You asked. IBM responds: Interim Fix for Domino to support SHA-2 and TLS fix for POODLE attack.


All the information you need is in these two technotes:
http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21418982
http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21687167
Watch for the fix to be posted on Fix Central soon.  Then this can be marked Completed in Greenhouse and IdeaJam.net
Note that one of these will only be supported on Domino 9.0.1.  The 8.5 code can’t support SHA-2 encryption.

What does this mean? This addresses the issue that web browsers will soon no longer support connecting to websites that use the older encryption due to its weaker algorithms that can be broken with today’s faster computers.  So Domino servers using https will need this update to allow web browsers to be able to connect after they drop support for the old security.

From friend lists to ads clicked, find out exactly what data Facebook has on you


Wonder what data Facebook has on you? Follow these steps to download and view everything they know about you. I expect you’re going to be surprised. Here’s how:
1. Log in to https://www.facebook.com
2. Click on the settings icon in the top right of the page, then click on Settings in the pop down menu.
facebookSettings1
This will display the General Account Settings.
3. Click on the link “Download a copy of your Facebook data” located below the list of settings and step through the process.
facebookSettings2
facebookSettings3
Be prepared for this to take a long time. You probably have more data there than you realize. Seriously.  (If you have the ability, connect your computer to your router via a network cable rather than wifi and it will go as much as 10x faster.)
4. Once you have downloaded the zip file containing your data, right click on the .zip file and extract the data.
5. Now take a look at the \html\ directory and double-click the files to view them in a browser.
You can see:

  • The ads you have clicked in the ads.htm
  • Your contacts that Facebook has harvested are listed in file.contact_info.htm
  • In the friends.htm  (You can even see all the people you have unfriended.)
  • Every photo you uploaded

Many people are shocked by what they discover.
I still haven’t figured out how to delete all those contacts they have of mine. But when I do, I’ll let you know.

Latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report on Social Software for Business


When you hear the term Social Software, many of us think of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and other similar consumer-oriented websites.  But social software is becoming more broadly adopted in the workplace as well. Gartner recently published a report assessing 17 different vendors of social software solutions for business.  Some of these I had never even heard of before reading this report.  Gartner ranked them in their magic quadrant graph as well as identified what Gartner sees as their strengths and cautions.  I have not yet explored all of them, in depth but I am certainly familiar with three of the more popular ones: Google, IBM, and Microsoft and I think Gartner is spot-on with their assessments of these.  But I would add more detail…

Google: Google has a great experience for the individual user.  But because Google Apps for Work is based on their consumer-grade offering, it lacks some of the basic requirements and central control that businesses often need.  Given that Google is and will likely remain a consumer product-driven company, that will always be their challenge. That also explains why they rank so low on the execution scale and miss the magic quadrant.  On the other hand, they seem to have replaced Microsoft as the new golden child to consumers (think Android vs. Windows Mobile or gmail vs. hotmail) which gives them momentum in the workplace driven by end users who want to use the same software at work as they use at home.  The risk to businesses is that consumers are as fickle about software as they are about women’s fashions and consumers don’t concern themselves so much about things like user support, security, high availability, and privacy.  Google’s roadmap.

IBM: Of these 3 most popular players, IBM is the only one focused exclusively on Business needs, some would say to a fault. The benefit here is their solutions start with the specific needs of business and build up from there and avoid the fickle consumer-driven market. Of course, that can also be their bane.  As a result, sometimes their user experience has lacked the fine tuning that the consumer-focused companies have. On the other hand, their solutions offer functionality for the knowledge worker that is totally absent in the consumer-first solutions.  I am anxiously looking forward to how this is influenced by their recent partnership with Apple. Given IBM is all about business process and data center while Apple is all about user experience and personal devices, this could prove a great marriage.

I completely agree with Gartner’s assessment on IBM’s need to market to developers and third parties to contribute.  The reference to customers’ perception of it as a complex solution would be valid if they were comparing on-site-based solutions.  But they aren’t.  In fact IBM and Microsoft are the only two of all 17 to even offer their solutions as both cloud-based and on-site.  If we limit the comparison to cloud-based versions, this is not a factor. It has also been impressive how IBM has demonstrated its commitment to their cloud solutions by adopting a cloud-first strategy.  Functionality is being added on a monthly basis to their cloud solution with those features being released in the software edition afterwards.  I know they have a busy roadmap. I just wish it were published.  Rumor and blind faith is not a business strategy.

