Friday, October 29, 2010

Apps make the world go around

custom apps
Let's look at applications.

Apps are after all the lifeblood of the Apple Store.

Could that same be said for Domino applications?
Keep in mind I am not a developer so let's keep this light for now.

Some have tried to sell apps at a similar pricing structure as Apple, some aim at the corporate solution side and pretty much every IBM Business Partner falls somewhere on the spectrum. And there is the free side of apps available at openntf.org too.

What possesses them all to keep writing applications for a product Microsoft considers dead?

Some argue it is the speed of creating the application. You may know it by the more familiar acronym RAD, Rapid Application Development. And we don't mean a simple one off web page or Notes application that could be done in an hour or 2 or 5 minutes depending on one's prowess. We mean a full featured work flow application or expense report or HR resume collection and processing system. Or a clip board application that synchronizes to a main office via email from the field?

The forward thinking of us realize that there is more to the universe than pure Domino applications as well. The recent announcement about Lotus Connections being bundled with Cognos should lead to a number of interesting applications and plug-ins. So there is a variety within Lotus for everyone.

Naturally companies are loathe to drop any application that runs their business, but the forward thinking companies want to keep that application but move it to the modern times via web apps or mobile device apps.

If you asked someone to take the old apps and rewrite them in a new program, and if the original was a Lotus Notes/Domino application, it may not be so simple. Much of what Domino does in the background natively, would need to be coded from scratch in most other systems. A daunting task in time and money usually.

So if apps are the Holy Grail, why does it matter which platform you right them for? After all, the user never sees the server. And if it is on the web, isn't that all anyone cares about?

The beauty of Domino applications is that a simple flat database could on one hand be an object store but also be the front end UI or the highly interactive forms in a workflow or just as well connect to nearly any depository to manipulate the data in some way shape or form. Could you do the same in other systems, sure, but the expense and effort would possibly out pace the value of the application.

What about the not so corporate world? What do roofers do? Window hangers or painters? Hair Salons or fitness gyms? They can't always enjoy the benefits of such a "large" system...or can they?

Some have a program in place, sometimes a niche product for them, other times a self written one or just a generic one of the shelf. Without being able to easily edit or manipulate these programs, are they really being useful? Would a cloud or purely web solution be more beneficial in these cases? Especially one with a mobile app? Yes indeed and maybe this is an emerging market for some of you. Others may sniff and say it's too small, but everyone started small at some time.

Their applications could be created and leveraged as quantity grows to provide even more benefits than the previous solution, if they had one at all. Like restaurants having an ordering menu for phones which may cost as much as 5 figures in development expense, the benefit is seen over time not all at once. That flexibility, to have an app written by someone else, but then change your menu whenever you need is priceless to that restaurant owner. No one wants software that is difficult to use or learn, they want plain and simple.

But here is the problem, to these companies the app has to be cheap enough while in corporate the same fee would be seen as too cheap, believe it or not it can be viewed this way.

Right now as I look out my window I see delivery trucks, fitness runners, garbage collectors and other business people and each of them could benefit from a simple application, but can you nail the price point?

Sure we could put together something to demo for them in a few hours on Domino and it is what they may want or need? But can you sell it to them? If so, then go do it, if not, find your niche and work it. Talk to your clients, find out what they are looking for to get done, maybe not today but down the road, and start a skeleton of that project to demo.

The beauty of Domino is even a non-developer can really make some good use out of it, if one has the interest. Got the interest? Go download the Lotus Designer client for free and see what you think.

Your Outlook on Outlook #1

Outlook is not free
Time to follow through on the feedback from this post.

One thing which is also clear, non-IT people, meaning your users or employees do not care to understand that their mail file is a database in Lotus while Outlook treats it really as a file directory. A huge difference on so many levels. I will not go into great technical depth here, so for those that want it, all I will say is you will NEVER win an argument about technological benefits.

In no specific order I will go through some of the answers.

