Friday, November 14, 2008

Ancient Rome on your Modern Computer

Google has added a new twist to its popular 3D map tool, Google Earth, offering millions of users the chance to visit a virtual ancient Rome.image


image Google has reconstructed the sprawling city - inhabited by more than one million people as long ago as 320 A.D..

Users can zoom around the map to visit the Forum of Julius Caesar, stand in the center of the Colosseum or swoop over the Basilica. 

Google's site

BBC link & Associated Press link



-- Robert

A planetary snapshot

Since Copernicus showed that the Earth orbits the Sun, we've known that we're not the only planet in the universe. 20 years ago was the first discovery of an exo-planet - a planet which orbits a different star. Over 350 of them have been discovered over the years. BUT... until this week, all these discoveries were made with various techniques which detected the planet, but did not show it. This is similar to knowing that an airplane is flying near you because you can see it on radar or see it's contrail, but not ever seeing one.

Last week the Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of Fomalhaut and saw .. really saw a planet.


Picture courtesy Astronomy Picture of the Day

For a better articulated explanation - and information about another stunning exo-planetary discovery, click here.


-- Robert

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Better late than never...

Here is the link to the documentation for ITM 6.2.1, right where it belongs :)


-- Robert

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Nothing technical in this post, it's more philosophical in nature.

The little piece of land I come from, Israel, has a chaotic history. We have numerous commemoration events for our many, many wars and our many. many fallen.

Despite this, I have always liked the symbolism of Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/Veteran's Day.
Both the symmetry of the time chosen, and the name of the War it commemorates - The War to End All Wars.

It seems like since then, every armistice is actually a temporary crease fire to reorganize for the next war.

The following poem, is probably the best known of World War I's poems:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae

I do not hear it, or read it, without getting a lump in my throat.

While most of my examples will, necessarily, be local, I believe that most of what I will be writing is universal in nature. Bear with me, if you can get through the wall of text.
I have two commentaries on it I would like to share.

First, the third stanza can be read as war time propaganda. It may well have been, but since interpretation is on the part of the reader and not the writer, I prefer to interpret The torch not as the weapon used by the soldiers, but as the cause they fought for. This is a cry to the survivors - make sure that soldiers, sent to sacrifice their lives for their fellow men (and women), are fighting for a cause which is to be held up high. Do not break faith. Do not let this sacrifice be for selfish, ignoble,  low reasons.
The soldiers, laying down their lives for the greater good, deserve this courtesy - they did not die so that war could continue - they died so war could be stopped.
Here in Israel, it is common wisdom that combat soldiers who finish their army service after doing their regular conscript's time  (2-3 years) and have spent a lot of time doing "dredge work"  - 19 year olds who man roadblocks, deciding whether a woman is in labor or is hiding dynamite under here clothes, picking and choosing who shall cross the roadblock to work and who shall return with empty pockets to their homes, often leave the army as hawks - thinking that the only language their adversaries understand is violence and shows of strength. How can they think otherwise when their mind has been dragged in the mud for years?
Contrariwise, senior officers, when they leave, often seem more dovish - thinking that there is only so much that can be done with shows of strength and understand that violence can only contain violence from the other side. It cannot "cure" it. Only diplomacy can do this.

To my mind, those who choose to continue the status-quo with violent means without seeking a proper, diplomatic solution simultaneously are guilty of breaking the faith with those who laying in their countries equivalent of Flanders' Field.

My second comment is an observation. Poppies grow well in Flanders' Field because the ground is rich in humanity. The grounds around Nazi Death Camps, where millions of people (especially Jews) were cruelly tortured, executed and cremated is likewise rich in beautiful flowers.
If there is a God, the transformation between the ugliness of death and the beauty of nature must be an omen of some kind.



