Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Messaging and Collab SlideShare


Came across this on Twitter today and figured some of you may not have seen it so thought I would put it here where it was a bit more permanent.  Good stuff!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

iOS 5.1 Coming Soon?


I personally had a lot of success with upgrading my 3GS to 5.0.1.  It fixed a lot of the response issues I experienced with 5.0.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

This Looks Promising…


Community Backup/Recovery (Archiving) tool!

Found this today while working on something else and thought I would share.  Published to the solutions catalog just yesterday, I can see a lot of promising use cases for this particular utility.  If you try it, please share your experience and thoughts.

I suggest you read the notes, as there is an important point about what is backed up vs. what can be automatically restored.

Monday, November 07, 2011

LS12 Abstract Submission Still Open…

Call for abstracts still open: Lotusphere 2012 - Business Made Social. Don't miss this opportunity.

Here's your chance to be a part of Lotusphere and the IBM Connect 2012 conferences with the best seat in the house--the one on stage, together with your customer. The Lotusphere 2012 content team is now accepting proposals to speak at Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012.

Submit your abstract here. Work with your customer and develop an abstract in which you share your joint experience leading to a successful social business solution. If your expertise is technical, come forward ready to deliver a detailed "Show 'n Tell." Join an elite group of professional, top-notch speakers: customers, Business Partners and industry experts, all sharing best practices, solutions and the expertise needed to help organizations design and deliver services that drive unique client value and competitive advantage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“Connect to Compete”

Announced today by the chairman of the FCC, an initiative called Connect to Compete is being launched in conjunction with Microsoft, Best Buy, careerbuilder.com and monster.com to try to increase the broadband footprint in America.  The intent is to improve internet literacy and general computer skills for students and working individuals.  This will come in the form of support from Geek Squad providing classroom training in conjunction with groups like Goodwill, Boys and Girls Club, and a few others; Microsoft offering free training and certification on-line; and the career sites providing job skills training, resume writing, and other job related training online for free.  The most positive byproduct that I can personally connect with is the intent to also increase funding for public libraries and school computer labs to provide the means for after class time training. 

Being a technologist, I would love to see greater computer skills training, but is this really just a ploy to get more potential buyers into Best Buy stores and online to support Microsoft’s initiatives?  I hope those involved remain true to the spirit of this initiative and give us reason to applaud these efforts as they progress.  Good luck guys…

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


As many of you are already aware, IBM announced ND8.5.3.


Beyond the typical fixes, we now have access to Connections Profiles and Files as Domino customers.  This is all in an effort to help businesses on their road to becoming social businesses.  This is great because there are Notes plugins for these features, bringing this content to the users at no additional cost.

We already have access to Portal at no additional cost if it is used to drive content for Notes clients and not a Portal implementation.  (limited use for ND customers)

What about Activities?  I would love to see activities added to the list of entitled software, but we need to take these things one step at a time.  Thanks IBM!

ND 8.5.3 also brings us an improved Traveler experience for the Droid community.  With greater attention to the Android platform, we now have support for newer devices and better overall security through feature leveling across platforms like partial device wipes.

It has been hinted that this is likely the last major release in the 8.5.x code stream.  This means it will soon be time to look for ND9?

We also heard that IBM has a new offering, the XWork Server.  This is an application only (XPages driven) server that allows you to deploy up to 4 applications (not just 4 NSF files, mind you) within the limits of this flat fee license.  This means that there is no abacus required as you try to calculate your PVUs.  Ed Brill covered this in a recent blog post.


There are numerous applications that I can think of for this server.  I believe this could be a good thing for IBM.  This reminds me of a recent conversation on LinkeIn where someone had suggested that IBM separate apps from mail in the Domino product line-up.  Offering an applications only approach to maybe embrace (SHUDDER) another email platform along side of Domino as your RAD environment.

Buried in the Inbox, besides these important announcements, LS12 is ramping up.

Heads up: Get out your social calendar.  It's time to add Lotusphere 2012 to your agenda!
Lotusphere, IBM's premier collaboration event, kicks on on Sunday, January 15, 2012.  As in past years, Lotusphere 2012 promises to be content-rich.
Whether you are interested in Social Business strategy or product features and capabilities, the event promises to offer something for just about everyone.  Attend and:
- Listen in on over 300 sessions
- Pick up technical tips and tracks
- Hear about best practices and see live examples
- Tour the Solutions Showcase and see real-world solutions firsthand
- Socialize with your peers, Business Partners and IBMers
Are you ready to expand your social circle?
Register for Lotusphere 2012 today: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/events/conference/index.html
I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Did we already start collecting session abstracts?  Where have I been?!?

Well, kids… this is definitely a very short summary of this busy week in the Lotus camp.  Good luck, and happy socializing. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beacon Awards Nomination Time

Fellow BPs… if you have not heard yet, the time to act is now!

Dear IBM Business Partner,

The IBM Beacon Awards were established more than a dozen years ago to recognize IBM's Business Partners globally for their excellence and innovative solutions based on IBM technology. More than 25 awards will recognize Business Partner achievement across a wide-range of solution areas, including Smarter Computing, Smarter Planet Solutions, Smarter Industries and Technical Excellence.

Beacon Award winners and finalists are an elite group of IBM Business Partners who have delivered unique and innovative solutions that raise the standard for business excellence and customer satisfaction. Winning a Beacon Award puts your firm in the spotlight for industry recognition and on a path to greater opportunity through increased visibility and promotional opportunities.

Past winners have said the awards help create competitive advantage, drive more business and raise their profile in the industry. The IBM Beacon Award is your opportunity to shine the spotlight on your business as a true innovator. I encourage you to nominate your solution(s) for this prestigious award. Nominations must be submitted by November 1, 2011, at 11:59 p.m., US Eastern Daylight Time (New York).
The IBM Beacon Awards are synonymous with excellence and innovation. I hope you'll consider nominating one or more of your most innovative solutions of 2011. Visit PartnerWorld for Beacon Award details and to nominate your solutions.


Wilfredo Sotolongo
Vice President
IBM Business Partners and Mid-Market Sales
IBM North America

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

LotusLive vs. Office365: Test 3 - IM

Both LotusLive and Office365 offer instant messaging capabilities.  They are also both built on their respective vendor’s enterprise IM platform, Lync 2010 in the case of Office 365 and Sametime 8.5.x in the case of LotusLive.  Both vendors make their clients available for download as well.  The installation of Lync was very straight forward.  Simply click through the series of Next through Finish until you are done.  To find the installer, it is a link right off of your portal landing page.


Click through to select your language and chose either the 32bit or 64bit installer as appropriate for your system.


