Thursday, September 25, 2008

Atlanta WebSphere on Oct 7th: Smart SOA World Tour

In celebration of the WebSphere 10th birthday, the Atlanta WebSphere Users Group is hosting the local edition of the Smart SOA World Tour.  Come join us on October 7th to learn about exciting new announcements for WebSphere and Smart SOA.

Date:      October 7th, 9 - 11 am.
Location:  Optimus Solutions (22 Technology Parkway South, Norcross GA 30092)
Prizes!:   IBM is supplying a variety of door prizes. Learn about SOA and win stuff too!

Speaker: Andrew Sweet, Director of SOA Strategy for IBM

Andrew will be presenting on several topics related to WebSphere, SOA, and key product announcements:

- Connecting your applications in better ways through WebSphere and SOA: We’ll take a look across the entire WebSphere portfolio and dive into how the brand will further its position as the SOA Runtime Platform of Choice looking at the role the hottest new technologies like Web 2.0, Virtualization, and others will play in the future.
- BPM End to End: BPM is a rapidly growing discipline combining software capabilities and business expertise to facilitate business innovation. BPM accelerates process improvement by empowering automated and collaborative interaction between line of business and IT through a flexible architectural style.  We'll provide you with a backstage look at IBM’s comprehensive set of collaborative, role-based capabilities that continuously optimize business processes and adapt them to rapidly changing needs.
- Deep Dive of WebSphere Launch Announcements: A focus on some of the key product announcements in the WebSphere portfolio. 

Customer Speaker: An local Atlanta customer will discuss their specific WebSphere and SOA implementation experiences

Don't miss this great opportunity to not only learn from industry experts and IBM executives, but also to hear how a customer from your city is implementing WebSphere and SOA!

Please register for the meeting at the following link:
If are having difficulty registering, please send an email to indicating that you would like to attend this meeting.

Other upcoming Atlanta WebSphere events:
Dec 18th: AWUG Holiday Party

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Improving the Lotus Connections InfoCenter with Twitter

Here is a short success story of how Twitter has delivered direct business value for me:

Back at the end of July, I was working on an upgrade of a Lotus Connections system to version 2.0. As I walked through the upgrade steps in the InfoCenter, I encountered several typos and procedural issues. I posted some of my issues on Twitter and the resulting conversations on Twitter and email have resulted in a call this Friday with the Connections InfoCenter team and a few others, including Mitch Cohen, Luis Benetez, and Jon Mell.

We will be discussing ideas for improving and updating the InfoCenter to make it a more powerful reference for installing and maintaining Lotus Connections.

If anyone has any feedback on the InfoCenter, including ideas for missing topics, better procedures, or if you have found errors, please comment here, find me on Twitter, or email me at and I will pass on your ideas.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Agile Atlanta on October 27th: Hyperproductive Distributed Scrum Teams

Please join us for a special combined meeting of the Agile Atlanta group and the Turner Agile User group. This is a great chance to hear directly from one of the original Agile thought leaders!

Hyperproductive Distributed Scrum Teams

Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum and the Agile Manifesto, will share his experience and insight from helping many companies around the world adopt Scrum and increase the performance of their development teams.

When: Monday, October 27, 6:00PM

Techwood Campus at Turner
1015 Assembly Room
1050 Techwood Drive N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30318

Pizza and fruit will be provided!

6:00 - 6:30 - Food and networking
6:30 - 6:45 - Announcements
6:45 - 8:00 - Program

IMPORTANT: To attend, we MUST have your name in advance to give to Turner security. Please bring a photo ID (Turner employees bring your badge).

Please visit this link to sign up:

Sponsored by the VersionOne and the Turner Agile User Group

Agile Atlanta group on LinkedIn:

Other upcoming Agile events:
Sept 25-26: The APLN Atlanta Leadership Summit
Oct 27-28: Certified ScrumMaster Training with Jeff Sutherland and Joe Little

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Collaboration University Day 3 recap

Collaboration University day 3 sessions:

The Future of Lotus Sametime (Kim Artlip, Worldwide Sales Leader)
Kim demonstrated the business value of Sametime Advanced, including persistent chat, moderated chats, broadcast tools, instant polls, and more. Next was a review of the 2008/09 roadmap:

Q4 2008: Sametime Advanced initial release, Standard and Entry 8.0.1
H2 2008: Sametime Unified Telephony, Sametime 8.0.2 (Citrix, better codecs, Sharepoint)
H1 2009: Sametime "Next" (Web 2.0 browser integration, enhanced meetings and admin)
H2 2009: Sametime Advanced and SUT "Next"

Sametime Unified Telephony major features include Click-to-call/conference, Embedded softphone, Aggregated telephony/IM presence, Incoming call management, and PBX integration. SUT will integrate with many SIP based and traditional PBX vendors, including support for multiple vendors.

Also look for a new mobile client coming with expanded capabilities including multi-community support. (Yea!)

The Future of Lotus Quickr (Jelan Heidelberg, Lotus Quickr Offering Manager)
Jalan shared some of the ideas and directions for the "Next" versions of Quickr. Look for more solid details in the Lotusphere time frame.

Bringing It All Together (Everyone)
Each presenter gave their best 10 minutes of the conference:

Carl Tyler
  • IBM is no longer supporting Sametime servers if you use Remote Desktop.
  • Go get the "Sametime Essentials" database from IBM.
  • Make sure you change the language version when changing Sametime static text.
  • One last demo of live telephony integration
Troy Reimer
  • A quick review of PlaceBots
  • Using a c_PlaceBotErrors field to record errors during agent processing
  • Calling PlaceBots as if they were web services
  • Don't use PlaceBots for large scale deployments - switch to centralized agents
  • A review of standard and QuickrTemplates based workflow options
Gab Davis
  • Choose your Quickr version based on the features you need
  • Connectors are identical across all versions of Quickr (Entry, Domino, Portal)
  • Mix and match version deployments as needed (the license allows this)
  • You can share places across platforms, but they are only visable from the Portal side
  • Choose Portal if you don't want Domino or if you already have a Portal infrastructure
  • Sametime Advanced requires a large stack of components, including a Sametime Community server
  • Do not change the credentials used for the Sametime Advanced services!
Viktor Krantz
  • Customizing Quickplace redbook is still 78.2% relevant
  • In Quickr 8.1, you need to be a little more sophisticated with stylesheets
  • Firebug for Firefox is the best thing since sliced bread
  • Using JSON and multiple versions of DOJO (0.42 and 1.0) with Quickr
  • Using &OutputFormat=JSON for view data
Warren Elsmore
  • Reviewed all of his slides he gave during the conference (which were few as he built a fully clustered LDAP/Sametime/Quickr environment live during the conference)
Overall, this was a great conference. Even though I know a lot about Quickr, Sametime, and Connections, I still learned a lot of good tips and met some great people, both presenters and attendees.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Collaboration University Day 2 recap

Collaboration University day 2 sessions:

Clustering Lotus Quickr for Domino (Warren Elsmore)
Warren gave a hands on demo of clustering Quickr. This is mostly the same as clustering Domino, so no major revelations for me.

Leveraging the Dojo Toolkit, JavaScript and JSON in Quickr (Viktor Krantz)
Viktor showed us in detail how he does much of the amazing stuff in the SNAPPS Quickr Templates. All of the source code is available as an open source download from the templates site. Firebug was the key tool Viktor uses to develop and test his code.

Quickr Workflow: Choosing the Right Approach (Troy Reimer)
Troy discussed the built in workflow options in Quickr 8.1 and walked through using the workflow engine from the SNAPPS Quickr Templates. He also showed how to customize the workflow further by leveraging the SNAPPS engine with new copies of the key PlaceBot agents and extra fields.

Building Sametime Client Plug-ins (Carl Tyler)
Carl walked through the steps of setting up the Eclipse IDE, building a Sametime plug-in, and deploying the plug-in using an update site.

Managing and Administering the Sametime Advanced Servers (Gab Davis)
Most of this session was focused around performing basic WebSphere administration tasks such as view log files, setting up LDAP, etc.

Tips for Performance Tuning and Maintenance in a Quickr World (Gab Davis)
Gab showed us lots of good tips on managing large scale Quickr for Domino deployments. Key tools are using policies to limit sizes and using powerful qptool utilities for finding large places, managing the PlaceCatalog, and cleaning up unused Places. She then wrapped up with some details on Quickr for J2EE administration and clustering of both versions.

Quickr Placebots and Agents for Automation (Troy Reimer)
Troy demonstrated how to develop PlaceBots, using examples from the SNAPPS Quickr Templates. These agents work a little differently from regular Notes agents since they are uploaded through the web interface and you typically do not have access to work with them directly in the Domino Designer. Troy keeps his agents in a separate Notes database or Java IDE for development and then imports them to Quickr.

Tomorrow is a half day focused on the future of Sametime and Quickr. This should play well to the focus of most of the audience, but I would have liked to have seen some Connections futures in there too.

Quickr feature voting at Collaboration University

The Quickr product team came to Collaboration University today to discuss new feature ideas with the attendees and get our vote on which features are important. This is a great move to include the community and gather insight to improve the product.

Here are the top features the Quickr team is considering for future versions:

  1. ECM Integration Quickr Domino
  2. Automatic Content Scraping (rules for moving Quickr content to ECM backends)
  3. Lotus Connections integration for Quickr Domino (Activities and Wiki)
  4. Support for Linux (server)
  5. Support for Mac (connectors)
  6. Support for Linux (connectors)
  7. Mobile Support
  8. Simplified Check-in/Check-out
  9. Improved Versioning
  10. Improved Round Trip Editing
  11. Improved Rich Text Editor
  12. Improved Threaded Discussion
  13. Recycle Bin / Soft Deletes
  14. Improved Place Listing/Favorites
  15. Embedded viewers for documents
  16. Single-Sign On
  17. Improved Wiki
  18. API to Monitor Reads/Writes/Deletions in Connectors
  19. Enhanced Lists/Forms
  20. Enhanced Workflow
  21. Hot fix installed (all platforms)
  22. Tools for deploying connectors
  23. Multi-lingual server
  24. Enhanced QPTools
  25. Single Doc Restore
I also asked them to add a catagory for Other, so that people could suggest their own ideas.

If you have votes or ideas, let me know on Twitter or at and I will pass on your thoughts.

Collaboration University Day 1 recap

Collaboration University kicked off in Chicago yesterday.

Here is a quick summary of the sessions I attended:

Installing Sametime Advanced (Chris Miller)
Chris (a.k.a. IdoNotes) ran through the complex and detailed Sametime Advanced install. It is nice that there is an easy Linux based appliance install to get things running for demos or small to medium deployments. Unfortunately, as soon as you need to separate a component like the database or spread out the components for scalability, you are thrown in a long process of installing the many components individually.

Installing and Configuring Lotus Connections (Mitch Cohen and Chris Miller)
Mitch (a.k.a. CuriousMitch) showed us the details of installing Lotus Connections, including many good tips on deployment and administration best practices. Chris jumped in with a quick course on social networking when a poll showed that many in the audience had not looked beyond Quickr and Sametime yet.

Installing and Configuring the Sametime Gateway (Chris Miller)
Still more Chris (I highly recommend his sessions when you get the chance!) describing the Sametime Gateway business case and showing tips on how to install, including the need to use the default database and ID names and to leave the server running untouched for 4 - 5 days while you wait for your requests to join services such as Google or Yahoo to be processed.

Using the Sametime Toolkits and APIs (Carl Tyler)
Carl gave us a technical demonstration of the toolkits he has used to build Sametime plugins such as Sametime Wallpaper and the BuddyList Admin Tool. He also covered topics such as extending server side functions, including adding features to the Meeting Center and Gateway.

Top 10 Quickr Support Issues 2008 (Jerald Mahurin)
Jerald covered performance and troubleshooting tips for supporting Quickr on Domino. Some key things to look for are the indexer eating disk I/O and ram and and large numbers of places or concurrent users.

Keynote (Ed Hackett, Colonel, USMC (ret), President, EH Group)
Col. Hackett provided some good insight on the importance of proper information and social connections for teams to be effective. This was an inspiring talk covering his experience leading a fighter squadron, delivering humanitarian aid in Somalia, and running the Joint Chief's planning group. In all cases, social awareness was the critical component for the teams to get their jobs done. (See Julian's post on the keynote here)

The day wrapped up with a nice reception, giving everyone a chance to compare notes and experiences. Day 2 is already shaping up to be a similar set of great sessions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Agile Atlanta on September 9th: Agile Metrics and Measurement

What better way to wrap up the Summer by coming to Agile Atlanta to hear Mike Cottmeyer help you learn how to use metrics and measurements with your Agile projects?

Agile Metrics and Measurement

Speaker: Mike Cottmeyer, leader of the APLN Atlanta group
Date: September 9th, 6:45 PM
Location: IBM-ISS (6303 Barfield Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30328)

Agile delivers value through iteration and inspection. Agile reporting is the key that will unlock that value and make your projects manageable again. This presentation will explore how agile teams estimate and plan, what these teams measure, and how these metrics can be used to manage project performance. The talk will cover four key agile concepts: story points, velocity, defect trend, and burndown and how these measurements can be used to deliver graphically rich, accurate, and timely project reporting.

Agile Atlanta group on LinkedIn:

Other upcoming Agile events:
Sept 25-26: The APLN Atlanta Leadership Summit
Oct 14th: Monthly Agile Atlanta meeting (topic TBA)
Oct 27-28: Agile 201: Winning with Scrum with Jeff Sutherland and Joe Little