The January 2005 Blog
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Snatches (Monday, Jan 31)
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This entry has been moved to the Lotusphere 2005 page on this site.

Lotusphere Wrapup Part Two - The Technology (Sunday, Jan 30)
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Lotusphere Wrapup Part One - The Community (Saturday, Jan 29)
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Lotusphere Session Slides Available (Friday, Jan 28)
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Lotusphere - Day Four (Thursday, Jan 27)
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Lotusphere - Day Three (Wednesday, Jan 26)
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Lotusphere - Day Two (Tuesday, Jan 25)
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Lotusphere - Day One (Monday, Jan 24)
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Lotusphere - Day Zero (Sunday, Jan 23)
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Arrived In Orlando (Saturday, Jan 22)
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Keeping Up With Lotusphere (Friday, Jan 21)
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Whether you're in Orlando or watching from the stands, here are some good links to help you keep up with Lotusphere for the next week:

And while you're at it, you may as well set up a Bloglines account, as I recently suggested.

See you real soon now, you hear?

Regarding That Picture... (Thursday, Jan 20)
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Regarding that picture (of me) that I posted a couple days ago... When my wife saw it, she kind of screwed up her face and asked me if I wanted her to take a "good" picture of me instead. It was literally one of those hold-the-camera-at-arm's-length-and-shoot sort of pictures, so I'll admit it probably could have been better. But it served it's purpose, and I'm not really a picture guy anyway.

Then I was talking to one of my friends at work about it today (because I've now become paranoid), and he said that I always could have touched it up a bit before posting it to the site. The more I thought about it, the better of an idea it was. So here's the old picture next to my new fully touched up one:

a picture of Julian before
a picture of Julian after

Just some minor touch-ups really. Probably not even noticable to most people. A little tan on the skin, whiten the teeth just a tad, soften the face ever so slightly to get rid of wrinkles. Amazing how a minute or two with a good graphics editing tool can do wonders.

(BTW, you can click on either of those pictures above to see a larger version.)

How To Drive In Orlando (Wednesday, Jan 19)
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For those of you coming to Lotusphere next week who are flying in and renting a car, please allow me to offer the following tips for driving in Orlando:

If you're like me, you just think of the whole thing as a big video game and enjoy the ride. It's actually not that bad compared to Atlanta (where I grew up), but it can be a little challenging to people who aren't used to traffic. If it wasn't for all those damn tourists...

Meet Me At Lotusphere... Please :-) (Tuesday, Jan 18)
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Bruce Elgort recently wrote a really good blog entry about how Lotusphere is about the people. Specifically he said, "[W]hen I go to Lotusphere, its to see you and IBM/Lotus is secondary."

I realize that most computer geek types (at least the ones who would be both reading my blog and going to Lotusphere) probably fall soundly in the "introvert" category. As a whole, we (computer geeks) keep to ourselves and would often rather sit in front of a laptop than meet new people. In fact, we'd often rather be stabbed with an icepick than have to mingle with a crowd of strangers.

So if you're reading this and you're going to Lotusphere, and you happen to fall into above-mentioned introvert category, I want you to do me a favor:

Find me, and introduce yourself to me.

That's all, nothing more. Just track me down and say, "Hi Julian, my name is [your name here]. I just wanted to say hi." In return, I will immediately introduce you to anyone around me that I happen to know, and you will have met not just one person, but several. And then you'll have new people to talk to and hang out with at Lotusphere.

Oh yeah, here's a picture:

a picture of Julian

That's me, coffee-stained teeth and all. I'm actually a pretty nice guy.

As a disclaimer, I don't really know that many people myself, but I do try to meet new ones. I'm just trying to help out here. It's sort of an "I'll tell two friends, and you tell two friends, and so on, and so forth" kind of attitude. If everyone actually goes around meeting each other, then we can all... well, meet each other. That's a good thing. I'm simply offering myself as a place to start.

Naturally, if you think that's a completely queer idea, just ignore it/me and go about your business. Whatever.

Use JavaScript To Open New Tabs In Firefox (Monday, Jan 17)
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Via Erik Thauvin's Linkblog: Larry Williams figured out how to use JavaScript to open a page in a new tab in Firefox.

Excellent! I was wondering if there was a way...

More Lotusphere Session Searching (Saturday, Jan 15)
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I've been playing around some more with my lookup pages for the Lotusphere sessions. In addition to the lookups that are targeted towards mobile devices, I also put together a dynamic lookup page that you can use with a "modern" browser (IE 5+, Firefox, Safari).

As you change your lookup parameters (day, time, location), a request is sent in the background to fetch the matching sessions for your search, and the page is dynamically updated. It uses XmlHttp requests to do the asynchronous lookups, just like Google Suggest and my Notes Suggest example database.

If anything I just said doesn't make any sense, just go to the page and play around. Even if you don't understand, it's fun stuff.

I also made a couple of minor changes to the Lotusphere Session Lookups for mobile devices:

Again, you can use those with a regular browser as well, but it'll look pretty plain. As always, thanks to Ben Langhinrichs for compiling all the session information in his Session Database in the first place.

Find Lotusphere Sessions With Your Cell Phone (Friday, Jan 14)
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As a fun extension of Ben Langhinrichs' Lotusphere Session Database, I decided to write an interface so you can search for sessions using the mobile device of your choice (cell phone, Blackberry, whatever).

Just connect your device to the Internet and point it to: (this will work with a regular browser too, of course, although the formatting is pretty bare). There's a simple version that only returns session titles, times, and rooms, and a more detailed version that also includes speaker names and session descriptions.

Just a little something to keep you entertained if you find yourself in Orlando in a couple weeks. If I get some time this weekend, I might even put together a dynamic interface using some of that XmlHttp lookup stuff I've been playing with.

And In Other Germophobe News... (Wednesday, Jan 12)
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And in other germophobe news, we got a memo at work today (addressed to all employees) with the following information:

We have been told that people are placing personal heating devices (e.g. heating pads) in the microwaves. Please refrain from doing this, as it is an unsanitary practice.

Thinking of the heating pad I used about a year ago and relating it to this memo, I think I'll steer clear of the microwaves at work for a while. Bleh.

Fun In The Emergency Room (Tuesday, Jan 11)
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Well, we just got back from the emergency room. My daughter whacked her head against the window sill and split it open (her head, not the window sill), so we had to go down there to get it stitched up. Actually they use glue these days, not stitches, but you get the picture. Some random thoughts:

We got out of there in about 3 hours, and luckily they only had to glue her head back together and tell us not to get it wet for a while (she'll be the smelly kid this week). My son was brave enough to sleep through 30 minutes of screaming, so I don't think he was too traumatized by the whole thing either.

I'll close with a bad parody on the MasterCard commercials:

Cost of parking at the Emergency Room -- zero dollars

Cost of getting your daughter's head glued in the emergency room -- more dollars than I want to think about right now

Watching your son drop his stuffed animal (that he must sleep with every single night) on the disgusting, germy ER waiting room floor, just two feet away from a kid who's coughing up oysters -- priceless

Steal This Code: Google Suggest Type Lookups (Sunday, Jan 9)
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I just updated my Google Suggest-type Lookup Database with some code that allows you to use the up/down arrow keys and tab or enter to make selections from the drop-down lookup list (I'm on version 1.2 of the database now, if you're trying to keep up).

I've also been thinking that it might be nice to host a live demonstration of the code I'm using, (A) in case anyone wants to use it in a non-Notes/Domino environment, (B) so you could actually see how it works without having to go through the tremendous effort of actually downloading the database, and (C) if any of my non-Notes readers are curious about what the heck I'm doing with this.

Since my web hosting provider supports it, I put together an example page using PHP and MySQL. I've done a little debugging, and it seems to work well enough, so here's the link:

Enter A Zip Code Using Google Suggest-Type Lookups

I didn't do a whole lot of performance tuning or data verification, so the lookups themselves aren't perfect, nor are they intended to be. This is just an example of an XmlHttp lookup technique. I tried to make it as easy as possible for you to "steal the code" to implement similar functionality yourself. Have fun with it (and link back here if you use it ;-).

If You Don't Have A Feed, I Won't Read (Tuesday, Jan 4)
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About 3 or 4 months ago, I finally got to a point where I stopped following blog/news/technology sites that didn't have RSS or ATOM feeds. There were two reasons:

1. I try to keep up with too many sites.
2. It's too inconvenient to try to remember to visit the sites without feeds on a regular basis.

For example, I currently follow almost 140 Lotus-related sites alone. I can't follow that many sites by opening each one in a separate browser window a couple times a day. I have a life, you know.

Think about if your e-mail didn't come to a central inbox, but you had to check the outbox of all your friends and family and acquaintances and coworkers every time you wanted to know if you had a message. Could you keep up? Would you? No.

The feed aggregator I use is Bloglines, and I recommend it very highly. The things I like are:

If you don't currently use Bloglines, you should open an account and try it out. To get you started, you can download my Lotus-related OPML file and import it into your new account. There might be one or two non-Lotus blogs in the list, and some of the sites are probably "dead", but I tried to filter it out pretty well.

After you get your feeds loaded, go to your "My Feeds" tab, but whatever you do, don't click the folder link at the top that says "140 updated feeds" (or whatever). If you click that link, it'll try to load all of the "unread" entries in all the blogs one after another in the right-hand frame -- that will take a long, long time. With a lot of feeds, you want to click the link for each one individually. Actually, to start out you'll probably want to click the "Mark All Read" link to clear out the unread marks, and make sure your User Profile Feed Options are set to "Show only updated feeds". Then check the account later in the day or tomorrow, and you'll be amazed how often everyone updates their sites.

I love the fact that you can check your account from any computer, which was great when we were on vacation last week. If I got any free time during the day (which happened a couple of times), I could just log in from my sister-in-law's computer and read my blogs. And when I came back home, all my unread marks were synchronized, because I'm accessing the same account on the server. Also good for reading up at the office (while you're eating lunch at your desk, of course).

As a quick and cheap Lotusphere tie-in, it wouldn't hurt for you to set up a Bloglines account to start reading all the Lotus blogs leading up to and during Lotusphere. You can get used to it now, and if you're down in Orlando at the end of the month, you can easily check in on the blog action from any kiosk you can find.

Okay, So About Lotusphere (Monday, Jan 3)
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Alright, holidays are over, it's a new year, yadda yadda. Let's talk about Lotusphere. Here's what's been going on (blogwise) so far:

I'm sure there's more, but those are the links I had at my disposal. I'm sure that Volker will have some things to say in the coming weeks as well.

I'll be there, I'm already excited, and I'll probably be talking more about Lotusphere in the coming weeks (so I won't bore you too much right now). One thing I will say as a preface, though: just because I might be talking a lot about what other bloggers are doing/saying/planning with regards to Lotusphere doesn't mean that I'm some sort of "bloggers are so cool" kind of guy. That's not true at all. It's just that, well, who else would I talk about? I don't really know anyone else. And at least I can link to other bloggers.

So, that being said, I hope I don't offend anyone who's not able to go to Lotusphere this year by talking about it in the coming weeks. If it does offend you, I'm terribly sorry, and if you're that sensitive then it probably means that you were offended that I used the word "Christmas" a few weeks ago, and I'm sorry for that too. I also apologize deeply for the following:

I'm going to Disney. I'm going to Disney. I'm going to Disney...