Wednesday, 30 May 2007

All quiet on the Notes Front

Well it's been a week or so since my last blog and for that I apologise, work has been somewhat hectic and shows no sign of improving, even though rumors persist that we may be increasing our team from it's current size of 2 to a potential size of 5. It looks as though we will add another member here in the UK with 2 more developers out in India. However with our previous track record with Indian Notes Developers I am not optomistic of any great success, however I hope that I will be pleasantly surprised.
The one thing that I can mention is that I have managed to install the Notes 8 Beta 3 client and can sum it all up in 1 word. WOW!!!
Yep this is a real facelife for Lotus Notes and is something that has been long overdue, it does make it look more Outlooky, however that is not such a bad thing, Outlook does have some nice features, however the power of Notes behind a more user-friendly interface can be nothing but a positive move forward.
I have had one or two crashes with the Beta client, but I'm putting that down to the setup of my PC and trying to run R7 and 8 Beta 3 on the same machine and having 2 copies of Notes & Designer open at the same time. Speaking of Sametime, I do love having just a single window for all of my active chats although I do think it's going to take some getting used to. I am having issues with the RSS feed reader but I think I need to sort out my Proxy server settings, at the end of the day I think that as time goes on more and more of the functionality is going to work it's way out of the woodwork, for example it took me 2 days to getting round to finding the Workspace!!!
More soon.

Friday, 18 May 2007


Well having spent the last three days in a classroom learning about ITIL, I thought it was time to present a sensible review of what ITIL means and what it could do for an organisation, there will I am sure be a less sensible review of ITIL and what it means for my current company, over at my less sensible blog, in a day or two.

The first question is obviously, What is ITIL, well ITIL is simply a set of best practices that any company can use, they don't have to use them all, in fact they could only use one part and ignore the rest, and that would still likely give them some benefits. ITIL covers the varied aspects of IT Service Management, from the poor people on the Service Desk, through the 3rd Line support guys all the way through to the Finance guys, the guys building your Business Continuity Plans etc. Most of the ideas are really simple common sense, but for many organisations, systems were put in place 10-20 years ago, have evolved and in many cases the technology whilst moving on has always been updated with an aim of keeping things the same rather than really making great improvements.
The biggest concept that some on our course struggled with is the view that any request to IT should follow the same path to start with, ie. through the Service Desk, if a user reports a server down, phone the Service Desk, if they have a problem with their pc, phone the Service Desk, if they want a new application, phone the Service Desk, if they want a PC, phone the Service Desk etc etc etc. This single interface to the user community should improve user perception of the IT Dept and also improve the flow of information within the dept as well.
Once you take in the "incidents" from the helpdesk and start looking at the overall ITIL picture, it becomes somewhat easy (as long as you can remember the acronyms, CDB, CMDB, MTBF, MTTR, SLA, SLR, SLM* to name but a few about 0.5% or so it seemed) to see how incidents/problems/changes flow through the departement in a controlled manner, totally different to many companies current systems I am sure.
Anyway I could go on and on and on about this but I think that for those people who want to look into ITIL, then training or consultancy are definately the best options as it is certainly one of those subjects where you need to ask questions to get a better understanding.

CDB - Capacity Management Database
CMDB - Configuration Management Database
MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure
MTTR - Mean Time to Recovery
SLA - Service Level Agreement
SLR - Service Level Requirement
SLM - Service Level Management

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Anyone looking for a job part II

Well someone finally got off their rear-end and this has appeared on Jobserve, you will have to put up with the madness that goes on here but if you can look past that this is a role with possibilities!!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Anyone fancy a job???

Well somehow we have managed to get approval for a 6 month contract for a developer to cover maternaty leave, it's not me and it's not Chad!!! Anyone interested, location Reading(Berks, UK), right by Junction 11 on the M4??? Drop me a comment and I will give you the e-mail address to send in your CV. We are looking for CLP, R6 Lotusscript, JavaScript HTML etc, all the standard stuff.

An Admin Tip

The top three things a Notes Administrator should be concerned with are
  1. Security
  2. Security
  3. Ummm, Errrr Oh yeah, Security
Now the Holy Grail for security is first and foremost your certifies, secondly the membership of your Domin Administration group, that small group of tried and trusted individuals who know what they are doing, who have been on the Admin training courses and acheived CLP/PCLP and then theres the other member. That individual who has somehow managed to convince someone that they need the Admin access, who no matter what always seems to get someone to say "Oh but they really do need that access, so just leave them in there".
We have one of those users and I have kept mentioning it to people every few months, especially considering I don't get to be a member, have been on all the courses and used to be the Senior Administrator before I saw the Light, renounced the Sith ways and became a True Jedi and followed the path of the Developer.
Anyway today he managed to delete one of the production systems, 4.5 Gb accessible by our clients 24/7 as well as our employees and it's suddenly gone. Thankfully we managed to get it back within a couple of hours and with only minor inconvenience, those people who had uploaded data this morning will have to do so again and only a few users tried to get in as it happened to be over lunchtime.
Anyway so now I am really shouting (mentioning didn't work) to people to get him out of the group. With the right levels of admin access you can cater for "people" like this and we already have the security hirarchy in place with Global Admins, Country Admins, Developers, Help Desk Users and of course Domain Admins. However a system only works if it is used properly and not circumvented.
Anyway Rant over, I must get back to Development posts soon!!!