Friday, July 31, 2009

HTTPS Security Implementation Flaws

During the Black Hat security conference, Moxie Marlinspike, announced a major security issue with the implementation of https and SSL. The link to the Information Week article is below. Therefore, I ask how secure is the Domino https implementation. For you security experts, are there best practices that are published for implementing a Domino web site with https?

Bombshell From Black Hat: Almost All Implementations Of SSL Are Configured To Give Up Everything

Thursday, July 30, 2009

MWLUG Conference 2009 Agenda is Now Posted

MWLUG Conference 2009 Agenda is posted on the MWLUG Conference 2009 web site. In addition to the 24 sessions that we have planned, there is a two day pre-conference Notes/Domino 8.5 upgrade workshop, plus a number of other activities that we have planned. For the agenda you can go to http://www.mwlug.com/mwlug/mwlug.nsf/fagendaView?openView.

We will have the PDF version available very soon.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Announcing the MWLUG Donation Sponsorship Program

Whether you are a Lotus customer, IBM Business Partner, or an IBM staff member, the Lotus community is you. Lotus user groups throughout the world play a key role in educating and evangelizing the Lotus community about Lotus products and services, best practices, and providing a network to collaborate. Lotus user groups are made possible by dedicated Lotus professionals like yourself.

We had an incredible response from the Business Partner community in sponsoring the MWLUG conference. There were many companies who were interested that we were not able to accommodate because of space limitations.

However, we are happy to announce the MWLUG Donation Sponsorship. We have two new programs for IBM Business Partners that are now available to help support the participating user groups of this conference. All proceeds for this sponsorship will go directly to the participating user groups to help run their meetings. So whether you are a small business partner or a Premier IBM Business Partner, this program gives you the opportunity for your company to be in front of the Lotus community.

To learn more please click on the link below.

http://www.mwlug.com/mwlug/mwlug.nsf/donationSponsorship?openPage

Historical Bike Tour Part 1: Great Lakes Naval Station

This weekend I did about 90 miles on the bike. I went on both the Green Bay and Skokie Valley bike trail. The Green Bay trail took me up to North Chicago. It follows along the Chicago Northwestern line which is now the Union Pacific and travels through the North Shore communities that border along Lake Michigan. Fort Sheridan that I discussed last week is among these towns.

Geoffrey Baer does a incredible series of videos for WTTW here in Chicago about the different towns. Since I am traveling back and forth on this trail, I thought I should do a series of history blogs about these towns similar to what Geoffrey has done on video. So here is first of a series of many North Shore History by Bike blogs. The towns that I will be covering are Great Lakes, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Fort Sheridan, Highwood, Highland Park, Glencoe, Winnetka, Wilmette, and last Evanston home of Northwestern University and Taishan Works.

Great Lakes
Great Lakes is the home of Great Lakes Naval Station. It is beautiful inside. In my past life I had visited a few times. It is the United States Navy's Headquarters Command for training. It is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training center in the Navy. The base has 1,153 buildings situated on 1,628 acres (6.59 km2) and has 50 miles (80 km) of roadway to provide access to the base's facilities.

Buildings at the Great Lakes Naval Station is part of National Register of Historic Places. As part of their training, at the Great Lakes Naval Station they have a mockup of a ship where recruits also must navigate a darkened, smoke-filled ship compartment damaged by a faked terrorist attack. This training scenario was inspired by the 2000 bombing of the destroyer Cole.





It is very common to see naval recruits on the weekends traveling on the Union Pacific to downtown Chicago. The Great Lakes train station is right across the street from the gate entrance. One thing unique about the Union Pacific North line is that it follow the English approach where the tracks are opposite. So if you ever use this train line be careful on which platform to wait for the train.

