Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Android, Lotus Notes Traveler and other Info

Get your Android Lotus Notes Traveler news here

Documents? You want documents? Evidently you also want more screenshots(have to wait till I get home).

A number of questions got asked of me since my post this morning so here are more details for everyone.

Some of these will just be links to more details, yes, there are many details.

Lotus Notes Traveler official homepage at IBM. It has screen shots and some break down by device OS type.

First, this is the IBM Wiki with the Android Limitations and Restrictions.

Second, this is the overview part of the Wiki on Lotus Notes Traveler(aka Android's)

Third, What's new doc for

IBM Mobile Connect is also supported and advised for those that want access to their Domino applications.

Lastly, although I could not find it in any document, many people report that encrypted mail support is NOT available. The line below sums it up:

"no encryption support on traveler for android. You can sign mails on mobile, but can't send or read encrypted mail."

Jan Kenney in this blog post says:

Ensuring the security of company information is a top priority for every Lotus Notes Traveler release, and is no exception. Lotus Notes Traveler synchronizes data (in transit) via secure HTTPS connection and stores the data (at rest) in encrypted form on the Android device. Lost or stolen devices can be remote wiped; either the entire device or just the Lotus Notes Traveler information. Administrators can monitor the mobile user community -- by name, password, device type, build version -- all from a single point of control and allow or deny access for users based on company defined policies.

If anyone has more input on this subject, please let me know and I will edit accordingly.

Traveler on Android Tablet

android tablet Lotus Notes Traveler icons
My kids, age 8 and 6 received for Chanukah an Android Tablet which is where the screen shot above is from. You can see all the icons Lotus Notes Traveler adds to Android devices. And in the top left corner an email with a number on it, that's Traveler letting me know I have email. Lookup is for corporate email contacts. Shame I gave this to my kids.

You can click on any of the images to see them in full size.

Don't care what the Mac people say, I was not buying them an iPad(cost?) or iTouch(size?).

We thought about getting them a new laptop but decided against it.

We specifically did not want a device with a camera or extra fees to get online, wi-fi is fine thank you.

So we ordered a Black Friday special from ToysRus.

It came, I set it up and tried to download the latest version of code and it wasn't having it. Until a few days ago when a new icon appeared, so I updated it and it now runs faster and is more efficient with it's screen size.

So I decided to load Lotus Notes Traveler on it once Traveler code came out. Our server was updated the other day so it should work right? Well I am happy to say it does and includes a whole bunch of icons.

I only want it to get my email, here is a screen shot of the email notifier on the left and the email itself on the right:
email notifier lotus notes traveler
email on an android device for lotus notes traveler

Not interested in calendar or contacts as I don't need the kids killing my data, but to test out traveler and email on the device I figured was worth it. And it works well. And full of options, unlike my Windows Mobile Phone.

Here is a shot of the calendar weekly view which is very clear and quite clean compared again to my phone. To be fair the tablet has 3-4 times the screen size of my phone. But you get the idea and I am sure your iPad looks and acts similar to this.

Calendar view of the week lotus notes traveler
Could this be created/branded a Lotus device?

If one adds on IBM Mobile Connect to get to some apps, perhaps put it in a yellow casing?

An interesting idea to pursue. Something Eric and I discussed a bit based on his blog post for new ideas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Avoiding the RVTSCAN error after preload in 852

When I last posted about this, I had tried some various items but nothing got rid of the message.

fun since 8.x it appears
Until yesterday when I was directed to a recent Technote from IBM that elaborates on the Preloader option.

There is an IBM Technote # 1424193 ​on the preloader which is what is causing this to appear.

In it they discuss adding another exclusion to one's anti-virus. In my case my personal machine uses Avast and I had this problem.

If you make AntiVirus/AV exceptions at the EXE level (for example. NOTES2.EXE, NLNOTES.EXE or NTASKLDR.EXE), then you should consider adding NNTSPRELD.EXE to that same exception list.

However, if exceptions are made at the directory or file level, the preloader acts on the same set of files as the Notes client when it starts.

If you make exceptions for specific EXEs to run, then the NNTSPRELD.EXE should be included in those exceptions.

The NNTSPRELD.EXE runs with user privileges, in the same manner as the NLNOTES.EXE process.

No longer a problem.

