Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Less IBM Moments?!

There was a posting that came out titled We need more Apple/Google/Amazon moments, less IBM moments from Vinnie Mirchandani.

The post is interesting in his view of HP and IBM among others. He starts well:
HP’s many announcements in the past weeks led observers to say this was its “IBM” inflexion point – deemphasize consumer tech, get more into enterprise tech.
And you think it will be a nice post for IBM. But it soon turns into "The funny thing is I see in different ways IBM longing for some of its consumer roots."
Consumer roots? IBM? They have never really been about consumers, aside from the Lotus division, now referred to as ICS or IBM Collaboration Solutions. Thinkpads and PCs aside which were really aimed at corporates and some consumer side people.

Then he says:
The argument is IBM has shown enterprise revenue to be higher margin, more predictable etc. I would argue the better metric to use if what percentage of revenues comes from products introduced in the last 5 years and Apple, Amazon, Google blow IBM away by the wide margin on that metric.
Here is where it gets interesting, he doesn't care that IBM stock is at a high not seen for almost a decade, instead he looks at the short term benefits. IBM Connections does meet the 5 year guide and IBM says it is the fastest selling solution ever. Is it an iPod, iPad or iPhone revenue stream? Not likely, but then IBM looks at the long road picture, not the short term what's shiny today view which the author shared.

But the crux of the matter is the author really wants to sell his new book and so in typical fashion, instead of being professional and discussing his book, he takes shots at IBM.

And my next book profiles enterprises in at least 50 industries that are developing “smart” products and services – smart pens, shirts, medical devices, digital citizen services.
So naturally IBM would not be included because it's not about the consumer? Strange perspective. Amazon is not using EC2 aimed at consumers. Google charges for their corporate apps, but the rest are generally FREE. Only Apple charges for everything and they deserve it too given their generally high quality efforts. Since he says industries, hard to think of ANY industry that is not getting some benefit out of software or devices in one way or another.

And finally the one which drove me to a prolonged comment on his post:
IBM launched its Social Business initiative at Lotusphere – Lotus is two decades old technology! IBM first talked about On-Demand computing in 2001 – a decade later we are still waiting for its version of Azure.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he is impressed Lotus Notes is at the forefront of this initiative. Damn straight it's 20 years old, because it's that good!

Taking the opposite view he is not interested in "older technology" just new and shiny.  As I pointed out in the comments, it's not like the software has sat for 20 years with no changes. If it was truly a bad product it would have been pulled long ago. No, the reality is tech writers hate Lotus Notes because they need something new to write about, not something that gets updates. Although they seem happy to post about any thing Microsoft does to update their DOS based Windows options. Is it readership? A numbers game? If so, why does so much press go to Apple? A niche, still, within the market but growing. Celebrity status will always trump reality unfortunately. I don't blame them they have a job to do and when I can I help them see the other side of their "conclusions".

I challenge the author or any other tech writer to do some investigative work on how many of the Fortune 100 companies uses Domino for some applications and messaging that is critical to their business. The results may surprise them.  You can argue whatever you want, but if companies really did not get a benefit out of using Domino I am quite sure IBM would drop it permanently and so would they.

We need more IBM moments like Watson, like Jams, like LUGs, like Smarter Planet and maybe some will be coming out at that Lotusphere thing in January 2012 that will play to the consumer side more. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #65: Name Changing Works

So many companies tout their collaboration and social business solutions as though they are unique. Naturally they never bring up the path that led them to be this way.

And why not? Do you discuss every teacher, class, game or boss that shaped you? Yet, do you go around saying you are better than your teachers or mentors?

But that is not how business works. Business works on bludgeoning the competition or ignoring it entirely. Stay focused on your product, your goals, the competition? Who has time for them anyway?

Is there a right or wrong way? Probably not. But if you represent that original patent or technology or solution, why not use that to your advantage? Why shy away from a robust history in favor of a shallow existence?

