Today, January 31, 2011, Software Product Compatibility Reports are on the IBM Support Portal and available to all clients. The Software Product Compatibility Reports is an innovative new tool designed to allow you to easily generate custom reports about compatible IBM software combinations. Using this tool, you may create reports about a product's compatibility with operating systems, prerequisite software or virtualization environments. Lastly, you may use these reports to tailor-make graphical reports about a set of products' end of service dates.
As always, we are interested in your feedback on this tool. Each of the Reports includes a Feedback Survey to allow you to report problems or question with the use of the tool or the data presented. Please let us know what you think!
We are here to get some insight about the origin, functionalities and the licensing aspects of the Rational Integration Tester.
As most of us are aware, Green Hat is now an IBM Company. With the legacy products of Green Hat now integrated with the Rational brand, a new tool by name, Rational Integration Tester has its presence felt in the IBM Product list.
Green Hat portfolio’s new addition adds a whole new advantage to IBM Rational QM Portfolio:
Previously named Green Hat Tester, Rational Integration Tester, now a part of Rational Test Workbench, is used to create functional and performance tests for SOA messaging systems to be run locally.
The product is used to simulate virtualization reality, which is the ability to simulate services, without the actual service being run... much like a game of virtual golf...
For example, if you have to simulate eBay, without accessing it directly (and buying things!). You would build tests using the service definitions from eBay (which are publicly available) and you could then run those tests as 'stubs' within RTW/RIT. The application that would have pointed at eBay is then pointed at the RIT stub which sends back sensible replies when called. This enables a customer to build a testing environment without all of the (expensive) systems normally required.
Features included in Rational Integration Tester are:
➢ Automatically create test plan documentation.
➢ Support for many different protocols, including JMS, IBM MQ, Sonic MQ, TIBCO, TCP/IP, UDP/IP and SmartSockets. An API let's you write your own transports.
➢ Functional component simulation.
➢ Automatic test reports created from test results.
➢ Regression testing.
➢ Record and playback messages.
➢ Integrate tests with databases.
➢ Manipulate XML documents.
➢ Edit messages using intuitive GUI, or a text editor in XML.
➢ Capture messages, edit them and republish them.
➢ E-mail messages to colleagues in remote locations.
➢ Share messages with other Green Hat, an IBM Company, products like Rational Test Virtualization Server and Rational Performance Test Server
Currently Rational Integration Tester does not have trials on ibm.com. To get an evaluation copy, please contact IBM Planet wide as per the link http Overwhelmed by the features available in Rational Integration Tester, you may want to purchase the license. Wouldn't you like to know the types of licenses available and if it suits your need. Then let’s have an overview of the licensing for Rational Integration Tester. Rational Integration Tester is a SDP (Software Development Platform) based product and hence, the legacy Activation kits and Floating licenses are available. However, the Floating license is a bit different from the conventional IBM SDP products and are not available individually for Rational Integration Tester, instead, combined with the Rational Test Workbench. Two types of licenses are : ➔ IBM Rational Integration Tester v8.0 Activation Kit ➔ IBM Rational Test Workbench Floating License Key IBM Rational Performance Test Server (RPTS) and IBM Rational Test Virtualization Server (RTVS) does not require a separate license, as software download from Passport advantage gets a pre loaded license. FAQs • Would I get only one license of Rational Integration Tester without the other inclusions of Rational Test Workbench? • Yes, an Activation Kit would serve the cause, which is exclusive to Rational Integration Tester. • Would I get licensing support for the Rational Integration Tester from IBM? If so, How? • Green Hat legacy customers will continue to use their legacy Green Hat keys, until they renew their Subscription and Support with IBM. For Existing Green Hat customers there is no immediate change in regard to legacy Green Hat License Keys. • If I have a license purchased from Green Hat for Rational Integration Tester, am I entitled for support from IBM? • Yes. IBM provides a conversion summary of the legacy Green Hat Tester licenses to IBM Rational Integration Tester. To get more information, please contact the respective Account Manager from IBM. • How do I get my license for Rational Integration Tester generated? • Rational License Key Center hosts the Rational Integration Tester licenses. Rational Integration Tester does not have a separate license as it is a component of the Rational Test Workbench. Follow the blog for How to generate IBM Rational Products license keys from IBM Rational License Key Center website
Overwhelmed by the features available in Rational Integration Tester, you may want to purchase the license. Wouldn't you like to know the types of licenses available and if it suits your need. Then let’s have an overview of the licensing for Rational Integration Tester.
Rational Integration Tester is a SDP (Software Development Platform) based product and hence, the legacy Activation kits and Floating licenses are available.
However, the Floating license is a bit different from the conventional IBM SDP products and are not available individually for Rational Integration Tester, instead, combined with the Rational Test Workbench.
Two types of licenses are :
➔ IBM Rational Integration Tester v8.0 Activation Kit
➔ IBM Rational Test Workbench Floating License Key
IBM Rational Performance Test Server (RPTS) and IBM Rational Test Virtualization Server (RTVS) does not require a separate license, as software download from Passport advantage gets a pre loaded license.
• Would I get only one license of Rational Integration Tester without the other inclusions of Rational Test Workbench?
• Yes, an Activation Kit would serve the cause, which is exclusive to Rational Integration Tester.
• Would I get licensing support for the Rational Integration Tester from IBM? If so, How?
• Green Hat legacy customers will continue to use their legacy Green Hat keys, until they renew their Subscription and Support with IBM. For Existing Green Hat customers there is no immediate change in regard to legacy Green Hat License Keys.
• If I have a license purchased from Green Hat for Rational Integration Tester, am I entitled for support from IBM?
• Yes. IBM provides a conversion summary of the legacy Green Hat Tester licenses to IBM Rational Integration Tester. To get more information, please contact the respective Account Manager from IBM.
• How do I get my license for Rational Integration Tester generated?
• Rational License Key Center hosts the Rational Integration Tester licenses. Rational Integration Tester does not have a separate license as it is a component of the Rational Test Workbench. Follow the blog for How to generate IBM Rational Products license keys from IBM Rational License Key Center website
You might be interested to know more about the legacy Green Hat product additions to IBM. Refer the link below for more and apt information.
You might be interested to know more about the legacy Green Hat product additions to IBM. Refer the link below for more and apt information.
At the time of configuration, you might run into an error 'The server is available, but does not serve license keys for IBM Rational Integration Tester'. Refer the tech note below for diagnosis and resolution of the error. Related Links: License Requirements for Rational Integration Tester, Rational Performance Test Server and Rational Test Virtualization Server: http
License Requirements for Rational Integration Tester, Rational Performance Test Server and Rational Test Virtualization Server: http
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (10789)
RationalSupport), I wanted to share the news here as well.
Happy to announce that ClearCase 7.1.2 is now available for download ... and support for Ubuntu 8.0.4 LTS Desktop and Ubuntu 8.0.4 LTS Server have been added for the native ClearCase 7.1.2 client. This expands the scope of the previous support which only included IBM Rational ClearCase Remote Client (CCRC) 7.1 as a plug-in to Eclipse.
Refer to the following technotes for further details regarding supported version requirements:
Technote 1302974 System Requirements for ClearCase 7.1.x
IBM Rational DOORS Next Gen is supported on Jazz platform helping you to collaborate with other Jazz platform tools like Rational Team Concert and Rational Quality Manager in your environment.
IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation provides additional features like:
Rational DOORS Next Gen has assumed the place of Rational Requirements Management (RM) for the Jazz platform that adds a requirements definition and management application on top of that common platform.
Now let’s discuss the DOORS Next Gen licensing concept.
DOORS Next Gen is the name rendered to the DOORS installation based on Jazz platform where you can enrich your client from a DOORS Next Gen Analyst or a Requirements Composer Client Access license. The contemporary version of the DOORS thick client is available too; this is DOORS 9.5.
Notice the fact, as per the screenshot above, that DOORS Next Gen and Rational Requirements Composer are based on Jazz platform activated by authorized or floating CALs (Client Access Licenses).
The Jazz admin can assign the licenses to the users by logging in to the License Management page which defines the level of access for each user.
Points to remember
I hope you've got the info you are looking for, but you might still have some questions in mind. If so, I invite you to take a look at the FAQs section below and to check out the Rati
See you folks. Let’s get together with my next blog post.
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (10267)
You know the pain: You're on a team, likely in a support role covering the phones on shift work taking calls from clients. Or, perhaps you're on a project team, covering some critical piece of the puzzle, or waiting on a colleague to close out their piece so you can move forward... And your inboxes are bulging at the seams with both critical information as well as those "nice to know" status updates.
In so many cases, we all find ourselves under this barrage of status update emails, FYIs, and other important, yet immediately unnecessary and irrelevant messages. Do we need to know that you'll be off the phones for the next hour or two? Do we need to know you're working from home for half the day? Yes, we likely do. Do we need to know that information right now? No, we only "need to know" when we need to know, and likely will only care or even remember if the information gets to us right at the moment we need to know. Is an e-mail the best, most effective and efficient way to let people know? Likely not.
But what IS the better way? That answer, dear readers, all depends on your team. There is no single best practice or use case to follow here. Each team has differing needs and demands based on location, shift, task, or even management preferences. While I can't do anything for the last, perhaps there are some solutions to address the others which will in turn help convince management of better ways if that is a concern:
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (10199)
... to do the same.
Problem: Ineffectual meetings. Meetings that take longer than they should. Too many meetings. Meetings that consistently sound like this five minute video... "The Conference Call" by David Grady.
But what about those meetings you HAVE to attend just in case something comes up, or to stay informed about developments and progress on projects or programs? Easy. That is what wikis, discussion forums, blogs, and RSS feeds are for; staying informed when it matters!
Collaboration does not mean scheduling a one hour meeting. Collaboration can be done at any time of the day, regardless of your colleagues' availability. Using internal wikis, blogs, and discussion forums, you can not only collaborate more effectively and have written record of your progress, but you can do so across time zones and geographic boundaries. Using RSS feeds, you can keep an eye on any updates from a single location across communities and functional groups.
(Ooooooh, here comes the work plug! In the interest of transparency, yes, I work for IBM, and yes IBM owns Lotus. That said, I honestly -do- think the tooling I am about to discuss is effective and worthwhile, and I don't say that about much!)
Using Lotus Connections, you can build communities to support collaboration and reduce the number of "essential" meetings you attend. Because Lotus Connections has wiki, blogging, discussion, bookmarks, file storage, and many other capabilities, the online collaboration can take place at your discretion. Priority management can now be more effectively accomplished as you no longer need to balance those silly meetings with getting actual work done. And because Connections is built with RSS features, you can set up your feeds in the tool of your choice to stay up to date with all the items YOU care about and participate on your own terms.
While I use Lotus Connections for a wealth of reasons in IBM, I find the most beneficial part of it all is the RSS capabilities. The RSS feeds I watch for the various communities I participate in allow me to quickly glance at updates and determine if the information is something I need to focus on now, if it can wait, or if I need to pay attention to it at all. Information triage, as it were, in milliseconds. This has truly been the single most effective tool to combat information overload I have used to date.
So, now that you've divested your self from those ineffectual meetings... are driving the meetings you do attend with a new vigor and granular focus based on specific agenda items posted to your wiki (and updated later with details of the discussions)... and are globally collaborating with colleagues across time zones, what more can you do to reduce meetings and influence people? The answer: Work on your meeting etiquette.
Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way... and I'll say right up front, I have broken every single one of these at one time or another, so don't think I am throwing stones in a glass house here:
But don't take my word for it all... check out "The 22 minute meeting" a six minute iGNiTe video presentation by Nicole Steinbok. Here's the link to the instructional poster too. Nicole makes some stellar points via some very amusing fashions.
