Almost time for the big HCL launch

Don’t forget  to join HCL live from Tokyo of the 4th of December at 9am Eastern, 2pm UK, 3pm European, 11pm Tokyo time (yes that is a lot of time zones) for the Global Launch of the next batch of HCL Digital Solutions software.

You still have time if you are quick to register here

This week I am at #ESPC19

This week I am in a chilly Prague at #ESPC19. This is one of the biggest Microsoft user group events in Europe and is definately a favourite of mine.

It is the first big event post Ignite and is a great oportunity to catch up with all the news and progress since then.

As usual my focus is all about the social business side and collaboration so its all about Teams and Yammer for me and I will be heading to a few sessions on those topics.

Of course BCC have a great Teams Management Tool – so if Teams is your thing, or you are struggling to manage the sprawl of Teams let us know.

These events are always great fun and very social and tonight is Party night – Prague is a beautiful city, with good beer, great food and the architecture is amazing so I am really looking forward to seeing some sights whilst here too.

 

 

The year of Yammer

As I am working a lot with Microsoft 365 lately and I am a social animal I was very interested in what is going on with Yammer – 2020 is #YearOfYammer  and rightly so.
Microsoft have given Yammer the love it needs and it will now integrate with the rest of the O365 stack of products and work hand in hand with Teams and Sharepoint just as it should.

The new Yammer is slick looking, well integrated and fills the parts for social collaboration that Teams can’t quite reach- which is exactly what it should be for.
Here is a quick overview video:
 
Here is a summary on what is new:
  • A new, personalized discovery feed powered by AI
  • Customize the All Company feed to bring your organization’s unique branding and culture into the default Yammer community.
  • Renaming Yammer groups to communities and adding many new improvements and experiences.
  • Adding a cover photo to communities
  • Expanding the use of announcements so you can have the same reach with polls, questions, or praise
  • Improvements for gifs, videos, link previews, and file attachments to make sharing beautiful content simple
  • Community managers (admins) can now pin a conversation to the top of the feed
  • Community managers will have the ability to close conversations. Use this to share messages as read-only etc.
  • New event discovery page to each community so members can stay informed about what’s happening
  • Schedule and produce a Live Event in Yammer using webcams and desktop and file sharing
  • Totally rebuilt the mobile apps to bring modern responsiveness and readability to both iOS and Android.
  • The new Yammer App in Teams can be pinned directly into the Teams navigation rail for quick access. It’s Yammer. Just in Teams.
  • Participate in Yammer conversations without leaving your Outlook inbox.
  • Bringing new Yammer to the conversations web part for SharePoint – including file attachments, rich text, and question and answer to help you capture knowledge and mark best answers.
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance
  • eDiscovery in Yammer to rollout in December 2019
  • Native Mode, Admins can confidently manage Yammer policy through Azure Active Directory and the Microsoft 365 Admin Center without entering Yammer to manage things like group membership, group privacy, or data classification
 
 
There are a couple of good blogs about what is coming :
 
 
Full announcement from Ignite
 
The new Yammer is due to roll out to all customers in the first half of 2020. A private preview will be available in early 2020 which I have signed up for of course as I like to be in the know about these things.
I spent a lot of time talking to the product managers and developers and I am really excited about what the new Yammer will offer – can’t wait to start using it.

#YearOfYammer

Nominate a HCL Master – time is running out

Time is running out … you have just 2 days left to nominate someone to be an HCL Master. If you know someone who goes beyond their day job to help others, share knowledge, give feedback and champions the HCL digital solutions products then please nominate them …  You can do so by checking out the form here

Masters are HCL ambassadors (not employees) and their commitment to sharing their expertise has a huge impact on the HCL community – whether they are blogging, writing books, speaking, running workshops, creating tutorials and classes, offering support in forums, or organizing and contributing to local events – they help make HCL’s mission of making technology play nice, possible.

Global Launch of HCL Digital Solutions Software Scheduled

Last night I recieved an exciting mail

Join HCL live from Tokyo of the 4th of December at 9am Eastern, 2pm UK, 3pm European, 11pm Tokyo time (yes that is a lot of time zones) for the Global Launch of the next batch of HCL Digital Solutions software.

As part of the global launch new versions of HCL Domino, Sametime and Connections – which is super exciting.  There will be live demos,  news and roadmaps and lots of other exciting things. Its just a shame its half a world away as I would LOVE to have been there.

The Agenda is looking pretty good – I have taken this from the registration page

  • Live from Tokyo Keynote: A Major HCL Milestone. These new releases represent our commitment to relentlessly modernize and innovate these products.
  • Myth Busters: “Domino is old. It’s uncool. It isn’t valuable to my business anymore. Connections is built for engineers by engineers.” We’ve heard them all. Let us show you why they’re wrong.
  • The CIO’s Imperatives for 2020: How are the most strategic and successful CIOs preparing for the next decade? Putting customers first and making IT the department of “yes,” for starters. Come learn what else is essential to leadership.
  • Domino V11: Why Modernizing Beats Migrating. Get ready to rethink what you know about Domino, and let us prove why V11 is the smartest choice for your current and future app-dev decisions.
  • We Hear You?: HCL Connections 6.5 = More Value from Your Investment. During the #LetsConnect customer jams, the Connections Ideas Lab and countless other points of input, we have been listening to you. With 6.5, we’re delivering even more value for Connections and laying the foundation for what’s to come.

I am very much looking forward to this event and will be avidly blogging and tweeting as it happens. You can register for the keynote here and share with your friends, customers and colleagues 🙂

21 Days to go before the charity run

We leave for the charity run in just 21 days .. and would really like to hit the £1,000 target for the guys at Feel the Force Day (www.feeltheforceday.com) also known as FTFD.

In between what is becoming a very busy August and September workwise (thanks to loads of very cool projects and more coming in) – I have been trying to find time for training and to promote the fact that 4 of us are running at the Disneyland Paris Magic Run weekend for the 4th year, to raise funds for this amazing cause.

If you aren’t comfortable using just giving, you can paypal me your donation, give me cash or bank transfer it and I will pay it on your behalf (message me if you would like to do that), Sam is collecting over at the Little Shop of This & That too – but EVERY PENNY helps keep this event going. FTFD is run completely on donations from people like us and sponsorship of local companies.

Founded in 2013 by Si Howard and JJ Lucia-Wright what started off as a small event in a backroom has grown into one of the biggest fan run Film, TV and Comic Cons in the country. So much so, they have outgrown the Kingsgate Conference Centre in Peterborough and they are moving to the East of England arena.

Si, JJ and their fantastic team put on an event that EVERYONE can feel comfortable at. FTFD events are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters of all shapes and sizes, aisles are wide to allow guests with walking aids to pass, tables are at a height that chairs and shorter guests can access. There are sensory rooms and touch tables for guests with visual or hearing problems, quiet rooms for guests who are anxious, autistic and have other issues with noise and crowds. Guests are encouraged to touch props and costumes – it is a festival of sound and vision, touch and taste – something for all the senses – even if that means very quiet and one on one experience.

In 2018 over 6,000 visitors came through the doors, moving to the bigger venue means there will be even more space, room for 8,000 visitors, more room for displays and vehicles – bigger space means more costs, which is why the 2019 run needs to raise more funds. If you can help in anyway please let us know

Feel the Force Day is by far the most inclusive best day out if you are a geek and it makes no difference who you are as Feel the Force Day is for everyone no matter what.

This cause is so close to my heart which is why I am slogging my way around 3 races in 3 days and getting up at 4am on a saturday and sunday 🙂

So please if you can #GiveUsAQuid to help FTFD – please visit our Just Giving Page to donate, contact me to donate another way, check out our website for more information or visit our facebook page.

I am eternally grateful to my awesome employeer BCC who allows me the time off to do this – I couldn’t ask for a more supportive bunch of people to work with … and THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us so far

PonyCam update

PonyCam update

It is installed and running off of a 12v leisure battery – there is a cigarette lighter adapter with 2 USB ports running power to the Nano Router and the Pi

The Pi is mounted on a shelf – in a little cradle made from EVA foam to stop it sliding about. The camera is mounted with some velcro under the shelf which can be angled as required.

We used it for the first time yesterday as I took Luna out to a horse show and it worked beautifully. Streaming the image to the iPad worked really well. The picture was good and the battery appears to be lasting forever which is also good.

So all in all I am over the moon with it – I will look to improve it, but so far so good. I will post an update with any improvements we make 🙂

 

Run 4 Feel the Force Day 2019

Hello lovely readers …

It is that time of year again when I am preparing to spend a few days at Disneyland Paris running to raise money for my favourite charity .. yes you heard that right RUNNING.  Every year since 2016 my best friend and fellow Disney fan and costumer Sam Edgar have headed to Disneyland Paris in September to take part in the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend.

Feel the Force Day is the world’s only Film, TV and Comic Con designed for visually impaired people, disabled people & people with learning difficulties.Founded in 2013 by Si Howard and JJ Lucia-Wright, what started off as a small event in a backroom has grown into one of the biggest fan run Film, TV and Comic Cons in the country. So much so, they have outgrown the Kingsgate Conference Centre in Peterborough and they are moving to the East of England arena which can hold a massive 8,000 people.

 
Si, JJ and their fantastic team put on an event that EVERYONE can feel comfortable at. FTFD events are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters of all shapes and sizes, aisles are wide to allow guests with walking aids to pass, tables are at a height that chairs and shorter guests can access. There are sensory rooms and touch tables for guests with visual or hearing problems, quiet rooms for guests who are anxious, autistic and have other issues with noise and crowds. Guests are encouraged to touch props and costumes – it is a festival of sound and vision, touch and taste – something for all the senses – even if that means very quiet and one on one experience.
 

Since 2016 Sam and I (and our amazing team) have ran 203km and raised almost £3,000 for Feel the Force Day.

This year a team of 4 are heading to DLP for run weekend between us we will be running 108km between us.

The adults in the group will be doing the challenges

I am running the 36k challenge which is 3 races : 5k, 10k and half marathon

Sam & Ben are running the 31k challenge which is 2 races: 10k and half marathon

5k is on Friday night at 8pm, 10k is Saturday morning at 7am and the half is on Sunday morning at 7am.  We have to be in the corals an hour before the race so that is a 4:30/5am wake up – lovely 🙂

We do this because we all believe that Feel the Force Day is an amazing cause. It is completely run by volunteers and is funded by donations and the kind sponsorship of local companies.

If you can spare £1, €1, $1 or any amount in any currencey to sponsor us  that would be amazing. You can donate to our run by visiting our Just Giving page or hit the donate button below. If you wish to donate or pledge a donation in person please let us know.

All donations go straight to the 1st Sensory Legion charity who are the team behind Feel The Force Day and every penny really does count.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Thank you SO MUCH to our regular supporters who have sponsored us every year – you are amazing people and we love you.

To find out more please see the following links:V

PonyCam or Raspberry Pi surveillance system

This was a super simple and not very expensive project. I needed a way to watch the ponies in the horse box whilst we are travelling. Obviously you can buy systems that do this, but they are expensive – starting at about £150 for a low end one .. and they can get as expensive as £600.  I was convinced that I could make something way cheeper than that with a Raspberry Pi .. so I googled.

What you will need to make a surveillance system:

Something to use as a screen – an old phone, tablet as long as it can connect via wi-fi and it has a browser that will work fine.

 

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W – which you can buy from the awesome PiMoroni or PiHut for less than £10

Link to Pi Zero – Pimoroni
Link to PiZero – PiHut

 

Pi Camera – I have this one from amazon £13 comes with a handy camera holder
Amazon Link to PiCamera

 

 

Wireless nano router – again from amazon for less than £20, this allows the Pi to talk to the device to show the streaming video
Amazon Link to Nano Router

 

 

 

Basic Steps

Setting up the Nano Router

Super simple. You normally fire it up and browse to its web interface and login to set it up. Most have very simple guides to set it up and to be honest as its not connecting to anything other than the RaspberryPi and an old phone default settings are fine.

I have changed the wireless settings on mine to call it PonyCam and gave it a sensible password.

 

The only other things I have changed is making the IP address of the Pi and phone sticky so they keep the same ones

 

Setting up the Pi

  • Set up the Pi as normal – the lasest version of raspbian and patch it – you can get info about installing if you have never done it before here
  • Build the camera housing .. it is a bit fiddly but takes about 5 mins.
  • Enable the camera module – Either from the UI

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or the terminal –

sudo raspi-config

and select the Interfacing Options > Enable/Disable the RaspberryPi camera

once complete reboot

  • Shut the Pi down and plug the camera in
  • Turn it back on
  • Attach the Pi to the new wireless network – PonyCam in my case
  • Get the IP of your pi – from a terminal
ifconfig

The IP of my Pi is 192.168.0.102 and I have set it in the router to always assign that IP.

nano rpi_camera_surveillance_system.py
  • Run the script by running the following command
python3 rpi_camera_surveillance_system.py
  • Test the script from the Pi by going to the following url:
    http://ipaddressofpi:8000
    i.e – http://192.168.0.102:8000

A lovely image of the back of a chair, but it works 🙂

Start up and shutdown

As I am going to want to use this ‘headless’ as a plug and go solution I wanted the script to run on Pi boot and have a way to shut the Pi down nicely rather than just pulling the plug.

Firstly configure VNC

  • If you don’t already have one, create a free VNC account
  • Enable the VNC from the UI under Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration

  • This will open up the config dialog, enable VNC
  • Once rebooted you can configure the Pi – by default you log in with the standard Pi username and password.
  • Install VNC viewer on the phone or tablet and configure it – make sure it is connected to the same wifi as the Pi.
  • You can now connecto to the Pi using it’s local IP address and the Pi username and password.
  • This will allow you to shut the pi down and command it from the phone or tablet – simples

Add the Camera script to the startup

We now have to add the camera script to the autostart file

  • Run the command
sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart 
  • Once the file has opened use the arrow keys to navigate to the end of the 2nd line and press enter. Add the path of the script on to line 3 just above the screen saver.

  • Save and close the file and restart the Pi. The camera script will start when the Pi boots.

And there you go .. all done .. I will post an update over the next week with it all installed and working.

The idea for this was taken from the randomnerdtutorials site which has loads of cool Pi camera projects. Use this link here to see the video streaming posts tutorial and thanks to my hubby Nathan for doing some of the grunt work as I was busy working – he is now full of ideas for projects with Pi cameras 🙂

HCL Connections – Our Future is Now

On Tuesday I joined the HCL Connections – Our Future is Now call, thank you Mat Newman for tweeting about it as I had totally missed this was on.

Wow there was a lot packed into that hour ..

The highlights for me were:

  • Tailored Experiences  and the community updates
    • Totally customisable spaces
    • Built with widgets
    • Lifecycle management (YES!)
  • The Road Map – so so much being delievered over the next 18 months
    • Connections 6 CR
    • Connections 6.5
    • 3rd Party Integrations
    • Connections 7
  • Lowering the TCO for the Componant Pack – Can not come soon enough for me

There is so much good stuff coming plus the news on Connections Cloud and the new offerings, I have written a full roundup over at the BCC Blog , so please check out the full posting there.