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Today we have the pleasure of highlighting Ben Silverman. Ben is a four year veteran of Rational Client Support, active as a Knowledge Champion, and as you'll read below, a man with a lot to say with some great self service tips for us all!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
My name is Ben Silverman. I am the WW CAG engineer for IBM Rational RequisitePro, Requirements Composer, and Rational Insight. I have been at IBM Rational for 4 years.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I usually like to read up on the latest technologies to see what's out there, instead of only working with the technologies implemented in our products. If there is a new version of Windows, SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, etc... I usually like to check them out knowing that we will soon be testing our products against them. If there is a new programming language or technique, I like to at least go through some basic tutorials to understand the benefits of them. Customers often like to extend our products where they can, so it is important to have some knowledge in this area.
We have a lot of new products, and we are trying to kick the tires as much as our customers do. There is a lot more to our products than the out of the box configuration. Going through advanced tutorials and scenarios out on jazz.net is a good place to start, as it is important to go through all of the scenarios our customers are preparing to do in their environments.
When I am working with one of our products, I like to know exactly how it's working, rather than just knowing that it's working. Looking at configuration files and logs usually provides me with some good information to think about when trying to understand how something is working.
What publications / websites do you read / visit?
jazz.net (Forums, articles, tech tips, videos)
devWorks forums (Forums, whitepapers, tutorials, publications)
Slashdot.org (Technology news)
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
RSS Feeds in Lotus Notes!!
When I installed Lotus Notes 8.5, I saw that it lets you maintain RSS feeds on the side bar. Whenever I am working in Notes, I have my email on the main page, and my feeds on the right. Many people know that all of our forums allow you to follow using RSS feeds, but what some do not know is that you can do the same with technotes for a particular product. I've added all the relevant feeds to my list, which include the following:
Technotes for IBM Rational Requirements Composer
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field?
I have had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about various technologies throughout my career at IBM Rational. Aside from the products we support, there is a good amount of middleware involved that will be valuable in any IT related role. Experience with Apache Tomcat, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Websphere Application Server, Cognos, Visual Studio,
Aside from the technical aspect, I think it is also important to build relationships with my peers, and with our customers. Managing customer expectations, making sure that commitments and deadlines are met, and getting the right people involved are all skills that we need to succeed in our roles. People here are always willing to help out wherever they can, which makes it much easier to collaborate when it comes to meeting a deadline, or executing an action plan.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
I prefer to find answers on forums, where there is some proof that an answer/solution has helped someone in some way. Often times, my problems/questions are not exactly the same as one I might encounter on a particular forum thread, but I have found that most of the time if you find the right thread, it can give you some pretty good hints about what to do, or where to look for the answer. I like to solve my own problems rather than being handed an answer that I will apply but not understand. The etiq
How do you define success?
Setting realistic goals and meeting or exceeding those goals is usually a good indication of success. I think in this role, success means that our customers are satisfied, and that we're keeping them satisfied. In general, success to me is not necessarily succeeding on the first try every time, but being able to take lessons learned from any experience whether it be good or bad. Some of the best lessons I have learned in this role have come from not so good experiences.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
The process of conceptualizing ideas and turning them in to our finished products fascinates me. Often times, we just learn the new products that are given to us here in support and to our customers without thinking about what kind of problems the products are actually solving. I would like to be a fly on the wall in all of the organizations involved in turning an idea in to a finished product. This includes (but probably is not limited to) the product architects, development teams, product management, and marketing. Having some knowledge or exposure to this process would give all of us in support a better understanding of how we are really helping our clients become successful.
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not?
I think that RSS feeds are not adopted as often as they could be. We've all seen that tiny "RSS" button on most sites that lets you copy a feed, but most of the time it gets ignored. There is so much activity on jazz.net and developerWorks, and I think the feeds are the best way to be "in the know" with the latest topics. RSS feeds alert us to the latest forum posts, and the latest technotes. There is so much that can learned just by hovering over and glancing at each new thread that comes in through the feed. I have closed several PMR's and escalations just by quickly glancing at new feeds that come in through my RSS reader in Lotus Notes. Often times, a PMR or escalation will come in that has already been discussed on a thread, so keeping up with these has been very beneficial.
