Enjoy your winter. Stay warm and active.


Trademarks

WSI, Wikmax, HEATR are trademarked by WSI Manufacturing Co., Inc.
L.L.Bean is a registered trademark of L.L.Bean Inc.
GORE-TEX is a trademark of W. L. Gore & Associates
Stabilicers and STABIL are trademarked by 32 North Corporation in Biddeford, ME
Outdoor Research is a registered trademark of Outdoor Research, LLC
Go PEET! and PEET, by Peet Shoe Dryer, Inc.
NFL is trademarked by NFL Properties LLC
SOREL is trademarked by Sorel Corporation
WIGWAM trademark by Wigwam Mills, Inc.

Another Reason to Upgrade Traveler to 9.0.1.7 - iOS9 and Repeating Meetings

Bill Malchisky  September 16 2015 03:38:23 PM
IBM released a support flash late this afternoon - EDT, which if using the native iOS 9 Calendar application and sync against a pre-9.0.1.7 Traveler server, you can lose repeating meetings on the iOS device. Fortunately, all of the data remains in-tact on the IBM Notes side, so the desktop client, iNotes, cloud products will have the full data set, as will Android devices connecting via Traveler. So, inform your users to avoid upgrading to iOS 9 until your environment is tested and upgraded to Traveler 9.0.1.7, if they use the native mail app and they will be quite happy they waited.

Attention Apple Users - Protect Yourself from the AirDrop Exploit

Bill Malchisky  September 16 2015 10:16:00 AM
Forbes has one of the best takes on this new vulnerability - particularly as many articles I read all cite the Forbes piece (linked below). Regardless if you have OS X or iOS, you are in scope. The issue is that in iOS and OS X an attacker can install apps sans permission via AirDrop--which is used as a quick and easy way to send files between two devices. Unfortunately, the exploit bypasses security (including the Apps Store) and need not be trusted and the user not notified of the application installation. Know that even if you reject an inbound transfer, your system can become severely compromised--which is a big part of the problem.

The exploit exists in iOS7+ along with OS 10.10 and is partially---not completely---addressed in iOS 9 and OS 10.11 (El Capitan). Thus, please be weary of lesser quality reports that claim the bug is fixed in iOS 9. The easiest workaround is to avoid using AirDrop and keep it disabled; telling users to do this though, is another matter. If you need/want to use it, just be certain to turn-off the feature when you are done. The video below demonstrates just how incredibly easy it is to initiate this attack, so it is best for admins and security officers to alert their team members.

iOS 8.4.1 AirDrop Exploit Demo video

"Smarter hackers abusing such a flaw could go deeper into the phone, to the heart of the operating system."
-- Mark Dowd, Azimuth Security researcher

Forbes - "One Great Reason To Update To iOS 9 - A Nasty Silent AirDrop Attack Is In Town"

"To initiate the attack, all a hacker has to do is to send a file via AirPlay to an iOS or OS X user running iOS 7 or later, and Yosemite, respectively. It doesn’t even matter if the recipient accepts the incoming transfer, as the malware attack is initiated."
-- Ibid.

IBM Software and iOS 9 Support

Bill Malchisky  September 16 2015 12:16:00 AM
As Apple plans to release its new mobile operating system today (16 September 2015), IBM kept busy the past few days updating their correlated technotes. Thus, it seemed appropriate to offer a few links to showcase how IBM plans to support this latest Apple offering vis-à-vis Traveler, Verse, and Connections Cloud Traveler.

Here are any relevant support related articles that mention iOS 9 in regards to IBM Traveler, IBM Verse and Connections Cloud Traveler. Just ensure that for whatever version of Traveler you are running, that Domino is fully patched.

Key Technotes

Official iOS 9 Support Statement for Traveler and Verse
IBM Traveler System Requirements
Supported by IBM Traveler server 9.0.1.7 and later releases.
Supported by IBM Verse client 9.1.2 and later.
Supported by IBM Companion 9.0.11 and later.
Supported by IBM To Do 9.0.10 and later.

IBM Smart Cloud Notes Client Requirements
Support native applications for mail, calendar and contacts as well as the following IBM applications available via the Apple App store:
  • IBM Verse 9.2.1 and later.
  • IBM Traveler Companion 9.0.11 and later.
  • IBM Traveler To Do 9.0.10 and later.
IBM Traveler Support for Latest Device Updates
Apple iOS 9. x support:
  • Supported by IBM Traveler server 9.0.1.7 and later releases.
  • Supported by IBM Connections Cloud Traveler.
  • Supported by IBM Verse 9.1.2 and later applications.
  • Supported by IBM Companion 9.0.11 and later applications.
  • Supported by IBM To Do and later applications.

Note: after several searches, unable to find current support statements in the public domain regarding Sametime products for iOS 9, which is why it is omitted above.

Some Additional Reading

IBM Connections Mobile Applications site
IBM Connections Cloud New Enhancements
What's New in IBM Traveler Server 9.0.1.7
In case you need it... IBM support for iOS 8
IBM Traveler Recommended Maintenance
Subscribe to Traveler Notifications
What's New in iOS 9, via Apple - {auto-update version link}
Apple iOS 9 Welcome Page - {auto-update version link}

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