The January 2007 Blog
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Lotusphere Wrapup (Tuesday, Jan 30)
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Here we go: yet another Lotusphere 2007 wrapup. My takeaways from the week were:

This is not Ray Ozzie's Lotus Notes
I can't take credit for making that little saying up, but after seeing everything at Lotusphere I think it's right on. Hannover/Notes 8 is not that weird, clunky Notes client that everyone is used to seeing. It's a total overhaul, with interface design at the front and center. You will be proud to show this new client to your boss. And all of us Notes developers need to start learning how to design better UI's now, because our old single outline 3-pane displays are going to look even worse in about 6 months. Nathan Freeman and Chris Blatnick gave some great starting points in their session -- keep checking their blogs for downloads and tips if you didn't make it to the show.

Social Software is the new Knowledge Management
I know, I said this already, but you'll be saying it soon too. There's a new KM in town, and it uses tags, aggregators, and wikis. Plenty of people are saying "it will never work in business", but I think you're going to be surprised. With anyone under 30, that's how they're managing their personal information already so it's a natural fit. "Older" workers may need to be convinced with some business justifications, but that won't be much of a stretch. It may just be a matter of semantics in the end -- call an aggregator a "news feed" and a tag a "bookmark" and there you go.

Giving Quickr away for free is a great move
I have no numbers to back this up, but I firmly believe that when Lotus offered the Sametime entitlement in 2004 (where Lotus 6.5 clients got a Sametime server and basic Sametime functionality for free) it was a huge move towards getting Sametime accepted and deployed throughout large enterprises. All of a sudden, you no longer had a decision to make about running Instant Messaging in the office. No budget concerns, no competitive analysis. It was free and it was already on the client, so why not use it?

Now that Lotus is doing the same thing with Quickr Personal Edition, they're setting the stage for the same thing to happen. What is Quickr, you ask? It's a lot of things, but most of all it's this: Quickr is a document management system. That's the killer piece of the product. You start using it (for free), and you tell two friends and they tell two friends, and the next thing you know your company is using a document management system. It even has integration points with WebSphere and SharePoint.

Notes 8 is the ONE AND ONLY strategic e-mail platform for Lotus
No more confusion over Workplace versus WebSphere versus Notes/Domino. Notes e-mail is it. You will NOT be forced to migrate off of the Notes/Domino platform at any time in the forseeable future (contrary to closed-door statements from other vendors over the past 3 years).

The Lotus team is trying very hard to make the new products "developer friendly"
Time will tell how developer friendly the tools end up being, of course, but that is definitely a solid and conscious focus in the new product line. I attended a session on how you can use Component Designer to create composite pages, with wiring, using only drag and drop. I was told how you'll be able to call external web services natively from LotusScript in only a few lines of code. I saw how there are "Web 2.0-ish" widgets available for use directly from the Designer clients. As much as I love writing code, I love having it written for me even more.

Unified Communications may actually gain traction
This one is going to be interesting to watch: a new push for unified communications in the enterprise. The concept has been around for years -- combining e-mail, voice mail, and phone service -- but IBM is making a big new push with Sametime 7.5 and some of the addon technologies. Sametime Rendezvous (yet another great tool to come out of the IBM Research Labs) is especially cool, because it manages all of your Sametime-based teleconferences for you, and instead of having to figure out which 800 number to call for each conference, it assigns you a unique telephone number that you dial in to from anywhere, and that number connects you directly to the correct conference call.

One of the analysts at the Unified Communication keynote mentioned that decisions on IM, phone systems, and e-mail are all becoming convergent. Again, it'll be interesting to see if/how that plays out.

Finally, extended coffee breaks!
Okay, this is a non-technical point, but I've complained about the short coffee breaks so much in the past that I need to step up and acknowledge that the problem seemed to have been addressed this year. In years past, I've literally had coffee carts rolled away from me by Disneybots, before the coffee breaks were over and while I was about to grab myself a cup. Lots of other people have reported this too. This year though, there were at least two times that I was able to get water/coffee at least 10 minutes after the break was supposed to be over, with no rushing or evil Disneybot stares at all.

I don't know if that's something that was truly fixed or I was just lucky, but it was a great improvement.

That's all for now. There's a lot more commentary on the other blogs and news channels, to cover all the things I missed. All in all, it was a great show, and it will be a a very interesting year to come.

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Lotusphere Wrapup Coming Soon (Monday, Jan 29)
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I know David, I was a Lotusphere blogging slacker after about day one (minor amounts of live blogging aside). There was just too damn much going on, and I had sessions on Wednesday and Thursday to stress over, okay!?! I'm still beat, but at least I didn't catch the annual Lotusphlu that a few others went home with.

I'll try to post a somewhat substantial Lotusphere wrapup tomorrow.

In the meantime, Ed was good enough to post the slides for our "Selling Notes" session today, so you can peek at those while you're waiting for either our podcast rendition or the DVD video (that you still have time to order).