History is filled with companies and products that experienced renaissance's, and yours is just as likely to do so. Look at Apple, Nokia, IBM, Vespa, Harley Davdison, Fender, GM, Ford and The Mini car(too many corporate owners to list). Each of these companies went through down times as well as up times, in many cases still doing the same thing they always did, sometimes without changing anything except management.

Would a Stratocaster be as cherished if it was called something else? Perhaps. But even the off models had their fans. The look and feel are retro, but GM, Dodge, Ford all have iconic brands with loyal fans that are just happy the Camaro or Hemi returned.

Even Fiat has, after 20 something years returned to the US to sell their cars. Hope springs eternal..

Talk about the rich traditions, bring up the history, impress upon customers your depth of experience and integration, your seamless integration or your Web 2.0 coolness. Just don't think changing your name will be an elixir by itself, change your attitude, your management or its style and you too may have a renaissance.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2,670 Attempts in 11 minutes

Hackers still trying to break in using LDAP on one of our web facing Domino Servers.

If you do not use DDM on your public side servers, you may be missing hackers attempts.

This was from 2:30 am EST to 2:41am EST an average of 243 attempts per minute or 4 a second.

My phone was not happy for a little while as DDM sends me alarms for security failed login attempts.

Maybe there should be a LDAP attempt block lockout, like user logins get blocked if they fail to login properlyh after x number of times.

If you think so, go vote at Ideajam, someone posted this over 2 years ago!

Expanding Domino Web Lockout feature to work with LDAP

Idea Author: Bosco D'Souza40 on 12 Apr 2009
Status: Open

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quickr 8.5 for Websphere Portal Cluster Install doc

I have been on site all week at a client that was a little out of my depth. Sure Quickr is one thing, clustered Websphere Network Deployment (WAS ND for those in the know) with Network Deployment Manager on top of it is another story.

Most of our clients run Quickr Domino or J2EE usually in a stand alone situation.

How hard could it be to cluster it and get it all together? Right?

Let me just say building servers or clusters in a group is not easy, especially when I have no access to the outside world and am not the one doing the work. I was advising and translating IBM speak to the clients. But watched the team build a server, which we did pretty well considering we did not have this document that I found eventually.

Clustering IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for WebSphere Portal: An end-to-end Guide
By: Jeff Johnson, WebSphere Portal Customer Enablement Team
IBM Collaboration Solutions, IBM Software Group
Durham, NC US from February 2011

We had all types of issues, from server outages, forced updates during what I consider normal working hours(meaning before 8pm), oops I rebooted the server the middle of editing key parts and thus corrupting the install, servers being shut down by IT support without warning, IP/DNS issues, blocked ports on the servers themselves and well, not one of my better efforts including being unable to tether my netbook to my cell phone.

But this document really does a great job and following it will provide you to your ending.

Keep in mind when the installation says this will take a few minutes, it means 15-30 and the whole process can take hours to complete not including customizations and other configurations, just letting you know in case you ever need to do this for yourself or a client.

Fud Buster Friday #64: Quickr is Dead?

 At The View conference, I explained to the room full of Quickr Admins that Quickr is live and well and IBM has plans for the future.

This is from what I saw and heard at Lotusphere 2011.

While the arguments about Quickr J2EE for Websphere Portal range from "why isn't it part of IBM Connections", not that Quickr for Domino is part of it, to "who uses Quickr?"

Here are some Quickr customer references in case you were wondering who uses it.

The truth is Quickr serves purposes within the IBM portfolio that are very useful to many organizations.

Maybe you have a sales organization that needs to stay on top of the latest info, pricing, competitive info. Or perhaps you want to share information with an external source or client.

In these cases, Connections does provide an increasingly more productive way to accomplish these tasks. So it is easy to see why some IBM competitors say Quickr is dead. But again, the truth is far from this.

Project based efforts, client engagements and more, require more depth than what is currently in Connections, the type of depth and details are what make Quickr so useful.

