Domino, Notes and videotape
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Don’t let the headline fool you. I also show you how you can do this in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and other email and calendar clients as well!

I’m a pretty disorganized person who had to force myself to become organized. And I have succeeded pretty well with it, even if I do have a few relapses now and then.

In the past keeping track of my traveling plans, tickets and hotel reservations was pure hell. Especially in the days with printed tickets. For the past 5 years I’ve been using my cell phone to keep track of everything while travelling. And I do not use one app for the hotel reservations, one app for the airline tickets and so on. I import everything into my calendar on my Android cell phone. I used to do the same on my good old Nokia N8, and you can of course do this on your Iphone as well.

First of all: You need an email and calendar application on your cell phone. Personally I’m using IBM Verse, but there are also several other apps for this, including Gmail and Outlook. The application will make it possible for you to read and send email directly from your phone, as well as read and update your calendar. I will show you two ways of updating your cell phone calendar with all of your travelling  plans, tickets and reservations.

From the confirmation page

When you you’ve booked a hotel or flight online, you will get to a confirmation page after the order has been completed. Very often you will find a link, icon or button like this on the confirmation page:

Send to calendar

 

Sometimes you will have to click on it to get suggestions for the various types of calendars and sometimes they will all be listed. In this example I’m using hotels.com. When I click on the button link pictured above I get this:

Choose calendar

 

If your email client is not listed, click on ical Calendar. Since I’m using IBM Verse that’s what I have to do. A screen pops up where I have to put in my email adress:

Email calendar entry

 

Now hit Send.

No matter what method you chose above, you will now receive an email that looks just like a meeting invitation. Simply click Accept or Add to Calendar (or whatever it’s called in the email client you are using) in that email, and the reservation will be added to your calendar, with all the most important details (like reference number, addresses, times, dates and so on).

From the confirmation email

What I describe here will only work if you are sitting on a computer. As far as I know, this is not possible on a cell phone application.

Often when you get a travelling confirmation by email from an airline, or a reservation confirmation from an hotel, the email will sometimes contain a link or button that will look very similar to this:

Add to calendar

 

 

 

Choose your email client. If you are using Google or Yahoo, it will open up your calendar and you will see a web form where you can add details and then confirm that you want to add this to your calendar.

If you choose Outlook or iCal (sometimes this will be called ics) you will be asked to save the ics file to your computer:

Save ICS

 

Open your email client. In my case I’m using IBM Notes since, as far as I know, this can’t be done in IBM Verse (which is the web version of my email) yet. Go to the calendar and find the import function. In IBM Notes it’s under File -> Import A file dialog will pop up. Choose .ics as the file type:

ICS File dialog

 

Navigate to the file, click on it and then click Import. You will be asked to confirm that you want to add it to your calendar. Do this and now it will be imported, with all the details you need.

In Outlook you import ics.files under File -> Open & Export -> Open Calendar:

Add to Calendar Outlook

 

A file dialog will pop up:

Outlook File dialog

 

Navigate to the file, click on it and then click Open. A window for creating a new calendar entry will open. Here you can add additional details if you want. Click Save & Close to create the calendar entry.

Synchronisation

The beauty of all this is that you don’t even have to think about whether you add these entries in the calendar on your cell phone or in the calendar of your email client. The entries are synchronised, both ways, between your phone and the client.

Here’s how my travelling plans look in IBM Verse on my phone:

Cell phone calendar

 

I can open one of these entries by clicking on it. If I click on my hotel reservation I will get the confirmation number, time and date for check in and check out, the address and contact information for the hotel and even details on how to cancel:

Hotel reservation

 

Pretty neat, eh? All your travelling arrangements on your cell phone.

PS! Most email providers also gives you the option to use an online web version of your email. This means that even if you have imported this in your local Outlook or IBM Notes client (or other calendar and email client) this will also be visible in the online web version! This means if you lose your cell phone, you can simply use a computer and log on to your email via web, get the details from your calendar there and then print them out or write them down.

Any ideas for even better ways to do this? Did you find any errors? Did you like this? Hate it? Please leave some feedback in the comments field below!

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!

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?

 

Summer means holiday and vacation, at least in Norway, where the country grounds to a halt for three weeks. Most people have been told to turn on Out of Office in their email when they go away. But should you? I’m here to tell you that no, you probably shouldn’t. Not unless you plan to not read your email.

Out of Office

Be offline when you are out of office!

I’m sure you are familiar with this situation:

You need a reply, urgently, from someone about an issue in an important project. Seconds after hitting Send, you hear a pling in your Inbox. But the email reply says: “John Doe is Out of the Office. Will return 32nd of February 2014. If urgent, please contact Jane Colleague.”

