February 11, 2006

30 years old today.... posted by Jess

Finally! :-)

Now, in traditional fashion from my early years living in the snow belt in northern Massachusetts, if the snow can just hold out until as LATE as possible...

February 01, 2006

Big news for Solace. posted by Jess

Solace Coming Soon

January 06, 2006

Happy 30th Birthday, Matt (yesterday) posted by Jess

Yesterday Matt turned 30. Sunday will be bringing a group trip up to 5-Wits in Boston, MA for some tomb puzzles. Should be interesting.

Here's to a new decade, honey!

November 02, 2005

Lotusphere 2006 - Abstract accepted! posted by Jess

I submitted the abstract, and it was approved. Yes!!

I will be giving a Pre-Conference Jumpstart session:
JMP101 - Administration for the Developer - Installing and Configuring Your Own Domino Server Playground!

Are you a developer who has only worked with a Domino server already in place? Would you like to learn how to start from scratch and make sure you still end up secure? Or how to create a development server and keep it from messing with your production environment? This session will teach developers who have no prior admin experience how get a Domino server up and running. Learn how to create your own development playground by walking through a complete install and basic configuration of a Domino server. You'll use the Administrator client to create user IDs, use the administration process (adminp), and configure and secure Domino as both an SMTP and web server. We'll review the server tasks you need (and don't need) for a development environment, and we'll show you how to configure your dev server so that it "plays nice" in your production environment. We'll even show you how to create firewall rules to access your server from the Internet. When you leave this session, you'll be able to create a development server of your very own, without disturbing your admins!

I can't wait. I've gotten a few requests from developers wanting to know how to do this. Even wanting to get a server playground up and running at home becomes impossible when you're not sure what floodgates you're opening. It's easy when it's already in place at work, but what about starting from scratch? No one seems to ever think about this. So, I decided it was time to change that.

Oh, more good news. Matt's coming this year, too. :-)

July 05, 2005

New bloggers posted by Jess

Blogs are great for keeping families in touch. For example, I'm so happy to have discovered that both my cousins are blogging from overseas! (For those that don't know, my mother is English, so half my family is overseas).

Yay to Carolyn (Beverlymum) and Neil (Shades of Grey)!

Also, my friend Susan Bulloch is also blogging! They don't come any nicer or more experienced than Susan, so when she posts her Admin tips, we will ALL learn from her experience. Like last year, Susan offered support for me while I was in Boston, which is always invaluable. She even got up early to come see my Friday 8AM presentation! Now THAT'S friendship.

AND, as an added bonus, Susan likes to cook as much as Matt does. I got the tip of the iceberg listening to them talk at Admin2005, (while I was busy drooling), so I know good things are to come.

From all this new stuff, here's to cooking, admin tips, and monkeys, serial joining, and moleskin suits.

Yes, it's a crazy world we live in, but I love it anyway.

June 26, 2005

Congratulations Reboot, an AKC Certified Good Citizen! posted by Jess

On Friday, Reboot passed her exam with flying colors and became an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen.

"I passed! I passed! Bring on the treats!"

The test consists of 10 steps (pass/fail) that proves that a dog has great manners overall. An owner must also prove their committment to the dog (dog license, rabies vaccinations, etc.).

(Something else you can do is microchip your dog. When Reboot was a baby, had her microchipped. Just about every vet, shelter, and even animal testing lab has a wand. Every incoming dog, lost collar or not, gets a wave of the wand. The chip is the size of a grain of rice, and is inserted in the same spot in every dog. The result is a number, which is cross-referenced in a giant doggie database. Should we change our contact information, the microchip is still valid, we just change her database information.

It's a very inexpensive operation, and now I never have to worry that she'll lose her collar and be lost to us. Contact your vet if this is something you are interested in!)

Why would anyone want to get this certification? Well, CGC is currently the only AKC certification available to mixed breed dogs, but it's so worthwhile. First of all, the classes are fun (for the dogs AND the owners), and secondly, it's pretty cool to have a dog that behaves well enough in public that we can take her pretty much anywhere.

Thirdly, many home insurance companies are getting wind of this certification, and the results are great! Currently, thanks to some pretty irresponsible owners, many dogs are on a "list" of breeds that will void your insurance policy completely should you own one. These dogs include Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, to name a few.

Nationwide Insurance, for example, will now insure dogs that are on this list if they are a CGC. More information can be found here.

Now, onto the test itself! The test consists of 10 items that Reboot must pass.
1. Accepting a friendly stranger. The evaluator approaches us, and Reboot must sit politely. That means NO jumping.

