Interviewed: SocialBiz User Group

Having been sat on the producer’s side of the desk for over a hundred episodes of This Week in Lotus, it was exciting to be asked to partake in an interview with Celia Hamilton of the SocialBiz User Group a few weeks ago.

Celia Hamilton from the SocialBiz User Group interviews Stuart McIntyre on what we can attribute the growth in IBM Connections installs to, how people can get involved in the connections community, and the Social Connections User Group.

Here’s the show (it’s audio-only, despite the embedded YouTube):

Thanks to Celia for inviting me on the show – it was great to chat. I hope you find the content interesting.

I mentioned Social Connections, my old blog post regarding growing the Connections community, the Social Connections LinkedIn group, and we also discussed IBM Connect 2014.

Hopefully I’ll see you at one of those events soon!

Zoom ZH4N

MyTools: RØDE iXY Microphone for iPhone/iPad

A few days ago I promised a series of posts covering the tools that I use in Collaboration Matters on a day-to-day basis.

Some will be must-have applications, others will be gadgets or accessories and others just a bit left-field!  All take an important role in how I go about doing business.  I’m calling this series ‘MyTools’…

First up, the RØDE iXY Microphone for iPhone/iPad.

Zoom ZH4N
Zoom ZH4N

At previous conferences you may have seen me using the ever popular Zoom H4N digital recorder to record snippets of audio or entire podcast episodes.  The Zoom gets amazing quality stereo audio, runs for hours on a set of AAs and allows a wide range of adjustments for audio quality, tone and recording size.  However, it’s both too heavy and rather too bulky to carry in a backpack on a regular basis.

So I’ve always looking for a more lightweight replacement that retains the audio quality and flexibility.  Back at the start of the year, I found one in the form of the RØDE iXY mic for iPhone and iPad.

RØDE iXY Microphone for iPhone/iPad

This retains the dual recording mics of the Zoom, but dispenses with the rest of the recording hardware in favour of using the iPhone or iPad that you already carry.  This significantly reduces the weight and bulk of the device and thus means that I can carry the mic all-day every-day.  Just as the smartphone becomes ‘the camera you always carry’, the iXY means that iPhone is also the high-quality digital recorder I always have with me.

The iXY package contains four key components:

  • The dual microphone accessory, including 30-pin dock connector and LED to indicate recording activity
  • A small but robust case for the microphone including clip to allow attaching to a belt or backpack
  • A foam wind muffler
  • User Guide containing a complimentary download key for the RØDE Rec digital recording app

At this juncture you’ll have spotted one of the key points to note – the RØDE iXY currently ships only with a 30-pin dock connector, so is ideal for connecting to iPhones up to the 4S and the iPad 3 and early models.  It does work with the Lightning to 30-pin dock connector and so can be used on the iPhone 5/5s/5c, the iPad Mini and the iPad 4, however this isn’t ideal.  RØDE say that they are working on a Lightning-equipped model of the iXY so this issue should be resolved soon.

iXY on iPad and iPhone
RØDE iXY on iPad and iPhone

So what does the iXY give you?  A really high quality recording device that is excellent at capturing both music and vocals at a short- to medium-range, with exception noise cancellation abilities.  A great example of this was my recording of podcast-quality interviews at the Connect 2013 conference.  Nothing unusual about that, except that those recordings were made in the Kimonos bar during the final evening of the conference, whilst Karaoke was being ‘sung’ about 3m away!  Truly, the recordings were both clear and suffered from remarkably little background noise.

It’s a tiny and beautifully-manufatured piece of hardware that records full 24-bit 96khz stereo audio.  The mic weighs just 41g.

Whilst the iXY can be used with any iOS recording app, it does work best with the RØDE Rec app.  This app combines professional audio features with an intuitive and easy-to-learn interface, making it straightforward to record, edit and publish broadcast-quality audio directly from your iOS device.

The app features real-time waveforms, a pretty cool suite of non-linear editing capabilities and powerful EQ and gain controls.  It even allows sharing to the popular social networks direct from the device.  The app itself works with the onboard mic in the iPhone/iPad as well as the iXY so if you regularly record audio from your device, this might be a useful purchase in its own right.  RØDE Rec costs $5.99/£3.99 from the App Store if you don’t have an iXY.

The iXY costs $199/£149 from Amazon and other retailers.

I’ve found it to be an excellent investment, using it for podcasts as well as for recording customer reference interviews, meetings and workshops.  In addition, using a mount that I’ll mention on this blog next week, I’ve often attached my iPhone and this mic to the top of a DSLR or camcorder to capture an additional audio source when recording video.

I’d definitely recommend the iXY for anyone that has a suitable device quipped with a 30-pin dock connector and needs to record quality audio on the move.  If you have a newer iPhone or iPad then I’d suggest waiting for a few more weeks for the Lightning-equipped iXY.  Either way, it’s a great device.

Collaboration Matters 9 – LS09 Connectr BoF Review (with Luis Suarez & Luis Benitez)

Neil Burston and I talk once again with Luis Suarez and Luis Benitez to review the Connectr 7 BoF held at Lotusphere 2009.  We cover:

  • What is a Connectr?
  • Who was there and what did we discuss?
  • Tools versus Enablement & adoption
  • What Social tools are people using – injecting Social Software capabilities into the existing application landscape
  • Actually using Social tools – asking questions and opening up the Silos
  • Do Social Software Best Practices really exist?
  • Who is driving social software adoption within organisations?

This podcast is 41MB and runs for 30 minutes at 192kps.  Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters 9 – LS09 Connectr BoF Review

Update: We’ve been asked for a smaller version of this podcast, so here’s a copy published at 64kbps. Hope this helps!

Collaboration Matters 8 – Los dos Luis (en Espanol)

Neil Burston gets together with two of IBM’s most vocal social software evangelists, Luis Benitez and Luis Suarez to chat (in Spanish) about:

  • Lotusphere – the excitement and the challenges
  • Successes and challenges for Social Software
  • Is Social Software “Mainstream”?
  • A Year without email – working in different ways?

This podcast is 36MB and runs for 26 minutes at 192kps and is 100% in Spanish, so you have been warned!  Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters 8 – Los dos Luis (en Espanol)

P.S. The next episode of our podcast features Neil, Luis, Luis and myself chatting in English!  This will be be published in the next few days…   Buonas noches!

Update: We’ve been asked for a smaller version of this podcast, so here’s a copy published at 64kbps. Hope this helps!

Collaboration Matters 7 – Lotusphere 2009 Review Part 2

Neil Burston and I get together to review Lotusphere 2009 – this is part 2 of the discussion, part 1 was published in the previous episode.  

In this episode we cover:
The introduction of LotusLive
Sametime Unified Communications and Sametime 8.5
Connections 2.5 and Quickr 8.2/Next
Lotus Foundations
and much more…

This podcast is 15.5mb and runs for 33 minutes at 64kps. Sorry for the delay in publishing this one (it was recorded a couple of months ago but work pressures have delayed it being released).  Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters 7 – Lotusphere 2009 Review Part 2

(Link has been corrected – sorry about that…)

Collaboration Matters 6 – Lotusphere 2009 Review Part 1

(Another occasion when Planetlotus gets in too quickly! Link has been updated)

Neil Burston and I get together to review Lotusphere 2009 – this is part 1 of the discussion, part 2 will follow in the next couple of days.  

In this episode we cover:
The Notes/Domino 8.5 launch at MacWorld
The Lotusphere Blog
The Lotusphere Blogger program
Lotusphere 2009 as whole – attendance, organisation etc
The OGS – including the announcement of LotusLive

This podcast is 15.4mb and runs for 33 minutes at 64kps. Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters Podcast – Episode 6 – Lotusphere 2009 Review Part1

Collaboration Matters 4 – The Journey from eLearning to Social Software

Luis Benitez joins Neil Burston and I to talk about his role in IBM, his journey from eLearning to Social Software and the Lotus Connections product.

In this episode we cover:

  • Luis’ role in IBM/Lotus and what he’s been involved in previously
  • What business value can be derived from Lotus Connections
  • The real-world benefits that he’s seen Connections deliver to his customers
  • Why Luis loves Lotus Connections!

This podcast is 18.8mb and runs for 40 minutes at 64kps. Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters Podcast – Episode 4 – The Journey from eLearning to Social Software

Collaboration Matters 3 – Lotus Connections 2.0

Heidi Votaw and Suzanne Minassian join Neil Burston and I to talk about the newly released Lotus Connections 2.0 social software solution.  During this episode you will learn about:

  • What is Connections? Why is it important?
  • What’s new in the 2.0 release?
  • How successful is Connections as a product?
  • Who has deployed it, and what benefits did they gain?
  • What did happen in the Enterprise2.0 shootout with Microsoft?
  • What’s next for Lotus Connections?

This podcast is 22.6mb and runs for 49 minutes at 64kps. Enjoy!

Collaboration Matters Podcast – Episode 3 – Lotus Connections 2.0

(for iTunes: )

Collaboration Matters 1 – UKLUG 2007 (Taking Notes 67)

How thrilling!

After a couple of years of listening to Bruce and Julian on the Taking Notes podcast, and being excited to get a mention once or twice for the Quickr Blog, I have finally plucked up the courage (thanks to Neil Burston’s suggestion) to dip a tentative toe into the murky world of podcasting.  

On Tuesday evening Neil and I got together in our sleepy little corner of the Cotswolds and recorded a number of discussions regarding the recent UKLUG meeting.  We had already suggested to Bruce that this might happen, and offered a 5 minute slot to befitted into his ongoing Taking Notes schedule.  So off we went wondering how on earth we were to fill 5 whole minutes with useful chat, and started to cover the atnosphere of the day, the major sessions, some of the personalities involved and so on.  By the time we’d wrapped up the conversation, 25 minutes had passed!!  So a second try ensued, this time with slightly less waffle and fewer Umms and Ahhhs, and we were down to 12minutes.  Errr, this wasn’t as easy as I had imagined.

So, final go (it was appraching 11pm) and we managed a reasonably coherent 6-minute recording.  Neil spent a further hour or so tidying up the recording and converting to MP3, and then pushed it over to Bruce.  In what seemed an incredibly short period of time, this has been slotted into its very own Taking Notes podcast, and is live (with a link on Vowe.Net even).  Amazingly, for a first try, it sounds reasonably good – I’ll let you make up your minds on that though!…

So to listen to Taking Notes episode 67 head over to the Taking Notes site now (or else refresh your podcast feed in iTunes etc.)!

However, that’s not quite the end of the story…  Neil and I have been pondering a series of podcasts focusing on the Collaboration business and Lotus community in the UK and Europe, to be released under the “Collaboration Matters!” banner.  I think that Bruce and Julian do a fabulous job with Taking Notes, as does Chris Miller at IdoNotes, so I am keen that we don’t compete on the same ground – that wouldn’t help anyone.  Therefore, the plan is for this podcast to concentrate on a UK/European focus, plus to cover a wider IBM technology brief, not just Lotus products.  These plans are still being sketched out at present, so we’ll just have to see how it all happens.

In the meantime, I have taken the 12 minute version of the UKLUG chat and created episode one of the Collaboration Matters podcast (a proper RSS feed will follow shortly).  Let me know what you think!

Collaboration Matters Podcast – Episode 1 – UKLUG 2007