Author Archives: David Hablewitz
HCL Software Certification Tests are now Available
The opportunity is prove your skills in HCL Domino 12 Administrator is finally here, along with
HCL Volt MX 9.x Associate Developer, HCL Volt MX 9.x Developer, and
HCL BigFix Platform 10 Professional
Note that the Volt MX Associate Developer is a practical skills rather than a written test and it is NO CHARGE.
Learn more and get registered for a test here.
Be sure to check out their education resources to prepare for the test. They can be found at the HCL Software Academy.
There Will Be No V13.0 of HCL Notes/Domino (formerly Lotus Notes)!
If you viewed my previous post, I asked HCL leadership the question: “Will you skip V13.0?” at the HCL Factory Tour. The conversation quickly went down a rabbit hole and I never got a clear answer. But the answer is quietly revealed on this website listing the fixes. You will notice there are already entries posted for V14.0.
While I’m here, I was looking at the historical data to see any trends or other noteworthy facts. HCL purged the data before 9.0.1 FP7, but I happen to have the original Notes database taken from when we could use Lotus Notes to access the Notes.net website and from that view you can see the following data going back to version 7 and earlier:
There is also a view of the number of fixes for each release and it becomes evident the number of fixes per year has dramatically increased since HCL took over. As I look back at the history, it also tells the approximate release dates for major releases. Can you tell where HCL Software took over?
In the beginning, Lotus was in control and putting out a major release about every 3 years. IBM maintained this pace until 8.0 was released in 2007. After that, IBM all but shut down feature development, taking nearly 11 years to produce the next two releases before development was taken over by HCL. With HCL, the development team was let loose and the results have been a new major release in a bit over once per year. Major versions are where the new features are introduced. What I find most impressive is that HCL also had to deal with the transition of taking over the business in those first 2 years and then COVID hit in January of 2020, right after the release of 11.0. The software development aspects have clearly improved with the transition to HCL. It looks like there will be no V13, but I expect we will see V14.0 sometime in 2023.
Coming soon, I will address Question #2 from Ask HCL Anything session: Why doesn’t HCL host a centralized location for this community to congregate and collaborate, using HCL software to drive it?
Ask HCL Anything Session at HCL Factory Tour Sept 2022
As a reminder that I’m not here to ask the easy questions. I am here to ask the tough questions. I consider myself as much an ambassador of the customers and business partners as an ambassador of HCL. Thank you HCL for the transparency to allow me to moderate this session.
2:52 Question #1: Will you skip V13?
8:34 Question #2: Can you give us Greenhouse again?
12:42 Question #3: Give us material to share your vision
16:07 Question #4: HCL Ambassadors deserve recognition
20:20 Question #5: Mac Notes client chronic problems
26:55 Question #6: How will you attract the next gen developers?
31:47 Question #7: What features do you wish would get more use?
37:36 Question #8: Where’s the app store?
39:52 Question #9: Adoption will not come from developers
Question 1 from David Hablewitz: Will you skip version number 13?
Meant to be a humorous question making light of superstitions, this went down a path I wasn’t expecting.
Question 2 from David Hablewitz: The community formerly known as Lotus has become fragmented and scattered, gathering online in many disconnected and hard-to-find places where we communicate, share knowledge, find resources, try out software, etc. For instance, there are groups on Skype, Slack, Discord, Facebook, and LinkedIn. There is the HCL support forum; there is a sandbox for Nomad web; there is a community for trying out and discussing the early release of Notes / Domino 12.0.2; OpenNTF; the HCL Academy and youtube channel; the HCL blogs; the software documentation website, not to mention an entirely separate website for downloading software. All of these are fragmented and difficult to find. Furthermore, HCL has is no community at all to bring business partners together or to support them. Why don’t you have this all in one place and use the products themselves to host it as a proving ground of its capabilities?
Response: To summarize, the answer wasn’t clear, but I think with more discussion and clarification of what I am looking for from HCL, we could get somewhere. I will pursue this further.
