Monthly Archives: March 2011

IdeaJam Post: Pull system templates from another server when configuring a new server in the domain.

As Lotus professionals, we have a unique venue to give IBM our ideas to improve the products and to participate in discussions and even vote on others’ ideas that we would like to see. Visit I just posted an idea there about providing the option to pull system templates from another server when configuring a new server in the domain. This would work similar to how it pulls the Domino Directory from another server. The advantage is that you probably already have your templates setup the way you want them, including ACLs and maybe even with new replica IDs. Yes, you can manually copy those templates over via the OS after you install the software and before you start the server the first time. But that could be automated to make our lives easier. Check out my post at IdeaJam, vote for it if you like it and leave comments there where IBM and everyone else can join the discussion.


Japan Disaster strikes home for me. (This has nothing to do with Lotus Notes..or does it?)

I want to share with you a Facebook post from my friend’s wife.  I have known his family for 20 years.  We were neighbors when I lived in Greenville, South Carolina.  Growing up, he and his brother spent many hours exercising my black lab.   They are now grown and married and have children of their own.   Jessie lives in East Lansing, MI.  Gabe lives in a small coastal village with his wife and daughter.  The village is Ofunato, Japan.  A Detroit TV station picked up this story.  Check out the video:

Here is her post:

Stephanie Craft~ Monday March 14, 2011
On Friday afternoon as you all know an 8.8 magnitude earthquake shook the country of Japan. Gabe was at school across the bay and I was home in Jinomori with Violet. When the earthquake started I ran outside with Violet. We had no shoes or coats on as it happened so suddenly.  I struggled to make it down the street to where my some of my neighbors were standing and holding on to some steel poles. They held out their arms to me and then we all wrapped our arms around Violet. She began to cry and the shaking became more and more severe and also probably because my heart was beating out of my chest. There was an explosion at the power plant that we could see from where we were standing and we all screamed out loud as the sparks flew. Finally the shaking subsided and we all stood around waiting to hear the announcement to follow. Violet was screaming so loudly that I could not hear the announcement at all. I stood there as long as I could but we were both getting cold so I started to walk back in to my house thinking it was all ok. Just as I arrived at my house my dear friend Junko Mino drove past and shouted out my name. I  was so happy to see her and she immediately said there is a big tsunami coming please get in my car. I ran to the door of my house and was able to grab shoes for me and Violet and our coats. They were by the door so I didn’t even have to go inside but I did see everything in my kitchen on the ground. I had my cell phone and ran back to the car and we drove away. I tried to call Gabe several times but everyone was doing the same thing. I could not get a connection. Finally just before the service cut out we connected and I said where are you? He told me his location and I told him I was going to the hospital because it is the highest place in our town. Junko dropped me off there and then went to meet with her family. I went inside and they were setting up triage in the entry ways. I stood there in the entry as the aftershocks continued to shake the earth. A former student of Gabe’s and her mother arrived with her 1 month old twin baby girls. And we waited together to meet out husbands. After 1 hour passed I was really getting sick. Someone came in and said where is Gabe and I told them. Their eyes told me everything I did not want to know. They said the wave came and I just felt my whole world shatter. I didn’t even know the wave had come. So I stood there trying to hold it together for our baby girl. Another 45 min past and I was really hanging by a thread of hope that I would see my beloved’s face one more time. I was thinking of all the things I had said the night before and that morning. What could I have said different. Then a familiar face appeared. It was my neighbor and she shouted out that Gabe was there. I didn’t believe her though. She left and running through the doors 3 minutes later was my beautiful husband. It was the most beautiful embrace of my life. My husband my friend and love was with me again. Then we waited for news of other loved ones. That night we were told to stay in the gym of the hospital with other survivors. It was amazing to experience such kindness and grace under so much distress.  We are safe and very blessed. The next day we moved to another evacuation area to make room for incoming elderly and injured. There was no lack of water or medicine but we knew the night would be another rough sleep. We decided to journey to the town where our friend Mark and his aforementioned wife, Junko, live. As we were about to leave Mark came in the room. We all embraced in tears of relief and thankfulness. Mark took us to his home and we ate and slept well. There is so much more to tell… But, we must go at this time.
We give thanks to all of you who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers. We have each other but we have lost our home, car and possessions. Many have asked how they can help. So, given the cost of shipping anything these days and that we can buy what we need here the best way to help us is to send a check or money order payable to ***************  ( If you want to help this family, contact me directly or give to World Vision )
We love you all and thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers.
We are continuing a vigil of hope for friends not yet contacted.
Peace, Blessings & Love, Gabe, Steph & Violet

For perspective, unless someone gave them some clothes, they are still wearing what they wore last Friday.
So how does all of this tie into Lotus Notes?  World Vision is the charity organization to which IBM gave half of Watson’s winnings from his victory on Jeopardy.  World Vision is also a Lotus Notes shop based in the Seattle area.

