Videos – Using features in IBM Connections 4.0

More on the latest greatest version of IBM Connections, 4.0 – released today!

Using Activities:

Using Bookmarks:

Using Blogs:

Using Communities:

Using Forums:

Using Wikis:

IBM Connections 4.0 announced

At a glance

IBM Connections V4.0 is designed to help you:

  • Track the activity of your network and respond more quickly using the embedded experience within the activity stream.
  • Bring external applications and content into the activity stream to respond in context, saving time and reducing context switching.
  • Track and respond to the activities of community members using the community-centric activity stream and embedded experience.
  • Quickly bring content from external sites and related communities into your community for faster response and better customer service.
  • Develop insights into community adoption and usage with new standard and customizable metrics and graphical reports.
  • Receive relevant recommendations on people and content using social analytics that now also utilize status updates and microblogging content.
  • Use hashtags to follow important topics and “Like” updates with a single click.
  • Schedule team events and incorporate into a personal calendar using a new community calendar.

More >

The GA code will be available on Friday 7th September from Passport Advantage and PartnerWorld.

There will be much more to come on this new release now that embargos and NDAs are being lifted.

To say I’m excited about having the 4.0 GA code in my grubby little paws is a massive understatement. Many fun days ahead!

Upgrading to Mountain Lion?

If you’re thinking of upgrading your Mac to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, here are a few tips:

  • Read Jon Siracusa’s incredible 24 page review of the new release
  • Check that your Mac is compatible
  • Check that your key apps are compatible
  • If you run VMWare Fusion, get the Tech Preview
  • If you run Skype, get the very latest version
  • Remember that none of the IBM products is yet supported on Mountain Lion!  Lotus Notes 8.5.x has some issues, not least because the new OS X Notes application shares the name  Check Alan Hamilton’s post for a workaround.
  • If you have an alternative, don’t upgrade your primary machine first!
  • Make a copy of the ‘Install Mountain Lion’ application outside your Applications folder before installing (you can then copy this on to other machines instead of re-downloading)
  • Do not upgrade on the day you record a weekly podcast 😉

As a member of the Apple Developer Program I’ve been running the betas of Mountain Lion for the past few months and have had very few issues. I love Notification Centre and the new Messages apps.  Definitely evolution rather than revolution, but worth upgrading all the same.  At $19.99 for all your Macs, you really can’t go wrong!

IBM Connections CR2 fixpack released

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while:

Cumulative Refreshes (CRs) consists of a set of cumulative fixes for each of IBM Connections applications. For additional information on CRs, including instructions on how to download and install, please review the Update strategy for IBM Connections document.

CR2 is composed of this set of 14 cumulative fixes, which update the whole application.

Details of the fixes included are available in this technote, download the fixes from FixCentral.

Slideshare goes HTML5, and the push for simplicity

An announcement from Slideshare:

As part of our transition to HTML5, we are pleased to let you know that embedded presentations are now Flash-free. We have also made several other improvements to our embed code:

  • Embedded presentations can be viewed on iOS devices
  • New features in embedded presentations will be updated dynamically
  • The embed code is shorter and simpler
  • The embed has new Twitter and Facebook share buttons (we find that presentations with share buttons get shared 30% more)

Great to see Slideshare bringing their embed functionality up to date – I’ll be updating all my links over the coming weeks.

It is becoming a real rarity now to see social sites use Flash as anything else than a fallback mechanism, which I see as real progress.  It’s not just mobile access either, it is very apparent that browsers run more efficiently even with multiple HTML5-rich tabs open and desktops don’t get bogged down when streaming video is playing.

