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I Became an IBM Champion

December 15th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | IBM Champion - (10 Comments)

2017champsbyregionYesterday I was told that I’m among those in the IBM community who are named as an IBM Champion. The definition of an IBM Champion is this:

An IBM Champion is someone who makes exceptional contributions to the technical community. Contributions can come in a variety of forms, and popular contributions include blogging, speaking at conferences or events, moderating forums, leading user groups, and authoring books or magazines. Educators can also become IBM Champions; for example, academic faculty may become IBM Champions by including IBM products and technologies in course curricula and encouraging students to build skills and expertise in these areas.

When I started going to IBM and user group conferences in the early 2000s I had never thought I would be among those who could call themselves IBM champions.I used to look up to those guys and girls, and through the years I’ve been able to call a lot of them my friends. I’m also told that I’m the first Norwegian to ever become IBM champion, so I’m very humbled and a bit proud.

All I’ve tried to do is to spread the word about the IBM collaborative solutions, which I love to work with, and help people to get the best out of them. In addition to gaining friends and being able to pick up a lot of tips and help myself, I’ve now gotten this distinction. I think the manual I did for the IBM Connections plugins for IBM Notes really helped to put me on the map this year, which I’m thankful for, because it was a lot of work doing that.

I’ve also become second in command in the Norwegian user group (ISBG) and I’ve got some ideas which I hope will increase user activity even more. This is really inspiring and I will blog even more about IBM Notes/Domino, Connections, collaborative solutions, internet technologies, plugins and constructive criticism (with the odd complaint thrown in).

Also: I’m effectively out of a job from January 1st, if anyone wants to hire me or use my expertise, please get in touch. I can be used for both development, user training, strategy, architecture, writing and documentation and photography!

Huge thanks to Roger Johannessen, Oliver Busse and Lars Samuelsson for nominating me! And thanks to all those who sent me messages yesterday to congratulate me.

A new Star Wars movie and an IBM Champion award in one and the same day? Xmas came early!

This is an English translation of a big interview I did for one of Norway’s largest newspapers, Dagbladet. In addition to translating the interview, I’ve also included all the content I had to cut out of the Norwegian version for space reasons. I’ve also included more photos, which you can click on to see in high res versions. Enjoy, and please, let me know what you think.

Jarre in China

Jean-Michel Jarre was the first western artist to perform in China, four years before Wham did it. Here he is performing “Souvenif of China” during the concert in Brussels

– You were from Norway, right?

– Yes, I’m the guy who always say hello to you from Röyksopp, and then you tell me to say hello back, because I meet you guys every other time.

– That’s right! Please, say hi back. I love them, I’m very sorry that we didn’t have time to cooperate on my Electronica project. Anyway, what I was going to say was that Norwegians are very sophisticated and talk bluntly. I think one of the reasons for this is that you are rich and a bit spoiled. I mean this in the best way possible. You demand something from an artist and you are not easily fooled. And because of this, when you like something the reception becomes much more honest and sincere. The words are from the French master of synths, Jean-Michel Jarre.

This Friday he will release his third album in what has become the Oxygene trilogy. In the past two months he’s played 40 cities in Europe, he visited Oslo Spektrum in October. On this tour, he has played music from Electronica 1 and 2 which were released last autumn and this spring.

THE FRENCHMAN looks annoyingly young considering that he is 68 years old. We caught up with him backstage during the tour before his concert in Brussels. One would think that after selling 80 million records in a career that spans 40 years and putting up multimedia shows that attracts audiences of millions in Houston, London, Paris, Moscow and other cities, you will become jaded. Not so with Jarre. Instead he comes across as a young boy on Red Bull.

He got his international breakthrough with his third album, Oxygene, in 1976. In 1997 he released a sequel called Oxygene 7-13 and on the exact day of the 40th anniversary of the first one, he will be releasing Oxygene 3.

Jarre Oxygene

Jean-Michel Jarre gave the audience a preview of Oxygene 17 back in October, with the famous Earth skull rotating around him like a hologram

– You’ve released three albums in the span of just 15 months, with almost five hours of music. That’s a pretty hectic release schedule?

– It wasn’t planned that way, but my record company wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first one and asked me if I had any ideas. I don’t celebrate anniversaries. I take that after my mother. She never even called me on my birthday. When I asked her why, she said “I gave you birth, you should call me!” But while working on Electronica I composed a piece of music that I felt didn’t suit that particular project, so I put it aside. I actually felt like I did during the creation of the first Oxygene when I did that track, so when the request from the record company came, I remembered it. I then decided to do the entire album like that. Playing with frequencies, sounds and sections, and do it alone, in my home studio, in just six weeks, like I did back in 1976. I started in July and was finished in September. I only had a small break in August where I was stuck and decided to stop being a musician and become a painter instead. By the way, did you get the chance to listen to the album?

– Yes, they gave me a digital preview copy which I listened to in the hotel room last night.

– You know, I just handed in the master tapes and then I went straight on tour. Not even my family has listened to it yet, so you are the first one I’ll get any feedback from. What did you think?

– I had a huge grin on my face while listening to it. I really liked it. Especially Part 19, which sounded like a rave party with a melody line and sounds from your Deserted Palace thrown on top.

– I’m so happy to hear you say that, because that’s the track I just told you about, the very first one I did for this project!

Jarre insists that he didn’t listen to the two previous albums while composing the third one.

– No, the thought was just to work after the same principles. Sculpting sounds and melodies out of frequencies and playfulness.

AFTER OXYGENE Jarre released a string of electronic albums that sold millions and created a template that has been used by a whole generation of electronica bands and projects like Röyksopp, M83 and scores of trance-, techno- and dance artists in the 90s and 2000s. His huge outdoor concerts, using entire cityscapes as his canvas became a proto type for rave parties. Despite his vast influence, critics have never been on his side. Until now.

Jarre guitar

Jean-Michel Jarre started out as a rock musician. But the revolution of the 60s made him revolt and turn to synths. On the Electronica tour he took his guitar out of retirement again

 – In the last few years you’ve started getting good reviews, not least for this tour and the Electronica albums. Do you think there is a new generation of music journalists taking over after the old school writers?

Jarre nods. – You’ve got to remember that I’m a French child of the 60s revolutions. We were in opposition to the establishment, including rock’n’roll. When we started using electronic instruments instead of traditional tools to create music, we weren’t seen as real composers or musicians. Electronic music was looked down upon by rock musicians. Just like jazz musicians looked down upon rock musicians and classical musicians looked down on jazz. Today everything is a wonderful mix of all genres. Even jazz musicians are fiddling with electronic devices these days. I feel more in sync with today’s music scene than I ever did in the past.

ANOTHER THING that is more common these days than in the past Is something that Jarre and Pink Floyd almost used to have a monopoly on: Multimedia concerts with gigantic projections, lasers and lights For both artists, they became as important as the music. But Jarre says he’s never set out to top himself. – I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before.

He stops and laughs at himself. – That’s something all artists say. It’s almost impossible to do something that hasn’t been done before. But even if we all have big expensive digital cameras today, there’s only one Quentin Tarantino. It’s who you are and what you want to convey that is important.

 – But people writing about your concerts are saying that are doing something very unique. 3D without the need for 3D glasses.

Jarre goes straigt back in to his young boy modus again. – Yes, and that’s a feedback I really like. I’ve always included visual elements in my concerts, but this time the challenge was to do 3D without those pesky 3D glasses. I hate them and I gladly pay extra to see films in 2D instead. So my idea was to use LED screens which can create that effect, without the need for those damn glasses. And we’ve succeeded, even for the people sitting in the side aisles.

Jarre 3D

– I hate 3D glasses, says Jean-Michel Jarre. And created a visual 3D show without the need for any

He then tells the story of the three arrogant British technicians who came to assist on certain aspects of the show. Their sniffy attitude was quickly erased when they got a demonstration on what Jarre and his team had achieved. – Fiona (Jarre’s manager) overheard them talking, and they said that “that was really something.” And that was a fantastic feedback to. When people in the business like it, you know that It’s going to be copied. And that’s the sincerest form of flattery.

AFTER EIGHT YEARS of silence on the recording front, Jarre released two volumes of his Elecronica project in six months. The first one in November 2015 and the second one in May this year. He spent four years travelling around in Europe and the US to create songs with Pet Shop Boys, Moby, Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode and Erasure), Massive Attack, Pete Townshend (The Who), Laurie Anderson, M83, Yello, the movie director and composer John Carpenter and a whole lot of other artist within the electronica field. Most of the concerts on the tour consist of songs from these two albums.

One of the more original guests on Electronica 2 is Edward Snowden. With the assistance of journalists from The Guardian, Jarre visited him in Moscow and recorded a speech by Snowden. In the speech Snowden says that if you are not willing to stand up for your rights for privacy, then who will?

– It’s unusual for you to be so political?

Jarre takes his Espresso and leans back on the couch and looks a little bit skeptical at me. – Are you so sure that I am political? I don’t think I am. Remember that music can have two facets. You music that is simply to have fun with and dance and party to. And then you have the kind of music that want to say something about the times we are living in, music that wants to convey a message. This is something Bob Dylan, who just won the Nobel Prize for literature, is a perfect example of. But I don’t like artists who use the stage as a political platform.

