Can IBM Vulcanize Lotus’ tires?

In Russia, vulcanization (вулканизация) is a popular method of repairing damaged tires and, often, a profitable roadside business.  So when listening to presentations on Project Vulcan, I can’t get an image of an Eastern European road tire shop out of my head.

Vulcanization may be a good idea for a new tire on a commuter car.  How well it will work for a 20-year-old Lotus  and a set of tires that are at least 10 years old remains to be see.  Will IBM be a happy vulcanizer, giving its Lotus a new lease on life once Project Vulcan goes live?

Or will IBM find that its Lotus has too many other problems that go deeper than a set of patched up tires?

Project Vulcan is a great vision that has a lot of passionate support among Lotus’ teams, betting that customers will embrace this vision of collaboration of the future.  The question, of course, will the customers want their employees to be able to do all of their work from an enhanced inbox or will they exchange their freshly vulcanized Lotus for another ride.



PSC speaking at Chicago Information Technology Architects Group

Tim Murphy and Mike Vogt, both of PSC, will be speaking this Tuesday, October 19th, at the Chicago Information Technology Architects meeting.  The topic of their presentation is Design Patterns.


Design patterns are core to creating understandable, maintainable systems. Tim and Mike will discuss various design patterns and their application to business solutions.  Examples will be given from both .NET and Java perspectives.

If you would like to attend, follow this link to register for the meeting.

XPages? Why?

Somebody asked today, “If you are using a Discussion database in your environment, have you converted it to the new XPages template?”. My answer, “Why?”.

In all of the excitement around XPages, amongst numerous blog posts one message seems to be missing. Why XPages? Why should I care? The I in this question is not the geeky technologist I who gets excited by the new technology and the <xp:this.resources> tags. The technology is very cool and it lets me do things I was never used to be able to do in Notes and in ways I could never use.The I in this case is a business person and an executive. Why should I care about the XPages? Why should I invest in my team learning and using XPages as opposed to any other technologies?

Adoption of XPages (just like of any other technology) in the business world will and should be driven by benefits and cost savings and not by cool tags.

Whether you’re staying with Notes or migrating to another platform, if you have an investment in Notes applications, XPages is for you and your team.

If you’re migrating away from Notes or moving to the cloud, chances are that you will no longer have the rich Notes client on many desktops. In an organization’s portfolio of Lotus Notes applications about 25% of applications can be categorized as Business Applications. Those make heavy use of custom workflow and security. They are very complex and could be very costly to rebuild using any other technology. These apps are the perfect candidates to be moved to the web using the XPages technology.

You will be able to move your apps to the web, remove dependency on the Notes client and provide users with a modern Web 2.0 UI.

If you are staying with Notes, then you’re upgrading the rich client and your users want modern web based applications but your development team is still using methods from 10 years ago, which all leads to same robust tired looking applications. With XPages you can kill several birds with one technology:

  • make your users happy with modern looking applications
  • make your developers happy by letting them write modern code
  • extend your apps to the web and mobile device with the same code base

In both cases, you will have a happy user community impressed by UI improvements your team was able to achieve. And generally, Happy users = Happy IT department. And nobody has to know how much money you saved by converting the apps to XPages vs. rebuilding them from scratch in some other technology.

IBM releases LotusLive Notes

The cost of email is $5 per user per month.

Today, IBM unveiled LotusLive Notes, a service that delivers your email in the cloud on a server sitting in one of the IBM’s data centers.  What differentiates this from other cloud email offerings is the choice IBM allows users to make: use a browser or use a Lotus Notes client to access your email.  Effectively, a company could move (outsource) its email infrastructure to the IBM cloud and not impact how people use their email.

I got to try LotusLive Notes.

The browser interface was the same familiar iNotes 8.5 (or DWA) interface that we all know.  The main difference was the clean and simple black, blue and white color scheme of the interface.

Configuring my existing Lotus Notes client to connect to LotusLive was a snap.  I downloaded a configuration tool, a small NSF, from LotusLive, opened it in Notes, clicked a couple of buttons and the tool did the rest.  It even worked on a Mac.  The only downside, the tool required 8.5.1 FP5 or 8.5.2.  Since I was on FP4, I had to go ahead and upgrade to 8.5.2., which was actually a surprisingly painful process, not at all related to LotusLive.

As a consultant advising companies on messaging infrastructure management, I have to wonder how LotusLive addresses some of the common messaging problems: SPAM, anti-virus, content retention and discovery, backup and restore, ID and password management.  An integrated service from Sonian provides eDiscovery services but some of the other areas I’m yet to explore.

An interesting sideline, now that my email is in a Domino server in the cloud, I should be able to connect/integrate it with my existing on-premise Domino infrastructure.  I’m not sure what I would do with it yet.  In my early tests I wasn’t able to create new databases or open any of the system databases on the cloud server.

All in all, LotusLive Notes is an excellent cost-effecient way to outsource your email eliminating the cost of hardware and server maintenance associated with running your own mail servers.

All in all,

New LotusLive first impressions — me like!

OK, sarcasm aside.  I’ve spent the last hour playing with the new features on LotusLive.  Without going into too much details, I like it.

The default interface, which you can customize, looks better.  The color scheme doesn’t look like iNotes that you know and love.  It just feels better overall, more polished, more professional.

I’ll reserve the final judgement call until after I get to play with other integrated apps.  But the first impressions are really good.

Oooo… How exciting!