Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why isn't getting certified like getting a drivers license?

When I posted the other day about certification, I was being honest, it will bring us quite a bit of money, especially when we are done with them all over the next couple weeks, but I still don't like the whole idea.

While discussing this with a few people the idea that one studies for the exam, using whatever mock exam tools there are and then passes the exam seems to be a bit pointless.

Yes, I know, there are customers who expect it or demand it and some people that really believe in it, I'm just not one of those people. Never have, never will.

If you are an experienced individual and are taking the exams to set yourself apart from others, or even from within your own organization, that is a valid reason. After all if it will help you get a raise or promotion or a better job, why not?

If you are not very experienced or worse, have none, and you take the exams and then put yourself out as a Lotus or other product expert I have major issues with this.

And these types of people are out there, more and more, although it seems like they are almost all Windows Server or Exchange admins.

In my case I have never wanted to get certified. Aside from a handful of projects over the last 18 years or so, I can not say having any certs or not having any has mattered one bit. In fact, I missed more projects(and sometimes training events) because of religion related issues.

IBM and other vendors want to put forth their best foot forward, proud that they have gold level or whatever type of Business Partners. I don't blame them, but does it make a difference to the customers? Sure in some types of organizations, but in general no customer we were engaged with any projects ever stopped to ask me what we are certified in or when. So if our certs were for Lotus Connections, yet we are working on a Quickr project should or would that disqualify us? We hope not, but we have numerous Quickr projects to back up our work and knowledge.

Having certs or every cert does not make the partner. It may in IBM's eyes, but projects are not won on certs, they are won on relationships and the ability to actually talk to the customer on their level about the business, the technology and the future. No cert can provide that, nor can it ensure that the partner you are working with is honest and open about what they know or don't know or if they are going to pull a Microsoft Partner line and hit you up for money when you are deep in problems.

Unlike a driver's license, which one truly must pass in a live automobile on a real road sometimes in horrible weather, a paper or electronic test that does not involve real live workings or products just doesn't have that same authenticity to me, sorry I am just from the old school where "Getting Things Done" meant "Doing It Yourself" (hopefully with your team), not sitting back and saying you have a degree or a cert or don't get paid to "do" that work.

Save the server from crashing, produce an application using only 13 Lotuscript functions (and if it isn't possible be able to explain why or what is needed to accomplish the task), build a working LDAP environment, push out email to only one group of people, some of which no longer exist and where do they go if they don't exist? Active, realistic testing is much more important because this person being interviewed may or may not need to bother you at 3 in the morning sometimes.

The problem is unless you interview this way, you can not hire good people either. I generally do not interview people with certs that make no sense from their resume or the job being applied for. I can't put someone in front of a computer and say, fix it or do it. But I do ask open ended questions around issues that can appear. To be fair, I pick some from my blog posts to see how much research prospects do.

To all those who worked hard to get their certs through the years, I am jealous of you all. You did it when it really meant something to have it, or so it seemed to me.

Maybe if I had been thinking about it differently over the years I would have done it sooner, then again as I am a horrible test taker(something about always seeing a different opinion of what I am reading) I was a self fulfilling prophecy.

For now I am happy we meet the requirements and will continue to do so as long as we are an IBM Business Partner.

Today we sold....updated version

LotusLive Engage and Notes.

It's an interesting idea of Vaughan's to do this.

Who's next?

Edited 9:30am:

After reading Stuart's post I agree, some detail is in order.

The client wanted:
  1. To not have in house IT staff handling their email(we will manage it in the short term until their AA's can handle it)
  2. They wanted online meetings, many and the infrastructure costs for Sametime 8.5 put them off
  3. Secure file sharing(We may yet put in Quickr if they need more depth)
  4. Always up email(we presume Lotuslive will always be up)
  5. Smaller price to pay monthly on their whole order versus buying licenses, servers, hardware etc
  6. Quick and easy migration from their "free email that is painful" and they use Outlook Express to POP it right now

Monday, June 28, 2010

ID Registration via text file

Read on to download the spreadsheet.

If you never did this, this might be enlightening. If you have, I can understand why you might not choose to do it this way.

ID Vault is not running at this client. So I am not covering it in this post. Maybe next time.

