Everything stated on this site is, of course, MY opinion / statement / thought, unless specifically stated otherwise. You knew that.


PLEASE NOTE: I'm *slowly* combining my blogs into this single site. If you are looking for Lotus Notes content from my old site, please EMAIL me at: jrlitton at gmail dot com and tell me the link or the content you were seeking. I will try to email you the content within a day.

- Joe

Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Java Certification

A year ago I bought a voucher for the Sun Java Programmer test (US$150). The time had come to use it or lose it, so this morning I passed the test . Many thanks to Tom Duff for giving me his Java 2 Certification Study Guide after he passed the test (that link actually points to the newer edition). And most of, many thanks to my wife and son who put up with a lot of evening and weekend hours with me hunkered down in the home office with all this Java stuff.

So...several folks have asked what resources one might use to learn Java and/or pass the test. My goal was to do both, so listed below (and shown in the picture) is what I used:

  • Sun Education's course SL-275. OK, I was lucky on this one. A couple of years ago when Tom Duff and I worked at Enron, we were fortunate to be sent to Sun's one week Java class, which was a great intro to the language. I went back through the course exercises as a rudimentary refresher.

  • A Programmer's Guide to Java Certifcation. This is a great book. The first time I opened it, it scared the heck out of me. But with time, it actually started to make sense. Miracles happen!

  • Java 2 Certification Study Guide. This book is also useful for pressing flowers, because it weighs a ton! It actually contains study guides for the Programmer test and the Developer test (the next test in the series). Some day I might work toward the Developer test, but for now the next one I plan to work on is the IBM XML test.

  • Mike Meyers' Java 2 Certification Passport. The travel theme is a little hokey, but you get used to it. This was the book I used the most during the week (and long weekend of study) right before the test. This is not the book to use if you are starting out learning Java; this is the book to use to make sure you've got the objectives covered before taking the test.

  • Java Ranch. This web site is great. It's a little corny, but there's a wealth of information and tips on the site, some good simple code samples, practice tests, and links to all things Java. My donation to the site is on the way.

  • Practice Exam for Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform. I paid US$75 for a 90-day subscription to the web-based practice test from Sun. It gives a very good feel for the format of the actual test questions, and covers each objective pretty well.
Well with this morning's test out of the way, I've got my PCLP (R4,5,6 App Dev), MCP (Visual Basic 6.0), and now SCJP (and part way through Oracle Developer cert, but that may stay in limbo for a while). But I'm finally back up to the same number of certs as Duffbert, so life is good :-)

So now for tonight it is absolutely no studying. I'm off to enjoy a pint or two! Cheers.

R5 Alarms fix

I've heard from a few folks who, like me, did not seem to have working alarms in their Notes calendars. For me this had been the case for at least a month, but it wasn't a high enough priority for me to worry about.

Today I decided to figure out what was wrong. There are 3 possible fixes I found with a quick Internet search (and there are probably more):

[1] Hold down when opening one's mail file. Look at the normally-hidden ($Alarms) view and delete any documents with errors. I had about 15 documents that were listed at the top of the view, with the displayed line starting with "ERROR:". I deleted those and tested alarms (my standard test is to restart Notes and create a reminder scheduled to fire a minute or two in the future). Alarms still didn't work.

[2] Check Notes.ini and ensure that there is a line in there that looks like this: $EnableAlarms=1 ....mine was $EnableAlarms=0, which should prevent alarms from working. I edited Notes.ini to set the parameter to "1", restarted Notes, and alarms now work. I have no idea how that parameter changed, since my alarms had worked quite well for over a year.

[3] I didn't have to try this 3rd option, but another post suggested going into one's Inbox, then selecting Tools/Preferences.../Calendar/Free Time and changing anything in there (like adding and deleting a space) and then clicking OK to save and exit. That will apparently kick-start the alarms, and a colleague says that seems to have been the case for her a while back.

Like most of the company, I'm running Win2k with R5 and the company standard mail template. Judging from the number of posts I found on the 'net, many have experienced this problem (at least with the Win2k and R5 combo). Hopefully posting here might help someone else.

Notes Help db as interactive site (23Apr)

Quick summary: I'm waiting to hear from IBM regarding permission to post the R5 Designer help (help5_designer.nsf).

Robert Basic has a post today with links to the discussion and comments. The general idea is to have an interactive help file. I'm interested in hosting this in some form (whether it be a single file allowing comments, or database of comments to which folks could link from their own slightly modified help db - as suggested by Paul Pentony.) I am in now in the process of getting word from IBM as to whether or not this is permissible.

I must say, I've been quite impressed with the speed of response from IBM thus far. I sent an email to 'generic' IBM from their web site, and received an email later that same day with the name/phone number of someone to contact. After leaving a voice mail with the named individual, I later received a voice mail from someone else to whom the issue had been passed. This gent left me his name, email address, and phone number, and I have emailed him with requested details. I'll post when I receive a reply.

Regardless of whether IBM grants permission to post the help file or tells me to go away, I judge a company in large part on the speed with which they reply to customer inquiries; I give IBM high marks on this one.

Now in response to Paul and Robert wondering if the UNID for a given help document would be the same in each database, the issue is clouded, since there are several versions of R5 help:

Download help files from LDD

Firebird (Phoenix) browser

A few weeks back Julian pointed me to the Phoenix browser (now being renamed to Firebird for legal reasons).

Gotta thank you, Julian - I've been using Phoenix ever since and it is very nice.

At work we use IE as our standard browser. That's fine, and I must admit that I have made good use of the IE extensions. But for personal browsing from home, it's Phoenix now (I've tried IE, Netscape, Mozilla, and Opera). Phoenix is built on Mozilla. It's light, fast, and I very much like the clean interface and wealth of extensions. While I am considering defecting to the the OS/X or Linux world for the next home machine, I'll most likely be running the Phoenix browser at least on the Windows machines. Check it out if you've not tried this browser.

Notes Help db as interactive site

There's a post today from Robert Basic about what I believe is a fantastic idea: putting Notes/Domino help online as a searchable database that also allows comments. Let's dream a bit here. Envision Notes/Domino Designer and Administrator help databases posted on the web. If you have some code examples or perhaps some intricacies you've discovered, you could post and share this knowledge as response documents to the original Notes/Domino Help document. This could become a truly collaborative environment, with the global Notes/Domino community sharing our collective experience. Then we expand this to include WebSphere, Sametime, QuickPlace, etc.

I think Robert's suggestion is brilliant. How 'bout it, Ed Brill? You're possibly the only one from IBM/Lotus who's active in the Domino blogging community. Might IBM/Lotus host this? Or would IBM/Lotus allow me to host this if I were to post the Help files with some added functionality? (Of course, I'd have to see how the potential traffic might impact my currently low monthly cost, but I'd sure like to give it a go.)