Ben Langhinrichs

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August, 2017
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 15 Aug 2017, 12:53 PM
CoexLinks family of products: CoexLinks Fidelity, CoexLinks Migrate and CoexLinks Journal
 
Tomorrow, we are releasing a new version of all three of our CoexLinks products, CoexLinks FidelityCoexLinks Migrate and CoexLinks Journal. Aside from other features and bug fixes, they will share a new feature called Defect Detection. While the challenge for most document rendering (to MIME in this case) is faithfully reproducing the content of the email and including the envelope information in the desired form, some Notes emails have corruptions and defects which make the job harder.
 
There are four major defects (and a few smaller ones not worth mentioning):

  • Broken inline images. A variety of corruptions in images including zero-length data, missing image segments and incorrect image type (e.g., a GIF is marked as a JPEG) leave images broken in both the Notes client and the rendered document. We are able to detect and repair or partially repair about 75% of these corrupted images.
  • Compressed attachments with incorrect sizes. These are difficcult to detect because you can open the attachment or save it to disk from the Notes client, so you don't know you have an issue. But since the uncompressed size is incorrect, the document will be truncated and corrupted when emailed or when it is rendered by most tools including the Domino rendering engine. We can fix 100% of these corruptions.
  • Hotspots with invalid ends. In some versions of Notes, URL hotspots and other hotspots inside sections or table cells were left without a closing record. While they appear fine in Notes, they render with either large parts of the Body content missing, or with everything to the end showing as a URL link. We can fix about 95% of these corruptions.
  • Invalid stored image URLs. These corruptions are an artifact of the external MIME to internal MIME rendering, so mostly appear with received MIME emails or forwarded/replied to MIME emails. The fix is fairly simply, so we can fix 100% of these corruptions.
 
Whether you are sending email to customers, reading your own mail from a mobile or web interface, migrating an entire database or journaling mail to a third party vault, it is better to have defect detection in place so that unusual does not become the irretrievable.
 

Copyright © 2017 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 21 Jul 2017, 03:56 PM
Most IBM Notes/Domino customers who have used the product for a number of years have vast stores of data, but when they want to try to glean new insights, they are stymied by how to handle the data mining. Simple fields which map well to views are easy to extract, and are often relatively "clean", meaning that the value is what the value says it should be. But real applications, especially those built for internal use, often reflect a far more complex set of relationships. They may use parent-child hierarchies, doclinks, lookups to other databases. They may also contain information stored in multi-value fields or rich text fields that require manipulation and cleanup. 
 
While there are a number of techniques available from DXL to data scraping, it can quickly become programming intensive to find information and put it together. With this in mind, we have built a fairly easy database using the Midas LSX engine to extract, correlate and prepare data from different sources and build a result which does not always have a one-to-one correspondence with Notes documents. The main virtue of this approach is the ease with which you can ask questions and put together sources. If you decide you have something wrong or need something else, it takes just a minute to remove or add it.
 
I wanted to show how this works with an existing application used over a period of years by fairly sophisticated Notes users. I chose as a source the IBM Business Partner forums, because they are  widely available and familiar. One of the different uses for these forums over several years was to allow partners to file Possible Bug reports, which IBMers could monitor and use to create SPRs and so forth. In this brief video, I pose five questions of this fairly simple application. Imagine how you could use a similar application to delve into your company's data. 
 
 
Note that I don't talk much in the video about data cleaning, but if you look at the image below, note that the column F (first red arrow) is derived automatically by Midas as a boolean from column G (second red arrow). We have some data cleaning built in as options, but are also looking at ways to provide custom data cleaning and normalization for individual items. While it is inevitable that some data cleaning will be done after the data is loaded into data analysis or data visualization software, the cleaner it can be the better, as 80% of all time doing data analytics is preparing and cleaning and normalization the data. We are eager to discuss with customers how we can minimize that costly effort.
 
 

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Tue 20 Jun 2017, 02:19 PM
As software vendors or application developers or anyone else who documents software or processes, we often face the need to come up with an example. The goal of almost any example or documentation is to be simple enough for the uninitiated to grasp while being complex enough to show the possibilities. This is often accomplished with more than one example, so that we can show both how easy it is with one example and how powerful and flexible it is with another.
 
