Will I see you at IBM Think?

It is just over a month until IBM kicks off Think 2018 in Las Vegas. This conference takes place March 19-21 and merges several conferences, including IBM Connect (formerly known as Lotusphere).

After attending 19 Lotusphere/Connect conferences in Orlando (as well as one in Nice and one in San Francisco), I am ready for something new and exciting. IBM Think brings in many different parts of the IBM portfolio into one big conference, where we can learn about new and exciting technologies that we may not been exposed to before. I am looking forward to learning more about AI, security, blockchain, IoT and much more.

But I am of course also excited to learn about the upcoming Notes and Domino 10. IBM and HCL has promised too show actual working code at Think, and will present a timeline not only for what features we will see in the end of the year in Domino 10, but also in upcoming versions.

I have a feeling we will finally see functions and features people have been requesting for many years. A large part of the IBM:ers who worked on Notes and Domino moved over to HCL late last year, and I suspect they have been very busy. Here is an excerpt of a session description:

For those of you who want to integrate Domino applications into modern web applications and cloud platforms like Salesforce, etc., we will show you how. Domino is embracing JavaScript, Node.js and open source to become a full-stack web development platform anyone you hire off the street today can be productive in.

If anyone is interested in attending IBM Think I have a special promo code that will give you a $100 discount. Contact me at texasswede@gmail.com (use the subject “IBM Think Promo Code”) and I will mail you a code. You can also contact any other IBM Champion for a code.

See you in Las Vegas in a month!



IBM Connect – My thoughts and the future

There has been radio silence on this blog since right before IBM Connect in the end of February. I intended to write a recap of IBM Connect after I got back from the conference, but I have just been very busy. I haven’t even had time to post the code from my presentation, but it will be up here shortly.

There has already been several good overviews of IBM Connect, but I want to share how I experienced it, and how the first conference away from Orlando was. It was both good and bad.

The bad part was just some minor things. Like everyone else I found San Francisco expensive, with a lot of homeless people. The venue also lacked some of the natural meeting spots we had in Orlando, when many of us were staying at the same hotel where the conference took place. The restrooms at the Moscone Center could also use a makeover. But none of these were things IBM really could do much about.

What they could have done better would have been to server a warm breakfast and lunch, at least a couple of days. The food in Orlando was great, and at last years conference it was even outstanding, in my opinion. So the breakfasts of cereal and pastries and sandwiches for lunch was a bit of a disappointment.

The conference itself was good. I enjoyed most of the sessions I attended, I learned about future enhancements to the Notes and Domino platform and ecosystem and I got to talk to a lot of people. I also met many of my friends in the community, but there however many faces missing. For the last few years more and more of the long-time Lotusphere/Connect attendees have moved away from the ICS platform into other technologies. It is just a natural progression. We all learn new things, try new technologies and broaden our horizons.

I have done that myself, for the last several years I have moved more and more into pure web development, using tools like jQuery and Bootstrap to build front-ends to data often (but not always) located on a Domino server. But I have also been looking into other technologies. Lately I have been working with NetSuite, an ERP system recently acquired by Oracle. NetSuite is using Javascript both on the server and for the browser, so the skills I have aquired during my time as a Domino deverloper enabled me to quickly start working with this platform. Another area where I have been spending a lot of time is more traditional web design using Javascript, as well as frameworks and libraries like jQuery and Bootstrap. These tools can be integrated into Domino applications, and after you learn them it is not hard to branch out and use them with a different backend.

One of the more exciting things that I brought back from Connect was the fact that Docker is a technology to watch. I attended a workshop that unfortunately had some technical problems, but it at least got me interested in starting to play around with it myself. It was not hard to install it on my workstation, install a couple of containers and start experimenting. If you are not familiar with Docker, it is a virtualization platform that encapsulate software into containers, who can then run on almost any platform. One good way to describe it is extremely lightweight virtual machines, running only one or a few applications. The containers can then be integrated with each other. You could have MongoDB running in one container, MySQL in another one and Node-RED in a third one talking to both of them. By the way, Node-RED is also using Javascript for the coding part.

IBM will build the next generation of Connections (codename: Pink) on Docker, using Nginx as the web server. Connections Pink is described by IBM as a vision, not a release. From what I understand IBM will be replacing (and most probably extending) the current functionality in steps. This approach makes total sense to me. If you want to read more about Connections Pink, read Gab Davis’ excellent post.

One of my biggest take-aways from Connect is how IBM is heading more and more towards component-ized solutions. BlueMix is just one example of this, where you can build your solutions by picking from a large number of different technologies, all on one host. IBM’s use of Docker is another example.

