Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What would you do if...

Your service provider of a collaborative nature decided to lock you out or disable your account...permanently.

What about your data, your emails, your photos, RFP's, lists or whatever you have stored there?

Someone on Twitter that I follow was told by Facebook they will be shut out of Facebook.

So what does this person potentially lose that is so important to him?

This is just some of what he stands to lose from this account which he has had for over 2 years:

* Thousands of personal correspondence messages in his inbox
* Thousands of his posts throughout Facebook
* Control of approximately 40 groups and pages with hundreds of thousands of combined members
* Membership of over 200 other groups and pages
* 30 photo albums containing hundreds of images
* Nearly 4,000 friends acquired over the years, due to his hard work


Some of this may not be of interest, but how would your customers feel if they were locked out of Gmail or any other service in the Cloud because the company went under or hey opted to lock you out.

Who owns your data?
What choice do you have?
Who do you complain to?
Is there damages to sue for?
Is a social network a data centric network?
If so, how do you protect your data and back it up?

Something to think about before you go storing your data all over the place.

Firefox hanging? Kill It

Don't you wish nsd -kill existed for other programs? Well it does.

Sure you can kill processes but for some reason Firefox seems to leave threads hidden or just doesn't end properly sometime(I run FF 3.5.3 right now).

Thanks to a Twitter follower, Dims an IBMer who pointed me to this tool set from Microsoft.

PSkill is just one tool in the download. And it works remotely as well!

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896683.aspx

PsKill v1.12 By Mark Russinovich
Published: December 4, 2006

Windows NT/2000 does not come with a command-line 'kill' utility. You can get one in the Windows NT or Win2K Resource Kit, but the kit's utility can only terminate processes on the local computer. PsKill is a kill utility that not only does what the Resource Kit's version does, but can also kill processes on remote systems. You don't even have to install a client on the target computer to use PsKill to terminate a remote process.

Installation

Just copy PsKill onto your executable path, and type pskill with command-line options defined below.

Using PsKill
Running PsKill with a process ID directs it to kill the process of that ID on the local computer. If you specify a process name PsKill will kill all processes that have that name.

Usage: pskill [- ] [-t] [\\computer [-u username] [-p password]]
- Displays the supported options.
-t Kill the process and its descendants.
\\computer Specifies the computer on which the process you want to terminate is executing. The remote computer must be accessible via the NT network neighborhood.
-u username If you want to kill a process on a remote system and the account you are executing in does not have administrative privileges on the remote system then you must login as an administrator using this command-line option. If you do not include the password with the -p option then PsKill will prompt you for the password without echoing your input to the display.
-p password This option lets you specify the login password on the command line so that you can use PsList from batch files. If you specify an account name and omit the -p option PsList prompts you interactively for a password.
process id Specifies the process ID of the process you want to kill.
process name Specifies the process name of the process or processes you want to kill.

See twitter is good for something.

Abstracts sent back to the drawing board

Nothing like having great ideas but realizing the masses might not be ready yet to hear some of them.

We sat and thought about various ideas and topics and came up with a list that could be interesting.

Only problem was, when we went to the outside world, they suggested we were off course a little bit.

So the question comes, where does one post and present topics which could be interesting but in a niche way today, next year larger?

Yes I could and will most likely blog about it but what if the masses are wrong? What if this is a hot topic just...not...quite...yet?

Either way you only have till Oct 9th now to get your abstracts for Lotusphere 2010 submitted so get going will you please? Make us all want to have 4 sessions every hour we WANT to attend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

50% is better than 99%

Was pointed to this post "The Duct Tape Programmer" by Volker, it's from Joel Spolsky, and I would have read it but appreciate Volker tweeting it.

A 50%-good solution that people actually have solves more problems and survives longer than a 99% solution that nobody has because it’s in your lab where you’re endlessly polishing the damn thing. Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it.


I agree entirely which is why as an admin I teach others to bring the server backup, usually fix the problem first, figure out what was wrong second but that is why we all have clusters right?

Yes it sometimes never gets found or investigated, but that's life. If it was major enough it does get resolved, but one has to understand the answer, "sometimes it happens", is a valid answer. Just don't let it happen often on your watch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lotus Connections Activities Catching On but...

Used to be I had to answer clients about activities that it's a Lotus Connections piece added into the Notes client R8.x by default. I then explain what Connections could do for them and we would ignore it.

Now I set people up with the Lotus Greenhouse Activities site if possible.

It is configurable for your domain but usually clients don't have Connections yet.

So far so good. And Connections, especially under 2.5 is proliferating.

Now, what do you do if you use BleedYellow's Activities or Greenhouse or IBM's or the IBM Business Partner area or a customers?

You will be kind of stuck. There is only one configuration spot for it.

Would be nice if IBM allowed the connections section of your PNAB to handle these connections but for now we are stuck.

So what do you do?

You can use your locations documents to swap around if that works for you and each location does retain it's preference and details, unlike Sametime for some reason, but if not, well you are out of luck, right now.

Have asked PM's about this and posted an Ideajam.net as well so if this bothers you go raise the awareness on this issue.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Google Fails = Microsoft Fails = Lotus Loses

Bad logic? yes.

But if they had knew better, they wouldn't be in this place to start would they.

By now you saw this article about privacy issues with Gmail and from Information Week recently this article from the last outage of Google's Gmail.

This quote below has me thinking I have heard this before...
Johnson Diversey, a manufacturer of cleaning products that has moved 12,000 employees from Lotus Notes to Gmail, was satisfied with Google's response to the outage, said global communications director Mark Goldman. "Google kept us informed and updated throughout the process, and we believe it's making every effort to minimize disruptions to our users," he said.


It is almost exactly what Microsoft customers say after they move to Exchange and it fails. But they spent millions, Mr. Goldman just $50/user(well at a base level). So in his eyes it's not a problem. If you were down ALL DAY would that be a problem....yet? Ask my law firm clients, they go down for 5 minutes they flip out(Exchange fails constantly on those sites using it, Domino is up till I bring it down for maintenance)

Now as I have pointed out before and can back it up with client sites, if you build anything properly it will stay up and running. Domino and even Exchange, after all a good admin is a good admin, makes no difference what platform.

But the companies who move from Domino face the reality that it's really THEM not the software. Until now. Lotus the brand can't win this ever, it's always their fault.

Now, with Gmail from Google it can never be "our" problem anymore, they are pushing the lack of responsibility to someone else, and will get away with it because their hands are tied, it's Google's fault. Lotus can't win here either.

Before they blamed Domino, but really Domino runs perfectly fine even Exchange admins admit it. The problem is cost cutting and hiring inexperienced people and not knowing the difference will hurt you. Especially if you claim IT is your business differentiator.

I could list too many companies in this state of chaos that want to be in this mess and spent millions of dollars. For not even $100K they could have hired us or one of the other excellent Business Partners that do this work every day and ended up better off in the long run and short run.

If you have a Ferrari and take it to a Honda dealer, Ferrari doesn't care they will still fix it, but it just costs you more. But now the organizations without money have no choice so don't expect them to gripe and moan, they are happy it's free and someone else problem. Besides students expect something? Come on, they pay tuition for a degree not email, get real. Students reading, show your administration what you want and need, don't let them dictate to you what you need. Customers reading this should do it too. Go to the IT guy or CIO and demand proper services, use the right tools, make technology work FOR you not the other way around.

Lotus products do help, do work, do make life easier for IT and users. That is the key in any organization, to make life easier for EVERYONE. If your IT staff has more time, you will see more innovation and at nominal cost compared to the alternatives.

How many people will come out and say "Damn, we screwed up, should have stayed on Domino". Just never happens does it. Stop expecting anyone to do so. Start trying to get customers involved, help them find you to help them. The LotusKnows campaign started today and I for one look forward to a busy Q4 and Q1 already so this should make it even greater.

How Many Admins Does it Take..

To manage a Lotus infrastructure?
Let's look into this a little deeper.

Domino, Notes clients, Sametime, Quickr, Connections, WAS even Domino.Doc wait everyday to cause admins around the world to stay busy...or do they?

What if your admins were really doing pc support most of their time, not server support.

Modern times bring modern problems, items you never imagined years ago, like Java versions, Browser types AND versions, languages, LDAP directories, DNS, Routers and so many other pieces just happen to be involved and knock off Frank in Accounting.

But let's get back to the numbers. How many admins does your organization really need?

I used to use a rule of thumb that one admin per 3-5,000 people. However, that number seems to have been raised now to 5-10,000 per admin depending on the organization and structure(read politics).

A few answers on Twitter provided what I presume usually, good admins can manage up to 15-20,000 users in many cases because they built their network solid to start and thus require less time involved focused on problems.

Now admins come in many flavors:

1) Level 1 (IBM's name for it is Rhythm) - Sometimes a help desk staff member, sometimes an ID reset/creator/password person.

2) Level 2 (IBM's name for it is Blues) - Detailed issues related to users with problems not easily solved by basic support and this is a broad lake filled with people.

3) Level 3 (IBM's name for it is Jazz) - The person who sits in his little room/cube and no one knows what he does except the level 2 team because they can the level 3 person in when they can't do it. Or it is a server/OS issue or failure.

4) Level 4 - Guru, not necessarily technical, but able to grok the environment and provide direction and just "fix it" when no one else will or wants to do so.

So how many do you need in an organization is a variable that each comes up with.

MUST you have multiple levels? No.
Should you hire good admins to start with, always.

If you can't afford good admins, please spend the money wisely on the senior person and make sure they are senior but also like and want to train others or mentor them, otherwise you are wasting your money.

So how many level 3/4 people do you need? How many 1/2? Just depends how you manage your infrastructure.

Too few and servers stop getting updated and you start seeing problems in the environment. Too many and you should be pushing some new products and business ideas.

So where do you fall in this spectrum?

I post this because as we look into an RFP for 100K+ users trying to figure out how many admins we would need to staff to manage it. So any input is always welcome.

Domino.Doc Enabler Update now it goes to 2007

Just got an email from IBM that the Domino.Doc enabler is updated on Fix Central.
I hear cheering from my clients already.
Thanks to Jelan and team for pushing it out.

The Link to the technote #1403519 is here.

This Desktop Enabler version adds Microsoft Office 2007 as a supported application for use with the Desktop Enabler 7.0 used with either Lotus Domino Document Manager 7.0 or 6.5.1 servers. It enables File Open and File Save operations from Office 2007 applications (Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007) to Document Manger 6.5.1 or 7.0.


One caveat:

Known issue - Full text indexing
The Lotus Domino server versions (6.0, 6.5, 7.0) used with Lotus Domino Document Manager do not support indexing of Office 2007 file format.


And it does not list Symphony in the readme as approved to work with it. Mileage may vary.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My next The View article posted, Which Quickr is For you?

The latest version of The View, online for now, has my article on which version of Quickr to choose, J2EE or Domino. You do need a subscription to read the whole article. Clients or those interested in Quickr can contact me to discuss this.


Which Quickr Services Are Right for You?


Some of the details have changed recently and they were not going to get in the edits. As there is little from IBM about which Quickr to choose we felt it was worth an article.

Many thanks to Stuart Mcintyre of Collaboration Matters who helped proofread and augment some items.

The End Game of Migration

We get a call from a 3rd party, rarely the client, asking us to manage a companies Lotus infrastructure for 3-6 months. Should be the client, we are trying to figure out how to market to the SMB and unknown Lotus customers, thus my post the other day about SEO.

My usual reply is why/when are they going to Exchange/Sharepoint? Prescient I know.

Usually they are small shops that use only mail, but sometimes I recognize the company and KNOW they have applications too. So what's going on?

Sharepoint? .Net? Gmail?

Our job is to smooth the integration between Domino and whatever the client is going to be using in the future. Ideally we never go on site for this, after all if you are leaving this excellent mail system for another one, we are just caretakers now. If we were on site, we would fix your environment, then you would look bad for leaving it.

(There is really no need for us to be on site more than once a week for meetings for reasons I will detail in some other post.)

Integration? "No, we don't want integration, we are dropping Lotus" each client says. Really I inquire. have you thought about....and any number of routes take place after I listen to them explain why they are doing it.

The truth is, unless they really ONLY use it for email(and even in these cases sometimes), Domino is going to be hanging around for a while.

Why is this? A few reasons:

1) Fear - What if Exchange/Sharepoint/Gmail is, OMG, worse! Or the users revolt or a million other ideas that pop into people's heads.

2) Complexity - What's so complex about email? Well Calendar and Scheduling can be troublesome and in some companies the Lotus resource database is the best thing out there for scheduling conference rooms, training etc.

3) Applications - Naturally they say they will rewrite the apps. In 15+ years of this I have heard way more stories of companies spending millions to go to a different platform only to find nothing worked as well or robustly as their Domino apps. Don't believe me and in the middle of it now or thinking about it? Email me, I can connect you with some large companies that do nearly all development on Domino.

4) Time - Sure you could cut over everyone in a weekend, even a day. But you big companies will never do that of course. So the process drags on for a long time, years in fact based on various reports. Small companies can do it quicker, but they fear upheaval so it also take a little bit of time.

5) Time #2 - Here is where the integration kicks in. If you do not cut over everyone at once, you add some expenses to the mix. The Connector between Exchange and Domino must get put in or you have some fidelity issues, of course you can work around it for free using Domino. However, most Microsoft Business Partners will tell you to install(with yet more licenses and CALs and hardware) the connector to integrate the directories between AD and Domino.

6) BES - Blackberry users cause you to also have a 2nd BES in place, one for Domino and one for Exchange. Sure once everyone moves off the old one you can repurpose it, but in the mean time it means more money, hardware, licenses, support.

7) Fax - Lotus Fax Server or some other specific version for Domino would require new hardware, licenses and services/support to now have 2 routes, one for each system.

8) More reasons and some of you out there can add to this in various ways.

So the next time you or your boss or client says they need short term help for the migration, think again and realize a partner that has done it and can manage it for you properly may just make your life easier.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LOTF

I had no idea they wrote a book about it but it's a great graphic

We take this for granted, but then we are techies, geeks and sometimes intelligent beings. This post presumes you sometimes get out of your comfort zone and that's okay.

But what if you were not so intelligent? What if you were not a geek?

Could you still do it?

Could you do LOTF?

What is LOTF? Learning On the Fly

Every IT person has had to do this at one time(or many times) or another. How they handle it will dictate how you work with them or see them. Interviewing question? Not exactly but if you were the only person available at 3am with a down server, what would you do? I like asking consultants and job interviewees that question as it tells me a lot about them and their abilities or lack of them.

Now customers reading this will say, we don't want you to learn on the job, we are paying you to be an expert. Sadly, no you aren't, in most cases so it appears een when you call us for help.

So while I understand your pain, you don't understand your pain which is what we are here for, to help. Sometimes that means we need to go beyond our knowledge and learn something, fast too. Try that with your average Microsoft admins and see what you get.

Do I know how to develop applications? No, but that doesn't stop me from editing or adjusting some agents and their functions if I feel they are impacting my/your servers.

Could I fix your Lotus Domino server in a foreign language? Yes, most languages which I can read and even some I can't, because like the characters in The Matrix I can get the information if required. Do I speak Russian, Portugese, Italian or Arabic? No, but that is not what is required is it?

Do I know your Operating System? Some better than others, but do I really need to? Sometimes, and if no one else is around, I will figure it out too, because that's my job, to beat the no-win scenario which many Microsoft admins get defeated by only to leave your servers dead for another day. Many of my fellow bloggers at Planetlotus.org do this too and I am happy to say we enjoy this challenge. Wouldn't everyone?

Have I failed, very rarely, delayed sometimes yes, but it's that innate ability to adjust to circumstances which makes the difference every time.

Whether it's troubleshooting, marketing, sales, consulting, advising or competitive discussions, work with what you have but don't remain too focused to miss that elusive piece of information which can save the day, the client and in the case of Star Trek, the ship.