Question 3 from John Shultz, Prominic (off camera): How do you empower us to leave this event with tactical and tangible information to share with my team? Something I can share with people in my support and marketing teams so they can share your vision?
Response from Francois Naser, Go to Market Leader: You will be receiving an invitation to training for business partners within the next 3 weeks. 3 sessions: 1. Domino & Sametime; 2. Volt MX; 3. MX Go (I can confirm this happened. Video recordings are available.) This will also be presented in person at the Milan Factory Tour.
Question 4 from David Hablewitz: When are you going to start recognizing the HCL Ambassadors for the value they bring to the community with HCL Ambassador branded gear?
(Note: until I asked this question, the HCL Ambassadors had not been mentioned or recognized at all for the entire 3 days at the Factory Tour.)
Background: When IBM was involved, IBM Champions were given items such as a plaque to put on the wall recognizing their service, jackets, shirts, and other items with IBM Champion logos. At conferences like this Factory Tour They would get special lanyards for their name tags that clearly identified them as IBM Champions. HCL has had the Ambassador program for 4 years now without giving any recognition to these individuals. One of the dinners at the Factory Tour We were served Maine lobster. Surely if HCL truly valued the dedication of these people, they could find funds to support the program.
Response from Maria Nordin (off camera) “We might have a solution, but I do not want to promise anything because I know how that feels. Maybe in 2 or 3 months, we may have something. I am working on it very, very hard.” Richard Jefts added “we were able to get for T-shirts for the HCL staff at this event, so there may be something they can do.
In addition, Richard Jefts went on to say regarding marketing [paraphrasing] “Meanwhile, HCL Tech has signed on as one of the sponsors for the Metlife Stadium where the New York Jets and New York Giants football teams play. HCL Software plans to follow suit with branding on F1 racing and European Cricket and sponsorship for the World Cup in Qatar. There are discussions about having Domino branding in geo-specific airports in places like Frankfurt and Tokyo.”
While the brand awareness somewhat matters, I applaud the efforts to advertise the Domino product. IBM was infamous for making the mistake of building brand awareness and ignoring promoting products. Without product marketing, brand marketing is a waste.
In any case, if you can spend hundreds of thousands to put your name on a stadium or an F1 car, it only makes sense to invest in the most dedicated people who unselfishly support and promote your business. Research has proven a loyal fan base is an essential component of product success.
Question 5 from Bill Malchisky: [paraphrasing] While we appreciate all the new products and features, where is your commitment to making the existing Notes client software stable, in particular the latest problems with the Mac Notes client?
Response from Andrew Davis: Apple has introduced regression bugs and we’re working with them to resolve. Meanwhile, please create a support ticket so we can work to resolve them.
Response from John Paganetti of Client Advocacy group: You can also reach out to your client advocate if you have more.
In addition, if you are not already in the Client Advocacy Program, contact Deronza Sanders or John Immerman, or John Paganetti. Every customer should have a contact in this program.
Question 6 from Bob Ascott: Who will be filling in for the next generation of developers in this software?
Response from Luis Guirigay (off camera): The HCL Academy will be releasing 80 to 120 hours of education for new software developers. They will be releasing similar education program for administrators. Along with this are certification tests coming out soon which will further legitimize it.
Response from Jason Gary: This is why the development in the product to translate code
Question 7 from Carl Tyler: What features of the product do you wish were more widely understood and used by customers?
Response from Andrew Davis: Domino Domain Monitoring
Response from John Paganetti: ID Vault and Transaction logging
Response from (person off camera): Notes Stream and the stream class, a feature under used by developers
Response from Richard Jefts: Leap is not being used widely to build NEW apps. Also, Nomad is under-used.
Question 8 from David Hablewitz: Platforms are only as good as the ecosystem they support. When are we going to get an app store and make it accessible directly from within the Notes client?
Response from Andrew Manby: HCL is working on their next generation of SOFI. Their intent is to move it to become their full marketplace to have one location to handle apps for all products: DX, MX, Domino, They are working on it, though it is taking longer to develop than they expected.
Thomas Hampel: We have an internal prototype already running and it is already on the roadmap.