But there is an interesting question of responsibility raised by examples. Are we responsible for those people who just grab the example and go with it, even if they should be modifying it? A classic, and rather extreme, case might be when your example includes "YourServer" or "YourDB.nsf" or even "Firstname Lastname". While it might lead to an embarrassing support call, the implications of someone actually using such an example verbatim are slight. Most likely, the process or software won't work until they plug in an appropriate value.
 
There is one class of example which is different. This is the case of somebody using an example with a password or encryption key that is intentionally weak. I read today that 15% of IoT users leave the default password, and we have all known users who use 12345 as a password or key. While it is clearly the responsibility of the user to be more secure, do we have a responsibility to encourage security? It is not a simple question, as even if we do, and use a complex password or key, that password or key is usually static in the documentation, and so inherently insecure.
 
The following comes from the OpenSSL wiki. It comes with a clear warning not to use that key, which is good, but it intentionally uses one of very few weakest DES keys, which seems an odd choice. Since the user is not meant to type the example exactly, why not use a more random secure key? But if they did, would that be false security since it was static? In a perfect world, the key used in the example might be random and generated on the fly so that every viewer saw a different key. Then, if the example were copied and pasted, a "good" key would be used. But is that really the responsibility of the documentation writer? I don't know.
 
Inline JPEG image
 

Copyright © 2017 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 19 Jun 2017, 04:02 PM
I'm excited to announce I'll be speaking at MWLUG 2017 in Alexandria, VA on data analytics, extraction and visualization.
 
Finding the Gold in Them Thar Hills
They say everyone should visit their own region as a tourist, with eyes wide open to the treasures visitors see easily which we no longer notice. Likewise, those who have used IBM Notes/Domino for many years may not easily see the value embedded in data buried in various databases over these years. Patterns, trends, connections, all hidden in plain sight. In this session, we will explore the kinds of hidden treasure you may have, and different ways to extract/expose that treasure for data analytics and data re-purposing, as well as ways to use data visualization to make the gold you find shine.
MWLUG has proven to be a consistently excellent conference, and I'm delighted to have a chance to speak there again. But even more, I look forward to seeing all of you. If you'll be there and want to hang out, don't hesitate tweet at me or contact me through Facebook or email or phone. Anything but a brick through the window will work. If you'd like a meeting to talk about any of our products, especially our new CoexLinks Migrate, CoexLinks Journal and AppsFidelity Migrate, let me know in advance of your interest so I know not to bore you with talk of my latest novel. (Which will be awesome when I finish it.) If you want to hear about my novel, be forewarned that I can be obsessive.

Copyright © 2017 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 8 Jun 2017, 04:48 PM
More than 17,500 documents in 110 seconds.
 
With a simple command from the server console, CoexLinks Migrate exports all email documents from a Notes email database into MBOX or EML format, both standards-based formats used by many email products as well as data warehouses and email vaults. Our high speed engine renders even complex rich text emails with high fidelity and accuracy.
 
But why not try for yourself. Request an evaluation license today.
 
 
As usual, closed captions are available.
 

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Tue 23 May 2017, 12:31 PM
"After a migration, it is essential that the original content, context and intent are clear, as there is usually little recourse to checking the original source. In our experience, approximately 5‒10% of emails suffer from some form of fidelity issues, while 1‒2% suffer serious data loss or corruption due to rendering issues. These numbers may range much higher for organizations who have a long history of integrating Notes mail with their applications." - Mitigating Risk of Data Loss – Migrating Notes Emails
 
Click on the link to read about ten problem areas, and how we help mitigate your risk.
 
CoexLinks Migrate - Whether you are converting, archiving or migrating, we ensure the integrity of your company's email. (Application data migrations also available.)
 
 
If the data matters, you want it preserved. If the data doesn't matter, why are you migrating it?
 
Inline JPEG image
 
 
 

Copyright © 2017 Genii Software Ltd.