So keep learning, your career demands it of you and it's fun sometimes too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What if your SEO gets you the #1spot?

But your sales haven't increased.

An excellent question. One which I ponder as it is quite clear we do come up first on a number of searches in our regional efforts (on various search engines) but some potential customers have not gotten in touch with us.

Evidently if you build it they will not necessarily come. Thus we embark on some testing of various pages, changes to better highlight where the problem lies.

This blog gets more business for us than the website, which while nice, should help feed the other not vice versa.

Recent events made me wonder if our SEO efforts were for naught but they seem to work fine with a few exceptions which will get ironed out.

So we continue to be the most active South Florida Lotus Business Partner with Sametime, Quickr, Domino.Doc(moving to Quickr) and of course Domino upgrades and migrations and with the new Connections 2.5 look forward to some projects with that as well.

Spent some time today with a BP that specializes in VOIP and CRM integration for Domino, but it's big money(100k-1M) and for larger companies, sorry SMB customers.

This may prove to be a better effort than the SEO.

The funny thing, is both are free, my meeting today and our SEO.

So the best things in life really are free.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Outlook is the Industry Standard...or is it?

I try and I try yet still this line comes up.

Today it appeared to a few Twitter mates and I had a similar discussion with a financial organization.

So for the last time. Outlook is a client software. NOT a server.

Outlook is not an industry standard on this planet.

To be fair, nothing in IT is really an industry standard.

Although what SHOULD be an industry standard is the ability for a product to work on more than one monolithic Operating System.

Sadly, even the proponents of alternatives don't always have an option of their own.

So if one Google's "outlook is an industry standard" gets 6 hits(now 7).

Don't like that line, try this one: "outlook is the industry standard" only 3(now 4) hits.

Now try: "Lotus Notes is the industry standard" A whopping 13(now 14) references.

So the next time anyone lays that line on you, just remind them 200-400%+ more references to Lotus Notes being a standard exist than Outlook.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Epic Fail Natwest Bank

What started out so promising turns sour because banks have forgotten why they exist, to help us store our money with them and in return they pay a nominal interest rate while they leverage our money for their investments.

Some of the banks have forgotten the basic ideas of customer service.

Evidently being a virtual/online customer allows them to treat you like you don't exist.

I saw this with Citibank over the years went from an excellent bank to being nearly useless. American Express as well went from being exceptionally helpful to being a nickel and dime operation.

But Natwest has gone too far, or perhaps not far enough.

I understand in the modern world security is important but if the processes do not make sense, neither does your security methods.

Having banked with them for 11 years now and perpetually frustrated by their myopic view of their customers who live outside the UK, this has broken the camel's back.

Called them to the UK to arrange for a transfer for some bills from our summer trip. Provide all the usual numbers, codes, pins and I thought passwords.

Turns out their system claimed my password submitted was invalid and after 3 tries locked me out.

No problem or so I thought, just reset it for me.

No dice.

Natwest has absolutely no way to reset one's password without mailing by postal mail, from the UK, a password change code. One then signs it and returns it, again via postal mail before the password can be changed. Knowing the UK/US postal route, the round trip is at least 2 weeks if all is efficient without Fedexing it.

There is no other way to resolve this I was told. They asked for my debit card # which I never carry obviously here in the US. Will try again from home with it to see if it makes a difference. But seeing how this is working, I wouldn't bet on it.

And once your password is bad, you are locked out of online banking until the new one can be issued, again via postal mail after the previous 2 weeks, so we are looking at 3 weeks before I can get access to MY MONEY.

Having worked with many banks through the years, I know the processes in place and also recognize when a major fault in process exists. And this is huge.

Asked the 12th person I spoke with in 45 minutes what would they do for someone who had 100,000's or millions of pounds with Natwest? And was told, in a very British way, they would have to wait.

You could bet all your money no one in their right mind would leave their money hostage with a stupid bank like Natwest. If I was in the UK I would write a check for the whole amount and move it to anyone.

But as I am in the US, it makes it more complicated although I certainly intend to move all my money out of there now.

So evidently no matter how much I know about myself, or can provide information, if I was traveling in Singapore and really had none of this information but needed my money I would be stuck there indefinitely.

You see Natwest, for security reasons, ONLY sends the mail to the address on record. So you are SOL if you are traveling and need money that badly. So beware you Natwest account holders, make sure you know all your details and they are valid.

Still don't understand why I can't just change it online like I do for my credit cards, utility bills, other banks and systems. Something which is so simple and could be done with NO human interaction,but Natwest doesn't do it and instead holds my money hostage.

Natwest uses at least 5 pieces of information for me before I can do anything with them, someone would need to know all 5 pieces to NOT be me and I find it hard to imagine they would know them all. account #, sort code, Pin #, Cust #, unique reference #, 1st school I think or college but they stopped asking that one.

And yet they think a letter mailed to my house and replied to and signed guarantees someone is not stealing my identity? Are they serious? I can't do it via email, fax or secured anything but the regular totally unsecured postal mail?

Natwest you got a lot to learn.

View Corruption and Mobile devices

Not sure yet where to start or end but suffice it to say, something is amiss.

I run a pair of servers, clustered, one on 8.5, other 8.5.1 code drop8.

Have websites and db's replicating and set up for both for failures.

All of that works well of course, as it should.

Problem is my school app which I am working on again has a problem on my phone.