After adding the exclusion items I no longer receive the error pop up message.

Edited addition:
There were 2 more things I did which may have helped, so here you go:
1) Found in one of the laptop logins when I went into MSConfig(Start-Run-msconfig go to Startup tab) and the startup items saw a second preloader. Disabled it, but left the other one to run.
2)Follow this ehow page, which suggests clearing some references which maybe should not still be in use. Runs the wbemtest which until I read the page I had never used.

Your Mileage May Vary but good luck

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Idea: Troubleshooting Lotus Products an 8 Part Series

Ben asked for suggestions, so here is mine.
If you think it has any merit, vote for it over at

The problem is this could be a tome, but maybe it will be done in 8 parts.
1) Notes
2) iNotes
3) Domino
4) Quickr D/J
5) Sametime
6) Connections
7) Portal
edited after Bens comments to include:
8) LotusLive
Start with the obvious issues, move to more extensive problems that deal with iNotes integration, SSL, SSO and more.
A true collbaorative effort as one person can not do it all, but this is what is on my mind.
Admins have the info centers, wikis and blog posts, so do people in the field, but yet many people out there do not trust blogs, believe it or not, but they do trust content in books.

This will be a series of books on troubleshooting different products, possibly in some cases like Notes and Domino have separate volumes just on Install tuner, Calendaring and Scheduling, DAOS, ID maintenance, SSL, SSO etc..

When Site Administration in Quickr Goes Missing

The joys of December, cold days, last minute projects, admins that forget what they are doing and blow up their servers.

Yes it can happen to you as well, so for all of those who will be up at all hours of the night doing things only IT people do, this one is for you.

Ever get a call from an admin on Quickr Dominio saying they can no longer see the Site Administration options, or any other admin type options? I have and since it comes up often enough here it goes, with some other tidbits thrown in just in case you really messed up.

First I will walk through what happens then show how to resolve it. I will presume you have previously set up the correct Domino Directory or LDAP configuration which to locate the admins or users. If not, look for more details in my upcoming book from Packt Publishing on Quickr 8.5 Administration available in January 2011.

So you have a Quickr server you login to as the administrator. You decide to make sure only admins can create new places on the server. Very good, however watch out for selecting the wrong box.

One should see the options on the left on the bottom of your browser screen after you login to Quickr. Click on Site Administration and then see the screen on the left below where you select Security and will then see the screen ont he right.

As you can see there are 2 options, first, the who can create new places option, second is the "God" admin role so to speak. In situations like this, someone has inadvertently added an admins name to the first setting, thus knocking them out of the second and so when they login next they lose the Site Administration.

Brilliant! So now you go crazy trying to figure it all out but the bottom line is you need to get back in before someone or something needs you to fix things.

These steps will help you fix this problem, usually.

1. Open your Server Document for the Quickr Server and set the Internet Protocols - Domino Web Engine. Change server authentication to disabled for the moment.
2. Now shutdown and restart the Quickr server
3. Login to Quickr with your admin credentials (the name and password you used when you set up Quickr)
4. Change the security settings above but this time make sure the correct administrators are given proper full access.
5. Log out of Quickr
6. Login with the correct administrator ID and password you fixed just now
7. Make sure you can see Site Administration, etc..
8. Logout of Quickr
9. Go back to Step 1 and enable Multi SSO or Single Server
10. Shutdown and restart your Quickr server

All should be good to go. Enjoy.

Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration Book

Coming in January 2011 to a lotusphere and online purchasing location near you is a book I co wrote with 3 IBMers, David Byrd, Mark Harper, Olusola Omosaiye.

Did not make the updates for 851 into it but we may get a revised version out in 2011 if the interest is there.

I suspect some people will start getting review copies in January.

See you at Lotusphere. Speaking of Lotusphere, go to Ben's blogpost on his website and get the Lotusphere nsf which is the BEST way to get your calendar populated with sessions and more details.

Also Ben has included a section for Books and Courses on offer by people at or part of Lotusphere. So check out the Virtual bookstore.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Community Moderators

While we discuss collaboration and Social Business or media, some people still don't understand it.

Did you ever belong to a group as a kid or were part of a school event? Of course you were, so was I. But that was pre-IBM PC, let alone pre-Internet(commercial), although not necessarily pre-Arpanet.

