The Norwegian artist Aurora says you can make fun of everything, except moths. – Never screw with a moth, is her message! Read my review of her amazing gig in Oslo last night.
The superlatives and positive messages about the Norwegian user group’s (ISBG) launch of IBM/Notes Domino V10 in Norway yesterday has been pouring in all morning. As the leader of ISBG, this makes me immensely happy. And it gives bright hope for the future, and we will use this momentum when we’ve now started preparing for the spring seminar. Read on to see what happened at the launch!
It was when vocalist Jon Anderson gave his all at the beginning of the last section of “Heart of the Sunrise” that the hairs on the back of my neck were higher up than a Republican’s hackles if you mention Hillary Clinton.
I had chills running down my spine, and it wasn’t because the guy behind me had poured the ice cubes from his drink down my back (they had melted a long time ago and the water was now mixed in with my sweat). The stage was flooded with light from the spotlights, and I saw that the almost sold out concert venue Sentrum Scene in Oslo were having the exact same experience as me. “Love comes to you, and you foloooooooow” Anderson sang, and I realised I could either have an orgasm or start crying. I chose the latter…
But which Yes was on stage this evening? Don’t worry. If you are uninitiated, I’m not even going to attempt to explain the complicated story of exactly who is or isn’t a member of Yes at any given moment. Let’s just say that it’s complicated. I mean, really complicated. Just take my word for it, ok?
It’s so complicated that these days there are two versions of Yes currently on their 50th anniversary tours. I saw the other Yes this Easter during the 50th anniversary celebrations at the London Palladium. Said band has no original members left after bassist Chris Squire died. Still, they are the ones named just Yes, and they also are in possession of the rights to the famous Yes logo.
The band playing at Sentrum Scene in the Norwegian capital this evening, on the other hand, has Yes founder Jon Anderson as their leader and vocalist. His voice, and name, are what everybody thinks of when identifying Yes. With him he as guitarist Trevor Rabin, who came into the band in 1983 and gave the band their comeback hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
Third man out is keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who’s been in and out of Yes so many times that I ran out of fingers trying to count them. However, say “Yes” and “keyboardist” in the same sentence, and most people will say “Rick Wakeman.” He’s also had a solo career that resulted him selling more records than Yes ever did.
The last time I saw Yes on Norwegian ground it was the other Yes, with Benoit David on vocals. That was an unmitigated disaster of the biggest proportions. David sang so out of tune that a dead hamster buried in the basement of a 30 storey house under a ton of bricks would have tried to get away. And people left the concert in droves.
However, with Wakeman and Anderson on the bill, it seemed that Norwegian Yes fans were willing to give this version of Yes a chance. I was also pleased to see so many young faces there, even if I was below the medium age in the room. But it didn’t really matter, because the band was welcomed with arms that were more open than a Scotsman being told he will be paid in cash. And it’s been a long time since I saw that many people at this particular venue.
The concert started with the instrumental “Cinema” from the album “90125,” before we jumped into “Hold On” from the same album. Then it was straight back to the 70s to perform “South Side of the Sky,” a song Yes almost never played in their 70s heyday. We stayed in that decade to be served one of Yes’ most famous songs, “I’ve Seen All Good People” (- For all the good people of Oslo, as Anderson said).
And so it went. We were in the 70s (“And you and I,” “Perpetual Change,” “Heart of the Sunrise” and “Awaken), with the occasional trip to the 80s (“Changes,” “Rhythm of Love” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”) At one point we even visited 1994 and the album “Talk” through the song “I am Waiting.”
Wakeman was in character in a long glittering cape going all the way from his shoulders to the floor (you get away with that sort of thing if your name is Rick Wakeman). His fingers were dancing over the keys like they were made of air. All the soup diets he’s constantly tweeting about didn’t seem to have had much effect, but my oh my how he played. It wasn’t quite up there where it used to be, but my music teacher in middle school would have given him a A-. At least!
And then it’s Jon Anderson. The man who was described as “slightly to the right of Hitler,” by original drummer Bill Bruford, when it came to the treatment of his bandmates… Anderson is 73 years old, and even if his voice isn’t as flawless as it used to be, I know quite a few aging rock vocalists who are green with envy when they hear what Jon Anderson is still able to pull off, vocally. (A certain other Anderson, who’s first name starts with I, I’m looking at you!)