I hit the URL to test my changes and after a few changes or some minutes the device is not showing me what I coded. When I try to clear and refresh it I then get a document error message.

Domino shows nothing wrong in console which makes me believe the problem lies within the phone itself. Just annoying to test this way. Wondering if I need to increase cache refresh on Domino for mobile apps.

Or could my view really be corrupt all the time? wondering if it's a template issue but I turned off template inheritance. Just wondering.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Developers and IBMers

Caution newbies lurking
As an admin 99% of my Lotus life, I ask a favor of all of you developers out there.

While I and fellow admins try very hard to walk through a process, screen by screen or step by step, when posting is it asking too much from all of you to do the same?

Is it too much to ask of developers to think of users or new developers/admins who do not know how to make a widget or half the things you guys post? There are admins who need to do both but have little or no training on the dark art of development.

Some of you are very good at this, or if asked will expand or answer questions but the truth is, some people are not able to just IM/email you and ask. They could, but they won't just like they don't comment either.

Think of your posts as writing for students with no background and it will make all lives easier.

When Declan did his marathon of 54 posts on writing an xpages app (starts here). It was pretty detailed and I admit not going through it all, work does get in the way sometimes, but that is the point. I could pick up where I left off.

Sure, I have posted some short posts without thought but over the last year or so since submitting abstracts to LS09 on sessions aimed at newbies I have tried to be more detailed in my thought process when posting technical items.

IBMers sometimes forget those of us out here don't always have days to work on a demo that is cool or unique, we get bogged down in day to day things. I recall from my days on the inside that together we could knock out some cool stuff and show great things but sometimes I got it from someone else or picked up something no one else did or knew about on a regular basis.

On the outside though it's a snails pace sometimes to get things done and when one sees something cool, only to be lost from the starting steps, that is not user friendly in my mind.

But I understand where you are coming from. Really I do. And the end is usually beneficial but if one can't do what you posted, then who benefited from it after all?

Like Lotusphere, we want to get across so much sometimes in a short time frame that we forget not everyone is on our plain of thinking or knowledge level, and then, what have you or anyone gained from your session/post?

As we come into the LS10 frenzy, please keep this in mind(many do and have through the years) and let's make LS10 a place for new people as well as old friends.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lotus Quickr Case Study posted

University College Sealand builds a personalised collaborative Web 2.0 learning environment with IBM and Opus Neo

Read it all here.

With more than 8,000 students and 700 employees, University College Sealand (UCSJ) is one of the largest higher educational institutions in Denmark. Formed as a result of a merger between CVU South and CVU Zealand, UCSJ is consolidating its operations to four main campuses in the Sealand region and integrating staff and students from 18 different educational institutions into a single organisation.


My favorite quote:

“There were two things we were absolutely convinced about,” says Michael Jungfalk: “First, the system had to be flexible and easy to develop and extend – so we were keen on open technologies and Web 2.0. Second, we were not interested in solutions that couldn’t prove that they offered the functionalities we wanted. ‘It will work in our next release’ was not what we wanted to hear.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Customer CEO gets it, how about yours?

When discussing the latest Quickr fixes with the CEO of a customer about why these are coming out the way they are, he replied to me:

IBM is serious about making products work, not just collecting money from customers and issuing maintenance release 12-18 month later like Microsoft.

He gets it, when will your CXO's?

Please Reboot the IBM whois server

wasn't me honest your honor

Not sure what they mean by this but if my searching for 1 person's name is too much for it, maybe they should be using Domino as the server to do LDAP lookups.

Guess that spammer claiming to have lists has been trying to harvest from IBM.

Take your (Dogear)Bookmarks with you

Surely by now everyone has done this and I have just been lazy.
But after reading Luis Suarez's post, I felt I must do it, what if the servers crash, lose my data, how will I survive?!

So off I went to Openntf.org to look into this great tool called, Bookmark Viewer for IBM Lotus Connections Dogear.

Now I am not a big Connections user internally, mostly externally, but as I have posted in various places, this is nice to get all in one spot.

Thank you to Hanspeter Jochmann who created it and posted it and included a very nice PDF to go with it so your users could get it up and running in a minute or 2.

Oddly enough you can download it without registering at Openntf so enjoy.

One caveat, which I am working on, it only synchs from one location. So I synched my Bleedyellow items, but I also have Greenhouse, Paxos, BP, Internal/External clients servers to push out/pull from.

Quickr "not in the box" Items

Warren reminded me that not everyone stays on top of all that is Quickr.

Something which I forgot I had and probably few of you knew about is the Firefox Quickr Plugin. Works well and was recently updated 7/31/09.
You can get it here.
The Lotus Quickr Firefox Connector is a Mozilla Firefox extension which gives you convenient access to Quickr documents through a browser sidebar . The connector lets you browse Quickr document libraries, view documents, and organize content using bookmarks and drag and drop. Since the connector is built on Quickr's published REST document services, you can use the plugin with either Lotus Quickr Portal Services or as part of an ECM solution using IBM FileNet Content Manager Collaboration Edition or IBM Content Manager Collaboration Edition. Like other Firefox extensions, it can be used on Windows or Linux desktops.
Need Quickr for J2EE Templates? IBM has them here.
As with other releases, using Lotus Quickr 8.1.1, it is easy to build templates for frequently used team places. Templates allow teams to quickly create their place without repeating the same customization work again and again. The level of customization depends on the person's skill level. Business users for example, can easily put together a place with functional components and share it with others as a template. On the other hand, developers can do code level customization such as look and feel that can be shared via the template. These sample templates were developed with some code level customization. An example is the welcome page in each of these places. The welcome page provides a dashboard view of the contents in a place.

