Category Archives: Conferences

Recap of Ask IBM session (Ask the Developers and Ask the PMs) at IBM ConnectED / Lotusphere 2015


Each year I bring with me a large collection of questions and enhancement requests that I first vet in the Meet the Developers lab.  Those questions which I either don’t get a satisfactory answer or get an answer that I think others would like to hear, I will bring them to the Ask the Product Managers or Ask the Developers sessions.  Often questions would be asked in one session that really needed to be answered by someone in the other session.  That wasted time.  This year they combined the two sessions, which was great for streamlining the process and more people got to hear all the questions (and answers).  One other change on my part: I tried to provide most of my questions in advance, so they could have time to research the answer or at least make sure the right person was on stage to answer it.  (often the person who would have the answer wasn’t present.)  Yes, it does mean IBM isn’t so much “in the hot seat”, but this got more complete answers as a result, which is what we really want.

The room was smaller too, with only one aisle and thus, only one microphone.  I like this because it makes it easier for people to queue up to ask their questions. While I asked the first question, I made it a point to let others go ahead of me whenever they got in line.  This worked well as I was able to keep the conversation going with questions while waiting for people to come to the microphone to ask a question. Here is a list of my questions from this year and the responses I got for them. (as best I remember, anyway)

1.  Can we get a roadmap published for Connections Cloud?  (See this article for a detailed explanation)
I was able to provide this article in advance and the response was that they definitely see the point to my request and the value it would provide.  Expect to see this one addressed soon.

2. We need a migration path to Connections Cloud that removes all servers from on-site.  This requires a solution to 3 items:
– Mail-in databases and Rooms & Resources
– Importing Holidays
– A Relay Host service to route mail from on-site applications to the Internet
RESPONSE: We have had these requests by others and are actively working to address them.  The relay host presents additional challenges and may be more difficult to resolve.

3. The administrator console for Connections Cloud is fragmented and awkward to work with.  Authentication occurs in three places.  Can this be made more seamless and provide improved functionality for administrators, including such things as Message Tracking?
RESPONSE:  The request for Message Tracking had not been seen before, but that should be possible and makes sense to have.  We are going to work to improve the administration console too.

5. Once moved to Connections Cloud, the client version information is no longer maintained in the Domino Directory and there is no way to make Smart Upgrade work in SmartCloud Notes environment. Can these please be addressed?
RESPONSE:  We should be able to capture and push back the client version information.  As for the Smart Upgrade, they are using a new upgrade process with the browser plugin and expect to port that over so it will be available as a method for upgrading Notes clients in the future.

6. A fix is needed for overlaying Google calendars on the Notes calendar.  This broke several months ago when Google pushed out their new process for accessing calendars.  They had warned this was coming more than a year ago.
RESPONSE:  We have a fix, but it did not make it into the next Fix Pack.  We are in the process of determining how to make this available.

7. We need the ability to use groups from the Domino directory in the contact list in Connections Cloud Chat.
RESPONSE: Great recommendation.  The developers will look into making that happen. (I also spoke with the developer on this and was already thinking of how to solve this issue)

(asked in the lab only)  8. Administrators need a way to change the mail/calendar delegates for users in Connections Cloud.  Currently the process is very awkward and involves the admin logging in as the user to perform the delegation.  The developer flagged this one as a critical item and we should see a fix soon, so I did not ask this in the session.)

9. We need a graphical user interface for administering Connections (Thank you Ray Bilyk for asking this question!)
RESPONSE: I forgot exactly what they said.  If you remember, please post it in a comment.

10.  When will it be possible to launch the video chat from the embedded Sametime client in Notes?
RESPONSE:  I just don’t remember what was said here.  I got to ask so many questions this year, I felt like I was co-hosting the session.  That may be the closest I get to presenting at this conference.  I thought the overall attitude in the room was warmer and IBM was more receptive of the feedback from the people asking questions than in years past.  Next time I will be sure to record the audio of the session so I can give a more accurate recap.  If anyone has a recording of the session, please let me know.

Here are a few more questions I didn’t get to ask.

10. Allow voting down ideas in Connections
11. Allow viewing all ideas posted by a particular person in Connections
12. Provide a Top Innovators list in Connections, similar to IdeaJam.net

If you like these ideas and want to see them implemented, be sure to log into Greenhouse.lotus.com and find them and vote them up.  Also (and more importantly) open a PMR and ask that they add your company to the request for the SPR that I have already created for these.

Links for those who attended my session at IamLUG: Hunting the Gremlins in your Domino System


Here are some links I referenced in our best practices session Be a Domino Detective: Hunting the Gremlins  at IamLUG:
MTBF 8.5.x – Mean Time Between Failures Sandbox app updated for Domino 8.x – Credit to John Paganetti
and the update of MTBF for Windows 64 bit OS

Details about my tips on client fault reports:
The Single biggest cause of Lotus Notes client crashes and how to avoid them

And some links for our Tuesday session:
What’s in it for me? How Your Life as an Administrator will Improve When Your Company Moves to the Cloud
SmartCloud leads IBM to dethrone Microsoft on CNN’s “Four Horsemen of Tech” list

Overview of roles & responsibilities for SmartCloud for Social Business
Wiki for administering SmartCloud Notes Hybrid environment
Wiki for administering SmartCloud Notes Service-only environment

If your company is considering moving their messaging to the cloud, especially if they are considering Office 365, or you are wondering what all the rush is to adopt Social Business, visit our company website for Divergent Solutions LLC at http://www.divergentnw.com/
or send an email to info@divergentNW.com

Important secret detail about upcoming IamLUG conference in St. Louis next month


Lotus IBM professionals, have you made plans to attend IamLUG? Perhaps you never get to attend Lotusphere / IBM Connect because it’s so expensive for the travel and the conference fee?  This is your chance to get all of the meat of the Big conference without all of the fluff.  You won’t get an evening trip to one of the theme parks.  You won’t have all the hoopla and grandeur of the Opening General Session or the intellectual entertainment of the Closing Session.  But you’ll get all the same great, useful insightful presentations from many of the same speakers.  And the cost is…

FREE!

You just have to get there.  Costs would include travel to/from St Louis, a ride from the airport to the hotel, Room for 2 nights at $100/night. (Split it with someone else attending and that’s $50/night!) Eat cheap while you’re there and you can get 2 days of intense professional development for next to nothing.  Throw in the extra day of TackItOn sessions for just $500 and you get a complete trip of 3 days of training for a fraction of the cost of IBM Connect.  Do whatever it takes to be there.  When it comes to conferences outside of Lotusphere/IBM Connect, it doesn’t get any better than this.  Did I mention many of the same speakers who presented at IBM Connect this year will be at IamLUG sharing all the now-released version of Notes 9 Social Edition?

Actually, there will be at least one new presenter: me.  Yes, for the first time I will officially have my own microphone.  In the past, you may have seen me at a mic in the audience at Lotusphere/Connect, asking pointed questions during the “Ask the Product Managers” session or  in the “Ask the Developers” session when I was made an honorary developer and brought on stage, handed a laptop, and put to work.  Well I finally decided to put my mouth where my blog is, to step up to the podium and give back to the community live and in person. I’m diving in with both feet too.  I submitted two abstracts and they were BOTH accepted.  This will be a true test of my Toastmasters training.  If you’re in the audience, be kind, please.

Both sessions are on system administrator topics.  The first session, “Be a Domino Detective: Hunting the Gremlins” is all about finding the problems hiding in your systems.  I am so lucky to be sharing the stage with Kim Greene, a seasoned presenter!  She will be hunting the gremlins that are constantly at work gnawing at your system’s performance while I will be hunting the ones that are quietly lying in the shadows, waiting for the worst time to jump out and bite you.  I’m hoping this session will be both fun AND educational.