Microsoft: While also primarily a consumer-product-oriented company, Microsoft has solid footing in the business software solution market. Microsoft is more of a latecomer to the social game, but is doing a good job catching up with their acquisition of Yammer. Yammer is good at what it does and even before its acquisition by Microsoft, it was adopted by many organizations starting with pockets of rogue employees, forcing I.T. departments to catch up. This is proof that I.T. leaders should be actively pursuing a social software solution or risk having the employees do it without them. Microsoft has a published roadmap of upcoming features.

When you read Gartner’s article, I recommend starting with the criteria definitions on the right, where they explain what they were basing their evaluations on.  Without understanding their criteria, the assessment can be misleading.

I think the report avoids two very important criteria that concern businesses:

1. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity:  Nowhere in the report does it mention the infrastructure supporting these solutions. From the end users’ perspective it is irrelevant… Until something goes wrong.  A hurricane, gas explosion, terrorist or hacker attack. “In the cloud” does not mean out of harm’s way.  One of the strongest arguments favoring a cloud-based solution is the assumed resilience to such events. Cloud solutions can reduce the need for businesses to invest in redundant data centers, etc. provided they themselves have executed their own plan adequately. Given the high failure rate of companies that encounter a catastrophic data center event without a DR-BC plan (as published by FEMA), a CIO should be very interested in this criteria.  I am very familiar with how IBM and Microsoft address this and am comfortable with both of them. I don’t know enough about Google’s infrastructure for the Google Apps for Work. Regardless of your provider, you should know their DR-BC strategy and implementation.

2.  Customer Support and Responsiveness to Customer Requests: Yes, there is some mention of customer support in the Customer Experience criteria. That may have been reflected in the rankings, but it was glossed over in the report narratives. Of these three solution providers, Google seems to apply much of the same support philosophy as they have for free gmail accounts. Microsoft, on the other hand, has a good support center of well trained staff and a good escalation process. (I may be bias. I have friends on that team.)  IBM is also strong here. Many of the first level support team has 10+ years of experience and the support structure is such that the same technicians tend to take your calls, so they can build an understanding of your environment and have better continuity from one call to the next. (This is mportant in a cloud environment, as they do much of your administration, so you will make more calls.)

All three of these providers have various discussion forums.  IBM has Greenhouse, where you can also see new features before they go into production and can share product enhancement ideas that the community can promote.  Several product managers are active participants in the discussion forums and persistent, live chat sessions, engaging the customers.  When it comes to Social Business, IBM clearly practices what they preach. I expect part of that comes from IBM having a virtual office philosophy while Microsoft and Google are more campus oriented.  I have yet to discover that level of public accessibility with Microsoft and Google.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and if you know of it, please share it in the comments.

Probably the biggest factor that will trump all others is where you are starting from. Mail migrations are expensive, so if you don’t pick a vendor that already provides your email system, their solution either needs to integrate well with what you have or you need to be prepared to go through an expensive and disruptive migration.

Witness to a Murder (of crows)


Taking a diversion from the usual technology-related topic to share a bit of what most people will never see,  Sunday morning, 5:30 AM, the first day of Fall, 2014.  My internal alarm clock wakes me up. It is still quite dark outside.  Charlie, our rooster hasn’t even woken up yet.  That reminds me of something I have wanted to do for a long time: watch the large flock of birds by UW Bothell leave their roost.  Would there ever be a better day to do it than today?  Probably not.  So I got up, grabbed the camera and tripod and headed over to the bike trail by the UW Bothell campus.

I got there by 6:00 AM.  The air was mild and very calm.  It was still dark enough that the dark side of the New Moon with a brighter thin crescent edge was visible to the east, looking out over the roosting area.

Moon rise over Bothell

Moon rise over Bothell (actual brightness)

I set up my camera and waited.  It wasn’t long before the first birds start to fly, around 6:10 AM.  It started off slow at first, but very quickly the sky was full of them – A Murder of many thousands of Crows!
I was able to capture the sunrise as they left their roost in rivers of birds flying out to greet the world.  I noticed that they don’t just fly out in all directions.  Instead, they follow flight paths as if Air Traffic Control were giving them instructions.  The stream of birds went on for over 30 minutes.  Since it was early on a Sunday morning, the traffic noise from the highway was quiet.  The result is a very peaceful, almost meditational video.  I can imagine leaving the video playing on one of my computer monitors for a calm white-noise effect to offset the chimes of meeting reminders and email alerts while I work. It is recorded in HD, so it’s worth watching in full screen.