I truly hope this has given you some good tips, tricks, or tools to use to make your day to day job more effective and efficient. If for nothing else, I hope it gave you pause to think about what you can do as an individual to help make sure your meetings are run as crisp and concisely as possible, with few distractions, clear goals, and shorter run times. After all, if you can make a small difference, imagine what we can accomplish if we ALL make those small differences....
image credit: (cc) flickr user Ha-Wee
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (9316)
A week and a half ago, we talked about how IBM PureSystems is a game changer. Today we'll show you four more articles and a demo specific to IBM PureApplication, a workload optimized integrated hardware and software appliance, to help you see how much of a game changer this really is and how you can take advantage of the great new tech called PureSystems.
Lastly, as a nice close out to this post, here's a wonderful tour I found which clearly walks through IBM PureSystems and gives a great view into what it all is and how it can help you! IBM PureSystems Family Tour with Jason McGee- Watch IBM's Jason McGee, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Architect for Pure Application System , give a guided tour of how to configure/use IBM PureSystems. Watch him set up PureApplication System and PureFlex:
Lastly, as a nice close out to this post, here's a wonderful tour I found which clearly walks through IBM PureSystems and gives a great view into what it all is and how it can help you!
IBM PureSystems Family Tour with Jason McGee- Watch IBM's Jason McGee, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Architect for Pure Application System , give a guided tour of how to configure/use IBM PureSystems. Watch him set up PureApplication System and PureFlex:
Announcing the General Availability of Rational License Key Server version 8.1.2. This release extends the "Borrow" capability to Rational products so that you can 'borrow' a license for an extended period of time and continue working while disconnected from the network. Please refer to the Rational Common Licensing Information Center for more information on Borrow and how to use it on different platforms. In addition, this release focused on defect and APAR fixe
You can download RLKS 8.1.2 here: http Select the appropriate option, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Continue". Follow the instruction to progress through the rest of the selection and download steps. IBM Rational License Key Serv
Select the appropriate option, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Continue". Follow the instruction to progress through the rest of the selection and download steps.
IBM Rational License Key Serv
Or at least... quite a few!
I thought WE had been busy with all our new video technotes on the IBMR
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (8761)
Tacit knowledge is the knowledge in your head. Knowledge you haven't shared. Explicit knowledge is knowledge written down and shared. Tacit knowledge is good, but explicit knowledge is better, particularly in a technical support context. In Rational Client Support, we've built a robust knowledge management program, based on knowledge-centered support best practices, aimed to equip the organization to capture knowledge effectively for reuse, not only internally, but outside the firewall as well.
The support engineer on the other end of the phone not only brings to bear his/her own expertise on an issue, but also has at hand our knowledge base built on the collective experiences of the organization and clients to date. We solve a problem once, and then reuse the solution, building upon it as experience dictates.
Capturing knowledge is not something we do in addition to solving problems....it is the way we solve problems.
Shared knowledge IS power.
image credit: (cc) KaCey97007
Robert_Stephen 270005GQ3U Visits (7885)
It's always good to have options!
Let's discuss the options a license administrator has to use for a license. The options file is a plain text file that allows a floating license administrator to control user access to specific features or versions of licensed software. Users are identified by their username, hostname, IP address, or project.
For concurrent (floating) licenses, the license administrator can:
This looks good but your next question will likely be: "How can I create an options file?"
For example: VENDOR /etc/test [opt
Let’s create an options file assuming Peter, Matt, and Steve are all part of a team named 'Licensing' in an organization. We can create a group named 'Licensing' and have these users added into the group. The syntax would be: GROUP Licensing Peter Matt and Steve
Subsequently this group can be included to allow access to IBM Rational product license. Hence the final syntax in the Options file would appear as follows:
GROUP Licensing Peter Matt and Steve
INCLUDE RPE_PUBLISH GROUP Licensing ( considering the .opt file is for RPE )
If the system usernames in your organization have a space OR comma in them, then the names need to be enclosed within double quotes.
Example: Let's assume the usernames are <USER A>, <USER B> and <USER C>. Then the Options. opt file would have: INCLUDE RPE_PUBLISH USER "USER A" "USER B" "USER C" Alternatively, you can utilize the same concept of adding all the users into a GROUP and then specifying the name of the GROUP in the INCLUDE line of the options file.
Also, if you have only one USER_BASED license for IBM RPE in your license file, you would be able to specify only one user's name in the Options file. Once the Options. opt file has been updated as per the format of the system usernames, please save the same while making sure that the file is saved as "Options. opt" and doesn't have a .txt extension.
Open the License.dat and add the complete path of the newly created Options. opt file at the DAEMON line. The DAEMON line should be the next line (one soon after the) SERVER line in the license.dat file. If you don't have a word DAEMON instead have Vendor, please perform the following changes in the License.dat file.
SERVER LicenseServerName 12AcDe 19353
DAEMON telelogic "C:\Program File
After performing the above changes, save the License.dat file while making sure it's saved with only (.dat) extension.
Launch LMTOOLS and click on "Start/Stop/ReRead" tab. Stop the server, restart it, and wait until it says "Server Started successfully".
After the server has started successfully, please click on "ReRead License File" and wait until it displays: "ReRead license file completed". Once the message is displayed, click on "Server Status" and click on "Perform Status enquiry" and check if there is any error with the RPE_PUBLISH license. Ideally there shouldn't be any.
Any changes that are made to the Options file gets read either by doing a re-read or stopping and starting of the license server. The ability for vendor daemon to participate in rereading of its option file is introduced in the version 8.0 vendor daemon. If the License server is stopped and started the license file and option file are automatically read.
Now before proceeding we need to understand the most commonly used syntax of the options file:
Now we know how to create an options file lets use the options file to reserve or deny licenses. IBM Rational provides the least restrictive licensing environment possible. By default, the server does not restrict access to a client requesting a license key. This configuration works best for most customers. For a more controlled license environment, use the options file to reserve or deny licenses for certain users, hosts, displays, groups, or IP addresses. You can also limit the number of licenses each user or group can access.