Its interesting that there are a series of posts doing the rounds this week referring to the ‘scandal’ that Apple might ditch the 30-pin dock connector on the next iPhone, yet this is clearly just the pace of progress.  Requirements change, technology is invented, at some stage hard decisions need to be made on what gets left out – that’s the price for targeting simplicity.  In the past 15 years we’ve seen the death of the parallel/serial/keyboard/mouse ports on PCs (all because of USB, first popular on the iMac G3), the fading of the VGA port (dropped for DVI, then Mini Displayport then Thunderbolt on successive generations of Macs, though admittedly still used on many PCs), and now the fading of the optical drive (discarded on the Macbook Air).  Each time a technology has been discarded it has seemed a shock or a reach too far, and yet on every occasion it has turned out to be the best decision for both the vendor and the users alike.  In the same way it has become clear that Apple made the right decision not supporting Flash on iOS back in 2007 – user experience on the web has improved substantially as a result.

Steve Jobs regularly talked about how hard ‘simple’ is to achieve, and how really hard decisions need to be made to get there.  It seems that this is seen as ‘anti-enterprise’ in some places, that organisations must be able to expect that features they hard at version 1 will still be supported at version 5 ten years later, whether they were positive features that are still relevant or not.  Backward compatibility is important yes, but I would argue that defending the retention of all previous features or functions stifles innovation, destroys user experience and results in poor productivity and business value.  I would love to see more ‘enterprise’ vendors be willing to throw off the shackles, drop some older out-of-place features and target simplicity as their number one aims.

Are you an IBM Connections expert?

If so, you may wish to help IBM create the next IBM Connections certfication exam:

Lotus Professional Certification Program Announcement

Exam Development Project Announcement

The Lotus Professional Certification Program is looking for subject matter experts in the administration of IBM Connections 4.0 to assist with upcoming exam development workshops.

**You are receiving this e-mail because of your expertise with this product OR because you may work with subject matter experts who may be qualified to participate**

How to Participate:
1. Please review the workshop details below to see if you possess the necessary technical skills.
2. Determine which workshop(s) you would like to attend.
3. Complete the SME Application form located at Lotus Greenhouse and submit before Sunday, July 29, 2012.

Please forward this announcement on to anyone you know who may be qualified to participate.

We look forward to working with you!
Lotus Professional Certification: IBM Certified System Administrator – IBM Connections 4.0

The Lotus Professional Certification Program is developing the Administering IBM Connections 4.0 exam.

Who Can Participate:
We are looking for subject matter experts (SME’s – which could include SE’s, consultants, courseware developers, support engineers, marketing managers, sales reps, business partners, etc.) to attend one or more of the scheduled exam development workshops. No travel is required. All workshops are facilitated through conference calls and remote collaboration. SME qualifications include hands-on administration experience either real-world or in a lab with IBM Connections 4.0.

Workshop Dates:
*Specific time and call-in details will be sent to participants in a confirmation e-mail.

== Job Task Analysis Workshop ==
August 20 – 22, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CDT
5-8 SMEs needed
Purpose: To create the role, job description, tasks, and subtasks that form the foundation of the exam.

== Item Writing Workshop ==
August 27 – 30, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CDT
5-8 SMEs needed
Purpose: To create items/exam questions.

== Technical Review Workshop ==
September 17 – 20, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CDT
5-8 SMEs needed
Purpose: To review and revise the exam items/test questions.

== Angoff/Scoring Workshop ==
September 24 – 27, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CDT
5-8 SMEs needed
Purpose: To score the items for level of difficulty. This will serve as a basis for the overall passing score of the exam.

Benefits of Participation:
Being grandfathered for, or marked as having passed, the Administering IBM Connections 4.0 exam after the exam is published.
Sharing and gaining knowledge from other SMEs. Please note the workshops are not training sessions.
This also helps in obtaining the IT Specialist certification because it provides verification of a skill rating of 4 or 5 in the appropriate technical area.
Participation counts as giveback, which is a requirement for the IT Specialist/IT Architect certifications.
SME Application Form and Confidentiality Form:
The purpose of the SME Application form is to find out a little bit about your background and experience in a given technical area so we can ensure a well-rounded group of experts for each exam workshop.