Don’t let the conditioning of modern television’s 5 to 20 second long clips between scene changes make you anxious after a minute or two of this.  Consider finding a time when you can sit and let the video play in its entirety as if you were there yourself, filming it.  If you are looking for a moment of excitement, you will have to create it yourself.  Count the number of times you see a lone bird flying in the other direction. Or count the number of times a bird flaps its wings as it passes by. Or count the number of times a pair of Canada Geese fly by.  Or count the number of distinct caws you hear. Or simply count the number of birds that fly by. Or just watch the rhythm of the stream of birds as the sky gradually changes color.  This far north, we have long sunrises.  Enjoy.

The Bothell crows make up a murder of many thousands of crows that roost every night at the 58 acre wetlands restoration site sandwiched between I-405, Hwy 522, and the University of Washington-Bothell campus.

The restoration project was started 12 years ago.  This is what it looked like back then:

North Campus wetland restoration 2002

Bothell Wetlands Today

You can learn more about this flock of crows  at the UW website.
And their Facebook page.
You can also get a better idea of just how large this murder is from this footage of them gathering again at the end of the day.

Quick Tip: Using the “like” feature in IBM Connections for more than just liking a file


The Like feature in IBM Connections is a great way to show you “Like” a file that has been posted.  But don’t get caught up in the mindset of Facebook “likes”.  This feature can also be a shortcut for a document review cycle.  Instead of creating todos in an Activity and assigning it to each person, you can just send them all the link and ask them to “Like” it when they finish their review.  Sounds almost too obvious, but I see people overlooking shortcuts like this often.  This applies to the “home” edition of IBM Connections as well as in IBM SmartCloud Connections.

LikeAFile1

LikeAFile2

SmartCloud Tip #05: Problems for mail and calendar delegates. You’ll get tons of helpdesk calls if you don’t do this.


One of the points IBM stresses during your migration to SmartCloud is to migrate delegates of mail files, calendars, and contacts either ahead of or at the same time as the people who delegated them (delegators). This is necessary because a user cannot access databases on the SmartCloud servers until their own account has been added to the service. This is part of the security model. In other words, mail files in the service can only be viewed by users that are in the service. No problem. As you build your batches for migrating, the migration process alerts you who the delegates are for the people in a given batch and those delegates can be added to the same batch with one click.

But what is missed is that the delegates have bookmarks and calendar overlays pointing to the delegators mail or calendar. Those bookmarks point to the servers on-site, not in SmartCloud. So as delegators are migrated to SmartCloud, the old links that other people have to their mail don’t get updated. The end result is that delegates will continue to view the old data in the database on the server on-site even after the delegator has moved. The delegate gets no warning that the delegator has moved. The only clue is that they no longer see any changes that are made in the delegators’ mail or calendar. What makes this more insidious is that the problem begins when the DELEGATOR is moved, not when the delegate is moved. So an administrative assistant that manages many executives’ mail files has to constantly monitor when those executives are moved and then update their bookmarks.

That is why it is a best practice to be sure to promptly delete mail files from the on-site servers after their owners are successfully migrated. Life for delegates can also be simplified if all of the mail files that a delegate has access to are moved in the same batch. Then the delegate can update all the bookmarks at the same time. You could go a step further by creating database redirects as the databases are deleted from the servers on-site. If you do this, you don’t have to alert the delegates every time a delegator’s mail file is moved to SmartCloud. However, this can’t be done if you just approve the database deletions posted in adminP as part of the migration process. You need to create these some other way. One method is to delete the databases manually in the admin client where you can also add the redirect when it is deleted. You could also do this programmatically with an agent. I invite any developers to post a comment on the details for doing that.

I have posted an idea in IdeaJam requesting an enhancement.
as well as in Greenhouse.