Rabin is a few years younger than Wakeman and Anderson, but he is the one who has been seeing a plastic surgeon on a regular basis, as well as getting lots of hair transplants. He looked like a cross between Ray Monroe in Twin Peaks, Michael Jackson and Little Richard. Still, he’s a great guitarist and I didn’t mind the rearrangements he did of some of the 70s material.
Drummer Lou Molino III played the drums and percussion just brilliantly, and bassist Lee Pomeroy got to play around with “Heart of the Sunrise,” where the entire opening riff is carried by the bass. However, for a band that was started by one of the most brilliant, and original, bass players of all time, Chris Squire, it’s just plain wrong to hide the bass in the mix the way they are doing on this tour. Stop it!
The concert also lasted for just over two hours, way too short for a Yes concert!
But that is just nitpicking when you think back on such magic moments like “Awaken,” where harp, church organ and Jon’s cosmic lyrics made you fly so high that you wondered if you had consumed other remedies than just beer that night. The version they did of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was also fantastic. Especially the incredible jam session they did towards the end, including a keytar solo.
And when the whole thing was concluded with an encore consisting of a flaming version of “Roundabout,” we all could just dance (or at least as close to a dance as a stiff and aging body is able to) out in the summer warm Oslo, knowing full well we had just seen “all good people.”
Please come back soon, Yes featuring ARW. I am waiting! I am ready!
The Norwegian IBM Collaboration Solutions User Group’s (ISBG) spring meeting was held at PwC in Oslo on June 7th and 8th. Around 60 ISBG members, presenters, IBM-partners and people from IBM were there during the course of those two days.
Wednesday started with Roger Johannessen wishing everyone welcome for the very last time as leader of ISBG. From there we moved straight on to Mac Guidera’s keynote. His focus was on how employees today are flooded with too much information. It all just turns into noise. He therefore talked about how IBM’s collaboration solutions can, with the help of cognitive technology, can filter, delegate and prioritise for you.
The systems will lift up what’s important to you, so that you can focus in a much better way. IBM’s solutions will also learn how you work and will help to organize your working day for you.
He talked about IBM Verse, IBM’s web and mobile based mail solution that runs on Domino. You can read his entire presentation here.
What should you choose?
His point was that the focus should be on people and a change in the company’s culture. You should choose your tools based on this. The keywords are: Management, solutions and learning.
He did a presentation of various solutions for collaboration, like Sharepoint, IBM Connections, @Workplace, Slack, Google Apps, Office, Episerver and some others. It was all a very good walkthrough the various solutions strengths and weaknesses. You can see Morten’s presentation here.
Because of a misunderstanding on part of the soon to be leader of ISBG, Hogne Bø Pettersen, the two next presentations had to switch places. The next presenter was therefore IBM Champion Oliver Busse from We4IT. The techies among the audience loved this presentation and welcomed everything he told about how you can use IBM’s Watson technology in your IBM Notes and web applications with open arms. You can see his presentation here. Demo not included.
The world’s fastest growing IT industry is right now sophisticated attacks on and hacking of companies’ IT systems and infrastructure. Most of the time you get hacked without realizing it until a year or so later. Espen Skjøld from IBM Norway talked about the challenges surrounding this.
He also spoke of IBM’s service QRadar Advisor, which also uses IBM’s Watson technology to evaluate and validate security measures in a company. This was a very interesting presentation many people liked. You can read it here.
Human Information Processing
After lunch, it was time for Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen. He is a former IBM employee. These days he runs his own consultant business called Brainworker. He has worked with a lot of big customers and have helped them to start using collaboration solutions in an effective way. In his session he talked about how he has done this, and via examples from various customers he demonstrated that what’s important is the knowledge and attitude, not the technology. You can read his lecture here.
Next one out was Felix Binsack, IBM Champion and owner of the TimeToAct Group, which were gold sponsors. His company has had great success with their product XCC, which they’ve now sold to IBM. It has now changed its name to IBM Connections Engagement Center (ICEC). This product makes it much easier to transition IBM Connections into a well functioning intranet which can also act as a digital workplace for both web, mobile and pads. Unfortunately we never received his presentation.
Future of web and video conferencing
Thomas Sigdestad from Enonic held a fantastic lecture about progressive web apps. The trend is that the number of mobile apps are decreasing, and instead people develop web apps. This means web web solutions that consists of one dynamic web page, which acts like an app, and which also works offline.
In his presentation he showed several examples, and it’s also a great presentation for Star Wars fans. You can download it here.
Bo Holtemann from IBM Denmark was next. He talked about the partnership between IBM and Cisco. This means you can now integrate WebEx with IBM solutions like IBM Connections. A lot of people have wondered whether this means that IBM’s own video conference solution, Sametime, has been abandoned. But this was refuted by IBM.
The partnership means IBM will be selling Cisco’s WebEx solution for video conferencing. IBM will then take their cognitive technology into this platform. This will make it possible to get your own personal assistant and other helpful functionality. You can see all the details here.
And then it was time for speed sponsoring where everybody had to visit one of the sponsor stands. The sponsors then had two minutes to present themselves and their products, before you moved on to the next one.
This was followed by the team competition, which included an audio play, questions, bribing the judges and the building of balloon towers. After this it was a short break before the magical dinner with prizes, speeches, thank you gifts for the board members who are now stepping down and not least Rune Carlsen’s incredible magic show.
An old friend
The next day everybody was up and looked fresh and awake(?) to receive some information from the ISBG board before Barry Rosen from IBM gave his keynote about IBM’s plan for the IBM Notes/Domino platform. He talked about the fact that after you have upgraded to version 9.0.1, there will be no other versions. After this, what you will get are feature packs. These will include upgrades, bug fixes and new functionality.
He also presented a string of new functionality that has already arrived for the platform, and what is expected in the near future. He also presented the fact that you now can choose to use IBM Notes, IBM Verse or Microsoft Outlook with Domino. Both on premise and in the cloud.
Uffe Sørensen then took over and he talked about the “bring your own client”-strategy. It all turned into a very passionate discussion about Notes/Domion. It’s obvious that a lot of people still have great love for the platform. Read the presentation here.
It was then time for another IBM man. This time it was Miki Banatwala. He told us about IBM Connections Pink and what that platform really is. The idea is that after upgrading to IBM Connections 6, there will be no more new versions of IBM Connections. The idea is to do agile developing and push one update at a time. This is just like Facebook does it. This means you can add functionality and upgrade Connections without the need of creating a big project out of it. Read all about it here.
Andreas Rosen was next up. He talked a little bit about the German user group and what they had done to increase participation from their members. After his he talked about Salesforce, which is a platform a lot of Notes developers have moved to. This is not strange, because a lot of the principles of the two platforms are very similar.
Rosen told how you can integrate Salesforce with Connections, Domino and the OnTime calendar. Read his presentation here.
The next German up was Peer Prieser. He talked aobut how We4IT can help you analyse, develop and modernize your Domino applications. He also talked about how you can use Watson here. Download his session here.
Paul-Christian Garpe from Peda, which were this year’s Platinum sponsors, was next. He talked about the new directive for the protection of personal data that the EU will introduce in 2018. Even though Norway isn’t in the EU, we will be affected by this too. He talked about how IBM’s technology can help you in the preparation for this. Download the presentation here.
It was now time for a delicious lunch again, before Anton Löwmar from Edgeguide in Sweden told how their technology could be used to develop and modernize your Domino applications. He also talked about how, with the help of their product, you could integrate data from Domino with Sharepoint and other platforms. Read the presentation here.
Kjetil Herpaasen from Item was the last man out. He did a session that especially the developers in the audience were ecstatic about. He gave us an introduction in Swagger, OSGI-plugins and REST-services. Everything done on the Domino platform. Read his presentation here.
It was then time for the annual ISBG meeting where a new board was elected. I now became the leader, after serving as second in command for the past year. It was then time for a Kahoot quiz. Since it was about Star Wars, I won, but I couldn’t get a price since I’m a board member. There was also prize drawings, and when that wrapped, this year’s spring meeting was over.
