E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Innovation

Lotus Notes 8 Demo – A Whole Lot More than Just Another E-Mail Client

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It looks like the last couple of days I have just been posting about particular screencasts that have become available regarding IBM offerings that are in the pipeline to go live some time during the course of this year and which touch the realm of knowledge sharing and collaboration. So far I have been posting about Lotus Connections, then Lotus Quickr and it looks like I may well have one more for you. At least, for now. This time around on another offering that I have been making use of myself for a number of months and which some of you may find interesting as well, specially since it is something that I have covered over here already in the past and which I mentioned I would be digging into it further some more.

Yes, I am talking about the next version of Lotus Notes 8, currently in beta 2, and which will go live some time during the course of this year. Not far from where we are today, actually. Going along with the previously mentioned screencasts on Connections and Quickr here you have got another screencast on the subject of Lotus Notes 8. It lasts for a bit under six minutes. And pretty much like with the other two, you can download the demo directly from here or get a copy of the script over here as well. It is one of those demos that I would certainly recommend to all those folks out there who would want to see the word groupware reinvented, once again. Whether you like the application or not, this particular screencast will show you what Notes 8 has got to offer. Lots of things, you would agree with me, but if there is anything clear coming out of it is the fact that it is no longer just that e-mail client that people seem to have learned to love or hate.

It will be a whole lot more than that. Yes, it would allow you to still process and work with your mail, and implementing a lovely set of features for that, too, by the way, but the key thing is how Notes 8 is going to extend its reach into other areas to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration both in a synchronous and asynchronous fashion.

In this particular demo you would then be able to find out a whole lot more about how the new Lotus Notes integrates plenty improved e-mail, calendaring & scheduling capabilities along with Instant Messaging, next to Activity Centric Computing and Composite Applications. Features like improved threaded discussion follow up, side preview, recalling messages that have been sent out already, etc. are now put together with sidebar applications, like Lotus Sametime 7.5.1, Activity Centric Computing, Quickr Content Libraries or a customised RSS / Atom feed client that you can use to subscribe to your favourite feeds.

You would also be able to see from that screencast how Lotus Notes 8 provides an enhanced calendaring feature that, if anything, will be noticed for its compatibility with other popular Internet calendaring formats. From there onwards, you would also be able to check how the Address Book has been improved tremendously with business cards where you can see the pictures of your contacts along with some key basic data, making it a lot easier to remember who you have worked with in the recent past.

And from there onwards we go into the most exciting part of the demo itself which is basically talking about Composite Applications, also known as mashups, and how Notes 8 is actually going to introduce them as part of the client itself. In this particular demo you would be able to see a concrete example of one mashup and how it has been put together into the Notes 8 client itself. This is certainly going to be one of the most popular features from this offering as it would allow end-users to create their own mashups within Notes and share them with whoever else in the project teams. And all of that without having to make use of any other application. Pretty nifty.

Finally, the screencast finishes off sharing some further details on how you can also access Office applications like a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation to be able not only to create your own Office documents, but also to process a wide range of files you may be receiving in your Inbox from other knowledge workers. And again without having to leave the Notes client. All of them are nicely put together into a single seamless experience. Quite handy, if you ask me, don’t you think?

So, there you go. The last weblog post on screencasts demoing IBM tools that I will be doing for a while and which touch base on the next generation of Lotus Notes, Notes 8, which is probably going to differentiate itself from its former predecessors as the one client that puts together traditional communication tools like e-mail and calendaring along with several other social computing components, like RSS / Atom feeds syndication, Activities, Quickr, Composite Applications and Lotus Sametime 7.5.1.

Not too bad for just another e-mail client…

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About to Enter the World of Mobile 2.0 – Finally!

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox I created the attached weblog entry and, as time goes by, I just cannot wait for the day when I can get my hands on one of these, specially now that it has become available and a lot cheaper than what I thought it would be!)


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(Picture courtesy from Steve Garfield)

There is no doubt that as time goes by Mobile 2.0 is becoming more and more relevant to the mobile workforce in their social computing consumption and as such there is always a great chance that those same mobile knowledge workers would always be out there looking for that killer mobile device that would help them enjoy the Mobile 2.0 experience just as much as their regular Web social computing experience.

Well, it looks like I may be one of those, because for the last few weeks / months I have already been searching for such mobile device that would help me further with my social computing experience while I am on the road travelling to different places, specially with the recent trips I have been doing and those that are left for the remaining of the year.

And it seems that I may have found what I have been looking for all along. Just the other day, in Twitter, one of my good friends shared a hat-tip on the latest gadget coming from Nokia, the N95. That tip was this particular video from YouTube where you can watch a really good , and thorough, overview of what it has got to offer. And as you would be able to see, it is not that bad. Not bad at all!

Another friend of mine also shared with me the link to the review that Gizmodo did a few days back and over there you would be able to read as well not only some of the great things about it, but also some of the cons that the N95 may have, mainly, issues with the battery life.

Even here, in ITtoolbox, James shared a short weblog post where he mentioned how Matt Miller has posted an extensive review of the device itself that would be worth while checking, for those interested. And at this stage you may be wondering why I have written this particular weblog entry, right?

Well, like I mentioned at the beginning of the weblog post, for the last few months I have been searching for the killer app. mobile device that would help me with my own social computing experience while I am travelling, and whatever else, and after watching all of those different reviews that I have mentioned above, and a few others, I have finally decided that as soon as the device becomes available in Spain I am going to go for it. It does meet my needs for most of what I would want to do with it, and although there are some cons (i.e. that battery life), I still feel the pros outnumber the cons. And big time!

Only thing remaining though would be the price tag, which seems to be on the high range, but I guess you will all find out about that very shortly, as I have been advised it will become available before the end of this month. But so far it looks like a winner. At least, to me. I will leave it for a later time to detail what some of those needs are and how the new N95 Nokia gadget meets them all and quite nicely, if in the end I decide to purchase it…

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IBM Lotus Quickr Demo Now Available, Too!

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There have been a number of different weblog posts that I have been sharing over here and which have been dealing with some of IBM’s latest offerings in the space of social computing for the enterprise. So thus far I have been talking a few times about the upcoming Lotus Connections, Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 or even the upcoming Lotus Notes 8, which also introduces some more social software components that I may be able to detail some more as time goes by. However, it looks like lately I am actually sharing some further details based on different screencasts that are coming out and which I think are a whole lot more compelling than myself detailing how they actually work.

That was the case with the recent weblog entry I shared about the latest IBM Lotus Connections screencast a few days ago and which, to date, has been one of the most popular weblog entries in here in the last few weeks. So I guess there is an interest in finding out some more. Well, it gets better, folks. Because today I am actually going to talk about another screencast that has just been published, but this time around not about Connections any longer, but about one of the most powerful collaboration, knowledge sharing and content management tools that may be out there available to knowledge workers. Yes, I am talking about IBM Lotus Quickr.

Why am I am saying that this particular offering could well be the next killer app.? Well, because, amongst many other things, it is an offering that tries to combine both the best from traditional content management with some of the latest emerging technologies, like wikis, weblogs, content syndication, etc. etc. And all of that taking place from a single point of entry: your Quickr space.

Let’s have a look into it with this particular screencast I mentioned above and which has now become available for everyone to play directly from the Web or downloading it to your own machine for later viewing. There is also an additional script you can download if you wish to.

In that particular screencast, that lasts for a bit under five minutes, you would be able to check how Lotus Quickr is actually going to provide a Personal Edition for managing your own content, your own knowledge, in a seamless way and empowering you to share that same content (Or not), including rich media, with other knowledge workers through a wide range of options.

On top of that, and perhaps one of the most interesting features that Lotus Quickr is going to put together is actually what has been called Connectors. Connectors would allow you seamless access to content from other popular business applications:

  • Windows Explorer: by right clicking on a file and selecting Check Out and / or Dogear options
  • Microsoft Office applications: i.e. Excel, Word, PowerPoint, through the Actions Menu and where the Check Out option is also readily available.
  • IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1: Through the usage of a plugin that connects with the Quickr content libraries and which you can interact with by collaborating with other knowledge workers in a real-time fashion discussing specific files that have been shared across along with the original invite to chat. Pretty impressive if you would want to discuss a document straight up front without having to go ahead and send it across.
  • And, finally, IBM Lotus Notes 8: Through that popular sidebar we have seen in the past and with which you can drag and drop attachments in new e-mails or just send the links to keep your mail box under control, but still having access to the documents right when you need it. Oh, and here is another cool thing. Lotus Quickr would also allow you to detach attachments from your Notes mails into the Quickr content library space so you can keep your mail box under control as well with not so much clutter. A huge time saver if you are one of those who needs to keep things as tidy as possible within your e-mail.

In this particular screencast you would be able to see as well how the Standard Edition is actually going to provide an additional set of Templates that people can work with further. In this demo you would be able to listen to the customising of the Innovation Place template where it is showing some of the social computing elements that I mentioned earlier on, and which makes Quickr rather attractive as it puts together wikis under the Idea Development area or Team Blog that would help team members share information faster and much more effectively and, finally, the Innovation News to receive newsfeeds from other external resources related to whatever has been discussed in that particular space.

And that is just an example of one single template. There are many more, depending on the needs of the tasks at hand. So that is also going to make it a rather interesting option on its own, i.e. the fact that you can work with multiple different templates based on what you are trying to achieve. Yes, that is right, power to the knowledge worker, as they would be able to define how they would want to work and what kind of customisation you would be going ahead for your team or for your community. Not bad at all!

Thus, if you would want to have a quick look at what IBM is doing around the area of merging both traditional content management capabilities with a richer end-user experience putting together some other popular social software components I would strongly encourage you to watch this under five minute screencast, because there is a great chance that it may well be just what you were looking for. I, for sure, would be looking forward to the Personal Edition becoming available later on this year as I bet it will probably become my latest Personal Knowledge Management tool and perhaps the one I will be sticking around with for a while. But that would be the time for another series of weblog posts, I am sure, thus stay tuned!

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What Face to Face Conferences Were Ever Meant to Be – Just Special

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If you would remember, a few days ago I created a weblog entry over here mentioning how by the end of May, about a month from now, actually, I will be speaking at IBM’s 2007 Professional Technical Leadership Exchange around the subject of social computing, communities and the adoption of some of IBM‘s top social software tools within the enterprise. While I am in the final process of finishing off the presentation, I thought I would share over here a particular quote that I thought was just wonderful and which clearly explains why I am really excited to be able to make it to the event later in May.

That particular quote comes from one of the various different weblog entries that have been shared both inside and outside of the firewall from IBM‘s TLE Europe sister event for Americas and Asia Pacific: The TLE in Anaheim and which took place last week already. 4.000 of IBM’s best technical leaders jamming away certainly puts things into perspective as to what I am looking forward to when I head to Paris, where another 3.000 people are expected to be there for a few days.

So, like I have just mentioned, over the course of last week I have actually been avidly following the different weblog entries that people have been putting together and sharing across about what they thought about the TLE event in Anaheim and of the several dozens of them there was one particular entry, which actually comes from a good friend and fellow weblogger who has been weblogging for over seven years and who, perhaps, is one of the main guilty parties that got me started with blogging about 5 years ago!, that I thought would be really worth while sharing across.

His name is David Singer and the actual weblog article is this one: 24 amazing hours. It is a must-read for anyone who would want to find out why, despite all of the technology and tools available to us all out there, it is still very much worth while attending live face to face conference events as something that can be, if anything, special.

Here is the quote from that particular post that makes all the travel, all the hassle with the bookings, the expenses, and whatever else, very much worth while and why I am seriously looking forward not only to IBM’s TLE event in Paris by end of May, but also the APQC KM & Innovation event in Houston in just a couple of weeks from now:

"[…] There were many good technical sessions at the TLE; I suspect most people concentrated on those sessions, because they were immediately job-relevant. Although I did attend one or two such sessions (and even got some job-relevant information on structuring presentations at one of them), I don’t think they’re the real value of a conference like TLE, any more than the programming courses I took at RPI were the real value of my education there. Technical skills are short-lived; what’s important is learning how to learn, and how to make the world a better place. This TLE offered much in those areas, and I’m very glad I was able to take advantage."

Yes, indeed, *that* is what live face to face conference events are all about and whoever says otherwise should just read David’s entire article to see if their thoughts would still stand as is after having gone through it, because I bet they wouldn’t. You can probably tell why I just can’t wait for those events to kick off, right? Yes, indeed, one single word to explain it all: special.