So naturally you contact Jane. She promises to look into your problem, but she’s not really familiar with the project, so she has to check up on things before getting back to you. Here’s the punchline: John brought his cellphone with him on holiday. And on this device he reads the email you sent. So he replies to your questions. These are questions Jane now is spending her valuable time finding replies to. Unfortunately she’s not able to come up with any answers, so she contacts another colleague and then he starts spending time on this.

The wheels are now in motion. The others don’t know that you are happy because John got back to you after all, and the company loses time and money because other people are working on providing you with something you already have. This is bad business.

My advice is therefore: If you are planning on being available via email, either via computer or a hand held device, during the holiday, do not turn on Out of Office! You are either offline or you are online. There’s nothing in between. Telling someone that you are out of office, but you will “read email sporadically,” is worthless info for when there are issues that can’t wait.

Second advice: If you have turned on Out of Office, do not reply before you are back at work! The people who have emailed you are not expecting a reply before you are back, because it’s stated very clearly in your Out of Office reply when you will be back (or at least it should be). And if it was urgent for them to get a reply, they must surely have been in contact with other colleagues of yours by now. Replying, even if you have stated that you are Out of Office, does not come off as being very professional.

Last advice: If you do turn on Out of Office, make sure you care completely offline! It’s ok to take a break and have timeout from your work. It’s your well earned holiday, and you are not indispensable. Making certain key personnel at your workplace know how to reach you (like your boss or project leader) by phone or other means is fine. But do not read your email.

A lot of people do not take Out of Office messages seriously any more because of what I’ve written above. So I will personally add an: “No, seriously, I really am out of the Office…” to my Out of Office message.

Have a nice summer, folks!

 

In the past 3-4 years more and more businesses have started their own Facebook pages. The problem is that most of these pages are only used for self promotion. Now, it’s only natural for a business wanting to promote itself, but if that’s all you do on your Facebook page, you will quickly find that less and less people are actually seeing your postings.

facebookkilling

Facebook is not worht it for small businesses

A lot of people don’t know about this, and more than one person responsible for the Facebook page of their company are scratching their heads in bewilderment as they see the page hit decrease more and more.In fact, on average, only between 1% to 5% of the people who have liked your page will actually see your postings. In an attempt to counter this, a business very often decides to open a competition. This used to be a violation of Facebook’s rules, but since those rules never were enforced, Facebook gave up on them.

The competition usually takes this form: “Please share and like this page/photo/posting and you will have a chance to win one of these ten baskets full of goodies.” And then people start sharing and liking. However, the effect is the complete opposite of what you think: The more you ask people to share and like something, the fewer people will actually see what you post on your page. Why this happens used to be a mystery, but now Facebook has lifted the veil and explained how this algorithm works.

But it makes sense: If people’s news streams became filled with spam (because that’s what these share and like competitions are) people would stop using Facebook. And that would really be bad for business. In addition: People have several hundred “friends” on Facebook and like dozens of Facebook pages. The news stream would be impossible to follow if every single thing  that was posted would appear there. That’s why Facebook does a filtering. Now, there are those who feel the users should have more control over this filtering, but that is another debate.

So the next time you see a share and like competition, don’t share it. In addition to annoying other users with spamming (would you run around putting fliers in people’s mail boxes or tell them to go shopping at a this or that store every time you meet them?) you actually decrease traffic and visits for the organisation holding the competition. Instead you should tell the owners of the Facebook page that what they are doing is counter productive.

I’ve been doing social media and business for almost fourteen years now, and several small businesses have asked me lately whether it’s worth it to put up a Facebook page. I tell them that it’s only worth it if the Facebook page will be monitored, and that instead of posting competitions or pure advertisements for their business, they should post and share stuff that people will find useful.

If you run a photo store post tips about photography. Are you running a book store, post links to interviews with authors and reviews of books. Is your business selling sports equipment, post exercising tips. Are you running a toy store, post links to Lego creations or model train shows. I think you get the idea.

And if you manage to get a debate going, where a lot of people participate, the chances of your postings appearing in most of your followers news stream are much bigger. Take the web page io9.com for example. They always get a good debate going in their postings, and I often participate or click on them. The result? Most of their postings end up in my stream.  The same with Classic Rock Magazine’s Facebook page. On the other end of the scale is a local store who continue to post endless “share and like” postings. They never ever appear in my news stream. And the owner of the page complained to me last night that nobody visited her posts any more. I then told her why. Also: Let customers ask you questions and answer them, and give them good advice.

The conclusion is that instead of promoting your business with share and like competitions and the sale of the week, you should give your followers useful and interesting content. And the next time you see such a competition, don’t share it, ok?