Of wizards and daemons - Installing the Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool by using IBM Installation Manager
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Remember the Rational Common Licensing goings-on involving wizards and daemons that I mentioned in my last
(A recap of the context: use the Rational License Key Server Administration and Reporting Tool to remotely administer your Rational License Key Servers and generate reports on the license usage data from the license servers. The Administration and Reporting Tool uses the Rational License Key Server Administration Agent to communicate with the Rational License Key Servers.)
To install and use the Server Administration and Reporting Tool, you must install both the Server Administration Agent and the Server Administration and Reporting Tool. You must install the Server Administration Agent on all the license server machines that you want to enable for reporting. If you have more than one instance of the Rational License Key Server, you must install the Server Administration Agent on each instance of the license server that you want to remotely administer or generate reports from. You can install one or more instances of the Administration and Reporting Tool as required. To see the installation topology that I described in my previous blog post, see Where are my licenses?
Follow the steps in the roadmap to complete your installation of the Server Administration Agent and the Server Administration and Reporting Tool. Click the boxes to go to the associated text in the post.
Getting started: Obtain installation packages
If you are installing the agent and the tool to the same machine, you can install them in a single installation instance by using IBM Installation Manager. You can also install them separately. If you are installing the agent and the tool together, follow the steps in the Install the Server Administration Agent section.
Important: If you use tokens, the server type for both Jazz and non-Jazz applications must be Rational License Key Server. The Jazz License Server does not provide a token service.
During the installation of the agent, on the Configuration page, if you selected the Configure Later option, you must provide the license server information in a .properties file.
To provide the server connection and log file details:
Important: If you are using tokens, the server type (AGENT TYPE in the .properties file) for both Jazz and non-Jazz applications must be FLEX. (FLEX indicates Rational License Key Server.) The Jazz License Server does not provide a token service.
After you install the agent, install the Server Administration and Reporting Tool on the computer that you want to use to manage the server administration and reporting.
If you are using the Jazz License Server, you must enable logging of the floating license usage data. This log data is required to generate reports on floating license usage. By default, logging of the floating license data is disabled.
To enable logging of floating license usage:
After you enable logging, the floating license usage data is logged to the file specified in the Floating License Log File field. To stop logging this data, you can set the logging property to false at any time.
Start the agent to create a connection from the agent to the license server. The Server Administration and Reporting Tool connects to the agent for administration and reporting purposes.
You must start the agent on all the license server machines that you want to remotely administer and report on.
To start the agent:
On Windows: From the Start menu, select Programs > IBM > IBM RLKS Administration Agent > Start RLKS Administration Agent. A console message indicates when the server agent is started.
Tip: To stop the agent, in the same Start menu location, click Stop RLKS Administration Agent.
Starting the Server Administration and Reporting Tool
To begin using the Server Administration and Reporting Tool, you must start the tool.
To start the tool:
On Windows: From the Start menu, select Programs > IBM > IBM RLKS Server Administration and Reporting Tool > Start RLKS Server Administration and Reporting Tool. A console message indicates when the tool is started.
Tip: To stop the tool, in the same Start menu location, click Stop RLKS Server Administration and Reporting Tool.
You are now all set to start using the Server Administration and Reporting Tool. In my next post, I will describe the architecture of the tool and also explain how you can use the tool for server administration and reporting.
GRUG Webcast, Nov 17 - Addressing application security from beginning to end with Rational AppScan v8.0
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Webcast: Addressing application security from beginning to end with Rational AppScan v8.0
Webcast date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Webcast time: 11:00 AM ET
Sign up for this webcast
Can't make this webcast? Register to attend to receive notification when the replay becomes available.
The Global Rational User Group Community
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Don't miss out! Tomorrow, March 30th, at 2pm-3pm Japanese time:
This openmic session will be presented in Japanese and at a region appropriate time. For more session details, including connection and dial-in information, check out our Japanese OpenMic landing page.
Now, look at all the great stuff slated to be discussed in this upcoming session: Topic: Tips for Rhapsody for Intermediate users As a client within the region, you won't want to miss this session presented for you in Japanese. For connection and dial-in details head over to the Japanese OpenMic landing page. This page highlights this session's details scheduled for tomorrow March 30th, 14:00 to 15:00 JP time.
Topic: Tips for Rhapsody for Intermediate users
As a client within the region, you won't want to miss this session presented for you in Japanese. For connection and dial-in details head over to the Japanese OpenMic landing page. This page highlights this session's details scheduled for tomorrow March 30th, 14:00 to 15:00 JP time.
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YouTube page of the video for more information and a link.)
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