Due to the nature of Certification testing, it is of vital importance that the contents of the exam remain confidential. If the contents of an exam becomes known, the integrity of exam as a genuine assessment of technical competence is impaired, requiring the withdrawal of the exam and necessitating its rewrite at great expense and time.

At the workshop you will be expected to sign a nondisclosure agreement acknowledging that the information discussed in Lotus Certification Exam Development workshops is confidential and to agree not to communicate the information discussed dealing with Certification exam contents to anyone not directly involved with the development of this exam.

**If you are interested in participating in these workshops, please complete the SME Application form at Lotus Greenhouse.**

I’ve already submitted my application, it would be great if you did too!

Communardo AdContext Widgets for IBM Connections

I found some interesting widgets for IBM Connections today, by a German business partner called Communardo.

First the description (translated by Google):

The widgets are practical enhancements for IBM Connections and are characterized by the fact that they:

  • deal with communities featuring blogs and wikis
  • offer community users a structure based intranet
  • allow quick access to important content
The user can:

Filter your content by tags

  • to obtain an overview of your project communities
  • to see blog posts with status messages

Filter content by author

  • to directly access the contents of certain authors

Embed the widget on your homepage

  • direct access to your most important content to see new content immediately

This demo shows the functionality well:

I can see these being really useful widgets to add to the homepage for every user to allow them to filter their own specific content that they need to see everyday.

Personally I tend to disable the Widgets page by default on every new install to try get users to focus on the activity stream which is becoming the defacto discovery tool within Connections, so I’d add this widget to the Update page instead.

Otherwise, worth a look if it hits one of your organisation’s requirements.

IBM Connections 4.0. About to go public…

News from the IBM Greenhouse:

We are targeting our upgrade to Connections 4.0 Beta for Thursday July 26th. Connections will be down for the entire day while we upgrade and test the new environment.

Less than a week away!  As many of you will be aware, upgrading the Greenhouse install of Connections is one of the most significant public steps that takes place as an IBM Connections release nears GA.  The wraps are thrown off and everyone gets to try the code themselves first-hand.

With well publicised enhancements such as the embedded experience, share box, Connections Mail (aka ‘Social Mail’), community activity streams and a brand new UI, this is a massive release for the Connections product.  Where 3.0.x saw Connections hit maturity as a social platform in my eyes, 4.0 will see it really leap forward in terms of the impact on enterprise users – it can definitely become the centrepiece in an organisation’s messaging and collaboration infrastructure.

These are exciting times…  Make sure you check out Connections 4.0 in the Greenhouse this time next week!

‘Not as cool’

Bloomberg reports:

Samsung Electronics Co. won a legal ruling after a U.K. judge said its Galaxy tablets aren’t “cool” enough to be confused with Apple Inc.’s iPad.

The design for three Galaxy tablets doesn’t infringe Apple’s registered design, Judge Colin Birss said today in London in a court fight between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones. Consumers aren’t likely to get the tablet computers mixed up, he said.

Judge Colin Birss said, the Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”

The Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss said. “They are not as cool.”

Do we need to say any more?


The community now has a hashtag for IBM Connections

Niklas Heidloff and the team at OpenNTF recently raised the question of which hashtag should be used for IBM Connections development-related posts and tweets.

It’s a very fair question, after all having an agreed common hashtag that is used on relevant posts makes it much easier for advocates and newcomers alike to find and follow Connections-related content.  Given that IBM is pushing Connections as a development platform of the future, it is crucial that the community makes Connections as open and prominent for developers as we possibly can.

Therefore, I asked the question on Twitter, Skype and LinkedIn over the past 7-10 days, captured a number of suggestions, and opened a vote.  The results are now in:

Results from the IBM Connections hashtag survey on LinkedIn
Results from the IBM Connections hashtag survey on LinkedIn

So, the community has spoken…  #ibmcnx and #ibmcnxdev have been chosen!

Let’s see them being used! 😉

Growing the IBM Connections community

We’d been having a few debates online over the past few months about how to grow the IBM Connections community.

