Altova License Server Pain Points – Firewall Rules

Ok, so I recently came across this gotcha I wanted to share.

I needed to install Altova License Server 3.4 to handle concurrent licenses for one of their products, XMLSpy.  This seemed straightforward enough.

Altova License Server documentation says…

The firewall team will love this!
The firewall team will love this!

Obviously, the firewall team did not love the idea of “all sub-domains,” and insisted on a specific IP addy.  At first we tried the IP for  The TTL was something ridiculous like 2 seconds, so they gave in and let us use URL rules.  However, this still was not working. So, they looked to see what wasn’t getting through, saw was being blocked and opened it for me.

That got us a bit further along…

Altova License Server - Test Network Connectivity
Altova License Server – Test Network Connectivity

Unfortunately, the need for and wasn’t clear until we were communicating with

After opening only those three sub-domains, our License Server is happily communicating with the mothership.

Hopefully armed with this info I can save you the weeks of back and forth between the network team, Altova, and the therapist that it took to get this straightened out.




Anti-Entropy Mechanisms and Your Spare Tire.

First, let’s define entropy.

Most of the time in tech, the third definition applies:

 “…(in information theory) a logarithmic measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message or language.”


In the database world, though, the second definition also applies: 

“Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.”


Particularly in the space of data consistency across replicas.  Any database management system worth its salt will employ anti-entropy mechanisms to catch data inconsistency across replicas early. Why?  Because updating one or two rows or columns is way less costly than having to start over from scratch.

So these anti-entropy mechanisms run regularly to determine if replicas are out of sync, then works to get them consistent.  

This is also an important concept when it comes to the area of behavior change.  Humans, like databases, tend to drift slowly into disorder (old, less desirable habits) unless we employ anti-entropy mechanisms in our daily life to check our own consistency.  Whenever I tell a group about my weight-loss, I inevitably hear, “That’s great, but now you have to keep it off.”  While that could be discouraging, it’s a realistic call out for making sure I have anti-entropy mechanisms in my life.

What does that look like and how does it relate to your belt no longer fitting?  It looks like still stepping on the scale and tracking your weight trends long after you hit your goal weight.  It looks like having an accountability partner that you check in with nightly on your goal to get out and walk every day.  It can even mean continuing to track your food intake or measure your waist monthly.  It can mean still putting check marks on the calendar for every day you go without cigarettes or spending 30 mins studying a new topic in your career long after you’ve achieved your career goals.

Personally, I do many of those: track my food, weigh daily, measure weekly, and check in with an accountability partner daily.

The benefits are nearly identical between data and your personal behavior change.  It’s easier to fix drift earlier.  If you wait too long to notice drive you might be starting over completely.

Consider yourself the replica that is in an inconsistent state, and the goal version of you is what you need to stay in sync with.  Anti-entropy mechanisms are the checks and balances of your world that maintain success once you have it.  

Narcissism in Tech – Part 1

 I feel like there is no way to do this topic justice unless it’s a series.  So, to that end, I’m just going to cover a short aspect of this each post.  Today’s part: Are Narcissists disproportionately more prevalent in tech?


And to answer that with the standard database admin answer, “It depends…” We are going to have to get some clarity.  First of all, what are we talking about when we say “Narcissist”?  A person can have narcissistic behaviors, narcissistic traits, or a full blown narcissistic personality disorder (same as many other aspects of personality, such as dependent personality, or OCD kinds of behaviors). The prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in the general population is believed to be around 0.2 percent (Larsen and Buss, 2014). 

Since I’m obviously not a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, and diagnosing coworkers who aren’t your professional patients, is never advised, all I can say is that it seems to me that a lot of people in tech either exhibit narcissistic behaviors or traits.  Full stop.  


But it still does seem to me that there is a LOT of narcissism in technology.  Why is that?  Does the industry attract people with those behaviors, traits, or disorders? Does the environment encourage narcissism to succeed?  Is there some kind of “career Darwinism” at play here, where the non-narcissists weed themselves out of the workforce?  Yes. All of the above, more than likely.


If the industry trending white male (who are also more likely to be narcissistic, see notes) created an elitist atmosphere which systemically excluded women and minorities, it makes sense that those who saw themselves as superior and elite would gravitate towards it.  Speculation, of course. On the superior/elite part.  Women and people of color have been shut out of tech for no good reason for decades.  So if narcissists (lumping behaviors, traits, and NPD all together here), are elitist gatekeepers, and enjoy their status as such, they make staying in tech miserable for those around them, but also hire people who reflect themselves, and perpetuate the cycle.


How are they not removed from the workforce?  Well, narcissists are often motivated, charming, and seek positions of power.  Like any spectrum, narcissists can range from annoying to dangerous.  I mostly concern myself with the middle of the road ones, whose behaviors are toxic, maybe traumatic to anyone who has previously suffered narcissistic abuse, or maybe even unethical (and thus dangerous to the business) due to their inability to accept responsibility, admit mistakes, or ask for help.


I’m really generalizing, sure.  Here’s the thing, though. I’ve worked in technology for 25 years.  I’ve worked for major software companies, I’ve worked for local government, and everything in between. I’ve never worked in an IT department without multiple people who had pervasive, observable narcissistic behaviors.  I actually even worried for a long time that *I* might be a narcissist, after I learned about vulnerable narcissism (maybe I am, who knows).  You know the joke that 3 out of 5 people are assholes…think of your 4 closest friends, if more than one of them isn’t an asshole, you’re the asshole.


So, let me just summarize the DSM 5 criteria for NPD:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief that one is special anc can only be understood by or associate with special people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement (to special treatment)
  • Exploitation of others
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or the belief that one is the object of envy
  • Arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes


Next let’s talk about what that looks like in the office.





Random web results, because my research journal access ended when I graduated. Bummer.




Larson, R., Buss, D.M. (2014). Personality psychology: Domains of knowledge about human nature, 6th ed. New York, NY:McGraw-Hill Education.



Men are more narcissistic: