Thursday 28 April 2011

An invite to all Hong Kong Lotus Folks - Beer and geek chat anyone?

I just got confirmation of a spot of corporate travel next week and I and a lotus admin colleague will be in Hong Kong 9th to 17th May. So if anyone fancies meeting up for beer and a chat some evening between those dates drop me a reply here or an email at mcdonaghs (at) utvinternet (dot) com and we get together for an impromtue and freestyle LUG, everyone welcome :) don't be shy :) I am safe just ask Bill Buchan or Paul Mooney I am the soul of propriety, sense and sensibility.

Graphing the Contents of

We were having an issue with one of our comms lines the other daywhich resulted in the sudden build up of mail in on one of the server. Probes were played with an found wanting as they needed someone to be poised Green Lantern like in their inbox waithing for a warning message to appear from a probe that flagged up the problem. In a busy IT dept this is sometimes not possible. What we needed was an app that polled and when a given limit of mail was passed went "DING" and changed colour.

So it occured to me that there are products outthere like GSX which would do that for me however I have less chance of getting a budget for new software at the minute than I have of becoming Pope! So I thru together this wee app for the ops team which they can open in their borwser and use as a visual and auditory warning of problems before they become really nasty.

This is what the app looks like

Fig 1. The Logon Screen
(A) Normal Domino Web Logon
(B) Interval the server is polled for data in MilliSeconds
(C) The root of the server URL
(D) The Panic Level at which the app warns the user

Fig 2. The Data and Graph - Normal status
Here the left hand panel shows the result of the last status and the graph the last 9 minutes

Fig 3. The Data and Graph - Limit Passed status
Here is the app having passed the danger threshold of 30 entries in at this time
the left hand panel has changed to RED and there is also a loudish DING triggered.
This continues until the contents of return to a level below the panic level.
So.. how is it all done?

Well I get the data using a / call which returns some nice readable XML that I can parse and get a Grand total, Total of Live mail , Total of Dead Mail,Total of Held Mail and current size of all the mails currently in This data I stick in a JS array which builds to a maximum of 100 entries and then then wraps by loosing the last entry and adding the newest at the end.

I use this JS array to build the graph which uses the Buff Graph library [canvas] HTML object (ExCanvas is used for the ever crap IE)
The data refreshed every x seconds depending what you put in the logon screen and the graph will redraw on every 4th data poll.

If you would like to have a play you can download the code here - there is one HTML file and 4 JS files and the DING.WAV file to slip into a folder on the Domino Server's Domino/Data/HTML folder then all you need to do is browse to the server and you are ready to go. If you have any questions just drop me a line

Sunday 24 April 2011

A plea for some $$ and ££’s for a friend dandering for dosh

In this connected “social” world of the internet that I and the ever patient and uber tidy Valerie (aka Slightlydoolally) inhabit on Twitter Facebook etc, there comes the occasional moment when the day to day stream of news, geek miscellanea and in my case downright weirdness takes a bit of a back seat and something important comes along and this is one of those occasions.
You may have noticed, I am a danderer, I love a bit of a plod around the countryside taking pictures and generally making a nuisance of myself by looking over fences and shouting MINT SAUCE at passing sheep so I take a keen interest in places my chums go for a dander. So it was with some excitment in Casa McDonagh that we noticed one of our  online chums Jules is doing the INCA TRAIL in Peru!! Setting aside for the moment that this is one of my “bucket list” danders and the jealousy quotient was immeadiately off the scale, Jules is doing this to raise some cash for a very important charity The Children’s charity.
The Children’s Society is committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. They give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through their campaigns and research, they seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.
TheSprog © (aka Niall McDonagh) can be a right royal pain in the arse, infuriating childish and yet thoughtfully adult in equal measures and his road to adulthood has been both fun and difficulty for him and us his parents. BUT and this is an important “BUT” many many children do NOT have the fun bit in their lives, for them it is just difficulty heaped on difficulty that that is quite simply WRONG! That is why Val and I are right behind Jules in her effort to “Dander for Dosh” for this important cause.
Now I know times are tough for us all just now and demands on our purses are many however if you motely collection of family, friends, colleagues and fellow geeks could spare just a couple of £’s or $’s today to help Jules raise and pass her target of £3950.00 for this very important charity it would be the best couple of clicks you could use your mouse for  on this Easter Sunday. So Please please please please click here and give Jules as much as you can … one less pint this evening and you will be helping to bring smiles back into the lives of some kids and you can’t really say fairer than that!
Happy Easter to you all  – Steve and Val

Tuesday 5 April 2011

A gadget recommendation - PowerPod Executive Solar Phone Charger

It is not that often I get a new gadget.. I blame the bankers... however as part of my Birthday Pressie this year the wonderful and ever patient val (@slightlydoolaly) got me a "Powerpod" Solar charger for my phone direct from their website, which appeared in 2 days after ordering which is pretty good going considering I am in Northern Ireland!

To be precise the charger is called the i3500 Executive Solar Phone Charger £26.11 if bought direct.

(Picture courtesy of

As you can see it is around the size of an iPhone contains a 3500 mAh battery,
monocrystalline solar cells which are much better than the cheaper and less efficent polycrystalline cells (I work for a company that manufactures high end domestic and industrial solar panels so things like that impress me!) The box also contained a plethora of connection adaptors for most mobile devices and a rather swish carry pouch that can be attached to a belt. The device itself is nice and light and the build quality seems excellent.

Now the main reason I have for buying this is .. I walk .. rather a lot ... and I usually use my HTC Desire's GPS function to record where I have been which sadly sucks the life out of the standard 1300mAh battery that comes with the phone. After 4 or 5 hours on the road and taking the odd photo the phone is nearly dead so I need something for those "all day danders" and I was definite that I did not want an extra battery or one of the "Thick" replacement batteries that requires a new back only gives another couple of hunderd mAhs and can mess up the heat disapation of the phone. So I went for one of these gadgets as it would give me just under 5000 mAh of battery to play with which should be ample for even the longest walk.

It was only partially charged when I took it out of the box so I plugged it into the mains using the supplied cable and the HTC USB mains plug and gave it a good deep charge. I worked out what connectors I needed to keep with the device. The only minus point in the whole start up is the supplied instructions while they cover the main areas well are a bit basic on a few topics. Like how exactly to charge using the sun. That aside .. how did it perform?

The first use was with the phone @ 75% battery with wifi, gps and 3g turned off. The phone charged to 100% in 31 minutes, reducing the charger from 4 status LEDs to 3

The next use was on a walk of about an hour with GPS on a 10 second refresh and 3g data turned on. Normally this would take between 20-25% of my battery depending on how many pictures I took and how much I tweeted. I had the chrager on my hip in its wee pouch and I discovered a bonus as the phone fits in the pouch as well!. The supplied USB cable is long enough to reach from the belt to most pockets and Micro USB adpator fits sunggly and securely in the charger and phone.. After 30 minutes the phone was showing 95%, probably because I used the camera a couple of times and uploaded some pictures to yFrog/Twitter along with the other background processes. At the end of the 75 min walk the phone was showing 91% and as soon as I stopped CardioTrainer GPS and 3G the phone was back up to 100% in 12 minutes, leaving the charger STILL with 3 of the 4 status LEDs lit so I am confident that it will cope with even my most demanding all day walks with ease.

I did have a couple of questions relating to how the device charged so I shot the support desk an email at 11pm and at 8:30am the next day I had a reply and a phone number from Nath one of the support staff suggesting I give him a ring to discuss my queries. So I did just that and I found Nath to be very helpful and knowledgable. He was able to fill in all the gaps about using the sun to charge the device, not that I expect the Northern Ireland sun will ever be out long enough to actually charge it fully :-)

So in conclusion owning a Powerpod has been great so far and the support has been excellent .. well done everyone at and Nath in particular

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