Jarre Snowden

Edward Snowden appears not only on Electronica 2, but also during the concert, to huge cheers from the audience

HE STRAIGHTENS UP in the sofa and starts a long speech about Snowden, Wikileaks, the Big Brother surveillance society, disillusioned kids and the challenges we, as a society, are facing.

– Snowden did what he did out of love for his country. Remember, he was the third generation in a family of soldiers. And he’s still a soldier. He risked his life for this. I think Norway has always been at the forefront for personal freedom and individual rights. I think Snowden could have moved to Norway.

When I tell Jarre that Snowden couldn’t even come to my hometown, Molde, to receive the Bjørnson award because the Norwegian authorities couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t hand him over to the US authorities, he looks truly saddened. – That surprises me, he says.

He goes on: – Remember that most progress in the world comes out of disobedience. Even the US was founded on an act of treason. And the values the founding fathers fought for, that’s the values Snowden fights for. I think the EU has been cowards when it comes to the stuff Snowden and Wikileaks have revealed. Especially France. No wonder the kids in France are rebelling.

AS THE PRESIDENT OF CISAC, the international organization for artists rights, the challenges in a digital society is something he is very aware of.

– The entertainment industry has never generated more money than it is doing these days. But the people making the art which is creating this revenue is paid nothing. Where is the money going? This is a huge challenge that we have to deal with if we want to have artists or musicians in the future. Intellectual rights are also huan rights. I’ve done pretty well for myself, but I’m thinking of the next generation.

WITH OXYGENE 3, and the two Electronic albums, Jarre feels he has gone back to his roots. –I’ve gone back to the way I used to work. Mixing ingredients like a cook, only I’m mixing frequencies, sounds and sonic textures. Sequels are very common with games and movies, but they are much rarer when it comes to music. The only one I can think of, besides me, is Mike Oldfield. But I still hope I’m doing something that sounds fresh in a world where people zap on after just five seconds. And when I then add my old classics in the set list of the tour, albeit in a rearranged form, it all hopefully becomes fresh and exciting. I want to surprise myself, as well as the audience.

Jarre Keytar

Keytar Hero: Jean-Michel Jarre beaming on stage, proving that geeks know how to party too.

The 2016 autumn meeting in the Norwegian IBM User group (ISBG) was held on November 30th at BI (Norwegian school of finance) in Oslo. Even if I wasn’t second in command for the user group I still would say this: It was a very strong and varied agenda! Here’s a summary:

Salesforce App Cloud and IBM Domino – same, same, but different

ISBG - RenŽ WinkelmeyerFirst one out was René Winkelmeyer from Salesforce.com. He’s a former star in the Domino environment, but left for Salesforce last spring. He works there as a Senior Development Evangelist. There were those who questioned why ISBG would invite Winkelmeyer to give this lecture. The reasons are that IBM has bought one of the largest Salesforce consultant companies in the world. In addition, Salesforce is very compatible with the IBM Collaboration Solutions.

Several people who used to work with Notes/Domino are today working with Salesforce, and there are also those who work with both platforms. Winkelmeyer explained the differences and similarities between the platforms.

Differences:

  • Salesforce is cloud only
  • Salesforce does not have email but you can integrate email functionality into your applications
  • Salesforce is based on relational databases
  • You are automatically prevented from publishing bad code

Similarities:

  • The structure is similar: Organisation, database and forms
  • Security model similar. You can control access and permission all the way down to fields
  • Salesforce has its own versions of forms, views and Xpages
  • Both have variations of agents
  • Both have validation and rules

Winkelmeyer then did a demo where he showed how a Salesforce applications worked seamlessly inside a community in IBM Connections, including sharing of files. He then showed how he could copy an email from IBM Verse and into an application in Salesforce. This is made possible via the APIs in Connections and Verse.

Winkelmeyer’s main point was that the philosophy where you bind yourself to one system or platform doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Today everything is about integration, not to mention web and mobile based solutions.

Download his presentation here!

Finding Your Way out of the Domino Maze

ISBG - Julian WoodardJulian Woodward is a legend in the Notes/Domino community. In the past few years he has worked for LDC Via, a London based company specialising in helping companies lift their data out of Domino. In his presentation, he walked through the challenges that comes with such a migration, whether you want to leave Domino completely or stay on Domino and only move out of the Notes client.

The challenges are both technically and for the business. For the latter you have to consider budgets, strategies, politics and infrastructure. Very often the organisations are very surprised about how tightly integrated the Notes applications are in the daily business, and how vast they really are.

