The May 2006 Blog
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Sametime Passport Reinstatement Discount (Friday, May 26)
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If you haven't done this already it's probably too late (offer ends next Wednesday), but I saw this interesting promotion on the Lotus Special Offers Page yesterday:

IBM Lotus software maintenance reinstatement discount (Worldwide)
For a limited time only, if your IBM software maintenance for IBM Lotus Sametime, IBM Lotus Sametime Extranet Processor, or IBM Lotus CEO Enhanced Collaboration has lapsed, you can receive a promotional discount of 66% off when you reinstate maintenance for one year. Date of purchase must occur on or after January 24, 2006, but no later than May 31, 2006. So, take advantage of this special offer now, and be positioned to upgrade and enjoy the significant enhancements planned for the next version of Lotus Sametime, IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5, with a planned availability date of calendar year Q2, 2006.

That's a pretty darn good deal, if you let your old Sametime Passport license expire but you want to take advantage of all the cool new stuff in Sametime 7.5. Because you could upgrade to Sametime 7.5 with your newly reinstated Passport license.

I hadn't heard about this offer before, but then again I don't keep my head too close to the tracks with regards to sales information. Hopefully the IBM Business Partners know about it and have been pushing for it. Sametime 7.5 looks hella chill.

SnTT: Rebooting Remote Computers (Thursday, May 25)
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Remote Desktop is a common way to remotely access other Windows machines, but you can't shutdown or reboot the remote computer while you're remote desktopped in. I've always used psShutdown to reboot other computers on the network, but today one of the other guys at work showed me a "native" Windows way to do it. Check it out:

1. right-click "My Computer" (on your local workstation) and choose "Manage"

2. from the Computer Management window, choose Action - Connect to another computer...

3. enter the other computer's name and connect to it

4. right-click the top level item in the Computer Management dialog (it should say "Computer Management (OTHERCOMPUTERNAME)") and choose "Properties"

5. go to the "Advanced" tab and click the Startup and Recovery "Settings" button

6. click the "Shutdown" button at the bottom of the window

7. in the Shutdown dialog that comes up, choose the "Restart" option and click OK

8. the remote computer will now restart

I thought that was pretty cool. Maybe a fun way to play tricks on your friends too...

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The Ongoing Ubuntu Experiment (Monday, May 22)
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I just realized that I haven't mentioned Ubuntu Linux much recently. I'm about 10 months into my personal Ubuntu experiment, where I loaded Ubuntu as the only operating system on my main computer at home (no dual boot for me).

The lack of comment means it's been going well so far. I run Lotus Notes under Wine (I'm blogging from it right now), I use Firefox for the web and Thunderbird for e-mail (I was even able to import all of my e-mail from my Windows Thunderbird installation), OpenOffice for editing, and Skype for VOIP. The only thing I keep going back to my Windows machine for are:

So, I'm not all the way there, but I don't really expect to be either. I still work in a Windows world, and I need to develop for a largely Windows-centric community. In the meantime, some cool new Ubuntu developments:

If you're considering going the desktop Linux route, I very much recommend trying Ubuntu first. Which isn't to say that it's "better" than any of the other distros -- everyone likes different things about the different flavors -- but it's solid, easy to use, and has an incredibly active community (so you can get lots of help).

If you're completely new to Linux, a good start might be the Windows to Ubuntu transition guide. Otherwise, you can just download, install, and figure it out as you go along. It's really not that hard, especially if you're not afraid to ask Google when you need help.

The Lord Loves A Working Man (Thursday, May 18)
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[The scene opens with a church organ playing slow, thoughtful music on a misty day. The camera focuses on a weathered pair of wooden Church doors, zooms slowly through the entrance as the doors open, and pans across a half-lit cathedral, with 3 or 4 old women in veils lighting candles and whispering prayers at the front pews near the altar. To the far left of the screen, we see our hero Julian walking slowly towards the confessional. He enters, pulls the curtain shut, and kneels...]

Julian: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It's been 6 weeks and 1 day since my last blog entry.

Priestly voice from behind the screen: My son, your soul must be as black as tar. Have you at least been keeping up with your e-mail and comment spam?

J: Um, well... no, I've been letting my e-mails go too. Except for Gmail. I finally downloaded from my POP3 accounts 2 weeks ago and there were over 800 messages in the account alone. Almost all of them appear to be spam.

P: Thank the Lord for spam filters. What has kept you away for so long?

J: It started with a funeral. I had to drive from Florida to Wisconsin and back. That was 5 days and about 2,500 miles.

P: A noble effort, and certainly more important than blogging. But how do you account for the rest of your absence?

J: We went to Disney for a long weekend after that. And my sister-in-law visited for several days. And then my father and his wife came down for a weekend. And my sister just got married, so we went out of town for that. We had a garage sale too.

P: Hmm...

J: And we're trying to sell our house, so we spent a week boxing things up and 2 weeks cleaning and fixing all those little things I've been meaning to fix for the past few years.

P: But why sell your house? You've been so happy with it.

J: Because we're moving back up to Atlanta.

P: Atlanta? When are you moving there?

J: Sometime this summer. Depends on when the house sells.

P: But what about your job? How will you do your job from Atlanta?

J: Yeah, well... I quit my job too. So the telecommuting won't be so much of an issue.

P: Quit your job? What are you going to do? Do you have something lined up in Atlanta?

J: No, not really...

P: But...?

J: I'm going to try to do some kind of consulting or contracting in the immediate future. There are also some software products I've thought that I'd like to develop. So I'd like to try to spend time doing some for-profit development too.

P: My son, your sins appear to extend well beyond not blogging for a month. They seem to be centered around a general self-inflicted life upheaval. The Lord will absolve and forgive you, but how do you intend to make satisfaction for these things?

J: Well, I was kind of hoping God would make everything just work out for me.

P: To quote Steve Martin in The Jerk: "The Lord loves a working man." I think your success will depend on your persistence and focus. And beware the sins of pride and sloth.

J: Yes Father, those are definitely the problems. Do you think I can manage? Am I strong enough?

P: Only time will tell. You certainly need to do penance for your blogging absence, and steer away from the temptations that would keep you from such an absence in the future. Things like TV and snacks and too much alcohol.

J: What is my penance?

P: You will post more technical content over the next several days -- either code or discussions of technical topics. You need to reward your readers for continuing to check your site and keeping you on their aggregator list. You will focus your efforts for the future, and pick a specific path and stay on it. You will not waste the opportunity you have.

J: You're right Father. I need to be diligent. I need to be focused.

P: Yes, my son. And I want to see you back here next month to make sure you haven't strayed from the path. Now then, let us pray...

[Scene fades out as Latin prayers are spoken...]