The evaluation and feedback afterwards have been great. And the message is clear: We should continue with the spring seminar in the future. In what fashion, remains to be seen. The new board will start working this autumn on what we should do to move forward and meet the drop in attendees. But I can assure you we are motivated!
And you can see the entire photo album from the spring meeting here:
With a slight headache I got out of bed as late as possible (07.30) and went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast with Christoph Adler from Panagenda and Stephanie Heit and Arshad Khalid from BCC.
The conference was held a five minute walk from the hotel, so I was there in good time before Roger Johannessen, ISBG leader, did a short introduction.
Lars Schorling from Intravision then talked about the mobile app for their brilliant OnTime calendar. Their product is very good (I’ve tested it), and it looks darn nice too, design wise. I’ve been trying to get Brunvoll to invest in it, and with the new possibilities that you have if you use the product with Events in IBM Connections, I hope I can get the right people at my company become more interested in it.
IBM KeyNote – A New Way to Work
Luis Guirigay, World Wide Executive IT Specialist at IBM, then delivered today’s keynote. It was split in two. The first part was a presentation of IBM’s philosophy of a flexible client strategy. With Project Hawthorne, it will be possible to use Outlook as your mail and calendar client, without having to migrate from your trusted Domino server.
This means that if people who are used to Outlook start working in your company, and they really don’t want (or neeed) to use IBM Notes, you can give them a choice.
Not only is an email migration from Domino to Exchange a big and expensive project. Remember that IBM Domino is really, really easy to upgrade from an old version to a new version. Not so for Exchange. A lot of companies are still on Exchange 2010 because upgrading is a huge and expensive project.
In part two he gave us a demo of the functionality. He showed us that everything you can do in IBM Notes, you can also do in the Outlook client. I wrote more about this in this blog posting from IBM Connect in Orlando back in January.
Experiences modernizing an IBM Notes application with AngularJS
We have two major applications used by the sales department, that are incredibly important. These are now being modernized, consolidated and put onto the web. The idea is that all the data should still be stored on Domino. This means no data migration.
He talked about the infrastructure of the servers, how the various technologies communicate and on the struggles of single signon (ADFS). The system is also communicating with Infor M3 and Infor IDM (document management tool). Right now are facing a challenge on how to get ADFS to work with these.
The technologies used are Nginx, Angular, Jquery and the Domino REST API, as well as Java for communicating with M3.
The session was very good and a lot of people were interested in this. I hope we can do a demo later this year on the before (IBM Notes) and after (on the web). Some people expressed disappointment with the fact that there was no demo this time. Other than that, only good feedback for Mark’s presentation.
Admin Tech Clash: Discussing Best (and Worst) Administration Practices from hundreds of customers
Both me and Gunleif Ræg of EVRY, who helps me administer our Domino servers, picked up a few tips here. It was also fun to hear some worst-of-stories.
Integrasjon og utvidelser I Connections Cloud GUI
Ruge Hegge, Sension Consultant and CEO of Inforte As and his colleague Arnstine Kjellevold gave a great presentation on how you can integrate an existing user interface in to IBM Connections Cloud. I was very surprised on how many opportunities you have with this. I thought we would get less opportunities if we moved to the cloud, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
They showed us some great demos, and gave us direct links for resources. Very nice! One of my favorite sessions this time around.
Unfortunately attending this meant I had to miss Erik Borse of Item’s presentation on using IBM Connections as a social intranet.
IBM Hybrid Cloud
Camilla M. L. Tønnestad of from the IBM Social & Smarter Workforce was a first time attendee and presenter at the conference. She lead us through IBM’s Bluemix platform for developing with APIs and thereby integrating existing solutions in your company with brand new ones.
I knew most of this beforehand, but I was surprised on how much more evolved the platform has become since I played around it with myself.
Then it was time for the annual meeting. After a going through the agenda, accounting and other stuff, I was up for election as a new board member. Long story short:
I’m now a board member of the Norwegian IBM User Group (ISBG). Yay! Thanks to Rune Carlsen for the great work through the years. I got a lot to live up to.
Competition time! Once again it was a Kahoot competition. The quiz was about James Bond! Finally I could put some of my useless trivia knowledge to good use. I was leading for a long time, but then Rolf sidelined me and went off with the AppleTV instead of me. That darn… err…well done, Rolf!
Then it was time for prize drawings. The rule is that if your name is drawn you have to be present to win. If not, they draw again. So when one guy I know won an AppleTV, he had to forfeit it because he had already left. I sent him a message that he had just missed winning an AppleTV. I promptly got a reply saying: “I think the words is fuuuuuuuck!”
Then the meeting was over. I gathered a bunch of people who met for drinks afterwards. Unfortunately, quite a few people had to go home after a while, but some of us went to dinner at Hell’s Kitchen in Oslo.
The evening was finished by going to Tilt. A pub with old arcade games, flipper games and shuffle boards. And they had Crystal Castles! And shit, do I still rule in that game:
Thanks for a great conference, once again. The next one will be on me and the rest of the ISBG team. Yikes!
Wednesday February 11th I attended the Norwegian IBM User Group (ISBG) meeting in Oslo, hosted by Symfoni. IBM presented some interesting news, both about IBM Notes/Domino, as well as a major push in getting out into the market again.
IBM Norway was there telling us about upcoming products and plans. They are planning to host breakfast seminars in several Norwegian cities in the coming months. They want to meet new customers, as well as communicating with existing ones. The new ones will be introduced to IBM’s solutions (IBM Connections/Sametime/Verse/Domino etc) and the existing customers will be given the chance to communicate.
And this communication will not just be with IBM, this will also be a good opportunity for IBM customers to meet up with each other and exchange experiences, problems, information, tips and so on. This is something we IBM customers feel have been lacking for years and years and years. Hopefully this signals a new push from IBM.
IBM Verse and Notes/Domino
The most revealing news were this:
- There will be a new release of the Notes 9.x client in the coming months
- Domino 9.0.2 will finally have the long promised feature where you can connect to the server with Outlook, and a couple of Norwegian customers have been testing this for a while
- Notes 10 is IBM Verse, Domino, Xpages and Bluemix. Enjoy your last few years with the Notes client, my friends
- IBM Verse will be available for cloud customers from March 31st
- IBM Verse will be available on premise during the second half of 2015. However, it will probably not be possible to run Watson on premise. A hybrid solution might be a work around, but nothing was promised
Cooperation with Apple
Last year IBM and Apple announced that they were in cooperation about apps for businesses, a market Apple has struggled to get a foothold in. IBM will, with the help of technologies like Watson, create tools for analyzing big data. This in addition to the gathering of live data. Apple will be making the design and GUI.
Every quarter there will be a release of new apps, for various types of businesses. We got a demo of an app created for the police. The officer logged on with his Ipad when her shift started. She would then see all police actions in progress that is nearby. In addition she will also be able to call for help via the app, as well as receiving requests herself.
If she is called out on an assignment, she can use the app to connect to surveillance cameras in the area where a situation is in progress. She can then assess whether she should call for backup or not.
After lunch, Tore Sørgård from the company Geno gave a review of IBM Connected. He was positive to Verse, but skeptical to the fact that Sametime is hard to administer and is flawed, and that IBM was only about cloud, while their customers were not.
After this I gave my own presentation. I talked about Brunvoll, which a lot of people liked because they think our thrusters are cool, and then I spoke about the plugins for IBM Connections.
I did a big presentation on how to install, create settings for and how to use the plugins for Microsoft Office, Windows Explorer and IBM Notes.
I also talked about how you can make the plugin your own.
After that, and during he breaks, we mingled, talked, discussed and exchanged contact information. These bits are also very valuable.
Next ISBG conference is in May. See you then!
The Norwegian IBM user group meeting took place in Oslo Monday October 14th. For the first time I did a presentation, (yay!) but I will give a short report about the entire meeting here.
The meeting took place in the brand new PricewaterhouseCoopers’ building in Bjørvika in Oslo. The auditorium had certainly been decorated to my liking.