2. Sitting politely for petting. The evaluator pets Reboot, and she must not be agressive or shy.

3. Appearance and grooming. The evaluator checks Reboot's ears, paws, and brushes her gently. She must be well groomed, and allow the evaluator to do all this.

4. Out for a walk. We must take Reboot on the leash in 'heel' position and turn right, left, about turn, and stop.

5. Walking through a crowd. Still 'heeling', we must walk through lots of people. Reboot is allowed to notice these people, but again, NO jumping.

6. Sit/Down/Stay on command. Reboot must 'sit', then 'down', and finally 'stay' while we leave 20ft. away, and then return.

7.Coming when called. Again, 20 ft. away, Reboot is called and must come directly to us.

8. Reaction to another dog. Another handler and dog walks up to us and Reboot. The two dogs must sit politely while the owners chat.

9. Reaction to distractions. In the midst of distractions (such as people on walkers and crutches, bright red umbrellas opening and closing in front of her), Reboot must not panic or show agression.

10. Supervised separation. Reboot, on her leash, is handed over to someone else for three minutes.

Hopefully, animal-assisted therapy is in our future, even though we just heard that the Therapy Dog test is pretty darn strict.

Good dog Reboot, good dog. We love you. And we promise not to tell anyone that you accidentally punched out the screen window the other day. Whoops! Did I just use my outside voice?


May 11, 2005

Admin2005 next week... posted by Jess

The View's Admin2005 is next week in Boston, MA. Last year I did one session, and it did so well they invited me back!

This year I'm doing (gasp) three sessions, and I can't wait. They're all very different, but I'm very excited to give them. And I'm very, very happy about the way the take-home goodies came out!

Create Tools to Ease Administration
See how to eliminate repetitive, menial tasks through automation with button code, a utilities database, SmartIcons/Toolbars, and Agents. Accelerate the process to look up user information, display code elements of a database in an understandable format, and change fields on a Person document. Allow users to have multiple signature files, create labels from any database that has contact information, and avert major crises by automatically changing AdminP fields. Armed with tools to create your own functions, you'll be a hero to your users! Plus take home all the code samples and databases.

Changing Domains and Organizational Certifiers
Identify the difference between a domain and a certifier, and the ramifications of changing either one. Walk step by step through the process required to change both and the reasons why it may be beneficial. See what happens to your address book during this process, how changing the domain affects mail routing, and which code routines you can automate. Learn what tasks need to be performed before you change the certifier, and follow a complete demo of the modification process. Discover an extensive list of gotchas to watch out for along the way regarding user personal address books, hardcoded certifiers for database design elements, and users' grace periods.

The 30-Minute Server Audit
Upgrades, maintenance, and problem solving all require a thorough knowledge of your server and its functions from day to day. Get back to the basics and truly know your server – luckily, it doesn't take as long as you think. This session takes you step by step through all the server elements you need to audit: ID file management, ACL settings, program documents, server tasks, Domino security settings, key performance boosters, and security. Leave armed with tools to gather information and check ACL settings for the administrator, ID files in the directory, and full-text indexes. Identify unnecessary server tasks and overlooked maintenance so you can eliminate ensuing security leaks and performance issues.

February 11, 2005

Another year older! posted by Jess

I’m 29 today.
The funny thing about getting older and having no kids yet is that even the slightest change in mood or eating habits makes people look at me funny, as if to say, "do you have something to tell us?" I don’t know how to tell them that sometimes I'm just really hungry, and when hunger strikes, the daintiness is the first thing to go.

Not that I've ever been credited with having dainty tendancies, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm long out of the running for "Miss Delicate Flower 2005". Kind of like dating in high school… I'd go over to my boyfriend's house for dinner for the first time. Among other table conversations, the mother would reach over, slap her son on the back and say "wow, you finally got one that eats!" (true story).

We'll have a fun night tonight of heading out to Mohegan Sun casino for some late night stand-up comedy at the Cabaret, catch a free show at the Wolf Den (Morris Day and the Time is playing tonight! "Jungle Love! Oh-we-oh-we-oh"), and finish off with a chocolate martini in the ultra-swanky crystal mountain rock planetarium martini bar.

And Happy Birthday to Cindy, too, who turned the big 3-0 on February 8th. And unlike last year, we didn't send each other the same card! "You are one groovy chick." You can preview the card here, it's a free e-card from Hallmark, and really funny.

Cindy, you still are one groovy chick!

January 21, 2005

Arriving at Lotusphere on Sat, not Sunday posted by Jess

Small change of plans. Not surprising for late January, a huge snowstorm is coming Saturday night through Sunday morning.