It is fairly easy, once you get the spreadsheet file setup properly. More on that in a minute. Just follow these directions.

EDITED April 2014 because Info Centers no longer exist, follow these instructions:

EDITED October 2021 because it all belongs to HCL now and the other 2 links do not exist any longer.

Basically, you create a spreadsheet usually then copy and paste it into a text file, which must conform to a set amount of items and semicolons. This in itself is the most time-consuming part.

Edited April 2014: In windows 7/8 you may see extra space after you copy the text to notepad. the easiest way to clear it is using Find/Replace by copying the "space" that you find being added in the notepad version and replacing it with nothing. Do not put a space there or anything, just the find should have the copied space.
And you will be good to go.

But fear not dear readers, I have created a spreadsheet for you to work with and it can be found over here or here for an ODS version.

Open it up and you will see about 40 columns with header explanations and an example in row 2 for each column.

The ones marked Placeholder are for the semi-colons which MUST be after each entry or instead of an entry.

However, quite a few items are left out of the options requiring one to still manually add or change a few items. These are listed on the page referenced above but here is that list:

* Registration Server
* Password Quality Scale
* Set Internet password
* Internet address
* Internet Domain
* Format
* Mail server
* Mail file template
* Mail system
* Mail file name
* Mail file owner access
* Set database quota
* Set warning threshold
* Certifier ID
* Security type
* Certificate expiration date
* Store user ID in Domino Directory or File
* Add users to selected groups
* Local administrator
* Add Windows User Accounts

Also, note the expiration date for IDs should be changed here if you like to provide a bit of longer-term ID life.

You must open your Admin client, then go to Register person to bring up the sub-menus. at the submenu, click on advanced and the rest of the options appear.

Edit them PRIOR to importing the text file or one would need to edit every single person getting registered.

Word of warning, use a test user as a one-off text file reg and check everything is as you want it BEFORE loading that 3,000 user list.

Enter details as needed in each column. Remember, each item requires a ; after the text or if no text a ; just to get to the next field properly.

This was to do about 100 people and I couldn't find a previous version I made so this way I figured I would never lose it again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

8.5.2 Performance as told by a P3 server

Guest Blog by an HP Netserver with dual Pentium3 chips and 1gb RAM.

So there I was enjoying retirement when someone plugs in my power and starts checking my drives. My poor SCSI drives haven't gone for a run in a while, were mirrored but now split up and a whopping 18GB on each too.

Load up Windows 2003 server, I hear my brother in the row above me is getting 2008. My cousin below me is still on Windows 2000, he always was a bit slow on the uptake.

Next thing this guy starts loading this Domino server 8.5.2, some beta code. Like this will be fun, right? Bet it runs with that Firefox stuff he loaded. Remember Netscape? I used to run their web server once upon a time.

So with this he also installs Lotus Notes Traveler! I'm busier than I have been in years. Where am I going I wonder? Maybe that's the new PC Anywhere.

So we get configured, do some setup work and then after a fresh reboot thanks to some OS updates we start up. And wow this moves fast, imagine how it would be if I had 2GB of RAM or 4!

Wait, he left me, ouch, I am getting HTTP requests like mad, seems he is testing me, but I am able to hold my own, that's one huge attachment you sent there.

Just goes to show you, us old timers are real work horses, we don't need those fancy DVD burners or USB adapters to be useful.

So take it from me, if I can run 852 and have it move efficiently imagine how it will run on your network.
Beta code, no guarantee of anything will ship like it sounds. IBM reserves the right to adjust code as they see fit...But it is really efficiently faster than my 851 server.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Got Certification Yet?

It's worth over $100,000(as of current projections) to us for me to ensure we meet the latest IBM standards.

I never liked certification, and I still do not, but I can't argue with this incentive.

If you aren't going to meet IBM's requirements, let me know as we are looking to expand our business, probably to your city/state or even country.

What apps should there be?

Work the Web

The problem with having a template for an application out of the box is you can't code one thing for everyone.

Take the guys in sales, if it isn't a one button wonder, they don't use it.

Take the team walking the street or knocking on doors, they need simple apps which are predefined with a lot of information.

