Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Organising thoughts and a few constraints

I am always on the lookout for a better way of visually organising a seemingly random set of thoughts and notes in order to see where there are commonalities that could be useful. Some of the tools I use include pen & paper, mindmaps, and diagrams. Some of the products include Freemind, Xmind, OneNote, and the usual selection of presentation tools.

Recently I found this table, via http://fluentbrain.com/ on the benefits of thinking visually, which is open to interpretation, on the benefits of using a visual tool to organise your thoughts. What stuck out to me was the reference to TOC Processes. I'm used to the idea that when you are trying to come up with a solution to a problem that there are a few constants such as Inputs, Outputs, Controls and Constraints. TOC Processes was a new term to me.
TOC Processes
TOC is the "Theory of Constraints", a term which led me to this relatively short document... "The Theory of Constraints and its Thinking Processes" from the Goldratt Institute. The document starts by relating how organisations have become measured in parts, by department, rather than as a whole entity - leading to situations where multiple parts of the same company can end up working antagonistically and as a result not performing as well as could be expected. The idea being that the TOC process can help you identify where "undesirable effects" are occuring and what needs to change - mainly assumptions that "it's always been done this way". As with most of these things there is a large element of change management which is always fun. I'm still on the lookout for the perfect note taking or visualisation tool if you have any suggestions.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lotus Notes 8.5.2 - not responding

I had been having quite a few issues with my Notes client. Whether I was writing an email, editing a document or typing in a Sametime message the client would intermittently stop doing anything visibly, then would go grey coloured, and the Title bar at the top would show "IBM Lotus Notes (Not Responding)". After half a minute or so Notes would start responding again and perform fine, however after a few minutes I would get a repeat performance.

Apparently this can be put down to operating on a poor or slow network, going into offline mode could fix it, however it had been working without any real issue for a few months.

After taking advice from David Fry, from the Lotus Staines office, I installed 'Fix Pack 1' for 8.5.2. and all appears to be well thankfully. it's nice to have things working well again.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Notes URLs – easier than I thought

I needed to create a link from an html document to a Lotus Notes document. It’s years since I had to do that and I immediately ran into issues choosing syntax – such as should I use the fully qualified domain name of the server etc.

I decided instead to open the document in Notes – and choose ‘Edit’/’Copy As’/’Document Link’ from the menu. Pasting that into a document editor gave a result such as..

<REPLICA 81256A76:0076FB83>
<VIEW OF39D46BF5:E8F08834-ON852564B5:00139B2C>
<NOTE OFEC4650AB:44EC5B7B-ON802576C4:0067E5A9>

I was trying too hard. I started to converted this to an href – however It was easier just to paste the url into a Sametime chat which converted it into the perfect format Notes://SERVERNAME/80256A760076FB83/38D46BF5E8F08834852564B500129B2C/EC4650AB44EC5B7B802576C40067E5A9

Then I wrapped that into an href tag and the job was done.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 on my Thinkpad T60p GDM + ATI issues at startup

OK - so this T60p is getting a little bit battered looking - screen needs replaced for the second time etc...but it's still working. I've been running Ubuntu 9.04 for the last few months with no problems - even the upgrade from 8.10 was smooth(ish).

Yesterday I ran the upgrade from 9.04 to 9.10. the result was anything but smooth. The system started but wouldn't get past the xsplash screen - where the login is supposed to appear, there was no sound either. I could log in to a tty screen via 'ctrl+alt+F2' - that was good. I noticed a lot of posts regarding issues with ATI drivers, and nvidia for that matter, so experimented with old versions of xorg.conf to no avail. the system would boot to a GUI if I chose 'Safe Mode' - normal boot - login at the prompt and run 'startx' - however performance was poor as the ATI drivers were not in use. end result was poor performance - no sound - and generally poor experience.

I burned a new 9.10 Live DVD and it loaded perfectly - no problems - so the issue must have related to the upgrade from my 9.04 system. Luckily enough I keep my home directory on a /dev/sda3, root on /dev/sda1 and swap on /dev/sda2.

I booted the 9.10 Live DVD, chose install, and formatted the root and swap partitions - leaving /dev/sda3 intact. Once the install was completed I mapped a drive to /dev/sda3 where my original home directory sits - the new path being '/mnt/home/name'. Messana has a simple and good guide here on mounting other partitions. Now that the original home partition was mounted I edited /etc/fstab (make a backup first) and changed my home directory to '/mnt/home/name'.

Once all that was done - I logged out and back in again to find my old workspace in all it's splendour, which was nice.

The simple message is if you have difficulty upgrading - just do a fresh install instead of fixing the issues as there were just too many issues to fix. Make your backups of course.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Searching Domino - a little Omnifind integration

I worked with an IBM Business Partner today to setup the integration between Domino 8.5 and Omnifind Enterprise Edition - also version 8.5 coincidentally.

Ominfind was already setup and working on multiple sources of information - Domino was simply an additional source to crawl. The integration with Domino can be over NRPC (requiring Domino libraries to be available to the Omnifind crawler), or via NDIIOP.

While reading the documentation (rtfm - we actually did it) We enabled DIIOP, setup the Omnifing Crawler for "notes" and were able to search and retrieve results. All in about 20 minutes. You could choose to search all nsf, individual nsf, data directories and individual notes views restricted by a simple selection formula.

We also installed the Notes plugin to place Omnifind in the Lotus Notes search bar - this also required editing to notes.ini to point to the Omnifind server. The end result was a fully integrated search across all the available datasources in the lab - with results available in the notes client.

My only question would be the relative performance of the DIIOP method as opposed to NRPC where a customer has a large amount of data to crawl.

The integration was smooth and really quite easy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Issues upgrading to Firefox 3.5 on Ubuntu

Upgrading Firefox from 3.0 to 3.5 on Ubuntu proved to be unusually awkward, however I got there in the end.

As 3.5 is now in the Ubuntu repositories I simply selected it in Synaptic Package Manager, clicked "apply" and it installed smoothly, however when I ran Firefox from the icon it actually launched Firefox 3.0 - not the shiny new 3.5 I was expecting. This was fixed by changing the symbolic link to point to the right version.

In the /usr/bin directory I ran "sudo rm firefox" to remove the existing link and "sudo ln firefox-3.5 firefox" to create the new link, allowing Firefox 3.5 to load as default.

So whilst happily launching Firefox 3.5 I now got an error message stating "XML Parsing Error: undefined entity Location: chrome://browser/content/browser.xul Line Number 34, Column 1" and of course Firefox crashed out.

To fix this I deleted the existing profile by running "mv .mozilla .mozilla.old" in the home directory "/home/yourname".

So after two quick fixes it's up and running and appears to be quite good.

I decided to blog this as otherwise I'd end up repeating the procedure and wonder how I fixed it last time :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shutter - Screenshot tool on Ubuntu

Screenshots are a necessary evil in order to make various documents a little more accessible. Various tools exist to do this and it all comes down to ease of use and personal preference.

Shutter is a new app for Ubuntu and it's the best tool yet in terms of being able to select the section of screen that I want to grab - and it can be downloaded here

It's a bit strange to take a screenshot of a screenshot tool - so here's a link to the shutter website instead along with a suitable screenshot.