Category Archives: Greenhouse

Recap of Ask IBM session (Ask the Developers and Ask the PMs) at IBM ConnectED / Lotusphere 2015


Each year I bring with me a large collection of questions and enhancement requests that I first vet in the Meet the Developers lab.  Those questions which I either don’t get a satisfactory answer or get an answer that I think others would like to hear, I will bring them to the Ask the Product Managers or Ask the Developers sessions.  Often questions would be asked in one session that really needed to be answered by someone in the other session.  That wasted time.  This year they combined the two sessions, which was great for streamlining the process and more people got to hear all the questions (and answers).  One other change on my part: I tried to provide most of my questions in advance, so they could have time to research the answer or at least make sure the right person was on stage to answer it.  (often the person who would have the answer wasn’t present.)  Yes, it does mean IBM isn’t so much “in the hot seat”, but this got more complete answers as a result, which is what we really want.

The room was smaller too, with only one aisle and thus, only one microphone.  I like this because it makes it easier for people to queue up to ask their questions. While I asked the first question, I made it a point to let others go ahead of me whenever they got in line.  This worked well as I was able to keep the conversation going with questions while waiting for people to come to the microphone to ask a question. Here is a list of my questions from this year and the responses I got for them. (as best I remember, anyway)

1.  Can we get a roadmap published for Connections Cloud?  (See this article for a detailed explanation)
I was able to provide this article in advance and the response was that they definitely see the point to my request and the value it would provide.  Expect to see this one addressed soon.

2. We need a migration path to Connections Cloud that removes all servers from on-site.  This requires a solution to 3 items:
– Mail-in databases and Rooms & Resources
– Importing Holidays
– A Relay Host service to route mail from on-site applications to the Internet
RESPONSE: We have had these requests by others and are actively working to address them.  The relay host presents additional challenges and may be more difficult to resolve.

3. The administrator console for Connections Cloud is fragmented and awkward to work with.  Authentication occurs in three places.  Can this be made more seamless and provide improved functionality for administrators, including such things as Message Tracking?
RESPONSE:  The request for Message Tracking had not been seen before, but that should be possible and makes sense to have.  We are going to work to improve the administration console too.

5. Once moved to Connections Cloud, the client version information is no longer maintained in the Domino Directory and there is no way to make Smart Upgrade work in SmartCloud Notes environment. Can these please be addressed?
RESPONSE:  We should be able to capture and push back the client version information.  As for the Smart Upgrade, they are using a new upgrade process with the browser plugin and expect to port that over so it will be available as a method for upgrading Notes clients in the future.

6. A fix is needed for overlaying Google calendars on the Notes calendar.  This broke several months ago when Google pushed out their new process for accessing calendars.  They had warned this was coming more than a year ago.
RESPONSE:  We have a fix, but it did not make it into the next Fix Pack.  We are in the process of determining how to make this available.

7. We need the ability to use groups from the Domino directory in the contact list in Connections Cloud Chat.
RESPONSE: Great recommendation.  The developers will look into making that happen. (I also spoke with the developer on this and was already thinking of how to solve this issue)

(asked in the lab only)  8. Administrators need a way to change the mail/calendar delegates for users in Connections Cloud.  Currently the process is very awkward and involves the admin logging in as the user to perform the delegation.  The developer flagged this one as a critical item and we should see a fix soon, so I did not ask this in the session.)

9. We need a graphical user interface for administering Connections (Thank you Ray Bilyk for asking this question!)
RESPONSE: I forgot exactly what they said.  If you remember, please post it in a comment.

10.  When will it be possible to launch the video chat from the embedded Sametime client in Notes?
RESPONSE:  I just don’t remember what was said here.  I got to ask so many questions this year, I felt like I was co-hosting the session.  That may be the closest I get to presenting at this conference.  I thought the overall attitude in the room was warmer and IBM was more receptive of the feedback from the people asking questions than in years past.  Next time I will be sure to record the audio of the session so I can give a more accurate recap.  If anyone has a recording of the session, please let me know.

Here are a few more questions I didn’t get to ask.

10. Allow voting down ideas in Connections
11. Allow viewing all ideas posted by a particular person in Connections
12. Provide a Top Innovators list in Connections, similar to IdeaJam.net

If you like these ideas and want to see them implemented, be sure to log into Greenhouse.lotus.com and find them and vote them up.  Also (and more importantly) open a PMR and ask that they add your company to the request for the SPR that I have already created for these.

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SmartCloud Demonstration at Seattle Technical Forum Meetup, Redmond, WA


If you are a CTO, IT director, computer professional or enthusiast of cloud computing technology, you won’t want to miss out on this meeting of the Seattle Technical Forum meetup group.

There will be 3 presenters at this meeting speaking on the following topics:

– Google Cloud Platform: Top 10 Edition
– Properly securing your cloud infrastructure
– SmartCloud – IBM’s Biggest Little Secret

I will be presenting a demonstration of SmartCloud for Social Business with IBMer David Bell.  This will show off what is sure to be tagged as “The next Facebook”, business style.
You can find the details here.

