Connect 2017: The Really Good

February 28, 2017

[Note: I was going to create one post on Connect 2017, but have decided it would be better to break it into sections. This is Part One.]

This was the first year I have attended Connect that I did not attend any sessions that dealt with IBM Notes and IBM Domino. Well, other than the forced sessions, such as the Opening General Session and the Technical Session. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s coming, it’s that in my current role, I am focusing primarily on IBM Connections. So, if you were expecting something from me on IBM Notes and IBM Domino, this is not the place.

But, I will say this: Last year my team upgraded our Domino 8.5.3 environment to Domino 9.0.1 Social Edition, removed 95% of the IBM Notes clients in the environment by moving users to iNotes, and the remaining 5% of the clients are running IBM Notes 9. Applications? What can be moved to other platforms is nearly complete. What wasn’t moved in the first phase, will be moved, probably this year. Unlike a lot of places, we are using IBM Domino for (strictly) mail. And it’s all on-premises.

That said, I was very impressed with Connect 2017 as a person with an IBM Connections focus.

The Really Good:

  • Catching up with my friends in the IBM stack. This is arguably one of of the few conferences where I can see and talk with most of the people I consider “friend” in this space. Because it is the one large, international conference for all things IBM Notes/Domino, Sametime, Connections, and so on, it will attract the most people from around the world. Regardless of the name or location, they will be at this event. This year, it did not disappoint in this regard. Most of the people were here and it was a great week to talk to them in person.
  • If you haven’t, or don’t, travel internationally, this is the place to talk to your non-USA friends about world views. Sure, it’s a technology conference, however since I have known a lot of these people for quite some time, I do not hesitate to ask about Brexit, the current political climate in their home countries, or in the USA. It is a great way to experience the world from other perspectives. And as I respect them and their views, it broadens my view of the USA and the world.
  • There was a plethora of Connections sessions from which to choose. In fact, on Wednesday, I was double and triple booked during certain time slots. This caused me a lot of stress. Too many sessions, too little time. And no repeats.
  • Wednesday was the best day of the week. Many of the Customer Stories were presented on this day and they were excellent. There is nothing like seeing how other people overcame obstacles, integrated other business applications into Connections, on boarded new Connections users, and increased adoption, to get your enthusiasm to increase. There was furious note taking happening. Also, I introduced myself to several speakers, hoping to parlay the introduction into a more informative conversation in the next several months.
  • Also on Wednesday, there was an onslaught of Connections Pink sessions (see point #1, above). It helped that I was privy to a special meeting with Jason Gary, so I was able to miss several of those sessions, as I heard everything I hoped to hear, directly from him.
  • The Product Showcase was primarily focused on IBM Connections Business Partners and IBM Connections 3rd party applications and extensions. It was perfectly suited to someone like me. After working with Connections for several years, it’s nice to go into the Product Showcase knowing exactly what you want to learn more about as it pertains to your installation and culture. I think I was an “easy sell” to several vendors.
  • While there was a lot of walking within Moscone Center, it was primarily confined to the second floor.
  • The Opening General Session was a nice mix of customer stories, demos, music, and more. It seemed to flow very nicely from one thing to the next. I know that many were ecstatic that IBM Notes and IBM Domino were mentioned, especially concerning IBM’s continued support of the platform. For the nuts and bolts of that support, you had to attend several sessions dedicated to the roadmaps. I was missing from those sessions.
  • The featured speaker, Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, was an excellent choice. Appearing toward the end of the of Opening General Session, she wove what we had seen and heard, specifically Watson, Watson Workspace, and cognitive, into our current lives and choices. It was enthralling.
  • The Technical Keynote, hosted by Ed Brill, was just what we needed to see and hear. Chris Crummey led the demonstrations and, as expected, did an exceptional job using “real world” examples using real people and real situations, not some made up company with made up problems.
  • The Closing General Session, as usual, recapped the week. However, as is IBM’s custom, their featured speaker, Eric  Whitacre, a classical music composer, was outstanding. Ever since I witnessed Benjamin Zander in Orlando, I absolutely love music themed Closing General Sessions. I suppose it reminds me what I already know, I need to see more orchestras. While I love rock (the harder and more angry, the better), it is classical music that affects me emotionally. I think we all should seek out art that affects the emotions. Eric’s story was spectacular. But, as the session closed, there was no announcement of Connect 2018. No dates, no location. What 2018 will bring for this conference seems to be . . . unknown.

Wednesday was “Pink Day” at Connect, and in response to that, here is a photo of Jason Gary for your enjoyment or amusement:

img_2303

I think that Jason must use the same bespoke tailor as Mat Newman.


Modifying Groups From a Browser: A Problem Since 2004

August 21, 2015

The browser, I am told, is the future of office productivity tools. From Office365, to Google Apps, to AWS, to IBM SmartCloud. Everything is apparently going to the web. Including, with iNotes, Connections, Docs, and more, the IBM productivity portfolio. The web is the future.

Imagine my surprise, as I attempted to add members to a group in IBM Domino using a web browser, that this functionality is not supported. And there is an SPR out there from 2004 (that would be circa Notes/Domino 6.5/6.0.3) where this functionality has been requested.

Let’s take a quick look at how this manifests itself, using a Domino 9.0.1 FP3 server.

Authenticate and open your Domino Directory using a browser. In my case, that would be Firefox 40.0.2. Click on Groups, click on a group and open it. Using the Action Button to Edit the group, I see this:

groupweb1

The little dropdown arrow, by Members, will allow me to add/remove people from the list. Let’s click on the arrow and see what happens:

groupweb4

Nothing.

However, if you know the user’s hierarchical name, you can simple type it into the “Add name not in list” field. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that, right?

Or, another workaround, is to grant ALL group administrators Edit rights to the Domino Directory with the Group Modifier role. What could go wrong with that option?

SPR PFOI5XLGV9, linked to APAR LO01827, has been open since 31 March 2004. Which, as I’ve noted above, would be in the Notes/Domino 6.5/6.03 time period. We have had a few iterations of the Notes/Domino code since that time and still it is impossible to maintain Domino group membership using a browser.

In IBM’s defense, they have published a TechNote on this topic, Unable to open users dialog list when editing group in names.nsf with a browser, which is from 2008 and includes the 6.5 through 9.0 code stream. But we are no nearer to actually editing groups using a browser in a “browser-centric” world.

When might we enjoy this “basic” functionality? What else may be an issue?


Open Mic Webcast: iNotes Setup, Configuration & Troubleshooting – 02/25/2015

February 23, 2015

Join members of the IBM Support and Development teams as they discuss iNotes setup and configuration as well as troubleshooting techniques.

Topic: Open Mic Webcast: iNotes Setup, Configuration & Troubleshooting
Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM EST for 60 minutes
Webcast URL
Webcast Password: webcast

iCal link, slides, call-in numbers, and, after the session, Q&A can be found here.

 

 


Connect 2014: MailNext-Screenshots and Thoughts

February 12, 2014

During the OGS at Connect 2014, IBM demonstrated the next iteration of, what can be described as, the next release of Notes. It’s called “MailNext.” While the OGS gave a fairly good overview of the interface, it was when I took the time to visit the Design Studio UX Lab that I received a much better view of MailNext.

The “home” page:

MailNext1

 

The pictures below the search bar are of people who you are interacting via e-mail. The floating numbers show you the number of messages from that individual. At a glance, you see everything you need for the day.

MailNext4

 

I think that one of the better features is in the lower right. There, it tells you who owes you something. For example, if you assigned a “To Do” or a task. Better, it also shows you that you are waiting for a reply from someone, where you asked for something. I think that this is a great tool for managing your peers and managers.

Looking at the interface, if you click on someone at the top of the screen, it pops up mini menus of things you can do with that person:

MailNext2

 

Some of the little pop up menu items are mail, calendar, chat, share.

MailNext3

As you have selected the individual, you see the interface change to be person (or “context”) sensitive. In the above screen shot, you see that you get a “what’s new” view, where you can view mail, mail threads from that person or that include that person. On the right, is a “team view,” where that person is included in some sort of project with you.

And, in the upper right, you see that you still haven’t read 26 messages in your Inbox.

Finally, in what could be described as your traditional Inbox view, potential enhancements include in-line attachment preview, an option to share content with a Connections Community, and “powerful search.”

MailNext5

 

Initial thoughts: While I spent quite some time with a developer in the lab, I was getting the feeling that this interface isn’t totally fleshed out. IBM has some ideas on what they want it to do, however they were very curious as to what I thought some of the icons should mean/do. For example, if I were to hover over a person’s image, and get the mini menus, I expected that if I click on the envelope, a new message would be created, populated with that person’s e-mail address. Or, see all mail that I received from that person.

There were more questions from the developer along those lines: “What do you think <x> should do?” “What do you think <x> represents?” “What are your expectations of <x>?”

And, I discovered that only certain parts of the interface work. Click on something, like “Compose,” and nothing happens. That’s one way to make sure everyone that demo’s the software, from the OGS demo, to the breakout sessions, to the Design Lab, communicates the same message. It also showed my naivete toward demos; I thought it was a fully functional demo.

Next, I didn’t get the feeling that proposed delivery dates for MailNext will be met. To me, there is still a lot of work to be done. And there wasn’t any mention of what needs to be done to the back-end Domino server (other than upgrading it).

Finally, if most/all of your users are running the IBM Notes client, you better start thinking about the ramifications of most/all of your users running mail in a browser.

What do you think of MailNext and what you saw/heard at Connect (or on one of the streamed videos?)

 


Client or Browser? Feature Comparison of Notes/iNotes 9

August 22, 2013

This article provides a side-by-side listing of new features available in both or in either IBM Notes 9.0 and IBM iNotes 9.0.

NotesiNotesFeatures

More >

 


Firefox and iNotes

December 7, 2012

Damn, Firefox causes problems for me and iNotes. You visit a customer to do a simple Domino upgrade and what do you end up spending most of your time resolving? Firefox and iNotes issues.

Now, usually, Firefox doesn’t cause a lot of trouble, especially when you stick with one release and refuse to upgrade. But, of course, there are those among us that cannot abide by being a point release behind. Those are the people that immediately download the latest and greatest. In the case of Firefox, that is a weekly download.

Well, at least it seems like there is a weekly (daily?) update to Firefox.

In this instance, I was able to convince the on-site technical support people to discourage too many people from upgrading to Firefox 15, but for those that did upgrade, they were experiencing some issues:

  • When e-mails came in and there were URLs in the text, they weren’t hotlinks.
  • If they attempted to send mail or calendar invites and there were URLs in them, the message/invites couldn’t be sent.
  • They couldn’t attach files to any mail messages.

Wow, that’s fun.

Thankfully, a well constructed search of the technotes resulted in a solid hit.

iNotes not working as expected with Firefox 15 and later

Added the notes.ini setting to the servers, restarted the HTTP task and all their problems went away. That is, probably until someone upgreades to  Firefox 21, or whatever version is the most current right now.

The lesson is that while it is easy to upgrade your Domino servers, be sure to check the TechNotes/wiki/InfoCenter/forums for issues with Firefox. You can save yourself some time and effort by implementing the requested changes before you restart the servers and tell everyone “I’m done.”