I'd rather pay extra money to go earlier than to miss out overall. The only bad thing is that the Internet special I had gotten on my original flight ended today, so I had to pay a lot more.

But I just put it on the company credit card. Oh wait, that's mine anyway. Bummer! :-)

See you soon!

November 30, 2004

Solace is in the news... posted by Jess

Now that I actually have to depend on myself to make a living, I have no problem with shameless self-promotion. :-)

Part of an ad campaign for our town's weekly paper consists of a nine-week rotation of ads, one of those weeks being "Center Staged" and given an article about your company.

Last week was my turn, and aside from a few errors (mostly dates and things like that), the writer did a good job.

Even Reboot got some action... when the woman from the paper came over to take the picture, she fell in love with Reboot (actually, her own words - "She's like a well-behaved toddler") and wanted her in the picture.

Note there is no mention of Lotus Notes... this was purely a focus on my residential alter-ego. I try very hard to keep the two seperate. The whole point is to make things as easy as possible for my guests (clients), and nothing would scare away a potential guest faster than seeing the words "Enterprise Messaging".

Click the image for the larger, readable article:

November 26, 2004

Comments will be approved before posted... posted by Jess

The comment spam problem is becoming too much to handle, and I found I could solve this problem by upgrading both Movable Type and MT-Blacklist (the comment de-spammer).

The upgrade went well, at least as well as Perl scripts can be (in between the chmod'ing, ftp'ing in ASCII, fixing the "Error 500 Internal Server Error", etc. But aside from some minor cussing, it went well, really.)

Sadly, after much debugging and telnetting to run the perl script on the server, I noticed that my web host is missing a crucial Perl module, 'storable.pm'. In the meantime, I've contacted them to ask if they will add it for me. Here's hoping.

I supose that's what I get for upgrading before checking to make sure my web host meets the minimum requirements. ;-)

So, due to this, no spam blacklist for me. However - the new features of the latest Movable Type alone will help me tremendously. One feature is that I can now approve comments before they are posted here. I am taking advantage of this. I apologize, but it will be much nicer for everyone overall.

I know I should be runnning this on Domino, the problem is that I really, really love my site's look and feel, and I just don't have time to see if I can convert the design over to a Domino database, as much as I'd love to.

However, I *am* in the process of learning how to develop databases for the web better, starting with my own business site. You can check it out here if your firewall allows outbound port 8081. I'm running it on my old-comp-wannabe-server from home, and my ISP blocks incoming port 80. It's not much yet, but it's a start! Right now the only link that is active is the "More information about Solace."

I'd love to hear some feedback. Developing on the web has always been something I wanted to learn how to do better.

September 28, 2004

Blog comment blacklists... posted by Jess

Apologies... I just updated my master blacklist and ran a sweep of my entire blog to get rid of 6,000+ MORE new spam comments.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how it happened, but many of your existing comments/URLs were marked as spam deleted and added to the blacklist.

I think I got most of them, but if anyone tries to post a comment and gets 'denied', please let me know.

Management apologizes for the sheer annoyance of it all. Those responsible have been sacked.

September 15, 2004

Quite a week... posted by Jess

It's only Tuesday, and it's already been an eventful week.

Let's see, in the great news department, finally Stan Rogers and Nathan T. Freeman have started blogging. Yay!

I registered for my first Lotusphere yesterday, and can't wait. It was hard hearing all the great things from LS2004 and not being there (I was still only a few months into my new solo career), so I decided I absolutely cannot miss this one.

Matt and I made a trip to the new Ikea near us. Can we say I was a kid in a candy store? I was so frustrated with our office that I had temporarily moved into the kitchen table for the summer, knowing that soon Ikea would open. It's been open for two months now, and we finally went. I bought an entire new office set complete with new storage and lighting, and just got it all (well, mostly) set up last night.

My dilemma now is the server... no matter what I do, I seem to run out of outlets and cord lengths.

I'll have to post some before and after shots. Maybe I'll wait until Halloween to post the 'before' shots, they're quite scary.

May 11, 2004

Admin2004, here I come... posted by Jess

Wish me luck!
I'm taking the long trip up to Boston (har har) until Friday. Matt is coming with me, for some wonderful husbandly support.

Reboot is staying with the 'rents. I have a feeling lots of spoiling will go along with that, too.

It's kind of funny, she has a bigger vocabulary than many children I know, so I had to write a list of "Reboot's words" to give to my parents. Matt and I have always told her out loud what we were doing, "time for water", "let's go down the stairs", etc. etc. so now she knows these words.

Her list includes:
release (drop what's in her mouth. This one is VERY useful.)

off (if she's jumping or on a couch she's not suposed to be on)

high-five (gimme five! Real cute. We've had people say, "yo dog, gimme five", and then hold up their hand, and then be REALLY surprised when Reboot lifts up her paw and smacks their hand with it.)

gentle (if she's playing a bit too rough)

too far (if she's straying too far away from us)

Granted, she knows too many variations of the word "treat", so Matt and I have started making up different words each time to throw her off... it's funny.

"What do you think, that was very good, should she get a FARFEGNUGEN"?

February 11, 2004

Happy Birthday to me... posted by Jess

So here's my birthday on the 11th, and my best friend Cindy (who I refer to quite often here) had a birthday on the 8th.

Unbeknownst to the both of us, we had each gone to Hallmark.com and found the *perfect* e-card to send, and scheduled it for delivery on our birthdays.

Why am I not surprised that we both go to the same site and pick the same card?

We didn't write the same message, though. Because that would have crossed the boundaries of being cute into being very, very scary. :-)

January 20, 2004

It's official... Admin 2004 posted by Jess

I can't say how excited I am about this. I'll be holding a session this year at the View's Admin 2004 conference in May, Best Practices to Maintain a User Environment.

Read all about it!


I have to hope it's not too late to update my bio on their site... I have more things to add to it, especially now that I have a quick website. And, thanks to the recommendations of Libby, who is a seasoned vet at these sort of things, I would like to add this site to it.

So much going on! I'm also giving a two-part seminar for the South Kingstown Parks & Recreation department in March, Combating Viruses and Spam.

I needed to get a site up quickly, so here goes: www.solaceconsulting.com. Bill Brunelle is going to help make it better. :-)

I needed a quick overview of everything I have going on, and past acknowledgements and things like that, thus the site.

Whew! This is turning out to be quite a first quarter. Did I mention I was excited?

January 05, 2004

Happy Birthday Dear Matt... posted by Jess

Happy Birthday to Matt today... who is also celebrating his last day off of work since his vacation at Christmas. :-D

Bummer for me, as I've enjoyed his company over the past two weeks while I work at home. It's going to be hard to watch him go back to work (plus, he makes GREAT coffee).

Reboot will be quite bummed again, now the house will be returned to just us ladies during the day.

Happy Birthday hubbie O' Mine!

November 26, 2003

Gift ideas for the ungifted at thinking up gift ideas posted by Jess

Okay, so I promised myself I wouldn't even talk, think, or dream about holiday gifts until AFTER Thanksgiving (which, in my opinion, is a forgotten holiday now that the hype for Christmas is so early).

However, then I thought about it, and realized that if you are buying online, lots of stores sell out quickly, and the postal service gets backed up, yada yada yada.

So to make a short story long, I have decided to give you all the gift that keeps on giving, which is a fabulous site of gift ideas.

Surprise.com contains user-submitted ideas for every possible category you could think of, such as "hates to cook", "recently retired", "works from home", etc.

The neat thing is that even though you (obviously) don't have to use any ideas on the site, it's a great source of inspiration for coming up with your own gift ideas.

Because a fruitcake can only go so far.

September 17, 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have validation! posted by Jess

I finally figured out how to change my RSS feed so it shows the ENTIRE post in proper formatting. It's also been validated.
Here ya go!


I realized the need for this after what I thought was a clever blog title was very misleading, at least up to the first 150 characters. ;-)

July 19, 2003

Our new addition, Reboot posted by Jess

World, meet Reboot.

Reboot, meet World.

Hello World.



Reboot is our new 10 week old shepherd/elkhound mix. She was the runt of the litter, and is the sweetest, cuddliest dog. Fortunately, she gets along wonderfully with the ferrets, and we had a fun little WWF match going on for awhile.

May 21, 2003

What's it all about? posted by Jess

I updated the site a little bit tonight. Specifically, I added an about me section.

It felt kind of weird, writing about, well, ME, so I wrote it in a style I felt a little more comfortable with. :-)

But, I do know that when I read blogs, I am interested in knowing who's behind the writing. So, I might as well extend the same courtesy to everyone else.

Hopefully, Matt can get his page up there soon also.

May 02, 2003

So long and thanks for all the fish. posted by Jess

Today I gave my two weeks notice to my employer. I was so nervous. It was kind of like when you are breaking up with someone, and YOU know you're going to break up with them, but they don't know it yet, and you aren't really sure how to act.

This was the first time I have ever done this, but for various reasons, it is just time to move on. I've been with the company for five years, including while I was still at college.