After it is installed and you launch it, you are presented with the following window:


For LotusLive, they also have an installation link right from the landing page, however theirs is labeled Downloads and Setup.


Click through, and you are taken to the Downloads page where the first link is for Sametime.


Click the link to View Sametime Instant Messaging options.


Then under #2, you have the option to install Sametime for either Windows, Mac, or RPM-based Linux operating systems.  *NOTE* The linux installer is therefore for distributions like Fedora or RedHat, and excludes Ubuntu unless you use something like Alien to repackage the installer as noted here.

After you download and unpack the zip file, run the installer and follow the series of Next though Finish.  You launch Sametime and now are presented with this window:


This may be where the similarities end.

Let’s first take a closer look at Sametime.  The product ships with Outlook and Office integration features, but they are not installed or turned on by default.  The process is documented fairly well in the wiki article 10.1 Integrating Lotus Sametime with Microsoft Office and continued in 10.2 Integrating Lotus Sametime with Microsoft Outlook.  With these features enabled, you will be able to look up users to determine their presence, save chat transcripts to Outlook, and should be able to start a chat from Outlook.

Working with Sametime is relatively intuitive if you have ever used other chat clients (like Pidgin) as they have buttons to add new contacts, start a chat, and most features you look to initiate from your chat window.


Lync also integrates with Outlook.  It provides you with a tighter integrated experience, as you would expect.  Presence indicators show up next to users’ names in the Inbox


Manipulating your buddy list is somewhat different between these two platforms.  To manage your buddy list in Sametime you need to access the New Contact dialog by either selecting the buddy icon, and then select New Contact.. or simply right click in the group you want to add the user and select Add Contact…


You will then be presented with the dialog to search for contacts to add to your buddy list.  *NOTE* Your contacts need to be active to be found when you search for them.

In Lync, it was not as intuitive to me at first, but the search bar for finding contacts .  You need to have a portion of the name which you want to add and start by searching for the name.  You can not easily browse a list of all of the users.


Once you find the user( s ) you can use the “+” button to add the contact to your buddy list.

Initiating a chat with a contact is the same in both clients, you can double click the contact you wish to start a conversation with.  The chat windows both look similar as well.



As you can see, the chat systems are very similar in function.  They both are integrated into their respective mail clients very well and the web interfaces.  The biggest gap I have seen is the Outlook integration with Sametime, but this is expected given the vendor difference.

I personally like both of the interfaces.  The Lync client does not have an intuitive way to shut down the client that I can find.  It is not in the menus of the interface, and actually has to be done with the system tray icon.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ICANN Opens Up Custom TLDs


I wonder if this will be the next IPv6, or if companies will seriously invest in their own custom top level domain.  I would expect the larger guys like IBM, Microsoft, Google, etc. to jump on this.  Anyone with a product that is delivered via a browser definitely seem to me to be likely candidates for early adoption.  But what about the smaller guys?  I am not so sure we will see the like of .salesforce and definitely doubt we will see .bobshardware.  (Maybe .lowes or .hd/.homedepot?)

It was inevitable that we would exhaust all reasonable TLD names before we exhausted the demand for them.  Given that ICANN has a directive to try and prevent similar sounding domains from being registered, I do not that I think they have been overly successful historically, but have definitely improved.  For example, it was common knowledge that whitehouse.com had nothing to do with the US capitol, but it has since been snatched away from the porn industry and is now a pointer to house.com.  Google has registered gogle.com and googl.com as pointers to them selves, but someone else owns gogle.com (which triggered my antivirus program the second the page loaded).

ICANN stated that they are setting the initial price high enough to prevent squatters from trying to snatch up desirable domains with unscrupulous intentions, and intend to put a screening process in place that will evaluate all applications for TLDs.  This should help prevent .facebook from becoming a bargaining chip in the war for social supremacy, but I don’t think it will help the likes of mySpace become any less tawdry in the public eye.

Friday, June 17, 2011

LotusLive vs. Office 365: Trial 2 (Email)

Now that I have my five test users in both Office 365 and LotusLive, the first thing I would expect an organization to want to do is start communicating.  With the exception of maybe the most advanced social businesses, the dominant mode of business communication today is still email.

Both offerings provide you with a link to access your web based email in just one click from the landing page after signing in.  Their interfaces are similar enough in that you have an Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, Trash, and Spam/Junk on the left side in the typical location.  The main pane opens to your Inbox in a list format.

Office 365 displays a preview of the selected message, in just the same way that Outlook does.  LotusLive does not have a preview from the list view by default.

LotusLive provides tab style links at the top of the user interface to quickly access your individual Contacts, Calendar, and Preferences.  There does not appear to be any facility for ToDo’s within your Mail.  (This functionality can be performed elsewhere in LotusLive.)


Office 365 also provides quick access to your Calendar and Contacts, but in line with your other left-hand navigation.  In addition to the common features, Office 365 presents the users with Tasks (or ToDo’s) right in the mail interface, just like their rich client. (Outlook)


Web-based email has become more feature rich, both in on-premise products and in freely available products.  We expect common features like flag for follow-up, spell checking, folder management, search capabilities, attachment handling, and others I am sure to be missing.  This list of features is present in both solutions and intuitive enough to use, in my opinion.

That said, web based email is not realistic for laptop users who need access to email while off-line or disconnected.  Both LotusLive and Office 365 state they support Outlook as a rich client, so I will try to configure Outlook 2010 to access both and contrast the experience.

Here is the video of setting up Outlook for Office 365. 

Before I started configuring Outlook for LotusLive, I found the help documentation to explain how to do it here.  The instructions indicated you needed to supply your IMAP/SMTP server information in the format of yoursiteID-smtp.mail.lotuslive.com.  This was not very intuitive to me, but fortunately, IBM supplies this information in the Administration section of LotusLive.  To locate your server information, log into LotusLive and enter the Administration area.  Click on iNotes on the left hand side, and locate your server information at the bottom of the page.


Armed with the nitty-gritty, it was time to get to work.  Here is the video of me configuring Outlook for LotusLive.

Both solutions support Outlook 2010 as advertised.

Office365 provides your organization with GAL features like an on-premise deployment of Exchange would, where LotusLive does not.  You still have access to personal contacts, and calendaring with both services.  I would imagine the delegation of email and calendaring to function when using Office365, but it does not work when using LotusLive as your back-end.  This is because LotusLive simply provides IMAP (inbound) and SMTP (outbound) basic services for the Outlook client, while Office365 is powered by Exchange.

For basic email functionality, taking your own email off-line, and the ability to use Outlook (which may already be on your system), either service is sufficient.  If you are looking for a similar experience to running Exchange within your organization, but do not have the facilities or skills to do so on your own, Office365 gives you a very viable alternative.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

LotusLive vs. Office 365 : Trial Comparison 1

In the posts I published today ( Office 365 | LotusLive ), I set out to register for both LotusLive and Office 365 for a small group of 5 users to pilot the features of these competitive products.  Initial reactions were:

Office 365

  • Simple and intuitive interface.
  • Straight forward set of features, Document Sharing, Email, Calendar, Instant Messaging, and Online Meetings.


  • Comprehensive set of features.
  • Excellent list of native and third-party tools available for the trial.

The immediate contrasts that I recognized were:

  1. Office 365 only gives you the basic services, while LotusLive immediately makes a LARGE number of applications available to you during the demo.  LotusLive gives you Activities, Forms, and Charts which seem extremely useful in a business deployment.
  2. LotusLive only allows you to use their sub-domain while Office 365 gives you the ability to make a custom sub-domain to personalize your experience in a unique way.
  3. LotusLive has a more prominent link to their help to get you started.
  4. Office 365 appears to make ActiveSync available to trial members, while it seems mobile email access would be achieved through IMAP or POP3 for LotusLive’s trial.
  5. Branding of the LotusLive interface is well documented in the product help.
  6. Office 365 immediately presents you with links to help configure your native PC applications (Outlook, Office, etc.) to work with their service.  LotusLive has documentation on configuring local applications to interact with their service, but it requires more steps and user intervention.
  7. LotusLive has content tagging built intuitively into their offering.  Office 365 does not have as comprehensive of a content tagging system.
  8. As one would expect, the social aspect of LotusLive (Connections) is much more prominent, while Office 365 is very centered around document based collaboration and simplicity of access to common office computing facilities like email and calendaring.

In all, it is obvious to me that these are competitive products.  The experience similarities of the common features like email, calendaring, etc. is what you would expect of rival products from IBM and Microsoft.  The largest difference to me is that IBM’s solution gives organizations more tools or applications.  Integrating with third party CRM solutions, document signing/validation, and so many other apps gives an organization a full spectrum solution in which to run their business.  Office is really focused on bringing Office content to users everywhere and anywhere a browser or smart phone can reach.

The documentation, videos, guides, wikis available and easily accessible for LotusLive are as comprehensive as their offering, but you could argue that it needs to be.  Without some guidance, I can see how someone looking for just the office basics could be lost.  LotusLive does give an administrator the ability to shut off or unsubscribe from applications they do not intend to use which will certainly clean things up for the users, but out-of-the-box… everything is turned on.  Office 365 feels lacking to me in the documentation department, but arguably, its simplicity and smaller set of features enables users to more easily just stumble through the service with little need for hand-holding.

I like both offerings.  Office 365 does make it a bit easier to get a whole group up and running as it provides an interface for importing a list of users in a few simple steps as I discovered, and LotusLive does not allow for multi-user registration without seeking the intervention of an IBM representative.

When evaluating these two products, it seems to be a good idea to seek some references.  Ask for opinions of others who have already adopted each solution and see what features they like/use the most.  What do they not like.  These opinions, when filtered through what your organization finds to be important, canl make for an easier time navigating these two different approaches to cloud delivered enterprise tools.

Other considerations I see include:

  • Migration Process
  • Costs (which I understand to be comparable)
  • Accessibility for Users
  • Existing IT Assets to Integrate with

I personally like both offerings, each for their own strengths.  I hope this insight helps.

LotusLive: User Registration

I signed up for a 60 day trial of LotusLive to test drive the features and user experience.  The registration process was simple enough to navigate.  The only hiccup I experienced was upon completion of my registration, there was no intuitive way to progress.  The next step was actually to wait for an email to complete my registration and setup my password.  This was not clearly defined as the path and I felt abandoned on the completion page.

Once I confirmed my registration, I was presented with My Dashboard.  First impression is that the LotusLive suite of tools available to me is very comprehensive.  It is way more than just email, chat, meetings, and file sharing.  We will spend some time on these features in another post.  The first step, just like I decided was the initial step for Office 365, is to register my users.

From My Dashboard, I selected the Administration link at the top of the page.


I then selected User Accounts from the left side of the Administration page.


From here, I clicked on Add User Account.


The form that was presented asked me for the necessary information to setup the user and map this ID to my available licenses and applications.


You must reach the bottom of the form to find the field to setup the user’s email address in LotusLive.


The completion indication takes you back to the User Accounts summary and informs you of the ID creation status and the number of available IDs you have left to license.


I then proceeded to locate the facility to allow me to import a list of users for my trial.  I did not find anything intuitively, so I clicked on the Administration help guide.  The User Registration help read:


So there you have it.  As a trial, you can only register users one at a time.

Office 365: User Registration

After filling out the necessary information to start my Office 365 Beta, the first thing I wanted to do is add my users to my subscription.  You can either enter users one at a time, or generate a CSV file to perform a bulk upload.  I walked through the process to manually setup a single user, and it is extremely straight forward.  The process to add bulk users was not difficult, but seemed worthwhile to document.

The first step would be to log into an administrative account.  This is typically the first account setup when the organization was setup.  I pointed my browser to https://portal.microsoftonline.com and logged in with my credentials.


There is a link on the overview page to Add Users, but that takes you to the form to add an individual user.  Click on Users in the navigation pane on the left.


From the New menu, select Bulk add users then select the link in the middle of the page to download the CSV template.


Typical download dialog will appear based on the browser you are using.  I am using IE8 for this exercise.


Using Excel, I populated the columns with the information I had available for each user.  The only two required fields are User Name and Display Name when importing users with this method.  The User Name field should be the Office 365 email address you intend to assign to the user, and the full name can be simply First Last.


Once I completed filling out the CSV with the information necessary, I saved the modified CSV (using save as… maintaining the csv format) under a different name.  I then went back to my portal page to upload the completed file.


I used the Browse button to find the CSV and upload it to the site.  Office 365 validates the CSV before taking action with it.


You will then have to select the users’ disposition as to are they allowed to sign in, and then specify their location.


Next you will need to assign your available licenses for the application that are part of your organization.


The results of the operation will be emailed to you.  Validate your email address and click Create to complete the operation.


The results page will display the users email addresses and their temporary passwords.


I have found this process to be rather intuitive and simple to navigate.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Data in the Mobile World

I have been part of multiple discussions with customers lately that center around mobile computing.  The dramatic enhancement to features and functionality we are seeing in the tablet devices, relatively low cost of smart-phones, increases in mobile network speeds and other factors are all contributing to this renewed interest many are expressing in mobility.  The dominant communications method among mobile users is still email, but we are also seeing social capability and functions in every major vendor’s smart phone and tablet.

Freeing the workforce from the physical constraints of an office environment has many benefits.  I am sure we can find case studies on employee satisfaction, productivity, etc that all speak favorably about mobile computing and enabling multiple means of access to corporate data and services.  This freedom, however, cannot sacrifice the security you have developed around your sensitive data.

Increasing demands and restrictions on data security is an ever present concern among security officers in the industry.  They always need to know who is seeing what information, and should they be seeing it.  Mobile devices make it easier for data to be stolen by simply lifting the device or eavesdropping on someone’s screen.  I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed someone in an airport concerning them selves with the goings on of someone else’s laptop close by.

So how do we address this concern?

The answer is not to ignore mobility.  If you try that approach, your users will find ways to work around your security measures and gain whatever level of mobility they can.  This could be far greater of a risk as you will have no governance over the devices or data, nor will your users be educated about handling the responsibility you are now entrusting them with.

The balance of accessibility and security is an age old issue facing IT professionals.  The approach needs to be a strategic and logical one.  I would suggest generating a data security matrix, outlining the disposition of each type of data your organization deals with.  You may already have such a document, but unless it includes a few data points specifically related to mobile access, I would consider it incomplete.

I would setup the matrix to include the following, at least, as an example:

  • Data Owner (Who is responsible for the content and access to it?)
  • Data Maintainers (Contributors to the content that may not be the owner.)
  • Proprietary Yes / No?
  • Confidentiality
    • Scope of Confidentiality (Individual, Role-Based, Groups, Organization Wide?)
  • Regulated Data (What regulations and requirements are put on the data?)
    • Penalty of Infraction
  • Storage Requirements
    • Encryption / Encoding
  • Data Expiration / Maintenance Cycle
  • Elimination Procedures
  • Recovery Procedures
  • Scope of Access (On site, Remote, etc.)

As this data matrix is developed, I aim to address as many use cases as possible.  I think about the users and their roles, where they work, the devices they use, and the type of interaction they have with the data.  Paying particular attention to the sensitive and regulated data.  As the use cases become more defined and the sensitivity of the data is established, appropriate procedures for handling the data becomes evident.

I find this logical approach to allowing alternate means of access to enterprise data a very intelligent use of time and resources.  Remaining ahead of user demands in this area often discourages users from finding means of working around the restrictions in place and posing a greater threat than necessary to your organization.

As with almost any security initiative, as most will agree, there is no real substitute for end user training and education.  Empowering your mobile users with the knowledge and tools necessary to keep them selves and your data safe as they roam about the world is another critical component to a comprehensive approach to this demand on your IT organization.

I hope this has given my readers a few useful pointers, or at least opened up the discussion a bit more to help keep everyone safe.  As a leading airline says, “You are free to roam about the country!”

- Happy and Safe Travels!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

June is Learn XPages Month!


If you have not heard, pass the word!


  • OpenNTF.org XPages Contest, win an iPad:
  • Free XPages Workshop, sponsored by TLCC on June 2nd and 3rd - Join TLCC's instructors in this free two hour webinar designed for Domino Developers with no (or very little ) XPages experience. This webinar will have hands-on activites to get you started with XPages! There are two identical sessions planned for June 2nd at 3:00 PM (EDT) or June 3rd at 8:00 AM (EDT).
    Click here to get more information on the Free XPages Workshop
  • XPages Guru Webinar on June 1st - This webinar is a great way to learn what XPages can do for you. Six XPages experts will discuss what XPages are, case studies, the benefits of XPages, migration to XPages, the roadmap to getting to XPages, and resources for XPages developers. The date is June 1st at 11:00 AM Eastern time.
    Click here to sign up for this webinar

Thursday, May 05, 2011

IE9 Support

So it would seem support for Firefox was already addressed by Lotus iNotes, and they are projecting IE9 support in the forthcoming release Domino 8.5.3.  The current target for the release is Q3 2011.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Inspirational WebAdmin

I don’t often have a need to use the Domino WebAdmin interface, but Friday I found a need to do so.  I logged in and was greeted with the following:


I had no idea IBM was so flattering… it made me chuckle, so I had to share.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tungle.me Joins RIM

Hit my inbox today…

Wow.  What a ride it has been!  And it’s about to get wilder.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Tungle has been acquired by RIM.

What does this mean for you?  It means that Tungle is about to get even better.  

Learn more about this announcement and the future of Tungle.me >

We couldn’t have done this without you, our customers.  Your support, encouragement and feedback have helped us get to where we are today. 

And we intend to keep you at the forefront of our plans as we move into this new phase.  We’ll now be even more focused on integrating Tungle into your everyday lives.

Thank you for being with us throughout this journey, and hold onto your hats for what’s to come!


The Tungle.me (now RIM) team 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is Traveler?

It may seem a bit late in the game to publish content like this, but lately I have been asked this question by more that one customer.  What is Traveler exactly?  Now granted, they are most often looking to replace a BES and the associated costs, but the explanation needs to be made just the same.  In the event anyone else also happens to find them selves answering this question frequently, I shared a small and simple slide deck for easy copy-paste operations to expedite the inclusion of this information in any deck.  The content came from the Traveler web site information, and I just formatted and doctored it up to be nice on a slide.


SpigitEngage & FB = COOL??

IBM Thinks So…


Monday, April 11, 2011

Lotus teams with WebSphere to release a NEW Portal certification

From IBM:

This certification is the first of its kind in IBM Collaboration Solutions in that it transcends the typical product divisions associated with IBM certifications by recognizing skills developed using another brand's technology, in this case WebSphere Application Server.
To achieve this certification, an individual needs to obtain certification in Portal 7 System Administration and then take the applicable Websphere test. Here is the complete path:
Achieve "IBM Certified System Administrator - WebSphere Portal 7.0"
AND Pass "000-377 - IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment V7.0, Core Administration"

Friday, April 08, 2011

Connections 3.0.1 TechTalk

ICS TechTalk: IBM Lotus Connections 3.01 Update

IBM Lotus Connections 3.0.1 is much more than you would expect from a point release. During this call, we'll cover the new features and functions in this release of Connections and show how Connections provides the core social capabilities that power a Social Business. Product Managers will review the latest highlights, demonstrate the new functionality, and cover new integration points with other systems, such as Microsoft Outlook, WebSphere Portal, Enterprise Content Management systems, and more.

This call is open to Partners, so please forward, or have them go to PartnerWorld Event Finder.

Speakers: Luis Benitez, Social Software Product Manager
Mac Guidera, Social Software Product Manager
Stephen Power, Worldwide Client Technical Professional

Host: John Allen, Lotus Sales Enablement Manager

When: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM EST (90 minutes)

e-Meeting: IBMers -- https://lli.ibm.com/meeting/join/?schedid=8221961
Partners -- https://www.lotuslive.com/join?schedid=8221961

Audio: You can also listen to the audio via the emeeting if you'd like.

US Toll-Free: 1-888-790-6709 Toll: 1-773-756-0536 Passcode: Tech Talk

IBMers: Replays posted here: Lotus TechTalk Podcasts

Partners: Replays now on Partnerworld -- http://ibm.co/gbWXuH

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Is This Science Fiction, or IBM Innovation?


While I am not typically interested in what IBM is doing with “hardware” these days, the potential that this technology brings to the world is undeniable.  Kudos to IBM.  This is truly where SciFi and reality meet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Registration now open: IBM Exceptional Web Experience Conference 2011

In case you missed it, the IBM Exceptional Web Experience Conference 2011 registration has started.  This conference is dedicated to helping organizations be more successful by highlighting proven business solutions and technical strategies designed to keep pace with rapidly evolving web user demand and expectations.

The conference will be held May 16 - 19, 2011 at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

More information and registration.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Battle with AIX: Part 1

I started installing Connections 3.0 on AIX this week.  The time I have invested in this so far is more then I was expecting.  The biggest thing I took for granted was how much I enjoyed having an AIX administrator in my past lives.  Being my own DBA and SysOp in addition to being the “app guy” has been a steeper learning curve then I was expecting.  I have administered Linux servers of various flavors over the years, but AIX is just different enough to frustrate me.  I found that there is a massive library of open source applications that you can install via RPM on AIX to make it a bit more palatable.  So after installing bash and switching my shell, I was finally able to move through the system more nimbly.  If you have not discovered it yet, also be sure to install GNU tar as there are documented limitations with the OOTB AIX tar and the path lengths of some of the required packages for Connections.

So after a week of learning how to build LPARs, patch AIX, work with both the X and command line version of SMIT, resize file systems, patch EVERY package under the sun, install open source code on AIX to replace the limited existing app… WHEW… I finally have the base components required to install Connections next week squared away.  The last lingering overhead component at this point is populating the Profiles database before installing Connections.

Out of curiosity… does anyone know why the wizards don’t want to work?  I am pushing output to an Xming server on a Windows machine which worked just fine for all of the product installers, just none of the Wizards… grrr

Well, it is time to call it a week and spend some time with the fam… until next time!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

PuTTY Access to IBM Cloud

At LS11, IBM offered some of us the opportunity to preview a Domino server in the IBM Cloud.  I was able to score a test account and just provisioned my instance.  Chris Miller @ IdoNotes had a great video to get you started on configuring your account and first instance in this video.  Once I was up and running, I tried to connect to my instance via SSH as the dashboard boasted I could do.  During the provisioning of the instance, you are prompted to associate a private RSA key with the instance.  If you do not have one already, the provisioning site helps you generate one and save it to your computer.  It is associated with your IBM ID you used to create the cloud instance.  You are also prompted to create an Admin ID, but this is apparently the first Domino user for this domain created with this instance. 

TIP: Remember your Domino admin password.  The Username is Admin.  You can download the ID file once you gain access to the web administrator from the person document.

At the bottom of the administration console, there was some information about accessing the newly started instance.


After entering the IDs it listed in the administration console, I realized I needed to configure PuTTY to use the pre-shared key I created during provisioning to access the server.

Since many people are running Domino on Windows, or do not have a PSK infrastructure in place for securing their Domino servers running on Unix/Linux I figured this may be a good piece of information to share with everyone.

If you did not download the whole PuTTY package, download PuTTYgen.  Once you have PuTTYgen, launch it.  Then proceed to click on File > Load private key


Browse to the RSA key file you used or downloaded when configuring your IBM Cloud account.


PuTTYgen will tell you it successfully opened a SSH-2 PSK and it will need to be converted to the PuTTY format for it to work.  Click OK.  You can then create a key file passphrase in the provided fields in the middle.


Select File > Save private key and save the PPK (PuTTY Pre-shared Key) file somewhere that you will remember.

Now that you have converted your key to PuTTY format, you can configure PuTTY to use the key file as the authentication mechanism for accessing your IBM Cloud server.  After establishing the session information in the initial screen, like IP address of your server and the protocol to use, navigate to Connection > SSH > Auth, and use the Browse button to locate your PPK file you just created.


Return to the Session screen at the top of the left column and save your session.  You will now be able to connect to your IBM Cloud server via SSH.  Just provide the correct user, idcuser, and you are all set.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Teacher’s Blog Spells Bad News

I found this article today:


While we can use it as another example of what not to say on your blog, it raises a really interesting point.  If you post or publish something that is perceived as objectionable or offensive by others, is the problem theirs or yours?  Asked a different way, what is considered adequate anonymity in postings and content to not warrant this sort of backlash if someone vents frustrations in a semi-public way?  In reading this article, and we cannot go to the source since it was already taken down, the teacher believes she was venting to family and friends about her job.  She did not mention her self, school, or the specific students her comments were describing.  The fact that students were able to connect the blog with this teacher and took offense to the content is why she found her self in trouble with the school board she works (or worked) for.

We know the best types of communications are real communications in social tools.   It is generally accepted that representing your brand or self in a very genuine way is encouraged.  So at where does the line in the sand exist when we change from being real and honest to being belligerent and degrading?  Is it really so different than verbal communication?  Can we expect any sort of privacy when the internet is seemingly never forgetting?  Perhaps email communication, private wall posts on Facebook, or selective use of the teacher’s social network would have been more appropriate avenues for her to vent such frustrations than her publicly available blog.  I can not say for sure, but one thing is clear to me.  When you are charged with the shaping of our youth and take on the noble profession of educator, the public eye will be very critical of all your actions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cloudy Thoughts…

Anyone who has been involved in technology in the last few years has been asked to think about clouds.  Of course, I immediately picture light fluffy pillow-like things that remind me of being a kid and trying to discern recognizable shapes in the clouds overhead on a warm summer day.  Doesn’t everyone?  OK, well… maybe not, but regardless of what you think about cloud there is a good chance your perception might benefit from a little refinement.

Cloud can be both a noun and adjective.  The internet is often referred to as “The Cloud” and functions like a noun, while “cloud architecture” uses cloud as more of an adjective, describing the type of architecture.  Cloud has become a synonym for another term, software as a service (SaaS) in some cases as well.  All of these things can lead to confusion or gaps in perception when having a conversation about this very versatile and potentially helpful architecture.

Cloud architecture basically means an environment that is not dependent upon any single component to function.  The availability is as close to 100% as any system can be.  The definition does not, however, end there.  It also means the environment is scalable in a very rapid way.  You can accommodate rapid growth or expel surplus and this ambiguous and almost organic scalability has become how the architecture has gotten it’s name.  You are computing with a cloud, almost quite literally.  It has no real defined shape and can fill space or be squeezed into a small box.  The advantages for business are quite obvious.  Your cloud can be private, or made part of “The Cloud”, or even shared by multiple tenants.  The services that your cloud provides could be accessed with a browser and/or mobile device, making it behave like the last example of cloud computing I described.

Leveraging applications or services with a web browser and not having to house or support the back-end systems required for that service was call software as a service or SaaS.  This type of delivery often is appealing to users because the same model of rapid growth and reduction in size (and likely cost) that is synonymous with cloud architecture is realized immediately and with every billing cycle.  The idea of moving business systems to “The Cloud” and using them in this commoditized fashion has given IT managers and decision makers a lot to think about.  The costs of leveraging a system that is delivered as a Cloud solution could be very cost effective from an operational stand point, but often comes at the cost of limited extensibility and customization.  The inability to mirror your business processes with the supporting systems can lead to costly wasted efforts or reinventing the processes that make up your business today.

Equally concerning is the exit strategy from Cloud services.  If your business changes dramatically enough, the systems in use today may not make sense any longer.  To migrate from the Cloud solution may be very costly or take so much time that it would seem impossible.

The ultimate message here is not that leveraging cloud technologies is bad or dangerous, but more to be an informed consumer before jumping into the light fluffy stuff.  Be sure the same principals of matching business requirement and planning a system roadmap are applied to selecting Cloud solutions as well.  Understand the benefits and risks of the venture to be sure the best interest of your employees and core business functions are not compromised to just save a few dollars in operating overhead.  The impact to productivity may negate the savings.  The other side of the coin is to also not fill a datacenter with systems that are only being marginally utilized.  Having the flexibility to grow with demands seemingly immediately and having costs always commensurate with usage is extremely agile and appropriate for today’s rapidly changing markets.  Just be sure to know the facts and avoid rain clouds.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Internet Freedom Plan

I found this article here:


To summarize, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address the world for a second time on this topic to discuss the impact and disruptive change that social media has proven to be.  Citing the events in Egypt and Iran as examples of how a free and open internet will enable and facilitate transformation.  The US has backed the idea of a free internet for some time, and even believes internet freedom to be a basic human right.

Clinton continues to condemn WIkiLeaks’ release of sensitive information, and takes the stance that freedom to act does not mean action without consequence.  She will say, "Our allegiance to the rule of law does not dissipate in cyberspace. Neither does our commitment to protecting civil liberties and human rights," according to the speech excerpts.  There will be no change from the existing policy to support a free internet and the US will continue to speak out against foreign powers that censor the internet or harass bloggers to control content.

This freedom is fundamental.  I can not imagine how different my career, relationships, well… life would be without the social networks I participate in and the media outlets I use. (like my blog)  Having been in messaging and collaboration for almost my whole career, I believe in giving people access to communicative technologies wherever and whenever they want.  The power to communicate with others without distance or time getting in the way is amazing and something I would not take away from anyone.

Social tools have changed the game a little bit because now the communication is made available in the form of feeds that can be tuned into or out of, concatenated or kept discrete, and accessed whenever or wherever you see fit.  This social revolution in the way we communicate has been one of the most interesting and impactful change I have been a part of.  I can not wait to see where we take things next, but as long as we know we have the freedom to innovate and build these technologies, I believe there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Monday, February 14, 2011

IBM’s Watson

I received this email today, and thought I would pass it along.  It had some links of interest if you intend to follow Watson as it competes on Jeopardy.

IBM's Watson

A computing system that rivals a human's ability to answer questions

Dear Business Partner,

As you may know, a team of IBM mathematicians and computer scientists have worked for the past four years on a new technology, one capable of transforming business and society. This has enormous implications for you as a Business Partner and represents an opportunity to incorporate this exciting technology in new solutions and applications for our mutual clients.

The IBM Researchers set out to accomplish a grand challenge - build a computing system that rivals a human's ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. The results are a computing system named Watson which will compete on the U.S.-based TV game show Jeopardy! against the show's two most successful human contestants on February 14, 15 and 16.

Jeopardy! provides the ultimate challenge because the game's clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not. Watson's ability to understand the meaning and context of human language, and then rapidly process information to find precise answers to complex questions, holds enormous potential to transform how computers help people accomplish tasks in business and their personal lives.

Watson's Question Answering (QA) technology enables the system to analyze massive amounts of data and will help people rapidly find specific answers to complex questions. The technology could be applied to health care for assistance in accurately diagnosing patients, to improving online self-service help desks, providing tourists and citizens with specific information regarding cities, and much more. You may want to learn more about the initiative by watching this introductory video.

Crucial to the project are eight universities that are collaborating with IBM Researchers to advance the QA technology behind the Watson computing system. The Open Advancement of Question Answering Initiative, established in 2008 by IBM and Carnegie Mellon University, aims to provide a foundational architecture and methodology for accelerating collaborative research in automatic question answering.

Win or lose, IBM's Watson represents a big step in shifting the way we look at computers from today's "calculators" to "machines that learn." Watson is a powerful demonstration that the era of learning systems is indeed upon us, where computing will go beyond increased storage, better search and more complex analytics to systems that help humanity reach its greatest potential for human creativity, innovation and ingenuity.

At IBM we look forward to working with you to find creative ways to apply this exciting technology to new business opportunities. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information, or to discuss ways we can apply the technology we've developed in Watson to pivotal issues in your industry.


Jim Corgel                                         Claudia Fan Munce
General Manager                                Managing Director, IBM Venture Capital Group
IBM ISVs and Developer Relations       Vice President, IBM Corporate Strategy

Recent Experience

As many of my friends and family are in the IT world, I am a consultant.  I have been for a number of years, and with the job comes a requirement of travel.  Now I know there are those who think projects are always in great places and they see the sexy side of consulting.  That is not reality.  You can wind up in some rural areas with little to do.  You can read, work, exhaust the puzzles in the paper, but eventually boredom does set it… at least for me.  I love movies, and have a modest collection of favorites.  While taking all 300+ titles with me is not really an option, I can pick a few and bring them for viewing in the hotel or even in transit (unless I am driving, of course) which is great!

So how do I do it?

I found an app on Facebook a while back that was free.  It was iSkysoft’s DVD to iPhone Converter.  This app was simple to use, intuitive, yet powerful enough to enable some trimming and manipulation of the video and audio to achieve a great balance of size:quality for iPhone viewing.  I recently had to change computers, and lost my activation code for this product that I was using twice a month on average.  I contacted customer support immediately upon realizing this misfortune to see if there was anything I could do to improve my situation.  It was a Sunday night, so I did not have any expectations of immediate response, but a support representative reached out to me twice that night.  This deserved some recognition, in my opinion.

Through the communications I have been having with the very helpful representative, Susan, she extended a $10 discount to anyone who stumbles upon this posting for the replacement product Video Converter Ultimate.  Click through the link to find the offer.  (Between you and me, you can click on the trash can icon to remove the distributors’ add on product, making the price only $49 as opposed to $59 direct from iSkysoft.)  Here is the VCU product page.

It is not every day that I experience positive customer service, and I wanted to thank Susan at iSkysoft for making this a memorable experience.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

RE: Social Business

Earlier this week, this article was forwarded to me by a friend on Twitter.


Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software discusses two elements of responsible social interactions, “The Golden Rule” (treat others the way you want to be treated) and to clean up after your self.  I agree with him that these are important lessons to keep in mind when communicating in the social world, but I want to offer some additional advice on the first lesson in his post.

The first lesson Ben discusses is a no-brainer, and he covers a lot of important points.  I do not think anyone would dispute the fact that “The Golden Rule” should be at least part of the filter used when crafting communications.  In past articles I have written on this topic and when speaking about this in person, I often use the phrase “Don’t put it on the internet if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to know about it.”  While for each of us the figure may not be their grandmother, the point is easily made.  Be respectful in all interactions and you will receive the same in return, typically speaking. 

He also took a moment to emphasize the fact that the internet never forgets.  Thanks to things like Google caching and other syndicating sites that seem to remember everything, you can not simply recant a poor communication.  This leads to many conversations, and while like Ben I don’t intend to point out every example of this gone wrong, I do want to spend a moment discussing how to handle the situation when this does happen.  Obviously, knee-jerk reactions and inflammatory or negative responses can lead to these types of communications that we want to try and avoid.  It is OK to have emotion and charge in your social interactions.  Candid conversations can be some of the most meaningful conversations you have, but can also be dangerous if done without proper thought or discretion.  So should we never have candid conversations??  NO!  Candid and real conversations are very important to making you and/or your organization human and approachable. 

The better way to handle missteps would be to use it as an opportunity to show your character.  Publicly and openly apologize and show how you are correcting your actions.  Make amends with the person/group you offended in the same public forum to show you are able to own up to what you say and do.  The long term benefit of this show of character is without equal.  The chance of avoiding any and all negative or poorly perceived communication all together is not realistic, so the mature thing to do is prepare for the eventuality and have a plan in place ahead of time.  This will go a long way in developing a mature social practice for you and/or your organization.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Great Press…

I wanted to pass along the latest good word about team NouvEON.  The Greater Charlotte Business Journal did this write-up…


Friday, February 04, 2011

LS11 Wrap-Up…

With another Lotusphere in the books, I wanted to say “Thank You” to everyone who helped make this year’s another great conference.  To IBM, Arrow, my colleagues, and every other attendee… Thank You!

For those of you who missed the message… Get Social, Do Business.  While I say this a bit tongue in cheek, I have to admit, I have believed this long before IBM made it the theme of LS11.  Social is…

… a valid way to conduct business.

… a means of increasing transparency.

… a faster way to communicate and pull the talents of those you hired into your organizations faster, and more efficiently.

… NOT just about Facebook or Twitter.

… your ideals, business objectives, and culture just accelerated and expedited.

… a smarter way to engage your customers, partners, and everyone you do business with.

… a different way of thinking, and rewarding the people you interact with.


The heart of the social revolution is people, and the fundamental idea that we are social creatures.  Being social animals means we crave this revolution.  In a session this week, it was relayed to us that Hallmark studied all the occurrences of people gifting the Valentine’s Day gift in the social game Farmville.  The number of those gifts given in the game exceeded the total number of e-Cards given from Hallmark’s website for the whole year.  The delta was quite large too.

Social is mainstream… it is here and now!  Not just a buzzword, but a legitimate way to bring your company and customers, suppliers and distributors, friends and family closer together.

As we look at the trends emerging from this social revolution, it seems that social recognition and social analytics are the two up and coming technologies.  The businesses who are able to analyze their customers patterns and use this information to their advantage will immediately connect to them closer and more pertinent than ever before.  The sales cycles will be shorter, and the resonance of the message being delivered will be more impactful than ever.  This is truly a powerful emerging market in the social era. 

Social gifting or recognition is emerging as an extremely important aspect of the social revolution.  It is the validation from peers, friends, competitors that people are beginning to strive for.  It makes us want to get even “more social” with what we do to continue to gain the recognition and validation.  This shift in culture means the era of people hording their knowledge and trying to be the only expert in a field is coming to an end.  Now the focus is to be counted among the experts and contribute in a meaningful and validated way to the community of SMEs.  The result will be faster product or solution development, growth in technologies and practices at a pace not yet seen, and a truly healthy competitive landscape.

As in years past, there was karaoke at Kimonos, drinks at ESPN, a party at a park (Universal Islands of Adventure… Harry Potter ROCKS!!), run-ins with everyone from The Turtle, to Ed Brill, and too many more to mention by name here… Lotusphere is, and has been a technical conference.  It is not just a social event (pun intended) but it is full of technical know how, futures for the products we have grown to know, love, be frenimies with, and solve business problems with.  We saw Notes Next, Sametime Next, Connections Next, and Quickr Next.  LotusLive is still a strong focus for the brand, RIM/Blackberry is still a strong partnership, and the push to bring enterprise class solutions to the mobile and tablet device community is still going strong.

For me, personally, this was the quietest and least social Lotusphere in the last five years.  It was a nice change of pace, but I am not sure I intend to keep it this low key every year.  Winking smile  Until the next time we all converge on Orlando, take over the Swan and Dolphin, and get even more social… best wishes and many great successes.  I look forward to the great things this coming year will have in store.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Connections Outside the Organization

I was thinking about this yesterday, and after having the discussion, it was suggested to me to bring this up to IBM as an idea to consider.  The issue with taking the wonderful tools provided in Connections is that it is really designed around being deployed as an internal set of tools.  There is not user self-service in the product for things like, password reset, registration or inclusion in the solution, etc. like you find with public social tools.  What if the Connections tool set (Blogs, Wikis, Communities, Files, etc…) were to not utilize just Profiles as the user repository?  What if we could allow Connections to use Facebook, for example, as the user repository.  Trust the FB session, like other FB apps, and have FB allow the users to modify their own user information and keep it up to date on their own.  FB already provides user self-service.  Connections will still control authorization to data, security, all the things we have come to expect from an enterprise class solution from IBM would still be handled in the app.  This would make deploying Connections into an extranet much easier as we would not have to handle the user management, but leverage the user management provided in a public social network.  Just a thought, but I wonder what others in the community think before trying to speak with anyone in a meaningful way about this… let me know!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lotusphere 2011 OGS

Good morning fellow spherians, Lotus enthusiasts, social geeks, and everyone else who is here.  For those not here in body, the energy in the room is high and you are here with us in spirit.  The theme is Get Social. Do Business.

As people pour into the Dolphin Hemisphere, we are being greeted with stats that IBM has collected related to social marketing, or social behaviors.  Apparently, if you are not married, you could join the ranks of the 1 in 8 couples who meet via a social network.  (Who knew??)

The stage has a spinning sphere of drums, revolving table of drums, guitar… the band is cool as hell.  Rockin’ LS11 at 8 am.  Clear out the cobwebs, if you had any!  That has got to be the largest harp I have ever seen!  That is how to start a session!

Alistair just took the stage. After a shout out to GM about their Volt (which sports an impressive amount of technology), he moved on to thank the collection of college students who are attending thanks to Group.

The special guest this year is… Kevin Spacey!  I had no idea he was so good at “Bill Clinton”.  Hilarious!  Kevin attributes his career and success to those who took chance and risk on him, the movies he was a part of, and all projects he has done.  With beginnings in theater and stage, he ultimately decided in 1992 to break into film.  After a twelve year stint in film, he took over the role of artistic director at the Old Vic.  Success he found, raised the security and protection required.  This created a sense of disconnection from young talent.  This bothered Kevin, and he turned to the internet.  He created the site (triggerstreet.com) to give film makers and writers a community and outlet for finding these immerging talents.  Started in 2002, this was one of the first social networks created in the internet.  This is his way to give back, give the opportunities he had to others to break into this rewarding business.  He gave a wonderful bit of wisdom… “If you have been successful in life, it is our job to send the elevator back down.”  It is our duty to reach back and help those desiring to grow and achieve what you have done.  After relating the story of how he came to “The Social Network”, relayed the successes of the movie, and pointed out just how dramatic the real story is behind the film is.  After a comedic interlude… we were left with a statement of inspiration and hammered the point of being open, listening, and being social.

Alistair Rennie returned to the stage, and discussed the shift in how companies drive value with collaboration and socialization.  Reminding us that we (the Lotus community) are positioned perfectly to take this immerging market by storm.  There was a challenge to us to be leaders of our companies as the social revolution reaches our individual companies.  We have to show business with business results just how effective the social business can be.  The long list of references and underscored successes of the social revolution reached a point of obvious value in that social businesses have the ability to always be on, available, and listening to the world around them.  This gives them the ability to be nimble and successful beyond their competitors.  The earlier adopters are making this trend obvious.  Alistair continued to point out that every emerging technology is often extremely underestimated.  As we lead this revolution in business, we need to remind the naysayers of this. 

Business is about people.  Start with the results businesses need and work backwards to the systems they need to achieve that.  He makes a statement of commitment to open standards as the development of these social platforms continue to grow.  Ignoring open standards ignores the crux of being an open company in the first place.  Elegance and simplicity are the over-arching themes behind the drive to make these platforms extensible and standards based.

Happy 100th Birthday, IBM!

He brought out Jim Balsillie of RIM.  He discussed the PlayBook.  Highlighted the performance, rich web experience, and security of the platform.  After a demo video, they explored the rich website a bit deeper.  Complete flash support in the browser on the PlayBook.  It sounds like their message is “You don’t need an app for that!”.  The plan behind the PlayBook was to bring standard and open technologies to a browser on a tablet device.  The native browser made light work of Connections and the Blackberry Bridge feature directly connects the PlayBook to your Blackberry handheld via secure bluetooth for mail/pim sync.  In May at Blackberry world, RIM will promote the top 25 apps submitted by Lotus developers (IBM affiliates) and give them a PlayBook/press release/ and possibly more.

Jeff Schick took the stage next, after a video about better work experiences built on social tools.  He brought out a panel of leaders from BASF, KBC, CSC, and AT&T to discuss taking their organizations social.  They relayed their individual experiences and successes with their social business models.

After the panel, Sandy Carter relayed IBM’s success as a social business.  They utilize social tools internally, and have for years, with the intention of being a mentor to other companies endeavoring to be social them selves.  A great part of her message was to just get started.  Emerging social technology is evolving so rapidly, you can not necessarily wait for the formal 5yr plan.  Jump in and get started.

Larry Bowden then welcomed another panel of speakers to the stage.  They discussed the exceptional web experience.  Australian Football League, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and RBC were on the panel discussing their focused web efforts to change their web experiences for their customers/stake holders/fans.  They each relayed the importance of social tools, mobile experience, and personalization as key elements of transforming their web experiences to leading status.

Finally!!! DEMO TIME!

Notes Next will bring activity stream into the dashboard, LotusLive capabilities, and Connections Files into the sidebar.  Social media interaction will be directly inline.  Embedded experience with analytics and social media.  We finally will have a true shared calendar experience in Notes Next.

Notes Traveler will have a widget based custom home page.  And a plug for BES Express was dropped into the demos.  Traveler Next also bring a mobile view into the users activity streams just like the client and works to bring a more embedded experience with media.  xPages will be extended to support mobile devices as well.

Plug for Plantronics bluetooth head set with embedded Sametime awareness updater based on the proximity sensing technology in the headset.

Notes/Domino Next beta will be available in the second half of this year.  They will also make it available on LotusLive.  The Social Business Toolkit is being updated to support these new features and embedded capabilities of the Notes Next features and the Activity Stream.

Connections 3.0 brings wonderful analytics to the table.  The addition of analytics brings more relevant suggestions to users.  Communities will see the addition of idea blogs and media sharing for video and pictures.  This is on top of the sub-community functionality we have today.  Connections Profiles has more functionality in the directory searching capability with name type ahead and the analytics suggested connections makes for a very mature user experience.

Sametime Next will bring a zero client A/V experience to the web meeting experience.  It will also extend the mobile experience and make it more complete.  YYYAAAYYY!!!

Near the end, it was announced that IBM is strategically intending to bring Connections integration into Microsoft Exchange and

Thank you to everyone and all of their hard work that went into the OGS.  It was a good way to kick off the day.