Connections fix pack now available

At last Connections fix pack 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: ​​

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.

Issue with custom themes and communities

I have had a PMR open for some time relating to a bit of a known issue with Custom themes and Connections communties

There was an issue where you would create a custom theme

In my case I also customised the coloured community themes also

When clicking on forums, blogs etc the theme was stripped out displaying

It appears there was a step missing from the wiki!!

Step 1.dd. Remove the file theme.css from the corporateTheme directory

In my case I had based my custom theme on the default theme and had used it as the default Community theme (which has no theme.css), so all communities with the default theme appeared correctly.

BUT, I had also lightly customised the coloured community themes – removing (or renaming) the theme.css from each coloured theme has resolved the issue.

Thank you mr Kieran Reid for investigating and confirming this was the issue.

Issue with Connections media widget timing out

Whilst building a new Connections environment for a customer we noticed a strange issue when uploading large files to the media gallery.

Initially I thought it was related to the size of the file, but the same file will upload to the Connections files application without issue. There is very little errors in the SystemOut.log for the Connections server, so I was baffled.

A PMR was opened and the very helpful Mr Dave McCarthy was the PMR owner and we then started on our investigation. During the testing I noticed that the uploads appeared to timeout after 20 mins, exactly 20 mins. After some experimenting on 4 different Connections systems, it was confirmed that it was a timeout, reguardless of the file policy or file library size. So not many people are on a intenet connection that may take 20 mins to upload a video, but we know it is an issue as the customer I was building the system for confirmed this.

After much digging through existing PMRs Dave was stummped, so the PMR was passed up the chain to the development team. Who confirmed very quickly that their is a setting in the config.js which is burried in the news ear file which has a time out set to 1200 sec (20 minutes)!! Change this setting and as if by magic the timeout issue is resolved.

To change the time out setting do the following :


Find this section, (Line 450), that specifies some timeout values,
including one for upload that is set to 1200 sec (20 minutes):

timeout: {
request: 60,
update: 200,
upload: 1200,
retrieveFiles: 100,
userSearch: 200,
userTypeahead: 10

Raise the upload value from 1200 to what is needed to complete the large file upload on your connection speed and save the file. Then restart the News application to make the change effective. This file should be changed on the primary Connections node if you have more than one and sync the changes around the other nodes.

Connections demo from the Lotusphere OGS

As kindly shared by Mr Luis Benitez, the portion of the Lotusphere 2012 OGS of the lovely Suzanne Livingston demoing what is coming in IBM Connections version 4 and beyond.

For those of you who didn’t managed to catch it live or on the OGS replay – if you are interested in Connections it is a must watch.

More information about the newest version of Connections will be available at the next Social Connections user group – see for more details.

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 🙂


Technology is not the problem

Ripping out a software or technology stack is not going to fix the issues of bad project management, lack of collaboration and user engagement.

The technology is not the problem – in a workshop run by world renown Collaboration expert Michael Sampson he explained to the audience that the technology – regardless of the vendor – is only 10% of any kind of user adoption hurdle.

10 % Tech Vs 90% People

Strangely enough 90% of the audience got it – the normal users, the power users the knowledge workers – the real people, the people who count.

The remaining 10% who made all the right noises and then promptly went back to “it’s my way or the highway” approach were what can be best described as “the management”. These are the same people who write articles and tweet about collaborating and being a “social business”.

Sorry Mr 10% but if you don’t listen to your 90% it doesn’t matter if you have a Lotus/IBM solution, Microsoft, Oracle, Jive, Social Text – the list goes on – put in whatever technology you like – if you do not communicate what your goals, strategy and success targets you will go round and around in a vicious circle of vendor bashing.

In turn this will alienate the 90%

Your users don’t resist change – they resist being told they HAVE to change. If the 90% aren’t involved or consulted they will resist. Engage your users, empower them to input ideas and suggestions.

Sell your solution – the magic 90% need to know how their working lives will be improved, how they can collaborate and work more efficiently – keep them in the loop.

Offer Help – training, workshops and sessions where the magic 90% can feedback – have a dynamic plan – things will change when you engage your users.

Discuss and Communicate – two way discussions, frequent (but relevant) communication, ensure you are receiving feedback and process it accordingly (do not ignore the negative feedback), collaborating is the key.

This is not rocket science it is common sense!

So why do so many organisations still blame the technology?

IBM Champion – honoured and humbled

I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been chosen as one of the 50 Worldwide Champions for IBM Collaboration Solutions.

I wanted to echo the thanks of all the other IBM Champions to the selection and organising committee, the wonderful people who nominated me and to the rest of the community for being generally awesome and inspiring me to follow in your footsteps.

The full list of champions can be found here :

Thank you SO much – I will keep up the good work