This is an awesome response!
Question/Comment 9 from Jamie Magee: Developers won’t be the ones picking and choosing to use Domino. It will be assigned to them. The marketing will determine the adoption by business owners which will lead to developers building apps in it.
Richard Jefts: We don’t have a true CSM (customer success manager). We call our inside sellers who handle renewals CSMs, but they are not CSMs. The only product we have a true CSM organization for is Volt MX. There should be a team at HCL ready so when a customer buys, for example, HCL Volt (Leap?), we have someone who will engage the customer and help them build their first apps. This where I see we have a gap. We still have that IBM mentality where after the sale, the next time they hear from us is when it is time to renew their software licenses. KK (VP at HCL) has just become aware of this gap and is onboard with creating this resource.
Final comment from David Hablewitz: My tap water comes from the Cascade mountains in Washington state where I get 100 cubic feet of water for $3.24. A local bottled water company takes that same water, packages it into bottles, and resells it for $15,000. What is the difference between my $3.24 of tap water and the bottled water that makes it worth $15,000? Marketing. THAT is the value of marketing.
Breaking New Certification: HCL Volt MX Certified Associate Developer Badge
What does it take to earn this badge? In a nutshell, build an app that works on mobile & web and performs a set of minimum requirements.
Learn more at https://hclsw.co/vmxcert
and see the table of minimum features here: HCL Volt MX Certified Associate Developer Rubric
What? You don’t have the software? Contact an HCL business partner, like Divergent Solutions to get a license.
Hot Press: HCL Announces Dates for End of Support for older versions of Notes/Domino. v12.0.2 coming soon.
HCL just announced the dates that v9.0.x and v10.0.x of HCL Notes and Domino (Lotus Notes) will no longer be available for download and the date when HCL will no longer offer technical support for them.
Dec 1, 2022 – End of Marketing (EOM) – HCL will remove the software downloads from Flexnet. If you want a copy of this software, you have just 5 months to download it.
Jun 1, 2024 – End of Support – HCL will not provide customer support after this date and there will be no option for extended support on it. But seriously, why are you running a 12-year-old version of software for mission critical apps anyway?
While we’re talking about software versions, HCL continues the hot pace of prolific software development. You can see the progress of version 12.0.2 right here. It also shows progress on the maintenance release 11.0.1 FP6.
This is great news as it will push the laggards along on the Innovation Adoption curve. When organizations cling to an older version of software (imagine if you were still using Windows 8?), their employees develop an inaccurate, bad opinion of the software. That inaccurate publicity hurts the success of the software which feeds upon itself, causing the company leadership to think the problem is the software rather than their failed maintenance of it. So Kudos to HCL for driving customers to do the right thing and upgrade.
You can read more about their announcement at HCL’s blog.
You can read more about how versions are named, numbered, and supported here.
HCL Domino (Lotus Notes) Professional Certifications are BACK!
Lotus Notes certifications were first started with R3 as I recall. There was a test series for developers and for administrators. In later versions they added a harder test for Principal level of certification. The title was Certified Lotus Professional Developer and Certified Lotus Professional Administrator ( Some of us dedicated professionals earned the distinction of Dual Principal Certified Lotus Professional.
Certification exams were abandoned by IBM after R9, but HCL has had certification exams on their list of action items since they acquired the Lotus portfolio of software, along with other education materials to further professional growth and expertise in their software. It looks like the first version of testing will come with V12. There will be the usual admin and dev tracks, there are plans for Security and Volt MX as well. You can find the slide deck that was presented by HCL at the 2022 Engage User Group Conference.
20 Things You Forgot About Giving Speeches In Person
It has been 2 years since many of us have been able to give a speech to a live audience in person. Some of you may have NEVER given a speech anywhere except via your webcam. I’m going to tell you 20 fundamentally important things you have forgotten (or never knew) about giving a speech to a live audience. Also check out my video and article on The Worst (and Best) Practices for Giving Online Speeches.
The list below is just the bones. The video above contains the meat.