It’s already pretty strong, and has definitely grown in size as new versions of the technology have been shipped by IBM – the number of practitioners working with Connections 3.0.1 is a world away from those that were around with Connections 2.0 for example.  However, there’s definitely room for improvement!

So if you’re interested in Connections, here’s some things you can do to get involved:

  • Read PlanetLotus regularly as there’s lots of great blog posts about IBM Connections.  A search for ‘Connections’yields a tonne of posts.
  • If you’re working with Connections yourself, even if it is just learning about the technology, post about IBM Connections on your own blog.  You can bet that if you are struggling with some fundamental concern or issue, there will be others that are in the same boat!
  • Comment on blogs you read, join the conversation! I know from personal experience that just a quick comment saying ‘Your post has really helped me, thank you.’ means a great deal.
  • If you’re of a technical bent, take part in the IBM Forum for Connections.  If you can, answer other posts (even if it’s just to say that you have seen the same issue).  If not, just make sure that you post your own problems as it all adds to the knowledge base for others.
  • Join the LinkedIn group for IBM Connections.  This 1,700 strong community is fantastic whatever your background as there is a mix of technical and business-led discussions, as well as polls and lots of shared news and announcements.  There are even job postings on occasion!  Of course LinkedIn proves a great way to meet with ‘non-community’ folks as many will be present on LinkedIn even if they have never read a blog post or been to a LUG, so please do make sue you are involved in this group.
  • Attend a LUG or an IBM event such as Lotusphere or the Social Business Roadshows.  There is nothing as invigorating as meeting other impassioned individuals face-to-face!  User groups are a great way to meet some of the key Connections advocates from inside and outside of IBM, and usually have at least a few Connections-focused sessions to aid your understanding of the product.  Possibly even better, there is the Social Connections user group which meets every six months and is 100% focused on IBM Connections content.  The next event is in Dublin in June, with future events planned for the Netherlands and the USA.
  • Join the IBM Connections community Skype chat. Many of the other forums and discussion spaces work on an asynchronous basis – ask a question and wait a few hours (or possibly a few days) for a response.  The Connections Skype chat brings a community of Connections specialists to your fingertips.  Ask howto questions, clarify your thinking on a new customisation, ask for advice on adoption, even paste your log file snippets when dealing with a tricky issue!  If you’d like to be involved, just contact one of the current members and ask to be added – you canemail me if in any doubt!
  • Join the IBM Connections Users community on the Greenhouse, discuss Connections with other users and raise your suggestions for enhancements using the Ideation Blog feature!
  • If you have development-related questions around IBM Connections, raise them on StackOverflow – a terrific way to reach beyond the typical IBM/Lotus developer community.

I’m sure there are plenty more, but that’s a good start!

One of the topics that is being discussed is to have a common hashtag that we use for all Connections-related content to make it easier to find on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as in Google Searches and on sites such as StackOverflow.  The hashtag needs to be instantly recognisable but also short.  It is also suggested that we have two, one for general Connections content, and one for specific development-related information – think the equivalent of  #domino and #xpages.  We’ve had a few suggestions as to what might work, and have opened a poll in the LinkedIn group:

What hashtags should we use on Twitter and in blog posts for IBM Connections (in general) and for IBM Connections Development?

  • #ibmconnections & #ibmconnectionsdev
  • #ibmcon & #ibmcondev
  • #ibmcnx & #ibmcnxdev
  • #connections & #connectionsdev
  • Something else

We’d love as much feedback as we can get so that we can make the right decision on this and that it really is a community decision.  Please do take the time to vote!

In closing, there is already a fantastic Connections community out there.  Sure it isn’t as big as the Notes/Domino one right now, but it is active, energetic and growing fast.  If you’re interested in Connections and Social Business in general, there is no time like the present.  Get stuck in, and you are sure to recoup far more than you yourself put in.  After all, that’s the whole point of Social, right?! 😉

[Originally posted on The Connections Blog where there were 37 comments]