The Lotus Forgot series: An alternative to a full Designer client on Mac or Linux and lesson on who develops applications

We don’t need a Designer client for the Mac or Linux. We need one for the people.

I understand the effort to create a full new instance of the designer client on a different platform is a daunting task. And in the end, who might use it? Developers. Some of those developers will use Macs at work. Some will be college and high school students. Some will be computer-savvy small business owners and entrepreneurs who serve as the CEO, CIO, developer, and user all in one. From IBM’s perspective, this may seem a rather small niche to dedicate the resources. It’s about ROI. So I propose a solution that would reach a much larger market and have a broader impact in enabling people to serve their own simple development needs:

Add basic development functionality back into the Notes client.

Yes, make the Notes client as it once was in the days before R5 when the ability to create applications was an integral part of the Notes client. What would it include? View development (which is already there), Formula language (which is already there in some capacity), and form development. Some agent development probably too. Provide people with enough to be able to serve their own basic needs without overwhelming them with complexity.

Why do this? Simple. Empower the people. Power users have always existed. They were what made the early versions of Notes so successful. It was easy for them to create their own tools in Notes and they loved it. LOVED IT! I can recall many times in the R3/R4 days when users came to me with a database that they had created or made a copy and modified it and wanted to share it with other people on their team. I took it, maybe cleaned it up a bit, and put it on the server where their whole team benefited. This was the root meaning of collaboration: Not just sharing data, but sharing solutions. By the users, for the users. It was truly Rapid Application Development (RAD). Before they had Notes, people were doing this in 1-2-3, Access, FoxPro, etc. It is no coincidence that the Notes client began losing favor among end users as soon as they lost their ability to explore what Notes can do by creating their own applications. The greatest advocates of Lotus Notes are those who can create applications in it.

People did not stop creating their own applications when the designer code was removed from Notes. But now they just do it in other tools like Access and Excel. Sure, there is also Sharepoint and Quickr, but those do not provide for PERSONAL tools. People will not “play” there they way they do with other software. Sadly, while users today are far more computer-savvy than they were in the 1990’s, they are being denied the opportunity to apply those skills to their job, at least where Notes is concerned. As a result, Notes has lost its appeal. Users have been driven away to other tools and no longer know (and have no motivation to learn) what could be done in Lotus Notes. To them it is no longer a PERSONAL productivity tool. Now the only way to get an application in Notes is to request it from the gatekeepers of I.T. It’s like building a Lego kit and giving it to a kid and then saying they have to bring it to you if they want to build something different with the pieces. Sure, the designer client is “free”, but it is not given to employees and for the most part they don’t even know it exists or how to get it.

If we are sincere in our belief that the power of collaboration and Open Source is truly for the benefit of all, then it should be made accessible to all. It should not be hoarded by the professional Domino developers of the world. It should not be locked out by the administrator who doesn’t want the additional work to manage the applications nor the I.T. director who doesn’t want to deal with losing control of application development process and his feeling of importance. Do not waste time defending this practice with the “good ol’ boy” mentality claims like “But the users don’t know how to create good applications.” or “their rights must be restricted for their own good or for the good of the company.” This is Social Business. This is the definition of Web 2.0. (See video)

Eliminate the hierarchy, eliminate the red tape. Empower the people. The more you empower the people around you, the more successful you will be. The more they must depend on you, the less you will be able to achieve. It’s the axiom of good leadership.

IBM may never feel justified in creating a full-blown designer client for Mac OS or Linux. They may never go back to having the simple developer client for the masses that was so successful. So while you wait for IBM to decide what to do, I suggest this: Let your people know the designer client exists. Make the designer client available to anyone who asks for it. I would even encourage them. If you have any programmers in the company that code in other software, be sure to give it to them.

Notes was founded on the principle of giving people the ability to create their own custom applications. (The History of Lotus Notes) That principle has clearly been forgotten.

If you agree, please vote for this idea at IdeaJam

Quick Tips: displaying filenames on Workspace icons

Perhaps long-forgotten, this is an age-old tip that I have used forever without thinking about it until someone saw me do it and asked.

First, go to the Workspace. That’s the page everyone uses for their homepage, that looks like an iPhone screen and that IBM doesn’t want us to use because it’s “the old look” of Notes.

Now click on the View menu. If Show Server Names is selected, deselect it and click on the View menu again.

Now that it is unselected, hold down the Shift+Ctrl keys and select Show Server Names.

OK, trivial. But handy when trying to clean up a user’s workspace with a mess of replicas and copies of databases. In dire cases, you may want to also unstack the icons.

Yellow by Cold Play: a musical interlude for those who bleed yellow

For those who bleed yellow…

Click to play Yellow by ColdPlay

Wonder why we never get Cold Play for the one-song act at Lotusphere OGS…


Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called “Yellow”

So then I took my turn
Oh what a thing to have done
And it was all “Yellow”

Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know,
You know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
‘Cause you were all “Yellow”

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all “Yellow”

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know
For you I’d bleed myself dry
For you I’d bleed myself dry

It’s true, look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And all the things that you do

Social Learning: a Critical element of Social Business

There is no doubt that Social Media is quickly moving to the workplace.  This movement is happening so fast that many businesses that would use it as well as those that would provide the technology for it are being caught off guard and unprepared.

I just attended a webinar on Social Learning hosted by Chief Learning Officer magazine and featuring a presentation by Jeanne C. Meister, Founding Partner of Future Workplace.  The information she revealed was very relevant to Social Business.

Three trends were outlined:
– Globalization.  People will need to be able to work compatibly with all cultures of the world.
– Demographics.  By 2020 there will be 5 generations working side-by-side in the workforce.
– Social technologies.  Social media will be an integral part of business and how employees, customers, and partners communicate.

It was discussed how in the future, companies will be requiring employees to be certified in social media competence in the same way they already have ethics training and sensitivity training.  “Social Media Literacy.”

This is a critical part of the success of social business and will differentiate the successful businesses from the failures.  Employees will need to know how to use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yammer, blogging and commenting.  Businesses are already beginning to invest in “managing reputation capital on the Internet.”

It was also discussed how Millennials will influence the future of how businesses use technology.  In case you haven’t seen them before, here is a breakdown of the generations:
Group                   Born
Traditionalists      -1946
Baby boomers       1947 – 1964
Gen X                   1965 – 1976
Millennials             1977 – 1997
Gen 2020              1997 –

By 2020 half of the workforce will be Millennials.  Three characteristics mentioned about this age group are:
1.  Their declining use of email.
2.  Their increasing use of Macs.
3.  Their lead on the use of social media.

As such, businesses need to be prepared to meet their demands and expectations of the work environment, but also that they should use this group in what was termed “reverse mentoring”, that is, leverage the millennials’ knowledge of social media in educating the older staff.

I found it most interesting how much Jeanne referenced IBM and Cisco in her presentation given she has no affiliation with those companies.  (She never even mentioned social business.)  IBM has had a program called Corporate Service Corps.  I didn’t fully understand the role of this group within IBM from her explanation.  (Perhaps an IBMer could answer in a comment?)  She also presented results of several surveys including some taken at IBM.  One interesting one (not from IBM) showed a graph indicating how, while email use is up year-over-year among people over age 55, all other age groups have seen a decline in the time spent using web-based email.  This is a strong message for businesses to heed.

Ultimately, the message here is how social media is taking our world by storm and the workplace is no exception.  Businesses that prepare their employees for this new wave first will have a dominating, competitive advantage over their rivals.  Also, companies invested in IBM technologies including Lotus Notes, who have stayed the course and not succumbed to the vocal few misinformed bellwethers among them who have called to switch their technology because it seems out of vogue, will now be in position to gain a clear and definitive advantage over their competition.  Where is Microsoft and Google in this powerful and irreversible trend toward social media in the workplace?  Nowhere.  If this were compared to a horse race, it would be most like the final race of the Triple Crown in the year of Secretariat.  Half the field didn’t bother to show up because they knew they didn’t stand a chance of winning.

There is no doubt in my mind that Social Business is the next big race, both for providers of the technology and for the consumers of it.  The only question is will you be in the race or will you be left in the stable?

(P.S. I’m hoping Jeanne will post the presentation so I can share more of the info with you.)

%d bloggers like this: