Connections 101 – what a fantastic idea

I think a community high five is in order for Mr Paul Mooney and Ms Gabriella Davis.

They have taken on the mamoth task of creating a Connections 101 site that will assit those new to Connections and WebSphere to get you up and running with advice, information and assistance.

Something like this can not come soon enough.

I am lucky, I have been what I would describe as “mucking about with” WebSphere for the past 11 odd years. I had a very good teacher (thank you Bleddyn), and the best hardware to play with it on (the iSeries – or As400 for oldschool people or IBMi for new school people).

I was in at the deep end with Websphere 4 and 5 and IBM Commerce (which runs on WebSphere) and it went from there.

11 years later .. I am still at it. Athough I have swapped WebSphere Commerce for IBM Connections now.

This new site along with blogs (like mine I hope), useful presentations at lugs (like WebSphere for Domino people, or WebSphere what you really need to know), and the help of the community will get people up and running and working confidently with Connections. It’s a fantastic piece of software and once you know what bits you need you can get up and running fairly quickly.

I would love to help or contribute in anyway .. so if you feel I have something to add – let me know

Connections fix pack 3.0.1.1 now available

At last Connections fix pack 3.0.1.1 is now available to download and fixes lots of little issues, including the firefox feature with files and wikis and the issue chrome has with files.

I installed it on my test system yesterday and it went very smoothly.

The fix pack can be downloaded from Fix Central. Fix ID is: ​3.0.1.0-LC-Multi-FP001​

The Fixpack is installed using the IBM installation manger (IM).

It was very straight forward – basic steps are as follows

Download the fixpack zip file

Stop the Connections WAS servers, but leave the Deployment manager and Nodeagent servers running

Start the IBM installation manager

From the installer manager menu , click File -> Preferences

Add a repository (if you have used eclipse or RAD (Rational Application Developer)  / WSAD (WebSphere Application Developer) in the past you will be familiar with these steps)

Point the repository path to the full path of the fixpack zip file and click ok

If there is an issue connecting to the repository the IM will let you know at this point.

Click update and follow to the guide to install the fix pack – ensure all applications are selected and enter a valid wasadmin user name and password.

Review the summary information. Click Back to change the information or click Update to install the selected fix packs.​

When the installation is complete, synchronize all the nodes and restart all the clusters

 

As ever please review the full technote / read me which can be found here

 

IBM are making these fixes easier and easier for people without a huge amount of WebSphere / Connections knowledge to install – good on them.

 

I am very impressed with all the improvements I have seen over the past 3 or 4 years around fixes and fix packs – IBM has come along way since I first started “mucking about with WebSphere” 11 years ago.

A fix for the Chrome header issue

Stuart blogged back in January about a known issue with downloading files from the files application using Chrome.

chromeIssue

IBM do not officially support Chrome with Connections 3.0.1 – but our good friend & IBM Champion Sjaak Ursinus has devised a work around.

Header edit Content-Disposition ^(.*)creation-date=(.*);\smodification-date=(.*);$ “$1creation-date=\”$2\”; modification-date=\”$3\”;”

ensure the mod_header module is uncommented httpd.conf

save and close the file.

Restart the HTTP server to pick up the change

Sjaak’s full explanation can be found on the Connections Forum

Lotusphere Saturday 14 Jan

After a not bad nights sleep, I was up at 7 and off to breakfast at 8 with Mick Moignard.
Disney do lay on a good breakfast and I  enjoyed my eggs and bacon followed by mickey mouse head pancakes 🙂
After breakfast I met up with Darren & Stuart and wandered outside to see part of the annual hog ride.
Our community has a few bikers so Paul Mooney, Bill Buchen etc. organise a hig ride on saturday & sunday. Hire a bike and see Orlando.
Stu headed off to do his outlet shopping so I grabbed myself a Dazza, we bought a day park ticket each and headed off to Disney Hollywood studios. We caught up with Sam & Mike and the others  and hung out inthe park for a few hours.
Muppets were seen ( darren does a fantastic swedish chef), scary rides were ridden (but not buy me) & star tours ride 3 times was awseome. You will notice in this pic of us outside the Tower of Terror below that I am loaded with coats and bags and jumpers – this is becuase the metal people went on ToT to drop in an elevator and sensible me went to ride star tours (again)
After 4 and a bit hours of fun, Darren and I said good bye to the other guys about 3 and headed back tothe boardwalk via a mickey mouse ice cream.
Once back at the boadwalk we headed for Big River Grill where B.A.L.D ( bloggers annual get together) takes place.
We said hello to loads of people, caught up with the yellow legend that is Mat Newman – which of course involved a Tim Tam Slam  and finally ate a real meal.
I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones – we have a great community. The usual plan after BALD is to head to the espn bar where the Turtle has a get together – due to much sport occuring they were not admitting anyone else, so we  headed over to a favourite haunt Kimonos.
Kevin had only just arrived and missed dinner & we finally caught up with Femke, so they had sushi – much more chat was had, catching up isn’t a huge thing as we talk almost everyday on skype so the conversation turns to Lotusphere, Karaoke and software ( an ocasional reference to an iseries or power system may have occured too) 🙂
After Kimonos we wandered out to the dolphin lobby bar – chilled out on the sofas and chatted some more, all in all a good start to setting up a busy week