It seems Outlook is viewed as faster to use.
While this may appear to be true, if you disabled all the files it require that are loaded at startup, your Windows would boot faster and not be so sluggish. You see the lawsuits in Europe were not in vain, they were trying to get Microsoft to stop embedding all their products in the client. Outlook, Explorer and more are enabled via the 100's of DLLs running on your pc. So shut all of them down and then try to open Outlook. Not so simple or fast anymore is it. This is what Lotus Notes and any other non Microsoft product has to work with.
In contrast, on Linux Lotus Notes is very fast to open and work while Outlook is really...non existent.

But appearance, especially to some people, is everything.

Deleting a folder deletes the email in it also.
Naturally in a file directory structure this makes sense. In a database, where a folder is just a view, it does not. Could it be done? Sure, a basic agent could pop up and ask if you want the emails inside to be deleted as well but it doesn't. Is this truly a reason to prefer Outlook? Of course not. Is it inconvenient? That depends on your administrator and your view of archiving and if you truly need the data or emails.

Integration with Active Directory is an interesting idea.
It does not make Outlook better or worse. AD is just a Directory. Sure it runs a bunch of other things and requires an army of servers to be built properly, but is it better to integrate to AD? In short, it depends. Domino can LDAP to AD just like anything else, but if you are asking for the integration of user ID files into AD, that is one thing. If one uses Tivoli Directory Integrator you can achieve better synchronized integration that without it. A manual process can be very time consuming, so get TDI, oh and it's free, really it is F R E E!.

All the applications, online and on our PCs, integrate with Outlook.
This is another misnomer. Outlook is...just..email. What program does not integrate with email? What they probably are referring to is when a program has been written to utilize Outlook's "tools". Careful though, no code works between 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 or 2010 entirely because of full changes in coding each version, compared to Lotus Notes. Usually though the difference is the integration to the Outlook address book. Under the more open standards like iCAL, which everyone should support, the need for apps to be written to Outlook first, or even at all should go away, but it is a long process and to be honest, some Exchange admins may not realize they can use something unless it says it works with Outlook on it(If I had a dime for every one of them I need to explain SMTP and email routing). Contrast that with Lotus admins that will try to make things integrate into Notes whenever possible or ask their developers to make it work.

Naturally some posted items that may at one time been unique to Outlook but no longer are or easier in Outlook according to their views. Maybe I will hit those in the next post.

Although one comment said the average reading level is a 7th grade level for Americans, I refuse to believe that those in corporate America are that bad, but knowing the European side, I can see why Lotus does better there, so maybe there is something to this. I hope not, I'd like to think people are intelligent.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LTAP - How to Record your Slides/Desktop and Voice

An LTAP representative asked me how I did mine. So here it is.

Camtasia Studio 6, download Camtasia 7 here for 30 days, is what I used when we found it on one of my boxes here.

Used a simple Andrea Anti-Noise NC-61 that I use for these type of things.

I could use my Plantronics Voyager, BUT that day it didn't work, updated some software and it would not stay connected.

Camtasia has a simple wizard that you tell it to record a window, or part of one or everything. And then just press record. Simple right?

No

What I found was the sound was horrible the first time I recorded a few minutes to test it all. By the way, always test the process and sound etc. for 1-2 minutes to make sure everything looks and sounds like it should.

I set the Audio to record at PCM, 22.050 khz, 16 Bit Mono. Yes not great but it was the only option that sounded good enough to record and present with, in my case, success my vary.

Just set up your presentation to run in movie mode. If you will need other apps or screens, like a command prompt, Domino console or admin client make sure they are ready to go and able to swap back and forth.

Also when recording, DO NOT SIT DOWN. Stand, pace, walk around, you will have no energy or passion in your voice if you sit the whole time. And when presenting a webinar without audience participation it is hard to maintain momentum so you need to make it up.

If you mess anything up in recording, like I did at one point, server dropped a connection, you can edit it in Camtasia, but if you never do editing, it may take a bit of effort, so best to know how to hit pause, and continue recording, on the recorder when stuck.