Of course I would be remiss if I did not include Rob Novak and teams excellent SNAPPS Quickr templates, all 11 of them...for free. Thanks Rob!

A Business Partner other than SNAPPS posted this to the IBM Catalog as well.
Peters Technology Group, LLC
How about a "Standard Teamplace with Blog and Wiki Template for Quickr"
Get it here.

And for those looking for integration between Quickr and Connections, courtesy of IBM:
Lotus Connections Connector for Lotus Quickr
The IBM® Lotus® Connections Connector for Lotus® Quickr™ allows users to create associated Lotus Quickr team places for their Lotus Connections Communities. In Lotus Quickr, they can organize, share files, and collaborate on documents from a central location. When a new Connections Community is created, the associated Quickr team place is also created and the access control and membership of the Quickr place will be determined by the often fluctuating Connections Community membership. Communities associated with a team place in Lotus Quickr can aggregate updates in the community overview page, making it easier to stay current with projects and work collaboratively.

For sure there is more out there, let me know will add them to the list.

Enjoy!

PS - Quickr 8.2 has fix pack3 out, in case you don't follow these things.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lotus Knows you need help

This is a message aimed at customers and clients after some conversations I have had this week with various customers and partners.

You don't know it yet but you are reaching a point where your in-house knowledge will not be able to help you in the future. You will need to sit down with your staff, IBM, IBM Business Partners or your favorite IT consultants for a good talk.

When the next versions of some of your favorite programs come around they will not be running on Domino necessarily. This is a good and bad opportunity for you.

Good because you get to move on to some new technology but bad because you will finally learn if your team/partners have what it takes to take you to the next level.

Can they start working on products they know little or nothing about? What is their frustration index compared to their GTD (Getting Things Done) index? Have they been doing more CYA than SLA?

Also what have you been doing for training? Online? In person? Lotusphere? A *LUG (MWLUG, IAMLUG,UKLUG,ILUG,NLLUG,DeNUG...), The View's admin/Dev conference, Collaboration U? Internal peer review? Wiki/DB/Blog for tech information on your servers, configurations or DRP?

Will this be enough for them? For you?

And how do you figure who or what do you want to bring in? Do you need a whole team? A company to manage your infrastructure? A hosting company? Or do you want someone with 2-3 years? 5-10? multiple OS experience? Troubleshooters? Trainers? A holistic approach to IBM products? In a way you end up like someone going in for surgery, you want the best surgeon you can find/afford.

The answer is not so simple and the price you might have to pay can vary immensely across the board as well. You can also review a fellow Lotus blogger's posts, Graham Dodge's last 2 postings, here and here for more thoughts about what to look for and how much to charge/pay.

Remember time=money
but
downtime=lost money+headaches+grumpy users+annoyed executives

If your internal projects, or outsourced projects are taking years instead of weeks or months (for large multinational organizations), you may be wasting your time and money and there is no ROI for that but to hire someone else. Once you find the right people, keep them at all costs or find a way to make it work for you. Your bonus and job might depend on it.

As an example, 2 different organizations have been trying to implement Sametime Advanced and Gateway with one doing a VOIP integration. They have been dragging on for weeks or months because it's not a priority, yet the project was supposed to be online months ago. Although we have offered to help them and finish it within a week, they keep trying. While I applaud their efforts, there is something to be said for a balanced reality.

Don't let this happen to you or your organization.

Call us or any IBM Business Partner focused on Lotus Solutions, we're here to help because we enjoy what we do and we do it every day around the world.

PSA from Microsoft Office Live- We should learn from

Keep in mind, most internal IT groups don't send an email this informative, and I doubt anyone got something similar from Google the other day either.

While I may not always appreciate Microsoft, I do respect them enough to post what is good too, especially if you or my organization can learn from it.


Notice of scheduled Web site temporary downtime.


Dear Keith,
On September 12, 2009 and September 19, 2009 we will be upgrading the Microsoft Office Live Small Business servers that host your Web site(MY NOTE: a test site I used to play with note they didn't tell me which site). On only one of these days, your public Web site will be unavailable for up to three hours.

During this brief downtime, visitors to your site will see a message alerting them of the server upgrade, and asking them to check back shortly. We have scheduled these updates on Saturday, the lowest day for site traffic, in an effort to minimize the impact to your customers. You will be able to sign in to your Office Live Small Business account and access your e-mail during the upgrade, but you will not be able to use the site management tools.

While these upgrades will improve the performance, reliability, and stability of your Web site, we apologize for any inconvenience this scheduled maintenance may cause. For more information, please see our service upgrade blog posting.
Thank you for choosing Office Live Small Business.

Sincerely,
The Microsoft Office Live team



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tom Petty Fan's rejoice


Sometimes I am still in college running the radio station, but as those who read this blog know I love Tom Petty, maybe because he's a good ol' boy from Florida.
Anyway here is what I am eagerly awaiting.
Especially the live 'leg bootleg...on vinyl?!

More details here: http://www.tompettysuperhighwaytour.com/
and at tompetty.com

THE LIVE ANTHOLOGY COMING SOON

We are very excited to announce the upcoming release of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' The Live Anthology, a multiple disc set of recordings drawn from thirty years of live performances. The collection brings together material from 1978-2007 culled from hundreds of hours of live concert recordings covering every era of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ tours and represents the best tracks as chosen by producers Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ryan
Ulyate.

Along with powerful interpretations of their own classic hits and originals, The Live Anthology features the band tackling some of their best-loved cover material, from classics to obscure beauties to unexpected adaptations. The theme from TomPetty.com Announcing 'The Live Anthology'Goldfinger, the Zombies’ “I Want You Back Again,” the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil,” early Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” Booker T. and the MGs “Green Onions”, James Brown’s “Good, Good Lovin’” and many more. The Live Anthology is the band’s story told through the music alone; the producers made no fixes or overdubs.

In addition to offering The Live Anthology via digital outlets including iTunes, The Live Anthology will be available in the following four configurations, each with artwork and packaging by renowned contemporary artist Shepard Fairey (Studio Number One, Obey Giant).

1. A four CD set of 48 tracks.

2. A deluxe box set featuring 62 tracks on five CDs PLUS
- Two previously unreleased DVDs including the 1978 New Year’s Eve concert from Santa Monica, CA and the Martyn Atkins documentary 400 Days shot during the recording and tour for Wildflowers.

- A re-mastered vinyl of the 1976 Official Live 'Leg bootleg.

- A High Resolution Blu-ray Audio Disc featuring all 62 tracks in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. This disc has 256 times more audio resolution than a CD.

- AND MUCH MORE (see details below).

3. A seven LP vinyl box set mastered directly from the uncompressed 24-bit 96K files and pressed on audiophile quality high performance vinyl.

4. The entirely unique Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour

The Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour is a first of its kind digital tour experience that delivers to ticketholders 24 of the 48 Live Anthology tracks over an 8 week advance period. During this period ticketholders will receive an insider’s view of those 24 tracks, whether through archived memorabilia, new band commentary, classic reviews from the vaults, and more amassed rare vintage Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers content.

Upon the official street date of the album ticket holders will digitally receive the remaining 24 tracks on The Live Anthology, thereby completing the entire album.

Tickets for the entire 8 week SuperHighway Tour will go onsale soon and the Tour will start with a FREE PREVIEW including a FREE DOWNLOAD from The Live Anthology.

More information including The Live Anthology release date will also follow soon from TomPetty.com.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our new website. Many more features will be added in the coming weeks!

Scary Conversations at School Parent Night

Naturally this is about the computer classes.

My 2nd grade daughter is getting computer class, about 45 minutes +/- once a week.
They are teaching them to type, hopefully better than I. They will get to some learning areas of usefulness like how to search online, she knows this, and similar such items.

I asked when do they start teaching programming, or even basic html/website design.
Never at this school(goes to 8th grade), perhaps in senior high school.

Naturally I asked what do they learn over time and the answer was, Word then Excel and Powerpoint of course, because they will use them in school for projects, science class etc. Evidently graphs, something rarely used anymore, is still popular in school.

They have a kid version which acclimates the students to Word through almost a game interface and then they move on to more advanced topics in the programs.

This is Office 2007.

I replied that I expected within a few years that typing would be secondary to voice and that staying the Microsoft path leads to problems, especially if it all changes with each iteration. As it was some parents and teachers had issues with the versions being saved between home and office. Opportunity? Perhaps, one thing at a time.

When questioned why they do not teach more programming was told they learn what is practical for school. I suggested kids these days are much more intelligent than that in addition to the fact that not all families have 2007, most have XP/2000/2003.

Teach a kid to program in Java and you have created a business for them. Possibly a lucrative one. For their age they could make some good spending money.

And what teaches them how to resolve problems? What about how the computer works? What makes it up? How it connects to the Internet or your phone? What telecommunications are for? Why security is important and privacy as well?

Some of this does get covered but in general I left rather unhappy that, yet again, I have to teach my kids something I thought school would be doing. My list of what they don't teach is long already, but this I thought they would learn.

My computer world started when I was 10 and we got the IBM PC so maybe I have to wait a few years to see if the education gets better or my daughter "gets it" but I have a suspicion I will be teaching my kids more than their school in this area. Their teachers better know their stuff by then, especially once my son figures out white hat hacking.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quickplace to Quickr Migrations

Seems there are still some companies a little behind in their upgrading.

I hadn't realized it was this long ago, because the international one just ended.
Formal announcement here.

Effective October 10, 2007, IBM withdrew from market the IBM Lotus QuickPlace offering. Lotus Support coverage will be available through April 30, 2010.

Customers who hold current licenses for IBM Lotus QuickPlace will renew to IBM Lotus Quickr software. For our Lotus QuickPlace customers, Lotus Quickr software both builds on the strengths of Lotus QuickPlace and provides an expansion of its capabilities. Please see the Lotus Quickr Web site to learn more.


And then support was pulled:

Effective April 30, 2009, IBM will withdraw support from the following product releases licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:
5724-H80     6.5.1            QuickPlace
5724-H80 6.5.1 QuickPlace
5724-J24 7.0.0 IBM Lotus QuickPlace
5724-J24 7.0.0 IBM Lotus QuickPlace


So if you find yourself wondering what to do, let me know and we can help you to go to Lotus Quickr or whatever you want to move your data to. We have helped companies multinational and local to upgrade their Lotus infrastructure. It takes less time and money than you imagine to bring you to the modern web 2.0 world.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Troubleshooting Post #2 - Are you a Microsoftie?

