I got a bit of a bonus at work, and I decided that before it all got spent I’d use some of it to get something for myself. I got one of these:
I ordered it from Thinkgeek.com on Saturday. It arrived yesterday. Pretty amazing delivery time.
The geek factor is that besides being a low-end strat knock-off, it has an integrated USB interface that lets you plug it into your computer. It shows up as a USB audio device for both input and output. You can run amp simulation software and effects on your computer, and plug headphones into it to play to yourself, or you can plug it into a normal guitar amp setup. I tried hooking it to Jenn’s brand new MacBook, and it worked ok. I didn’t have time last night to install the included guitar amplifier emulation software yet.
I’m planning on actually trying to use JACK and JACK Rack with some LADSPA plugins to get it to work on linux on one of my home machines. This will be my first attempt at using JACK, so I’ll update as I get stuff working.
I had a great trip to Lake Louise with my kids and Jennifer after the water polo tournament in Calgary. We had loads of fun, but I haven’t written about it much or about much else for that matter. The reason is that my dad is very sick in the hospital and has been for several weeks. He had gall stones, which were removed, followed by gall bladder problems, and that was removed, followed by a gut infection and pancreatitis, which he is still having major complications from.
I’ve learned a lot about the workings of the gut this past few weeks. My mom is hanging in there but this is also very hard on her, and my sister is also anxious, but she’s so far away out East that it makes it even worse. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. News from the doctors is alternately encouraging and discouraging, and his overall progress since this all started has been slow.
A few days ago, we were pretty much done deploying Deltek Vision, but we weren’t done our password synchronization solution yet. We needed to get the accounting group working in Vision, so we decided we could just have the half-dozen people come into my office, and enter their passwords into iManager. I got iManager logged into eDirectory as an administrator user, went to the Set Universal Password page, and then called in the first accounting lady.
As I wrote previously, I recently got a “Das Keyboard”, which is a nice clicky keyboard that has no labels on any of the keys.
I asked the lady from accounting to enter her password twice. She looked at my keyboard and went “uhh…” at which point I went “Oh crap!” We had to move our password setup queue to another machine.
The kids played in the Alberta Open Waterpolo tournament this weekend in Calgary. Their Atom team was a combination of players from their team, Thunderbird Waterpolo, and players from the Spruce Grove Polo Bears. Apparently the coach from Polo Bears played rock-paper-scissors against our coach, Tim, and won the right to coach the combined team during the tournament.
The combined team was very competitive, and made it all the way to the gold medal game, losing by one goal in a 14-13 nail-biter against the Calgary Farmers team. It was so close and exciting that the kids shouldn’t feel disappointed at coming home with silver at all. The whole team played top notch, and after some struggles integrating between the two groups in the first couple of games, they really started working together.
Mack, being one of the little guys, and the youngest in the whole tournament for the second year in a row at seven this year, didn’t get a lot of play. His cumulative time in the water was a lot more than last year though, and his play while he was in the pool saw a huge improvement. He really seems to be getting the idea of the game, and learning about positioning himself in the right spot, and being aware of what’s going on. He just needs some more size and strength and he’ll be awesome.
Emily really shone this year in the tournament. She played every game in the Atom tournament, and she also played about three full quarters worth of Bantam girls games. Her play went up to full power in the last few games. Before the semi-final game, a group of the opposing players kind of surrounded Mack, and made some disparaging comments about our team. When word that the other guys had ganged up on our littlest team member spread around our team, the kids got all fired up and determined. Emily in particular got a fire in the belly over beating the other guys, and she pulled out all the stops. With Emily’s fire, and the rest of the team’s much improved integration, there was no contest from the other team in the semi-final. There was even enough gap in the score that all the little guys got to go in for a shift. Emily repeatedly stole the ball, she won every swim-ball, she hit every pass, and she scored two goals and made three or four assists. That game was the highlight of the tournament for me. I was so proud of her I had tears.
The final game was a repeat of the semi-final, in terms of our team’s performance, but the other team was much tougher. During the game, neither team was ever more than one goal ahead. At the half, there was even an exchange of center-to-net goals from both teams in the last 10 seconds of play. On the last play of the game, a heartbreaking shot at the crossbar and quick reflexes from the Farmers’ goalie prevented a tie and an extra quarter. The parents were all very proud of the kids, and it was a thrilling conclusion to the season.
I have to say I was also pleased with the coaching, and the opportunity for all the small kids to play in the tournament despite some tight games. Hopefully there will be more collaboration with the Spruce Grove team again next year, since it is unlikely that either the Polo Bears or the Thunderbirds will have a large Atom roster.
Our users started using Deltek Vision last week. Despite a long time planning, preparing, and porting, there were still many long days and late nights to get everything working on time. Other than some problems with one very large set of reports that we are still trying to troubleshoot, it seems like it’s working OK. It is quite slow compared to our old in-house custom web-based reporting that we did off of CFMS, but that’s not unexpected, because what we had before was wicked-fast.
There are a few little things to clean up, like making sure backups are coordinated with accounting’s large report runs, and stuff like that. There are also lots of other IT initiatives that I’m looking forward to working on now that this project is complete.
I’ve got everything working on the IDM end of things for user synchronization into Deltek Vision. Now I just have to work with Bart to ensure that his java pieces pick up my output and do the right thing in Vision. I’ve configured the IDM driver between eDirectory and Active Directory to call java extension functions that output add, modify, rename and delete actions on eDirectory objects in our identity vault into files on disk. That part is all done. The java pieces we’re working on will pick up those files in order, and translate them into insert, update and delete sql calls into the SQL Server 2005 database we are using to host Vision on. We should be done tomorrow, because Bart is staying tonight to finish up the java pieces.
It’s very hard to write a blog post in grafitti on a Palm, but you can do it from the comfort of the recliner by the fire.
I’ve gotten the proof of concept working for pushing eDirectory user IDs into Deltek Vision (essentially a table in Microsoft SQL Server 2005) without using Novell’s Identity Manager Integration Module for Databases. As I wrote about before, we were confused about the licensing for the database integration module for Identity Manager 3, and when we found out what it would cost, we choked on it a bit. We decided to try to work with the Identity Manager components we already owned, namely eDirectory, Active Directory and GroupWise, and figure out a way to get credentials into Vision using one of those pieces.
We have a new Active Directory deployment that we just built, and we wanted to synchronize eDirectory credentials into it anyways, so we decided to start with that. Based on our past experience with Identity Manager, we realized it would be possible to intercept user adds and modifies on the subscriber channel between eDirectory and Active Directory. We can use data from those events kicked out of Identity Manager with custom java inside policies in the subscriber channel to populate the user table in SQL Server for Deltek Vision.
We were still running DirXML 1.1a in some of our sites, and we didn’t have Universal Password enabled in eDirectory. To get what we need working, we would have to upgrade to IDM3, and enable Universal Password. Fortunately, all our servers and eDirectory instances are at versions and patch levels sufficient to allow IDM3 to be installed and Universal Password to be enabled. I upgraded our enterprise tree yesterday to IDM3, and Universal Password, and started the process of updating the 10 DirXML drivers to IDM3 format with Password Synchronization 2.0. I also updated our corporate office production tree. I got the Universal Password synchronizing via the Distribution Password from our corporate office tree to our enterprise tree to our new IDM3 idvault tree, to Active Directory last night. I tested skimming off add and modify events and outputting them to files using java in the AD subscriber channel. That all works, so now our database administrator can take the data and stuff it into Vision’s SQL 2005 database.
I’ll finish the rest of the DirXML 1.1a to IDM 3 upgrades tonight, and by the weekend we should have all our credentials ready for synchronization into Vision.
I have been working on getting synchronization between eDirectory and SQL server working for our Deltek Vision rollout. I was under the mistaken impression that the jdbc driver for DirXML was included in the base product package. Yesterday I decided to activate our new IDM 3 server and I noticed that the jdbc driver didn’t activate when I installed the activation credential. I checked the licensing to find out that I was mistaken, and then checked the purchase prices for the Novell IDM 3 Integration Module for Database (the official name for the jdbc driver). I subsequently coughed up my skull over what seems like a very high list price of about $25,000 USD for the server instance, plus $6 US per user, plus maintenance. I checked the Sun Identity Manager product and confirmed that there is no licensing cost for their jdbc driver, and maintenance is optional. After a little thought it was not possible to justify an expenditure of over $30,000 plus maintenance just to get user synchronization to Deltek Vision.
I really didn’t want to have to manually manage users in Vision though. An initial bulk import would be easy enough, but ongoing maintenance of the users would be a pain in the backside. After discussing it with my boss and with our database / java programming expert Bart, we decided that the requirements of user synchronization for Vision were simple enough (User ID constructed from some attributes we keep in eDirectory plus the sha1 hashed password) that we could use some custom java classes within the subscriber channel between our Identity Manager identity vault and our AD domain controller to siphon off sufficient credential information to populate the user account table of Vision. Thus my last 10 days of work or so were reset and yesterday I started working on getting Active Directory synchronized with our eDirectory identity vault. Tonight I’m working late to get the universal password enabled on some of our offices so I can verify that we will be able to steal the password out of the eDirectory to Active Directory identity management datastream and hash it. So far everything is working as expected, and no need to buy the jdbc driver for IDM3, because the AD driver is included in the base price, so we already own it.
There’s nothing like a 90 degree direction change at the 11th hour.