- Never leave an empty stage.
Like a relay racer handing off the baton, always shake hands to hand off the stage to the next speaker.
- Take your name tag off before walking on stage.
- The clock doesn’t start until you do. Take a moment. Gather thoughts. Study the room.
- You don’t have to pin the timer. They will be sitting in an obvious place in the room.
Also, there is no gallery view when in person.
- This one is for the audience: There’s no recording when it’s in person, so Take good notes.
You will get a printed agenda. Write on the back.
- Stand up. You shouldn’t be sitting when you speak anyway.
- Body Language. Use your whole body from Head to Toe. (and dress appropriately from head to toe too)
- You’ll have a stage. Use all of it.
- Passage of time in our culture goes from audience Left to Right. That is Speaker’s Right to Left.
- Positional reference. You can refer to something by the place you talked about it on the stage.
(ex: at home, went to TM, realized I forgot something back at home)
Can be a person, place, time, mood, etc
- As you speak, Look around the audience naturally, deliberately, equally (front/back/left/right)
- Hold eye contact with individuals in the audience for about one sentence at a time. Not too long/short
- Keep your eyes off the ground (unless it is intentional)
- Don’t turn your back on the Audience.
- There’s no virtual background, no screen to share, don’t ask “Can you see my screen?” and you can’t turn your camera off.
- Project so the person in the back can always hear you without straining.
- Live voice is always more dynamic than listening through computer speakers. Use it!
- If you have a PowerPoint presentation – talk to the audience, not your slides.
- There is no mic to unmute. (unless you are using a microphone)
- Know your speech (doesn’t mean memorize), notes are OK, teleprompters aren’t.
BONUS 21. Unless you are deaf, waving your hands in the air is NOT applause. Please clap. That is what you will hear at the end of every speech. and if it’s an icebreaker it will be a standing ovation.
Always shake hands before leaving the stage
Take your name tag off before going on stage
Pause before you start speaking
Get familiar with how the timing works
Be prepared to take notes
Use your whole body and dress appropriately from head to toe
Use the whole stage
As you use the stage, time should flow from Audience’s Left to Right
Take advantage of Positional Reference
Make eye contact naturally, deliberately, equally Front/back/left/right
Hold eye contact for one sentence with any one person
Don’t look at the ground
Don’t turn your back
There’s no screen to hide or share and no virtual backgrounds
Project your voice so the person at the back can hear you without straining
Take advantage of the dynamic possibilities of live voice
Talk to the audience, not the PPT
There is no forgetting to unmute the mic
Know your speech.
See you On Stage!
Announcing the Class of 2022 HCL Ambassadors!
Imagine you’re standing in a huddle with the Boston Celtics…
As I look at this list of peers, that is a bit like how I feel. This is the who’s who list of experts and advocates within the HCL brand software professional community. They are NOT HCL employees. Each of these people has earned the respect and recognition from HCL for their unsolicited contributions — whether it is publishing technical blogs, speaking at conferences, contributing to forums, providing feedback on things like HCL software ideas, customer engagement, or business process improvements — this collection of enthusiasts have overwhelmingly demonstrated their dedication to building and supporting this professional community of developers, administrators, business leaders, and product users.
They do not do these things because they are HCL Ambassadors.
They are HCL Ambassadors because they do these things.
There are many others in the community who are just a little nudge away from being part of this honored group. If you’re just a little curious of what it takes to earn the title, read all about the program here or ask anyone on the list. It feels self-serving to write a blog article praising this group when I’m one a part of it. But I am humbled and honored to to be recognized with such dedicated company. I do feel like I’m standing in a huddle with the Boston Celtics.
HCL Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is Now Available for Download and Approved by Freddy the Bassett
I have been very happy with the beta 1 and beta 2 releases I’ve been running for the past several months. The final release is now available and from what I understand, there is more that wasn’t even in the beta releases. Go download it now and get started. Don’t know what Notes and Domino is? Only the most advanced business application development environment ever crafted. Loved by early-adopters and feared by software giants. Feared so much so that it was the target of the second largest counter-marketing attack ever run by Microsoft (Only their attack on Apple Corporation was larger.)
