Monday, March 31, 2008

Google's offline Apps, The time is now!

Read it here at Yahoo!.

I won't be the first or the last to say it, but welcome to the neighborhood.
Replication and offline working is THE killer app, 2nd to anything live on the net.

Noticed you were in attendance and sponsoring at Lotusphere the last few years and although we know you to be rather cagey about future plans, but what if?

Could it be? Would IBM sell Lotus to you, to somoene in a possibly better position to break the Microosft back?

The answer of course is no and yes.
No, because IBM just proclaimed they would spend so much millions on Sametime and UC and some other Lotus aspects.

And Yes because, well IBM isn't foolish, if someone wanted to buy Lotus at a reasonable(or unreasonable if IBM wanted to get rid of them)price, I am sure IBM from a business sense would jump on it.

Of course Google isn't likely to do so, but I am interested to see who else Google picks up or hires to join them as time moves along.

We live in interesting times, now I am off to play poker.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What if you knew the company

" and found them dead on the ground, how can you run when you know?"

Apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for using their lyrics from OHIO.

A large monopoly of an electric company in Florida is migrating from Domino, if it takes them as long to do it as it took to get on Domino again I can not see a ROI on this one.
If they had hired the right people, paid them a decent salary(or hired me any one of the more than 5 times I was in discussions with them, over 10 years) they would not be at this stage of events.
I still offerred my services as they are trying deperately to get some one in there to stabilize it all during the migration.
I don't want to see them go under or leave Domino, but what can you do from the outside looking in. It's just a shame when good companies go bad and take their IT down with them as well.

Some companies just do not know how to treat their employees. No incentive or bonus, a 1% raise, if that, manic hours and you should thank them for having a job.

Sadly this is not limited to South Florida but is a growing problem.

If you have IT staff and do not provide incentives to them, and money is not the best or only option, you get what you deserve and your company will eventually feel it.
You can not build a house with cosmetic plastics that look like cement. So you can not build a decent infrastrcuture without solid foundations.

If and when I am CEO of a company, my raise is not going to be more than the average across the entire company. Why should it be? Why are you proud your IT budget has not grown in years but shrank? Do you really have much to show for it?
How does this instill hope or vision or loyalty to your employees?

My new job is in IT incentives, anyone in need contact me, I do house calls.

Exchange to Domino and Vice Versa

Does it make sense? In either direction? Of course not, even if one is just discussing email.
Go ask The White House if it was worth it.

Unless your job as CIO depends on having a major project under your belt and you figured this is easier than implementing SAP you are just wasting your companies money and that is just not a good reason to do anything.
Shame on you if you are that type of CIO. But your CEO is probably like that as well so you are safe, sadly, for the year or 2. And if you are that kind of a person please let me come in as your understudy, I promise to give you all the credit you are due but move the company forward once you leave as well.

It does not make financial sense from almost all angles.
You still need admins, servers, networks, firewalls, licenses, support, etc.
Yes one could argue there is a long list of Microsoft products required to do what one Domino server does, but that is not the issue for the moment, if we are truly discussing only email.

Does it really make sense politically? Yes there are Microsoft and Lotus evangelists and we love our jobs and possibly as well too much our respective companies.
The problem is what happens when you get in the middle.

Is it politics that dictates wasting a million dollars or 5 just because of a UI? Or a personal hatred of IBM or Microsoft or Sun or Oracle?

Sure Outlook is unimpressive, it's 5 years old, unless you use office 2007 and then what is so exciting about it, the ribbon? Yes the Notes client looked about the same for the last 12 years but the R8 client really is very different and more functional than Outlook, as discussed in a previous post.

You could train the users in the new product.
Stop laughing everyone reading this. Some companies do believe in training, they just tell you to do it on your own time. Pay for training is almost unheard of today.

Does it make business or operational sense? Will either one help you go forward faster, see an ROI or allow your sales force or manufacturing plant or research staff to be more productive faster? That is the key question in my mind, one which I have held since around 1991 when I first not only experienced Notes but started working on Windows 2.

If, in a 10,000 user company you can replace Domino with Exchange for email at the same price as it costs you for Domino, maybe you have a winner bet there. Although if you wanted to go from Exchange to Domino you would see an immediate ROI and cost savings. It just costs less to not need CALs for every piece of software and licenses, all esle being equal.

But I am quite confident it is not possible to save money moving to Exchanegf rom Domino and in this age where economics are out of line, budgets are in limbo from quarter to quarter if not week to week, you want to push through a swap of your email system you either have too much time on your hands or too much money because I can think of better ways to spend that money... and so should you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

DWA 801 and ST8, errors 404 and 500 Resolved

This is one interesting piece of a puzzle and hopefully some one out there knows what happenned to my clients server that caused this.

As I know someone out there meets these odds and ends(not just me), I felt I should let everyone get the quick scoop.

This is what started it all, the 404 error.