On the technical side the challenge is that IT wants more standardised applications and systems and less specialised systems that are developed in house. This demands a lot of restructuring and in a Domino environment this can be especially challenging. You have Notes agents, server integrations (both between Notes applications but also with other systems and platforms), APIs and server add-ons. Scheduled agents are especially tricky as no other systems have that.

Woodward then presented a series of scenarios for moving from Notes or Domino. All based on his experiences in his work in LDC Via. These scenarios included everything from starting all over on a new platform to archiving data from Notes and use lookups to find information. His main advice was:

  • Find out the scale of the project and then do one thing at a time
  • Map out what the most important applications are
  • Both interview and observe the users while they are working in today’s systems, this will help immensely in determining the scope of the project
  • List the reasons for moving
  • How long will a new application last? Is it really worth it?

Download his presentation here!

Judicial demands for cloud services

Grete Funderum Stillum is a lawyer and partner with Brækhus Drege Lawyers DA. She gave a session that many were surprised was on the agenda. This was a about corporate law and not technology. The feedback afterwards, however, was great. People found it very interesting and felt that we should repeat it during the spring meeting. She received a lot of questions during the presentation, so it was clear that she struck a nerve with people looking to move into the cloud.

Funderum’s point was that organisations often forget the judicial demands coming into play when moving into the cloud. Her message was that this should be one of the main concerns already from the start of such a migration project. One of her examples was that standard agreements with cloud providers very often were non negotiable.

She also pointed out that you are responsible, and not the cloud provider. However, it was very beneficial for a cloud provider if they had expertise about this so that they could guide the customer.

Personal data is something that the law is very strict about (but strangely not when it comes to cookies!) and it’s also a difference between sensitive personal data and regular personal data. The Norwegian watch dog Datatilsynet has specialized forms and guides on how to take care of this.

In May 2018 a new EU regulative will come into play. This will make it necessary to document your internal control on data security in your organization.

The presentation can be seen here, but in Norwegian only.

Time for the Digital Workplace

After a lovely tapas lunch it was time for a presentation from Swede Erik Näslund. He works in EGBS which specialises in transforming IBM Connections into a social intranet with focus on user needs. Their philosophy is that if you need to train your users to use a system, you’ve failed.

As an example, he used his cell phone and Ipad. Most people are able to start using them without any form of training. Why aren’t your tools at your workplace like this? In the future robots and automated processes will perform more and more of the routine labour we perform today. We should therefore concentrate more and working with knowledge and creative jobs. Instead we are using a lot of time on chores like registering hours. Näslund says this is completely unnecessary. – My cell phone already know I’m in Oslo, when my plane took off and when I’m back at the office. I still have to register this manually in our internal systems at work. This should happen automatically.

He pointed out that even if the death of email was greatly exaggerated, people still don’t read their emails. They only read the first four lines. The solution is very often to install IBM Connections and share information there. The result is that 10-20% of the employees adopts to using Connections. This is not productive.

So then you start training your users and start choosing super users and so on. You then end up with a 40% adoption rate. The reason is that people are not interested in learning about files, communities, profiles etc. The way we think when we want to introduce a collaboration tool is completely wrong. The processes and people should not have to adapt, it’s the product that should adapt to the users way of doing things.

Digitalisation of the workplace is not an IT investment, it’s a continuous project. Adapt the technology, not the users!

You can download Näslund’s presentation here!

IBM Softlayer in Norway

softlayerThe first thing Kjell Langeland from IBM Norway pointed out when he started his session was that even if Softlayer was the foundation of IBM’s new data centres, the service is now called IBM Bluemix. This autumn they opened a new data centre at Fet in Norway. Such data centres are called Bluemix Data Centre and what used to be called Softlayer is now known as Bluemix Platform.

The customer can rent a physical server. With the help of wizards she can set up and configure the server (operating system, surveillance software and so on). You can also rent on an hourly basis pr month.

IBM and VMWare is now conduction a strategic cooperation where IBM can rent out VMWare licenses in Bluemix.

So far  the Norwegina data center has gained 100 customers, and a lot of well known platforms and companies are using the service.

There was a big interest in this session, and Langeland received a lot of questions.

You can see the entire presentation here!

Updates from IBM Norway

Vidar Svendsen and Emmar Hoel from IBM Norway then showed us what the latest news from IBM are. Main points:

  • Watson Work
  • Box as a file service inside IBM Connections
  • The cooperation between IBM and Cisco which makes it possible to use WebEx as web meetings inside IBM Connections. You can also use Jabber and present Files and files from Box inside WebEx meetings
  • Information about IBM Connect 2017 (previously known as Lotusphere) which next year will take place in San-Francisco

You can get all the details in their presentation here!