Wondering what makes HCL Notes & Domino worthy of such devotion and fear? Ask anyone who has created a Notes application or managed a Domino server. Security, versatility, ease of rapid application development and deployment from prototype to production. If you want to see what HCL Domino and Notes can do for your tiny to medium to enterprise-sized business, just ask me. And if you’re already using it, go download V12.0.1 and get started on deploying those new features. What’s new? Visit
HCL Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is approved by @FreddytheBassett.
HCL Notes & Domino V12.0.1 Beta 1: How to Download, How to Join the Forum, What’s New
The Beta 1 version of Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is now available on Flexnet. If you are licensed for Notes & Domino, this video shows how to download the beta. It also shows how to get to the HCL blog post with lots of details including what is new and how to participate in the beta forum with the developers.
HCL Software’s Prolific YouTube Channel
In case you’re not paying attention, HCL Software has a YouTube channel where they are posting an almost continuous stream of How-To videos. In fact, today alone they posted 10 videos. They are covering many varied topics that could turn a dedicated viewer into a Domino expert. It is especially useful because they are covering the new features in V12.
Is it possible they could make our user group conferences with all the How-To presentations obsolete? nah. Deep dive sessions are still important from a strategic perspective and a broader understanding of why you do things. But these short videos produced by HCL are very handy and remind me of days gone by when I would replicate the Knowledgebase database from Notes.net every morning and review the new technotes to start my day (easily identified thanks to unread marks and “show unread only” which you just can’t do with a web browser.)
If I were to offer HCL some advice, it would be to create an indexed website/table of contents with each of these videos embedded so they read like a help database with chapters and sections of related topics. I would also recommend paying more attention to the audio. In some videos, I have trouble understanding what is being said because the presenter has a thick accent. (That is my American-centric perspective and not everyone may agree.) In other videos, the recording seems to be made using a microphone of poor quality or low recording levels. Viewers will tolerate bad video quality, but bad audio will quickly lose viewers. Subtitles would be helpful too.
I would like to see content identified as intended for end users in a way that I could direct users to follow the channel and not be turned off by too much irrelevant information for that audience, though that may be partially addressed by the title labeling and playlists.
Speaking of title labeling, I do like that the titles are well thought out. The content of this channel covers a variety of products, so each title begins with the product; for example, “HCL Notes”, “HCL Accelerate”, “HCL Domino”, “HCL Sametime”, “Unica”, “HCL Commerce”. Viewers can focus on the labels of interest to them, yet still see what other topics and software is out there, which may peak their interest to broaden their understanding of the software portfolio (myself included). The playlists are also created for each of the products using the exact same name as the labels in the video titles — except for the ones that matter most to me, which are all put into a single playlist: HCL Digital Solutions, instead of having playlists called “HCL Notes”, “HCL Domino”, etc. This is not intuitive, especially for end users who have no idea what “digital solutions” is. They never call it that. It’s just Notes to them. So perhaps create additional playlists for those would be helpful.
Clearly, HCL is committed to filling the gaps created by the former product owners. It just keeps getting better.
If you haven’t already, click here to subscribe to the HCL Software YouTube Channel.
CollabSphere 2021 is Taking Abstracts for Sessions Now
So many new things to talk about! So many products in the HCL Collaboration portfolio have all new versions with tons of totally new features (not just enhancements). There is a big need among the community to learn from each other how to best put the latest software to work. If you have any tips you have learned, this is the place to give back to the community as well as build your own credentials as an expert in your profession. If you had to figure something out, chances are high that others out there are looking for that same knowledge. CollabSphere is October 19 – 21 and it will be held online. The cost is free because the labor comes from us in the community along with generous sponsors, most notably is the organizer, Richard Moy of Phora Group.
Here is the link to the conference website where you can register and where you can post your abstract for a presentation idea that you are willing to give. You have through the month of August to submit your abstract. If you want to be considered for HCL Ambassador, presenting at user group conferences will certainly add to your case.