You would either run around to your friends, or biked or called on the phone for information. Maybe papers went home with you and your parents dealt with it. Life was simpler, but took longer then. Times have changed and mostly for the good.

However, remember sometimes there was always someone who would hold everything up? Maybe not divulge information which was truly needed or worse provide information only to their friends? Well that person is alive and well sadly and usually acting as a moderator on some social site you may belong to be it Linkedin, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Delphi or numerous others.

Twitter has no moderators, but Facebook does, for groups created or other topics that are not an individual's personal site. Yahoo groups has moderators and most social media/networking applications, especially one's aimed at corporations have moderator options.

But what happens when the moderators are biased? What if they lean politically a different way? What if they just don't like you? What are your options to resolve the problem you may be experiencing? To borrow a phrase, "Who moderates the moderators"?

What problems you say?
  • They don't let you post what you want to sell
  • They invoke a limit on how much something can be offered.
  • They only let certain businesses post.
  • There is a limit to how many times you can post a day.
  • There is no cross posting.
  • Maybe nothing about politics.
  • Perhaps you can't reply to all and say thank you for helping out.

These still exist every day and in their own way are crushing, no killing, people from using the same systems which were touted to help spread news or ideas or just jokes.

If your community can not self police itself, in a nice way, then you have other issues. But if you find some Draconian moderators and fewer people involved maybe you need to look at why you created the group and what purpose it serves.

If not you may find:
  • Other products being brought in that are not so restrictive
  • New groups popping up outside of the range of the old ones but gaining popularity
  • Losing popularity/advertising revenue or market share
  • Discussions behind closed doors or portals as the case may be
  • Lack of interest in general
  • Blog posts from irate customers or even friends
Hopefully this is not what you find, but instead find a group that:
  • Raises awareness of itself by being inclusive and open
  • Provides various options to meet the ever expanding and multicultural/national aspects of your market share
  • Accepts some poor choice posts but respects that adults know what to do about it or ignore them
Collaboraton or Social Business happens because everyone feels inclusive and does not treat anyone else as excluded, aside from security/privacy reasons. It encourages people's passions as well as base level of opportunity where from the CEO to the person on the fringe of the society can share information.

Providing too many limitations to use a product, site or newsgroup is asking for trouble. So before you become or are asked to be a moderator please do not think about how you think it should be moderated but how others need it to be moderated, if it should be at all. If you worry about keeping your list clean so to speak, do not hesitate to provide a registration form if you need one to validate people are real and not spammers or bots.

But please, please, don't treat the members of your groups like spammers or bots.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Domino "White Box" Continued

My previous post was written in haste and so I want to elaborate further.

Ed's post on ASL
or Application Specific Licensing hits on a topic many of us have asked for and great to see it is available.

I was interested in seeing if the Notes client and Domino for that matter, could be overlayed with our company names.

LotusLive will have this so Business Partners can White Box a solution and we look forward to it. While I have been told it is either available or coming, I have not received any more details yet. So if I am wrong, or missed an email, someone please let me know.

Why would I want to white box Domino? Just to make life easier on customers.

White Boxing Lotus Notes could be interesting, imagine if Openntf could White Box it with all the apps and openmail template added inside? It is an interesting idea to propose an open system.

Naturally this is not an easy sell to large customers but if they knew IBM was behind it at some level it may have legs. Imagine going into an Exchange shop and showing them 8.5 and under a new moniker?

Life could be interesting.

If you don't think so, you never showed a customer using outlook or Notes R5,6,7 still what the 8.5 or iNotes client are like. They love it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

IBM, could you let us "WhiteBox" Domino

Duffbert's post is still drawing a lot of comments and other posts.

Tucked away in the comments was this from Ed Brill.
There is also the ability to OEM Domino and I am sure my channel sales team would be happy to explore that with ISVs.

Now this is something which is interesting. It has been discussed before by the community and Business Partners.

What if one could resale Domino, under a new name, to anyone, anywhere?
What if the Notes client really was only a web based client?
OEM or rebrand/rename it sounds good.

I am sure some BPs out there have sold it this way in the past.

Do we want to host Domino for people and call it justmail? Sure, but at $40,000(or whatever the licensing costs are) or more for the licensing that is not so practical.

