Friday, February 29, 2008

Entourage and Domino

Show of hands, how many people know what I am talking about?
How many technotes are there in IBM Support Toolbar on it?
2.
Never a good sign when you are looking for details.

So, naturally I ask my friends out there to let me know via email what the options are in using this client for Domino. What options do we have? does C/S work efficiently if at all. How hard would it be to pry it form the users hands?

Remember, I am not asking about the MAC Beta 8.5 client.

And have a great "extra" day ths year and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lotus Notes Traveler, still AWOL

Sadly, IBM has not replied to my request for a download of it.
And it is still not available for Business Partners to download.
I have customers that want it as part of their 8.01 upgrade, but we can't get it?
This is getting frustrating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Widgets are cool, but twitter in a Notes client can be useful too

Apologies to Pink Floyd but...
"You twitter and waste the hours in an offhand way"

Well you can and is that a good thing or bad from your IT department's perspective?

I was on the phone today with someone at CIO magazine and he was writing an article about Facebook from an IT perspective. Should have discussed Twitter instead, Chris if you read this, call me, I have your next article.

While I do not see Twitter as useful to me in my daily life, one person, Luis Suarez of IBM Spain is using it now almost exclusively and shuns his email. An interesting thought.

At Lotusphere many of us, including myself, used Twitter non-stop, nameless Lotii twittering at 3 or 4 am even. Now at a conferene like that it was very useful because, there was no way to sametime anyone...yet(read future posts on this topic). Well Lotus 911 did get Bleedyellow to handle Sametime for all of us, but it was mostly afterwards we all joined.

So with nothing from Lotusphere itself, we could rely on Twitter. And it was great especially during the opening sessiosn when we all probably killed the Twitter servers tryingt o be first or last with a comment.

Anyway, so now it's a gadget in my 801 Notes client and it is enjoyable to read an occasional missive from Luis or Chris Miller of IDONOtes fame or Bruce "Ideajam" Elgort among many others.

But as I received an email which would interest Luis I could twitter him directly and send him the information. Yes I could IM him as well(I need your IM Luis) but since he was just sitting there this worked out well.

The bottom line is, I never had to leave my Notes client for anything, browser pages are embedded in it, Sametime is as well and now Twitter, Linkedin, the Symphony suite and more.

Thanks Mary Beth for adding this benefit for everyone. And thanks to the Turtle Partnership for hosting an open Widget catalog for everyone as well!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) and Lotus

Sales guys, more details if you sell to governments.
Stop the FUD, let them know we are approved!

Technote is here

Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) on Windows® XP and Vista is a mandate issued by the U.S. Federal Government. The most current versions (and future versions) of IBM® software products that are deployed by U.S. government agencies need to be able to install and run on Windows XP Professional and Windows Vista Enterprise with FDCC settings.

Lotus Notes

The following Notes® Basic and Notes Standard clients are supported in the FDCC Desktop Configuration on Windows XP:

Install by Administrators only.

Lotus Notes® 6.5.3 (and later)
Lotus Notes 7.0.3 (and later)
Lotus Notes Basic 8.0.1 (and later)
Lotus Notes Standard 8.0.1 (and later)

Lotus Domino Web Access
Lotus Domino Web Access was tested and will be supported on the latest Maintenance Releases of the server: 6.5.6, 7.0.3, 8.0.1

Lotus Sametime
Sametime® supports FDCC in both 7.5.1 CF1 and 8.0.

Logically, the list below is not approved one would imagine for average desktops.
The following is not supported in the FDCC Desktop Configuration*:
Install by Standard User
Nomad (USB device support)
Lotus Domino® Designer
Lotus Domino Administrator

Domino is Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)

Found here
Sales guys, go tell customers MS is full of FUD again.

From the online updated information on Lotus Notes/Domino 8.0.1.
Note that although the code is included and acceptable for Windows, for some reason it is not acceptable when used in non-Windows environments running Domino.

AES encryption
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm is optionally available for use with some encryption features. The AES algorithm is widely used and is approved by Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2. AES is currently available for ID file encryption, mail and document encryption, single sign-on configuration using the LtpaToken2 format, and SSL cipher configuration.

FIPS 140-2 certification
FIPS regulates cryptography and the use of cryptographic libraries. The cryptographic library is the .dll that stores encryption algorithms, and cryptographic libraries, not the applications that use them, can be FIPS 140-2 certified. Starting with release 8.0.1, the cryptographic library provided with Notes and Domino on the 32-bit Microsoft Windows platform is FIPS 140-2 certified. Although the cryptographic libraries on Notes and Domino 8.0.1 on platforms other than 32-bit Windows are not FIPS 140-2 certified, those libraries nevertheless include the FIPS 140-2 approved AES algorithm.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Notes Traveler to be available tomorrow for BPs?

I was just informed that Business Partners can download Lotus Notes traveler tomorrow in the usual way from Partnerworld.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trolling through the 801 Readme

Aside form the usual ini settings which you can add to your lists, there are many new changes, one which I know will take weeks for me to remember is this:

F5 is no longer used to lock your Notes ID F5 is no longer used to lock your Notes ID; this key is now used to refresh your screen.