Once fully complete, remember to Save As else it saves in some camtasia format, I used an avi file but the choice is yours.

Any questions you know how to find me on Bleedyellow, Lotusgreenhouse, lousLive, Skype, AOL, MSN, Yahoo from the upper right corner of my blog.

This was my first time doing it, after listening to it I would have changed some,
but most people know how to find me for questions and comments. I should be online during the session to answer any chat questions as well.

Good Luck everyone.

PS I am doing a second session but no time to record it, so will be doing it live, alert the press! "iNotes Redirector 101+"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you name 5 things you hate about Outlook?

The last post provided some ideas which I will reply to shortly.

Some people asked when can they let loose on what they do not like about Outlook.

Now before you do that, something I did not get across in the previous post, try to break it down by what a daily user, an executive or an IT/tech person would say or do.

The reason is because depending on who you are talking to there will be different discussions and so the issue of technical items for example is useless when talking to executives, aside from maybe a CIO/CTO.

Funny thing is when I ask business people they do not want to say anything, but their underlings have a laundry list.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can you name 5 reasons why you like Outlook?

BLF stands for Prefer Outlook but I  Bluff
This is my question to you, if you say you prefer Microsoft Outlook over Lotus Notes.

So far, no one ever got past 3 reasons.

Seriously, you can't give reasons, yet you just want to get rid of Notes because of why?

I stress that I am looking for reasons that are true, not a "we heard Notes is dead" or some other Microsoft fed lines. Maybe now I can reply, really, I hear Ray Ozzie is retiring and with him goes all of Microsoft's developers, so be careful out there. He's like the pied piper, people will follow him anywhere. I know I would.

Technical reasons, even functionality reasons are acceptable. BUT, realize if you are on R6, or even R7, the problem is yours, not IBM's. IBM did it's part, they made R8 so much of what you asked for, yet you didn't upgrade for some reason. But I digress.

The ONLY thing that comes up is the ability to schedule an email to be sent in the future. And yes, it has uses, but even that can be done in Notes(with a little coding of a simple agent), set it up once and then use it forever.

Saving an email locally is possible now, natively. But to all those that demanded it, what was wrong with you printing to a PDF printer file all these years? Talk about over engineering something.

No one ever demands to use Exchange. Sad but true. Even Exchange administrators respect Domino for it's ability to stay up and keep running no matter what chaos is going around it.

So come on all you Redmond readers, hit me with it, or anyone else.

I'm bored by the usual answers, provide me with more to think about. Extra credit if you can justify the same function is available in Office 365 as it is in the outlook client.

In case you were wondering, LotusLive Notes is the Domino iNotes client and it does 95% of everything like the 32bit client.

BLF in the sign above stands for Bluff, or so the site said.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LTAP session completed on DDM

Finished recording the session today for the LTAP 2010 team.

LTAP is the first VIRTUAL Lotus Technical and Professional users’ conference and it is October 27 and 28.

My session, slightly adjusted from MWLUG, discussing DDM, Domino Domain Monitor for those not into acronyms.

I provide an overview of DDM, it's history, it's ambiguous messages, how to edit them (hint it changed in R8), and left out the practical joke that was included at MWLUG.

This was much easier in person with an audience as it does require quite a bit of interaction so hopefully you will tune in to it and I will be around for a Q and A session afterward or a chat session during it.

Office365 - What's in a Name?

So you, thought you, might like to, go to the Cloud, To feel the warm thrill of confusion... slightly changed from the Pink Floyd song In the Flesh from the album The Wall

By now you have heard about the Microsoft announcement, not Ray Ozzie "retiring", but the Office 365. Gartner had this to say about the office 365 announcement. Quick damage control by Microsoft it seems.

There is a UK company called Office 365, wonder if Microsoft will pay them for the use of their name. Hopefully they have that name copyrighted and cleared.

So BPOS is now DOA, renamed, excuse me, rebranded, as Office 365.

Now is Microsoft trying to tell us that Office is really the end all be all of this offering? Hardly, but you know what is in a name is very interesting.

