The future of transportation with IBM Watson

As both an IBM business partner and a transportation technology enthusiast, it is exciting to see #IBMWatson getting into the transportation game. Transportation is a huge industry and everyone wants to innovate to capture that revenue. Google, IBM, Detroit and countless startups are racing in. Transportation is about to change in ways unimagined.

When it comes to transportation technology, we have passed an inflection point. Innovation in transportation and the adoption rate of that technology are suddenly growing exponentially. Other technologies, like the smartphone have prepared us to become accustomed to a very rapid adoption rate. In fact, it has laid the groundwork for that adaptability to even be possible. The Waze adaptive navigation app has been downloaded by 50 million drivers, 40 million of those in just the last 4 years. Uber did not exist 7 years ago. It took just 6 years to reach 1 Billion rides and then just 6 months later they reached their second Billion.

How exactly is transportation technology changing?

– Alternative energy vehicles to consume less energy and produce less pollution
– Autonomous vehicles to improve safety and allow us to use travel time more effectively
– Trip-combining solutions to reduce vehicles on the road
– Apps that guide us to avoid traffic and find the fastest route
– even technology that brings us together without leaving home (my specialty).

So where is it taking us?

That is a great question. Cell phones, search engines, 3D printers and the connectivity of the Internet have all surpassed the imaginations of science fiction classics like Star Trek. How long before we are using Transporters to beam around? OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But maybe not. Just be wary of how you spend your money, knowing that what you buy will likely become obsolete long before it wears out.

Upcoming IBM webcasts for October 2016

Here is a list of webcast events for the IBM Collaboration Software community. If you aren’t a member of this community on developerWorks, create an account while you’re there so you can participate in the discussions and keep your knowledge sharp.

(Note time zones are listed in Pacific Time Zone, because that’s where I live.)
18 Oct, 8:00 AM PDT (GMT -7) Open Mic Webcast: Common Issues on IBM Traveler Push Notifications

20 Oct, 7:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) Monthly Community Meeting – Every 3rd Thursday

If you are lucky enough to live in Brussels, here is a meeting at IBM Oct 27th on the future of Verse and Toscana Get the latest news!

Nov 10, 11: If you are anywhere near Prague, don’t miss SUTOL Technical Conference with IBM Champion Jan Valdman

Nov 17 1:00PM – 5:00PM PDT My friends just north of me are hosting Cross Canada Collaboration User Group with Champion-worthy Graham Acres.  This is a combination webcast/in-person session that will be broadcasting live from multiple locations in the Great White North.

And if you missed these from last month, go watch the recordings:

(Note time zones)
7 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT (GMT -7) Tips and Tricks for Managing Communities Effectively

14 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM Client Application Access (ICAA)

21 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) Rename best practices for SmartCloud Notes hybrid administrators

22 Sep, 7:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM mail support for Microsoft Outlook

Remember that you can overlay the Social Business User Community calendar onto your calendar to have all these dates automatically added to your calendar. Just visit the community calendar on DeveloperWorks and click the button below the calendar to Add to Personal Calendar.


2017 IBM Champion Nominations are Open

IBM Champion nominations are open.  Do you know someone who has shown expertise and advocacy for the IBM Collaboration Software community?championcriteria

If there is someone you feel is worthy (including yourself), go here and post your nomination.  The deadline for submissions is November 14th. You can also  Watch the webcast replay explaining more details.

Upcoming IBM webcasts for September 2016

Here is a list of webcast events for the IBM Collaboration Software community. If your company doesn’t use this, check these out to see what you are missing:

(Note time zones)
7 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT (GMT -7) Tips and Tricks for Managing Communities Effectively

14 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM Client Application Access (ICAA)

21 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) Rename best practices for SmartCloud Notes hybrid administrators

22 Sep, 7:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM mail support for Microsoft Outlook

You can also overlay the Social Business User Community calendar onto your calendar to have all these dates automatically added to your calendar. Just visit the community calendar on DeveloperWorks and click the button below the calendar to Add to Personal Calendar.

Urgent: Save the Grand Canyon from Escalade

Urgent:  The Navajo Nation is moving forward with building a tourist village and tram into the Grand Canyon at, of all places, the confluence of the Colorado R. and Little Colorado R. They are receiving comments on the proposal until TOMORROW, September 2.
This 60 sec video explains the proposed project:


Please do the following 3 steps:
1. Share your comments to the Navajo Nation
Urge them not to spoil this natural resource for generations to come.
And contact Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
Remind her of her duty to work with the Navajo to protect and preserve the Grand Canyon as the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act requires.

2.  Sign one or more of the petitions: petition
American Rivers petition

3. Spread the word.  More signatures and comments amplify your voice.  Share this post on social media and forward it to your friends. Here is a shortened URL:

4. Like this page if you did these so everyone can see how many are joining in.

Remember this is due by tomorrow September 2nd, but even if that date has passed, keep sharing, sending comments, signing the petitions.



