Getting Ready for Lotusphere 2011

My 17th trip to Lotusphere, the annual gathering of all things Lotus. No, not the car, the software. Lotus Notes, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Content Management.

Seems that Lotus Notes is taking a hammering again. Happens every 3 – 5 years as analysts get bored with a technology that just keeps working. XPages brought a whole new development ability to the table, but corporations always look for ‘new technology’ to swap in for old stuff. So Micro$oft has been wining and dining the decision makers while we just keep on developing. Sooner or later the decision makers start believing what Redmond says, even though quite a bit of it is complete balderdash. Doesn’t matter though, as long as MS gets it money. Who cares of the corporation has to spend millions upon millions to just get back to where they were before the tech swap.

Oh well. Such is life.

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eProductivity Update

I have been using eProductivity for a while now. I’d really like to be using it at work, but the workstation is locked down tight and I don’t have permission to change my mail file design. Oh well.

Still, at home, it’s nice to finally have organization to all those pieces of information that come flying my way. I started with a mailbox of about 100 emails that went back several years. I updated my mail file and installed just one reference db. An hour later I had my inbox to zero, I had projects created for those major things going on, like the vacation/cruise we’ll be taking soon. There’s nothing more to say, eProductivity made this SO MUCH EASIER!

All those jokes that I didn’t want to lose? In the reference db under “Humor”.  Links to software sites, filed under “Software” & “Links” (I always end up losing my ‘favorites’ in browsers for some reason).  Software keys for the iPod/BlackBerry/PC programs – safely stored away.  I now can find anything in a matter of seconds.

I love being able to look at what needs to be worked on next.  Even if I REALLY don’t need to put it down in the system (just got done with action one and headed out to do the next action), I put ALL actions in the system because it helps me to envision what is coming up after THAT.  The great part of doing this in Lotus Notes is that, well, I’m a little different than most since I have a Domino server running at home, but I have all my ‘stuff’ backed up and accessible from anywhere.

If you’re interested in eProductivity, next week, on April 28th, Eric Mack and the fine folks at eProductivity will be presenting a webinar with none other than the creator of GTD, David Allen, entitled “Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes”. This is a DON’T MISS opportunity to learn about eProductivity. The webinar is from 10:00AM to 11:30AM PST (1 – 2:30pm EST).

You can sign up for the webinar here.

Only 4 days till Lotusphere 2010

So I’m getting antsy to get down to Orlando.  As much to start the geekfest of Lotusphere as to also get in some warm weather.  It looks like the freeze in Florida is about over and the temps will be in the 70 to 75 degree range during the conference.  This will be my first year staying at the Dolphin.  I’m not sure what to expect being closer to the action, although I’ve been at the Boardwalk Villas the last 7 years, so I wasn’t THAT far away.  It should be nice to just drop down for breakfast in the morning.  I’ll miss the free internet though.  I don’t think that the wireless will make it all the way up to a room, so I’ll have to hit one of the wi-fi spots downstairs for updating the iPod Touch apps and such.  Staying at the Boardwalk Villas as a DVC member allowed me free internet access.  Very nice.

So I bought a Belkin surge protector, the same one that Rockey Oliver reviewed in his blog .  Allows me to forego the charger for my phone and iPod, as well as providing 3 protected outlets for laptops and battery charger.  I also bought two 6-outlet powerstrips to share the all too scarce outlets in the session rooms.  It’s always a hunt for the floor outlets and they now police the sessions to yank anyone’s charger out of the wall outlets.

My session planning is done (well, as much as it can be ahead of time).  I can access my schedule from a mobile device, or without connectivity, I’ve downloaded and imported the .ics calendar file into my work Notes calendar.  I’ll have both my personal BlackBerry and my bank BlackBerry with me.  I only have data on my bank BB.  And my personal BB has all my personal email access.  In addition, I loaded my schedule on my iPod Touch.  Of course, since it’s a personal device, there could be no synching with bank system.  And since iTunes will only sync with Outlook, I had to *gasp* use Outlook to import the .ics file and then synch to the Touch.  The Touch DOES present the schedule the nicest of all the devices.  The only problem is I can’t change the schedule now unless I go through the whole process again, and my personal laptop has Notes 8.5.1 running on Ubuntu.  So I’ll really have to use the browser in one of the devices to access the Lotusphere Online schedule if I want to have the current schedule and make changes to it real time.

So . . . power access – CHECK.  Confusing scheduling options – CHECK.  ScottEVest jacket  to carry all this stuff – CHECK. Owner’s Locker scheduled for delivery – CHECK.  Too many receptions and such to attend – YEP.  I’m gonna need a vacation from this conference for sure.

Lotusphere 2010

Can’t wait. Only 11 more days to go. So much to attend this year in addition to two certification tests.

This will be the first time that I’ve stayed at the Dolphin. Usually, Pam accompanies me and we use our DVC points to stay in a 1-bedroom or studio villa at Boardwalk Villas. This year, Pam decided to stay home since I’ll be attending more evening events and we won’t be able to spend much time together. Just as well, since she usually spent a lot of time at the pool reading and it’s been COLD down in Orlando lately. Hope it warms up soon!

eProductivity – FINALLY!

I am a relative novice at Getting Things Done.  No, I don’t mean that I can’t get things done (although lately I have been having procrastinating a bit).  Rather, I’ve read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done and have been keeping my inbox at zero, which means I have a bunch of things in my Notes ToDos that are my Next Actions and Waiting Fors.  Having them there means they show up on my calendar for the day.  I do a weakly review (stole that from Eric Mack of eProductivity).  I am not on top of things when it comes to doing the weekly review.  I had taken a test drive of the eProductivity template for Lotus Notes that REALLY helps with following the GTD methodology.

I would have bought a full copy of eProductivity, but the price was a little too much for me to justify it for my personal email.  Unfortunately, work hasn’t embraced GTD and eProductivity though eProductivity IS being used by some of those that can make the decision to accept it and offer it.  A month or so ago, the price for eProductivity was altered by offering 4 software levels, each with varying integration and capabilities.  GREAT, I can now afford to buy a copy for home.  But I didn’t want the LOWEST version.  Hmm, what to do?  Procrastinate!  ICA just offered a Thanksgiving deal.  For $139 (just $10 over the lowest level) I could get the Professional level of eProductivity.  SOLD!

So I just downloaded the template, and . . . hmm, where’s Refresh Design on the Linux client?  Guess since there’s no Designer, certain options aren’t there.  DAMN.

No real problem though, just copy the template over to the Windows desktop machine and refresh there.  Works like a charm, replicates up and down and now we’re all on the same page.

Watch here for more on my journey to learn eProductivity and how to Get Things Done.

New life for old laptop

My Gateway M305CRV laptop was just about unusable. Windows XP took forever to close if I did anything more than just boot up and then shutdown.  I had reinstalled XP probably 4 times over the laptop’s lifetime, trying to clean things up.  I was just about to do the reinstall again and decided to take a look at Ubuntu Linux again.  Someone (sorry, don’t remember which Notes geek it was) had talked about a Dell Mini Netbook running Ubuntu.  I figured if it could run on that, I might be able to run on this laptop since the specs were about the same: 1GB RAM, mobile CPU, etc.

I had received Ubuntu 6.X, I think, on CD a few years ago.  I was going to convert my Domino server to Linux and was taking a look at the Ubuntu flavor.  The CDs are still sitting in my office, but since Ubuntu had just released 9.10 Karmic Koala, I decided to start from scratch.

After backing up the few vacation pictures and documents from the laptop, I was ready to give Linux a shot.  Thankfully, I use Lotus Notes, so all my applications were already backed up on the server, and were also replicated on my desktop machine.  I burned the Ubuntu 9.10 32-bit ISO image on a CD and popped it my laptop.  Fired it up and saw I could ‘Test it out’ by running from the CD.  I had fun poking around, but when I tried to connect wirelessly, I found that my wireless card wouldn’t work.  Since it was working fine with Windows, I deduced that the drivers weren’t loading correctly, or weren’t the right ones.  I thought maybe that the driver couldn’t be loaded since I was running from the CD.  I decided that the next night I would take the leap, wipe the drive clean and install Ubuntu.

Ubuntu installed without a hitch.  I was impressed.  I played around again some, and then tried to connect wirelessly.  Nope, no go.  And I had seen the driver loaded.  OK, what now?  AH, I remembered that I had bought a Zonet Wireless card as a replacement when I had problems several years earlier.  A couple minutes of looking in my office and I found the card.  Popped it in, the driver loaded automatically, and CONNECTED!  Now we’re talking!

So it’s been a couple of weeks.  I’ve installed Tweetdeck for managing my Twitter feed, and a couple of other apps.  Today I took a deep breath and attempted to load the Lotus Notes 8.5.1 client.  Lotus doesn’t have the Designer yet for Linux, but I’m hoping that it will be available soon.  The bonus with loading LN8.5.1 is the addition of the Lotus Symphony suite of office products.

I had investigated the installation of 8.5.1 on Ubuntu and saw that Ubuntu 9.10 had broken some things.  I was contemplating reinstalling Ubuntu 8.04 (the last long term support version) but figured I’d just try and follow the directions on installing LN8.5.1 from several sites such as this one by J. Klocke.

It didn’t go as smoothly as I had wanted, since I don’t have those mad Linux skills (have to copy files into the Notes directory and set the file permissions). But I figured it out and in the end have a working Notes client on Linux.

Lotus Knows – we want to work on any OS!

Lotus Notes lacks CSS support. ??

So I FINALLY go to bing.com to see what it looks like. Why switch from Google? I search on “Lotus Notes Xpages css” and the first hit is to the Wikipedia entry for Lotus Notes. OK, someone that has the time really needs to get the entry up-to-date. The entry should NOT have banners at the top saying that the entry needs more work. Anyway, down at the bottom are Criticisms, the last one says that Lotus Notes suffers from an almost total lack of CSS support. HUH? So I follow the link to the citation and it is a 2008 rating of email clients. AH, yeah, the Notes client is lacking in CSS support, but it’s getting so much better. Then I saw that the “2008” report is comparing Notes 6! WHAT? Scroll to the bottom and the ORIGINAL study was done in 2006, and then updated through the years, but newer versions of Notes were not tested.

We just can’t win, can we?