I've also got a ton of requests for the OpenLog beta that me and Rob showed everyone in our error trapping session. I promise, it works and I'll give it to you soon. I need to do a little more cleanup before I release it into the wild. Everyone wants that JavaScript logging...

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Lotusphere - Day Two (Tuesday, Jan 23)
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11:59 PM

Okay, long day going to sessions and working on my "Selling Notes" presentation with Ed Brill in the morning. No more summary data until tomorrow, I'm afraid.

However, I will tell you that Ed and I COMPLETELY revamped the "Selling Notes" presentation from last year, so even if you've been to it in years past it's a brand new show. Come by and watch! Wednesday at 10:00 AM in Dolphin A-C.

3:22 PM

Just a quick thought (as I'm in a session) before I forget:

Social Software is the new Knowledge Management
John Roling and I discussed this last night, and I've been thinking this all day as I've been seeing the new Lotus software. Social software is the new knowledge management. And this time it works. And people are going to use it. Heck, they already are, just not in business. Not until now.

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Lotusphere - Day One (Monday, Jan 22)
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10:48 PM

So much for the grand plans of wrapping everything up before I went to sleep tonight. Luckily, so many other people have already done such a good job that I don't really have any slack to pick up. There are some excellent Flickr pictures showing up now too.

If you want my take, me and Bruce (and Devin Olsen) just did a podcast wrap-up that will be posted soon, if not already. Listen early, listen often.

Right now, I've got my balcony window open and am listening to Jamfest as I'm typing. Very nice (I'm staying in the Swan, and it's in the big tent outside -- that's a picture of my balcony view on the right, if you're interested).

Lotus Component Designer
Oh yeah, one of the sessions I went to today was on Lotus Component Designer, and it was very interesting. Looks like they put a lot of time into making sure that it's very "developer friendly" -- not in the sense that there's lots of cool code you have to write, but in that you can do a lot of things just by drag-and-drop and filling in property boxes.

For example, here's how they showed you could turn a Lotus Notes database design element (from an old database) into a component to be used with other components on a Composite Application:

And there you go. You have a composite app page. Very easy, no programming at all.

2:42 PM

BTW, here's a picture of the band that played just before the opening session:

Lotusphere 2007 Opening Session Band

Volker already has a video up on YouTube.

Also, Bruce hit the Publish button on our podcast with Mary Beth Raven and Jeff Eisen on the TakingNotes site, so go there and take a listen. So that's where episode 47 went...

1:42 PM

In other news, I was "live blogging" on the Lotusphere Live site during the opening session. I'll summarize later, but you can check out the comments on Ed Brill's site for some immediate reactions and links.

I also just "live blogged" (sorry, I just have to put that in quotes) the brand-new-this-year IBM blogger press conference. Again, summary later, but go to Lotusphere Live and click on the Taking Notes "room" for some immediate thoughts and whatnot.

1:30 PM

First things first, it has been suggested to me that a link I put up yesterday was not supposed to be "live" yet. It was just something I heard someone talking about in a bar, and when I came back to my room I tried it and it worked. I apologize if I got anyone in trouble.

It didn't occur to me that anyone would have a public website that they wouldn't want other people to visit.

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Lotusphere - Day Zero (Sunday, Jan 21)
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Too tired to blog properly. Some bullet points:

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Holy Week of Podcasts, Batman! (Wednesday, Jan 17)
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Yes, it's been a crazy busy week of podcasts so far on the ol' Taking Notes Podcast site. Me and Bruce kicked it into overdrive just before Lotusphere.

But why so many all at once? Wah!
Yeah, we hear ya. That's a lot to listen to. But we also know that plenty of people will be travelling many hours to and from Orlando next week, so think of it as travel fodder. Also, it'll help get you in that happy Lotusphere mood.

Why so many vendors? What's up with that?
The simple answer there is that they're vendors with very useful products that just might help you. There's no shame in buying products, you know. Especially when they let you do your job better, or make you look good to the boss.

Plus, if you listen to this stuff before you hit the Product Showcase floor at Lotusphere and you hear something you like, you can head straight to that vendor's pedestal and ask them questions. No more wandering around just looking for the best squishy toys (you can still do that too, of course).

So, here's the lineup so far this week:

That's all for now, but we'll have plenty more next week. Chris Miller's been busy too, so Listen Up!

Find Me At Lotusphere (Tuesday, Jan 16)
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Here's my obligatory "How to find me at Lotusphere" post.

To the right is a beautiful picture of me that Bruce snapped last year or the year before. If that doesn't help, I've posted a few other pictures of myself on the blog in past years.

I'm intentionally leaving as much time as possible open during Lotusphere, and I won't mention the dinners and such that I'm doing, but here's a rough schedule for next week:


Rest of the week
To be honest, I'll just be around. I haven't committed to any sessions/events other than the ones that I am personally giving, which are:

I think I'll be at the Gurupalooza thingie on Thursday too, since the session that me and Rob are doing is a Best Practice session. Otherwise, like I said, I'll be around. See you there!

Car Phone (Monday, Jan 15)
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I went to the dentist last week, and on the new patient application it had spaces for home phone, work phone, and car phone.