Escalade Project Photo


Watch this video to get a feeling of why this all matters:

THE IMPORTANT PLACES. from gnarly bay on Vimeo.

My personal story is this: Five years ago I led a rafting expedition down The Canyon and I brought my 12-year-old daughter along. (You can read about our journey here.)
She says one of the most amazing parts of that experience was how we were so totally, completely away from all signs of civilization and able to truly become one with nature. She only had enough time to go as far as Phantom Ranch before hiking out to get back to school. But she knows she will return to run the entire river.

So now the Navajo Nation has a decision to make: Will my daughter ever get the chance to return to the river and complete the journey unspoiled as it was in 2011?

Heartbreaking to think that we have no one but ourselves to blame for the loss of the Native American culture that cherished the concept of Seven Generation Sustainability and Seven Generations – The Role of Chief

More information can be found at:
American Rivers on facebook:


MWLUG 2016 Recap

This year MWLUG was held in Austin, TX.


I gave a presentation on Best Practices for Administrators Before, During and After a move to SmartCloud Notes.  Here are my slides:

Some great things that stood out from this event are:

    • The Hotel: This set the bar to a standard that will not likely be surpassed anytime soon.  It was held at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The easiest way to describe the service is to say it was just like the hotel in the movie “Pretty Woman”.  This hotel caters to people like actor Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) who was even seen hanging out in the lounge. Yet we got our rooms at a steal of a price thanks to Richard Moy and his negotiators.
    • The location: Many interesting things to see from Bat Fest to the state capitol building.
    • The presentations: Excellent speakers. I focused on the admin track.  What was most noteworthy was the increased number of sessions related to Connections Cloud.
    • The announcements: The biggest one was from Scott Souder regarding Verse on premises coming by the end of the year, though they are targeting mid November. Look for an early Christmas present.
    • The IBM Champions: Over 20 IBM Champions for Social Business attended. Most were also presenting, which certainly contributed to the quality of the presentations.

      IBM Champions at MWLUG 2016

      IBM Champions at MWLUG

    • The entertainment: The bus ride to San Antonio to see the Alamo and the river walk area (complete with downpour); the visit to the IBM Design Center; the brewery tour and dinner; what was perhaps the highest density of bars within walking distance I have ever seen; and the great music in the lounge on Friday night with a cameo performance by our own very talented IBMer and champion of IBM Champions, Amanda Bauman.
  • The weather: Clouds, cooler temperatures (85 degrees), and 95% humidity arrived just in time for the conference with torrential downpour and local flooding as I stood waiting for a bus that never came to take me to the airport.
  • PACLUG: I announced the re-forming of a user group in the west.
  • MWLUG 2017: Next year MWLUG will be held in the Washington DC area.
  • The organizers:  In spite of numerous opportunities for things to fall apart, like the badge holders weren’t delivered, the chartered bus operator left a day early, the beer tap failed; Richard Moy handled every crisis with amazing finesse to keep things running smoothly.
  • The people:  All the stuff above is extra.  It’s always about the people.  Once again, the real value of gatherings like this is the connections that are made.  No amount of social media can outperform face-to-face connections.

Next up is ICON UK, September 15, 16. It will be held in London.

IBM Connect 2017: Finally Comes to the West Coast!


One of the halls at Moscone Centre

Wonderful, Amazing news: IBM Connect 2017 will be held at Moscone Centre in San Francisco, CA February 19 – 22!  This announcement was made today by Inhi Cho Suh, the new General Manager of IBM Collaborative Services (ICS).  How significant is this?  For so many years I have known so many IBM ICS brand professionals who wanted to go to this conference, but could not get approval to fly to the far corner of the country to go to “Disney World” for Lotusphere or ConnectEd or now Connect.  Europe gets its version of the big conference and user group conferences like Engage, going on right now where this announcement was made.

One year there was a user group conference in Las Vegas. Hated the venue (it’s Vegas), but it had great attendance from west coast professionals.  Other than that, the western half of the U.S. has been a desert for gatherings of ICS professionals.  So finally IBM is recognizing the value of the western half of the country as a market.  Somehow I expect a little fruit company may have had some influence in the site selection…


Moscone Centre, San Francisco, CA

Along this same line, I am pleased to announce I will be working with IBM and others to restart a user group on the west coast.  More details are coming soon.

It is great to have such a highly motivated person in command.  It is also great to see Ed Brill back as part of the brand.  See you in San Francisco in 2017!


Domino Admin Best Practices: Finding the Gremlins

Here is a slide deck of a presentation given by Kim Greene and me at IamLUG.  Just realized we didn’t share it, so here it is.  Still very applicable.

