100 years ago today

Exactly 100 years ago today, on December 20, 1919 my uncle Karl-Heinz Groeling was born in Subowitz, in what was then Germany. Today the town, located just south of Gdansk (Danzig in German), belongs to Poland and is called Sobowidz. His parents were Robert Groeling (1890-1984) and Elsa Groeling (nee Hecke, 1893-1978). Karl-Heinz had three younger sisters: my mom Marie-Luise (1926-1987), Anneliese (1928-1946) and finally Katja (born 1932).

Karl-Heinz, Marie-Luise, Anneliese and Katja in 1934
Karl-Heinz and Robert Groeling

Following Germany’s defeat in World War I, the Versailles Treat forbid Germany from having an Air Force. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Germany started training pilots in secret. In addition, a program started to prepare young men for future pilot training, by using gliders and sail planes.
My uncle started flying in 1936 or 1937, probably through the German Air Sports Association (Deutscher Luftsportverband, or DLV e. V.), an organization set up by the Nazi Party in March 1933 to establish training of military pilots. I was told he once flew over the market in the center of Lauenburg, where the family now was living, with a sail plane, which caused some complaints from the city and an earful from his mother. He was probably lucky that his father was already in the Wehrmacht (Army) at this time, and not at home.

Elsa Groeling surrounded by (left to right) Marie-Luise, Katja and Anneliese

In addition to enjoying flying, Karl-Heinz was also a gifted musician. He played violin, piano, organ and trombone. He was, however, not allowed to practice the trombone at home, due to complaints from the neighbors. When I was a child my mother spoke about the time when he played as a member of a band on a cruise ship. The Nazi dignitaries on this cruise were served the best food, and the band was allowed to eat the same food. According to my mother, her brother hollowed out the breakfast rolls (“Brötchen” in German) and feed the innards to the seagulls. Then he filled the cavity in the bread with butter and enjoyed his self-made delicacy. To him the butter was the luxury and he took full advantage.

In September 1939 Karl-Heinz had just passed his entrance exams for the university (“abitur”) when WW2 broke out. He volunteered for the Luftwaffe (Air Force), however, he was rejected at first for being “too tall”. A month later the decision was reversed and he received order to join the Luftwaffe.

In front of a Ju-52

Karl-Heinz flew Fieseler Fi-156 “Storch”, a light forward observation and medical evacuation aircraft, as well as Junkers Ju-52 transporters. Using the Ju-52, he took part in the Battle of Stalingrad, attempting to supply the German 6th Army with food and other supplies after it was cut off and surrounded, as well as evacuation of wounded soldiers out of the city.

He served as Unteroffizier, an NCO (Non-commissioned Officer) rank that is most similar to Sergeant (OR-5). He was acting as a squadron leader (“Staffelkapitän“), a position which normally is held by a major. Incidentally his father, who was a lieutenant by the end of WW1, ended up with the rank of major during WW2.

Towards the end of the war, Germany was lacking both aircrafts and fuel for them. Karl-Heinz was assigned to an anti-aircraft artillery regiment, in German called Flak (from Flugabwehrkanone).  In Germany during WW2 both anti-aircraft artillery and airborne troops belonged to the Air Force, not the Army as in most other countries.

My uncle served in the 6th battery, Flak Regiment Hermann Göring (a.k.a Fallschirm-Flakregiment Hermann Göring) , which was part of Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring. I have been able to find a chart showing the organization of the unit at the beginning of 1945, and according to it my uncle would have been in the 1st battalion (the triangular flag with a 1 next to it).

Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring in January 1945

I am not an expert on German WW2 organizational charts. Normally the numbering is from right to left. I was once told that the 6th battery is most probably the symbol all the way to the right, which indicates a towed battery equipped with the German 8.8cm anti-aircraft gun. It was probably towed by a half-track, e.g. Sd.Kfz. 7, or possibly a truck. (video)

However, if you count the batteries from right to left, he would been in the left-most battery under 1st battalion, which is a Flakvierling, four 2cm auto-cannons combined into one unit. (video)

In the beginning of 1945 Karl-Heinz was in East Prussia fighting the advancing Red Army. The 88mm anti-aircraft gun was not only used against aircrafts, it had been found to be efficient against armored vehicles and tanks as well, so he was serving in an anti-tank role.

German units were encircled in the Heiligenbeil Pocket or Heiligenbeil Cauldron (German: Heiligenbeiler Kessel), after they were denied their requests to retreat. Zinten (now known as Kornewo, Kaliningrad Oblast) was the scene of bloody battles. Both sides paid a heavy price in terms of casualties. Karl-Heinz Groeling was one of those casualties. He was wounded on February 23, 1945, shot through the left lung. He was moved to a field hospital, then a hospital ship and finally to a hospital in German-occupied Denmark, where he arrived on March 10.

Medical Records from hospital

In the early hours of March 16, 1945, at 3.10am, Karl-Heinz Groeling passed away, just 25 years old. He is buried at the beautiful Vestre Kirkegård in Copenhagen.

Final resting place.

My parents named me after my uncle, something I consider an honor.



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Thirty Years – What A Ride!

Thirty years. It can feel like an eternity, or like just yesterday. That is how long I have been working in the IT industry, as of 2 weeks ago.

When I graduated the Swedish equivalent of High School in the spring of 1988, I did not know what lay ahead. If anyone would have told me where I would be 30 years later, I am not sure I would have believed them.

Computers, and especially programming, was my big interest. I had spent every available hour in the computer room in school. I went there during breaks between classes (if only 15-20 minutes) as well as during lunch break (usually 1 hour long. I learned to eat really fast, to maximize my time in front of the computer… Then after school I often spent 4-5 hours learning to program, either from books, magazines, or from other students.

After I graduated, I was not really motivated to go to college. But I found an intensive one-year college level education in systems programming and computer science. It would be classes 8am to 5pm, 5 days a week. Today you would probably call it boot-camp…

Unfortunately the class did not make, it needed a couple more students. So in the beginning OS September 1988,after about 2 weeks of classes, we were told to come back in January. We were encouraged to find a job or internship in the mean time. So I started to call around to different companies I found in the yellow pages.

After a few days I got a hit, a company was looking for a first line support technician. I sent in my application (I did not even have a formal resume) and a copy of my high school grades. A week later (on a Friday) I had an interview, and the following Monday I started working there. This company was Microsoft.

Needless to say, I learned a lot at Microsoft. I return to the class during the spring semester, worked at Microsoft during the summer break and then again after I graduated at Christmas.

After a year in the Air Force for the (then) mandatory military service, I intended to go back to Microsoft, but I was offered a job as a programmer at another company, and I jumped at that option. From there it just continued, via 5 years as an IT journalist and then over 20 years working mainly with Lotus (later IBM) Notes and Domino.

There are times when it feels it was just like yesterday I was writing Pascal code for a computer running CP/M-86 as operating system. Or when my coworker and I, who lived in the same apartment building (but on different floors and in different ends of the building) decided to run RG58 coax cable between out apartments, so we could network our computers. Or when I went scuba diving in Egypt and brought an IBM ThinkPad 701C (the model with the expanding keyboard) and a digital camera with me, so I could write a diary to publish on my personal website. Yes, it was pretty much a blog, way back in 1995…

But when I look at how technology has changed, it feel like the middle ages.

Our network at school (yes, we actually has one!) had a hard disk the size of a small shoebox, and with a capacity of 30 MB, to be shared between students and teachers. Yes, it’s not a typo. 30 Megabyte! Today most hard drives have at least twice that amount of memory just for cache…

Compare that with my mobile phone, on which I am writing this post while riding a bus from Dallas to Houston. It has 2185 times that memory (64 GB) built in. I have an additional 200 GB in the form of a micro SD card. This amount of storage would have been unfathomable 30 years ago.

Today we have internet access everywhere. I can sit in my car, in a restaurant or on a bus in the middle of nowhere and still have access to all the knowledge (not to mention cat videos) in the world. In fractions of a second I can perform a search that would have been virtually impossible 30 years ago.

I can turn on and off the lights at home, no matter where in the world I am. I can check the temperature in the different rooms and change the AC settings, if needed. I get an automatic alert if there is smoke I the house, or water where it is not supposed to be. And I can check the status of my laundry remotely.

I can talk to the computer, phone and other devices and have them turn lights on or off, tell me what the weather will be later that day or the next few days, or play any music I ask it to play. This is just like in Star Trek or 2001, except it is for real.

I can buy anything I need from the comfort of my home, or from anywhere in the world, and get it delivered within a day or two, sometimes even the same day.

At the same time I do miss the days back when I started with computers. It was like a new frontier, an unknown area where you had no idea what could happen next.

I still remember the excitement when I managed to create something new and cool, and I got it to work after spending countless hours working on it and troubleshooting the code. It is rare that I feel that excitement today, in the same way. But it still happens. .

I am very fortunate to be able to work with what I love, and have been able to do it for this long. I am looking forward to the next 30 years with great excitement.

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10th Anniversary of My Blog!

Yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of this blog, even though it had two different homes over that time.

I had tried blogging a couple of times earlier. In 1995 I went scuba diving in Egypt for a week, and I documented that on the personal web site I had created. This was done in a diary/blog format using an IBM Thinkpad 701 and pictures taken with a Kodak DC-40 digital camera. All HTML was coded by hand. Some years later I installed the blog templates for Lotus Domino to try it out, but I was never motivated to start blogging for real.

But in 2008 it was the right time. The IBM business partner Lotus911 (later GBS) had registered the domain BleedYellow.com and offered free blog hosting, using IBM Connections. I also felt more confident and wanted to share some code and knowledge as a way to pay back for all the help I had been getting.

I registered an account and started blogging right before Lotusphere 2008. I kept blogging at BleedYellow.com for a number of years, but in October 2012 I moved my blog to WordPress and my own domain. I was able to import all my existing blog entries to WordPress, so you can still view them even though GBS did shut down their US operations in 2015.

I started by blogging mostly about Notes and Domino, with some more personal articles. Eventually I expanded my blogging to cover other technologies, like web development using Javascript and jQuery, but still with an eye towards Domino developers.

Lately I have also started to share code related to NetSuite, a platform I have now been working with for a little over a year. I have been wanting to blog more about NetSuite, but been lacking the time. But don’t expect the content about Notes and Domino to go away. Version 10 is coming later this year, and I expect there will be plenty of new features to write about!

At times I have not been blogging as much as I wanted, due to work as well as some health issues I had in 2016. I apologize about that. I hope to be able to blog more frequently in the future. I have several subjects lined up, I just need the time to write.

Thank you for reading my blog and commenting on my articles. To know that I was able to help someone makes it worth to keep blogging.


Celebrating 20 years in the US

Many of my friends have a tradition of around New Years write a review of the year that just ended, either on their blogs or (more frequently these days) on Facebook. I have been doing that in the past as well. But this year is different for me.

Yesterday it was exactly 20 years ago I was standing at Arlanda Airport outside Stockholm, with a one-way ticket to the United States. My dad and sister were there with me, to say goodbye. I had spent the last few weeks packing anything important that I wanted to bring with me, and had sent it off with a shipping company a few days earlier.
I had also been working extra to make some additional money. I had to furnish a new place outside Boston, where I got a job as a Notes and Domino developer waiting for me at International Data Group.

But my flight would not take me to Boston. Instead I travelled to Spokane, WA. My then-wife Angie, who I had married just 3.5 months earlier, had returned to Idaho where she lived when we met. After I landed we spent a night at a hotel before we packed up her car with her belongings, including her cat Nicky. We then spent the next 4 days driving along I-90 across the northern USA, until we arrived in Boston, for a new chapter of my life.

