Thursday, October 15, 2009

The End of Novell (for me)

Last week I taught a Novell class for what I think is the last time. It was an eDirectory course for some guys in Vancouver. Overall fun class with good students. However, with limited market share and consequently limited training opportunities, I don't think it is worth my while to update my certs to teach the newer content.

I remember when......
  • about 70% of organizations used Novell NetWare
  • file and print services were all that were expected of a server
  • NetWare was more stable than Windows (by a lot)
  • GroupWise had reasonable market share
  • Microsoft was the underdog for server side computing
  • IPX/SPX meant I didn't really need to understand the network configuration

Goodbye NetWare, eDirectory, and GroupWise. It was fun while it lasted. SUSE I hardly knew you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MTS BlackBerry in Vancouver

I'm in Vancouver teaching a course this week and have my BlackBerry along for the ride. In downtown Vancouver, data support for an MTS Blackberry is very spotty. What I mean is that it sucks.

Right now, my data synchronization for e-mail and even BlackBerry messenger is sporatic at best. Data connectivity is for brief periods of time every hour, two hours, or even four hours. Occasionally, disabling my connections and reenabling them will trigger the data to go on again. Removing and reinstalling the battery sometimes triggers it as well.

If I came here often, I'd need to look at a different provider....Or an iPhone.

Java Woes

One of our clients uses a Java-based financial app that loads from a web page. As part of resolving another issue, I removed and reinstalled Java from the workstation. It never occurred to me that I should test the financial app because it had not given me problems in the past when I applied updates. Also, I don't have a logon for that app because it would give me access to the data related to their customers.

Anyway, on Monday morning I get a polite call telling me that the app is not working. This app requires the user to accept a certificate from the vendor the first time it is run, and I assumed that the user accidentally said no to accepting it. So, I took remote control and it definitely did not work. The error, complained about security in a roundabout and cryptic way.

After some testing and tweaking, no fix. Later when doing some research (ok, Google searches) I found out that this is a bug in the last two releases of Java for apps with certain characteristics. I had installed Java 6 update 16. The last version without the bug was Java 6 update 14. Remove the new version, install the old and all was fine. Fortunately all the older versions of java are archived and easily available.