How about insurance people? Notorious for being anti-technology the younger generation gets it and uses it, the older ones still don't understand me when I ask for a quote for health insurance showing multiple options and pricing, etc..

Car sales people? The shiny new toy is meaningless if it won't help sell a car.

Years ago I asked a room full of bankers where my mortgage application is online for me to do via cell phone. None were available then, today, some are.

Times change, applications change too, as do the way they interact with people and how people want to interact with them.

So if you had to define a list of new applications to sell people on for Domino, and Connections actually is a great app, what apps should there be?

The problem is, in some cases, the same apps we have seen and used, are still what people need. Yes, they want them on their phones or web based but maybe that is what this is all about. Work the Web.

Then again, maybe not, maybe it's about having a more interactive business application with a consumer function? Every customer has their own ideas.

I don't see or hear about free Websphere applications, yet it sells fine without them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Client Budget Meetings and The Enterprise

I love when clients have budget meetings and let me assist.

Not common of course, but we all get our projects added here, some time there, but I advocate something bigger which takes some effort, but can be hugely beneficial.

I've discussed this before, but it's time to revisit it.

If you are an employee in a mid to large multinational company and you are asked about what projects are needed, do you outline the following and ask for it? If yes, I love you, let's do lunch, if not, I love you more, let's do lunch.

Let's use for this example a 5,000 employee company who runs a mixture of R6,7,8 with the usual Sametime, Quickr and probably BES for fun, oh and we will now include Connections too. Here is the list to think about:

Licenses - You probably are out of line with whatever IBM has for you, so you need to get that sorted out. Or worse, you are on R6 because you dropped maintenance, ouch, get it sorted out.

Clustering - You do cluster everything, don't you? You have 100% uptime as far as users are concerned right? You don't? Really? You like getting chewed out by the CXO and your manager and his manager? And please check the Cluster Database to make sure all mail files are the correct clustered server...with proper access in their ACLs.

Hardware - Yes, Domino can run on your grandmothers Compaq Proliants from 2001 but seriously is that what you use still? No one ever complains about performance do they? Must be..

Routers/Telecom - Still haven't updated anything since 2005? You know there is this thing called VOIP which you are using that is probably eating all your bandwidth. Poor Sametime especially when you do that company wide meeting.

SMTP/Fax - Still only have one point of failure, I mean communication? What do you mean the fax server doesn't work with digital lines. Oh and you did set up TLS right?

Backup - Who needs this? Clustering works right? If not, we may want to look into this better, but if everything gets upgraded, guess what else needs it.

Compliance - Lawsuit? Who would sue us? What do you mean we have less than 3(Ok, maybe it's 10 I don't deal with it that often) days to provide the Supreme Court with details?

VM - Love it or hate it, it could save your skin, how many old servers did you have in that cluster?

Notes Clients - Yep, Upgrade Sites work, but not so well if you truly have a mix of clients and servers going back so far. Get to a standard place and then make it happen.

Standard Template - You have how many template versions out there? More than a dozen, some from R4?!?!

Mail Routing - You did optimize it all, right? None of those extra connection documents causing overhead issues?

OS Updates - Windows, RHEL, AIX, iSeries, etc.. they all have patches and for good reasons, don't tell the security guys you are 6-9 months behind on this.

ODS - You must get all files to the latest ODS. Performance benefits, disk space as well, just do it.

Resources - How else are you going to get ANY of the above done if you don't have proper resources?

Standardization - All servers run different builds, multiple Notes Named Networks, still no port encryption on some servers, open access to anyone?! Do y ou even know which ACLs need to be fixed?

iNotes - I shudder to think how many servers you are probably wasting right now because they are web only servers from pre R8 and do not provide the best experience to everyone.

BES - I met your CXO and they want Sametime on their Blackberry(go download my document if you never did it) and they want more mobility of applications(We can help you with this in a simple way, actually a few ways).

So when you go into that budget meeting, ask for approximately, $500 per user and then let someone work you down.

Yes, $500 multiplied by 5,000 people is $2.5 million. Don't try this every year of course, or maybe you should. This is how you prove your Enterprise class infrastructure. You can buy a car and as it becomes a classic car you end up overhauling the engine, repainting it, upholstering it etc. BUT unlike a car which usually does not provide a good ROI, you have a great opportunity here.

That is what a world class enterprise deserves to get budgeted to be respected by the execs in charge and provide a huge ROI to every person in the business.

On the flip side, some of you will argue this feeds the enemies. But it is all in how you approach this. Will post in a day or 2 on this question.

Don't believe me, here is a simple ROI. You can and will save every person in the company 15 minutes a day once this is all done. Which is 75 minutes a week or over the year 3,750 minutes or about 62.5 hours. A week and a half, per person. Average wage being $25 or more per hour means the $500 would be used up in 20 hours or less.

I just provided 3 times the return on investment in regained resources per employee. Soft money, yes, but with mobile apps and more efficient work force there should be better monetary gains. Also some people will now be able to meet various deadline for reporting more efficiently. Especially if you plan to use some dashboards.

Want a different view, if it works for your org, go to LotusLive for Connections(called Engage) and also get the SameTime meetings thrown in. A much cheaper option when you do the numbers (remember this is not a technical discussion about security or other issues one may experience when mentioning the Cloud, right now).

Now throw in performance times of backups, hardware costs that get expensed or leased back, better performance, reduced downtime, less headaches from IT to upper management(priceless).

This is not perfect, inside your organization there are many issues, you will say but we have old laptops or we need more people or are you our of your mind?

No, I am not. Don't believe me? Ask your boss's boss how much needs to be asked for to get a special budget meeting for an Enterprise requirement or what examples of "Strategic Projects" got funded and by how much. Don't forget you need a business sponsor usually to help you and/or divisional leaders that buy in to how you will make them look better by improving their weekly/monthly metrics. If you don't see how I can say this, again, let's do lunch.

If you only go nickel and dime your management for small potatoes of 10K, 25K or even 50K, your infrastructure suffers which leads to failure of communication between CXO's which leads to us getting called in, usually after some major IT issue to fix it all up and we get to charge whatever we want just to get it all back up and running.

Sure we like this road, but the road we prefer is when management never screams at you and instead promotes you for saving the company money(new apps or improved response time alone in processing older ones), improving the productivity and providing mobility to a work force that needs it.

Dear IBM Support Toolbar UI Team

Are you from the team that designs Partnerworld's puzzling ways.

I have sent numerous messages from your website asking about all of this, and received not even one reply of acknowledgment. Maybe someone will see this and wonder why usage dropped off so much. Or maybe I am wrong. I will gladly post if I am wrong after some discussion with you.

I have been a huge advertiser for the Support Toolbar since finding a few years back and not only have posted about it and its great use and benefits on this blog many times, I have encouraged countless admins, developers, customers and attendees at sessions I have given to use it throughout the world.

Sadly with the most recent changes to it, I am at a loss for words to explain the mess it is now. Perhaps it is only me but when changing the UI you appear to have given little thought to the U(User) in UI or UX(User Experience).

It was so simple, (see this page for the old look)customizable, to the point, searches provided detail about the information found so I never had to guess if I was looking at a redbook fragment or a technote. Plus you could do everything from it, fix central to forums to trial downloads, sandbox/ldd, I mean I literally used it for everything I needed.

But now you have completely lost me. (See this page for the new look and to download it because it still helps, just not as well)

So we went from having extremely detailed options, by pillar, to a button that does nothing more than go to a Pillar's support home page? And they all look alike, you could at least add some color scheme in the Pillar colors, even the usual logo would be nice so at 1st glance one knows where they landed.

Who was this change aimed at? What used to be a simple click or 2 to get to a forum list now causes more clicks. Yes, I know, you have a nice shiny new portal. I don't care. Time is of the essence when I am using this tool and you now cause me to waste more time for every effort, so much so I stopped using the toolbar. And no, I do not use the Support Portal either because Google, believe it or not, finds the details quicker now.

Searches provide perhaps more targeted information, but I have to try to guess what is a technote, an article or a redbook, when before it was customizable.

One used to be able to show or search whatever you wanted. So if I did not want any Rational returns in my search I disabled them, as well as not showing Rational in my toolbar at all.

I love IBM Support, they are great people and always helpful.

