Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Morale DashBoards? Scary or Necessary?

This caught my attention today on Twitter. Mike Rhodin, past Lotus GM was discussing progression and social business. And it was pointed out that maybe HR needs a morale dashboard. Presumably fed from Blogs, Comments,Twitter, Facebook, Sametime, Yammer, FourSquare and the other personal apps everyone uses on corporate time.

One company, Cubevibe, URL, Twitter, does this already. there are many sites that will track references about you or your company across the Interverse but a Dashboard? Interesting.

Would you as a CEO want to see this? Would you like the risk of thinking all is good when it may not be?

Does HR really want to report to management that people hate their jobs or their company? Wonder how the American Airlines people feel about the filing of Chapter 11 today?

Do we live on a usual plane of all is good until found out otherwise? Would an instant analytics dashboard spring someone into action to fix it all? Don't think so if IT and Sales are anything to gauge by from their past dashboard efforts. Most people still complain about IT and help desk delays.

So would RIM have decided sooner to open up BES to all devices? Not likely as management has seemed out of touch, but would you or your boss change direction if the needle was heading towards the darker side of happiness?

In another light, could HR or an executive hone this down to a specific group or business line in order to justify jettisoning it?

With great progress comes great power, choose wisely.

How Do You Maintain That Family Feeling When You Are 500 People?

As your organization has grown, are you more like the UN than a family? Alliances being created and alternative budgets for country specific items or regional events?

When you were smaller, everyone could gather once maybe twice a year and spend some quality time together. Maybe it was technical, maybe it was fun, maybe it was brain storming, but you did it and everyone liked being one big family.

Now you are too big. The tipping point could have been at 100 people or 1,000 but there is the problem. What do you do when the travel alone is going to be a logistical and financial nightmare?

Social Media and Social Business tools help everyone feel connected, to a point. but do we all want to stay in our little houses, basements, attics or coffee shops instead of meeting the rest of the staff?

Do we care?                     Should we care?

Generational differences aside, can you have a 1 or 2 day event where EVERYONE is locked in/down to only be online or at the event? Cruises might be the closest thing to locking everyone in.

Can you really be close with someone you only know digitally or via UC/Skype calls? Is it important? As your company gets bigger, is it more important that there be better corporate messages and goals?

When an executive blog post can get more interest from the staff than an appearance, is this the future? Do employees really play better or nicer with each other because of these events? How can we provide the same benefits of in person events from a virtual or digital event?

Lastly, how do you encourage employees not to look at this as a cost cutting or financial issue? The problem is employees are skittish and the idea that an event people look forward to is now another webinar type event makes them wonder about the future of the company. Something must come out of it that restores faith in management, the organization, employees and the future.

I don't know the answers and I think many are trying various ways, remember Second Life meetings or even Sametime integration to Second Life? Are monthly all-hands calls for maybe 2-4 hours once a month equivalent or enough? Must you start looking at regional events and start segregating areas or do it by topics? The all for one and one for all attitude gets harder and harder to do especially if management is not ready to adjust their style of management for the new plans. On the other hand, if management is up to the task, they can marshall the forces even better than before, but it will take more of the executives time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Updates Gotchas

Holiday weekends are always great times to do server upgrades and mail migrations.

Funny thing is all types of things can go wrong.  Well here are some pieces for you all, just in case.
If you will be updating your classic community server (Domino Sametime) see this blog post from Marc Champoux where he outlines some steps and also hits on Quickr integration and some other issues.

Most of this was found when doing a Domino upgrade from 8.5.2 to 8.5.3. Also a Sametime upgrade from 8.0.1 to 8.5.2IF1 and Traveler from 8.5.2.X to

Always backup everything first.

First thing to remember is to stop Domino from restarting automatically on reboot. Installing 8.5.3 will force you to reboot before you can restart Domino.

Second thing is you may find on reboot your server never comes back. You will be forced to have someone on site help you or go and do it yourself. The server, in this case a Windows 2003 server showed applying computer updates or something like that but it wasn't, just hung. 2 reasons can be guessed. One is remote desktop or your logoff did not go as planned and it hung with your login. The second is that 8.5.3 may ask if you want to upgrade the databases ODS. If so it stops with a yes/no request and if you did not change the automatic start to manual, you would be stuck too. So how do you resolve this? Easy, boot into safe mode of windows using F8. Then when you get to the desktop, run Domino and select yes or no to the question. But more likely you did not set automatic boot to manual. Do it now if you can and then restart the box. All should be good.

Another gotcha is Single Copy Template, an excellent idea, but if implemented without any thought, you may have errors which sayunable to open file or find single copy template. Also if you see ISpy errors about the single copy template, it is because Ispy uses the mail file template. Aha, you get the picture. So how do you fix it? See this Technote, #7002574 which explains it all. You shut down Domino and run the convert task and you must know the file name AND the Template Name. Example: >nconvert ispy50.nsf STDR85Mail mail85.ntf

Wait there is more. Hate the debug by default look of 8.5.3? Remove it using the console command:

set config debug_threadid=0 or to reinstate it set config debug_threadid=1 

Traveler showing it can't respond in the allotted time frame with a user in 25,000 microseconds. Use Kevin from Groupwave's Post and add the properties.   Thanks Kevin for that one which solved my problem!

Then there is a post I wrote that detailed how to resolve ST meetings, Classic community server version, though it was from 8.0.2 for cases when meetings would refresh every minute or 2 and wipe everything out.

Another Sametime item. If you see this, never mind the technote says its 8.0.2 related, we saw it on an 8.5.2 Sametime server, HTTP JVM: Caught exception from local listener: For input string: ""
Here is the Technote #1313986 about it. Sametime 8.5.2IF1 resolved this by the way in our case. 

Also if you need the File list of ST 8.5.2IF1, you can see this Technote #4031295.

An oldie but a goodie, Sametime BuddyList is broken in iNotes and you see errors in the console, try this fix from this blog post of Gunawan. I got through the language issue, pretty sure you can too.

Edited 11/28/11 In case you lost Sametime client connections, the server edits the sametime.ini file and not with your previous information. Follow these references to ensure all clients can reconnect...or not.

Wiki about VPS allowed when you list the clients you want to use.
ST_MINIMAL_CLIENT_VERSION setting: reference from the 8.5.1 docs. Set this to zero and all clients are allowed

After upgrading Sametime Server to 8.5.1 users using Notes 8.x Basic and older Notes clients cannot log in Technote 1443291

This post may get edited more over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When the Admin becomes the User

Many of us are in management of IT or admins of some system. It's a great thing, to be lord over your manor so to speak. Just be benevolent. But what are you like when you become one of the users and not the manager?

While sub contracting some work I find myself with these amusing ideas:

  • Why am I unable to even edit my phone details in my NAB/Directory? 
  • Why MUST (policy set) I use single sign-on to my Windows Domain? What if I never set foot in the home office of the Client? (I got around this of course) If I want to type an extra password, is that so bad?
  • Support tickets on the bright side go to some one else and now I get to request all the silly things like where do you change your password in the app or how does one find the correct VPN client for my OS?
  • What do you mean some preferences are blocked? these are USER side preferences, why can't I use them?
  • Luckily no quotas are set, those drive me crazy that in 2011 someone still uses them to control the people instead of training them better to handle attachments or archiving. 
  • And I am unable to replace my design of the mail template. Will play with that one more to see if it restores back when Design runs at night.
There is no IMAP or POP3 access, only Traveler. Thank you but given I support numerous customers, our own Traveler is priority. Yes, I set a mail rule to autosend me any emails to my Traveler account. More than one way to skin a SMTP missive.
Policies are good, really good, but finding a good balance between security/configuration uniformity and user difficulties should be struck else your help desk gets more work needlessly. These are just the obvious ones I ran into while setting up my client.

It was pointed out to me that 95% the user base never questions it, it is always the techies. Well is everyone else sheep?

So once again, I learn something new every day and as they say, take a walk in someone else's shoes before you complain about them. So when was the last time you logged in as a user? Disney sends their execs out to work the parks a few times a year because that is what you need to remember, your job is based on letting them get their job done.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DomDoc Manager Compared to Quickr

Good wiki article from IBM comparing Domino Document Manager (domdoc, dom.doc, domino.doc) with Quickr.
Tao YT Yan, the author, is a Software Engineer based at IBM's China Development Lab in Beijing, where he works on the Lotus Quickr for Domino product and is responsible for DDM customer support.

Really good for those still wondering what to do as support ends in 2012 for the Doc product.
We are still helping customers move their data if you need help.

Article is here: Comparing the features of IBM Lotus Domino Document Manager with IBM Lotus Quickr for Domino

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are You Smarter Than Your Phone? Or your Kids?

Your smartphone is probably infinitely smarter than you.