Lotusphere Friday 13 Jan

Friday is a bit of a blur.
I got to the airport met up with My friends Sam & Mike, their son luke, and 2 of sam’s sisters (yn & charlie) who were going to Orlando as they were getting maried on Monday 23rd January.
I also bumped into mr Paul Withers and his wife and the Cardiff boys.
Once at the gate it was like a reunion, lots of community people heading out to orlando for the annual pilgrimage 🙂
The flight was good, watched movies, ate food, drank juice & generally tried to chill.
When we finally got to MCO it all started to go wrong.
Our plane was late, so it arrived the same timevas 2 others and it took me 2 hours to get through immigration.
By that time pretty much everyone else was through. Thank the maker fellow brit (and witer for domino power magazine) Mick Moignard waited for me.
By the time we’d collected baggage etc the Virgin holidays bus had left without us – if Mick hadn’t waited I would have been on my own! After much grumbling and cussing the Virgin Holidays rep we jumped in a cab.
It was just a 20 minute journey to the Swan /Dolphin resort and it was great to catch up with Mick and have a good old chat.
Once at the Swan it was check-in and quickly unpack. I also had the quickest shower known to man (or woman) as 9 hours on a plane is kind of sticky.
Then went to meet Stuart, Lisa and Darren. We headed out for some food at the Big River Grill which was exactly what I needed. Much chat about what we were hoping to get from the week was had. I then stumbled back to my room for some much needed rest.

Back from Lotusphere 2012

I am back from Lotusphere 2012 and I must say it was all that it was hyped up to be

The OGS was very good this year, IBM actually listened to the audience from last year. Opened with a band (OK-GO), then Michael J Fox who gave a very inspirational speach on the use of community around PD, then product demos – and they were good demos, the awards – Champions den whopped when anyone we knew won an award – especially the Applicable one – some great talks from the execs, the IBM champions got a shout out (which is always nice) and to finish the fantastic Doctor – with his stories of how being social is helping to save childrens lives.

I spent a very rewarding 3 hours in the User Experience lab

There was a lot going on in the UX Lab this year – I spent a good bit of time giving somefeedback on the new IBM docs feature (formally known as lotuslive symphony) – like google docs IBM docs enables mutliple collaborators to work on a document, assign a block for an author to work on – infact it is a great tool. As well as being available in the cloud, IBM docs will be embeded into Connections to allow online file collaboration and viewing. This will enable users to view files without downloading and to edit on line with multiple authors – exactly some of the feed back we have been recieving in the connections user community

I also spent a good bit of time discussing some of the look and feel and metrics around Connections. Ethan Perry the lead on the connections 4 design was in the lab gathering feedback on metrics, the homepage and communities sections – I know Ethan well and sat with him and two other guys from the community to discuss some of the ideas the UX lab have. I hope to continue wotking with the UX design team to help provide quality feed back.

 

 

 

 

As well as all the great connections sessions which i will blog about later – there was some fantastic sessions on sametime, lotus notes, lotuslive (smart cloud for social business as its now called) and some great BOFs (Birds of a feather sessions) – I tried to fit in as many sessions as i could as well as attending the Champion events, being a social host in the social cafe and generally wandering around the conference with my Applicable polo shirts with the huge @Appl1cable on the back (thanks Elaine they were awesome 😉 )

 

 

 

 

I was lucky enough to be part of a great BOF with Simon Vaughan from Cardiff University and our friend Stuart McIntyre of CollaborationMatters around Connections Enhancements – we have the community in the lotus greenhouse (mentioned above) – Connections Users – we were lucky enough to be joined by product manager Luis Benitez, Mike Roache who is chief architect and Fred Raguillat solutions architect both from the dublin lab – to answer any questions relating to the direction of the product. It was a packed room, standing room only and a great discussion was had by all – the feedback will be going back to the product team. It was well worth getting up at 6am to start at 7am for.