IBM Sametime 9
Bo Holteman, Unified Communication & Collaboration Specialist IBM Collaboration Solutions – Europe (boy, his business card must be long), presented the new Sametime package.
In short the higlight can be summed up like this:
- No more licenses when connecting external users to the system!
- The licensing model is simplified. There’s now three models: Sametime Communicate, Sametime Conference and Sametime Complete, where you can get an additional module for Sametime Unified Telephony.
- If you have a standard Sametime license today you will be able to get Sametime Complete, which contains everything of the already existing Sametime Standard, Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony Lite
- The menus have been simplified to reduce the number of clicks
- In video conferences all video images are showing, instead of like it is today where only the active speaker is shown
- Scaleable Video Quality: No more lagging. The client tells the server how much bandwidth it will need
- Maximum 6 video feeds at any one time, but hundreds of people can take part in a meeting
- You can now run a presentation from a Community in Connections.
- Easier to integrate chat solutions on web pages, this makes it easier to create chat solutions for customers and agents
- IBM will come to your company and hold a 4 hour free workshop on how to upgrade
So what’s the catch? Well, this:
- The server setup is even more complex than before! You’d think this would be impossible, but I’m not kidding.
- In addition. the SVC makes it necessary for you to have two more servers! AND: THEY HAVE TO RUN LINUX!
- The video conference solution for pads and cell phones is not ready yet, but will be released sometime during Q4
- There are currently no plans for integration with Files in IBM Connections
Bo gave a good demo on both a PC and on mobile devices to demonstrate the functionality, and I’ll give Sametime 9 this: It really does work and looks great!
Geno does social business for a better life
Geno is owned by ca 10 500 Norwegian farmers. Their main task is breeding and developing the NRF-cow (Norwegian red cow). Tore Søgård, IT manager at Geno, and Erik Borse from Item Consulting gave a great presentation on how to introduce IBM Connections into your organisation.
This was very useful for me, since I’m in charge of the training and I have the responsibility of introducing our users to the product. I got a lot of great input for our own approach to this, as well as a confirmation that we are on the right track.
Also: Item is our new partner on our IBM Social Collaboration tools, and it seems that we are in good hands. I did an entire blog posting on my internal IBM Connections blog at work on this presentation alone.
Know Your Notes Client
Now it was my turn. I gave an hour long pep talk about all the cool features of the IBM Notes client, as well as how one should go about training ones users. My point is that a lot of people hate the Notes Client because it’s either badly administrated, or that people have no training using it (and sometimes it’s a combination of these two.) If someone put you in front of a complicated CAD program, or gave you Photoshop, and just said: “Get to work,” you wouldn’t be very productive.
I also think a lot of companies sin when it comes to Microsoft Office and Outlook as well. There are tons of hidden features in those products that would enhance your users productivity if they were just told about them. Train your users!
My presentation, was very well received, and people told me that they had both learned new features after having been Notes users for years, as well as been give ideas on how to train their users better. This reception made me very happy. Not least that a lot of people liked the idea of doing what I do at my company: A weekly Notes tip blog posting.
And thanks to Mat Newman for the inspiration to do this.
Download the presentation (Party Norwegian, but all screen captures and menu choices in English, so you should have no problem following it even if you’re not Norwegian)
The Euroka Moment: The Knowledge You Need to Understand Xpages
Paul Withers, IBM Champion and OpenNTF Director, now gave a talk on the underlying JSF framework of Xpages. Really insightful and good.
Download the presentation (in English)
The OpenNTF Domino API: Making Domino Work the Way You Want
This is a new community drive API that really simplifies how you use Java in your applications. A real eye opener for more than one developer, I think.
Download the presentation (in English)
After this IBM treated us to dinner and Paul Withers and I struck up a chord and sat talking during dinner, and continued on the train to the airport. We also took in a cup of coffee (hot chocolate for me) before our planes took off. Paul is a great guy and I think OpenNTF is in good hands.
As I left for my gate I realised that I had been sweating like all hell for a few hours, but everyone had been telling me it was cold. On the plane in the seat next to me, was a nurse. She cast one glance at me and said: “You got a fever!” Then she told the stewardess she would take care of me during the flight. Nurses are heroes!