Competition and pizza

We finished up with a Kahoot quiz which this time was a pop quiz. I won but as second in command at the ISBG board I only won fame and glory. Julian Woodward got away with the prize.

After a raffle and some more prizes Hogne thanked everybody for coming. He then asked for help in promoting ISBGs activities and said that the board of ISBG appreciates any feedback from their members about the future of ISBG. It’s obvious that the bar is set higher these days for traveling to conferences. All ideas are welcome.

The day was rouned up with IBM Norway treating us to pizza and drinks, so we all went full home. Full of both knowledge and food.

The next ISBG meeting is the spring seminar in June of 2017, but you shouldn’t be too surprised if there are other activites before that. Stay tuned!

A huge thanks to BI for lending us a conference room and for a splendid lunch, and heart filled thanks to IBM Norway who always are supportive of our conferences.

7 Great Tips About IBM Notes

November 18th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | Notes - (0 Comments)

The IBM Notes client is an important tool for a lot of IBM customers. It’s a powerful client (albeit a bit cranky at times), which has a lot of features that people don’t know about.  So here are 7 quick tips to make your work day even more efficient.

1) Find a Notes application/database quickly

There’s no need to spend time looking for a Notes application or database on your workspace or in the bookmark menu. Simply use the search field under the Open-button (or the binoculars if you have docked the Open list). Just start typing the name of the application and Notes will list all the applications containing the letters you are typing. Then you can simply just click on the correct one:

Search

No more time spent looking for applications!

 

2) Create a new email at any time

To create a new email, simply hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and then hit the M key. A new email will open up. You don’t even need to have your mail application open!

 

3) Create a meeting out of an email

Sometimes an email discussion has gone on long enough. If you feel the time has come to have a meeting you can create a meeting out of an email by right clicking on the email and choose Copy into New -> Calendar Entry:

Copy into New

 

You will now be asked what kind of calendar entry:

Choose calendar entry type

 

Choose Meeting and click OK. A new meeting form is prepared. All people in the To-field will be in the Reuired field and all the people in the Cc field will be in the Optional field. All contents of the email, including attachments will be included (remove the attachments!). Now you can continue scheduling the meeting.

 

4) Paste as plain text

When pasting text from another document into a rich text field in Notes, all formatting from the original source is kept (colors, fonts, tabs and so on). If you want to paste the text into a rich text field, but remove the formatting from the source, simply hold down the CTRL and SHIFT keys on the keyboard while hitting the V key. Now the text is pasted as plain text, and it will be in the same format as the rest of the text in the rich text field. Easy peasy!

 

5) How is your day?

When you start your working day you want to know what’s on  the agenda today. No need to open your calendar for this. Simply open the right sidebar panel called Day-at-a-Glance:

Day at a glance

You can even look at other dates in the past and future as well.

 

6) Trace your history

Did you know that Notes keeps complete track of every single Notes application and document you’ve opened in the seven past days? It’s true! No more brain twisting trying to remember what you did yesterday! Simply click on History in the bookmark menu (under the Open button or under the binoculars if you have docked the Open list), then the date you want to check and finally the name of the application. Now Notes will list all documents you worked with in that application on that date:

History

 

7) Don’t develop a mouse elbow

We all use the mouse too much. But did you know that you can access any action button in a Notes document or view without having to click on them? Simply hold down the ALT key on the keyboard. You will then see a number in the upper left corner of all the action buttons. Simply click on the corresponding number on your keyboard (while still holding down ALT) to trigger the action button.

Example: If you want to send an email, you don’t need to move the mouse button up to the action button Send and on click on it. Simply hold down ALT and hit the 1 key on the keyboard. Neat, eh?

Hope you liked these tips. If you did, or want to add something, leave a comment!

7 Quick Tips About IBM Connections

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in Connections | IBM - (7 Comments)

IBM Connections is a great tool for collaboration. But there are some very quick and cool things you can do to make it work even more efficient for you. Here are 7 tips:

1) Filter your activity stream

A lot of people find the activity stream (news stream on the IBM Connections front page) to be overwhelming and confusing. Not to worry, you can filter out anything you want. There’s a pull down menu at the top of the activity stream, under the status field, that you can use to choose the specific information you want to se updates from:

Pull down menu

Click on it to choose the application you want to see updates from, so that you won’t get drowned in information:

Pull down menu options

 

2) Save postings for later

Sometimes you see a posting in the activity stream that you want to either read or follow up on, but you haven’t got time right now. This can simply be solved by saving the posting. Simply click on Save to save it for later:

Save posting

You will find this posting under Saved in the left menu. Read all about saving and unsaving postings here.