Not to worry, you got it on the longevity scale, but still, do you feel insignificant or like you are in remedial life?

There are sites to show you how to do so many things, do you ever use them? Do you even look for them?

Do you understand in any way shape or form how email works? SMS(texting for you non-techies)? Web Sites? Your Phone Apps? For that matter, your phone?

Do you care? Should you care? Does it matter?

What if no one knew anything anymore because it was all "online"? The Matrix movies were all about downloading information into your brain to even fly a helicopter with a few clicks of a download. As an aside, I remember IBM giving out Matrix DVDs to promote KM, Knowledge management.

The road less traveled is now growing weeds.

I have argued that iPhones make people stupid. The truth is they enable one to access information but do you really grok what you are reading? And is this how you want your kids to learn too? Think about that last line....is this how you want your kids to learn too?

Too early for a definitive answer about the pros and cons. What we do know is the future is NOT that hunk of hardware you call a laptop or desktop or server. It is the Cloud. Tablets more likely, but at least for me, a keyboard.

When your kids ask you why the sky is blue or how rainbows are made or anything, what do you do? Do you answer them in kids terms or adult terms? Do you make them look it up? Or do you first ask them what they think and work with their logic process? Maybe a little of each of these?

Or do you make something up or just brush off the question?

What message do you send your kids when you do this? Would you treat your customer or employee, or worse, your employer that way?

Parenting is expanding, or as some point out, returning, to the original ways, namely something akin to home schooling.

If you are or could be your kids teacher would you? It's not for everyone. If not, do you complain when school is not meeting what you feel your kids need?

Are your ideas of education still last centuries, which was in some cases the previous centuries? Or as you have progressed have your views on education?

Are schools teaching your kids what they need to know? Are you so sure? If you don't think so, then get involved. Push for more, ask for more, within reason and budget.

Otherwise your phone really may be smarter than you and your kids.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eat Your Own Dog Food

What do these mean to you?
Loyalty, Branding, Community, Advertising, Self-Promotion?

If you spend so much time getting your name, or your companies, out in the world, online or in print or wherever, don't you think you should also use your own tools to do that job?

Sure an auto company does not sell financial software packages but they do employ many designers and graphic artists....yet do these same people create their advertisements? They could and maybe should. Leave the wording to marketing. But why do they go outside for that part? I understand they go outside because others have connections to get them specific places or headings or promotional opportunities, but to outsource the advertising itself? Why?

And so when a technology company wants to impress people shouldn't they also be using their own software to produce websites or newsletters or apps rather than using a competitors solutions?

Think about your company, do you outsource what could be done inside by someone? The benefits to the employee are huge. They get to tell their friends to watch for the new ad or app or design. They will have a renewed sense of ownership in the greater community you call your organization and you will save some money and not make your employees feel stupid or wasted.

If you can't or don't want to use your own employees, or community members as one may say in social business arenas, what message does that send?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shalom Rav Benny

Very sad to hear that one of my Rabbi's from Israel passed away.

Rav Benny Eisner ז"ל, who lived on campus at BMT, well in my year of 85-86, was like the campus father. I never took his classes, but he would give classes on specific subjects and would sit and learn with us while we used to sit on the roof top doing what teenagers do when they are hanging out.

He would always have students over and his family was ours. His kids were everywhere and if you had something on your mind he was always listening.He ran a number of Shabbat programs where the students, including myself, would go to different cities and settlements to help new immigrants and less religious areas to help them love Israel and Judaism.

He wanted everyone to love each other and especially other Jews and Israelis. He learned with Rav Kook and was there when Jerusalem was reunited.

Over the years I had seen him when I was in Israel, sometimes by accident other times when visiting. Sadly I have not been back in 10 years and did not keep up with him so well. Friends in Israel did and hard to believe one student from 20+ years ago would still be in his mind, but I was.

He died from Cancer which is really not the way someone who cared so much for others should go, but that is for God to decide and for us to accept and live on.

It is appropriate then that Rav benny passed when this week's Parsha from the Torah is from Lech Lecha where God tells Abraham to go to the land he will inherit. Why not say Israel? Because we were destined to love it not for it's name or location but because it was a gift from God and we should always love it. Indeed Rav Benny taught us this much.

Rav Dovid Miller gave this Hesped.  And a nice overview of his influence here.

I may not remember all the Rabbi's or people I met that year, but Rav Benny was someone you could never forget.

Shabbat Shalom