Monthly Archives: February 2011

“The Google Factor”

I’ve noticed a phenomenon. I call it “The Google Factor.”

Domino administrators know that their users have no patience when it comes to a Lotus Notes/Domino issue. In fact Lotus Notes is generally (and 99% of the time) wrongfully blamed for all woes related to the desktop.

However, when Google is unavailable – either when the account is suspended, or email is not accessible — nothing happens. The users are quiet. What has happened?  Have the users suddenly become sedate and hypotized? Perhaps because you’re a person they can reach on the phone – you’ve put a face on any work related issue during the day?  

If email and/or access to docs or chat are so essential, why don’t they fuss about Google outages? Is it because Google is in “the cloud”? And everyone seems to be mesmerized by all that is cloud like? Or have the expectations shifted because it is Google – the company they are primarily familiar with as a search provider?

It is maddening because you know you work to address an issue as quickly as possible. And you may even resolve a user or server issue in a matter of minutes.  In comparison – Google provides a status page with no interaction or time frame for resolution.  And the reason for the outage is never given.  How many times in your Domino environment have you had to provide long involved technical explanations of outages for your users?  Plenty! Do they understand them? No! But will the users ask about Google outages? No!

“The Google Factor” does make it very tempting to shift all users to the cloud.  Perhaps the strategy should be —  follow-up a cloud move with a relocation of your own offices to  in a nice comfy vacation spot with your voice mail set to “Gone to the Cloud.”

Google Account Issue: A little cloudy!

There was some recent news items about Google accounts – losing mail or chats from this past weekend.

We’ve had users report that they cannot access their account.  Upon further examination of their account info in the Google cpanel, the following is displayed: “The user has been suspended for abuse.”

Now given that we also had a round of phishing attacks this weekend, we thought perhaps these accounts had been compromised and given the exact text of the of the error message – you might think that was the case.

But after contacting Google support, we received the following:

Thanks for your message. We are currently experiencing an issue with account access for some users. I have researched the accounts <xxx.yourgoogledomain> and verified that they are currently affected by this issue. I will update to verify with you once this issue has been corrected, but for now you can stay updated through our ‘Apps Status Dashboard’ available here Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need any additional assistance.

We run a Google Apps for Education domain.  It seems this latest issue has reached into not only personal Gmail accounts, but Apps domains as well. Stay tuned!

It’s not too late! IBM Tuesday!

Be sure to drop by Packt Publishing today for IBM Tuesday!  Four IBM books are due for release today – February 22, 2011!  And they’re offering a 20% discount all month.  So if you haven’t purchased a copy of IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User’s Guide for yourself, your staff, your help desk, your cat, your dog and your mother-in-law, be sure to visit the site this month!

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

For those not familiar with the term “Monday Morning Quarterback” it refers to someone who criticizes or passes judgment from a position of hindsight.   I’ve seen quite a bit of this type of blogging this week with regards to IBM and their role with students at the OGS at Lotusphere 2011.

I’ve worked at one of the largest Virginia state-funded universities for more than twenty-five years.  Universities and colleges are not only comprised of students.  They are communities comprised of academic, administrative, and research faculty, staff members, and students – undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students, and finally alumni.  Universities are active participants in the communities in which they are located.  They are service organizations.  They are research organizations – often with medical/dental hospitals/clinics.  They are cultivators of arts and music.  They are sometimes the size of small towns and cities with their own power plants and police staff.

So how might IBM assist a university?  We’ve been focusing only on Lotus-related products and students.  What about the faculty and staff?  Sure I’d like to see some direction taken from IBM with regards to Lotus products in general.  But what about the “Smarter-Planet” aspects of running a university, doesn’t it make sense to help universities run smarter and save money? 

Students attending US universities and colleges are being faced with increasing tuition costs, largely because the costs of infrastructure are rapidly increasing.  Students need wireless access to the internet everywhere on campus.  If you have a campus that is two hundred years old, how do you retrofit buildings while maintaining the historical structures?  It is expensive to do so.   How do you manage heating and cooling costs in those same buildings?

And then there is the discussion of students and Mac usage.  Sure more and more students are walking in the door with Macs.  But not every student has a Mac, because not every student can afford one nor wants to use one.  Have you asked students how they use their laptop or desktop?  Are they gaming? Are they using email?  Are they writing papers?  Are they running engineering, programming or CAD software locally?  Do you know what they’re running?  Based on the discussion with thirty students does not make a trend, nor does a survey of an Ivy League school.  Students frequently spend semesters attending other universities in other countries – perhaps a global view of trends is needed.

So while some were focused on whether or not IBM was the only sponsor of the students at the OGS, shouldn’t we be looking at the bigger picture?  It’s not only about making students aware of IBM collaborative technologies, isn’t it about collaborating with IBM in general?

Chicken or the Egg: Domino Server or Mac DDE?

I may get bashed by all the developers and Mac users out there but here goes.  (And to clarify I too have a Mac.)

Who comes first – the administrator or the developer?  And what about fixing the Domino server or the expanding DDE to provide support for MAC/LINUX? 

In my memory, developers have been asking for the Domino Developer  for years (and for that matter administrators have asked for Administrator client on the MAC too).  But pick and choose!

What is more important?  When resources are constrained?  Do you want server platforms that are reliable (and no I’m not only fussing about IMAP here), and new administrator features, and new client features?

Is this a “want versus a need”?  How important to IBM or to your business is the MAC DDE or Admin client?  Should resources be diverted?  I certainly agree that it should be looked at. I am wearing my manager’s hat at the moment and realize that you can’t please everyone.

For example – lots of people asked and fussed about having online evals for Lotusphere.  “How could a company like IBM not have an online evaluation system for Lotusphere?”  And when they finally came up with one, is anyone using it?  In my experience the squeaky wheel gets a lot of attention, but is that how resources should be allocated?  Based on the vocalizations of an opinionated few (including myself)? How should a company as large as IBM determine what are its development priorities?

Have you worked with other vendors?  Do you have the same type of input/feedback mechanisms?  Do these other vendors listen?

Lotusphere 2011: Online Evaluations – Have you completed yours?

For several years attendees requested the ability to submit online session evaluations.  And this year the organizers of Lotusphere 2011 provided that ability. 

For speakers, evaluations are extremely worthwhile.  They let us know if content needs to be changed or we need to improve our speaking skills.  For the conference organizers, evaluations let them know what speakers and sessions were valuable to you as attendees.

Have you submitted your online evaluations?  LSOnline will be available until February 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM EST.  Take a few minutes to login, fill out your evals, and download the session PDFs before they’re no longer available!

Sametime IS “Social”!

Thanks goes out to John DelPizzo of the Sametime product team for responding to my blog post this week.  His response:

Hi Marie,

On behalf of Sametime Product Management, let me apologize for not being more supportive of your efforts. I had no idea that a book signing had even been arranged for Lotusphere… otherwise I would have stopped by and bought a copy to have signed.

In our defense, Keith is on point. Between Monday and Wednesday I had 32 customer and partner meetings. I never made it to the show floor and didn’t see any of the 23 Sametime sessions – except my own. I had to ask my team to take on multiple press and analyst interviews I normally would have done in the past due to lack of time. And the evenings were literally jumping from one customer or partner reception to another.

All that said, I think we were at least a little social. Somehow my team managed to keep me out until 1am every night. I even have a vague recollection of Keith bending my ear at Kimono’s for a while.

So let me make it up to you. I’d be happy to put a piece about the book on the Sametime blog. In addition, Caleb is also going to start hosting a regular podcast on unified communications through BlogTalk Radio. We can make you the featured interview. Drop me a note if you’d like to do this and we’ll get it arranged.

As a result, Gab/Tom and I have been in contact with John and Caleb and we’re collaborating on details for a podcast, and the upcoming Sametime Admin book.

I wanted to make sure credit is given where credit is due!  Thanks again Sametime!