This led to the status 500 error. Go here to get the file you need to make this work after you get the popup.

Eventually you need this one

The problem seemed to stem from incorrect IP addresses and/or qualified host names.
In tracing all locations of references for IP and/or name(server configuration docs, server docs, internet web docs, stconfig.nsf, sametime.ini, servlets.properties plus a few more pieces) it became obvious I had one mistake on tunneling ports. Added the trusted IP address to the communtiy connectivity section and restarted and all suddenly is fine.

What broke it? I have no idea, it was working fine for over a week since updating it.
I also note the backupexec software now has error messages.
Could there have been a Microsoft update that created this landslide? I have no idea yet.
But I will find out why we must add in a piece of BETA code from R8 beta 3 to make this work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What to write for Ben, title anyone?

Me and my big mouth. I love a challenge, in fact the larger the better.
So when I asked recently to write an article(I know its late I need to write it)for the View I thought hey, why not write a few articles.

Haven't started any.

Argh!

CIO magazine is on the list too. If I can ever write it.
Now I signed up for Ben's online storytelling.

When I last wrote something, aside from snippets of wannabe Lotus ads, it was a pantomime in the UK.
Prior to that it was a number of various edited versions of larger plays, films etc for camp, school, college.

And I almost always wrote it all at the last minute, or evening or morning. And in some cases backstage. Felt like the Epstein brothers when they edited Casablanca's script.
Why? No idea, always worked better under deadlines maybe.

If I or those of us writing can write something as enjoyable as The Princess Bride or The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy or as memorable as The Godfather who knows but it sure beats working some nights doesn't it :-)

Now about the title, any suggestions?

Lotus Foundation Server Micro Box

We all saw Mike Rhodin pick up the server from a mail envelope on stage at Lotusphere. Some of us went to see one up close and get more detail of it.

Some of us became Nitix partners. And received one in our offices.

Nice, small, reasonably efficient, but limited to 5 Domino/client licenses for usage!?

I had a client who needed it for 10 people. No can do. So close yet so far.

Understandably if you only had a 1gb ram, 1ghz processor, 90GB hard drive laptop you may not want to run Domino on it either. I would think about it if it is ONLY going to be running as a mail server though.

Sure I would like it to run Sametime too but that overhead is not going to fly. Yet.

Who needs another doorstop? Let's do the math and try to work out how this will end:

Dell Micro server optiplex 755 more beefier power for about $700 or a rough equivalent for about $450.
+ Windows 2008 Basic server with 5 cals $971
+ 5 more Cals roughly $50 each = $250.
+ Domino Server Express Collaboration version at $141 per user, or $1,410.
+ backup capacity or external drives $200
+ Anti-virus or santi spam software $200 between software and licensing.
Total: $4,000 or $3,750 at a low end server version not including shipping or taxes.

How much does the Foundation Server cost?
With 2 years of support for hardware and software (1st year is included we add 1 year)
+ 10 Domino license and client licenses
+ OS (Linux) plus 10 user licenses
+ CRM solution plus other software for file print sharing
+ backup software solution
+ autonomic self correcting software solution
+ 250GB external drive for the failover/backup
+ Antivirus and antispam software from Kaspersky
=============
Total: $2,700 customer price, not including shipping or taxes

Yes, I get a weaker server on the Foundation side but nothing comes close in size or portability. Portability is key in Florida or for the person on the go doing dmeos or just ad hoc networks.

But can I sell it to my client? No
Not structured for sellng with more than 5 user licenses.

Tune in next quarter or year when a hopefully beefier version is available.

But if you need one for a small office of 5 or less email me and it will get delivered within a few days.

Friday, March 14, 2008

DAMO demo provides a list of reason to go Lotus

Must be careful, clients now read this :-)
So I am doing my DAMO demo and in all honesty, why would someone still say they prefer Outlook?

After seeing a Notes R8 client, in this case 801, and an Office 2003 Outlook client running DAMO (which the R7 DAMO runs on currently as I eagerly await the beta of Damo FOR R8 for Vista/Office 2007) how could one sit there and still think Outlook is superior.

Sure, I am biased, but really, can Outlook:
1) go modular? Notes R8 standard client can if you click on the drop down of a sidebar option and select open in new window. My favorite function. Why is this important to me? Because sometimes I want the item seen while mail is minimized.

2) Stop adding tons of tabs to my screen for every task? Notes has had a tabbed interface sine R5(I believe) and even Microsoft finally gave in that it was a better choice, just look at IE7.

3) Do anything beyond email? Enough said.

4) Can you open a browser from WITHIN Outlook so you don't have to go out to another screen/browser? I can in Notes clients since R4 which is going on 10 years ago!

5) Provide an ROI out of the box? Notes can and has! Now with R8 the client does make life easier, no longer do I need to open extra applications, multiple sites or services, they all can run from within my Notes client, perfectly happy and waiting for my time of need. Need to look up a client's info, invoice someone, forward pricing or look it up, I can do it all from one client license fee.

6) Create a spreadsheet or presentation or contract on the fly? With the built in Symphony suite I can. In fact, if you had configured it years ago, even in the time of Office 2000 you could do this from within a Notes client or application without looking for your icons. OK, some poeple who know how to edit their toolbars could have done this, but few ever did which is why Microsoft created that mini toolbar that floats on top of everything.

From the "about this database" of the Office Library found in Notes clients.
What does this database do?
This database gives Notes users the ability to seamlessly create and save documents using Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Paintbrush, without leaving Notes.

Is there more? Sure, but this will keep you going for a little while.

Evangelism is fun, especially within your own organization.

So few people ever think out of the box, and now there is a software communication client that allows one to stay in the box.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What if Notes & Domino didn't exist?

Or to put it differently, you go out on your own and start a new company selling widgets.(Textbooks need a new mcgufin as Alfred Hitchock would say)

What do you do for email or a website or a database or a portal or a financial system or a spreadsheet or word processor even?

When posed with this question I thought, great question!

The answer is not important. No, really, it isn't. The thought process is.

Maybe this is why Google, Apple and some creative agencies thrive, because they see things from this angle outside the box.

In doing so, we can all learn more about who and how we are selling solutions to clients.

Messaging or rather communication DOES matter, email, IM, UC, Twitter, Phone, PDA, voicemail, blogs, wikis, postit notes, FEDEX, semaphors, television, radio, telegraph, morse code or smoke signals we keep evolving so should our solutions and always be looking ahead of the curve.

This is why I prefer Lotus solutions, because pushing future ideas is always a better way to live, even with occasional mistakes, than not pushing any advancements at all.

So what would I be using if Domino didn't exist?
Probably whatever existed that let me share my data, projects, funding or functions among all my employees or clients in a secure, yet open, way and did it all on a personal level so my databases or mail files or whatever would not or could not affect others in an adverse way.
Something which Hosting is getting closer to accomplishing slowly but surely.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

In Lotus I trust, but friends are better

Someone came to my rescue so I can play with a certain piece of software which I have been trying to get for about 2 weeks now.
He knows I am greatly in his debt and can't thank him enough.

This may never have happenned if 3 things had not taken place, well 4 but I won't go into it.

1) Lotusphere(s) whether I met him there or not, it is the start of a great friendship, some known, some to be known.

2) This blog or blogging in general and commenting at other sites. I could post all I want in the forum but it's not the same and in this case was facilitated by #3.

3) Bleedyellow.com - Lotus911's website, or more specifically their Sametime server which, for the life of me I am not sure why Lotus hasn't done this in the 10 years since Sametime came out, is available for anyone to login to and use(presumably within reason).

The guys at Lotus911 deserve the credit for doing what any of us could have done, but never did. They even beat me to it with a BP I was working with, so now I have to find something different.

The idea that all Lotus people could be connected in one way and find each other is just amazing, from a business perspective or just from a there he/she is! type moment.

Thank you again and drinks are on me in Orlando or your city which ever we get to first.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lotus Job Postings

I get quite a few job postings sent to me, because of my Lotus activities. I decided to make more of them available to everyone, rather than just my Linkedin group or my Lotus User Group.

So if you want to get access to it(it's a Yahoo group right now) let me know via IM on bleedyellow.com, email is in the box on the right side of this page by the picture.

Unfortunately for many of us, clients still demand, for some odd reason, we be physically on site, which usually limits their choices and reduces our income.
Even as a business partner I have to make choices that make sense as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Going Mobile with Sametime, Why aren't you?

Nope, no Traveller yet :-(

This is about Sametime Mobile. I love it, especially the R8 version. So much faster and more intuitive, and the lookup on users is fantastically fast.

The problem was my Blackberry users could not get to it. My fault, wrong IP address entered. Hey, we all mistype now and then.

But they rally missed having it. I didn't even think they used it.
Taught me a great lesson. Users really like when we are proactive in helping them extend their reach, even if we don't always know how many people it helps or in that one circumstance.

Sure I know that, but many people still deny their user's rights as simple as this.
If you can not do everything from your mobile phone by the end of this year, what on Earth are you waiting for?

Try Lotus Expeditor, enable your apps(within reason) for mobile fidelity. HR apps, vacation schedule workflows, even sales information mashups should be there, if they aren't already.

The cost?
Negligible next to the productivity gained. Talk about ROI, it's a huge winner.

If any of you have not en bled Sametime Mobile, tell me why?

It's just a configuration(yes I know ports on firewalls, etc. but you already have it opened via 1533 anyway if you run Sametime or 80 for http tunneling, so no excuses). Security? If you go via a BES it makes its own VPN so to speak and tunneling. Proxy, not an issue we work with it, reverse proxy, we work with it too.

Next time you are in the airport use it, amaze yourself what you can do. Yes you can call people but this way you do not get a busy signal or vmail.