I am shocked at the amount of people who leave Wednesday night at Lotusphere – Thursday has so many good things, sessions, we recorded a This Week in Lotus podcast live, then went on to gurupalooza where everyone that presented was on stage for an hour to answer questions – which is brave of them after a late Wednesday night party. Then Ask the Product managers and Ask the Developer sessions are fantastic.

 

After the Closing General Session which was an experience – a seperate blog enty is required – the annual blogger photo was taken for all the bloggers who are on planet lotus (planetlotus.org) – fantastic to be included this year and to stand beside so many experts many of which I am now friends with. On that note it was also good to catch up with all my community friends – experts in different parts the ICS world from TDI, to Lotus Notes, Sametime, Connections, iSeries and Power systems through to running IBM/Lotus software on Linux platforms.

Thanks Mark for sending me and I hope I can get a session and speak next year – that would be as good seeing my picture on the main screen in the OGS with my fellow IBM champions 🙂

What is a BOF and why should I attend one?

A Lotusphere BOF – is a Birds of a Feather Session

“Ok” I hear you say “What is all that about”

Well, a birds of a feather session or BOF as they are most commonly referred to – are sessions that have no presentations, slides or hand outs.

These sessions are informal, interactive discussion groups for like-minded attendees to share ideas and experiences in a small group, open forum setting.

The usual tools involved (other than the attendees) is coffee, a white board / flip chart, some marker pens and some enthusiasm for the topic, for the early morning ones – there is even sometimes breakfast (if not some kind sole may scuttle up to the breakfast room and fetch some 😉 ).

The sessions run for an hour either early morning or early evening – and the early ones really are early (7 – 8am) but they will get you fired up and ready for the day. The evening ones tend to be one of the last sessions of the day and are a nice way to wind down with a bit of discussion before you have to force yourself to eat canapes, drink and socialize or have that dinner with your customer / supplier / business partner / IBM rep (delete not applicable)  🙂

Basically everyone should try to get to at least one BOF.

The BOF schedule is currently listed on the ideation blog on the Lotusphere greenhouse community – this is to allow you to vote on the ones you are most interested in, or would be likely to attend. All the BOFs listed are scheduled and the voting is purely to see how popular the topics are and there are a wide range of topics – take a look and see if there is something that you fancy having some input on.

You will need a greenhouse account to access the Lotusphere Community – it takes approximately 5 mins to sign up for one and it is well worth the effort – hope to see you either at Lotusphere or on the Community 🙂

Pre LS12 fun

No ICS / Lotus Community members were harmed during the production of this video 🙂

 

Although – Cole was reduced to tears

 

Thanks to all involved for being good sports .. enjoy 🙂

 

Well it is official … I am off to LS12

It’s official now – I am possibly to be the sole representative of Applicable at Lotusphere 2012 (watch this space for more news on that)  – so no pressure on gathering information then !!!

Hotel and Flight are all booked, just waiting for the session announcements coming  early December to see if I will be presenting or not.

I would love to present to give back some of the knowledge I have back to the community – but if I don’t get a session I think I will cope 🙂

I am planning on attending as many sessions as possible, to interview as many people as possible too as when I am back from LS12 I will be presenting to my colleges at Applicable  and later on in the month to customers in our own mini LS comes to you session.

If you would be happy for me to interview at LS12 can you let me know ?

I am very excited – Lotusphere was fantastic last year – and if the grape vine is to be believed this year is going to be awesome..

So if you see little ole Social shazza wandering around – come and say hi 🙂

 

Lotus Community Champions

On today’s LITE call Joyce Davis has announced that IBM have started a Champions Program and are going to include the Lotus Community

Details are still being sorted out and will be promoted shortly – but it’s IBM’s way of recognising the contribution that some of us make – Joyce was very specific to make sure that some of the unsung hero’s that fly under the radar that do a lot for the Lotus Community are recognised.

What a great way to recognise all the work that some of the Community do – I am sure that Joyce will promote is and the boys will announce it on This Week In Lotus once the details are available