How Your Learning Mindset Can Cost Your Job (and how to avoid it)


It’s Labor Day (U.S. Holiday) A great day to write about work.  If you work in a computer-related profession you can never stop learning if you wish to remain employed.  And that trend is spreading across professions like wildfire as the benefits of technology influence almost every profession.  But not everyone is cut out for a lifetime of success through learning.  In a recent article published by Salman Khan, the creator of KhanAcademy.org, he wrote about Learning Mindsets:

“Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not, that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.”

In other words, as I often tell my daughter as I’m dropping her off at school “Have fun and make lots of mistakes!”  Why? Because we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. This philosophy is a companion to “Turn your weaknesses into strengths.”

But back to my original point: lifetime learning. If you aren’t investing time in your professional development, then you are likely to become obsolete soon. Adopt a growth mindset and feed your mind. There are some fantastic education websites out there to cater to everyone from Kindergarteners to Post-graduates and every kind of special interest in between.  Many of these are free, operating under the philosophy that knowledge should be free to everyone.  Here is a selection of what I have found.  If you know of others, please share them in the comments for all to benefit.

https://www.khanacademy.org   Broad range of classes from math & science to business & entrepreneurship FOR FREE. Many public schools are integrating this free site into their lesson plans. (spell it right. There is an imitation out there that you don’t want.)
https://www.coursera.org   A partnership of universities supplying a broad range of classes FOR FREE.  Check out the wikipedia article.
https://class.stanford.edu/   Stanford University offers access to a variety of classes FOR FREE online. Not for the feint-of-heart. Check out the class on cryptography if you want a challenge.
http://www.lynda.com/  Drop the cable TV subscription and spend $25 a month being entertained and educated with unlimited access to thousands of courses.  (Including classes on IBM Connections software taught by my friend Bruce Elgort)
http://www.w3schools.com/  Learn computer programming languages FOR FREE.  Sponsored by a cool Norwegian web development company.

I know there are many others out there.  Do you have any to share?

WARNING: Google Apps for Business Terms of Service


These are the terms of service you are agreeing to in your Google Apps Business account.  See the text highlighted in RED.  Does this agreement concern anyone?
(Taken from Google Business TOS https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/  )

Your Content in our Services
Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad.

Remember: If the product is free, YOU are the product!

How to get Sametime Video Chat in SmartCloud


The maintenance window is over and SmartCloud Sametime chat now includes audio and video.  Some details to know:
First, the feature is accessible only via a browser or via the mobile app.  It is not available in the Notes embedded client (yet).  Also, all parties in the chat must be logged into SmartCloud. That makes sense. If they weren’t, you couldn’t chat with them either.
Once logged into https://collabserv.com website, logged into Sametime, open your contacts list.  You will see two new icons available, but they have a red box with a star in it.  That means you need to install the plugin.

Sametime Contacts screen with new video icon

Sametime Contacts screen with new video icon

Just click the icon and it will take you through the process of installing. The first time I tried to install, I got some weird errors, but later I tried installing on a different computer and had no problems.  I expect they found something wasn’t quite right after the maintenance and quickly fixed it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they go through a few challenges as they fine tune the service now that it is available to the entire community.  But it is certainly working!

SmartCloud Sametime Video Chat window

SmartCloud Sametime Video Chat window

New easy way to get your IBM software downloads via SmartCloud!


OK, you’ve seen my article giving a detailed review about how bad Passport Advantage website was for many years.  It took awhile to get fixed.  But for the most part, much of that has improved dramatically since – and at least partially because of – that article.  But downloads are still a bit of a pain.  That is, until now!

If you subscribe to SmartCloud Notes, you can get to your downloads in Passport Advantage directly from the Apps – Downloads and Setup menu.  It’s almost as good as the days before IBM, when it was just Lotus.  This feature is exposed only to SmartCloud administrators, as it should be.

There are many more features about to be released, but I was asked not to publish them in social media just yet.  Yeah, right. like giving your teenager the keys to the camaro on a Friday night and telling him to drive slow.  It seems every month there are new features surprising us in SmartCloud.  Cloud is really the wrong word.  It is such a breath of fresh air to see such dynamic, rapid deployment of software.  I have seen so many features that I personally suggested, getting deployed so quickly and frequently, you would think I was the Product Manager.  But why would IBM hire me when I already do the job for free?

OK, so I won’t break my oath to be quiet about the new features.  I will let IBM do that: https://apps.na.collabservtest.lotus.com/help/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.cloud.whatsnew.doc%2Fll_wn_whats_new.html

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