LotusLive has a nice ring to it, implies Lotus products are alive and kicking and active and not just any one in particular.

Office 365 in contrast shows a primary target of Office, naturally there is more included but the name is odd.

Maybe Ray suggested before he retired that if Microsoft could find a way to have everyone use their Office suite 365 days a year they might have something.

On the other hand, BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite)was not something easier to roll off the tongue. Quite a mouthful. Very descriptive though.

So what happened to Sharepoint 365? Or SQL 365? Shame 2011 isn't a leap year, that would have been fun. So expect another rebranding in 2012.

Long term thinking? Of course not, since when did Microsoft ever think long term?

Microsoft has upped the ante by having Office 365 utilize the 2010 versions of Sharepoint, Exchange and OCS which is now called Lync.

I figure we will hear about OfficeLync 365 sometime down the road. Most likely as a ploy against IBM's LotusLive offerings.

IBM has not been quiet either, slight tweaking of the offerings has produced some impressive options and cheaper than Microsoft and Google's offerings.

IBM isn't giving the world away for free, but if LotusLive Notes is $5 a head per month that is an offer well worth thinking about. Larger quantity customers get better pricing but still at this price your sad infrastructure may just be able to get everything it needs to stay on the cutting edge of Lotus and your IT staff can go home at night earlier since they no longer have to patch Operating Systems.

Microsoft is not making Office cheap. If you want full Office,, Office 365 is a partial functional version, the full price is an extra $8 a month! So you will pay for Office 2007 or 2010 on desk and another $96 per year for it in the Cloud? OUCH!

Lotus Symphony is not in the Cloud yet, it's free for anyone to use on their machines. When it hits the Cloud, will it still be free? Even if it isn't, it's a great deal.

It will be an interesting run to the finish and neither company will sit still or be happy with the other winning. But from a customer perspective it is all good no matter what you choose.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Objective Subjectivity

This post from the other day provided a number of comments, IMs, discussions with IBMers and some funny stories from friends who just don't get any of this.

One comment, anonymously posted, suggested that it is wrong to recommend a product without knowing the business reason, or any reason for usage, first.

My thoughts are yes and no.

Do I recommend an IBM product every time to clients....yes, if one exists that meets or exceeds their needs. We are an IBM Business Partner, why would I suggest otherwise. Some will argue not everything IBM sells is better, my clients do have a brain and we are only recommending them these options, they choose what they want to use.

Now, if there is something which is not in our portfolio, I will research the information for them and we will find something to resolve the request. For instance a print to PDF driver, which is not inside Lotus Notes.

When someone says they need a secure file storage online and offline accessible. My immediate thoughts are Domino applications, Quickr, Connections or for "Cloud" options LotusLive Engage, LotusLive Connections.

Are these the best choices? Is SSL better than secure ID or VPNs? Is there really any difference between a BMW a Lexus or a Mercedes?

The answer is subjective. We don't demand or expect clients to follow us like sheep, but we do spend time educating them on why our decision makes valid sense given their infrastructure, budget and project requirements.

Could any one else argue the same points, perhaps. The point is not lost on me or others. But how many companies are still relying on a product that has been dead for years but runs core applications.

Foxpro? I just heard about 2 companies still running versions I haven't seen in 15 years.

Lotus Approach? WAY too may people still use this relational database. Dead product? Not quite, it is still available as a download from IBM, or was the last time I checked.

Office 2000? 10 years later and it keeps going and going and going.
Same with Windows server 2000 and 2003.

You can laugh at these and most likely readers have even more hidden old apps you forgot about over time.

But these all have in common a purpose that at the time was a valid purpose and keeps them running still to today.

Were there other choices out there? Most definitely.
But someone, a sales person usually, convinced them this was the way to go and if it lasted this long, they were correct.

The people that I meet on Twitter related to Lotus Quickr(and Quickplace) are using a product that not only lives and breathes and is updated quite frequently by IBM, it also is managing projects that run their companies.

Why don't they go to Sharepoint? Why not some open source product or cloud based offering? Because their needs were defined and the product fit.

Should every group or person use Quickr in their company? That is debatable.
Could every one benefit from using Lotus Connections? In the long run yes because the more you as a company know about your employees and customers, the better your business lines can go to market with new products or manage to impress customers by your usage of Business Intelligence to find out what they need, like or want.

In the short run, the answer lies in how you roll it out and get buy in from your executives and then the employees themselves.

If you have a need to better understand your workforce and customers and have been struggling with how to accomplish this task, I would suggest thinking about Lotus Connections over Quickr and you can look into it in the following ways:

If you do not understand what Lotus Connections is or never heard about it and want to try it out, we suggest you go to the Lotuslive website and register for a 30 day trial of Lotuslive Engage or Connections.

Or if you want to be more interactive, setup an account on the Lotus Greenhouse site which runs all the Lotus products and is used by IBMers, Business Partners and customers, some as though it was a real and not demonstration site. If you do use it, you can find me on the Greenhouse Sametime server which has an excellent group of people on it as well.

Once you do that, drop me an IM or email and we can talk more about what you want to do or how to do it.

Not every product meets every need, but every need does meet a product.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Me vs. We and how one Database is the difference

On my flight back home last night, LATE last night, we were discussing the way of the world and how it affects Lotus and IBM.

Sometime after 9/11(my guess, but truly it changed many things in the world)many people began to see the world differently.

Instead of standing by on the sidelines or going with the flow, people instead wanted to be heard or known or be an ASW (attention seeking whore) or on reality TV, thanks Andy Warhol. Many also have chosen to go very high minded ways to change the environment or laws or get into space commercially and as IBM says help become a Smarter Planet. So all is not lost.

BUT, prior to 9/11, there was much more willingness on behalf of everyone to share and be open rather than closed or finding their own way amid the traffic or chaos as some say exists.

Even social networking/media is a community, but a silo at the same time. Take twitter or Facebook as an example. Yes we all have many friends and followers but do we truly take part in 1,000's of conversations? Or do we instead focus on a few or only a select group of those friends? Do you reach out to others you do not know on those sites to share experiences or help them?

The answers to these questions say a lot about you and the choices you will make regarding nearly everything else in your world. Many readers of the Lotus faithful, I would hope, are openly social and encourage others to do so as well. It is in our nature to want to help people or at least share our knowledge, for better or worse, with others. After all it was what we found so exciting about some bits of code called Lotus Notes in the first place. Developers may have fallen in love with the openness of the solution or it's close relationship to 1-2-3 back then or a million other things. Either way, when we all go to Orlando for Lotusphere or a LUG event or whenever our paths cross, we are able to work together and discuss different ideas and accept it as a good thing to do.

When one has the perspective of not wanting to share information because it has a value or it could hurt or help someone but doesn't extend that effort, what choices will they be making?

Many times I have posited that executives that choose Microsoft are not true sharing people, just because the product is called Sharepoint does not mean you will be sharing, more likely you will share anything ...up to a point, thus its name. In a world about me and what I want or what I say or that everyone wants to be on a reality TV show, is it any wonder someone would prefer to go with a line of products that is focused on silos and individuals or making someone a fiefdom inside IT a data center or a business line?

(Small digression, sorry but I do not understand the Reality TV interest or those that watch it. Having said that I enjoy watching the Miami Dolphins, win or lose, so what does that say about me I guess?)

Yes, I hear you say, but what about Google?

Google is a socialist organization masquerading as a capitalist one. Some may argue it in reverse as well. What they promote is not the team collaborative effort, although Buzz and Wave and other pieces seem to point to that direction, they really are providing the individual the ability to be unique, grab attention and have people pursue more ways to promote themselves.

Now how does all this compare to Lotus Connections? Isn't Connections just another IBM me too in the world?