The options file is a case-sensitive text file that sets the options for the license server. The options file can be used with the different types of floating licenses keys: temporary, evaluation, or permanent licenses keys. Your options file is located in the rational_dir\common directory and might have the name ibmratl.opt. If you do not have an options file, you can create one.
Options file that reserves licenses:
You have 10 floating licenses for IBM Rational ClearQuest®. You want to ensure that users Greg and Michelle always have a license of ClearQuest available for their use. Configure the options file as follows:
RESERVE 1 ClearQuest USER greg
RESERVE 1 ClearQuest USER michelle
Options file that excludes users from accessing a license:
You have 10 floating licenses for IBM Rational ClearQuest. You want to ensure that user Sally does not have access to a ClearQuest license. Configure the options file as follows:
EXCLUDE ClearQuest USER sally
How to configure USER_BASED license:
Common features used in the FLEXlm Licensing options file:
image credit: (cc) Some rights reserved YourRightMoveLLC
Author: Robert V Stephen
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (7693)
Using Maven Integration Tools in IBM Rational Application Developer, Part 1- This presentation introduces Rational Application Developer and WebSphere Application Server developer tools for Eclipse support for Maven Development. Using Maven Integration Tools in IBM Rational Application Developer, Part 2- This presentation introduces Rational Application Developer and WebSphere Application Server developer tools for Eclipse support for Maven Development. Here we cover project conversion, project configuration, defining dependencies, and running on server. For more information see the RAD product page (htt
Using Maven Integration Tools in IBM Rational Application Developer, Part 2- This presentation introduces Rational Application Developer and WebSphere Application Server developer tools for Eclipse support for Maven Development. Here we cover project conversion, project configuration, defining dependencies, and running on server. For more information see the RAD product page (htt
For more information see the RAD product page (htt
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (7558)
This video provides information about ClearCase evil twin elements. It will step you through some examples of how to identify evil twin elements and how to recover once they are located.
About Evil Twins
The rmname command
The mv command
The lshistory command
Many thanks to Denise McKinnon for this material!
Over the past week, and particularly this past weekend, a few new downloads made their way through our tweet stream and Facebook wall. Seeing as these were posted during typically 'off' hours for most of us, we thought it would be of some benefit to highlight those recent releases here, to raise visibility in the case that you may have missed and need one or more of these downloads:
Want to make sure you never miss notifications like the ones listed above again? Then check out "MyNotifications" and setup a free subscription to receive only the products and document types which YOU are interested in, and in the manner you desire (RSS, web page, or direct daily/weekly emails)!
There are so many people in IBM and Rational dedicated to helping you be successful with your Rational products.
Rational Software Architect 8.0 contains an outstanding Integrated
Self-Paced Training (ISPT) course within the product itself, which is a
first for our product releases. The Integrated Self-Paced Training
Essentials of modeling with RSA
contains 17 modules (with labs and demos) that introduce the RSA
modeling capabilities. Each module, which is a separate topic in the RSA
IC, provide links to labs, demos, help topics, and a variety of other
related resources. The labs and demos are available from the
. We delivered the first iteration, which is based on the content from
the RD565: Essentials of Modeling with RSA 7.5 course, in version 8.0
and will be updating the information for the v8.0.1 release.
If you have RSA 8.0 installed on your machine, go to Help -> Help Contents, and in the search text window enter
"self-paced". This will bring up the course description, and within
that description, will be the embedded link to the training course
located on the InfoCenter.
We are looking to collect any feedback from our clients who have reviewed and/or used this new learning feature: to gather client feedback, to find out if the current ISPT is helpful, and what other possible ISPTs we should consider preparing.
What do you think? Want to see more? Let us know via comments on this blog post.
UPDATE: 11/10/10: A survey has been created to collect your feedback. Please consider contributing your thoughts - we'd love to hear from you!
Saurabh.Tyagi 270005CY2K Visits (6828)
Most IBM Rational software products require specific license keys in order to use them. They can be downloaded from the License Key Center, Authorized user fixed term license (FTL) Currently, this license type is not available for Rational products based on the Eclipse framework. Note: Licenses generated since October 2010 do not contain FEATURE lines. INCREMENT lines are used. Floating licenses allow anyone on your network to use Rational products while a license is available. The number of licenses that you purchase and register in License Key Center determines the maximum number of users who can use Rational products concurrently. Named-User Floating
Authorized user fixed term license (FTL)
Currently, this license type is not available for Rational products based on the Eclipse framework.
Note: Licenses generated since October 2010 do not contain FEATURE lines. INCREMENT lines are used.
Floating licenses allow anyone on your network to use Rational products while a license is available. The number of licenses that you purchase and register in License Key Center determines the maximum number of users who can use Rational products concurrently.
Named-user license keys act as floating license keys, except during the import process. IBM Rational® License Key Administrator (LKAD) gives you the opportunity to specify a user for each license key. You assign a user to a key by editing the options file ibmratl.opt. The options file locks the floating license key to the user; allowing the user to use IBM Rational products on multiple clients.
How to Import an Activation kit, Please see below,
The Token based license model allows you to buy a certain number of Tokens (or token-based licenses) for a group of entitled products in an organization. If you use a Rational tool that utilizes a token-based licensing model, then the FEATURE/INCREMENT line in the license file will specify the number of Tokens for check out in total. Tokens do not tie to a product. When the applications are closed, the tokens return to the pool for other end users with any token enabled application to use them.
Note: Mixing tokens-based and non-token-based licenses is not a recommended practice. However, you can mix tokens with traditional product floating licenses. The consuming occurs with floating licenses first, followed by the tokens. You can specify the floating licenses and tokens in the same license file for a single license server. You can also separate into different license files or license servers. The floating licenses must precede the token licenses in the license.dat file.
Author: Saurabh Tyagi
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (6749)
This week we spotlight another "behind the scenes" guy: Mike McCawley. Mike, in addition to being a 'wicked smaht guy', also has a propensity for verbosity as you'll find in his interview below (and a trait shared by your humble editor at times). But don't be scared by all the words, Mike has some outstanding insights and advice to share, and he has even provided a multitude of links to help! So read on and discover what Mike really thinks about gadgets, search, social media, and so much more!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
Hi, I'm Mike McCawley (yes, Beth McCawley's husband, you met her a few weeks ago) and I'm an IT Architect for eSupport applications. I work on IT projects that IBM Clients use to get help, answer questions, and communicate with IBM engineers, once they own IBM stuff.
My official title, however, is Wicked Smaht Guy. This was hung on me by my former manager Kelly Smith (thank you very much) and she put it on my business cards. No, this is not your father's IBM.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
Since 2003 / 2002 respectively.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I was the manager of the Downloads and Upgrades department, and of the telephony systems for the Rational Support worldwide organization.
What are you currently working on?
IBM Search systems. I mean the big beastly Search applications that everyone uses at the Masthead of IBM.com, the one within the IBM Electronic Support Portal, and a variety of special purpose search applications we use internally. Additionally, I consult for the content management guys (who write all those Technotes and so forth) regarding Search Engine Optimization.
Describe a normal day for you.
First, I wake up and ask Beth if I'm the "early" or "late" IBMer parent. Since we are a two-IBMer marriage, we need to figure out how we stagger our schedules to care both for our agendas and our son.
Four days a week I commute the grueling 4.1 miles to the Littleton MA office, through one traffic light and beautiful New England scenery. Sometimes on a bike. One day a week I commute twenty feet to my home office.
My job is mostly bringing ideas together to solve a practical technical problem. I work on a few teams that have people from all over the planet. For instance, if I'm talking about Enterprise Search, my direct working team has IBMers from Haifa, Moscow, Paris, Toronto, Chicago, Boulder, Poughkeepsie, and Rochester MN. Scheduling meeting times is a chore!
I read email, arrange my schedule of meetings, get some fresh single-origin organic coffee, and get on the phone, which is still the primary collaboration tool. 10:30am every day is scrum, and we protect that time and always go, except when we don't. When I get a block of a couple of hours in a row, I open up my Thinkpad W500 and use Rational Team Concert, find a couple of tasks on my backlog, and start writing code in Rational Application Developer. If I don't find a lot of contiguous time, I work on conceptual plans for the next release or some new project vision, using Lotus Symphony.
I work until I run out of time, then I commute home, sometimes with a stop at the farm for fresh groceries, and plan dinner. We eat as a family every night and don't talk shop. Often one or both of us needs to cover an early or late meeting with IBMers in Europe or Asia, so we are pretty tightly scheduled.
What project are you the most proud of?
Well, this is hard. I've had the opportunity to do some really cool, and some really useful, and sometimes even stuff that is both cool and useful. I'm actually rather proud of something that was really simple, a robot (called Marvin <grin /> ) that would move files from one place to another within IBM, with the twist that the files were very sensitive (client support data) and everything had to be secure, encrypted, highly available, and bomb-proof. I built it very quickly using old technology (lftp, Perl) and it was expected to only run for a few weeks, but it had a two year run in production with a perfect track record. It never complained about aching diodes. Not once.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Well, absolutely, but it's so hard to choose. My position in IBM puts me in daily contact with some of the world's best and brightest people. Dare I name names and risk giving someone a big head? OK, I will, Matt Cutts at Google.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
"Gadgets" is so old skool. There is only one gadget: the Smartphone. I use an iPhone, myself. We don't talk about gadgets anymore, we talk about apps. (Can you tell I work in Software Development?) Have you seen PayPal's iPhone check cashing?
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
What's up with a 7" tablet and why does everyone need to make one? You got a 4" phone, and a "page-sized" tablet, why on earth do we need something in the middle? Cool? Not so sure, but a whole lot of folks seem to be betting they will be.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
Oh, now this is gonna be the part of this interview that raises eyebrows. And it's not just a Rational statement, but an IBM statement.
I love the peoples. Everyone says "the people" but I do mean "peoples," as in diversity. Here, in IBM Rational, I am surrounded by folks of every possible physical, ethnic, sexually-oriented, religious, national, economic, political, tattooed, and yes even blue-suited description you can imagine. (Some executives have tattoos and some engineers wear suits - whatever.) None of those labels matter here. The only thing that matters, once an IBMer walks in the building, is what they got in their heads, how they can contribute to solving a client's problem and making the planet a little smarter. I really mean it, the way we all inter-operate, work together, respect each other is, in my mind, a model of how the rest of the world should work. I'm surrounded by the best people, and people at their best. Sounds like a commercial, but it's real. Almost unreal. This is a very special place.
What inspires you in your work? What are you passionate about?
Oh, Search. I mean, the next kind of search engines, the linguistically aware ones. There is a problem with search as you know it now, and that is: you are a human and you need to ask a computer to find stuff for you. You, the human, need to understand something about computers to be successful. You need to know the right words to type into that little box. Authors need to know how to classify and publish data so it will be found. I want to reverse that. I want to teach computers how humans work. I want authors to do what they do, I want searchers to ask in plain language, and the machines have enough intelligence to understand not only what authors and searchers are saying, but what they mean, and connect the two.
Ultimately I want computers to know what you meant to say, not just what you said. Then give you what you need, not just what you asked for. Fortunately, we are very likely to see this happen, perhaps very soon, and I'm proud and pleased to be working on these technologies every day.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Well, my spare time profile has changed dramatically now that we're parents. However, in addition to being a professional nerd, I am a somewhat accomplished scuba diver, a private pilot, and a pretty good cyclist, however not so good as my wife. At one point I've had seven salt-water reef aquariums. I cook with passion using whatever ingredients show up from our CSA farm membership. I play drums, guitar, and now bass with more enthusiasm than talent. But not so much of that now; mostly I practice at being a good father.