To lock your Notes ID, the new key combination is "Ctrl+F5".

MOre I am sure will be added ot this post.

Lotus Notes Traveler, available on request

As Tom Petty Said "The waiting is the hardest part...." (See the grpahic)

Why it is not called Domino Traveler is just more confusing in my mind, it is a server side add-on, not a client side add-on.

In any event, when you request to download it, you do not get an automated link and verification, evidently it is actually being checked/verified by a human someplace in the IBM world. How interesting, but unexciting when some of us want to get more work done by having this installed.

And as a BP, it is unavailable for download, at least at last check a few minutes ago.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Destroying Domino in an organization without even trying

Business partners especially should read this post. I have had some discussions in the last days which lead me to question client's motivations.

Sometimes we are too smart for our own good or too ambitious.

This happens more than you think too IMHO.

Let's say a manager from a company which you have or have not worked with locates you as a local business partner out of the blue. They are a Lotus shop but are having some issues, server failures, mail problems, add your own ideas as well. Sure I live on referrals like everyone else, but sometimes my websites bring me clients and who am I to turn down projects?

Can we help them? Do an audit/health check and then present resolutions and manage those changes afterwards. Sure, done it many times.

Yes, you agree it sounds very good and off you go to write a proposal and get set for your week of inspection and meetings.

Now, and let's play devil's advocate here, what if this manager really does not like Domino? How would you know? He claims to want to help, knows the past histroy and wants people to be happy, claims his people are great. Sounds good, but, what if...he is really asking for the dirt to show the CIO and get Domino tossed?!

A serious issue now arises. Do you paint the report so it sounds okay but could be better or do you really dig deep and find 101 problems because it gives you a good project and provides revenue and 6 months of people on site, but may deep six the client as a Lotus shop?

Most people dig deep but (hopefully) sugar coat the report just in case so it looks like it could be helped but it's not in dire need.

But what if this is all wasted time? The manager runs to the CIO and pleads to save him from Domino and go to Exchange where he will live a quiet and peaceful life (for the next 10 months until he gets promoted and it is someone else's problem).

Cynical you say? Without proof it is hard to justify, but the proof may come too late and I don't want to see this happen, not to me, or my clients, or yours.

I am not sure the manager is lying, but I know some history and it is possible in this case I should be wary.

So, what would you do in this case? I know what I will do, but the feedback may bring me an idea or thought which could be helpful.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let me Compare thee to a....pinball machine

So this Lotus vs. Microsoft discussion gets old does it?

While not as old as the Middle East conflicts, Yankees vs. Redsox, Hatfields/McCoys or ex-British Empire Countries suing for their art and artifacts. It goes to show that something of importance can never really die in the minds of people throughout the world, even over cebnturies.

And so it was in Pinball.

I am restoring (making it useful and clean and power efficient, not 100% strip the paint restoration) a 1979 Bally Future Spa pinball.

Over the last 75 years there were many similar arguments going on wether Bally, Gottlieb or later Williams were superior. Advanced designs, louder, wider, faster game plays. You get the idea.

In the end, they all merged because the market was taken over by "video games".
A brief merger of the main ones then Data East grew out of the ashes of the previous companies, today the pinball world is just a very niche, but fun, product line.

Do I think the same will occur in this case? Highly unlikely unless Microsoft or IBM was willing to sell off their messaging servers and I think we can all agree that is not happenning. But the argumenst will run forever.

But what if Microsoft is the Data East of Messaging. They keep buying everyone until there is only 1 last contender and then Lotus eventually folds? I don't bet on this scenario.

Or may this exact endgame happen to Microsoft and Lotus wins the battle. And when Lotus/IBM does win, isn't it because Domino is much more than mail in the end and that is where the ROI on your messaging system is expected, when it is part of your entire business solution, not just another box you MUST install because of some companies blueprint for how to run your infrastrcuture.

Tune in about 10-15 years from now to find out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Circles of Hell, the Vista way



ADDED: Click ont he graphic to see it larger if you can not read it here.

And to think, until some recent changes I liked Vista.
Now it seems the problems are indeed Microsoft's fault.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Who is Yancy Lent?


L to R: Charles Robinson, myself, Yancy Lent.

I forgot entirely about this picture until I was clearing my camera. One of the most unknown people, visually, but well known because of his planetlotus.org "blog aggregation" website.
Yancy went quietly about his business, working at his companies pedestal and had rounds of applause from the bloggers BoF in Lotusphere.

Just wanted to say thanks again and next year you should all stop by and thank him in person, now that you know what he looks like.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Unique Replication Roadblock

While upgrading a server(R5)and migrating the users to the new (R7) Lotus Domino server we have run into a situation which I have been tangling with for years.

In this case it is not a upgrade overnight solution it is phased in over a month or 2 for 500+ users due to client controlos and change management procedures.

Have I mentioned how much I hate change management procedures?! Another prcoess created because of Microsoft failures in applications. (I had to fit this in, I recognize the need for these procedures, really I do!)

So when we replicate the user's mail file from R5 to R7 the template and changes get written over and revert back to R5 instead of the R7 ones.

We know we can set the ACL to Editor on the server name and that will stop design changes from replicating, but then it also prevents some tasks and agents from running on the mail file which is also not a good idea in this case.

We can go ionto advanced settings on replication and select or deselect replicate designs, forms etc. but we do not want to do it on a per user basis either.

Thought we could try an agent to run against the users selected and uncheck the design elements but our findings, and Lotus support(Thanks Clint and Paul for trying) agreed, there is no way to do this in an exposed method or via API manner.

Sounds like a job for Ideajam.net

We need policies for advanced replication settings or a programmatic way to adress them.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Software assurance and Yahoo Mail?

Sure we been there before. Hotmail which is dead, now comes office live, with mail live et al.

But what if this play is about Search to go up against Google and mail to go against Google and Lotus and anyone else.
Many of us still have and use Yahoo and this is troubling.
Not as troubling as Gmail which monitors your communications.

Microsoft has not had a great webmail solution for sometime, this could resolve it.
Also, when they buy the company they get their data centers which is really what Microsoft needs to compete with Google.

So who is right and who is wrong? Time will tell but I for one, am not happy about my yahoo email becoming one with Microsoft because anyone who uses MSN/hotmail knows Microsoft knows nothing about spam prevention.

Google won that one big with Postini.

Microsoft also gains an excellent, albeit dated, portal. And presumably revenues from this as well. Software assurance on your yahoo mail account anyone?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Where do you want to be in an Emergency?

Relaxing of course! But highly unlikely since everyone else around you will be going crazy. This is your chance to help others since your plans will have been put in place and you have little or no worries.

Some clients have asked about Business COntinuity and Lotus infrastructures, I started with this list to remind them, sometimes you have to plan for the way unexpected.

Every business has had a failure at one time, recognize any of the following:

Electrical power loss/surge (accidental, intentional or just random)
Telecommunication lines cut or inoperative
Cut cables to from a building or data center
Hard drive failures
Motherboards that just stop working
SAN cables that got cut in a closet door or melted
Fire Extinguisher/Sprinklers set off in your data center
Construction broke a hole in the wrong wall/floor/roof

And of course hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, floods, snow storms and other acts of God or unnatural acts of terrorists.

Some are major disruptions, others are minor. A few are reoccurring and some are even intentional like when testing generators or building services.

They all have one thing in common!

Your business and it's data and operations are at risk.

Microsoft bids on Yahoo $44.6Billion

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search/Microsoft-Offers-446Billion-for-Yahoo/

The end is nigh for everyone's first portal.

Messaging as a Commodity

A commodity is anything for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a given market. From Wikipedia.

Lots of people argue these days email is just a commodity. A commodity which destroys people's concentration when it is not flowing or buzzing in their Blackberry. But users never care which system they are on and thus the commodity theory. "It's just email who cares what system we use".

Fine.

I beg to differ and strongly believe Lotus Domino provides that differentiation for email.

I have cc:mail server cd's from over 10 years ago for you to use for your corporation email. What? You need it to handle more than 100 people on a server? Why would you want that? Email's a commodity, you should have 100's of servers of course because as a vendor that is what we recommend to our clients. Here's some MS Mail cd's and some Groupwise ones and....you get the picture. A commodity with an ever growing requirement list. Toilet paper should have this many requirements as a commodity.

Don't log in to your eemail for personal or business reasons through a client for a week and see how you survive, it's not like orange juice in the morning.

I don't buy into the email is a commodity, if it were a commodity there would be 100's of types and proper standards. But there isn't really when it comes down to it for corporations. Consumers it is a commodity, a web based one at that as well.

Most companies in business today would argue they require 100% uptime and Business Continuity.

Ideally if you had your choice of how to maintain your data/email/databases/website so it could be accessible 100% of the time, you might want to think about these areas and if your current commodity solution can work in this way:

1. Built-in capability of replicating/synchonization of your databases and data to any other server
2.anywhere in the world
3.at any time
4.across multiple streams of telecommunication (TCP/IP, Dialup/Modem, X.25 or most any data standard of the last 30 years)
5.the ability to clsuter across over 6 different operating systems and their variations (zSeries, pSeries, iSeries, SUN, Windows Servers, Linux choices) and/or legacy applications (Novell and OS/2). (Yes, OS/2 is still used in some places)

In a Lotus Domino world you do have many options and clustering and failover which is not just for email, but your applications and instant messaging/conferencing as well. Again not a commodity solution.

If your messgaing system is a commodity, or you think your BES is one, or IM is just a toy, you will not increase your budget. But if you can show how you can produce full uptime, tools for business usage like audio/video conferencing and on any platform necessary, there is no limit on price for this and your budget should get rewarded.

No commoditiy solutions need apply.