 

3) Sort a search result by application

Let say you do a search on all contents in Connections:

Search field

 

The search result will look like this:

Search result

You can now sort the search result by application by clicking on the application name in the left side menu:

Search menu

If you want to look only in files, you choose Files. If you want to search only in wikis, you choose Wikis. And so on.

 

4) Quickly find your most recently updated communities

A very quick way to find your most recently updated communities is to click on the Communities menu at the top. Those communities will be listed at the bottom of the pull down menu:

Communities menu

 

5) Find the latest post in a forum thread that is sorted as a conversation

In a forum thread, you can choose to sort it either by date (upon which you can choose to show the oldest or newest posting at the top) or by conversation. If it’s sorted by conversation, it can sometimes be hard to know what the newest posting is. Luckily you have a link at the top of the forum thread where you can choose to jump to the latest post:

Latest posting

 

6) Convert an activity entry into a To do

Sometimes someone will post or share something into an activity that triggers the need for an action. In those cases it’s important to set a due date and assign this task to someone. Thankfully, you can actually convert most activity entries into a To do. Here’s a an ordinary entry. By expanding it and then click on the More pulldown menu, we find the option for converting it into a To do:

Convert to To do

After choosing this, you can assign it to someone, as well as set a due date and add tags and more information and attachments. You can even convert emails that have been uploaded to the activity in this way!

 

7) Quickly search for people and profiles

Under the Profiles menu at the top, you find a menu item called Directory:

Directory menu

After clicking on this you will get a search field where you can simply start typing the name of the profile or person you’re searching for. Connections will suggest profiles for you while typing

I hope these quick tips are useful to you. If so, please leave a comment or share it on social media. If you have anything you want to add or give me feedback, leave comment!

No more NotesLast week there was an online presentation co-hosted by TeamStudio and TLCC where IBM presented their roadmap for IBM Notes/Domino.

I didn’t listen to the whole thing, I skipped some parts, because I could basically read the slides. In addition, they didn’t present anything new that they didn’t present at IBM Connect 2016. Nothing! Except one thing: You can now also use Outlook 2016 with Domino. Yay…

To paraphrase a friend of mine in the Domino community: “They are killing it, man.” And I find it hard to argue against that. For the past three years, I’ve been telling people who said that Xpages was going to save Domino that they were wrong. And this latest roadmap (which is the same as it was in January in Orlando) makes me ask: Is IBM interested in saving Domino?

Now, the Notes client was never going to be saved. We all knew that, even if IBM never comes right out and say it. But when it comes to email, they want you to start using IBM Verse or they actually want you to start using Outlook. In a world where people want to run light clients and use handheld devices, a huge bloated client is not the way to go, so I’m not really complaining about that. But the seemingly lack of commitment to the Domino platform is glaring.

It’s time to start delivering on your promises when it comes to Domino, IBM. But what’s happening is just one slow and drawn out torturing of a dying beast. If you’re not dedicated to the platform, at least come out and say it. “It will happen at Connect 2017,” they say. What will happen? That you will say the exact same things you said at Connect 2016? And the Java version running on the platform now isn’t just outdated. It’s a sediment on the bottom of the ocean which still hasn’t turned into black gold, and never will. We have been promised a Java update for a year now, and it still hasn’t arrived. Neither has any of the other stuff they promised.

One of the things that makes me want to say that “this is it, folks,” is the way IBM now lets you use Outlook with Domino. What’s basically happening is that IBM is saying: Connect Outlook to Domino, have the entire .nsf mail file downloaded to an Outlooks .pst file and then you can just move that pst file onto an Exchange server or up into the Office 365 cloud. They are even eliminating the need for a huge migration project, like a move from Notes to Outlook used to be.

My employer is, like 99% of the rest of the world, using Office 365. Mail is a part of the Office license, which basically means we are currently paying for two different mail platforms. In a time where we are struggling financially (I’m currently made 50% redundant), and we have to cut costs, what do you think we are going to choose? Staying on a platform where the company making it won’t make a commitment? Or go with the company which is constantly developing and refreshing their platform, and also makes integration and single sign on between all their products a default functionality?

Domino will remain in my company as an application server, because we are still running lots of Notes applications. However, we are currently webifying them and using anything but IBM technology to do so, apart from the nsf files which, for the time being, still will be on Domino.

