Social Connections III – 3 weeks to go

Only a few weeks until the 3rd Social Connections user group, held in the IBM Labs Dublin.

We have a few places left if you are interested in attending this unique user group. We have some fantastic sessions such as:

and many more … the full agenda can be found on the Social Connecitons site here


As well as a full agenda planned for the day with two tracks – one for business and one for technical and admin – we have some other plans for the day in store.

If you can join us after the event we have an evening dinner and reception planned for at the Guinness Store House

There will be a tour of the storehouse, information on the history of Guinness and the chance to pull your own pint – followed by dinner and drinks in the fantastic surroundings of Arthur’s Bar.

Arthur's Bar 1 Arthur's Bar 2

Arthur’s Bar: A new edition to GUINNESS STOREHOUSE but as old as Ireland itself. It’s a traditional Irish pub, a place of hospitality. This communal gathering space is somewhere to relax and experience the heart of the Irish community whilst enjoying the breathtaking views of St. James’s Gate Brewery and Dublin city


The spaces for this event are limited and will be on a first come first served basis. Please sign up and let us know as soon as you can if you would like to attend.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 22nd of June in Dublin.

Customizing Connections Demo Files

The demo files that acompany my Customizating Connections Presentation can now be downloaded here

Inside the zip file you will find :

The templates and css files from \customization\common\nav
The custom community thumbnail image from \customization\communities\images
The custom strings required for the twitter profile extention  from \customization\strings
The JustNudge profile twitter ear file – LCC_Twitter_EAR-latest.ear
Instructions on how to deploy this and how to extend the profile – add twitter widget.txt
Examples of the following config files :

Enjoy 🙂




Social Connections III

Social Connections III will be upon us soon – I am very pleased to be part of the group that organises these events for IBM Connections users, administrators etc.

One thing I would personally like to see is more people that are thinking about using connections and existing domino admins (who are likely to get asked to look after a potential connections environment) to these events – we cater for potential users and admins as well as existing.

So my question to those potentials is what would you like to gain from comming to a social connections event?

Admins would you like some technical overview, training, etc?
Users would you like to hear more user stories and current customer case studies?
Community Managers – what would you like to see?

These events are all about our audience and what sessions they would like. For Social Connections 3 we are having two tracks the afternoon one business related one technical, it is also possible in the future to have a half day tecnical or development workshop – if this is the kind of information you would be interested we would love to hear from you.

As an installer, implementer and administrator I know what its like to get new technology thrust at you – we have a good network of community people who will be more than happy to share experiences, and assist where they can – we just need to know what you would like us to talk about.

Either leave me a comment or contact me via skype or twitter – I would love to hear from you

Registration for the Social Connections III event can be found here

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

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.

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 ( – 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 🙂