On the surface, it may appear that way. And for good reason, if you have been reading this post until now. IBM is not stupid, they understand where the minds of the people are and they built Connections based on the new paradigm. Yes I realize it was put together by a bunch of pieces from IBM but the integration is what makes it come alive as by themselves they would be meaningless. Like instant messaging in Lotus Sametime without presence awareness.

However, the underlying connectivity of Connections to integrate to your calendar or email or phone or IM and nearly anything else is what proudly and undeniably stamps on it's forehead "Lotus Notes Lives". Sure, Notes and Domino are not even part of it's installation. But when one looks at Connections you can see how that lotus Notes R1 version of a discussion database, which still is alive and well inside Iris, is still at the core of the world today.

The lowly discussion database where anyone, with access, could post, comment, diatribe, link, attach or just say yes or no, is still the heart and soul of Lotus products like Connections or Quickr. Even if Lotus is now a brand inside of IBM, the yellow heartbeat is there just underneath a blue layer of Websphere.

So while the truly religious will argue "But it's not Domino!" We never fell in love with Domino(don't get me wrong, we did and do all the time), we fell in love with Lotus Notes before Domino even existed in beta. Splitting hairs perhaps to some but I think you get my point.

A little discussion database that could, and look where that little database took us all 20+ years later?

So when you hear about Project Vulcan and are trying to grasp it all and what it will mean, I believe the vision IBM has for it's future, is still that same vision as in R1. Namely that sharing of information or data and providing more and more ways to get access to it in a simple and easy fashion, is not a way to do something, but THE way to do it and the world seems to be agreeing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lotus Knows My Flight is Delayed, Will Vulcan?

Well, Lotus Notes Traveler does...via email of course.

But this has me wondering as I sit in Logan Airport in Boston fresh off of LoLA looking at all these people wearing boots or wellies, as some would say.

Will Project Vulcan have multiple views built in so my phone for instance only sees my stream of information, compared to say everything on the browser page from my laptop?
If so, then I would see an input from Tripit or the airline letting me know about the delay.

True an email serves the same purpose, but what if one does not use email anymore, like our friend Luis Suarez? Then this would be a perfect way to do it.

Then someone says, yes but Twitter can do it as well. That is fine, likelihood is Twitter or whatever thing we all use by the time Project Vulcan starts to appear in applications, could also be part of that stream.

But right now, a smart phone is not a great experience to work with a lot of information. While I can understand some will argue that is why the iPad exists, but I want something smaller, maybe the new offering from RIM, but bigger than my cell phone.

The mind was racing with ideas after some sessions at LoLA and of course more, many more questions. Thanks to Russ Holden for taking some time to answer some very key questions of mine.

While I admit to not enjoying some of the demonstration sessions, mostly because some chose to demo existing products for some reason when I would have expected more about the future, the open question sessions provided alternative views to think about.

Product Management is truly a balancing act which is why one should really try to work with the PM team, not against them.

What we could see or experience in the UX lab, which to be honest was great, thanks to the UI/Graphical teams of LotusLive and Vulcan, among others, provided good insight to design reasoning and thought process.

Thanks again to everyone at LoLA and the coordinators of it especially for helping me get some last minute meeting in, see you next in Orlando.

Lotus Live Engage Rocks

LotusLive Rocks
Engage is an excellent cloud offering from IBM.
Imagine getting a mixture of Lotus Connections and Lotus Sametime...and only paying about $5!

Need to do easy webinars? Use the built-in Sametime meetings. AND record them.
Want to profile employees and cull more information about your business from them? Set up your profiles.
Secure File Sharing? yes
Simple to invite external people to download files? Yes
Want to work on projects or defined spaces for client work? Use Communities.

As an Admin you can control how files are shared by default or allow people to make their own choice.
Customization includes color schemes and corporate logo. Simple but meaningful.

FREE Add-ins, for FREE, really, include Salesforce.com, Tungle which allows for interaction between one's calendar, no matter which system you are on, Skype, UPS, Silanis which provides secure digital signing of documents, Vondle which is a file viewer and no doubt more will be coming soon as well.