Seeking questions for the “Ask IBM” session at Connect 2016

Each year I like to gather questions from the IBM Collaboration Software community that I think would have widespread interest and ask them at the “Ask IBM” session at IBM Connect.  (In the past it was Lotusphere and the “Ask the Developers” and “Ask the Product Managers” sessions.)  This is a call for submissions from you, the community, to share with me any questions you would like to have asked, but you are not able to attend and ask yourself or don’t want to stand at the mic.  Please post them as a comment to this post.  I will gather them up and try to get the answers to as many as I can.  One of the things about being an IBM Champion for Social Business is a commitment to contributing to the community.  Watch for the answers shortly after the conference.

Here is a sample of questions from last year:
Recap of Ask IBM session (Ask the Developers and Ask the PMs) at IBM ConnectED / Lotusphere 2015

Changes in DeveloperWorks leading demise of GreenHouse?

As posted by Gabriella Davis and Chris Miller, it appears that Greenhouse is going away.  The content, or at least some of it, is moving to DeveloperWorks.  But it appears that the changes reach further than that.  DeveloperWorks is also undergoing major changes as announced by Sandy Carter.

DeveloperWorks Premium.

You get $1700 worth of stuff for the low price of $399 per year. That includes access to Bluemix, softlayer, and even a free voucher for a certification test (usually $200).  If you’re going to be taking a certification test soon, you might consider spending the extra $200 and getting a premium DeveloperWorks account too.

(CORRECTION: The website has since been updated to describe the certification test as “Complimentary certification test for IBM Certified Application Developer Certification”, not simply a test voucher for any test.)

I see the long term goal of combining Greenhouse and DeveloperWorks. But I’m wondering what will be lost in the process vs. what will be gained.  Change is great when it is an improvement, but learning to navigate a new site can frustrate and lose users.

As they say, a rolling stone gathers no moss; also a frequently moving website gathers no followers.  GreenHouse has been growing by about 1500 new users per month.  How many of the 150,000 Greenhouse members will be lost in the transition?

OK IBM, be sure to tell me when I need to update my article on instructions for downloading the Connections Plugins and when I will need to update my Greenhouse Sametime Community configuration settings.

A migration to Google: week 1

I will follow up later with more details on the migration experience, but here is a quick glimpse into the users’ reactions the first week after switching a company from Notes to Google.
How do I know if my reply has the history or not?
How do I reply with the attachments and then edit the attachment before sending it back?
Do I have mail? It doesn’t really tell me when I have mail? I keep having to hit Refresh to see if I have mail.
Why do I have to go to the tab with my email to see my instant messages?
How do I see if someone is online in Hangouts?
I keep missing when people IM me in Hangouts. How do I make it pop to the front?
Where did you migrate my journal entries that I kept in my Notes journal?
My todos (tasks) were migrated, but now they all show up on the date they are due instead of the date they are supposed to start. Can you fix that?
All I see is a Send button. There isn’t a Send and File.. How do I Send a message and File it into a folder (label) at the same time?
I really like the search. But how do I sort the inbox by sender?
How do I know if I am in my personal gmail account or my work account? This is confusing.

If I get a meeting invitation, how do I counter with another time?
The “View on Google Calendar” link within a meeting invitation just opens the invitation details. How do I check my calendar to see my availability before accepting a meeting invitation?
How do I make files on my computer open in Google Docs when I double-click them?
How do I recall a message?
How do I send an attachment over 25MB to an external recipient?

In general, the users say it works OK for mail. That is the core of what they are using.  The file sharing via Drive is a new process for them, but being adopted for internal sharing. Not well received for external sharing. Calendaring & Scheduling and instant messaging are getting the biggest complaints. More questions keep coming. The answers to most of these are not what they want to hear.  If you are planning a migration of any sort, be sure to thoroughly test the edge cases. That has proven to be where most of the issues are coming from and impacting business processes.  This makes sense. I have often heard executives refer to email as a commodity.  And the core of delivering messages from sender to recipient is just that. The question that should be asked is how complete and fine-tuned are the portfolio of services incorporated into that core?

Exactly what does it mean to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean?

The Shell oil rig Polar Pioneer left the Port of Seattle yesterday after being briefly delayed by the Kayaktivists who attempted to block it (King5 News video).

Protestors blocking Polar Pioneer from leaving Seattle.

Protestors blocking Polar Pioneer from leaving Seattle.

A month ago, protestors gathered to protest Shell Oil docking the oil rig Polar Pioneer at the Port of Seattle where they made preparations to go to the Arctic Ocean to drill for oil.

Shell NO! protestors

Shell NO! protestors

I attended that event, not so much to protest as to get an understanding of the issue and to get a chance to see the behemoth rig up close. At 400 feet tall, it towers over everything else in the port.  What I came away with was an Oh Sh*t! moment.