White Box the server so IBM, Lotus and Domino can be replaced with Justmail, Justserver and Justcool.

Rebrand Domino is also an option but no idea how close or far IBM is from doing such a thing.

Could it work? Maybe, no one knows.

Maybe IBM should do what Microsoft did and run some blind tests on web side iNotes and rename it and a website for the new product from a mythical company and see how this can work.

An Email that reads like a Dilbert Cartoon

We received this email from someone that we were referred to by a client of mine.
Think I am from a different business world, sending out missives that read like a bad form letter in a Dilbert cartoon can't possibly make someone a client...can it?


I was refereed by your client to get in contact with you regarding your business communication services. I’m currently working with Mr. X in your other office to streamline their communications and have a positive effect to their bottom line. Please contact me at 555-123-4567. I would like to sit down with you on Tuesday at 1PM. Please let me know if that is a good time for you.

Warmest Regards,

If you or your company are sending emails or letters like this out to potential partners, customers or clients, please stop it.

Obfuscating your solutions will rarely impress someone.

Executives fear what they don't know. While some may have an interest to check on this, most will either ignore it because they have no idea what you are talking about or worse tell people never to use your company because you talk like a Dilbert cartoon come to life.

This reminds me of the old Dilbert Palm application that you put in your name of the business and services and out came a mission statement for you to use. Or maybe they used one of these instead.

If you can't speak as normal people speak what makes you think anyone would want to talk to you?

To be fair to him, I let him know we had made some decisions and he could call me out of respect for my clients reference. You never know he may have something, but if this was not a referral it would have been deleted faster than Ricochet Rabbit.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Lotus RFQ that reads like 1990...but from 2010

While reviewing an RFQ for a Lotus development project a number of things struck me and I posted to Twitter some of the details.

Suffice it to say it is for a government agency that is in a state which has huge cutbacks from lack of taxes collected and budgetary issues.

They state quite well:
The organization has several distinct existing IBM Lotus Notes client‐based applications/databases that are used

So we know they use it and understand how they are using it.

The RFQ opens with this statement:
Each of these additional functions requires the use of databases that are currently maintained and modified by internal information technology staff on an IBM Lotus Notes platform. Due to competing priorities, these databases have not been modified to the extent that would provide the most efficient and
effective performance.

We have seen this line of thought before from many customers. The economy, the Cloud, the iPhones, whatever the reason eventually every company sits down and says we must update our applications.

Good for them, they are ready to move forward.

Reading further down you find the requirements for the roles and expectations of knowledge, etc. when you suddenly find yourself at the submission section which states:

Respondent must provide the following information in a hardback 3 ring binder with tabs as shown below that demonstrates the respondent’s ability to provide the services requested. Six (6) copies are required to be

What?! 3 ring binders and 6 copies? None of them digital even?

I have no idea what apps this government office uses but honestly they have the ability to use a simple mail-in database which could house all the submissions and using a mail rule or an agent copy it to who and wherever it needs to reach.

But no. What would take maybe an hour of time for someone, anyone, to setup and test and then leverage for oh I don't know the 100's if not 1,000's of RFI/RFP/RFQ a year seems just way too much advanced knowledge?

Is it any wonder anything gets done in this country sometimes?

Imagine we file all of these submissions, send it up via USPS mail or Fedex and the docs get soaked, or burnt in an accident.

Is this really how governments still work? Imagine the space required to store all of these binders, bookcases, archives, rent on warehouses probably. And the government could care less evidently because it's not something important like say education, healthcare or welfare.

If governments would use the tools they already own to their advantage they could easily save 10 if not 100 times the amount of money it is costing them now to do nothing and keep wasting money.

All this talk about e-gov and it's all fluff?

Also it dictates that "Prices submitted shall be at or below caps". Even with the reference to a previous contract it is a dizzying array of values.

All that said I await the updates on this RFQ as any questions will be replied to in one large document before deciding if we will submit for it. Usually we stay out of these things but sometimes the want to help our government and be patriotic as well wins out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reverse DNS, a Domino/Traveler Box and Comcast

This post is dedicated to Comcast who never tells Business class customers what is changing in their infrastructure or admits anything changed.

Come in on Monday and started receiving unable to send emails like 554 error.

Knowing we didn't change anything on our end or the client's end yet comcast was an error on a message, so I called them.

They said the problem is on our side. I said but nothing has changed on our side.
Sorry we can't help you was the reply.

So for the sake of argument, a bunch of companies, who we have no relationship to aside from an email one about information, miraculously all changed their spam appliances or security methods at the same time.

Not too likely.

So I tested our domains, this was affecting Traveler and regular Domino email, for reverse dns entries.

All our sites were now showing comcast as the reverse entry, no longer the appropriate sites.

Logged in to the registrar of the domains and decided to add a new A record for mail to the domain. Maila I called it.

Saved, rechecked and now the domain was found correctly.

What is going on? Still no idea, Comcast isn't saying but we changed every single domain that works with Comcast, just in case, to ensure phones were not getting filled with undeliverable mail notices.

So if you use Comcast, check your reverse dns records.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cloud vs. Licenses

Been debating this for quite some time but it comes up quite often.
On one hand, some IBMers get paid on selling licenses, others get paid on Cloud initiatives.
On the other hand, as an example, Lotus Connections IBMers would prefer if clients bought licenses instead of LL Engage.
This short lived cannibalization of sales and internal posturing is not unique to IBM. Microsoft has similar issues, especially when confronted with losing major money from their #1 money maker, Office.
So what is a Business Partner to do? Naturally offer clients the best of what is available and make the proper choice. Not just select the one that pays more commission. And on that note, Cloud options pay much less, as if there was any doubt.

So what can the mothership do to resolve this dilemma?

One thing to do is compensate everyone, internally and externally, equally for the products. Really, what benefit does it serve to have it any other way?

Another option is to provide equality to all products and let the PC side be equal to the Cloud side. If someone owns one license, they should get one Cloud account for free. I understand this may reduce revenue, but this also provides an excellent way to work in the interim while companies try to decide their future directions, or more importantly when they will make the leap, if ever. Charging twice is just not a nice option.

Lastly, applications are needed. No offense to the great marketers out there, but just going to the cloud, without a real application, I do not consider social media or Office related tools as applications, doesn't have enough excitement by itself.

What would be exciting? Let your imagination run wild.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SnTT - SCT, What if you lost the Single Copy Templates

For those who do not use it or ever heard of it, R6 produced the Single Copy Template (SCT) option.

This allowed one to conserve disk space by not loading the whole mail template, or any template for that matter, into the mail file or application.

To enable SCT you can follow the steps in the admin guide as posted here in IBM Technote # 7002574.

Be aware of these details:
Restrictions for Single Copy Template

* To use this feature the templates and the databases linked to them must have an On Disk Structure (ODS) version of 43.
* Once a template has been designated as a Single Copy Template, it cannot be deleted through Notes, and it cannot be deleted while the server is running. Deletions are restricted to ensure that there are no unresolved pointers to the template.
* A Single Copy Template cannot have its design replaced.
* If you change the name of a Single Copy Template the databases that use it will lose their association to it.
* You must run Compact to remove the design elements after running the Convert task (preferably against the Domino \Data directory containing the files changed).
* If you "copy" a new Single Copy Template to the server by creating a New Replica versus a New Copy, the Single Copy Object template database property is de-selected; therefore, it defeats the Load Convert and Compact attempts (leaving you bewildered as to why these processes don't work, and the size of the database never shrinks as it should).

Well guess what happened. Yes, the SCT template was written over. And the backups, being incremental did not include it.

We started getting all kinds of errors that basically said unable to open database because it was missing the single copy database template.

Users could not open their email, email was in some cases stuck in the files and other scary messages appeared in the server console about attachments being invalid or corrupted attachments.

Go find documentation on how to resolve this problem. Not much, if anything is out there.

But customer pays for IBM support and IBM Support came to the rescue.

With a new mail template matched to the version we enabled SCT again on the template and hard booted the server, this was a key part.

We than ran the convert command.

At the server console run (substitute your template name for mail85):
load convert mail\username.nsf * mail85.ntf

If that does not work, as it did not for some people, you then do a Replace Design of the template, even if it shows the correct name, to the new template and include the folders too.

This will now allow your mail inbox to receive emails. prior to this, and you should verify it with some people, new emails and all other emails "lost" in the interim will be seen under the All Documents view. We tested new emails and found they did not go to the inbox until after this step.