Lotuslive Engage can help smaller companies who do not want to have the added expense of servers, licenses and support.

Larger companies can be more agile by making these tools available worldwide(19 languages) and save a ton of money that way as well.

It also makes for a nice demonstration/testing environment when looking into the full on premises packages.

For more details and compare the LotusLive choices, you can see this page.

If you need help in understanding how to integrate this into your organization just ask me or if you are at LoLA I will be here all day.

Connections vs. Quickr


Someone on Twitter posed an excellent question today, when should one use Quickr or Connections. This is not the first, or last time someone posts on this topic, so do your research too, or contact me. This is meant to be seen as a basic overview.

There are numerous answers to this and the fact that someone asked implies IBM and we Business Partners have not done a great job of explaining the difference. Most likely I will not do it service, and some will have better answers than I and if so, please comment.

While there is overlap between parts of Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections there are also some fundamental differences about them.

Quickr, for example comes in a Domino format and a Websphere J2EE format.
Connections on the other hand ONLY comes in a Websphere J2EE format. Previously I used the term Mostly because Domino could be running the mail side.

Both come ready to work on multiple Operating systems.

Quickr is more likely to be used by a group or project of people within an organization, sometimes with external users. Their needs revolve around secure file sharing, some workflow perhaps, management of details and deadlines and of course the ability to let others know when something has been posted or changed with an alert via email. Security is the primary benefit, sharing of data and being selective about who can see or edit that data is of importance.This is like having your typical silo business unit where what goes inside it, stays inside it.

Connections is more about the individual, but within the enterprise as the whole, profiles are important, sharing of documents or grouping them and making them freely accessible is a by product, creating communities that will thrive about a product or idea that are more social and open by nature, although still within a secure and security minded infrastructure. Connections can maintain one's personal contacts list as well as some more details on people than usually found in most PIM solutions. This is like taking your typical silo of a business unit(or in my language a Microsoft thinking business) and letting it share its knowledge and experience across the platform for everyone.

There are overlaps, both:
  • Handle file sharing, but in different secure ways
  • Provide RSS feeds for their places or data to be viewed
  • Allow for external users to gain access to data files through invitations
  • Provide for Single Sign On integration
  • Provide security levels as to be expected
  • Have Blog and Wiki options
  • Provide for some form of management of activities and items to be done for projects
  • Integrate with Lotus Notes, Symphony and Sametime

It is not my intention to provide a full detail explanation of each product, for that you could go their respective websites, Quickr and Connections for more details.

There is a pdf you may wish to review that outlines some guidelines of roles that would suit each of them best, and includes Lotus Sametime as well. You can find it here. http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/stwiki.nsf/0/00FE2842583EB37C8525757F0049A069/$FILE/Experience%20Lotus5.pdf

One can also find a rather longer pdf from the R8 Quickr time frame about Quickr here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SnTT - Sametime Meetings 8.0.2 Drop after a Minute

While at LoLA this week I got stuck with a Sametime Meeting problem, R8.0.2 server.

The issue was one would login to a Sametime Meeting, but after about a minute, the screen would automatically refresh. And keep doing it every 75 seconds or so.

We had just moved the physical server so my first guess was an incorrect IP address someplace was causing it. Indeed I found one reference which had not been changed to the new IP(Q/A teams at IBM I feel your pain).

Didn't change it.

Looked at the Firewall, added some ports (different firewall was in use at the other location)and got closer but something was still wrong.

Checking the java console showed the connection trying to connect to the correct name, but incorrect IP, used the internal one while an external person would try to connect. DNS is fine, but there it was.

Open the stconfig.nsf database and went through the options and found an IP address instead of the FQHN (Fully Qualified Host Name).
Under Meeting Services, find:
HTTP Tunneling Host Name: server.company.com

Under CommunityConnectivity:
Community Trusted IPS: internal#,external#

Changed those references and restarted the server and now it stays up and connected.

Goes to show that even when you test something works, you need to test it under different circumstances to make sure it works as designed.