When did you first become interested in computers?
Oh, interested ... around 1982 when I got my Commodore 64. When I went through college (the first time) at Penn State, I had joined a research team in the Physics department (electron optics and high vacuum) and was infected with a passion for computers. Ah, those were the days - late nights debugging FORTRAN with my punch cards spread out all over the floor .... When I got a PC/AT model 5170 in 1986, it very literally changed my life. I fell in love with my test equipment and stopped caring so much about the science I was exploring. I changed careers and never regretted it.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field?
The ability to focus on something for hours/days at a time. Seriously, IT is about problem solving; and it's a deadline oriented business. As phenomenal as IBM is regarding work-life balance (and I mean it), there will be deadlines and promises you gotta keep. So, sometimes you grab a problem and don't let go until it's solved, however long it takes. Sometimes you do it because a client has a severity one issue, or sometimes because you simply can't move on until you have closure. To steal a line from another colleague, we reward RESULTS, not effort.
What message would you give to someone just starting out in the IT industry?
Learn another language, and let me suggest Chinese. The importance of this cannot be overstated. The planet is shrinking, and all this business of shoveling bits around is fundamentally about empowering people to do their thing. Always remember - science is science, but technology is a humanity, and if humans don't benefit, you're wasting your time.
What specifically drew your interest to become involved in the IT Architect field specifically?
Well, I finally found the career that best suits a "jack of all trades" such as myself. I am not the world's foremost authority on anything, despite trying, but I can command a 'B' average in a whole lot of different things. This is fundamental to good Architecture - you need to know something about everything, not everything about something. When I do need that deep skill, I reach out to my team - I can find an expert on any given topic in seconds via Sametime.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
A stack of stuff. I mix up a bag of science fiction / fantasy (currently reading Patricia Briggs "Mercy" series) with self help (James Martin's "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything") and classics (Hemmingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" -- again).
What has been your biggest surprise you have witnessed in the technology industry?
The Prell bottle. No question.
What, you ask, about MRIs, the Jarvic heart, the polio vaccine? Lemme ask you: if you drop an MRI machine down a flight of stairs, can you still use it? OK, Mel Brooks aside, I'm still simply stunned that film photography died so suddenly. I mean, I've got a great digital camera setup (I'm still a Nikon partisan) but film is art. Now, E-6 is dead, dead, dead. No one has enough business to keep the developer chemicals fresh. When Kodak stopped production of Kodachrome, Paul Simon and I cried all night.
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not?
What does it take to get Linux on desktops? It's good enough. For anything. Really.
What is your favorite technology that fizzled or failed to live up to the hype?
Segues. Firewire. SCSI.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
Within a couple of years, every telephone will have bidirectional video. I'm not certain I'm ready for this. I mean, do I really want to see who's calling me? Will telemarketers now have to hire photogenic operators? Do I want them to see me? How do you turn your camera off socially? (No, honey, I'm not at the pub. My camera must be hosed again.) Will there be a mass market for software that alters your appearance with real-time CGI? What will my avatar be? If I'm not seeing the real you, what's the point? Makes my head hurt.
What future technology would make your life easier?
Professionally: Really good machine translation, or a cheap real-time translating machine. (er, app for your smartphone - gadgets are so old skool.) I mean, I want Douglas Adams' babel fish. And I expect he had it right (may he rest in peace), that something like that could be the greatest source of peace and prosperity in the history of the Universe. Imagine if we didn't misunderstand each other so much?
Personally: Putting technology in its place. I want things to take the drudge out of life. Eliminate the repetitive, moronic, soul-destroying tasks, and generally let me focus on activities of value. But, I have to say, I lead a rather privileged life already and I'm thankful for it. I'd rather that inventors use their brains figuring out cheap ways to purify drinking water, or grow food with less fertilizers, or get from point 'A' to point 'B' without using so much fossil fuel. I don't need a new gadget, thank you very much.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
I used to teach people how to work with computers. Now, I teach computers how to work with people.
How do you grow your technical skills?
My manager supports my addiction to O'Reilly Press ("Dojo, The Definitive Guide" is on my desk now.) and I take on-line classes at the University of Massachusetts. Additionally, I complete a few IBM Global Campus training modules every year, but mostly, I get involved in a project where I don't know all the answers, and I gotta figure it out on the job.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
Oh, need I say it? Even a dude like me, who works on Search for a living, still uses Google routinely, but... additionally, I very frequently use my technology communities. Much of my work is confidential, so I cannot use what you commonly call social media, but we have team-based equivalents inside IBM and I can use them to connect with experts on practically any subject.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
I was. I would like to be, but you know, not so much anymore. First off, it was a time suck, and my spare time is at a premium. Second, as I was following along this curve, I decided the social media things (Facebook, Twitter, etc) were filling up with noise. The value of the whole thing seems to be declining now, since the signal to noise ratio is decreasing. I don't need to know what breakfast cereal you just discovered, thanks. I am interested in really only a small amount of this stuff, like the fact Ubuntu decided to pick a different default UI in the next release. I need some sort of way to filter all of the social noise out, so I can only see the stuff going on in my digital neighborhood I am interested in, without requiring me to slog through the useless (gratuitous, salacious, inflammatory) other stuff. Yeah, yeah, social media is wet and messy just like real life. Great, there is just so much of it, is my point. I expect this will work itself out presently - I know I'm not the only one who feels like this.
Oh, wait, last point: grammar matters, people. (Or, maybe that's my problem.)
What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Wired. Freshmeat. Slashdot. VeloNews. Bon Appitite. The Onion. Wine Spectator.