Crab fishing ship

Crab fishing ship “Wizard” from “Deadliest Catch” docked in Seattle.

Picture this scene:
It’s early September.  Fall is just beginning to arrive for most of us. But in the Arctic Ocean it is a different story.  Winter is never far away there. In the Bering Sea, The Discovery Channel’s  “Deadliest Catch” is about to begin filming its next season. Wikipedia describes this TV show as “[This] series … documents the dangers of being on a boat in the Bering Sea, in the midst of some of the coldest and stormiest waters on earth, where even a minor problem may become complex with the nearest port often hundreds of miles away.”

Crabbing ship

Crabbing ship “Wizard” of “Deadliest Catch” docked in Seattle

Meanwhile, 1000 miles to the North, in the Chukchi Sea, the storms are already raging as the Shell oil rig Polar Pioneer prepares to shut down drilling operations and head back to Seattle, WA before the ice traps it there. The ice pack is already quickly growing, making navigation more and more hazardous.  Soon the Chukchi Sea will be completely impassable until next June.

Area of Polar ice cap

Arctic Ocean is covered with ice most of the year.

The Chukchi Sea is the sea just north of the Bering Strait that separates Russia and Alaska. This part of the Arctic Ocean is only navigable 4 months of the year.  Winter is fast approaching and already the pack ice is making the ocean treacherous for ships, particularly oil rigs.

Polar Pioneer oil rig heading to Chukchi Sea

Polar Pioneer oil rig heading to Chukchi Sea

The stakes are high for Shell Oil Company and they want to stay for as long as they can. But an early-season storm rolls in and the driving storm rips the Polar Pioneer from its oil well.   Oil begins gushing out of the open well and into the sea much like what happened in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon.  But unlike the Deepwater Horizon which was only 50 miles offshore in the calm, warm waters of the Gulf, the Polar Pioneer is in the remotest reaches of the Arctic Ocean. The US Coast Guard ship, Healy,

their only ice breaker in the North Pacific, is stationed in Seattle, WA, over 3000 miles away. It took 3 months to cap the oil well in the Deepwater Horizon disaster which released 210 million gallons of oil.  But here in the Arctic, it will be at least another 8 months before crews can even attempt to return to cap the oil well drilled by the Polar Pioneer.


Icebreaker “Healy” in the foreground docked in Seattle this weekend.

Once they finally begin the cleanup, the effort needed is overwhelming. Over that 8+ month period, crude oil would permeate the frozen sea ice and get carried far off before the ice melts and releases the oil into the ocean once again. And that oil would be released from the melting ice at a time when sea life is most vulnerable – just as the whales and other migratory species are returning to raise their young in the otherwise nutrient-rich Arctic waters.

Some species of whales go without food for as much as 5 months while they wait out the winter in the warmer Southern waters and give birth.  They will be depending on the food to be there when they return to the Arctic in the Spring.  Other whale species, like the narwhal and the beluga, stay in the Arctic all winter long, surviving by finding the fractures in the ice to reach the surface for air.  At times they may be confined to one small rift in the ice for months, unable to swim to another as they are too far apart.  If the oil spill gathers in these fractures, the whales will all be killed, having no place to escape.  Similarly, ringed seals survive the winter by constantly carving and maintaining a hole in the ice so they have a place to breathe.  And the polar bears that eat the ringed seals would also suffer the consequences.  An oil spill under the winter Arctic ice would be catastrophic by orders of magnitude worse than anything we have experienced before.

Unlike the Deepwater Horizon spill, where the oil well was much deeper underwater and “confined” within the protected waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Chukchi Sea is relatively shallow with much stronger currents and violent weather, quickly dispersing the oil over a much broader area. It would choke the relatively narrow Bering Strait, the single entry point for all life migrating from the Pacific Ocean into the Arctic.  The devastation of a spill there would make the Deepwater Horizon spill insignificant by comparison. And no amount of fines imposed on Shell Oil could compensate for the destruction. Even Lloyd’s of London warns against the risk.

The scenario I described here is not at all far-fetched and there are many more scenarios that they are unprepared to handle.  It may take 5 or 10 or even 20 years for a major spill to occur.  But when it eventually does, the consequences will be catastrophic.  Like Adam and Eve with the apple, just because oil may be there doesn’t mean it should be taken. The Kayaktivists have done well to draw attention to this issue and begin to get the message out. Awareness is the first step. The Sierra Club is working with Congress to get this activity banned. Visit their pages to see how you can help support the cause.

Related topics:
Garbage Island: An ocean full of Plastic –
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

End of the Line: How Overfishing is changing the World

Footnote: Applications used to manage the complex data gathered in the cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon spill were created in IBM Lotus Notes.

%d bloggers like this: