Connect 2014: Fitbit Report

The best advice I give to all Connect attendees is to wear comfortable shoes. This should show you why, it’s my Fitbit results for the days of Connect.

FitbitConnect14

Since I usually stay the weekend, and take advantage of the Walt Disney World parks, this is the result of the week, including 3 Day Park Hopper Pass:

FitbitConnect14-week

Wear comfortable shoes. And a Fitbit.

Connect 2014: Must-Attend Sessions for Administrators

Connect14Logo

I’d like to say that for the Domino Administrator will be a plethora of sessions that you “must see” (meaning several blog posts on the topic). However, if you’ve seen the writing on the wall, then you’re prepared to attend a profusion of sessions on Connections and Sametime administration. Here are some of the “must see” sessions for Domino Administrators.

JMP402 – Master Class: Reaping Rewards and Avoiding Risks: The Secrets of Consolidating Domains (Andrew Pedisich and Rob Alexrod)

Sunday | 1:30-3:30 | Dolphin Southern Hemisphere – II

Was your environment designed almost a decade ago? Whether you want to move your email to the cloud or if you are just trimming the fat, consolidation is your future. This session covers details of collapsing multiple domains into a single domain infrastructure that is easier to manage and more efficient in costs and operations. Discover tricks and tips learned by experience to move users and servers into a single domain where best practices are implemented from start to finish. Well cover consolidation methodologies that are low risk with solid back-out plans and high rewards that will make you a superstar of infrastructure. Come to this session and get expert advice from the folks in the trenches who have consolidated dozens of domains.

ID106 – #UserBlast 2014! (Mat Newman)

Monday | 11:00-12:00 | Dolphin Southern Hemisphere IV-V

It’s time to release the power! IBM Notes has outstanding capabilities that ensure your social transformation starts from your inbox. We’ll demonstrate how to take advantage of all of these features to improve your IBM Notes literacy, boost productivity, locate expertise, find relevant information, share knowledge and collaborate – straight from your Inbox. Don’t miss the “IBM Notes 9 in 9 Minutes” demo so you can go back to your users and blast them away with the power of the amazing IBM Notes client.

SHOW101 – IBM Traveler Highly Availability – Deployment and Best Practices (Daniel Nashed)

Tuesday | 2:00-3:45 | Swan Osprey 1-2

IBM Traveler is mission critical. There is no good time for maintenance when it comes to mobile devices. In this session you’ll learn how to install IBM Traveler 9.0.1 in the classical and high availability mode. You’ll also understand the new functionality, differences and benefits. This session will cover requirements, functionality, setup of the IBM Traveler server on Windows and Linux connected to the current DB2 10.1 back-end. We’ll cover best practices including performance tuning tips for IBM Traveler on Windows and Linux and migration scenarios.

BP101 – AdminBlast 2014 (Paul Mooney and Gabriella Davis)

Tuesday | 3:00-4:00 | Dolphin North Hemisphere E

Sit down and strap yourself in for the annual Adminblast session! We’ll revisit the 200+ tips given and we’ll pick the top sixty. We’ll cover the top tips taken from the trenches over many years of consulting, covering IBM Domino, IBM Sametime, IBM Traveler — and more! Practical tips that you can use as soon as you get back to work will be emphasized, You must pay attention — and you must listen fast!

ID112 – IBM Domino Policies: Deep Dive and Best Practices (Mark Skurla)

Tuesday | 3:00-4:00 | Dolphin Southern Hemisphere I

IBM Domino Policies are a powerful tool that can be used to administer anything from ID vault to mail managed replicas. However, the flexibility of policies often causes confusion regarding their use. This session will focus not on the settings themselves, but the overall application of policies. Learn how policies actually flow throughout a domain, best practices on how to reduce the number of policies in your environment, how to troubleshoot problems, and how to use policies when using IBM Smart Cloud Notes.

ID104 – Best Practices for Upgrading to IBM Notes and Domino to 9.0.x (John Paganetti)

Tuesday | 4:15-5:15 | Dolphin North Hemisphere E

Why release 9.0.x? Get a head start on your upgrade plans by listening to the development team share their experiences upgrading IBM Notes Clients and Domino Servers to Release 9.0.x in their production domains. We’ll cover general recommended best practices and also discuss enablement of some of the new exciting features in release 9.0.x that you’ll want to take advantage of right away. We’ll riddle the presentation with FAQs about upgrading, new features and lessons learned with release 9.0.x. You’ll walk away with information helping you expedite your own 9.0.x production deployment.

ID302 – Upgrading and Migrating to IBM Sametime 9 (Anthony Payne)

Thursday | 10:00-11:00 | Dolphin North Hemisphere E

IBM Sametime 9 is here! This session will help administrators understand how to upgrade and migrate from previous releases. Included will be discussions on end user data migration as well as architectural reviews.

ID602 – IBM Notes Traveler – Best Practices for Deployment, Maintenance and Support (Charles Ebbe and Robert Sielken)

Thursday | 11:15-12:15 | Dolphin Southern Hemisphere – II

This session will cover best practices for deploying and maintaining IBM Notes Traveler along with how to troubleshoot many problems yourself and get the best, fastest support should the need arise. Topics to be covered in depth will include: system/capacity planning, handling maintenance, monitoring your IBM Notes Traveler servers, cloud administration, and general do’s and don’ts to avoiding common pitfalls. A must attend for all IBM Notes Traveler administrators!

(hat tip to Bruce Elgort for the blog topic idea – I took his “Must Attend” post for developers and made it for administrators)

Connect2014: Schedule

It’s a bit “busy,” but isn’t that the point of Connect?

Connect2014Sched

 

I think I’ll be able to carve out some additional time for the Labs, Showcase, and, most importantly this year, Certification Exams. New this year, I’ll be attending Sunday sessions. In the past, I used this time for Business Partner Day, but not this year.

Florida in Winter – Preparing for Connect14

As a Northerner, nothing makes me laugh more than seeing the Disneybots in full winter gear on days where I am wearing a t-shirt. Yes, I get that the mornings (and evenings) can be “chilly,” but they come out in fleece, gloves, and hats when the temperatures dip below 70°F.

Which brings me to my point, be sure to check the weather forecasts leading up to Connect 2014. Right now, this is what I see:

OrlandoWeather

 

The main days to watch are Sunday and Tuesday, when major events take place out of doors. However, remember, you will be outside as you travel from one hotel conference center to another.

To help you navigate the parks on those chilly days, here are some tips for visiting the parks when it’s cold.

Thanks, Barb, for the weather forecast.

2013 – A Year Unlike Any Other

As I look through my feeds, I see that many people take the time to do a postmortem of the year. 2013 was, for the lack of a better word, “fascinating.”

January means Lotusphere Connect and I was able to attend. But it was not the Connect that I wanted to experience, as we lost a friend, Kenneth Kjærbye. Not a day goes by where I do not think of Kenneth; my browser opens to a news article of the accident. Also, during the Ohio motorcycle riding season, a small stuffed monkey travels with me, another reminder of him. Together, the monkey and I rode 11,000 miles this year. We rode to St. Louis for IamLUG, we rode around Lake Erie, we rode to Harrisburg/Hershey/Thurmont, MD, we rode some spectacular roads in southern Ohio. I am very grateful the monkey has enjoyed some of the best riding and sights I could offer this year.

Through all of it, though, I am extremely grateful to many of you. I only hope that I was able to properly convey my appreciation to you through a very difficult time. Many of you, I will never be able to properly repay the support, the kind words, the shoulders upon which I cried. I think back to those days and I remember the people that stepped up and made me feel whole again, the reactions of certain individuals, the amazing family (yes, family) of which I am eternally grateful to be a member.

And, months later, after I successfully completed an Advanced Motorcycle Course, I was found myself face to face with one of the instructors of my basic motorcycle training course. She told me of a message she received concerning the accident, how I responded, and that the author said that she was instrumental in my emergency training. Together, we shared a “moment.” The effects of that day in January touched many people.

January “ended” with the Closing General Session at Connect. It was at this point where, if you had been paying attention, many of the people who made the yearly trek to Orlando would cease to do so. So, on my list of places to visit, Portland, OR, moved into the Top 5.

Which brings me to February. There was a day in February, which I cannot yet publicly share, that moved my year into the “win” category. However, should anyone care to ask me “Have you ever met a famous person?” I believe that I have an excellent answer to that question. Thank you, Number One Son, for simply doing your duty and allowing me to tag along.

March opened with Number One Son moving from the east coast to the west coast. Specifically, Twentynine Palms. He wasn’t there long before he headed overseas for a few months. On the way back from that mission, he stopped in Ireland. Damn kid was able to enjoy a proper Guinness before his old man. Now, he’s ramping up for deployment, and again, it’s overseas.

March was also the month where I spent some time in rural Maryland with someone in the Frederick area. Yes, I was fortunate to hang out with The Turtle, who not only showed me a very good brewpub, but also pointed the way to some of the better sights in the area. Spending time with him has always been a highlight and he did not disappoint. No, there were no wabbits this time, I have seen them in the past. Because of him, I look forward to the county fair season in Ohio, so I can check out Flemish Giant rabbits. Magnificent wabbits, they are.

April – Advanced Motorcycle Course (see above). This course, you ride your own bike. I have never been so tired after riding as I was after this eight hour session of maneuvering a 650 pound bike through low speed drills. My legs and my wrists ached afterwards. However, I learned a great deal about myself and my bike.

Fast forward to 3 July when Number Two Son left for Army basic training. I won’t get to see him until late November. Remember letters? Yes, if you want to communicate with your child, you have to set pen to paper, affix a stamp, and mail your letter. Or, in my case, type it, print it, and mail it. Letter writing, I found, was a welcome task. It is fun, extremely personal, and, with today’s technology, the ability to embed pictures into text is wonderful. He later told me that while he received a lot of mail, it was the ones from me that he looked forward to receiving. Like I said, I loved writing him letters. Some required more than one stamp.  🙂 I never sent him a package. Those are opened in front of the squad and, if there was food in it, you had to eat it in five minutes. In front of the squad. There was no “enjoying” a candy bar/cookies/whatever. There was also no food allowed in the squad bay. So, you received something, now . . . EAT IT.

August is the month in which, after 12 years, I left independent consulting for the corporate world. Sherwin-Williams presented a full-time opportunity I could not let slip by me. The other deciding factor was to continue to work with some excellent people. The technology was great, but people with whom I would work made that work all the more enjoyable. I am working on projects that will fundamentally change the way in which every person at Sherwin works and interacts with others, internally and externally. Heady times and I am very happy to have been invited to ride along.

August was also the month where I was again tested on two wheels. From that little mishap, I decided that 2014 would be year where I take some Red Cross First Aid classes. I also added a first aid kit to the saddle bags. And I was recognized for my actions. I suppose that if you ride 11-12,000 miles a year on two wheels, you will be confronted with more than your share of . . . things. Best to be prepared as well as you can for those times. 2014 means that I will take the last Ohio motorcycle course, a two day Experienced Rider class.

November’s highlight was seeing Number Two Son after nearly five months. He had graduated from basic training, Advanced Infantry Training, and his MOS school (he’s a member of the Military Police). I traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, for Family Day and Graduation. I do not believe that there is any graduation better than a military graduation. And there are no better looking graduates than graduates in uniform. Of course, I could be prejudice.

In December, I took Number Two Son to see one of our favorite bands, Halestorm. Last year, they toured with, among other bands, New Medicine. We both loved that show and I bought the (autographed) CD from New Medicine. This year, Halestorm toured with Stars in Stereo, and we were again sold. Halestorm kicks ass, but they also bring “new” bands along for the ride and for that we love them even more. There is nothing better than experiencing a live rock show and Halestorm is one of the best.

I suppose that I could mention the technological milestones that I reached in 2013, the products I installed/configured, the certifications I achieved. But those aren’t anywhere as important to me as the people, places, and things that I have experienced. The tech will be there tomorrow (or not, who cares?). The people you meet, the people you care about, the people that care about you, are the most important part of one’s life. And they make your life richer for knowing them.

Heck of a year, by any measure.

Free ICS Certification Tests at Connect14

One of the biggest draws at this event has always been the certification testing and prep labs. IBM is pleased to announce, for the very first time, that unlimited complimentary IBM Collaboration Solutions exams will be available for all registered attendees for the duration of the conference. All other Software Group exams will be available for 50% off the regular price.

As in previous years, testing will take place in the Lark room of the Swan Hotel.

More >

While that is pretty great news, the kicker is that there will be none of the pre-registration stuff as in year’s past. You show up, sign up, take your exam (although you do need to have created a profile in advance and also remember your user ID and password).

So, while at Connect 2014, in addition to the education, you can also get certified. For free.

Connect14: Creating Buzz by Announcing Updated Agenda Monday

In order to garner more interest, more reservations, and more “buzz,” IBM is publishing accepted speakers/sessions on Mondays. Yesterday, they released these sessions/speakers of particular interest (full list is at the link, below):

Application Development

The Mobile Disruption – Why XPages Development is Targeting Mobile First – John Head, PSC Group; John Beck, IBM

IBM Domino Application Development – Today and Tomorrow – Pete Janzen, IBM; Martin Donnelly, IBM

Extending IBM SmartCloud Applications in 30 Minutes – Michael Blackstock, IBM

Turbo-charge Your Enterprise Social Network with Analytics – Vincent Burckhardt, IBM; David Robinson, IBM

IBM Worklight for IBM Domino Developers – Mat Newman, IBM

Infrastructure and Deployment

What’s New in IBM Notes – Scott Souder, IBM

Sametime 9.0 Voice and Video Deployment – Uri Segev, IBM

Devil in the (Data) Details – Mobile, Cloud and Your Enterprise Network Wes Morgan, IBM

Best Practices

Simplifying The S’s – Single Sign-On, SPNEGO and SAML – Gabriella Davis, The Turtle Partnership, Chris Miller, Connectria

Uno! Deux! Three! Making Localization of XPages Apps as Easy as 1-2-3 – Kathy Brown, PSC Group; Brad Balassaitis, PSC Group

Show Me the Money! The Value in Social Business – Sasha Beerendonk

Next Generation Project Management: Collaborating Inside and Outside the Box – Mikkel Heisterberg, OnTime by Intravision; Mat Newman, IBM

Show ‘n Tells

Proper Connections Development for Proper Domino Developers – Matt White, Fynn Consulting; Mark Myers, London Developer Coop

How to Create a Perfect Profile: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to A Smarter Workforce – Mitch Cohen, Colgate-Palmolive; Chris Whisonant, Best Methods

IBM Traveler Highly Availability – Deployment and Best Practices – Daniel Nashed, nash.com

More >

These are all excellent additions to the Connect agenda. Whether a first time attendee, or a multi-year delegate, the speakers listed are fantastic. And, if you find them wandering the halls/parties/Product Showcase and you strike up a conversation, you will discover that they are very friendly and willing to share more of their knowledge.

Be sure to check back with the Social Insights blog every Monday for a new round of accepted sessions and speakers.

Early Look at Connect 2014: Drumming Up Interest

If you wanted to generate interest in something, anything, one good, proven method is to show the product.  And so it is with Connect 2014.

The abstracts are pouring in, but here’s an early glimpse of a few that may land on the agenda. The deadline is just around the corner, so put on your thinking caps and sharpen your pencils — so to speak.

Messaging and Collaboration

Messaging and Collaboration Roadmap — A Vision for the Future

What’s New in Notes and INotes 9.0.1 Social Edition

IBM Sametime 9: From On-Premises to Mobile, Cloud and Beyond

IBM SmartCloud

IBM SmartCloud: The Road Ahead for Social, Mobile, Meetings and Mail

Getting Beyond Theory and into Practice: Deploying Mail and Social Business in the Cloud

Growing Your Business with SaaS: Cloud Options for ICS Business Partners

Social Software

What’s New with IBM Connections and Connections Mobile

IBM Connections 4.5 Administration Jumpstart

Customizing and Extending IBM Connections

More >

Okay, we have some session topics. However, if you are a long time delegate at Connect/Lotusphere, you know that those sessions are all presented by IBM. Who, from IBM presents them, is irrelevant.  These are standard, first or second day sessions.

Not what I was expecting, especially in a post that may help decide if you will approach the budget level manager for approval to attend.  Realizing that abstracts haven’t been approved, so that a better agenda could be published, IBM must have an idea of the key sessions/speakers that will be presenting. That seems to me to be the proper items to promote, not the same old sessions (updated with current information).

Finally, it doesn’t look like they have any problems, right now, with hotel space.

How To Make Me Cry

. . . in frustration: Ask me to find IBM software on this site:

PPA

For a site that is used quite a bit, you would think that someone would be an expert at navigating it. Not so. I have said, in meetings with IBM, that it is “soul crushing.” Oh, I know what I want, it’s just finding it that kills me.

Which brings me to an idea I had for a session at a User Group Conference or even at Connect. It will be a panel of individuals from the audience and whomever from IBM that is responsible for this site. Someone will emcee the panel. All guests sit in front of a computer, at the Passport Advantage home screen. The emcee will ask the panel members to find and download an IBM software package. The first person to successfully do so will be deemed the “winner.”

I think that this session will take longer than the allotted time.

As an aside, my co-workers know when I am using that site, based on the sighing and the language that emanates from my cube. What do I hear in return? “Passport Advantage?” Then laughter ensues.

Just kill me.

Connect 2013 – With a Fitbit

Thought you may be interested in my statistics for the four days of Connect 2013:

ConnectSteps

I kept myself off the escalators as much as possible and had the Fitbit in my pocket from the time I woke up until the time I (finally) went to bed. Never once did I put the Fitbit in the washing machine. The activity also includes the Wednesday Night Party at Universal.