Smelling my roses

What a wonderful weekend this has been.

I started off Friday night hanging at a cigar event with a good buddy. It’s always nice to hang out with friends, and it’s always so relaxing in a setting like that. I need to continue to make time for those types of nights.

On Saturday, my eldest had dance practice and afterwards we went out as a family for sushi, one of my favorite meals. We had a nice afternoon, and then in the evening the wife and I rented a movie from one of my favorite directors. It was another nice relaxing evening.

Well this morning, the girls let us sleep in a bit, and then my youngest woke us up. She lead us into the living room where she had set up breakfast for us. Waffles and coffee made to perfection. We had a wonderful family breakfast, and then all hung out in the living room doing various projects.

Before lunch I headed out to our deck and lit up a nice cigar. The sun was shining, it was a perfect 68 degrees, nice breeze. I checked Twitter and Facebook on the iPad while listening to music and enjoying the calm.

We had a nice family lunch, and then lounged around watching some TV. The youngest headed off to gymnastics practice, and here I am back on the deck. I have a cigar on one side of me and a pumpkin spice coffee on the other. Music once again floats by on a beautiful breeze as the sun warms my face. It really cannot get much better.

This is Labor Day weekend here in the States which is a national holiday commemorating all the hard work people put in all year. It’s a time to relax and enjoy life a bit, and I’m trying to do just that.

I’ve been insanely busy at work as of late, so this weekend was just the thing I needed to recharge a bit. In addition, I’m using it to realize how very lucky I am.

I have a great, supportive, beautiful, caring wife. I have two highly intelligent, motivated, loving children. We all have our health. I have a job I truly love with employees of mine I trust and enjoy working with. I have a few good close friends whom I care deeply about. I have a place I live that is truly a home, with history, and quirks and all. I have the dog at my side, and I have a smile on my face.

Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of all the good things. I’m stopping to smell those roses right now.

Here’s wishing you all the same happiness I’m currently enjoying.

Recommending: Tyrone Wells

Tyrone Wells

Metal & Wood by Tyrone Wells

I haven’t recommended music here on the blog in a long time, but recently I started

listening to a singer-songwriter by the name of Tyrone Wells.

I heard him on a Pandora mix based on Jason Mraz a couple months ago, and thought I needed to look him up.  Well I checked him out on Napster and became an instant fan.  His most recent album, Metal & Wood, has been in constant rotation on the Sonos and in car for months.

Admittedly I’ve been on an adult-alternative singer-songwriter kick lately, so he just fell into that perfectly.  That said, he’s able to encapsulate emotions in his songs so well, and many of his lyrics tend to fit my hippie sensibilities quite well.  For example:

Take all the Metal and Wood
Used in the waging of war
And teach the men that make those weapons
To build shelter for the poor
 
Take all the money we spend
On the way that we appear
Find the ones that die of hunger
And help them see another year
 

He also has songs of happiness and hope, like is expressed on And The Birds Sing:

Poor man and a millionaire
Both under the oak tree’s shade
Not stressing over money made
 
Preacher and the Atheist
Both jumping in the ocean waves
Today they both feel saved

If you see some of his earlier work, you can tell he’s a religious guy, but I like the fact that he’s not judgemental and actually includes an Atheist in his song.  :-)

Lastly, he can really touch a nerve on love lost too.  Songs like Let Go and Give Me One Reason are so packed with emotion that you can sometimes find yourself tearing up when he sings them.

Today, so many artists lack that emotion when they sing, but Tyrone Wells really draws you in, and that rare quality is to be rewarded.  Pick this album up, you won’t be disappointed!

So how did I get here?

I’ve gotten some questions on how I went about migrating from Blogsphere to WordPress, so I wanted to share here in case someone else was in the same boat.

Basically I stood on the shoulders of others.  I followed the directions laid out by Mitch Cohen in these blog posts here and here.  He used some code from our mutual friend Matt White to export the posts and comments into a format that WordPress can use.  Another friend of his had some code that cleaned things up, and then I simply imported everything.

For me, categories didn’t quite come over correctly, so I deleted them all and started over.  I decided to manually go through and clean everything up after the fact.  It’s still something I need to finish up.

As for comments, they did come over, but I wanted to use Disqus instead.  Disqus is a good service for comments that allow people to login with various accounts like Facebook or Twitter.  Pulls in the avatars and everything.  So, I installed the Disqus WordPress plugin and now suddenly all of my comments were gone on the blog and replaced with blank Disqus areas.  Well no fear, you can simply export your comments from WordPress into Disqus using the Disqus tools and then they all show up.

The URL’s to the emoticons got converted to text only, so you’ll have to go back and edit those if you need to as well.  Otherwise it just looks a little messy.

Next, I always used FeedBurner for my RSS feeds, so I just pointed it to the new feed here and I was done.

I’ve added some plug-ins like Jetpack and WordPress Mobile, but I’m still looking for other good additions.  Also, I need to find a nice theme I like as the default one (while easily readable) needs some style…

One last cool thing I did was import some REALLY old Blogger based blog posts.  You see, I had written a private blog for awhile before going public and using Blogsphere.  I still had them in Blogger and it was easy to export to a format for bringing into WordPress.  It was kind of nice to see the old diary entries and incorporate them into the overall blog here.

Anyway, I hope that helps you out if you are in the same boat.  It was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, so don’t be scared of diving in!

 

Cats in the Cradle

One of the things that kind of sucks about the growth of my pointy hair is the travel I find myself undertaking as of late.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind travel at all.  Hotels, airports, rental cars.  None of that bothers me.  It’s being away from the wife and kids that’s been harder to get used to.

Take today.  I had to travel to Orlando.  The plane was filled with families with excited kids going to Disney.  Made me think of my girls and how much they liked coming down here back in June.  Then I made it to my hotel, and all I could think about was how much they would have enjoyed where I’m staying.

I keep hearing “Cats in the Cradle” in my head every time I check into a new hotel, and I sometimes wonder if I’m neglecting my duties as a parent a bit.  That’s a hard thing to come to terms with.

That said, I get to video chat with the girls while I’m away, and that actually helps a lot.  It’s so much better than a simple phone call.  When they kiss the screen and tell me good night, it makes me feel better.

I write this tonight, from a hotel room in Orlando, to remind myself that I need to continue to make more time for my kids and wife when I’m home, as that will make the time I’m away easier on us all.

But for now, it’s back to work…

Hello World… again

Hello all. If you are seeing this, then I actually did quite a bit correctly in my blog move. I decided to move to WordPress and host it through my own webhost. It was just time to move on from Blogsphere and investigate different technologies.

I do want to thank Declan and all the contributors over the years to Blogsphere. It facilitated my blogging addiction for nearly 8 years. That’s no small feat and I’ve always liked the software.

That said, I needed a change. Something to kickstart the blogging habit again, and I think this is it. I’ll be keeping the old blog up for awhile, but all of the posts and comments are now here too. I plan on setting up some re-directs so the google juice on my posts will follow me here at blog.roling.com.

Right now, the site is very raw. I need to settle on a theme and get all the info in place that I want to utilize. So over the next couple months you’ll hopefully see some nice re-designs on the site. If you are a reader via RSS, nothing much will change on your end :-)

Thanks for sticking with me so long folks. I plan on being around (now on WordPress) for a long time to come.

Where to go from here?

Well folks, I’ve come to a crossroads of sorts. For nearly eight years, I’ve had my blog on Blogsphere running on the Domino platform. I’ve loved it, but as blogging and social networks have grown, there are so many other options out there that I could maintain and keep up-to-date with a little less work on my end. It’s obvious that due to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Google+ that I have less time to spend on blogging in general and blogging maintenance in particular. In addition, as the pointy hair grows, I think it’s good to look at all the options available to me.

So with that said, I really think it’s time for me to switch platforms.

So, the million dollar question is, which one? I have a good hosting company, and I could install WordPress, Drupal or Joomla rather easily. I also already have Tumblr and Posterous accounts that could easily be converted. I want whichever platform I choose to have the following:

  • Good mobile apps for iOS
  • Ability to utilize good commenting systems (like Disqus)
  • Easy to maintain themes
  • Ability to customize and add plug-ins
  • Ability to hook into all the major social networks

Next, the billion dollar question is, Do I attempt to migrate all of my old data, or do I just start fresh?

This is the harder one. Many of my technical Domino posts still get hits every single day. So as a resource, it’s a good one. In addition, I’ve always looked at it as a diary of my past. Something I can look back on and see where I was in my life when I posted. So migrating makes some sense, but then the new blog would have all new URL’s. So do you move and hope Google figures it out? Or do you leave the old site up and start a new one? It’s a hard decision, and I’m not sure which way I’ll go.

So, my loyal readers, what do you think? Do I abandon this house and leave all my belongings behind with a note where to find me now? Or do I attempt the migration? And lastly, which platform would YOU choose? Thanks for any help you may be able to offer!

My latest travel helper: Taxi Magic

Over the last couple of years as my pointy hair has grown, I’ve had to travel more and more for my job. I don’t mind travel, but I try to be ruthlessly efficient in how I go about it. While in Denver a couple of weeks ago I came across an service that will change how I use taxis forever. That service is called Taxi Magic.