This is about a tool, which should be for PEOPLE to use, not a computer or some other marketing effort to get people to use the Support Portal page. The toolbar was the greatest self help piece of software to come out of IBM in a long time, not just Lotus stuff but for everything it covered.

At least the option to upload files from the Toolbar did not go away.

Getting off my soap box now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sorry Been Busy with Customers

Seems like I missed some reading this week. I was busy with customers. And even busier next week with them. We have meetings with 6 over the next week. A really busy schedule and I am not even going to some in person because of distances, luckily we use LotusLive Engage for these.

As I have posted recently the world of infrastructure is booming. Budgets are finally open(well some are), customers are calling and being receptive to our calls.

Life is Compared to the 2nd half of 2009.

But it's been hard, no question.

Oh, and we don't sell Microsoft or Google or Oracle.

We sell IBM products and services, lately more Websphere.

Not just Lotus services and licenses.

Oh, and we don't do Domino application development. We have partners to help if the customer asks, but that is maybe 5-10% of business.

We work with IBM sales teams, some better than others, but in a large family not everyone sees eye to eye and it's a big world. SMB markets need more sales people and IBM recognizes that the small sales staff in some places must work with BPs and luckily some are doing so with us. Out LCTY last week provided excellent leads as well.

Customers moving from Domino.Doc to Quickr, leveraging LotusLive, Sametime 8.5 upgrades and implementations, New Notes/Domino installs, Upgraded 2 customers from R5/6 to R851, Websphere installs, support issues and disaster planning(we are in South Florida).

But zero Lotus connections. This may change shortly after some local LUG and PoT events.

We work with our vendors/partners to go directly to clients. We don't argue with them and we believe that our honesty with them is returned and appreciated. Of course it is not always returned, but that is how life works and we do the best we can. Sometimes honesty can hurt sales, especially in time related matters but we'd rather retain a customer than lose them forever.

It's still hard to believe one of our customers jumped to Exchange and we got caught flat footed. But as I tell people, if we never meet the CEO, especially, then there is always a chance of it happening. One IBM rep wants to go in and save it, we would try, but the CEO is not going to let it happen. We are looking for an exit interview so to speak to understand what we(read IBM and us) could have done better. We know some answers and they were beyond our control and that hurts the most.

But the life of a BP is not easy sometimes and it takes a lot of strength to keep moving forward in the face of adversity.

So while we are not hiring today, we are seeing business grow and some of you may get calls from us to help on a contract basis or join us before the year is out.

I think that is a good reason I have been offline or not blogging.

Ethics in Business, Starts before the Interview

Recently I got into a discussion on Twitter with a recruiter of sales people for among other fields, the medical industry.

This recruiter had posted that she received a Starbucks card with a resume. She thought that was a great idea.

I replied, I thought it was in poor taste for her to think this was a good idea. Not only would this bring her a mound of cards probably, what message does it send to prospects and clients?

Namely that she can be bribed? Is that what you want to have your customer hire?

I was not the only one to remark in this fashion and the recruiter replied to us that it was a unique and eye catching way to catch her attention. Yes, I agreed, but it is still a bribe.

If it was from someone she placed, or got an interview and it could be seen as a token gesture of thanks, I have no problem with that(although if you work in politics, you should not accept it and if you do please report it appropriately).

I asked her if she was in politics would she still think it was a good idea? Down here in Florida we have had practically whole councils of people under investigation and jail for similar type incidents.

She replied she isn't in politics so it doesn't matter.

At that reply I just stopped bothering.

If you are supposed to be finding employees, I would expect you would want to find honest and above board people that understand the difference between right and wrong in a sales transaction because that employee may one day cause your business major headaches or become CEO.

Sending a resume in a box marked medical supplies could have accomplished the same benefit and left one free to discuss great openings into new accounts.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Gave Her Everything....

"She threw it all away on nothin'" - Tom Petty, Woman in Love

It's true in almost everything in business as well as life.

How many times do you put everything into a client, only to see them go to a competitor? Or someone gets fired and you lose the opportunity?

And what do they always choose? Nothin' in our eyes.

But something in theirs.

Are they right? Are we wrong? Does it really matter?

Your family depends on you and your job which depends on you to bill clients or find new business with them. You, not IBM, are on the hot seat. So what are you going to go do about it?