I see this as being the future: integrate a number of standards based technologies into your solution, running them virtualized on any platform or in the cloud, and then deploy your solution to the users or customers without you having to install half a dozen or more different servers.

What about the future of IBM Connect? Next year IBM will bring together a number of events into one flagship event called IBM Think 2018. This conference will take place in Las Vegas March 19-22 next year, and will include Connect, InterConnect, World of Watson, Amplify, Vision and PartnerWorld. So San Francisco seems to have been a one-time venue.

I think this a good choice by IBM. We all need to expand and break out of our comfort zone. Several of my friends from the ICS community attended InterConnect in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and hearing them talk about all the exciting new technologies they learned about makes me really want to go. Lotusphere (and later Connect) had a good run for 25 years, but it is time to move on. There are so many exciting technologies out there, and why not learn what exists outside our own bubble, echo chamber or comfort zone?

Personally I can’t wait for March 2018!


IBM Connect coming up – Save $$$ on the conference fee!

IBM Connect 2017 starts in exactly one month, and the early bird special ends tomorrow. But I can still save you some money. Reach out to me or any other IBM Champion, and we can give you a special promotion code to use during the registration to save you $100 off the conference fee. If you use the code before the early bird rate expires tomorrow evening (Jan 20) you get $300 off!

So contact me  (or any other Champion) and we can will give you the code. You can get hold of me on Twitter as @texasswede and of course through email texasswede@gmail.com.

If you haven’t registered yet, it is time to do that. The block of rooms at the special conference rate will only be available a few more days. Nearby hotels are also filling up it seems, but you can still score some good deals.

If you go to Connect, don’t miss me co-presenting  The Great Code Givaway 11: It’s Back! with my fellow IBM Champion and friend Rob Novak. Our session is currently scheduled for Wednesday February 22 at 2pm in Moscone West, Level 2, Room 2006. I hope to see you in San Francisco in a month!



IBM Connect 2017 – It’s that time of the year!

Registration for IBM Connect 2017 is open. The conference, in the past known and beloved as Lotusphere, has changed some. It takes place a month later than normaland has moved from Orlando where it did take place for the last 20+ years. The new location is the Moscone Center in San Francisco and the dates are February 20-23, 2017.

Another change to the format is that the conference start Monday evening instead of Sunday. Otherwise the agenda looks very similar to what we got used to in the past. The list of session has not been published yet, the final selection of speakers will be made later this month. But I don’t doubt there will be plenty of great sessions woth attending.

I hope to be able to go, this is a great conference not only for learning but also for networking and socializing with other professionals who work with the IBM Collaborative and Watson products.

I hope to see you in San Francisco in February!




Save the date – IBM Connect 2017 announced!

Earlier today Inhi Cho Suh, the General Manager of ICS (IBM Collaborative Services), was speaking at the user conference Engage in the Netherlands. There she announced the dates and new location of IBM Connect, the conference previously called Lotusphere and until this year taking place in Orlando, FL.

The dates are February 19 to 22 and the location is going to be San Francisco, CA. More details will emerge later this year. I hope that European attendees will still come, despite the little bit longer (about 2 hours longer) flights. I am excited about this move, I think this will work out well despite the changes.

Good-bye Florida, hello San Francisco!


IBM Connect 2016 – My impressions

When I attended IBM Connect 2015, I thought it would be the last time I got to attend the conference that for most of it’s running was called Lotusphere. I attended Lotusphere 1997 in Nice but from January 1998 I attended the conference at Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan in Orlando every single year. After the 2015 conference the contract between IBM and Walt Disney World was up, and everyone expected the 20 year run to be over.

But something happened. IBM decided to do another IBM Connect in 2016, this time at a new location in Orlando, the Hilton. And people came. I have heard a number of about 2,200 attendees. Yes, just a fraction of what it was at it’s pinnacle, with 10,000+ attendees. But still more than previous years.

Dining tents during breakfast

The hotel and conference area was great. You still had to walk between conference rooms like in the Swolphin but you did at least not have to run over to another hotel. The dining tents reminded me of the first 10+ years of Lotusphere, but the food was a notch or two above when we were used to at Swolphin. And it was great to be able to sit outside and eat if I wanted to.

Pete Janzen and Martin Donnelly of IBM
Pete Janzen and Martin Donnelly, both from IBM

The conference was great. There is always room for improvements, but in general the conference team had done a great job. The scheduling was better than in many years, I was able to attend a number of great sessions and I even liked the new simpler badges. The check-in process was automated, and I used a combination of the conference app and the printed conference paper to find my session. I actually liked that, even if I did miss the convenient little agenda booklet one kept in the badge holder.

I also did my first presentation at IBM Connect this year, a 20 minute Lightning Talk in the Expo Showcase Theatre. This was a bit of a challenge, as I had all the exhibitors right there, and the noise from everybody talking to the vendors made the presentation more difficult, both for the presenters and the audience. I hope that everyone that attended (thank you!) got something out of it.

IBM Champions got a lot of exposure

The IBM Champions were represented strong at Connect 2016, and we got a lot of exposure. Champions were featured on the screen before the opening session and also in many other places during the conference. Many sessions were also presented or co-presented by IBM Champions.

Connect2016_BluemixWhen it came to the sessions, I noticed a theme. For the last 4-5 years we have seen a massive number of sessions geared towards XPages. This year the big theme was Bluemix and integration between different services, including XPages. This is where the broad portfoilio of IBM really is beneficial, you can connect different systems with each other. Using Bluemix you can connect XPages to a SQL database or a Domino NoSQL-databas, you can throw in Angular.js or even cool new technologies like Node-Red and then use services from Watson to process your data. A year ago I felt a bit “meh” when it came to Bluemix, but after Connect 2016 I really want to sit down and start playing around with it and see what cool stuff I can do.

Connect2016_RoadmapThe Opening General Session (OGS) was split into two separate parts. It was not until after the 45 minute break we got to see demos and learn more about future plans from IBM. But there were no customer panels and the customer presentations were short, to the point and relevant. I actually really liked this format. Good job, IBM!

Lets talk a little about the vendor showcase. In 2014 the exhibit hall in Dolphin was way too big, and in 2015 it was moved to a very small and cramped room in Swan. This year IBM got it right. I was able to visit most of the vendors, and there was plenty of space to mingle with people as well as during the coffee breaks that took place in the Expo Showcase.

Vendor Showcase
Vendor Showcase

So what are my suggestions for IBM Connect 2017, if IBM decides to do it again? Stay at Hilton, it was a very good location. Move the Lightning Talks to some place where it is less noisy and distracting. Update the badge holders with a pocket for business cards and perhaps even bring back the pocket agenda. Bring back the longer 2 hour jumpstart/master classes on Sunday. Otherwise I am very satisfied with how Connect 2016 turned out!



IBM Connect 2016 – Receptions and parties

Henning Schmidt have a great overview of the many social events going on at IBM Connect 2016, starting this Saturday with BALD (Bloggers Annual Lotusphere Dinner) at 3pm. If you are going to the conference, read the list here: http://www.schmhen.de/2016/01/26/ibm-connect-2016-reception-and-party-overview/.


Hope to see you in Orlando, it is now only 24 hours until I head to the airport for my flight.

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IBM Connect 2016 – Travel Tips

Many of you going to IBM Connect 2016 in Orlando in a just two weeks are coming from other countries. There are a few things you may want to be aware of.

First of all, if you need a visa to enter the US you have hopefully already arranged that. If you are covered by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) you don’t need a visa but need to fill out an electronic ESTA application. Normally you find out at once if you are eligible. The ESTA application is valid for two (2) years, assuming you haven’t changed passport, name or something has happend that makes you ineligible for ESTA (for example arrested for a drug related offense). You may want to look up your old ESTA to make sure it is still valid. I have been told that the ESTA form has changed and now requires more information than before.

You also need a passport with a machine-readable zone on the biographic page and it must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner in order to be allowed to use the VWP. It is also a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you intend to leave the US.


After you get to Orlando and pick up your luggage, you need transportation to the hotel. Mears Shuttle is $33 for a round-trip ticket to Hilton Orlando, or $29.70 if you order on their website using the promo code WEB10.

If you need a rental car I can recommend Turo (formerly RelayRides). It is a peer-to-peer car rental, usually much cheaper than a traditional rental car. You need to create an account ahead of time, since you must send copies of your drivers license to the site before you can rent. I have used the service several times, I rented two cars for 10 days in Hawaii in 2014, a SUV in Denver for an extended weekend and several times I rented a car locally for a day for some transportation. You can see it as Uber for car rentals.

If you haven’t got a hotel room yet, and if the Hilton is over your budget (perhaps you pay for the conference yourself), Days Inn across the street has much more reasonable rates. I got a room for $59/night.

Hope to see you in Orlando!


IBM Connect 2016 Special Event

The traditional Lotusphere/Connect Special Event (a.k.a. Wednesday Party or Party in the Park) is back after last years on-premises “party” which scored even lower than the infamous 2001 event at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The event was moved from Wednesday to Tuesday back in 2014, so it will be taking place Tuesday, February 2.

The event is back at the 2011 location, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmead. Since then Universal have opened a second section, Diagon Alley. It is located in the next-door park, and connected with a train, the scarlet painted Hogwarts Express. As a park visitor you need a park-to-park ticket to take the train and experience both parks, but my guess is that the Connect 2016 attendees will be confined to the Hogsmead side. It’s nothing wrong with that, the ride inside Hogwarts is great, I personally like it better that the Gringotts ride in Diagon Alley.

Last year I visited the parks the days before the conference, and below are some pictures I took then. Enjoy, and perhaps we will share a butterbeer in Hogsmead in a month!


Orlando 2015

Update: The Special Event moved from Wednesday to Tuesday back in 2014, I updated the text above to clarify this.


My session at IBM Connect 2016

As I mentioned before, I will be presenting at IBM Connect 2016. My session will be on January February 2 at 5.00 pm and the location is the Solution EXPO Theater.


Last night I finished the slides for my session. The sample database with code is also done, but I plan to add some bonus stuff in it. How much I will add depends on my workload at home and at work. But I hope you will feel it worth coming to my session and downloading the sample database.

I hope to see you in Orlando. You can still register if you haven’t yet!


Connect 2016 – People, not technology

For the 20th time I am heading to the conference previously known as Lotusphere. IBM has renamed it Connect, but to me it still is the same conference. The focus may have changed from Notes and Domino to Connections, Cloud and Mobile, but the people is largely the same: a mix of developers, administrators and managers who all are interested in or using the IBM collaboration products.

As a wise man said: it’s not about technology, it’s about the people. And I am looking forward to the people. I have many good friends in the Yellowsphere community (I don’t have a better name for the IBM Collaboration Software community), people I admire and have learned much from over the years. I hope that speaking at Connect 2016 (a first for me) will help others like I been helped in the past. That is why I enjoy helping people out in the forums and on Stack Overflow, and why I blog and share code: a way to give back to the community.

Lotusphere/Connect is a way to connect with the community. Every year I leave the conference revitalized and energized. I have been hanging out with my peers, sharing a couple of adult beverages, having dinners with some of them and — most of all — getting ideas and inspiration. Working as the only Notes developer at a company gets lonely, and Lotusphere/Connect is the one of the few time of the year I get to “talk shop” with people that do the same thing as I do. No mater how understanding and technical my wife is, when I start talking about some cool Lotusscript class or the benefits of list over arrays her eyes glace over and she is gone…

As I write this, my workplace is migrating from Notes to Outlook/Exchange for email. A pilot group (including me) was migrated last weekend, and the rest of the users will be migrated this coming weekend. Applications will stay in Notes for a long time, though. They are not going anywhere.

Even if I would have switch to a different platform for development at work, I hope to still be involved in the Yellowsphere community. I am also working on some cool side projects where I use Domino as the data backend but where the browser based front-end is built using modern web technologies like Bootstrap and jQuery. So I hope to be doing things with Notes and Domino for many more years.

So if you haven’t registered for Connect 2016 yet, hurry up. We are getting close. I booked my flight and my room earlier today and for the first time since 1999 I will not be staying at the conference hotel. Instead I found a good rate at Days Inn across the street, about a 5 minutes walk away away and at 25% of the cost. Since I am once again paying out of my own pocket, I could not justify the cost of staying at Hilton where the conference takes place.

If you want to listen to my session “AD-1100 : Break Out of the Box – Integrate Existing Domino Data with Modern Websites” it takes place at 5pm on Tuesday February 2 in the Solution EXPO Theater. It’s a 20 minute long (or should I say short?) Lightning Talk.

I hope to see you in Orlando in January and February!


IBM Connect 2016 coming up!

Connect2015_People1In the end of January it is once again time to head to Orlando for the yearly conference that for many years was known as Lotusphere. For the last few years it have been renamed IBM Connect (as well as ConnectED in 2014), and last year most people (including me) thought that 2015 was the end of this conference.

But perhaps due to the popularity of the 2015 edition, IBM decided to have the conference again this year, but in a new location as the contract with Swan and Dolphin (where the conference had been held since the first one in 1993) had expired.

The fountain at WDW Dolphin
The fountain at WDW Dolphin

The new venue is Hilton Orlando. It is closer to the airport and there are also more restaurants around than at Swan and Dolphin. It is close to SeaWorld as well as to the Universal Studios theme parks. Personally I am excited about the new venue. “Swolphin” (as Swan and Dolphin often was referred to) started to get old and worn down, despite a refresh of the rooms back in 2003-2005 some time. Yes, after this many years (18 in a row for me) Swolphin started feeling like a home away from home. You know where everything is, you know the staff and the shortcuts between hotels and sections within the hotel.

So a new location makes Connect 2016 more exciting, it will feel like a new conference but hopefully with many of my old friends attending. I have already found several interesting sessions using the session tool. Philippe Riand and Jesse Gallagher will for example talk about the Darwino application development platform, which allows you to integrate your Domino applications with IBM Bluemix an IBM Connections. Another must-attend session is called IBM Domino App.Net and talks about how to utilize Bluemix to build XPages applications in the cloud.

In addition we of course have all the sessions we have come to know and love: UserBlast with Mat Newman, Admin Tips Power Hour presented by Chris Miller, Spark Ideas, and of course the Opening General Session (OGS) with a secret guest speaker as the tradition requires.

HP_GringottsAfter the fiasco last year with the Tuesday evening special event the organizers went back to holding the event in one of the local theme parks. For the second time it will be held in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmead, which is part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Last time I had a blast, so much that last year I took a couple of vacation days to visit Hogsmead again as well as the then newly opened Diagon Alley extension over in the Universal Studios park next-door. You need a park-to-park admission pass to visit both parks, but that allows you to take the Hogwarts Express between the two parks.

ConnectSessionLetterFor me personally Connect 2016 is a milestone. It will be my 20th Lotusphere/Connect and for the first time I will present a session!

This is not a full one hour session, but a new format called Lightning Talk. Those are shorter 20 minute sessions, and not all of them are listed in the session tool on the conference site yet. I think this is a very interesting concept, and I believe it will be successful. I can see myself attending a number of shorter sessions like this to get a good overview of a particular subject, then go on and learn more later.

My session is called “Think outside the box” and I will show how you can connect to a Domino backend from a traditional web application and retrieve data in JSON format. This data can then be used to populate fields/values on a page or used in jQuery/Bootstrap plugin like calendars and data tables. This is a version of the presentation I did at MWLUG in Atlanta, but shorter and with some new content added.

I hope to see you at Connect 2016 in Orlando, perhaps even at my session. If you haven’t registered yet, it is time to do it now. Stay tuned for more posts here leading up to the conference.

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IBM ConnectED 2015 – The Good and The Bad

When I arrived to Orlando for the 18th time to attend Lotusphere (now renamed IBM ConnectED), it was with mixed feelings. The conference was much smaller than before, and everyone expected this to be the last conference in the Lotusphere format in Orlando. IBM had a contract with Disney that expired after the 2015 conference and we all knew it. So most attendees did see this as a last hurrah or a kind of farewell to Lotusphere.

But during the conference the feeling was something different. There was an energy there, and people were excited, not saying farewell.  Many new announcements were made that energized the attendees.  In particular the new web based mail client IBM Verse generated a lot of buzz.  The news that IBM Verse will integrate with Watson logic and capabilities and the promise of an on-premises version later this year were especially positive and energizing.

The sessions I attended were great. The opening session had a new format, with the guest speaker at the end instead of at the beginning, and this actually worked really well. There were a lot of demos, most of them said to be live, and no panels on stage. There were three customer stories/presentations (from Blue Cross of California, Bureau Veritas and LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) and they were refreshingly more relevant than the “commercial breaks” of the last several years. The guest speeker was French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, famous for walking on a line between the two World Trade Center towers in 1974. This event is the subject of an upcoming movie called The Walk, with former Lotusphere guest speaker Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Petit. I enjoyed his talk, it was one of the better ones. I still think he is crazy for what he does, though. 🙂

SessionIsFullThere were several session who were filled to capacity and had to turn away people, just like in the good old days of 10,000+ attendees back in 1998-2000. Yes, the sessions who were full were scheduled for fairly small rooms, but they were also extremely technical in nature. To me this indicates that this is just what the audience wants. More hard core technical sessions and less marketing and customer stories. IBM marketed ConnectED as more technical than in the past, and to a large extent they delivered. But there were still a number of sessions with less technical/product subjects.

Liz Urheim at IBM is talking about IBM Verse at the closing session
Liz Urheim at IBM is talking about IBM Verse at the closing session

The main focus of ConnectED was in two areas: IBM Connections and IBM Verse. The unexpected announcement that IBM Verse will be offered as a freemium product and positioned to compete with giants like Google Mail in itself generated a lot of interest. Attendees were also guaranteed early access to the new IBM Verse mail client.

Personally I really like the integration of IBM Watson in Verse, and the way email is sorted/categorized based on importance. I am looking forward to testing this for myself.  I hope there will be a way to import existing email from Gmail or even on-premises Notes mail into IBM Verse.

There were, as always, some complaints among the attendees and many had to do with changes to procedures from previous years. During registration, each person was give four (4) drink tickets for the Monday and Tuesday parties. Previously the drinks were free at these events.  Since the generic paper tickets given out at registration came from the office supplies chain Staples, some attendees considered just driving to a local store to buy some more. In the end IBM did not enforce the drink ticket policy.  They rescinded this in steps, first not requiring them at the Monday evening event where the 25th birthday of Lotus Notes was celebrated, and then again at the Tuesday party.

The traditional Wednesday party in a local theme park was moved to Tuesday last year, as the Kennexa part of the conference ended one day before IBM Connect (as the conference was called in 2013 and 2014). This year the party was held in the Dolphin hemisphere ballroom, with a band playing and serving some food and drinks. The party was two hours long, shorter than the theme park parties in the past. The loud music made it hard to talk, so I actually did not mind the shorter party. But I have to say that it did not feel anything like the events in the past.

It is obvious that IBM is in cost savings mode. The badge holders were regular clear plastic holders, not the much more elaborate and useful holders of the past with the conference name printed on it, integrated pen holders, pockets useful to hold and collect business cards as well as space for the convenient pocket guide with all sessions. But what irked the attendees the most was that the traditional pretzel cookie in the boxed lunch distributed on the last day of the conference had disappeared.  In its place was a generic cookie that was not well received by attendees. The Twitterverse lit up as disgruntled attendees expressed their strong displeasure using the hashtag #pretzelcookiegate.  IBMs Jeff Schick even mentioned this during the closing session.

The exhibitors at the showcase were located in a new area called TechnOasis, two meeting rooms in the Swan conference section across the hallway from where most of the sessions took place. Personally I liked the location, it made it much easier to drop by the different pedestals between session than in the past. The area was much smaller than in the past and a little bit harder to navigate. I am not sure if the size was due to fewer companies exhibiting this year or because the available space was limited. As opposed to previous years I was able to meet up with pretty much every exhibitor, and I found some very useful products.

One of those product was Domino4Wine, which lets you run Domino Designer and Administrator natively in OSX and Linux. Prominic.Net worked with (and paid) CodeWeavers, the company behind CrossOver, to get the IBM products working in Linux and on OSX. Teamstudio also announced that their products work in this environment, and other toolmakers like Ytria (creator of scanEZ and several other Domino toiols) and MartinScott Consulting (developer of NoteMan) also plan to make sure their products work in this environment.

This is a very interesting development, and it shows that the business partners community see such a strong value in Notes and Domino that they are willing to pay for development that IBM really should have done, and which the community have been requesting for years.

DSC_3671The closing session featured Dr Arthur Benjamin, a professor in mathematics. He is what he calls a mathemagician, and on stage he squared two-digit, three-digit and four-digit numbers faster than the assistants from the audience could do it with their calculators. He even squared a five-digit number, but that took a little bit longer, about 45 seconds. He also explained the method he uses to perform these calculations. The closing sessions are always great, and this was one of the best ones I attended, in my personal opinion.

After the closing session there were a number of traditional events loosely organized by members of the community. Linuxfest was held poolside.  This year it was more a review of Linux related news and a Q&A session for running Notes and Domino on Linux. Later that evening another tradition continued with the closing of Kimonos at 2am, followed by a gathering of about two dozen community members and IBMers in the Dolphin rotunda. Beverages were consumed and Mat Newman had his badge removed around 3.45am, marking the unofficial official ending of Lotusphere (or ConnectED if you are IBM).

People said farewell, with the usual “see you next year” and “see you next time” even though we were all acutely aware of the lack of future plans for the conference. Some people hope that the success of ConnectED 2015 (rumors talk about over 3000 paying customers, as opposed to the planned 1500) will pave the way for a Lotusphere 2016.

In my opinion the most likely resolution is that IBM will fold the conference into one of their mega-conferences in Las Vegas. The important thing then is that the ICS (Collaboration) products like Notes, Domino, Verse and Connections must have their own section and not be so mixed in and diluted with all other products. That would make it very hard to find our specific sessions and also be a huge disadvantage for the active and engaged Notes community itself. There is a need to have a place to congregate as specialists in this field so that we can meet, congregate, learn from each other, re-invigorate and motivate ourselves and enjoy each others company.

At the closing session, Liz Urheim from IBM said that the plans were still being discussed, but that there would be a ConnectED/Lotusphere in one form or another. She promised some news in the next few months.  Soon we shall see.

On a personal note, I am happy I got to see so many of my friends, and as always I made some new ones. Some of my long-time friends were missing and their absence was noted.  What is clear is that they are still part of the community even if they do not attend anymore or have moved on to work with other products or platforms. Once in, never out.

With this I am saying goodbye Orlando and goodbye Lotusphere. See you all next year, wherever and under what name it may be. To me it will always be Lotusphere.


IBM ConnectED 2015 – Community events

Outside the official program at Lotusphere/Connect there has always been a number of community events, organized by different people. One tradition for many years was Blogger open, a mini golf tournament at Fantasia Gardens across the road from Dolphin, but as of two years ago, that was cancelled. A new tradition started that same year, a soccer tournament Saturday morning, and that one will take place this year again. Soccer Saturday starts at 10am and ends at noon. More info here.

Another long time tradition is BALD, which stands for Bloggers (and friends) Annual Lotusphere Dinner. This one takes place at Big River Brewhouse on the Boardwalk, starting at 3.30pm on Saturday. People usually come and go, have something to eat, something to drink and enjoy each others company. This usually goes on until about 7pm or so.

After BALD most people continue over to ESPN a few doors down on the Boardwalk. Originally this event was know as Turtle’s Party, and despite The Turtle no longer attending Lotusphere, the party continues in the same spirit with people having fun together. The ESPN Pre-ConnectED Community Party starts around 7.30pm and goes on until people get tired or ESPN closes, whatever comes first.

Finally we have the annual Linuxfest. This year it starts 30 minutes after the end of the closing session on Wednesday, and it takes place at the Swan poolside bar.

You can find out more about these events by getting the Totally Unofficial Totally Unsupported IBM ConnectED Session Database.

I hope to see you at some of these events!

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Celebrate 25 years of Lotus Notes at ConnectED

Monday evening at IBM Connected there will be a party hosted by OpenNTF.org, SocialBiz User Group and the IBM Champions. The invitation can be found below. I hope to see some of you there. Due to the shorter conference, there are a lot of social events taking place at the same time, Monday evening is very busy. But I hope I will be able to make it!



Blogging anniversary – 7 years!

Yesterday marked my 7 year anniversary of this blog. It was in January 2008 I created my TexasSwede blog on BleedYellow.com, and in October 2012 I moved it to my own domain and switched to WordPress hosting.

My blogging frequency have been going up and down, based on what’s been going on in the IBM/Lotus world as well as how busy or motivated I have been. Over the years I have written 404 blog entries (including this one), making it an average of almost 58 entries/year or close to 5 entries/month.

So why am I blogging? I am not sure there is just one simple answer to that. I think it mainly have been a combination of wanting to share information I have gathered over the years , as well as wanting to be seen and/or recognized. The latter was more of a result of my blogging, not a reason in itself to blog, but it encouraged me to continue.

I had started blogging a couple of times earlier using the different Domino based blogs available, but those attempts ended up being just one or two posts. The one exception was in 1995 when I “blogged” during a scuba diving trip to Egypt. I wrote a web diary every day on the IBM Thinkpad 701 laptop I brought with me and also added photos I took with an early Kodak digital camera (DC-40 I believe I used on that trip). I did not have any kind of internet access during the trip, so I uploaded the page and pictures after I got home. Also, as opposed to a modern blog, the oldest/first day was at the top, as in a more traditional narrative/diary. I lost the text of that diary since, but some of the pictures have survived.

In 2008 I started blogging right before Lotusphere. I wrote a couple of entries the first few days, and I got good feedback on them, as well as several hundred views. So I got encouraged and continued. After about a month I got brave enough to start sharing code on my blog, and I also started using it as a way to expand on answers I gave to question in the developerWorks forums.

The next year at Lotusphere more people recognized me from my blog, and that further made me feel like it was worth my time and effort to share information. Eventually my posts became less frequent. One reason was that it was hard to post code on the IBM Connections based blog, and only registered users could comment, limiting the public participation. Those were among the main reasons for my move to WordPress in 2012, together with a desire to use my own domain.

With WordPress it was suddenly much easier to post code and embedded videos, and my blogging started up again. I could now also easily blog from my smartphone. I have been lucky enough that my boss let me blog more or less during work hours, and even publish code and information I generate for work. Usually I do it during lunch or after work, though.

Lately I haven’t been blogging that much, due to things going on in my life. The next few months will be very busy for me, but I hope to be have the energy to continue sharing code and information here. Last year I was so busy at Lotusphere IBM Connect that I did not write very much from there, but I hope to do a better job this year. Especially for my many friends who are not able to go this time.

So to everyone who been reading my blog: Thank you!
And an extra big thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my ramblings.



One week to ConnectED 2015 in Orlando

Today it is one week until IBM ConnectED, the conference formerly known as Lotusphere (and briefly also as IBM Connect) opens the doors in Orlando. This might be the last year the Lotus faithfuls gather at Walt Disney Swan to drink from the firehose of knowledge, as Lotusphere used to be described. Back in 2006 (if my memory is correct), IBM announced during the conference that the company had renewed the contract with Dolphin & Swan until 2015, a year that then was far in the future. Now we are there, and I an convinced that IBM will merge Lotusphere/Connect/ConnectED with one of their other big conferences.

This year we will see many changes. Some are already known, other we will probably see when or after we arrive. Some of the known ones:

  • The conference will be smaller, the number of attendees have been limited to around 1500. The number of IBM:ers have also been reduced to a few hundred.
  • The conference will take place (almost) in it’s entirety at the Swan conference center. A few sessions have been listed on the official site as taking place at Dolphin, like BP101: @IF(“Its Really Good”;”It MUST Be Notes”;”Must Be Something Else”) 25 Notes on 25 Years of Notes! with Carl Tyler, Mat Newman and Alan Lepofsky.
  • ConnectED is more technical than the last few years, with less sessions dedicated to case studies and panels, and more focus on the technical aspects of the products.
  • The conference is one day shorter, ending Wednesday instead of Thursday.
  • There will be no theme park visit/party, instead there will be a poolsite party Tuesday.
  • The Sunday night welcome reception will take place on the Swan Lake Terrace, as well as in the new TechnOasis area, which replaces the solutions showcase and social café from the past.

On a more personal front, some of my long-time friends in the Lotus/IBM/ICS community will not be attending this year, for a number of different reasons. They will all be missed. But many will still be there, and there are even several attending only the social events and not the actual conference. That is a sign of how strong the community is. I hope this will continue at whatever conference Lotusphere get assimilated into. The social part is the best part of the community. Like Volker Weber said a few years ago:

Let me tell you something: life is about people, not about technology. Your friends will be your friends. And you will see them again. And again, and again. Technology changes, friendship lasts. In change, there lies opportunity.

I am looking forward to the people of ConnectED 2015. And the technology. I am for example interested to learn more about the roadmap for IBM Verse as well as Notes/Domino on premises and in the cloud. I also hope to learn more about IBM BlueMix.

See you in Orlando!


We are the IBM Champions

IBM ChampionThis morning I received a mail from IBM telling me that for the second year I was selected as one of the 96 IBM Champions. Last year I was very surprised to be selected and to be in the company of so many of the experts in the ICS/Lotus community that I for years looked up to and have been inspired by. I am extremely proud and grateful to have been selected again, and I will continue to post blog entries and code as a way to give back to the community. Many people (some of them are now fellow Champions) have been helping me in the past, and the last few years I have been trying to help others the same way.

You can read the public announcement here. Oliver Heinz, the Community Manager for the ICS Champions, also shares some details about the selection process in a blog entry.

I am looking forward to meet the other Champions (especially the 22 new ones for 2015) together with many other long-time friends at IBM ConnectED in Orlando in less than two months. See you there, I hope!

IBM Champions at IBM Connect 2014.
Photo by John Rolling, aka Greyhawk68.


Here is the list of the 2015 IBM Champions for IBM Collaborative Solutions (ICS):

Adam Brown Jesse Gallagher Olaf Boerner
Andrea Fontana John Dalsgaard Oliver Busse
Andreas Ponte John Head Patrice Vialor
Andrew Barickman John Jardin Patrick Hope
Arshad Khalid Julian Robichaux Paul Calhoun
Benedek Menesi Karl-Henry Martinsson Paul Della-Nebbia
Bill Malchisky Kathy Brown Paul Withers
Brad Balassaitis Kazunori Tatsuki Per Lausten
Brian O’Neill Keith Brooks Ray Bilyk
Bruce Elgort Kenio Carvalho Rene Winkelmeyer
Chris Miller Kenji Ebihara Richard Moy
Christian Güdemann Kim Greene Rob Novak
Christoph Stoettner Klaus Bild Rudi Knegt
Daniel Nashed Laks Sundararajan Salvador Gallardo
Daniel Reimann Liz Albert Sandra Buehler
Daniele Grillo Luis Garza Sasja Beerendonk
David Leedy Marcel Ribas Satoru Abe
David Price Marion Vrielink Serdar Basegmez
Eric McCormick Mark Calleran Sharon Bellamy
Felix Binsack Mark Leusink Siggi Meyer
Femke Goedhart Mark Myers Simon Vaughan
Francie Tanner Mark Roden Sjaak Ursinus
Fredrik Norling Martin Jinoch Stefan Sucker
Friso van den Berg Masahiko Miyo Steve Pitcher
Gabriella Davis Matteo Bisi Stuart McIntyre
Gary Swale Mike McGarel Takeshi Yoshida
Giuseppe Grasso Mike Ostrowski Theo Heselmans
Handly Cameron Mike Smith Tim Clark
Howard Greenberg Mikkel Heisterberg Tim Malone
Jan Valdman Mitch Cohen Tony Holder
Jean-Yves Fiou Mitsuru Katoh Ulrich Krause
Jerome Deniau Nathan Freeman Wannes Rams

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