At this junction, IBM sales is quite regularly selling Quickr coupled with Connections to provide a full collaborative solution to cover both the project needs such as multiple levels of files and more granular security in addition to being able to easily create blogs, wikis and share the information outside your organization.

Quickr is not only about file sharing, as many people think. This misnomer comes from competitors who wish to pigeon hole it as a limited product to compare to their own limitations. Quickr has check in and check out benefits as well as a deep directory structure for files.

If your company is looking at a workflow process for your projects or business deals, then Quickr meets that requirement too over Connections.

Quickr provides an integrated calendar sharing for the sites and your projects. Sites are what one may think of as a group or project. There are also Lists, multiple place templates, custom document types too.

Need Quickr on the run? There are mobile options for phones and iPhones and iPads.

Naturally Quickr integrates very well with your existing Lotus Notes and Domino environments, Sametime too, from attachments stored directly inside a Quickr site from any email sent to dragging and dropping emails into sites to keep all information in one place.

Quickr, as well as Connections, integrate into your existing environment of Office and with Outlook as well.  From this wiki page for Connections 3.x:
Install the SharePoint widget and make it available to community owners. A community owner can then add the widget to a community so that community members can view and edit files uploaded from a SharePoint server.
Quickr relies on its Connectors to provide integration. This reference about the Connectors elaborates:

Using the place connector for Microsoft Office, users can exploit the updated Lotus Quickr Ribbon Tab Add-in for Microsoft Office 2007 if they use the Add-in tab. All activities that users can perform from this connector are available on the Places tab in the Office ribbon, which appears next to the Add-In tab. The Ribbon is an enhancement of the previous toolbar and menu options that were available for earlier versions of Microsoft Office as well as previous versions of the connectors installed in Microsoft Office 2007.  The toolbar also exists for versions of Microsoft Office prior to 2007.

But enough about the integration, that was not really the reason for this post, although the truth should be seen and heard, or better yet experienced.

While IBM does not expect to ship any major products this year, pending the arrival of the Vulcan efforts, it does not mean they have not been extending the product lines with point releases and other updates like support for 64-bit which came out in June. Luis Benitez, Quickr for Domino Product Manager just last week posted an update on Quickr and Connection integration.

The ease of use and installation, out of the box, for Quickr for Domino , slightly more effort for clustering, also helps provide a quick ROI. Quickr J2EE can also be used out of the box, runs on Websphere and can likewise be up and running, again with slightly more effort for Clustering.

Based on my session at The View for Quickr admins, I had a good percentage of the show attendees in my session which is a great showing to me that Quickr has not gone away, a number of people had just put it in and were getting trained on it even. So it is far from dead.

The book I co-authored, which is on the top right side of my blog, was written knowing there is a growing interest in the product again.

IBM has the numbers and while I can only guess at them, I do not believe it is dying, in fact, because of Connections, Quickr is growing. Why? Because together the two products complement each other. By providing project efforts, coupled with external and internal collaboration, and without ANY programming involved, you can extend your business and learn more about your own employees. Enable them to easily blog, post to wiki's, share files, secure project data and receive proactive notifications of all of the activity, as much or as little as required.

That is true collaboration.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My iNotes Redirector Posts all in one Place

Since the posts prove to be the most popular on my blog, I created a page just for the related posts about the iNotes/Webmail/DWA Redirector.

Any new ones will get added there as well.


21+ Easy ways to be an Admin Champion

Sam commented on this post about "How an Admin Could Sell Domino to Management" with the following:
Further to this, do you have a list of "easy wins" that you think every client should have installed? What would this list look like?
I'm thinking of things like Sametime, Swiftfile, Spell Check...and much more, but...when you do a new install, do you have a checklist that you follow?
 The simple answer is yes, there are basic things everyone should do, but do I have a checklist, not exactly. These won't necessarily make you an IBM Champion, but they should make you one in your company.

There are easy things to do but to really encourage usage, you need to give everyone the tools and then show them, teach them how to use them, in video, person or emails.