Is the economy better? Yes, no? Does it matter?

Do we need LCTY, LUG and other events to find new customers? Raise awareness? Help with publicity?

Yes we do.

But are we always fishing in the same barrel? When was the last time you called up a Microsoft shop and offered Lotus Connections? Do you normally let all your friends know what you sell or manage or work on? Does your Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook profiles mention it at all? Most of you reading this do, but how do you get your clients to do this as well?

While at our LCTY 2 days ago I got an email, via Linkedin, from a friend who lives in Israel asking me about Lotus Sametime. Haven't seen him for a few years and we catch up rarely, but he had to find me via Linkedin because he was searching for Sametime in his network.

Sometimes it takes so little to get so much in return, but do you have the long haul interest or only short term in mind?

Do you blog? There is nothing more thankless than blogging...for the 1st year or so for most people. It takes a while to get a following but then you have a readership and the rest is up to you.

We put a lot of effort into our LCTY event, the sessions and the golf. IBMers got to scratch off another tick box on their targets and goals for 2010 and we are happy to help them get to their goals. We understand what drives our IBM team because for us to be successful, we need to help them be. And we respect their opinions and help, do you? It may seem like you give IBM everything, but how many of us want something for nothing?

Why were there not 100's of LCTY events across the US? By the way, never have them within 200 miles of each other, one piece of advice Florida learned over the last year.

In return for helping the IBMers meet their goals, we want some help to meet our goals because true collaboration is open sharing. Will it really hurt ISSL or IGS if someone spends a few hours to help a key customer to a BP, once or twice?

More than one IBMer let me know they were really happy to not only come, and see some customers, but even be invited! Don't get me wrong, we did not invite every IBMer we know, but some key topic area people as well as in state people is the best way to encourage your business with IBM and clients. There are 300-400,000 IBMers in the world, find them and get to know them best you can in your neck of the woods.

We encouraged other BPs to work with us on the event although few did, some never returned emails or calls. Which left me wondering if they truly understand what the Lotus brand really is about. Yes, it was "our" event, but the greater good is what is important, like Sal G. told me. together we are strong.

We already have meetings set up for next week from the event so it was a success at that level. Sometimes you do an event and you put your all into it and nothing comes from it. Short term. Long term, if you are honest and open with your sharing/collaboration, as I found the other day, clients will love you more in the long term.

I go back 15 years with some of the customers that attended, the people who came from those organizations were impressed with my background info on everything they have been dealing with and wonder why we haven't been out there recently. I wonder too sometimes, but the truth is business runs in cycles, as does management.

Being a Business Partner is not for everyone. It is ups and downs, and rarely at times expected, and you want to give in some times, maybe you blame your vendors for their marketing/pricing/attitude issues or maybe you don't.

Keep giving it your all, else "Don't try to talk, don't say nothin".

LCTY Miami/Ft Lauderdale/Boca was Great

Sorry you missed it and the golf, but we have pictures.
LCTY South Florida

Our day was a beautiful day in South Florida for the event, good thing given we were golfing afterwards.

What? Golfing? At an LCTY event? Yes we did.
Call it LGWY, Lotusphere Golfs With You.
Lotusphere Golfs with You

Grande Oaks is the site of the movie Caddyshack and they have some great fun with it throughout the building.

CaddyShack Was Filmed here, see the Gopher?

We had over 40 people registered, about 30 came out to listen to us and network. I met some people I haven't seen in years and others who knew me from their readings of my posts and other past events.Just one picture of some of the attendees:
Attendees at the LCTY Florida in Miami 2010

Started the day with fellow South Floridian, Steve Zahavi(IBM Business Unit Executive, General Business & Channels, North America) who keynoted and later presented on Lotus Connections and Social Networking for the Enterprise. Great stuff and we are looking at a Proof of Technology possibly in July on Connections. So if interested let me know so we can encourage IBM to do the event.

If you can't wait, let me know as well and we can set you up in a few minutes to go enjoy Lotus Connections yourself, even if you are not in Florida or the US.

Mike Behar (IBM Business Unit Executive, Software Group)was next with a discussion around all things LotusLive and Cloud Computing. Unfortunately our client, the first to sign on to LotusLive in Florida could not make it, but others in the audience have been looking at this as well.