The second session, “What’s in it for me? How Your Life as an Administrator will Improve When Your Company Moves to the Cloud” is intended to provide a bit of insight into what you can expect as a system administrator if you migrate to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.  Really, the cloud can be your friend, not the end of your career.  Speaking of friends, I will be co-presenting this session with my longtime friend and administrator of a broad range of systems, Greg Walrath.  I look forward to seeing you in the audience!

This user group conference has grown dramatically in just 4 years.  Most of the speakers you have seen many times before and know them for their expertise.  IBM will even be there presenting an entire track on Social Business. This one is truly becoming one of the biggest and best.  I am humbled to get a chance to share time at the podium among such rock stars in our profession.  It will be fun!  See you in St. Louis!

Recap of PACLUG 2011


The first edition of the PACLUG user group conference was held this week at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The two-day event was scheduled to piggy-back the View’s AdminDev2011 conference.  They actually overlapped schedules a bit on Wednesday and PACLUG was invited to the keynote presentation of AdminDev2011.  The Tuesday sessions of PACLUG were focused mostly on Domino-related topics while the second day was mostly related to Websphere Portal.  Had I known this I might have been tempted to skip the Wednesday sessions, but after attending them I can say that to do so would have been a big mistake.  I got some very valuable information in those sessions.

After all, as technology professionals, it is important to keep up with the changes in technology.  Simply put, if you’re in IT, you had better be prepared for a lifetime of learning to follow the technology and stay employed.  And for many of us, that’s great.  If we aren’t learning something new, we’re quickly bored.  If this isn’t you, you’re probably a really good COBOL programmer working or a bank or insurance company.  If not, then you should be planning your next career.

The knowledge I gained in the sessions was useful, but as I find with all of these conferences, the meat of the value of the conference is in connecting with new friends and reconnecting with old ones.  I don’t care how well connected you are via the Internet, nothing could ever match the rapport developed and connections made by face-to-face meetings, not to mention the “accidental meetings” with people you weren’t looking for.  That said, it was disappointing to arrive early on Monday only to watch the tweet stream talk about how people were not coming in until late that night.  It would have been good to put an informal pre-conference social gathering on the agenda for early arrivals.  This is the REAL Social Business.

For comparison, take the phrase “computer dating.”  It’s a terrible misnomer.  All the computer does is get people connected.  The dating part always takes place meeting face-to-face.  This is equally true for developing business relationships, though you probably put less emphasis on what a business contact looks like.

Sponsorship for this conference was amazing!  There was no fee to attend the user group portion of the conference.  It was FREE.   Thanks to GBS, Panagenda, Team Studio, IBM, Elguji, BCC, ExtraComm, The View, and all the other sponsors.  ( http://www.paclug.org/sponsors )  Also thanks to the organizers, especially David Stephens.

The conference was lightly attended, but this was only the first time this event was held.  From the positive feedback, I expect it will be more popular next year. (speaking of feedback, there was no opportunity to submit feedback formally.  That would have been very useful to improve future events.)  Perhaps joining it with AdminDev2011 detracted from the attendance of each?  I don’t know about that, but I do know I had a chance to meet with people at PACLUG that probably would not have been there if it were not connected to The View’s AdminDev2011.  I’m not so sure about Las Vegas in June either.  The high temperature was 104F – 108F degrees for the 3 days I was there.  Not being a gambler, the extra-curricular activities were limited.  Personally, I went to this even in spite of it being in Vegas, not because of it.

Overall, it was a good first event for the west coast.  I expect it will grow in the upcoming years.  Maybe I could convince the organizers to hold it in Seattle in July next year?  That time of year we have endless sunny skies with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s.  Lots of extracurricular activities to do.  We even have Vegas-style casinos if you really want that, though there are so many things to see and do here that are unique to Seattle, I don’t think anyone would think of going to a casino.  For more information about the conference, visit http://www.paclug.org/  http://lanyrd.com/2011/paclug/ and http://www.admin2011.com/

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