No software runs flawless (even if the product is named after a fruit), so from time to time you need to interact with support. The entry point for IBM support is the IBM Support Portal or the support call center. Behind that front is quite a bit a process that is designed to be predictable, repeatable, measurable and ensure that customers get the right level of attention from the right level of expertise. Scribbled on a napkin it looks like this:
(click on the image to get a bigger picture
So you are just 2 degrees away from core development. Level 1's responsibility is to ensure that as much evidence as possible gets provided. This is often the most time consuming task and would tie down product experts quite a bit. It is often a point of contempt since you are not talking to a product expert yet (ironics would say: nothing can be called a process if it isn't broken"). The trick here: call in prepared to keep that phase as short as possible. Also be clear what support does: "Technical question support allows you to obtain assistance from IBM for product specific, task-oriented questions regarding the installation and operation of currently supported IBM software. Short duration problems involving but not limited to:
Specific usage/installation questions for documented functions
Product compatibility and interoperability questions
Technical references to publications, such as Redbooks or manuals
Assistance with interpretation of publications
Providing available configuration samples
Planning information for software fixes
IBM database searches
and what it doesn't:
Writing, troubleshooting or customizing client s code
Extensive configuration questions
Recovering a database, or data recovery
The IBM sales representative will happily discuss a service engagement for the above needs.
Long Term Storage and Retention
Thu, Aug 14th 2014 6:14a Stephan H Wissel Not just since Einstein time is relative. For a human brain anything above 3 seconds is long term. In IT this is a little more complex.
Once a work artefact is completed, it runs through a legal vetting and it either goes to medium or long term storage. I'll explain the difference in a second. This logical flow manifests itself in multiple ways in concrete implementations: Journaling (both eMail and databases), archival, backups, write-once copies. Quite often all artifacts go to medium term [read] Keywords: domino
Time stamped encrypted archives
Wed, Aug 13th 2014 9:12a Stephan H Wissel Developers use Version Control, business users Document management and consultants ZIP files.
From time to time I feel the need to safeguard a snapshot in time outside the machine I'm working with. Since "storage out of my control" isn't trustworthy, I encrypt data. This is the script I use:
# Saves the given directory (%1) in an SSL encrypted zip file (%2) within
# the personalFiles folder. The name [read] Keywords: connections
Designing a REST API for eMail
Sat, Aug 9th 2014 11:12a Stephan H Wissel Unencumbered by standards designed by committees I'm musing how a REST API would look like.
A REST API consists of 3 parts: the URI (~ URL for browser access), the verb and the payload. Since I'm looking at browser only access, the structured data payload format clearly will be JSON with the prose payload delivered in MIME format. I will worry about calendar and social data later on.
The verbs in REST are defined by the HTTP standard: , PUT, and DELETE. My base url would be http://localhost [read] Keywords: ibm
Workflow for beginners, Standards, Concepts and Confusion
Thu, Jul 24th 2014 10:12a Stephan H Wissel The nature of collaboration is the flow of information. So naturally I get asked about Workflows and its incarnation in IT systems a lot. Many of the question point to a fundamental confusion what Worflow is, and what it isn't. This entry will attempt to clarify concepts and terminology
Wikipedia sums it up nicely: "A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, pro [read] Keywords: collaboration
Warriors of Light
Sun, Jul 20th 2014 11:15a Stephan H Wissel Inspired by Paulo Coelho's manual for the Warrior of the Light:
Warriors of Light
We were born from the stars
Descended from the heavens
Armed with compassion
Determined to end the suffering
Subjected to the human condition
Battling ignorance with wisdom
Laying our lives for the liberation from illusion
When you look in the mirror - remember!
You are one of us. [read] Keywords:
Sun, Jul 13th 2014 1:12p Stephan H Wissel I like to cycle, I do that often and from time to time I have fun with traffic participants. One of the interesting challenges are multi-lane crossings (note to my overseas readers: Singapore follows the British system of driving on the left, so cyclists are supposed to cycle on the left edge of the road - which makes me edgy in some situations. So for right driving countries, just flip the pictures) where the outer lane allows more than one direction. Like these:
Road rules do require the [read] Keywords: google
From XML to JSON and back
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 8:12p Stephan H Wissel In the beginning there was csv and the world of application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was good. Then unrest grew and the demand for more structure and contextual information grew. This gave birth to SGML (1986), adopted only by a few initiated.
Only more than a decade later (1998) SGML's offspring XML took centre stage. With broad support for schemas, transformation and tooling the de facto standard for application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was established [read] Keywords: application
The folly of root cause analysis
Wed, Jul 9th 2014 6:12a Stephan H Wissel IT support's dealing with management is a funny business. Whenever something goes wrong, support teams engage in "defensive blaming" and the elusive quest for a root cause.
I've seen this quest (and blaming god and country along the way if it doesn't appear) taking priority over problem resolution and prevention. The twisted thought is: "If I'm not sure about the (single) root cause, I can't neither fix nor prevent it from happening again".
Why is that a folly?
It paralyses: If a pe [read] Keywords: application