MWLUG Pre-Conference Domino 8.5 Upgrade Workshop

The MWLUG Pre-Conference Notes/Domino 8.5 Upgrade Workshop that is being held from August 25-26 is almost full. If you are interested in attending this workshop please register as soon as possible, http://www.mwlug.com. This workshop is available first come first serve so don't procrastinate.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicago Flex User Group

If you are interested in Flex, there is a Chicago Flex User Group meeting tonight. For more information go to:

http://www.chicagoflex.org/

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Announcing MWLUG Conference 2009 Sessions and Speakers

The MWLUG Conference 2009 is turning out to be an incredible conference. We plan to have 27 sessions covering administration and infrastructure, application development, and business development. We will have sessions ranging from UI interface design with Chris Blatnick, BES management with John Wargo to business case studies that will be presented by Lotus customers. For business partners who are involved with Lotus Foundations we have an entire session devoted on marketing Lotus Foundations in the mist of cloud computing. We are still finalizing a few additional sessions. Hats off to the MWLUG Session Committee who has help make this possible.

MWLUG Conference 2009 Sessions

MWLUG Conference 2009 Speakers

The two day conference is packed from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day with sessions and fun. The two day session will be kicked off by a keynote presentation by Ed Brill.

If you are planning to come, please register online since we need to have a head count for the Chicago River and Lake Michigan boat ride on Thursday. On site registration will be accepted, but we will accept checks only, no credit card.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kudos to CBS News for Covering the Historical Moment

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. As a space enthusiast I have been fortunate to see Neil Armstrong a couple of years ago at Lotusphere plus meet and shake hands with Eugene Cernan who was the last man to be on the moon. This morning CBS News devoted an entire 30 minutes to this historical event. NBC did a 5 minute piece, but ABC really ticked me off. I guess that feel that a new show with David Cassidy was more important than one of the most important event of mankind. Thanks CBS.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Riding to Fort Sheridan

It was a messy morning where I saw a woman backed her car right into my car as I was coming out of a store. It going to be a few thousand dollars of damage. It will not cost me anything since it was her fault but it is a pain having to get my car fixed.


It was a nice and cool day so to get out my frustrations I took a long bike ride up to Fort Sheridan. It very nice biking around over there. They have done a very nice job transforming the former military base into residential housing and a forest preserve. The Army Reserve still have part of the base. Most of the old barracks and housing have been converted to condos and very expense homes. They have some nice nature trails that including one that takes you down to the lake where there is still one gun emplacement that was used for training during World War II. Something that most people do not know is that there use to be a airfield at Fort Sheridan. When I use to live in Highland Park, we would go to Fort Sheridan for the July 4th fireworks and all the fireworks were done on the airfield. They fired live howitzers along with the fireworks accompanied by the 1812 Overture. It was very nice.


Fort Sheridan is named for Phil Sheridan, an important Civil War general. They built the fort after the Hay Market riots in 1886, because the rich businessmen, The Commercial Club of Chicago, wanted a Federal Army presents to protect their interest. It was originally called Camp Highwood and later renamed Fort Sheridan. Troops stationed at Fort Sheridan were used in 1894 to quell labor unrest during the Pullman Strike.


Friday, July 17, 2009

My Office Brought to You By Lotus Yellow


This morning as I was riding my bike to work around the lakefront and received a number of messages that I needed to address immediately. The signal along the lake is spotty. So the took out my T41 and did all my work disconnected with my Lotus Notes applications that I had on my laptop plus I made a few changes to the design of the MWLUG conference application that I had a local replica on my laptop. When I got a better signal a little later I replicated everything and everyone is happy. As a result, my contacts did not have to wait for me to get to my office and then make the changes. Remember, time is money.

Microsoft and Google. That is the power of Lotus technology.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Final MWLUG Signage Fixture Design Complete

The MWLUG Green Project team have completed the final design of the signage fixture for the MWLUG Conference 2009. The next task is to build the fixture using the selected materials. We had a bit of problem trying to get the materials that we needed. The minimum lot size of our main material, X-board, that we were required to purchase was incredibility large, 100 sheets which would have been $8,000.00. Therefore, we had to find alternative materials that would replace the X-board. The total cost of the new material is about $50.00. If I had it my way, it would have been free. All the materials for the fixture are manufactured within the United States or locally here in Chicagoland area. It will be made from materials that have been recycled, is renewable, or can be recycled. The replacement material uses glue made from corn starch grown in the Midwest. Since the materials are purchased all locally, we saved a significant amount of carbon emission required for shipping. We will unveil the MWLUG Conference fixture on August 27 at the conference. So if you would like to know how the final fixture looks like come to the MWLUG conference.

MWLUG Conference 2009 Abstract Selection

We have a great line up of presentations for the Midwest Lotus User Group Conference. Submitters will be notified starting today on whether they have been selected. So look forward soon for a list of great presentations that we are having for this unique conference put together by the collaboration of many Lotus user groups. So sign up for this conference soon. The cost of the conference is $35.00 with all the admission fees collected going towards support the participating Lotus user groups in their operation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Cardinals are Back

I don't mean the St. Louis Cardinals, I am from the north side of Chicago, so I am a Cubs fan regardless of whether they win or lose. There is always next year. Maybe in 2100 they will win. Of course, I will have to watch that from heaven.

For many years now I have not seen cardinals, the state bird of Illinois, in our area. However, over the past year it seems that I have been seeing more and more cardinals which are beautifully red. Today is gorgeous so I rode for 25 miles from my home to Highland Park, IL and then to Evanston, IL and back on the Green Bay bike trail. On the trail I saw cardinals five different times. The Green Bay bike trail is a very nice trail that takes you all the way up to North Chicago. In fact you can start from the south side of Chicago and bike along the trails next to Lake Michigan and connected to the Green Bay trail. From North Chicago you can go to Kenosha, WI and connect up towards Green Bay, WI. Unfortunately, from North Chicago to Kenosha it is a bit rough and dangerous because of the roads.

It is the first time I had a chance to ride a longer distance. I kept getting flat tires. So after 5 flat tires, I finally got a professional to take a look at it. It seems that the plastic rim strip that covers the spokes had an edge that was sticking out and each time I replaced my inner tube and started riding, the tube would get another puncture.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It is All About the Interface, Baby !

Lotus Notes is now prettier with the Eclipse wrapper, but making a functional user interface is not about looking pretty. Google's interface for their applications is not as pretty as Lotus Notes. It is simple but logical. Though Lotus Notes now has a nicer looking interface it still has things that are not logical and layout incorrectly for the end user. For example is contact synchronization. You would thing that if you have to synchronize your contacts with your blackberry or other mobile device that you would go to your contact database and there would be a button or link to click on to start the process. That would be the most intuitive approach. But NO!!!! In 8.02 you need to go to your mail file. I understand the reason it is done that way, but come on it is not that hard to have a button in the contact database to start the process. Same thing in Notes 8.5, if you need to go to the replication page if you need to force a contacts synchronization. These are the little things that drives users against a product. Remember C-level executive are end-users.

Midwest Demo Day Area VMware User Group

The Midwest Demo Day Area VMware User Group Conference is on August 6, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. If you are interested in using VMware in your Lotus environment come and attend the all day event. It is free to sign up.

http://campaign.vmware.com/usergroup/invites/MidwestDemoDays_8-6-09.html

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MWLUG Exhibitor Sponsorship is Closed

We have closed exhibitor sponsorship for the Midwest Lotus User Group Conference. We had incredible response from the IBM Business Partner Community. Due to space constraints we are limited to the number of sponsors that we can have. We have a number of business partners who are on the waiting list in case. We will be opening our MWLUG Donation Sponsorship beginning next week. We will provide information about that soon. Thanks everyone for your support and make sure you register for the conference.

Introducing UX Pages and the DLEX Project

As I was building the Midwest Lotus User Group Conference web site, I became more and more frustrated with what is required in developing a web site on the Domino platform. It is always becomes a cluge of multiple programming techniques, pass thru HTML, and hacks that is required to build a web page in Domino. Not very elegant. I believe it is one of the main factors why more Web sites are not running Domino as the backend considering the great security features of Domino.

The new XPages features of Domino 8.5 really adds new capabilities to create Web 2.0 applications. However, if you currently have existing applications you will need to modify them significantly in some cases to make it work. In addition, your application must run on a Domino 8.5 server and you must have Designer 8.5. Since I have a T41 with only 1.25 Gbytes of memory, I was not going to run Designer 8.5. I tested it once and that was enough. Also, I needed users who do not have knowledge of Domino development to update the content. IBM XPages require users to have experience as Domino application developers in order to build an application.

I looked into using one of the CMS that were available on openNTF but I did not like them. I kept thinking that there must be a better way of creating a web site in Domino. I have been working with Adobe Flex on and off for the past few months. In this environment, a web application is defined by XML declarations of the UI interface as show below:



Therefore, I was wondering whether I could represent a Domino web page also using XML declarations. XPages in fact does a very similar thing. So I decided to create my own XML declaration environment called UX Pages. It would mimic the Flex approach

After many trials and dead ends. I have completed the first version of the UX Pages engine, DLEX. It is very crude, but functional. In the UX environment an entire web page is defined by XML declarations. Like Adobe Flex, there are UX control components like labels and buttons, UX containers, UX navigators, and UX special containers. Currently, the fidelity of the UX components are minimal. The goal is to expand the capabilities of the components over time. Shown below is a sample UX Pages code that represents the sample web page that I quickly created . It was suppose to have been a sponsor site for the MWLUG conference, but I did not have enough time. It demonstrates a number of containers and controls that I have created. Each control or containers have properties and methods.



The DLEX compiler converts the UX XML into standard HTML and CSS. When you open the web site, the DLEX engine displays the web pages using Domino web agents. The DLEX compiler uses a recursive routine so you can have UX controls and containers within each other. I wrote the entire DLEX engine in Lotuscript since I am not very good at Java.

DLEX should work on Domino R5 server and higher. I can only create static web pages at this time. The next goal is to add the ability to read and submit Domino data from within the UX framework. The goal after that is to create UX datagrid containers and list controls that would be used to list data. How Ajax, Dojo, and JQuery plays into the whole thing, I have no idea at this time. I do not know how scalable this whole thing is. However, it works fine for the web sites that I am developing which are mostly for small organizations. After I improve the fidelity of the controls, I will recode the ReCor and Taishan Works web site which are due for a major overhaul using the DLEX engine.

If you would like to see the demo code from above in action go to:
http://twhost01.taishanworks.com/mwlug/sponsorhandbook.nsf

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eliminating Carbon Emissions using Online Collaboration Technologies

One of the major goals of the MWLUG Green Project is to carefully track the amount of carbon emissions that the team saved from being emitted into the atmosphere by using online collaboration tools like Lotus Quickr during the design process. We used a variety of online collaboration tools including video conference, instant messaging, file sharing, and online meeting. We calculate the amount of carbon emissions that was eliminated based on the carbon emission footprint of each car driven by the team and the distance that they would have traveled to meet.

Every week, we provide an update on the MWLUG Green Project site http://mwluggreenproject.blogspot.com on the amount of carbon emissions that was eliminiated by using online collaboration tools. So far as of July 2, 2009 we have eliminated 851 lbs of carbon emissions that would otherwise have been emitted.

If you would like to determine the carbon emissions of your own vehicle you can go to this site to calculate your emission.

http://www.terrapass.com/carbon-footprint-calculator/

MWLUG Conference 3-D Design Models

The MWLUG Green Project team have completed their 3-D design models of the MWLUG conference fixture. The final design is getting very close and should resemble one of the models or a combination of the three models that they have built. If you would like to see how the current models look like you visit the MWLUG Green Project at:

http://mwluggreenproject.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Still Time to Submit Your MWLUG Presentation Abstract

Didn't get a chance to present at Lotusphere or other conferences? Want to share your Lotus knowledge with others. Join us along with other speakers like Ed Brill and John Head and present at the premier Lotus user group conference. There is still time to submit your presentation abstract for the Midwest Lotus User Group Conference.

Also PLEASE NOTE if you submitted your abstract and did not get a confirmation email from us make sure you resubmit your abstract. We unfortunately had problems with a few submissions.