1) Sametime basic is still part of entitlement, use it if you don't have full Sametime, install this on your mail server or something else, anything else.

2) There have been add-ons like SwiftFile and then there are some great widgets produced for the Sidebar. While talking about the sidebar apps, see this post on a bunch of them and the prior one it links to as well.

3) Enable the Widget Catalog, AA's probably will like the Fedex, UPS tracking widgets as an example. There is a widget catalog available from a few places. Here is one, and another from IBM.

4) Sales people may like having the CRM app in the sidebar as well, you can pick a view, form or the whole db.

5) LiveText is also important as it can do so many things from using Google maps to locate addresses in emails to more integrated lookups like Linkedin. Here is a link to the docs on LiveText.

6) Policies make the help desk life easier, spell check enabled is a good start. Configure as many of the "default" settings which everyone will need. Think about every setting you configure for an install and you get the idea. You do configure the installs, even a little bit right? RIGHT?

7) Synch passwords, not just single sign on to Windows but also for iNotes. I thought I posted this but could not find it. Here is the Technote #1229510.

8) iNotes redirector - make it easy to remember,, see my iNotes tab for the posts on iNotes or the slides page for past presentations on it. (missing the slides, will find them and post shortly).

9) Managed replicas which is new in 8.5 will also make life easier, here's how.

10) Signatures, explain the differences and send an example for the company to use, or add it to the mail template for everyone as a default.

11) If you have a few minutes customize the company memo template fields with your company logo too.

12) Preload the personal names.nsf with connection docs for your servers for external and internal usage, if applicable.

13) Lotus Notes Traveler, just do it. Some recent BPs have made some other enhancements you may want to look into as well. Extracomm has one for OoO click here to learn more

14) Quickr connectors, if you use Quickr. See my slides from The View on how to pre list some places for new installs, it's towards the end.

15) Configure Activities if you have Connections installed. Disable it if you don't via policies.

16) Sametime online meetings, did you know you can pre define your conference line numbers in preferences settings? DO IT!  You can also add it to the calendar profile settings for users.

17) Also set up rooms and reservations, and make people use it to book conference rooms.

18) Explain how to save individual emails or drag n drop them to a Quickr site in connectors.

19) Remind users that the larger their inbox, the longer it takes to open and do anything, especially if working off the server.

20) Set up an external db for larger files for external clients to access, define login/passwords. Large companies have other methods but smaller ones just send it. Bad idea on many levels to the server, clients and your network bandwidth.

21) Security, enable your server for encryption, compression and do the same for the clients, again via policies.

No doubt there are ones I am forgetting and ones others set, please comment for everyone to learn.

Share because you care.

In short, the basics are there and if you did all of these, and these really are the basics, start looking at usage.

PS - If you don't need quotas, don't use them, biggest pain to users.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #63: Diet Coke is good for you

I love this one. It just amuses me to no end.

There are people out there who really believe drinking Diet Coke is better for them, in some way, than drinking regular coke.

Got news for you all, drink water, and no matter how much you pay for it, tap water, in most civilized countries is perfectly fine for you.

Do you really think drinking a 2 liter bottle of this stuff a day or 3-4 cans is good for you? Drinking it instead of regular Coke will save your waist line?

Now what is this really about? Perception.

Is the Cloud good for you? Or is it like Diet Coke and just easier on your waist line of business, called your budget?

What about Outsourcing? Is that just a Diet Coke to reduce your budget as well?

What's wrong with hiring people and managing your own servers? Drink the Coke.

Licensing doesn't go away, entirely, other expenses have a similar trap.

Maybe it's the belief in someone else's initiatives? You have run out of ideas and think someone else knows better? Like everything else in life, it only works part of the time as planned.

Is it easier to drink Diet Coke then eat better? What if you just drank water instead? Change your viewpoint and see what you are doing from another angle.

The world around you is not waiting for anything. You want something, you go do it, but don't be fooled by marketing and sales campaigns that are aimed not to help you, but sell more product.