I had just spent the night in a hotel in downtown Denver and I needed a taxi to get to our office. I hailed one down and we were on our way. As I was riding, there was an LCD screen in the back that was serving up entertainment and talking about the Taxi Magic service. I saw that it had apps for iOS, Blackberry, Android and Palm, so I figured I might check it out as I would need another taxi later in the day to get me to the airport. At the end of the ride, I was able to swipe my credit card and pay that way very easily. I thanked the driver and went to the office.

Later in the day when I had an opportunity, I downloaded the iOS application. It wanted me to set up some stuff, and it looked like the website would be a little easier to deal with, so I set up my account on the taximagic.com website itself. I was able to give my information, including credit card info to be saved for in-cab payments. Once I got it all set up, I went back to iOS and logged in from within the application. I needed a cab for a specific time, so I scheduled one right from my phone. I was able to choose from several participating taxi companies (I chose Yellow Cab) and then set up my time and told the app where I was getting picked up at and where I was going to.

The application scheduled the appointment, told me the approximate travel time and what the approximate fare would be. An hour before I was to be picked up I got a text message reminding me of the cab. Then as the time approached I received another text when the cabbie was dispatched and how far away he was. He arrived and we were on our way. When we arrived at the airport, I opened the app, put in the total I was going to pay (including tip) and clicked Pay. Within seconds, the driver received a confirmation code on his in-taxi computer and I we were done. It was super easy and worked so much more efficiently than anything I had done prior. In addition, my receipt gets saved to my account as a PDF for expenses later. You get to keep a history of all the rides you’ve taken.

So if you take cabs, I really recommend Taxi Magic. It was an awesome new use of technology and will totally simplify the way you go about your rides.

We are the Champions, my friends.

A couple of weeks ago, IBM announced their Champions for IBM Collaboration Solutions. IBM defines a ‘Champion’ as the following:

An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who influences and mentors others to help them make best use of IBM solutions and services.

It seems like a broad description, but the Champions really are the best of the best in the IBM Lotus community. These people have contributed so much to help others across the world learn, use, implement and enjoy IBM Collaboration technologies. When it came time for nominations, only 50 Champions would be chosen WORLDWIDE. Yes, they were going to pick out the top 50 community leaders and contributors across the globe and recognize their efforts.

I was thrilled and extremely proud that two of my employees, Declan Lynch and David Leedy, were named as part of that illustrious group of Champions. Those two definitely belong in that list, and I am thankful and humbled that they help make my life at work easier every single day. We’re doing really exciting work right now, and I sleep so much better at night knowing that they are part of the effort. Thank you guys for being such great teammates and so good to the community as well!

In addition, I do have to say that a vast majority of those Champions have touched my Lotus life in various ways. The list of folks is quite awesome and so very deserving of the award. Congrats to all of you and thank you for your tireless efforts in the community. It really is appreciated.

SSL Hell

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you are very aware that I hate the way SSL is implemented on Domino. I mean c’mon, even the logo in the management database still has the old R5 Domino logo.

Anyway, at the day gig, we have a wildcard SSL certificate to handle multiple subdomains within our main domain. That means that each domain in the *.acme.com range uses the same SSL certificate. So X.acme.com and Y.acme.com both use the same cert. Domino handles this a little weirdly itself as you require a specific IP address for each SSL subdomain, but that’s not what I ran into this week.

What happened is that we need to use that same SSL wildcard on an IIS server. So, we simply downloaded it from our registrar and tried to install it within IIS. Problem is, it didn’t work. Searching for Google info on SSL on Domino is a little sparse, so my server admin contacted the registrar to see what they thought. They said we needed to export the certificate from Domino and then import it into IIS. For some reason, you couldn’t just install it on IIS once it was already installed previously on Domino.

So, I go to the SSL database on Domino and opened our keyring for our wildcard certificate. I looked around and couldn’t find an Export function anywhere. It doesn’t exist. In addition, Domino saves your info in a keyring file with a .KYR extension which cannot be read outside of Domino. So now I was at a loss. So once again I started googling info on this and came across this post. Kevin was exporting for use in Apache, but had come across the same problem that I just had.

He found a utility from IBM called iKeyman. This utility allows you to open a Domino .KYR file, and then export it to a PKCS12 (.P12) file. Once you do that, you can use another utility called OpenSSL to convert into whatever other formats you may need. For me, IIS was happy with just the .P12 file so we were able to use that and didn’t need to bother with OpenSSL.

So now, SSL is working on IIS and Domino. A huge thanks to Kevin for his blog post. I wanted to post as well to give a little more Google juice to SSL issues you may run into with Domino, SSL and wildcards.

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