Category Archives: IBM Connect

Get Out the Vote…For your pick of the 2016 edition of Lotusphere


Lotusphere, IBM Connect, IBM ConnectED.  Whatever you call it, There is a 4 question Anonymous survey asking for your feedback on what you would like to see in 2016.

It is done by Survey Monkey.  Go Here and speak your opinion.  My opinion is not so anonymous.  I find Las Vegas to be the most useless city in the country.

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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.

The tone is set for #IBMConnect 2014 and How Computing Power is the next Utility


If you arrive for IBM Connect on Sunday, you’re late. There has already been a flurry of activity from great 2-hour Jumpstart sessions that dive deeper into topics that other sessions during the week won’t have time to do; to the chance to visit the product showcase Sunday evening where it isn’t competing with your time networking and attending sessions. As a business partner, the Sunday BP-focused sessions have been a wealth of info on how to better inform customers.

The diversity of the conference is actually quite refreshing.  It’s not all just about Lotus Notes.  Sessions covering Connections, Sametime, SmartCloud, Mobile, Kenexa, real world examples of using it all, and even some amazing Smarter Planet stuff, like a display in the center of the product showcase demonstrating how it can gather and distribute traffic data between cars in an area.  With such a diversity in sessions, you can’t complain if you feel pigeon-holed with no opportunity to learn new things.

For all the talk about communicating and collaborating via computing (mobile, tablet, PC) in more natural ways, the underlying tone is cloud computing.  It permeates everything.  With so much focus on IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, at this point there is no longer any doubt in my mind that computing power has become the next utility.

What do I mean?  For comparison, go back in time to the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  When a business built a factory, they also built a power plant to supply it with energy.  Then along came the notion of creating large power plants and a network of power lines that would supply electricity to every household.  Then, these businesses realized they could also tap into that grid for supplemental power and eventually get all of their power from it without ever building their own power source.  Electricity as a Utility was born.

Jump ahead 100 years.  Businesses are building large data centers to house and manage their computing power needs.  This is the beginning of the Information Revolution.  Then along comes this network called The Internet.  It connects households to computer resources and “information suppliers”.  Then businesses realized they could also tap into that grid and now there is a movement to get their computing power from Cloud Computing providers like IBM, Amazon, RackSpace, and Google.  If history repeats itself, as I fully predict, the day will come in the very near future when data centers at corporations will all but vanish.

The one small, but significant difference is that information, unlike electricity, is not just consumed.  It is also created and stored, almost like houses that have solar panels which are wired to “sell” their surplus back to the power company.  This distinction is the wild card that adds complexity to this otherwise close parallel.  What do you think?

Get the most out of your Connections account at IBM Connect 2014 (Connect O’Sphere)


If you’re attending IBM Connect 2014 next week you can get much more out of the experience by taking the time to get set up in the community on the conference Connections community well in advance of arriving in Orlando.  This will give you access to the session information, allow you to create your own schedule, connect with other attendees, and get a more socially interactive experience at the conference.

First, you should have received an email from connect2014@us.ibm.com with your login credentials.  Your credentials for logging in should consist of long numbers.  Secure, but difficult to remember if you’re trying to log into the website.  My advice: don’t.  Instead, go to the app store on your mobile device and download the IBM Connections app.  I actually like using the app better than viewing it in a browser. The website is great, but in the app everything just flows a bit more smoothly.  But best of all, you don’t have to keep logging in.  Enter your credentials once and you’re done.

The details:
1.  Download and install the app on your mobile device.
2.  Launch the app.
3.  Add your account credentials for the Connect 2014 Connections server.  (The app allows configuring for multiple Connections servers)
Enter a title:  Connect 2014
Server URL: https://connections.connect2014.com
Username:  <your user ID from the email>
Password: <your password from the email>

You’re good to go.  Start by entering your profile information so people know more about you.  Be sure to post a photo of yourself (a photo or bitmap of anything other than you is really quite useless.  A simple head shot is perfect.)  Add tags about yourself to indicate your areas of interest.  Next, go into the profiles and search for people you already know and add them to your network.  After you connect, tag them with relevant tags that will help define who they are.  Then go into the schedule area and add the sessions to your schedule so you have a plan.
Unfortunately, the forums do not appear to be available via the app.  This is disappointing given that most people will want to interact on the forums via their mobile device.  Who wants to log into a website to get to the forums, especially with those numeric credentials? Still, I think you will find the app very handy for getting the most out of the conference.

See you at IBM Connect O’Sphere 2014!

Important secret detail about upcoming IamLUG conference in St. Louis next month


Lotus IBM professionals, have you made plans to attend IamLUG? Perhaps you never get to attend Lotusphere / IBM Connect because it’s so expensive for the travel and the conference fee?  This is your chance to get all of the meat of the Big conference without all of the fluff.  You won’t get an evening trip to one of the theme parks.  You won’t have all the hoopla and grandeur of the Opening General Session or the intellectual entertainment of the Closing Session.  But you’ll get all the same great, useful insightful presentations from many of the same speakers.  And the cost is…

FREE!

You just have to get there.  Costs would include travel to/from St Louis, a ride from the airport to the hotel, Room for 2 nights at $100/night. (Split it with someone else attending and that’s $50/night!) Eat cheap while you’re there and you can get 2 days of intense professional development for next to nothing.  Throw in the extra day of TackItOn sessions for just $500 and you get a complete trip of 3 days of training for a fraction of the cost of IBM Connect.  Do whatever it takes to be there.  When it comes to conferences outside of Lotusphere/IBM Connect, it doesn’t get any better than this.  Did I mention many of the same speakers who presented at IBM Connect this year will be at IamLUG sharing all the now-released version of Notes 9 Social Edition?

Actually, there will be at least one new presenter: me.  Yes, for the first time I will officially have my own microphone.  In the past, you may have seen me at a mic in the audience at Lotusphere/Connect, asking pointed questions during the “Ask the Product Managers” session or  in the “Ask the Developers” session when I was made an honorary developer and brought on stage, handed a laptop, and put to work.  Well I finally decided to put my mouth where my blog is, to step up to the podium and give back to the community live and in person. I’m diving in with both feet too.  I submitted two abstracts and they were BOTH accepted.  This will be a true test of my Toastmasters training.  If you’re in the audience, be kind, please.

Both sessions are on system administrator topics.  The first session, “Be a Domino Detective: Hunting the Gremlins” is all about finding the problems hiding in your systems.  I am so lucky to be sharing the stage with Kim Greene, a seasoned presenter!  She will be hunting the gremlins that are constantly at work gnawing at your system’s performance while I will be hunting the ones that are quietly lying in the shadows, waiting for the worst time to jump out and bite you.  I’m hoping this session will be both fun AND educational.

The second session, “What’s in it for me? How Your Life as an Administrator will Improve When Your Company Moves to the Cloud” is intended to provide a bit of insight into what you can expect as a system administrator if you migrate to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.  Really, the cloud can be your friend, not the end of your career.  Speaking of friends, I will be co-presenting this session with my longtime friend and administrator of a broad range of systems, Greg Walrath.  I look forward to seeing you in the audience!

This user group conference has grown dramatically in just 4 years.  Most of the speakers you have seen many times before and know them for their expertise.  IBM will even be there presenting an entire track on Social Business. This one is truly becoming one of the biggest and best.  I am humbled to get a chance to share time at the podium among such rock stars in our profession.  It will be fun!  See you in St. Louis!

Passport Advantage Revisited 2 years later…


In August 2011 I posted an article giving a detailed analysis of the design of the IBM Passport Advantage website.  That article received a great deal of attention, not only from the Lotus user community, but also from executives at IBM.   I was even contacted by the person who oversaw the team responsible for the site. Finally, I thought, we would see some relief in our pain dealing with this website.

It’s nearly 2 years later.  There have been some changes to the IBM websites, but Passport Advantage has had no significant changes.  I’m here at IBM Connect 2013 to once again ask the question “When will you fix this website?”  If you’re here, watch for it at “Ask the Product Managers” session.  I will report the results later.

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