Monday, November 10, 2008

ITM ODBC Universal Agent tips

As you know, (or don't know,) Tivoli Monitoring has a quick-and-simple way of extracting data from databases on windows machines. By creating a Universal Agent of the type ODBC, you can simply write your select into the mdl file and go from there. On Unixes you need to use a script UA and do a little more work.

Two things which I've dealt with in the past week:

  • There is a limit to how many lines the UA will pull out of the database. So if your select results in hundreds of lines, only the first 100 will actually be displayed in the portal or will cause situations to fire. You can change this maximum in the ENV file, by setting the parameter KUMP_ODBC_MAX_ROWS to whatever you need.
  • The SQL query in the mdl file must be on one line. I had a nicely formatted looong SQL which ran along a number of lines. The results were... not what I wanted (although the mdl compiled properly and there were no SQL errors). I suppose the newline character did some mischief with the SQL parser during runtime and it's not used by the mdl compiler.

Anyway, hope this helps someone :)


Sunday, November 9, 2008

New versions...

I guess it's just that time of the year again!

TBSM 4.2 came out recently, as did Impact 5.1.

Yesterday I saw both TADDM 7.1.2 and ITM 6.2.1 in passport advantage.

Here's a brief list of TADDM changes from the release notes:

TADDM 7.1.2 gives you the rich details of configuration items with automated, agentless discovery of the assets and their application dependencies, as well as a Discovery Library technology to help leverage data from other sources.

TADDM is a configuration management tool that helps IT operations personnel ensure and improve application availability in application environments. The operational staff gets a top-down view of applications so the staff can quickly understand the structure, status, configuration, and change history of their business-critical applications. This view immediately isolates issues in times of performance or availability problems and enables more effective planning for application change without disruption. An agent-free creation and maintenance of a Configuration Management Database (TADDM database) is delivered without requiring custom infrastructure modeling. TADDM also provides complete cross-tier dependency maps, topological views, change tracking, event propagation, and detailed reports and analytics.

The following list includes the functionality that was added for the TADDM 7.1.2:

  • BIRT Report Infrastructure
  • Limited IPV6 Capability
  • Console Installation Capability
  • Improved View Performance
  • Improved Details Performance
  • Improved ECMDB synchronization times
  • Improved API query performance
  • Improved post-discovery processing performance
  • Improved TBSM Integration
  • Drill Down Capability for Business Applications
  • Comparison Report From Domain Manager
  • Cross-Domain Comparison reports from ECMDB
  • Additional MQ Cluster Information for zOS
  • Reduced WAN traffic during anchor usage
  • Upgraded first failure data capture tools
  • Weblogic 9.x and 10.x sensor support
  • Simplified migration from previous releases
  • Windows 2008 Support
  • AIX 6.1 Support
  • Bug Fixes

Updated documentation is here.

ITM 6.2.1 doesn't seem to have updated the documentation yet, but here's a list I have of it's changes:

    • Adaptive Monitoring
    • TEPS Changes
      • Event Slot Customization - replaces my older post!
      • Managed node search bar
      • Zoom in charts
      • SSO with Java Webstart
    • SPB bundles for TCM/TPM
    • More CLI abilities
      • Replace wadminep function (getfile, put file, list dir, execfile)
      • CLI for historical data configuration collection
      • Remotely invoke pdcollect tool
      • Expand tacmd createsit (display item, consecutive samples, state)
    • Agent Builder
      • Support 100+ connections for remote monitoring
      • Browser for logfile/script monitors
      • Add CIM provider
    • Out of the box Agentless OS monitoring packages
    • Infrastructure improvements
      • 64-bit zLinux and AIX support
      • Support TDW on zOS
      • Support TEC events from z Hub
      • Manage agent fail-over
      • Asynchronous Deployment
      • Support 64 bit counters
      • Agent Manager Services - an extra agentlet who manages the regular agents
    • Improved TADDM integration

Of those, the Adaptive Monitoring and Event Slots seem extremely interesting and I really want to try them out!

-- Robert

Edit: forgot a few things in ITM...