Another discussion from MWLUG which is close to my heart regarded the lost art of troubleshooting.

I say the lost art because the younger generation is not so adept at how to solve unknown riddles like why email isn't flowing, from one user, to the internet or someone else.

Over the day or 2 one theory I proposed is this:

Microsoft has made everyone stupider

If you are an Exchange admin, for instance, you may or may not know anything outside your little shell. Rare is it when one has this experience.

Don't get me wrong, I know some excellent Windows techs and Exchange Admins and even a Sharpeoint Developer or 2. But when it comes down to it, none of them ever get a chance to really see the whole infrastructure like a Domino admin does.

So while I have to figure out, with little clues usually, what is wrong, that is what I get paid for, to solve riddles.

Where the problem gets worse is when parents do not instill in their children how to figure something out. Tossing out an electric device because it popped a $1.50 fuse is not a god lesson to pass on.

While I spend my time teaching my kids about wiring, electric, mechanics and machinations, my neighbor's kids are clueless, maybe out of nature but certainly not helped by a lack of nurture. I even have friends who don't change light bulbs.

So when it comes down to it if you can't figure out why running install doesn't work on something you probably have been burning clients money for years.

Sadly most of them don't care.

A true troubleshooter is worth their weight in gold to any organization, yet they are usually let go because they are not considered critical as generalists or deemed expensive to keep.

Most of us at MWLUG agreed that Domino admins are much more adept at troubleshooting.

Just another reason why Domino Admins deserve respect.

Resource for Lotus Products Java and Browser Version info

While looking for an answer to a client's query about an old end of life product, I found this very nice technote which highlights the server and client versions of Java, browsers and other pieces with Lotus product versions which work with them

Technote # 1188789

And it was just updated recently too.

And if you have IE8 questions about DWA or iNotes, check out Technote # 1380635

Need more? How about this one around what Quickr 8.2 supports/requires Technote #7015852

MWLUG Belated post

I am ashamed to admit it but I took some time off to just ...not...do...a...thing while in Chicago for work, which also meant blogging.

Weird to "not do anything" but still a great time had by all.

I got to Chicago early on wen. so I could do a webex for a client on migrating from Lotus Teamroom to Lotus Quickr and will repeat it next for the CEO, so it went well. In spite of my having to bypass the IBM firewall and hack a router and some other information. Luckily IBM Chicago is filled with friendly people and very helpful staff so to everyone on the 6th Floor, thanks again for helping me and Donna I didn't tell anyone the code, I promise.

When I arrived I found Alex Kassabov and John Head busy with their pre-MWLUG upgrade sessions which were well attended and equally well appreciated by the attendees.

Shortly helped Gregg Eldred (more posted by greg on his blog) bypass IBM security to be allowed into the building, evidently asking for Ed Brill is not enough. And we proceeded to help Richard Moy (more is posted by Richard on his blog) and team get set up for the next day.

An impressive list of speakers and attendees, about 100-125 people came in the end.

Thursday morning was at IBM after my mile walk to the office and setting up for everyone, I was video taping the keynote from Ed Brill. Due to mechanical difficulty missed the introductions but did get Ed videotaped, look for it to be posted soon.

Ed accepted questions from the crowd and for a person who just arrived from Australia via Hawaii he was in great form and not falling asleep on us at all and even stayed to meet with people afterward.

Then it was off to one of the sessions, I was interested in Kim Greene's session and glad I could make part of it, although my netbook gave me it's 1st BSOD since I owned it. 2 hours to session, not a good thing. As it turns out, it did cause my demo problems.

Over lunch Kim, Bill Machilsky and I discussed some items of technical nature, but also what makes us like what we do and how we do it and how to teach the next generation. More on that in another post.

Then for my session I was prepared to video tape it as outside of my Lotusphere sessions I rarely get myself on video. All set up and ready to go....and the netbook fails me.

I should say the projector in the room and my netbook had words and well, the netbook lost. I had to go to plan B, instead of doing demo's while discussing topics I had to hold everything until the end. It seems there was no good resolution to work with that I could see the URL line so held it off. Plus my Netbook's server seemed to be in a "frozen" mode while swapping between internet documents enabled.

Remember this for Lotusphere, get to A/V check early! I have faith in my abstracts being accepted this year, the power of positive thinking and vision, start with the end in mind.

So we discussed URL's, how exciting I know, but in an SMB URL's and Sametime, Traveler, Quickr, iNotes, Mail Redirection and more gets tricky sometimes. Found a number of people in need of Mail Redirection help, but mostly about clustering maybe an Ideajam is out there on this already. One side of the room was really into the discussion, the other was less zealous in their discussion.

One lucky winner received a R8 nerd hat I had from the LotusUserGroup for pointing out the graphic on the default Domino 8.5 homepage shows 4 people without heads.
look ma 4 bodies are better than 4 complete people

After my session we took an open air bus to the boat ride of the architecture of Chicago. Having not been to Chicago before it is very impressive and something New York is not...clean.

Later that night we enjoyed some food and drinks and some of us stayed up to watch the Dolphins beat the Bucs, well I did, the others with me discussed more business and life as we know it. But all good fun and a nice reminder of why we all do what we do and like Lotus so much.

I left early Friday, Thursday was my wife's birthday and had to run.

My thanks to Richard for putting it all together and I understand next year's is in Cleveland and I look forward to it.