Advertising works evidently, shocking, I know. But next time you reach for a Diet Coke, or a software equivalent, think about it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #62: What if They are Right?

The ever popular, They, do everything. They go on vacation, They went out last night, They are on Twitter or Google+.

But when it comes down to knowing what is good for your company, what do They really know?

Do They understand the multinational language issues? Or do They really support every mobile device as they claim...even the ones not available in the US?

What about when the sales people come in to let you know all about how Others(a euphemism for They) have taken up with the new Macguffin and their world is amazing now. They save money, They have less headaches, They have moved forward, They are better than you.


I understand there is a method to this sales madness, and in truth it works for some people on both sides of the fence. But does it really work in a modern world of social business?

If we believe what we hear or read, again from Others, then people ask Others for advice and look to their peers for more insight and gauge which way the wind is blowing.

But what if the wind is blowing from Florin or towards Guilder? How does one know which way to go? Are the new 2.0 companies truly on par with the big boys? Are the big boys really in the know?

Does it really make a difference which solution you choose for your company in the long run?

Sometimes, it does.
Is it because They told you so and it worked somehow?
Or did You knew what you needed and went after it and found a company that listened to You.

They don't care about your company usually.

Find a vendor who cares about you and not just your license or services revenue, this passion is what They are usually missing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mac Quirk in Notes Clients?

At a client site that has not been updated to 852fp3 yet from fp2, one person using a Mac started having problems sending emails to everyone. Almost everyone is on 852fp2 clients, some home users may not be although SmartUpgrade is running.

We started seeing Word docs attached with the odd extension of .doc.hqx.

When I asked around got some funny answers but yes this is an up to date Mac user and Notes clients and server. We still have no idea what changed, or when, but here are some things to think about.

Windows XP machines could not read the doc using Office 2003, Windows 7 using Office 2007 was fine. This led me to believe it was a MS update that broke something, but who knows exactly.

There are 2 different things to do for this, the 1st checks a basic setting, the second resolved it this time.

1) Go to Edit Current Location>> click on advanced tab >> then click MIME Settings >> choose for Outbound attachment encoding method: Base 64
>> choose for Outbound Macintosh attachment conversion: BinHex 4.0

2) My good friend Michelangelo Gambacorta owner of Amiura in Italy and the US posted in the Domino Support Forums this answer from IBM Support which worked for my clients. Set the parameter
in Mac equivalent of notes.ini (it's called "Notes Preferences" and it is in homefolder/Library/Preferences).
So while I don't have any Macs or iAnythings to test with, that doesn't stop me from troubleshooting it.

Hope this helps someone else.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Tale of 2 Companies Social Media

Both companies are large multinational entities, one is larger than the other but after a few 100 million what's a the difference right?

Corp A  recognizes they have a left hand doesn't talk to the right hand mentality and is doing something about it.
Corp B may recognize it but does little about it.

So when Corp A has sales people or support people drop the ball and someone posts about it on Facebook or Twitter or their blog or in Google + or as a comment on someone else's postings, there is someone on the other end of the company finding these comments and trying to right the wrong.

Corp B may not have time for this and believes they are too large too fail or have not thought of the idea that indeed one can have 2 or more sides to every line of business and function.

The better way would be to have the left and right hands compare notes on the clients or projects and look to clear those issues better next time. Also perhaps the problem lies in the statistics that are tracked which lead to incorrect presumptions and misdirections of blame.

What do you do to protect your entities name and customer service?
Who is trolling the internet looking for people ranting or praising your company?
Do you have people that can balance these issues and right the wrong? Have you given authority, as The Ritz Carlton does?
As a business owner, it is your job to apologize, if the escalation continues to your level.

Can you do it? Do you? I have apologized to clients over the years more times than I can remember. Sometimes over little things, sometimes big things, but own up to your mistakes and you will save a client and win them over or back to your side. New clients are very expensive to acquire, if you can at all.

A lost client is not just a revenue loss, it is an annuity that you will never get back.