Much have happened since that cold January morning when I left Sweden. I had a son in 2000, and a few months later my dad passed away back in Sweden. In 2002 we moved from Boston to Dallas, where Angie was from and where most of her family lived. A little over a year later Angie left me. Eventually I met my new wife Chrissy, and I cannot be more happy. My life is really good, I have a job I love, and a wonderful wife. I wonder what the next 20 years will bring me.

Finally, to all my family and friends, a Very Happy New Year!


IBM Notes, Domino and the future

As some may already know I was recently laid off after 14 years as a Notes and Domino developer at my workplace. I suspected for a while that some staff reduction would be coming soon, but I was a bit surprised that I was included since I am the only Notes developer in the company.

I had for a while considered to do consulting and freelance development. My wife as well as several friends have been encouraging me for years. So this was just the push I needed.

Demand Better Solutions Logo

I am starting my own company, Demand Better Solutions, where I will focus on Notes and Domino Development, application modernization and migration as well as building brand new web applications and websites.

I realize that me being laid off is just a business decision. It is not personal. Several of the business critical applications at my former employer are developed using IBM Notes, but the executives have for years been talking about moving away from the platform. Of course they don’t realize the huge amount of work needed to do this, but never the less this was/is their ultimate goal.

The reason is that they feel (based on what they hear from other executives) that Notes is old technology. The fact that IBM has been slow in modernizing the interface, and that many of the templates still look like back in 1999 when version 5.0 was released does not help this perception.

Last fall all our email at my old job was moved to Outlook, and ever since I have heard users complaining about missing Notes and certain functionality they were used to. A lot of integration between Notes applications and Notes mail were also lost, and I had to re-create it in different ways. You often hear stories about people complaining about the Notes client, but most of our users wanted nothing but to get it back…

My old employer also uses Visual FoxPro, a product where the last version was released in 2004. It has officially been discontinued by Microsoft, but we use it for several important applications. So I don’t think that even a product being discontinued is driving a huge number of migrations. It is the perception of how modern the product is that matters. And that perception is almost 100% the way the product looks.

To a user the interface is the product.

Create a modern looking application and nobody will question (or care) what tool was used to build it.

The last 3-4 years I have been learning new web technologies, like jQuery, Bootstrap, Ajax, JSON. I have been able to use much of that at work, as well as in several side projects. I also started learning C# and .net. After the layoff I sat down and started looking at (among others) php and mySQL as well as researched frameworks like AngularJS.

As a developer I have to keep up with new technologies, or I will be left behind. But it is hard when you work full-time, have side work and then have a family and house to take care of. Having some free time the last few weeks enabled me to focus on learning some new things.

I don’t think the Notes client will be developed much more, almost everything is moving towards web applications these days anyway. But IBM Domino is something totally different. It is an very capable and powerful development platform. With some skills in web technologies and a good understanding of the Domino platform one can build some amazing applications.

IBM recently released FixPack 7 and announced that the current version of Notes and Domino will be supported for at least five more years, until September 30, 2021. New functionality will be provided through Feature Packs, not version upgrades.

But Domino is just one tool of many. I am looking at LDC Via as another data store, as it very closely resembles Domino with a MongoDB-based NoSQL backend. Salesforce also has many similarities with Domino. The transition would therefore be fairly easy. AngularJS is another popular technology, with version 2.0 soon to be released. And we of course have IBM’s BlueMix offering, where MongoDB is just one of many technologies offered.

As a developer we need to learn new things constantly, the language or tools we use does really not matter. We should pick the proper tool, whatever fits the project.

Do you want to modernize your Notes and Domino applications?
Let me and Demand Better Solutions help you!


How fascinating! On to new ventures!

This last Tuesday was my last day as Sr Application Developer at Deep South, my workplace for the last 14 years. My position was somewhat — but not totally — unexpectedly eliminated.

I want to thank my manager John St Andria for the opportunity to work with him all these years. I had a great time, and I think we worked really well together. This was not his decision, it was a directive from higher up. I consider him a good friend. This was probably as hard for him as it was for me.

I have taken a few days to consider different options. My current plan is to spend some time learning a couple of new technologies and improving others. Finally I have the time to spend on learning new technologies, either on my own or by taking some classes. During the last year I already started this, by taking some college classes in C# and ADO.net. Now I will keep building on that foundation.

I think the best way forward for me is to diversify and learn additional technologies and platforms, and me being terminated might be the kick-in-the-butt I needed to get out of my comfort zone and venture into something new.

While I branch out I will obviously be looking for Domino related development jobs, either using the Notes client or Domino web applications. Feel free to pass my name, contact info and resume around.



Star Wars – 40 years ago today

Star_wars_OriginalPosterToday (March 22) it is exactly 40 years since prinicipal photography started on Star Wars (later known as Episode IV – A New Hope) in Tunisia.

When it was released in Sweden at Christmas 1977 it was released with the age restriction 11 years and older (unless accompanied by a parent, then it was from 7 years old). Since I was 8 years old at the time and my parents were not interested in seeing the movie, I did not get to see it until years later. I did however borrow the book from the library and read it around that same time.

It was actually not until Return of the Jedi came out in 1983 that I was able to watch it. A movie theatre in Stockholm showed the two first movie as a double-feature with just a short break inbetween about a week or two before the premiere of the third movie in the original trilogy.

I was already a sci-fi fan at this time, and I was amazed by the adventures and the special effects on the movies. I even had some plastic models from the movies, for example an X-Wing and an R2-D2 model. I think I got them for Christmas in 1977 or possibly 1978.

I was of course excited when Episode I was coming out back in 1999, but I have to admit I was disappointed with the whole prequel trilogy. The latest installment, Episode VII, was okay. I did enjoy it and it will be interesting to see where Disney is taking this in the next few years. But the original trilogy is still the best, in my opinion.




WWII – 75 years since Denmark and Norway were occupied

In the morning of April 9, 1940 Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in a surprise attack. Denmark had virtually no chance at all and was quickly overrun by the well-trained and experienced Wehrmacht. After six hours Denmark had no choice but to surrender. The quick surrender is thought to have resulted in a more lenient treatment of the country, and also delayed deportation of jews until late in the war, when most had already been able to escape.

Norway fought longer, and managed to sink the heavy cruiser Blücher just outside Oslo during the initial phase of the invasion. The southern part of the country fell fairly quickly, but it took 62 days before Germany had full control of the country, making Norway the nation that withstood a German invasion for the second longest period of time, after the Soviet Union.

Growing up in neighboring Sweden the events of April 9 were well-known to me, and since I have always been very interested in history (and especially conflict history like WWII) I did read a lot about this. I remember reading stories about Norwegian bus drivers who had their busses confiscated and loaded with German soldiers and then promptly driving themselves off the steep mountain roads, taking dozens of enemy soldiers with them in death. They were as brave as the soldiers fighting the invading forces on the different battle fields.

Sweden was never invaded or directly attacked during WWII, and that was probably very good. Despite starting to rebuild the (by then almost non-existing) military in the late 30’s when the threat from Hitler could no longer be ignored it would have taken until around 1950 until Sweden had a military force that could stop an invasion. It takes time to build up a military force, aquire equipment and teach the soldiers to use it, train officers in sufficient numbers and give them enough experience to lead troops.

Soviet Whiskey class submarine U137 on ground outside Karlskrona, Sweden.
Soviet Whiskey class submarine U137 on ground outside Karlskrona, Sweden.

The time when I grew up was at the tail end of the Cold War (even if we did not know it then). I remember the Soviet submarine U137 (actual designation S-363) running aground in southern Sweden in 1981, causing a tense stand-off between Swedish and Soviet military forces. Swedish fighter pilots had young eastern european men visiting them at home, posing as Polish students wanting to sell paintings or books in order to finance their studies. But strangely enough they only visited pilots, not their neighbors… They were most probably mapping out where the pilots were living, for Soviet special operations units to be able to assassinate them right before an attack on Sweden and thereby cripple the Swedish air defenses.

We also had the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, as well as numerous other conflicts all over the world. Not to mention the threat/fear of nuclear war. So in short, it was an interesting and somewhat scary period to grow up, especially living so close to the “Russian Bear”. Sweden have a long history of war with Russia.

This was of course reflected in some of the music at that time:

Me in 1990 during a training exercise in Sweden.
Me in 1990 during a training exercise in Sweden.


In 1984 I joined the Swedish Home Guard at age 15. At that age I needed my parents to sign a consent form, but they did. They realized that it would be good for me. The training took place about every third weekend during the school year, with a break during the summers. It was fun and I did learn a lot of things, everything from first aid, survival skills, shooting, using map and compass with great precision, operating radio systems and of course to get along with and work side by side with people/kids from other backgrounds than my own.

At one point I even considered a career in the military, but I quickly decided that computers and programming was more interesting and fun. But I continued as a member of the Home Guard for 13 years, until I moved to the United States. By that time the Cold War was over and the politicians had started to dismantle the military as they did not expect any threats or invasions anymore. That was of course the same way as most of Europe had dismantled their military after World War I, also known as “the war to end all wars”. We now in retrospect know what a bad idea that was.

Sweden is today in the same situation, with a almost non-existant military. The politicians finally realized late last year that perhaps Putin was not such a nice and peaceful guy and decided to increase the military spending, but with very small amounts and over many years. And just like in the 30’s and 40′ it still takes a long time to build up an efficient military force. You don’t hire a major or colonel from your local temp agency… Hopefully there will not be a large scale war in Europe but there is a war going on in Ukraine right now and Putin have been eying the Baltic states lately. If you haven’t read Command Authority, the last book Tom Clancy wrote before he passed away in 2013, I suggest that you do. It is scaringly accurate, and it was written before Russia invaded Ukraine.

So time after time history have shown that the old saying is true: “Every country has an army, either their own or somebody else’s”.


We are living in the future


The last few years I have revisited the stories of some of my childhood favorite sci-fi authors, and in particular Robert A Heinlein. It is fascinating to read stories written in the 50’s and 60’s and compare them to what actually happened.

Last week I finished The Door into Summer (1956) which takes place in 1970 and in 2000. It is amusing to read about the household (and other) robots and how they are programmed using a kind of electronic tubes. My robotic vacuum at home is the size of a pizza box, not the human sized robots described in the book. Voice recognition is mentioned, but according to the book it is too complicated and bulky, except for a very limited vocabulary. Today we have voice recognition in every mobile phone, and programs like DragonDictate (later Dragon NaturallySpeaking) have been around since the late 90’s.

In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) one of the main “characters” is the computer Mike, who takes up a large building and control all of the Luna colony. This echos the quote attributed to IBM’s Thomas J. Watson: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”. The philosophy back then was that centralized computer power was the way to go, not the distributed systems we have today. And they were still using telephones with wires in the future. Today we use smart phones with more computing power than Heinlein could ever imagine, and probably more computing power than the computer in the book.

And in Starman Jones (1953) the crew calculate their position largely manually, with the help of a computer that requires all the input data entered with binary switches, and returns the data in binary code using lights. The positions of the stars (used for the calculations) are recorded using “plates” which have to be developed, in other words traditional photography. Digital photography have today pretty much killed off traditional “chemical” photography using film.

There are of course many examples of where authors been right and describe technical equipment which have actually been developed, like the water bed (Heinlein in aforementioned The Door into Summer) and tablet computers (Orson Scott Card in Ender’s Game from 1985).

So in many ways we already live in the future, and in an even more amazing and technologically developed world than even the greatest sci-fi writers could imagine. I don’t think anyone envisioned Internet and it’s importance, even if Orson Scott Card does write about a world wide computer network used for information and discussion in Ender’s Game. But by that time Internet already existed (just not the world wide web) and the electronic bulletin board systems (BBS) were becoming popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Personally I started connecting to BBSes in 1986 (possibly 1987) and in 1990 I connected to my favorite BBS almost daily.

Sure, we don’t have the flying cars everyone expected, or even the hoverboards from Back to the Future II (1989). But I believe that the rise of Internet is perhaps the single most important event in recent history. It has revolutionized shopping, you can now connect to a site on the other side of town or the opposite side of the planet and talk to people or purchase products. We have sites like Wikipedia and Stack Exhange where we can learn things and ask questions, not to mention online learning.

We have home automation that rival what is described in sci-fi books and movies. At home we are renovating (or rather rebuilding from scratch) our bathroom. We are going to install a Moen digital shower system as well as a pretty high-tech toilet. We already have a number of Insteon lights all over the house, controlled though a hub and a smart phone app (some lights are even turned on and off on a schedule based on sunset and sunrise), as well as a robotic vacuum. The latter is cleaning the house twice a day by itself, which is keeping the pet hairs under control and improving the air quality substantially. There is so much more you can do to your home these days, including changing the temperature remotely and even monitoring and controlling your hot tub.

My car has a radar to automatically break if someone walks out in front of the car, and this feature has been improved even more in the latest models. When the car is not braking by itself, the radar assisted cruise control let you drive safely behind other cars while you stream live radio from the other side of the globe through the Internet to your phone and then over bluetooth to the car stereo.

I love living in the future.


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!


Gone fishing. Or rather gone scuba diving.

I am currently away for a little over a week, taking a vacation in Curaçao. This next week I am planning some relaxing scuba diving, but for now we are just exploring the beautiful capital Willemstad.
So don’t expect any technical writing for a little bit. See you in December.




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#ThrowbackThursday – My old HP calculators


I have previously here on my blog mentioned my preference for HP calculators. Our first calculator at home was the HP-21, with a red LED display, which we got in late 1975 (if I remember correctly), soon after it was released. My parents used it for all different kinds of calculations, especially taxes (back then the Swedish tax system was much more complicated than it is today). My cousin who worked at HP (and got us the calculator) explained RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) to me, and it made sense to me to use that system for calculations.



Fast forward to 1983. I was now in 8th grade and we were allowed to use calculators in school. In 7th grade I had learned to use a slide rule (it was already outdated at this time) just to irritate my math teacher, but now I got my very own calculator, the HP-15C. This scientific calculator, often called the best calculator ever made, was programmable with 448 program steps. I wrote all kinds of programs for it, and used it heavily in math and physics classes in school.



In 1987, HP released the graphing calculator HP-28C, with 2kB of memory, a display that could show not only graphs but all four levels of the stack, and a flip-open or “clamshell” case, with two separate keyboard sections. I got one as soon as it came out, as well as an infrared thermo printer (HP82240A). My dad took over my HP-15C, and he kept it until his death in 2001.



A year later HP-28S was released, with 32kB memory and support for directories and custom menus, as well as a few new fucntions like symbolic expressions. So I sold the HP-28C and purchased the newer model, even if I was almost done with high school at this point.


My HP-48SX calculator and 82240A printer
My HP-48SX calculator and 82240A printer

In 1990 HP released the great HP-48SX, with a large graphics display, two expansion ports for memory cards of up to 128kB, a two-way infrared port, a serial port with support for the Kermit file transfer protocol and 32kB build-in user memory. The processor had a clock frequency of 2 MHz and the display had a resolution of 131 x 64 pixel. I got this calculator in April 1990, while I served in the Swedish Air Force. I really had no use for the calculator right then, but I knew that I wanted the latest and greatest in HP handheld calculators. I don’t remember what I did with my HP-28S, I think I may have sold it to an old classmate. I kept the printer, despite the fact that a newer model (HP82240B) had been released. The few changes did not motivate me to spend that extra money.

I have kept my old trusty HP-48SX ever since, for 24 years now. It still works, and in the last 20 years I probably only had to replace the batteries a couple of times.


A few weeks ago I happened to search for HP-28S on eBay, and found that there were several of them for sale there. There were also several HP-28C and HP-48SX, as well as it’s successor HP-48GX (which I never owned). I managed to buy an HP-28S, manuals for it and a leather case just like the one I had. I also picked up a HP82240B printer for $30, I could not resist it at that price…

So now I have all the HP calculators I once owned, except the HP-28C. I also plan to purchase another HP-48SX, as my original calculator have a problem. In order to turn it on or off, I have to press lightly in a specic spot on the case. This well known and common issue is due to a shrunken/dried contact pad between the display and the main curcuit board.

I also purchased a non-working HP-48SX just a few days ago for $22, just so I can open it and see what it looks like inside, before I attempt to repair my own original calculator. Of course I hope that the eBay seller never tried the trick to press in that particular spot, so it may just have the same issue as my calculator. We will see when I get it.

Below is my little collection of HP calculators and printers. In the top row you can see the HP82240B printer to the left and the HP82240A in it’s leather case in the center. To the far right is the leather case for HP-28S.

My collection of HP calculators and printers.
My collection of HP calculators and printers.

I am a victim of identity theft

This weekend I found out that I am a victim of identity theft. It is very unsettling, and feels like a total violation of my privacy.

My girlfriend Chrissy and I were discussing the potential of me getting a new car in the next few months. I am having some repairs coming up on my current car, like the air conditioning leaking refrigerant, fixing a small oil leak and a few other little but annoying things that will add up. It would be nice to avoid those repairs and getting a new car where I don’t have to worry about service for a few years.

We looked around online for cars that could be interesting and I found some good deals. I started working on a budget to figure out what I could afford and Chrissy asked me what my credit score was. I had to admit to her that I had no idea. After my divorce in 2003 I took some bad hits to my credit, as I was not able to keep up with all the bills for the house by myself plus my car payment, utilities and other expenses in addition to paying child support all of the sudden. So I had been scared of even looking at my credit score.

Chrissy had used Credit Karma before for herself so Sunday I started setting up a new account there. I entered my social security number, address and some other information to setup the account.  I selected a password and submitted the form. To my surprise the reply from the site said that I already had an account, but using another email address. It did not show the address in clear, it was masked so I could only see the domain (@att.net), but I have never had any address in that domain. I sat there shocked for a while and tried to think of what could be going on.  Chrissy and I talked about it and worried that it might be identity theft.  So we called a lawyer who is a relative of hers who also works in this field.  We found out quickly that the act of someone accessing my credit report without my permission is a felony at the state and federal level. If they tried to take out credit or did take out credit in my name it is another felony.  Doing these things over the computer is yet another charge.

So to figure out the truth I had to make copies of my id and fill out a form that we sent through the mail to Credit Karma, to prove my identity and get access to “my” account. This will probably take a little while though.  🙁

But I am furious that someone managed to find out enough about me to be able to setup an account to monitor my credit. The person must have my social security number, my date of birth and probably also my address. A lot of people have this information, actually. This article mention some ways people can get unauthorized access to someones credit report, for example a rogue employee in HR or a company or law firm otherwise allowed to pull a credit report.  It could just be someone who have your social security number, address and knows a little bit about you.

Just a few years ago, both Chrissy and our friend Mark were victims of identity theft. Someone broke into the mailboxes in their neighborhood and stole pre-approved credit cards and other personal information, and were able to take out credit cards in their names.  Before moving here, I know there were a couple of mailbox break-ins at my old place. The persons who stole their identity were caught using the stolen credit and arranged a plea deal that resulted in 40 years in federal prison.  Thought they will likely serve only half of that, 20 years is a long time.

I recently went through surgery, and I was in contact with different medical providers, both in person and on the phone. I had to give out my full social security number and address several times. Seems like there have been a number of cases where nurses or other medical staff have been stealing personal information from patients. I am not saying this is what happened in my case because I don’t know yet, but very few other people should have my social security number so I am looking very carefully at that.

I went to another site and ran my credit report there, and I did not see any unknown accounts taken out in my name. So I put a fraud alert on my credit report, so it should be harder/impossible to setup any accounts in my name without me knowing/being alerted.

So what else do I need to do? I have been doing some research, and one of the first things I had to do is to file a police report. If I didn’t do that, and someone takes out a credit card in my name, I may be responsible for the charges or seen as being part of the crime.

As we were told by the lawyer, it is a federal crime just to access someones credit report:

Under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), any person or organization who knowingly and willfully obtains a credit report under false pretenses (such as getting a credit report on an individual without a permissible purpose as outlined below), is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to 1 year, or both.

So even if no credit cards were taken out in my name, just the act of accessing my credit report is a felony.  And I am still not completely sure that there are no accounts taken out fraudulently.

I live in Texas, and the state laws regarding identity theft is actually stricter than the federal laws. So the person that did this will face a felony charge in one of the two jurisdictions.

We also requested Credit Karma to provide me with the email address was used to sign up for “my” account, as well as what IP address it was done from, as well as the date/time and all the times it was accessed.  The police can then contact the Internet provider that owns that IP address and request to know what customer used it at that specific time. So it should not be too hard for the police to find out who it was.

I am furious. I feel violated and like I am looking over my shoulder all the time. Did my doctor or nurse do this? Did someone break into my mail? Could someone have hacked my computer? It is almost as bad as when my house was broken into back in 2004 and I lost a lot of personal items. I hope this will not affect my credit rating, or cause me not to be able to get the car I want. I am worried about that but it seems like with a police report and cooperating with authorities I can get things cleared up.

From years of tracking down spammers back in 1999-2002, I know how you can find out a lot from electronic tracks left behind. As soon as they have the information from Credit Karma about the account the authorities will have no problem to find out who it was. And then I get to file charges and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. I will enjoy that!


Update 2014-08-28: I have found out who did it, and the issue have been dealt with. There was no major financial loss, just some time and money spent driving to several different police departments trying to file in the correct jurisdiction. Thanks everyone who supported me!


The joy of programming

I have been programming since the beginning of 1983. I started over 30 years ago with Basic, then went to Pascal after about 3 years. I then in fairly quick succession went to C, Visual Basic, VBA and then a few years later (in 1996) to Lotusscript. Along the way I also picked up Javascript, as well as web design with HTML and CSS (even if it may be questionable to call the latter two “programming languages”).

During June and most of July this year, I did not do much/any programming, due to me recovering from surgery. At work I also do more administration work and research, leaving less time for actual programming and even less time to pick up new skills like XPages.  Coming back and starting writing code again made me realize how much I enjoy programming.

I miss writing code and solving problems by writing a program that help our users (or me) accomplish something faster and better than before. I enjoy posting code here on my blog, as well as on Stack Overflow and in the developerWorks forums. If I can help someone, like so many have been helping me in the past, at the same time as I get to write code and have fun, that is a double whammy.

But even writing code for myself, just for fun and to learn new things is enjoyable to me even after all these years. In a way it is me against the computer. I get to make the machine do what I want by taking a problem or process and breaking it down in smaller and smaller pieces until I have a working solution. Every time I come up with a smarter or more clever way to do something, I get excited and happy.

I love learning new things, and in the field of programming (as in the rest of IT), learning never ends. Hopefully I soon will have time to sit down and view some courses at Lynda.com as well as watch some of David Leedy’s excellent Notes-in-9 tutorials, to improve my skills and add more/new tools to my toolbox. And to have fun.

Happy coding!


I am back.

On June 11 I had some major surgery at Medical City in Dallas. It was a planned surgery to remove part of my intestines to prevent future outbreaks of diverticulitis. I been having about 2-3 outbreaks a year for the last 12 years or so. Normally they perform surgery after just 2 severe cases. I was not looking forward to the surgery and recovery, knowing that I would not be able to work for at least 3-4 weeks, and after that just half days for a little while. But the benefits of the surgery outweighted the negative sides.

Scar 10 days after surgery. YOu can also wee where the drainage tubes were located.
My scar 10 days after surgery. You can also see where the drainage tubes were located.

I was a bit nervous before surgery, but everything went well. Í am now the owner of a scar about 14 inches long across my abdomen, and lacking about a foot of my colon as well as a tennis ball sized clump of scar tissue from years of infections. If anyone is interested, the procedure is called sigmoid colon resection.

I had to stay at the hospital for a week (I was released in the evening on June 17) and then stayed 3 days at a local hotel to avoid having to go up the stairs at home. On June 20 I was finally home. I started working half-time last week, but after two days at the office, I was in severe pain/discomfort and had to rest for a day before I started working from home instead. Thankfully I have a great boss who let me do that.

For the first 5 days after surgery I was not allowed any solid food, then I went to a low fiber diet.  Two weeks after surgery all dietary restrictions were lifted and I could eat anything I wanted.

For obvious reasons I have not been blogging during this time, I have mainly been resting. But now I hope to be able to do some blogging again. I have already returned to the developerWorks forums and StackOverflow.

If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from diverticulitus, look into this surgery. I have already been able to eat things I had to exclude from my diet for years, like sesame seeds, chopped garlic and raspberries. Despite still not being fully back to normal, and having some pain every day from the healing process, I would highly recommend this surgery.

If you live in the DFW area, I can highly recommend Medical City. Great facility with wonderful staff. I also want to recommend dr Robert Cloud, my surgeon. He was great at explaining the procedure in detail and answered all my questions. His office was also very quick to respond to email.



Things we don’t want to think about

Two separate incidents are leading me to write this blog entry. First, the way too early passing of Tim Tripcony just a few days ago, as well as as the loss of Rob Wunderlich, Jens Augustiny and Kenneth Kjærbye in just a little over a year. All of those members of the Lotus Community left us way too early. The second one is a more personal one, as I am going in for surgery in a few weeks. All surgeries carry a small risk of complications (this particular one supposedly has less than 2% mortality rate).

But what this leads me is to the subject of this blog entry. Life insurance.

Most of us who are employed have some kind of life insurance through our work, and perhaps like me also have an additional life insurance policy. I am sure that most of self-employed also have purchased some life insurance themselves. So we all know we need life insurance, to provide for our children and/or spouses.

wpid-20130615_145921.jpgBut what should happen with the money, in case the worst happens? In my case, I am divorced, and have a 13 year old son. Should a 13 year old inherit half a million dollar or more just like that? Or even if the child has to wait until age 18 to get the money, and it is managed by the other parent for some years, what would that lead to? I have heard stories about young adults that inherited a large sum of money after the death of a parent, bought a fast motor cycle or sports car and killed themselves within a year. Or who started using drugs/alcohol and either wasted the money on those things, or were killed by the substance abuse. I also know about women who lost their husbands, and within a few years used up all the life insurance money on houses, new cars, cosmetic surgery, all while not working.

wpid-2830.jpgSo how do you make a real impact on the life of your loved ones left behind? In my case, I am in the process of setting up a trust that will handle the investment of the money, as well as spend it in a way consistent with my wishes.
The trust will handle the payouts of the child support until my son turns 18, and it will cover his college education (tuition, books, living expenses) for up to 5 years, etc. It also have all kinds of other provisions, like a cash payment to help with his wedding (only one, and after the age of 27!), matching payments to him for what he puts into a Roth IRA  every year, financial help to buy a car and a house, etc. Even little things like extra money for birthday and christmas gifts are listed there. In addition, the trustee will have some personal discretion to help out when needed, and of course any medical and educational expenses will be covered as needed.

There are so many little details that one has to think about. Until my girlfriend Chrissy brought this up a while ago, I had not really been reflecting much on all those things. So I recommend that everyone sit down and think through how you want your life insurance to be handled if the worst happens. Just having life insurance isn’t enough to ensure they’ll be ok.

Too much of a windfall could be a problem for someone who is not ready to handle it.  Knowing an inheritance is coming could even discourage a child from going to college because they may think they won’t need the education. Most parents do not consider the negative impact it could have on a young person to receive a large amount of money at one time, but we should.

Erik PortraitWhile we may not always be able to be there for our kids if the worst does happen to any of us before they are grown this is a way to make our wishes known about their choices.  This trust is important to me because I can continue to parent him at the same time as I provide financially for him. Setting up a trust lets my son know in writing what my wishes for his life would have been if I had been here.  A college degree, saving for retirement, marriage if he wants it but not until he’s mature enough to handle it, buy a house and I’ll match your down payment and even limiting access if he ever gets into legal or substance abuse trouble. These would be things I will do as long as I am here physically for him too.

As I plan for this surgery it allows me to feel like I’d get a say in raising him through the stipulations of a trust, even if I wasn’t here anymore.  That knowledge calms me enough to face surgery without worry about my son.  Not just in financial terms but also in respect to all the other things a parent provides.

Tough to think about, but so very important.



In memory of Tim Tripcony

A couple of hours ago, I was reached by the terrible news that Tim Tripcony is no longer with us.

Tip Tripcony at Lotusphere 2009
Tip Tripcony at Lotusphere 2009

I have known Tim for several years, and meeting him at Lotusphere (later Connect) was always a treat. He is one of the most brilliant programmers I have met, and he always had time to talk to me about some question I had or just discuss some technical concept. Every time I met Tim, it felt like a little of his intelligence rubbed off on me.

A couple of years ago, I started looking at XPages, and when I ran into a problem, I asked Tim for some help on Skype or Sametime (don’t remember now which one it was). As the helpful and generous person he was, he took the time out of his busy day to help me with my problem.

Tim was one of the early adopters and champions of XPages, and I have been reading his excellent blog and been to his sessions at Lotusphere. He is one of the developers I admired the most, and that is no easy feat, with all the brilliant individuals we have in the ICS (“Yellowsphere”) community.

Tim, thanks for all your help and ideas over the years. My thoughts goes out to your family, your friends and co-workers, and to everyone else who were fortunate to know you. You will be missed.


Happy New Year – My Year in Review

2013 has been a very interesting year for me.

It started with a trip to Connect in Orlando that almost did not happen. The company I work at was in a money-saving mode, and denied my request to attend. I had already resigned myself to this and come to terms with the fact that I would be missing Lotusphere for the first time since I stared going in 1997. It was made even harder as I heard several of my friends in the community saying that they feared this would be the last Lotusphere, either for them or for the conference itself, in the shape we knew it.
But suddenly out of the blue I was offered a press pass to cover Connect, like I had been doing in the past for a few publications (as well as a blogger, during the now-cancelled blogger attendance program). With the conference fee covered, and with a kind offer from a friend in the community to share his room, I purchased my own airline tickets, requested vacation days at work and headed to Orlando for what I thought might be the last time.

Connect 2013 was, despite the name change, better than I expected. It was a great conference, my schedule was full of excellent sessions and I got to meet many of my friends again. There were a few faces missing, but many of the familiar faces and voices were seen and heard during the week.

Unfortunately, one voice was silenced forever the Sunday before Lotusphere. Kenneth Kjærbye was killed in a motorcycle accident, during a yearly ride with other attendees and presenters. This of course affected many in the community, but my opinion of IBM increased more than a few notches from hearing how well they responded to the tragedy.
This was not the only familiar face in the community that we lost. Rob Wunderlich and Jens Augustiny both passed away, also way too early,  in 2013. You will all be missed.
There were also some other emotional farewells at Connect 2013, with long-time attendees being there for the last(?) time.

On a more personal level, things changed as well in 2013.
I still haven’t started working very much with XPages, but with the release of Notes and Domino 9.0 in 2013, it feels like XPages are more solid and ready for prime time. My workplace is still on Notes 8.5.2 Basic client, which limits me to classic Notes development. I use Notes/Domino 9.0 at home, though, and I am very impressed with the stability.
I also started on a web application, developed using Bootstrap and jQuery, working with a Domino-based backend. I can’t talk too much about this project yet, but it has a lot of potential to help children in need, and I am very happy to be in a position to work on it.

I also moved, something that if you know me is a big deal. I don’t like to move. I actually loathe moving, which is why I had been living at my apartment for 9 1/2 years when I finally moved. But the reason I moved was to move in with my girlfriend in Dallas. In the end of 2012, I was lucky enough to meet Chrissy, and during 2013 the relationship developed to a level where we decided that I should move in. It is wonderful, but also sometimes annoying, to be in a relationship with someone who is on the same level as oneself when it comes to intelligence, logic and knowledge. Sometimes I wish her mind was not as sharp, like when she manages to out-logic me in a discussion. 🙂

Work have been steady busy. I have been involved in a couple of projects where we provide data from Domino databases to external applications. In one case it was to create a nightly export in CSV format to be used in a SalesForce application, other one was to create a RESTful web service to return JSON used in a web application being developed for our underwriters. I have of course also been busy keeping up with the requests from different department heads to modify their different mission-critical Notes application, based on new business requirements and regulatory demands as well as department reorganizations.

The end of 2013 was the pinnacle of the year. Not only did I get moved in with Chrissy, I also received a surprise email telling me that I had been selected IBM Champion. Professionally, this is huge for me. I feel very flattered and humble to be on the same list as so many of the great names in the community, people who I looked up to and learned from for years.

Looking forward to 2014, I have a busy year ahead. Connect 2014 is coming up in just over 3 weeks, and this time work approved and paid for the trip. Despite some missing faces, I hope that Connect 2014 will be as good as previous years, and that I will learn new technologies, learn more about what I already know, and connect with new people.
I also have some additional trips planned. Hawaii in the end of March for a conference (hopefully with some personal time available, as I have never been there before), London in May to visit my best friend who lives there with his family, and perhaps a quick trip over to Holland to visit Chrissy’s cousin who is living there, a real life (well almost) Indiana Jones. 🙂

I am also planning to step up my blogging some in 2014. 2013 was the first full year of my blogg being hosted on WordPress, but I did not setup the statistics to save more than the last 120 days, so I don’t have a full years worth of statistics, something I realized just the other day. I wrote 60 entries this year on my blog, as well as seven on SocialBizUG.org, but I hope to be able to create even more content in 2014.

So in closing, I want to wish everyone reading my blog a Happy New Year, may 2014 be a great year for you and your families.


I am now an IBM Champion!

IBM Champion

This morning I received an email that I have been selected as one of 87 IBM Champions from 18 countries around the world. This is the first time I am awarded this honor, and I am humbled to be listed together with some of the greatest names in the ICS/Lotus community (a.k.a. the Yellowsphere).

So what is an IBM Champion? This is how Oliver Heinz (who takes over after Joy Davis as Community Manager) describes it:

These individuals are non-IBMers who evangelize IBM solutions, share their knowledge and help grow the community of professionals who are focused on social business and IBM Collaboration Solutions. IBM Champions spend a considerable amount of their own time, energy and resources on community efforts — organizing and leading user group events, answering questions in forums, contributing wiki articles and applications, publishing podcasts, sharing instructional videos and more!

Thank you everyone who nominated me! I am looking forward to see everyone, fellow Champions as well as all my other friends in the community, at Connect 2014 in January!


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