Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An elephant never forgets?... but Exchange does

Yet another article on how migrating from Lotus Notes to Exchange destroyed the White House's ability to properly archive their email, as required by law.

An elephant never forgets? George W. Bush's lost e-mails

Maybe the headlines should be something about how using Exchange can lead you to criminal behavior ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

MilkSync: Remember the Milk for Blackberry

Remember the Milk is a wonderful service for managing my to do lists, for home and for work. I am not quite up to full GTD speed, but RTM is helping me get closer. Until now, I have been using the Blackberry's browser (or Opera Mini) to manage my lists while I am mobile or otherwise can't get to the nice AJAX UI on the main site.

Yesterday, MilkSync for Blackberry was released which synchronizes my online tasks into the Blackberry Tasks application. Previously, I found Tasks to be not very useful and had even deleted it to save memory. Now that I can use it as a mobile extension of RTM, I may be using it all the time!

Here is my initial experience:

First, MilkSync did not want to download because it did not recognize the 4.5 beta OS I am testing. I sent a support email to the RTM folks and 5 minutes later, they had a new point release published that allowed the download to 4.5. (Now that's some top notch service!)

Once that was done, downloading and installing the application OTA went smoothly. After a brief pause to reinstall Tasks, MilkSync was up and running fine.

The sync to the Blackberry and update back to Remember the Milk worked exactly as described on the product page. Time to get that "Sign up for RTM Pro" task completed and support these folks!

One feature idea: I don't use Lists at all as Tags are much more flexible for my needs. It would be cool if the application had a switch to load Tags into the Blackberry categories instead of the Lists. (Tags are a better semantic match to Categories anyway.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Impact 2008 vs Lotusphere: Opening Session smackdown

I know that the various IBM brands are always trying to out do each other. Here's my observations of the opening sessions at Impact 2008 happening this week at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas vs Lotusphere which was at Disney in Orlando back in January.

Round One: Room

Lotusphere: Lotus did not have a room available big enough for everyone and had to run the opening session twice.

Impact: The MGM Grand arena comfortable fit all 6,500 attendees.

Winner: Impact. The arena was really designed for a stage presentation like this. The ballroom in the Dolphin, not so much.

Round Two: Opening Show

Lotusphere: Orlando Symphony Orchestra playing Zepplin's Kashmir along with a rock band and headlining a very pretty lady playing a sweet electric violin. Go search YouTube for the videos.

Impact: Started with a marching band playing Tusk, followed by the CIO of Harley-Davidson riding in on hog. Next 4 (take that Lotus!) lady violinists came out on stage with Cirque Du Solei acrobats doing tricks on ribbons over their heads.

Winner: Tie. Impact's overall show was bigger (hey, we're in Vegas!) and really good, but the shear quality of the OSO brings Lotus back in the race. I think people at both events would have been happy for the show to just continue for the whole keynote!

Round Three: Guest Speaker

Lotusphere: Bob Costas. Many blog posts went out saying 'who?'. I actually liked Bob's speech pretty well, but it was a little dry and forgettable.

Impact 2008: Drew Carey. Not only did Drew tie in many of his jokes to IBM/SOA (and his lack of knowledge of them), he brought on the Whose Line is it Anyway? crew and continued to host the event until it wrapped up with him and the WebSphere executive walking blindfolded through a field of armed mousetraps.

Winner: Impact. This one was a little unfair as a decent comedian is probably always going to be a sportscaster. I especially liked that Drew acted as the actual host for the event and was not just an inserted entertainment.

Round Four: Content

Lotusphere: Lotusphere had a lot of live demos on new and improved products and gave a clear roadmap for the future. I know several people who walked into the session fairly apathetic to Lotus' future and who came out with renewed excitement.

Impact: IBM had a lot of statistics, 'we love partners', and talk of how SOA is great, but you sell it through talking about business value. Most of these segments were tedious and the only reason I didn't fall asleep was the breaks with Drew Carey and the Whose Line crew. The only highlight was the Harley-Davidson CIO demonstrating his online 'SOA' app, but most of us were left thinking that it looked basically like a Google Maps mashup.

Winner: Lotusphere. Live demos and real products will beat vague statistics and cheerleading every time.

Round Five: News and Product Announcements

Lotusphere: New versions of Domino, Connections, Quickr, Sametime, and more were announced along with new product surprises like Lotus Foundations server and BlueHouse.

Impact: WebSphere Business Events and the SmartSOA Social Network. One is just a rename of existing functionality and one is not available yet and is really just an install of a Lotus Connections 2.0 install, with a few customizations.

Winner: Lotusphere by a landslide. Lotus does a great job of building the excitement in the community every year to look for cool new products and annoucements in their opening session. Impact had no major annoucements and strangely has delayed the real product annoucements for sessions and for keynotes later in the week.

Grand Prize

It's a tie on rounds. Impact was more entertaining, but that was when IBM was not talking. I think we have to give Lotusphere the overall win because everyone left the room very excited about learning more about the new products during the conference. At Impact, we were just glad to move on to the next session.

Agile Atlanta: Project Steerage, Sliced Icebergs and Boiled Frogs

April's Agile Atlanta meeting is coming up on Tuesday!

Project Steerage, Sliced Icebergs and Boiled Frogs: How you can introduce Scrum and save your ship

Speaker: Ken Ritchie
Date: April 8th, 6:45 PM
Location: IBM-ISS (6303 Barfield Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30328)

Did you ever find yourself working on a company internal project? Were there any risks or issues concerning requirements, scope, budget, tools, expertise, team turnover, progress, or expectations? Was the project ever re-scoped, re-launched, re-started...or canceled?

Ken Ritchie will present an experience report from his past few years as an agile trainer and coach -- with some success stories emerging from troubled projects. We will include an open discussion, so you can ask questions and share insights from your own "war stories" of good, bad, and ugly projects!

Upcoming Meetings:
May 13th: How to implement Agile development practices integrated with testing, presented by Jann Thomas

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Heading to Impact 2008, getting started with Twitter

I am packing this afternoon to go to IBM's Impact 2008 conference in Las Vegas. After a few slow years of too much marketing hype, this year's conference is packed full of good technical content. Using the online scheduling tool, I have 3 - 4 conflicts on almost every presentation slot.

Even better, they have great keynote speakers, Drew Carey is hosting the whole week, and the B52's are playing the party as one of the first shows after their new album release.

During the conference I will be moderating the SOA JAM to help keep the online discussion rolling.

Finally, to keep myself connected, I have finally set myself up with Twitter. I am in the process of signing up to follow people. You can follow me at