But what about the "lost email" how do you get it back to your inbox?

You need to run an agent against EACH MAIL FILE, IBM was working on a batch utility but I am sure some developer out there could figure one out). The code for the agent is found here at IBM Technote # 1104973.

Go to Code-Agents in Designer and follow the technote. If when you paste the code into the Agent and get any errors, it usually is a break line that is misplaced.

Once run against the database, and it can take quite some time in larger files, the "lost email" returns to the inbox. We did find a small number of messages also returned to the inbox that were orphans, meaning emails without folders or a folder was deleted. These would show up as replication conflicts or similar error and by opening and saving them anew they would revert to normal mails.

Until you get the convert and replace done, iNotes also does not work.

So a lot of effort went into resolving something that should not be so difficult to start. One should be able to replace the design on any file no matter if SCT has been used.

And what did we change on site?
Backups are now 100% full backups and need much more time for a backup window.
SCT database is copied to a USB as well as backed up.
Backups of everything should be done before any work. In this case, there was not enough disk space to back up the Directory. Resolved with an external hard drive since.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lemons? Well then we will make Orange Juice!

Never in a million years would I have envisioned what transpired the last few days.

Our ideas have been validated and we are on a much more clearly defined path for 2011. It does take time and if you put in the effort, you definitely get the rewards.

Learn from your mistakes. Yes, I know, some I am still working on, but business mistakes or even accidents should turn into goldmines. Always look on the bright side of life.

Inspiration comes in many forms, and I know as an administrator it happens often when you least expect it. Can you just get inspired? Maybe you can, maybe you can't. Maybe you just need something or someone to help you, a muse, or a diversion. Watching the movie of A Few Good Men last night and Tom Cruise, as Kaffee, talking to Demi Moore as Galloway and Kevin Pollak as Weinberg says:
Lt. Weinberg: That's the plan?
Kaffee: That's the plan.
Lt. Weinberg: And how are you going to that?
Kaffee: I have no idea. I need my bat.
Lt. Weinberg: What?
Kaffee: I need my bat. I think better with my bat. Where's my bat?
Galloway: I put it in the closet.
Kaffee: You put it in the closet?
Galloway: Well, I was tripping over it.
Kaffee: Don't ever put that bat in the closet.

He needs the bat to help him think. He got it and knew how to get his mind working.

For years I kept a yo-yo in my desk at whatever office I was in and could be seen wandering around a building or campus playing with it and it helped me solve many problems. Needless to say it also left a number of puzzled faces around Burger King, IBM and Citibank especially. Although it never bothered the Broadway theater staff where I worked earlier in my career.

What is your bat or yo-yo? Hopefully you know.

For if we do not step away from the computer or work or whatever it is that engulfs us, how can we lead or be inspired to lead others? I don't want my kids, or employees, thinking that the answer or idea is online or found by working harder. It isn't.

Although my wife will argue with me about having it, I do need the pinball machine to help me think sometimes. I should probably move it to the office but then the kids would be upset. Many of you probably play on your Wii or whatever devices.But I digress.

When I picked logo colors for my business logos over the years I always come back to the same ones. Orange and green usually. Squidoo had this to say about the colors:

How the color orange affects us mentally and physically
* Stimulates activity
* Stimulates appetite
* Encourages socialization

How the color green affects us physically and mentally
* Soothing
* Relaxing mentally as well as physically
* Helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety
* Offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony

They also happen to be the team colors of my favorite NFL(Miami Dolphins) and college football(The U otherwise known as the University of Miami) teams.

And so it is when I look at the logo or my business card or when clients see it.

Right now, thanks to a discussion I had earlier(Thanks John V.!) I also want to write some more, not just technical articles but other formats.

So next time life or work get you down, don't try to make the best of it, alter it entirely. Change your viewpoint, perhaps radically, and others will take notice as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Inspiration from your kids

Sometimes your kids listen to you and you have the power to change the world around them. Wouldn't it be nice if the same thing could be said of every client or customer?

But like your kids, clients don't always feel like listening. But it feels great when they do.

My 7 year old son was building a Star Wars X-Wing lego kit the other day. When it came time to put the rubber bands on it to enable the x-wing to open and close, the whole thing snapped and broke up. He would have to rebuild most of it. He was crushed. He has built at least a dozen large Lego kits and numerous smaller ones as well as amusing free forms of his own design, but I never saw him to do this before.

I told him I was sorry about it and if it was a problem, he should ask for my help or my wife's at the point of failure. I reminded him about his tenacity to learn to ride a RipStik, riding on 2 wheels before his older sister did and other accomplishments.

He looked at me and said he didn't care and he wouldn't build this kit again. He put all the Lego in the box, closed it up and walked away to his room. I followed him and suggested he try again when he was in a better mood because building Lego or anything when you are mad will just lead to more frustration.

10-15 minutes later he emerged and started building it all over again. He stripped the whole thing back down to pieces and pretty much rebuilt it all by himself, no help, including the rubber bands.

Sometimes in business you feel that frustration and rather than let it kill your day, let it out and take a break. It will still be there waiting for you of course but maybe a calmer mind will prevail.

You have built it before, you have done similar things, you know the answer is out there, don't give up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

SnTT - HELP! I lost my local Sametime Lists

This post is brought to you by my poor searching and also because it happened to me.

I have been rebuilding my netbook with the latest Ubuntu release and Empathy says it will work with Sametime. Well, it does, sort of. Let me explain.

Empathy logged in to only a few specific sites, not all of my usual sites. Then I got almost all to login after some configuration.

BUT when I went back to my normal laptop(St802 client) all of a sudden I could only see 3 sites and people. I was logged in, but my contacts lists were gone! I only had 3 public groups showing.


So eventually I realized I had loaded an ST client on another machine and most likely logged in with it not too long ago and could load the file from there.

One problem, no idea where the file is on a client side, server side I know.

My inept searching(Google usually indexes IBM Technotes) led me to Skype the Sametime Guru, Carl Tyler who reminded me that searching the Sametime Forum would find it. Equally so, the IBM Support Toolbar which I have not liked since they revised it, provided a link to a Technote when I reloaded it.
IBM Technote 1291253 which provides this information to find the buddylist.xml.

sametime local buddy list file location

If you are looking on a Vista client try this directory:

So be prepared, back up your local copy of contacts more often, and avoid this problem in the future.

Thanks again Carl!

I will now go back to installing Lotus Domino on Ubuntu, will blog about that later.

Customer Service without Social media

Unexpected, yes. Worth it to the company? Not so sure.

When my wife inquired about a specific food if it had nuts in it to avoid a situation with a guest of ours, the company was nice enough to help answer the questions.

They then offered to send a coupon for the product for the future.

Very nice of them. In the past we have received various discounts or free items.

This time we received, in a 44 cent stamped envelope, a coupon for 35 cents off the product.

This had me thinking, on one hand, it's a nice thank you for a simple inquiry.

On the other hand, it's not overly impressive to make you want to go out and try the product or buy it next time you go shopping.

Not saying either thought is correct or incorrect, just wondering if a more "WOW" factor could have been accomplished.

Think about it, you are a super large company that makes cake and brownie mixes, and probably rarely meet or interact with your customers. In this day and age, one would think that the opportunity to impress a customer would be worth it's weight in gold as even a small percentage change in purchasing habits can be a huge difference to their bottom line.

We received a simple coupon and a mostly stock letter, a mention of the company website for other promotions and not much else to endear us. No like us on Facebook, follow our recipe chefs on Twitter or catch our dessert bloggers.

In other words no effort at all to indulge the customer and consumer at a level that would speak to them or encourage them to try other items or look for more choices.

What does the Chief Marketing Officer or Customer Service Director do, if not encourage sales? If ever there was an example of a company in need of Social Media help maybe it is them?

To be fair, I did follow their website, which is for their holding company, down to the specific food items in question where there is a "Join the Baker's Club" Web 1.0 type of interaction with the consumer. I followed a few others that had nothing to offer at all or a similar "club".

Hopefully this will all be getting revised soon, if not, I'd be happy to help them figure out some ways to engage the outside world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sharepoint 2010 Costs How Much?

Admittedly, this has been done before, but a client just threw past us a quote from a MS vendor to perform the same work as we are proposing. And a potential customer from outside the US just told us they decided to look into Sharepoint.

Their proposal comes out as about the same amount as 2 weeks of work. Fine, except they proposed to install Sharepoint 2010 and migrate 3-5 Notes Apps to Sharepoint and .NET for this price.

We estimated 4-6 weeks to update them all or roughly a week per app.

So how can a Microsoft Business Partner say they will do everything for so cheap?
And this supposedly includes the licensing too! Which we know is impossible, so we are looking into the other details.

Licensing alone will equal over $15,000 with Software Assurance and here is why:

Hardware Cost for new box
Windows Server 2008 Standard License w/10 CAL $1,209 Pricing here
Windows Server CALs per pack of 20 users $799
Sharepoint 2010 License $4,926
Sharepoint CALs per user Enterprise $83 or Standard $95
SQL Server Standard $898 or Enterprise $8,592 Pricing here
SQL CALs per user $164

That is a a lot of licensing, but wait it gets better, Software Assurance adds between 25-40% to the price, if you want it.

This cost does not include any backup software or cluster/fail over options.

This also does not include the costs/time to write from scratch the apps.

Now compare this to their existing Domino environment.

Servers and licenses all paid for and support maintenance agreement is still in place and renewed.

The applications are already setup for multiple replication where a Domino Enterprise Server is not in use.

Before they get out of the gate, the Microsoft solution costs them at least $15,000 based on my conversation with Microsoft reps on the phone and to validate the pages above.

Honestly, how can they just give applications away for free? Ask them the next time you get pitched on a Sharepoint migration. Make sure you get in writing that they will not ask for more money or get any more money then their bid. Keep them honest and poor.

There is much more out there than meets the eye.

Caution: Internet/Social Media Ahead! What about your kids?

Parental Control of the Internet not very easy
Nothing new to many of us in IT, but to all of our friends not in IT, this may be an issue.

Ever wonder what you son or daughter is doing on their computer every day? Or their smart phone, iPhones or Blackberry(yes, high school students have BBs) or iPads or ipods?

According to some you should be very afraid. VERY AFRAID of what your kids and/or their friends are seeing, using or telling others about.

Not going to argue 1st amendment rights or however you view it or the "kids will be kids" line or "we did similar things".

I want to enlist all of your help to provide some insight to what works for you and your family, NOT your office.

How do we prevent it or support it in a way that helps our kids mature at an appropriate speed?

It's similar to how to prevent your kids from having sex, smoking...anything, drugs, reading racist or hate sites or whatever is your item that kids shouldn't be involved, but how does one do it?

Our kids school offers a class to the kids, at various age appropriate over the span of a few days and instills in them some good and bad views of the Internet and people/life in general. Yes, I live in Florida and we have some issues, all the more reason why I ask you all, from wherever you are, for your insights.

Education is not enough. There are many software vendors with tools, but those will not work on mobile devices. There are trust issues between you and your kids, there is the possibility you will create more curiosity within your child to seek this information out or you may create a puritanical, religious zealot.

As we go forward into a social future and a younger generation that has less cares about their privacy and security, how do we save our kids from technology so to speak?

Executive Role for You?

In the hope this helps those looking for a new role.
Full Disclosure: I have received an account from the Ivy Exec team for posting this in my Linkedin group, Lotus Software Professionals and wanted to let everyone know about it.

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Basic Membership to Ivy Exec is free. We have also arranged with Ivy Exec
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We invite you to consider joining this exclusive network. Ivy Exec has
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network who would benefit.

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 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 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?


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.

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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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.

Thursday, October 7, 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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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, 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.$FILE/Experience%20Lotus5.pdf

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

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:

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.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Got Doc neighborhood errors for office 2010?

Domino Document Manager or as I call it Domino.doc or DomDoc is no longer keeping up to date, in fact it is end of life already.

For those of you with the ODMA connector installed and upgrading to Office 2007 or 2010 and get an error message when trying to save something, in this case it was Visio for me, the only MS Office product I use, you would get an error saying you can not use the doc neighborhood.

Since we still support DomDoc clients and I did not want to break what works on my laptop, there is an IBM Technote #1230216, called "Change ODMA integration using the Windows registry" that outlines how to selectively turn off ODMA in specific applications.

It worked very well and I want to make sure everyone who needs it can use it as a number of Doc customers come out of the woodwork and you may find yourself wondering what is wrong.