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This week we catch up with Erik Mats, a Support Engineer out of Uppsala, Sweden. For the past five years, Erik has been supporting modeling clients in the US defense sector but he is now moving to the European team where he will be working with clients in the enterprise architecture and software development sectors. Read on for an interesting look into Erik's daily routines and passions! And don't forget to check out some of our previous interviews too!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I work at the European help desk for modeling products, focusing on tools for enterprise architecture and software development. If you are meeting challenges in SysML, UML or data modeling, or using defense architecture frameworks, I’m there to help. For the past ten years, I have used social software to work with colleagues and clients from East Asia through California in the west, largely out of my home in Uppsala, Sweden.
I am married with two children, and spend most of my spare time at the playground or jogging or cycling on trails in the nearby woods.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
Ten years ago I joined Telelogic Modeling Support. At first I was working for the Malmö, Sweden office with US customers, but I shortly moved to Dallas, TX. I also had a chance to enjoy a couple of years in suburban New Jersey before returning to my native Sweden.
I have been part of the Rational Client Support family since IBM acquired Telelogic AB about two years ago.
What are you currently working on?
For the past ten years, I have worked for the US modeling help desk, but quite recently I have shifted to its European counterpart. My most important mission right now is to deepen my knowledge of customization, compilation and SysML coverage in Rational Rhapsody.
Describe a normal day for you.
Most days, after I have a solid dose of coffee, read the daily paper and drop off the kids at daycare, I sit down in our spare bedr
I spend a few hours on questions or problems that have come in from around the world. In the morning I often spend some time online with colleagues in India, Korea, Australia. In the afternoon I mostly deal with problems that pop up in Europe or North America. I shut down my laptop at 3pm, unless I’m working the evening in which case I may be online until midnight.
I rarely spend more than a couple of hours at a time on any given problem or project. Instead I context shift around and let the trickier issues grow at the back of my mind. I try to go jogging or cycling during the day to gather my thoughts.
After my kids go to bed at night I sometimes have a chance to revisit some of the trickier problems of the day, or to simply chat a bit with my US colleagues.
Whenever I wrap up a problem, be it a defect report, a request for enhancement, a question, I write up some kind of a summary of the issue. Many of these are published to www.ibm.com as tech notes, others are kept for internal reference.
A few days a week I venture into the IBM office in Kista, a 40 minute train ride. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve recently shifted my focus towards more interaction with European clients, so now it makes more sense for me to go into an actual physical office.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? What inspires you in your work? What are you passionate about?
My favorite part of working for Rational Client Support is all the chances I get to educate clients and co-workers in new tools and methodologies. I know that the benefits I help roll out in their organizations will later make it into the healthcare, automotive or communications applications that surround us today. GSM and 3G technology would be two concrete examples.
I also love solving seemingly unsolvable mysteries, and building lasting relationships with clients doing interesting work.
Over the last few years I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about game theory, decision theory and models for problem solving. I’m excited about the Kepner-Tregoe processes for situational analysis and problem solving that we use in Rational Support, but I have also come across a lot of other interesting frameworks, such as those used by the High Council of Sweden in the 17th century.
What project are you the most proud of?
My favorite projects have been when I've been able to help clients adopt new and exciting technology or methodologies. Around 2001-03 I did a lot of work in UML 2.0 tools, mostly in the telecom sector in the Americas. I fondly remember heated discussions about readability, value semantics, computational efficiency and other geeky stuff. Geeky, but incredibly important for a lot of the smart handheld devices and appliances we use today.
I have also been involved in some really tricky but rewarding trouble-shooting around FLEXnet licensing.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
My smart phone; WLAN. Camera. Spotify. E-mail. Diary. Calendar. Alarm clock. Podcasts. Exercise journal. Oh, and sometimes it even rings! I only wish it would handle online TV better.
I see a strong trend towards ubiquitous and free wireless broadband. A few years from now I expect our handhelds will act as portals into the cloud. There will be no sense carrying around computational capacity when the network becomes more accessible.
The way I see, as information and intellectual property becomes increasingly accessible, we will re-evaluate how we value, purchase, license, store and share information. It is quite clear that music and movies will be in the cloud rather than crowding our living rooms, but how will we value the literally thousands of baby pictures we take today.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I am incredibly fascinated by consumerism. How we decide what to purchase, the mild neuroses and intense marketing that tend to go into each decision. A few semesters of business studies along with early experiences as a father has given me some very striking insights in this field. I can discuss this stuff for hours on end.
Music. In fact, my most unexpected job accomplishment ever was when one of my songs was used for an office event in India!
I am an avid Scrabble player. In fact I love word games in general. I did spend a few years at Uppsala university majoring in linguistics but I just can’t seem to get enough!
I spend a lot of my time baking and cooking, vegetarian and as healthy as I practically can. As an experiment, I have even tried making housecleaning a hobby, but I hate to report so far this hasn’t been a great success.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
I’m a bit of a knowledge junkie, so I read mostly non-fiction. Right now on my nightstand and along for my train rides to the office:
How are you using social networking today?
I use LinkedIn to keep track of former colleagues, Facebook to keep up with the extended family and old friends.
For work I use Lotus Sametime (a chat client), Lotus Connections (our internal community platform), wikis, IP telephony, Lotus webcam conferencing.
Only the other day I was at an Italian restaurant trying to figure out what kind of a fish dentice is. Wiktionary and Wikipedia to the rescue.
I use the streaming music service Spotify to find out what my friends are listening to. Of course, there is also a risk that your street cred will go down in flames when people find out what music you actually listen to.
Has it really been three years since Kelly started this blog? Indeed it has! May 14th, 2009 was an auspicious day, as we dipped our toes into the corporate blogging world to see how it'd go. Little did Kelly know that we'd soon soar to become the 5th most visited blog on developerWorks, or ever break that 2 million visitors milestone! By the by, we DID break that 2m milestone yesterday evening! What wonderful serendipity for both to occur on the same day!
Sure, we may be a bit long in the tooth to be celebrating a birthday, but if you've hung around here for any amount of time you know we're kids at heart and surely you won't begrudge us a little celebration... right?
Ok, you're right... I can't post here without providing SOME sort of deeper value. So, as a bit of a small retrospective we thought it would be neat to go through and highlight some of our past posts. As we discussed which to highlight, we thought about giving visibility to the "Most Viewed" posts on this blog, but figured if they are the most viewed already, they probably don't need the help So we figured we'd go back through the archives of 715+ posts and pull out some of those 'sleepers'; the ones with some solid content but which may have gone far under the radar based on our analysis of activity metrics. That in mind, let's get to highlighting!
How to work with Rational Client Support: Part 2- In this second article, dW Contributing Author Kelly Smith outlines the technical support that you get when you license Rational software includes and doesn't, plus what to do before you call tech support. And don't forget to check our Part One, How to work with Rational Client Support: Behind the curtain!
New White Paper released: Deploy IBM Rational License Server 8.1.1 effectively in your enterprise- Here's a GREAT resource for nearly anyone running Rational software! Download the free whitepaper (no registration needed!), read it, and then share it with your colleagues and coworkers to help them be as successful with their own license server implementations as you will surely be!
Improve your Rational Support experience with our automated ISALite tool!- For select products, we've enabled an automated data gathering tool called IBM Support Assistant Lite (ISALite for short). This tool will gather appropriate troubleshooting information for a particular product.
Did you hear the news?- The dW Rational community is open to the publ
Downloading Products from Passport Advantage- This most excellent video from our friends over at IBM Electronic Supp
Everything You Wanted to Know About Rational Licensing- A good message always bears repeating ... Visit the IBM Rational License Key Center for lots of useful material on understanding and using your Rational license keys...
IBM Rational product support for Mozilla Firefox- This news flash is for all customers who use the Mozilla Firefox browser with our Rational products. Please take note of the direction particulars as they relate to your usage of the browser and level of product support IBM Rational is able to provide...
Introducing our newest blog author: Matt Quimby- You may have seen his name on a few recent posts around these parts: Matt Quimby has joined our team and dug into some of our social business efforts as you'll see below.
Trust and Personal Responsibility in All Relationships- That's a powerful statement. It's also one of IBM's Core Values, one that resonates particularly with me in regards to our social business initiatives… like this blog. Let me explain....
Five Imperatives for ALM, and Business agility: a technical perspective- Here's two videos and two articles for your benefit today; two videos on the Imperatives for ALM covering real-time planning and in-context collaboration, as well as two articles to help you along with business agility from a technical perspective and a tutorial on how to use the Practice Library application. Enjo
Lastly, in honor of this milestone, we'd like to thank the folks who made it possible for us to continue:
Now let's keep going! Our goal is to continue growing and continue providing you deep value in fun, exciting, and innovative ways. As the quote says: "We have only just begun"!
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Ok, ok , ok.... *maybe* you aren't, but I have a feeling that you probably are even if you don't think so. Hang in here with me for a bit as I explain why I'm nearly certain you actually *are* a community manager.
It isn't JUST you, of course; we are all community managers if we're playing in social spaces. What I am specifically referring to is the idea that we each own responsibility for the content we post in social spaces, and in turn we own responsibility for the comments generated by and added to those posts. As active members in social networks, we create our own ad hoc communities every time we post content, be it a status updated about what we had for lunch or a longer missive on a facet of today's society. In each case, we own the responsibility of managing these ad hoc communities just like a 'formal' community manager would. Likewise, when we comment on other's posts, we are engaging as a member of their community and have the responsibility to act accordingly.
With today's accelerated shift to social platforms, the role of community manager is increasingly important but the definition needs to be expanded to include not only the formalized and structured communities, but also the unstructured, ad hoc, fluid communities. We are all community managers to some extent now, and need to manage not only our own posts, but the threads of conversation which they generate.
If you've been following me for any length of time on any of my social channels you've likely heard me espouse the brilliance of IBM's Social Computing Guidelines. While I may be biased, I do believe that even if I weren't an IBMer, I'd still be highlighting the SCG as a work of genius when it comes to corporate policy to guide employees in social business. But it goes even beyond that... these are wonderful guidelines beyond the immediate intended audience of IBMers... (I've cherry picked the ones which are really universal): Aren't those genius in their simplicity? As we look with new eyes on our own social communities, we can all benefit from the simple guidance put forth above, as these bits are relevant as universal truths to social interaction. Now that we can recognize our own responsibilities for the communities we've built around us, we need now (more than ever) the tools to help guide us through some of those inevitable missteps we will make (or have made) along the way. This is the new universal truth. Gone are the early days of the internet where we were just participants in one huge community. Now we are all individually responsible for managing our spaces and ensuring our formal and ad hoc communities are adding value to the spaces. As we join in these new and upcoming spaces, we all need to recognize the responsibilities we have and gauge whether or not we are ready to take on that extra burden that comes with participating in social discussions. If you are posting content to any social channel, you are already managing your communities, whether you realize it or not. It is upon us as individual contributors to ensure we are bringing value to and taking ownership of the spaces in which we play. Our successes depend upon it.
Aren't those genius in their simplicity?
As we look with new eyes on our own social communities, we can all benefit from the simple guidance put forth above, as these bits are relevant as universal truths to social interaction. Now that we can recognize our own responsibilities for the communities we've built around us, we need now (more than ever) the tools to help guide us through some of those inevitable missteps we will make (or have made) along the way.
This is the new universal truth. Gone are the early days of the internet where we were just participants in one huge community. Now we are all individually responsible for managing our spaces and ensuring our formal and ad hoc communities are adding value to the spaces. As we join in these new and upcoming spaces, we all need to recognize the responsibilities we have and gauge whether or not we are ready to take on that extra burden that comes with participating in social discussions.
If you are posting content to any social channel, you are already managing your communities, whether you realize it or not. It is upon us as individual contributors to ensure we are bringing value to and taking ownership of the spaces in which we play. Our successes depend upon it.