SO, I'm going to take a shot on my own and we'll see how that goes. It's what I've always wanted to do (including working at home!). I supose that I may very well end up crawling back somewhere, but at the very least, I'll know that I tried (needless to say my resume is going up here shortly. :-)

I also will be going for a Lotus Certified End User Instructor certification. As I'm sure many of you may have noticed from some of my posts, I am on sort of a personal crusade to help educate end users. I love doing it, and hopefully I can continue while doing other projects.

So, wish me luck, we'll see how I do. Here's to following a dream, no matter how small.

I believe my company will let me keep my cell phone number, which is a plus. I'd hate to lose it. The last four digits are JESS. How neat is that?

April 17, 2003

Change is in the hair. I mean, the air. posted by Jess

Remember how I said I loved the spring because it's time for renewed energy and hope? I was serious!

Sometimes it's the small things that make the difference. A new picture on the wall, a clean of your car, a new candle, sometimes that's all I need to give me a boost of encouragement. But sometimes you gotta bring out the heavy artillery!

While Matt's working hard across the globe, I felt the need to give myself a makeover last night back here in Rhode Island. Change is good. And it's springtime. So Matt, here's me before, and here's me now.

Just for kicks, I was very tempted to digitally insert an IBM Thinkpad in the "after" picture in honor of this thread at Notestips. :-)

April 14, 2003

Matthew san posted by Jess

Matt is now en route to Japan. Sigh. He left early this morning, and I came home, and before I started work, I did what I usually do when I'm stressed: clean. Though Matt would argue that I don't need to be stressed to do that; I'm compulsive enough about it. But to start vacuuming at 8 in the morning is kind of pushing it. But it made me feel better!

Two whole weeks... in nine years, we've never been apart longer than a few days, so this shall be interesting. I'm sufficiently armed with lots of work, some chick flicks, and several invitations from good friends.

Go get em' hunny!!

Oh, side note, I put my ICQ, YIM and AIM numbers on the side there. Drop me a line!

March 17, 2003

NYC here I come... posted by Jess

While I'm thinking of it, is anyone going to the E-View Domino R6 Upgrade Seminar in NYC at the end of the month? It would be nice to put some faces to names.

Also, while I'm thinking of it, something happened to me for the first time. We have a large, open office. The phone rings, we all hear it and just sort of grab as it rings. I answered the phone, saying as usual:

Me: "Good afternoon, this is Jess, can I help you?"

The person on the other line: "Ummm... no."

Me: "Okay. Bye then".

The person on the other line: click.

February 19, 2003

Identity crisis... posted by Jess

I have another article coming out for E-Pro mag soon. When I published the original one, I was Jessica Spinosa. Now I'm Jessica Stratton. I'm wondering if anyone's going to know I'm the same person. On the Notes.net forums, I seemed to drop off the face of the Earth.

I started thinking about it after my last post about Ed Brill and his BBS discussion. I was the one that said that I have many friends that I only know them by their name, not their face. And here I am, changing my name, the one thing that people have to know me by.

On a good note, my original Italian last name will live on. My future children will be using it to verify their credit card information for the rest of their lives. :-)

February 18, 2003

New site design... posted by Jess

In case you've been living in a hole, Northeast US got slammed over the weekend and Monday with a snowstorm. I live on the coast of Rhode Island, so usually this means snow for everyone, but none for us. Not yesterday. We have about a foot and a half, while alot for the area, is still nothing compared to what I grew up with in Massachusetts.

However, it was enough to keep me home from work yesterday, and this enabled me to do a long-awaited site redesign (I never liked the old design, anyway). I still haven't done the forums over yet, those are going to be time consuming. But the rest of the site fits me and Matt's personality a little bit better.

September 24, 2002

Coming Soon: From Pomp to Circumstance.... posted by Jess

I've been writing some technical articles lately, and was really starting to miss prose. So, I decided what better to write about than what I know besides geek speak?

Soon I'll be posting my thoughts on life after graduation. Sure, it was three years ago, but I think everyone goes through it. Hell, a lot's happened in three years! I got an apartment. Bought a brand new car. Got engaged. Got married. Helped celebrate all my friends getting married. Got a house. Helped celebrate my best friends having their first baby. We've all come so far from Kraft Mac n' Cheese, drinking games and living in our favorite pair of jeans.

Okay, ok, so we still do that on weekends! It's not ALL work and no play. ;-)

August 13, 2002

So we're moving.... posted by Jess

...and life is starting to get REALLY crazy. I don't think I can remember the last time I had a decent lunch. This sounds dumb, but in all the craziness and boxes and packing, all I can think about is that I hope I get all the laundry done before moving. :-)

Taken from our friend Werb, Clark Griswold sums it up the best:
*waving arms around*
"This is crazy...this is crazy...this is crazy..."

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