Oh, well. See for yourself, and tell me if I’m wrong:

And here are the slides:

Very often, the start page of a wiki in IBM Connections tends to look like this:

Text only wiki

This looks very dull. It’s not very inviting for the users and the need for scrolling will make it harder for the users to find what they are looking for. Yes, you can tell the users to search the wiki, but believe me, they won’t!

I’ll admit it straight away: The wiki pictured above is made by yours truly, and it was made to document how to make wikis (am I meta or what?). The feedback from the users was that while my documentation was really good, it wasn’t very inviting for them to start using it. In this day and age, people want easier access to things. They want pictures and graphics, and their cell phones have spoiled them when it comes to no need for scrolling and having big colorful buttons to push.

A few months later we introduced Skype for Business in our company. And when the time came to create a wiki on how to use Skype for Business, I decided to try and spruce up the documentation a bit more. So this is the start page for the Skype for Business wiki:

Wiki icons

This time the feedback was much better:

  • Users didn’t have to scroll
  • The page looked much more inviting with graphics
  • The icons and text gave a good description of what each link was about

Both the icons and the text are clickable links (I show you how to make image links in a Connections wiki further down in this posting) and we took this even a step further in our next wiki. I can’t take full credit for what I’m showing you next. It was shown to me by Erik Borse from the company Item, and I rolled with it and expanded upon it.

We created a wiki to document our internal processes. From the wiki start page (which I cannot show you), you can click on an icon for Strategy and management. This is the wiki page you arrive at if you click on that icon:

Powerpoint icons

Each box is clickable, and it gives the user a quick and easy way to click on further down in the wiki structure. In addition, each box has it’s own unique color. If a user clicks on the orange box, all boxes and colors on the underlying pages will be orange. This way the user knows she is still within the same subject and page structure.

The really good part here is that there’s no need for the users to design those graphic buttons in a graphical tool You can create them in Microsoft Powerpoint.

  1. Start Powerpoint
  2. Go to the ribbon called Insert:
    Insert ribbon
  3. Click on Shapes:
    Shapes
  4. Choose the shape you want. The mouse pointer will now become a cross hair
  5. Click inside the Powerpoint document, hold the left mouse button pressed and then drag the mouse pointer to the right until you the figure has reached the desired size:
    Shape
  6. Release the mouse button
  7. Double click on the shape to go into editing mode. Add the text you want. If the text gets too big, you can either decrease the font size (just like you would change font size in a normal text document) or click on any of the circles surrounding the shape to resize it by pulling back or forth:
    Shape with text
  8. You can change the color of the shape in the ribbon menu:
    Color ribbon
  9. Click on the shape and make sure it looks like this:
    Shape with text
  10. Copy it (Hold down CTRL+C). If you hear an error sound from Windows, click outside the box and the inside it again to mark it. Try again
  11. Go to the wiki article, put it in edit mode, place the cursor in the spot where you want to paste the shape and paste it (CTRL + V):
    Pasted

PS! Making buttons like this from Powerpoint only works in Windows, it will not work on a Mac! 

What will work on both in Windows, Linux and on a Mac, however, is pasting regular images into the wiki article. And now I’ll show you how to create a link to another wiki-article, so that when a users clicks on an image, that article will load. This method works both for regular images and images created with Powerpoint:

  1. Open the wiki article you want to link to
  2. Go to the URL-field, mark the entire text and click copy it (either by right clicking on it or CTRL + C):
    Copy URL
  3. Go to the wiki article you are editing and click on the image you want to create into a link, right click on it and choose Image Properties:
    Image Properties
  4. The following screen will pop up:
    Image Properties Popup
  5. Click on the tab called Link:
    Link tab
  6. The popup will now give you this form:
    Link attributes
  7. Paste the wiki page address into the URL field. Use the Target pull down field to choose whether this link should be opened in a new window or not
  8. Click OK

That’s it. Now the image will contain a link that will open the wiki page you linked to. Save the wiki article and test that everything works fine (it should).

I’m not saying this is the perfect way to construct wikis, but in my experience it does make wikis look nice and easier to use. And it’s really easy to learn how to do it, without becoming an HTML expert. Of course, if you do know HTML, you can make some pretty impressive wiki designs, but I wanted to show you an easy trick which is more achievable for everyone.

Did you like this tip? Leave a comment either here or on the social media platform where you found it! And give me a follow!

Just like you have version control of files in IBM Connections, you also have complete version control of wiki articles inside a wiki. Every time someone edits an article, and save the changes, the last version of that wiki article will be kept.