Following Mike was Joel Gomez (IBM Integration Solution Architect) to discuss DataPower an SOA appliance(yes, it comes in YELLOW!) from the Websphere team on how to utilize your data for Portal and Domino, among other great benefits of this product. We have customers interested in this and maybe it will work for you as well. Follow the link to read more about it, then if you have more questions let me know.

Kim Artlip (IBM WW Sales Executive for Lotus Sametime and UC²) came down from Tampa, presented an excellent "Day in the Life of" a Sametime/UC² person. Everyone wanted to hear more about this subject, if you ever need Sametime help or advice get a hold of Kim, your boss will thank you.

One of our Sponsors was Research in Motion who sent Charles Schultz (RIM Software Architect, Enterprise Partner Solutions) from the Ft. Lauderdale office. Did you know the development work on the Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections clients is done down here? Well now you do. Charles also gave away a new Blackberry Device to one lucky winner.

By the time we finished, around 12:45 everyone was itching to go play a round of golf. Luckily the weather held out, no rain, some clouds, a bit of wind and a lot of fun for everyone.

Sponsors also provided some great items which we gave out:

Thanks again to all the IBM team that helped us, Cathy, Becky, Jamie, Tracy, Larry(on Vacation and he came out for the event), all the speakers, Bob Currie SAS CEO, the entire staff at Grande Oaks especially Barrie and Marie, but most importantly all the customers who came out for the event.

Hope to see you all, and more, next year at the event. I think we have found an excellent place.

Pictures will be posted shortly and I will include a link when they are ready.

PS - Hold July 14th open for the next SLUG (Southeast Lotus User Group) meeting

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"RCP Base plug-in not found" error Symphony Install

Damn it Jim, I'm an Admin not a developer, stupid RCP error.

This was posted in the Symphony Forum here and I can safely say after clearing 2 pcs with this error, this was the only way to fix it. I had used beta 2 until recently and had issues and was just going to go back and use Lotus Smartsuite which still runs and works(I have that client that uses Approach) when the announcement came out to use beta3. Now I have to reload all my plugins too.

Symphony 1.3 installation issue
Please uninstall Symphony 1.3 from Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs first and then install again.

If you don't see Symphony listed in the Control Panel(OR in my case it would not uninstall), you can use manual uninstall process below.

1 - Close IBM Lotus Symphony if it is running.
2 - Use the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to remove IBM Lotus Symphony. You can download the utility from the following location:
3 - Delete the desktop icon and Start menu item.
4 - If it is running, end the soffice.exe and soffice.bin processes from the Task Manager window, then remove the installation folder, for example, C:\Program Files\IBM\Lotus\Symphony.

The utility in step 2, Windows Installer Cleanup Utility, will appear in your programs list without a folder.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Customer, however odd, is Always Right

We have all heard about the owner that is paranoid...I have met him. Many times. Multiple times, in fact, CEOs aren't as paranoid as an owner of a private company.

Owners are unique, they have done everything at one time and now as business booms and they get larger, fear for their IP, intellectual property.

Maybe it's a business report, financing, merger details, secret projects but whatever it is, they want it kept secret and away from everyone.

Excellent, that's why they use Lotus Notes and Domino, for it's levels of security.

I was asked to monitor who was attempting to access certain files(email mail boxes and an application) by an owner. No problem, configure DDM, set up specific rules to report ONLY to me, not the normal admins.

Ok, so I get the usual SMTP, network related messages, we cleared it down to just watch for anyone trying to access the files.

Lo and behold, he was right. The owner picked out someone and wanted to be alerted if I received any notifications about them. I did.

So now the question becomes what data do i want to keep for compliance/legal purposes? Copies of the email notifier of course, but logs too?

Another client wanted to ensure absolutely no one could access his email, even if he himself messed it up he did not want me or any admin to fix it. I did not agree that this was a good idea but provided him some guidelines to secure his mail file and encrypt it. I pointed out that my not having "God" access as he called it would create issues for the rest of the employees. We even discussed creating his own server and domain for him alone.

So never question the paranoia or odd requests from owners of businesses because they do know what they are talking about usually.