Even if you can’t attend, you can create a free 60-day trial account at http://collabserv.com

How to download and install the IBM Connections plugin for IBM Lotus Notes


(New versions of these plugins are now available.  Read here.)

Summer vacation is over.  I was deliberately taking a break from my blog to enjoy the fantastic summer and give focus on the business.  While I was quiet on the surface, I’ve been very busy in the background.  More on that later, but for now, some useful content…

IBM Connections with Sametime is amazing.  It’s like a useful combination of features you will find on Linkedin, facebook, WebEx or GotoMeeting, Skype, dropbox, wordpress and IdeaJam  and it’s ideal for any business larger than 1 person.  And it is no more dependent on your email client than any of those apps are.  But if you use IBM Lotus Notes, as many Connections customers do, you will get even more value with your Notes client by using the IBM Connections Plug-ins for IBM Lotus Notes.  There is a version for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  So where do you find this cool plug-in?  How do you install it?  Here are step-by-step instructions.  And while you’re in the application catalog, be sure to look around at the other useful plug-ins, like the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-in for Microsoft Windows, or the IBM Connections Widget interface to LinkedIn.  Have an iPad?  Cool.  Be sure to go to the App store and search for the IBM Connections app.  In some ways I find it even better than the website.  Here is a screen shot of the app.  It will give you an idea of the features in IBM Connections:

IBM Connections app for iPad

IBM Connections app for iPad

Now here are the instructions for getting the IBM Connections plug-in for IBM Lotus Notes:

1.  Click on this link:  http://greenhouse.lotus.com .  The following website will appear:
Greenhouse website

(Addendum: If you don’t already have a Greenhouse account, go ahead and click the Sign Up link now and get the process started.  You will need an account before you can complete the download.  Among other things it will prompt for an IBM contact.  If you don’t have one, mention me and this article.  They use this to validate accounts as real people.)

2.  Click on the link for the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog. Info about the catalog will appear:
Greenhouse app catalog

3.  Click on the Launch button.  The Catalog will appear.  At this point you can click on the Most Popular tab and you will probably find the plug-in at the top. (it’s very popular)
Connections Plugin

3a. If you don’t find it at the top of the Most Popular list, you can select IBM Connections in the product list.
Connections Plugin

4.  Click IBM Connections Plug-ins for IBM Notes.  The description page will appear.
Connections Plugin download

5.  Click on Start Download in the top right corner of the page.  The License Agreement will pop up.
EULA

6.  Click I Agree. The download button will now appear in the top right corner.
Connections Plugin download

7.  Click the icon to download.  It will prompt for where to save the file in the usual way depending on your browser. (These screen shots happen to be in Firefox.)  The file is about 80 MB.
save download

8.  Once the .zip file has downloaded, unzip it.  You will find it contains 3 zip files, one for each supported operating system.
Zipped files

9.  Unzip the one you need and run the installer as per your OS.  For Windows it is setup.exe.  When the installer runs, it may prompt to be trusted.  Click Yes.  Then the language option appears.
language selection

10. Choose the language and click OK.  The installer will run.
Installer 1

11. Click Next.  The license agreement will appear.
installer 2

12.  After printing and reading the agreement and getting written approval from your legal department, select to accept the license agreement and click Next.  It will remind you that Notes must be closed before continuing.
installer 3

13.  Close Notes if it is open and then click Next and then click Install.  The installer will take surprisingly long considering how small it is.  Be patient.
installer

14.  Launch Notes.  Pull down File – Preferences.  Click on the Connections section.
ConnectionsPlugin14

15.  Fill in the info for your Connections server.  If you want to test it out on Greenhouse to see everything it can do, enter the server URL of https://greenhouse.lotus.com and use your username and password for your Greenhouse account.  (You should have had to create one before you could download the plug-in. Don’t have one?  Go back to that browser window where you downloaded the plug-in and click Sign Up in the top right corner.)

16.  Click on Status Updates, Files or Activities to expand the section and see content from Connections.  Note that when it is first expanded it may take a bit longer to load the content.  So be patient.
Sidebar widgets and plugins

That’s it.  Be sure to search for me in Greenhouse and connect with me there and I can share some communities and activities I have already made to demonstrate how they work within connections.  And don’t forget to go back and browse all the other cool apps at Greenhouse as well as the iTunes app store for iPhone/iPad apps on Connections, Sametime, and more!

Let me know if this was helpful.  I am considering doing these as a video.  Would you prefer that format over an article?

ADDENDUM: If you get the following error:

AuthenticationError

Then recheck the User Preferences.  Click on the Advanced button and make sure it is using the Java Form with the authentication URL of:
https://greenhouse.lotus.com/activities/j_security_check

ConnectionsAdvancedPreferences

If that doesn’t fix it, there are several knowledgebase articles on the topic.  Search for that error message to find them.

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