The versions of the article are listed at  the bottom of the wiki article. Click on the tab Versions, to the righ of the tab Comments:

Wiki versions

Restore previous version

You can restore a previous version of a wiki article in the following way:

  1. Find the version you want to restore and click on the link to the right called Restore:
    Restore wiki article
  2. You will now get the following message:
    Wiki versions
  3. Click OK to restore this version. This will now be the current version, and the version you replaced will now be pushed down on the list. Connections will even tell you what version you restored the current version from:
    New version

You can now of course restore back to the previous version by clicking on the Restore link behind it in the list. Here I’ve done this:

Restore original

Compare versions of wiki article

You can also compare versions to see what’s different between them. If there is more than one version of a wiki article, you will see this at the bottom, under the tab Versions:

Versions

To compare two versions against each other you choose the number of the versions in the pull down fields. In the picture above, I’ve selected to compare version five against version four. Click on Show comparison. Both articles will now shown next to each other:

Version comparison

The text marked green is the text that’s been added or changed in the newest version and the items coloured yellow are text that’s been deleted in the newest version.

You can also choose to compare other versions in the fields at the top:

Choose version

So as you can see version control of wiki articles is a very useful tool.

Please leave your feedback below. Always appreciated. And if you have any questions regarding Connections, don’t hesitate to ask.

In my previous blog posting I showed you how you can save a Facebook posting so that you can read it later without worrying about it disappearing. A lot of IBM Connections users don’t know that you can actually do this in the activity/news stream in Connections as well.

Let’s say you are at work. While you are looking through your activity stream in the morning, you see a posting that you feel the need to follow up on later. Unfortunately you know that because of the hight volume of traffic on your Connections site, there is no way you will be able to find it again in the activity stream. Not to worry, you can save it and find it, very easily, later.

In the web browser:

  1. Under each posting in the activity stream, you will find a link called Save this:
    Save this
  2. Click on it. It will now tell you it is saved:
    Saved
  3. Go to the left side menu in Connections and find the menu item called Saved:
    Saved menu
  4. Click on it and all your saved items will now be listed:
    Saved items
  5. You can now click on any saved posting and interact with it or open it, just like if it was in the regular activity stream

If you want to remove an item from the Saved list you hover your mouse pointer over it and click on the x that will appear in the upper right corner:
Remove item

After clicking on it you will be asked to confirm that you want to remove it from saved.

On a mobile device

You can also save things and view them later in the IBM Connections application for your mobile or pad. These screen shots are taken on an Android Galaxy S5 phone. Unfortunately my application is in Norwegian, but I think you will be able to follow the logic anyway.

  1. Find the posting in the activity stream:
    Activity stream on cell phone
  2. With your finger, press down on the posting and keep it pressed until this window pops up:
    Save on mobile
    The top most selection (Lagre) means Save. Click on it.
  3. You will now be told that it’s saved.
  4. Go to the main menu and find the menu item called Saved
  5. All your saved items will now be listed:
    Saved mobile
  6. You can now interact with this posting just as if it had been in the normal activity stream

To remove it from the saved list, press with your finger on the posting until a pop up window appears. Choose Remove from Saved. The posting will now be removed (you will not be asked to confirm).

I hope that helps you keep afloat on all that you need to follow up on in your Connections environment.

Save Facebook Posting For Later

September 21st, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in Facebook | Social Media - (1 Comments)

Have you ever seen someone link to or publish a Facebook posting that looks awesomely fun and interesting, but you haven’t got the time to look at it right now? My guess is that the answer to this question is a resounding Yes.

So what happens? You close Facebook, it disappears from your news feed and you either forget about it, or only remember it if you see that someone has commented on it or liked it.

There is however a very simple solution. Facebook has a save function which makes it very easy to save a posting in a Saved list. You can then look at it later, without worrying about it disappearing on you.

So how do you do this? It’s easy:

  1. To the upper right of the posting you can see an arrow:
    Arrow on Facebook posting
  2. Click on it to see the following menu:
    Pulldown menu Facebook posting
  3. Click on Save post:
    Save post
  4. Above the posting you will see a message telling you it has been saved for later:
    Confirmed save

You can find the posting again later in this way:

  1. Finde the Saved menu item. On the web this menu item is in left side menu:
    Save menu item
    On your cell phone or pad app you can find the Saved menu item under the functions menu, the one with three stripes:
    Main menu Facebook cell phone
  2. When you click on Saved, you will see a list of all the items you’ve saved:
    Saved list in Facebook
  3. To open the posting or link, simply click on the title

To remove a saved item from the Saved list, you do the following:

  1. Hold your mouse pointer over the posting. An x will appear in the upper left corner:
    Remove Saved link
  2. Click on it. The posting will now look like this:
    Archived posting
  3. The next time you enter the Saved list, this posting will no longer appear there

Neat, eh?