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Crazy People Changing the World – The Blessing

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Here we are again, folks. Friday! YAY!!! And, like every Friday for the last few weeks, here I am again, going to share a couple of rather inspirational videos that I thought would fit in quite nicely with the theme inspire on a Friday! One of them is coming from a commercial and the other one is coming from one of this week’s episodes from RocketBoom. There is a logic in both videos put together one after the other, so you will first have to watch the one from the commercial, which is stored in YouTube and then straight after go and watch that episode from RocketBoom. Yes, all in that order. And you will see what I mean with inspirational. Here we go:

And now here is the link to the RocketBoom video. After I have watched both of them there would be just one single thing that is left for me to say for the day: whatever people tell you, no matter what, it is the small things that matter. Always!

Have a good one everyone and join today the crazy crowd that will continue to make a difference and change our world!

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IBM Professional Technical Leadership Exchange – Paris – May 2007

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If over the last couple of days, I have been weblogging about different conference events that rather I would be attending or that I would be interested in attending. Well, here is a third follow up weblog post on another event that I will be making it to and that I am surely going to enjoy quite a bit, since I am already very familiar with it as I attended it last year as well. Yes, I am talking about IBM’s Professional Technical Leadership Exchange, which is going to take place this year in Paris during the course of 21st till 24th of May and which will host several thousand IBM technical and delivery leaders coming from all over the place.

I am really excited about this year’s event for multiple reasons, as I will have the opportunity to present again on a topic that I hope folks would enjoy as well (More on that in a minute), then because I will have the great opportunity to spend a few days in lovely Paris and third because I am hoping to be able to meet up with folks over there who I have been wanting to know for quite some time now. I have already been in touch with them and there is a great chance that I will be able to meet them. Way cool!

So what am I am going to be talking about during the conference event, you may be wondering, right? Well, the title of the presentation I will be delivering is as follows: "7 Ways to Effectively Improve Your Virtual Technical Network Using Social Computing". And in it I will be covering some of the basic key concepts behind Web 2.0 or social computing, for those folks who may still not be familiar with them; then I will be placing a special focus on how communities are continuing to provide lots of value add in order to get the most out of that social networking experience. So much so that they are becoming essential, both inside and outside of the enterprise, to provide some additional business value to social computing.

After creating that connection between social networking and communities, I suspect we would go into the fun part of the presentation, as I will be spending some time covering seven IBM social software related tools and sharing with everyone in the room five different tips per tool on how to get the most out of them, and, most importantly, how to get started with all of them in case folks may not have been exposed to them just yet. Or, at least, present different scenarios on how they can make the most of each of them for their day to day jobs. Yes, a bit of showing everyone how easy it is to bring social computing into your daily workload and use it as just another business related tool.

And what social software tools those may well be? Well, I have been talking about them quite a few times already over here, but here you have got the list of tools I am planning to reference: Weblogs (Blog Central), Wikis (Wiki Central running the fine piece of software called Confluence, from Atlassian), Fringe (What you would call a People Portal, pretty much along the same lines as the wonderful Ziki), Social Bookmarks (Dogear), w3 Media Library (For all sorts of rich content media, like podcasts, videocasts, etc.), IBM Lotus Webconference 7.5.1 and IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1. And from there onwards how they may all integrate with one another with the upcoming Lotus Connections.

As you can imagine, it is going to be a pretty packed up presentation, since I am hoping to be able to share as well some of my own experiences from being exposed to different social software tools and for having used them for a number of years. I am hoping that with this particular session I will be able to open things up a bit more and help other fellow IBMers start making use of different social software tools in order to perhaps help them improve the way they share knowledge and collaborate with others.

This time around I am not sure I would be able to make the presentation available over here as some of the different screen shots from the slide deck are a bit sensitive, so I would have to look into them, see if I can sanitise them and then make them available after getting the heads up. Either way, at least, you would be able to see from the above text what I will be talking about.

Finally, two of the other items I am really looking forward to are as well, of course, Paris, where I haven’t been there for the last few years, so it will be good again to catch up with it and see what is happening over there and spring time sounds like the perfect time to be there. And then the possibility of being able to meet up people who may be around and who would want to get together for a drink or two. I know that a couple of folks who regularly read this weblog would be around, so I am really excited about meeting up with them. And whoever else who may want to get together, the usual thing: drop a comment over here or contact me offline and I am sure we will be able to set up something.

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