Man, a car phone? That is, like, soooo 1980...

Comment Spam (Sunday, Jan 14)
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Amazingly, within 24 hours of putting up my brand new comment system, I already had 3 comment spam attempts (UPDATE: after 48 hours the number is up to 6). I'm amazed because... well, how the heck did they find the new system so fast? Bastages.

And...Comments Are Back (Saturday, Jan 13)
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In the wee hours of last night, I finished migrating my blog comments off of Enetation and onto my own home-grown system on my server. I got rid of one set of problems (Enetation), and I'm sure I just introduced a whole new slew of other ones (because I wrote it and have to administer it).

In any case, please feel free to test it, just be gentle. I'm still figuring things out. I kept the old layout scheme for now -- I want to change that too, but I figured I should make it work first and worry about aesthetics and proper web design later. There will likely be lots of refactoring in the future as well.

Trying to Fix My Blog Comments (Wednesday, Jan 10)
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Okay, I've finally had enough of Enetation (that's the company I've been using to manage my blog comments). Over the past year or so it's become very slow, and it's also somewhat of a spam magnet with no real tools to manage the constant comment spam I get.

The past few nights have been spent importing all of my old comments, parsing them out, deleting the spam, and formatting for upload into a MySQL database on the server where I will have to write my own interface. I automated it as much as possible, but it was still a huge pain. I had to write some Java code to download each day's comments individually (many of the days kept timing out or were very slow), then I had some separate code to parse out each day's comments into name, date/time, comment text, etc. and go through to delete the obvious spam by hand. In the end I wound up with almost 2,000 individual comments, which isn't huge by some blogging standards, but it's a lot to look at all at once.

So then I wrote some more code to format all the comments for upload to MySQL and now I'm working on the interface. For now, it's read only and it's mimicking the Enetation template I used. Eventually I think I'll try to build in some of Rob's NSFToolsMonkey Script functionality in too. Anyway it's a stopgap, and something I had the poor judgement to start doing now instead of... say... after Lotusphere.

Since you can't leave me any comments on this at the moment (ah, the irony), I'll answer the obvious question that some of you might have: Why the heck aren't I using a Domino blog template to handle all this?

There are a few answers to this:

So there you go. It'll all be set up soon, and you'll get more blogging and less plumbing. At the very least, I'll be ramping up with a lot of Lotusphere coverage at the end of the month -- see my coverage for Lotusphere 2006, Lotusphere 2005, and Lotusphere 2004 for examples of what to expect.

Compiling Notes C-API Programs in MinGW, Redux (Monday, Jan 8)
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So, we've talked about compiling Notes C-API programs in Visual Studio Express, and Ed Schaller later gave some pointers on how to compile Notes C-API programs in gcc/MinGW (which I had tried and failed to do). Now Christian Mueller follows up with some step-by-step instructions and screenshots for compiling with MinGW and Eclipse on Windows.

The good thing about using MinGW/gcc to compile this stuff on Windows is that it should (in theory) make it much easier to port the code over to other platforms -- I'm thinking this because you're forced to get rid of all your Visual Studio-specific functions/classes in the process. I dunno. Interesting thing to try, anyway.

Five Things You Don't Know About Me (Thursday, Jan 4)
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Crap, I've been tagged. Here you go: five things you may or may not (want to) know about me:

  1. Sandpaper gives me the willies. I'm not sure if the word "willies" is going to translate properly for the non-English speakers out there, so if not it's that shiver you get up and down your spine sometimes. I can't stand touching sandpaper, or emery boards, or anything like that. I thought everyone was like that until I was about 12 -- kind of like how no one likes the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. Apparently I'm kind of a freak that way.

  2. I can't stand needles. Not an unusual thing, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Last time I gave blood (in high school) it took over 30 minutes to drain a pint, and the Red Cross people told me they had plenty of blood and not to come back.

  3. I had never bought a TV -- ever -- until last week. I've owned several television sets, but they were always given to me in one way or another. My wife has still never bought a TV (she didn't go to the store with me).

  4. I can stand with my feet facing in opposite directions. And not just one facing left and one right, I can turn one foot completely around to point behind me. Supposedly this is odd. I've just always been able to do it.

  5. I once went to Halle Berry's house to assemble some furniture. I worked for a furniture store in Atlanta while I was in college, and she bought a few things that needed to be built. She was wandering around the house the whole time I was there, singing to the radio, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. She was super-nice, and I think she even offered me a drink (like a water, not like "shaken or stirred"). It was right after she married David Justice and moved into an enormous new house -- I got to meet David Justice a few weeks later too, and he wasn't nearly as friendly.

    I also got to build a bed in Bill Berry's cabin outside of Athens while he was still drumming for REM. He was really nice too, but he was whistling the song "Do The Hustle" off and on the entire hour I was there. Drove me up a wall.

Apparently I have to tag 5 more people now. Let's see. How about Alan Lepofsky, Damien Katz, Chris Miller, Mac Guidera, and... oh, what the heck, how about Mother Vowe (just to see if he'll play ;-).