Lotusphere

Dear IBM, it’s not a zero-sum game (my Connect conference round-up)

On my way to Orlando, I drafted a blog post about what my expectations were for the conference. And then never posted it. So here, instead, is my post-conference round-up in all its glory.

The Good

      The Opening General Session was the slickest I have ever known. Having it hosted by Jay Baer gave it a flow that it had been lacking for a good few years, and he was a massive improvement over the disembodied voice of god we’ve previously had linking the different segments of the sessions. The guest speaker, despite being not known outside the US, was very good.
      Personally, this event was more serious and business-like than the last few. Less late-night revelling than previous years, and more conversations and meetings. Which is good in pretty much every way.
      Seeing friends. More than anything else, even more than the business side, this conference for me is about reconnecting with friends, and making new ones. You know who you are, but shouts out to a few people without whom IBM Connect wouldn’t be Lotusphere: Gab and Tim Davis, Devin Olson, John Roling, Mat Newman, Colleen Burns, Julian Robichaux, Jon and Justin and Catherine from Prominic, Carl Tyler, Andrew Pollack, Sandra Bühler and many, many more.
      I didn’t go to as many sessions as I sometimes have in previous years. But what I did go to was excellent: Mark Roden on ExtJS, Paul Mooney on Ethical Hacking, and Mark Myers and Julian Robichaux on Practical Java being three that especially stood out for me.
      SpankyBeers. One of the funniest evenings I’ve had for a very long time. Devin you are a legend.
      The surprise appearance of Warren Elsmore and Kitty in their capacity as Lego wizards.
      The Penumbra Group activities. Not least the Ice Cream social, where the Mexican Ambassador was to be found, although on the night the best milkshake of all was the one based on JD and coke. Just wow. But beyond that, the Penumbra Dinner on the Saturday was great, and Niklas Heidloff was a truly deserving winner of the Prism Award. And seeing and talking with my colleagues in the group is always more valuable to me than I can describe: they are outstanding people.
      Craig Hayman did a great job in his first public appearance as new “Lotus” head honcho. He has yellow credentials, and his choice of yellow shoes in the OGS was a miniature master stroke.

The Bad

      The OGS content. I realise they’re preaching to the pointy-haired bosses and the press, but IBM need also to take note of the fact that half of the audience (probably a lot more than half) are detail-orientated, and without at least some details the OGS comes across as being content-free.
      Notes/Domino content in the OGS: there really wasn’t any. Or, rather, what there was is mainly either a long way off or they forgot to mention the technology.
      Some of my friends who were missing: Bruce and Gayle, Tom Duff, and Rob McDonagh, and others. And of course fellow London Developer Co-op colleague Ben Poole.
      The session scheduling was dreadful. Far too many clashing sessions splitting the audience. They would be better to outsource this to people in the community who actually have a feel for – and care for – the content. As a result of this poor planning a lot of sessions were more sparsely attended than they could/should have been.

In

      They left the Dolphin rotunda piano unlocked for the first time ever. Somewhere on YouTube the is evidence, captured by Volker, of my late night musical improvised wibblings. For me it’s basically therapy, but nobody slammed the lid on my fingers so I guess I did okay. And thanks to Rob Novak for repeatedly intervening at the bottom end of the keyboard and dragging me back into G when I was trying to escape into another key. That’s probably a metaphor for something: you decide. ;-)
      Sleep: I had some.
      Staying off site for the first time since 1999. This may have influenced the sleep thing.

Out

      Kimonos: it wasn’t the hub of all social activity the way it has been the previous few years. Things change.
      I finished my term as president of the Penumbra Group. Lisa, Theo and Nigel will, I am sure, do a great job.
      Late night spirits-consumption in the Dolphin Rotunda. Not even once, this year. That’s probably for the best. Very few good things start with “which neat room-temperature drink would you like: vodka or bourbon?”

The Future

      IBM announced that the conference will be same time, same place, next year. The question on everybody’s mind, at least everybody coming from the Lotus products background, is how much the content of the conference will change. Will I be there? If it’s recognisably “Lotusphere” then yes. We will see.
      Connections. The future is IBM Connections.
      2014, and IBM Connect 2015, should be more interesting for us die-hard Notes&Domino lovers than this year was. Project Hawthorne and Mail Next will be a lot closer to reality by then. Even if the OGS skimps on them, expect a lot of news and far more product feature/release/beta announcements than we got this year. Also by then the Softlayer hosting stuff should be out the and real. The clincher for IBM is going to be what they can achieve with licensing to better support a payforwhatyouuse model e.g. per-user-per-month costs. In the meantime, if that’s your need you should speak to Prominic who already have a good story to tell in this area.

So, all in all, a good Lotusphere. For too long IBM has been ignoring Notes&Domino in favour of inserthotnewtechnologyhere. I rather hope that with Craig Hayman‘s arrival we might see more focus on the core products, and an awareness that this is not a zero-sum game. Watch this space.

That C.U.L(DC).T. shirt

So, I have now run out of my sort of #ls12 C.U.L.T. shirts. They’re all gone. You missed your chance. Lotusphere was a complete waste of time for you, because you didn’t manage to get hold of one of these. Seriously, they’re a rare as rocking horse shit, and as precious as a unicorn’s foreskin. Chinese “doctors” would grind them up and use them for medicine if they could get hold of them. You get the picture.

Whatever.

So, here’s the image. That’s right: it’s a truly terrible pun. What did you expect?!

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

(Click for a larger version)

If you don’t get the pun … (a) what is Spock? (b) what are we about to do to him? (c) reverse those two words. Still not? Ask an LDCer.

Anyway … Matt White, Mark Myers and I still have some of the ‘official’ LDC shirts to give away, so hunt us down and demand one. Of course, we may demand in return that you actually wear it for at least half a day while you’re at Lotusphere, but that’s fair enough isn’t it?

iPad travel tip

Yesterday, I purchased a ‘Camera Connector Kit’ for the iPad, so that while at Lotusphere 2012 I can pull photos off the camera and immediately work with them on the iPad. All good fun.

One of the two connection options one gets with the CCK is a USB port, designed to allow the camera to be plugged in directly with needing to remove the SD card. So I thought to myself … what happens if I plug the USB half of my Plantronics wireless headset into that? Lo and behold, there was rejoicing in heaven and on earth: it works! So now I have a nice way of making comfortable and private Skype calls from the iPad.

All good, given that I shall be laptop-less at #ls12 this year for the first time. I still have to suffer the indignity of using LogMeIn (or similar) to remote onto a real computer in order to be able to use a Notes client. But there are very few (albeit some) reasons why I would need to do that. And my hand luggage will be a LOT lighter than usual :-)

Lotusphere 2012 C.U.L.T. shirt. Sort of.

As you are doubtless aware, if you are a Yellow Bubble type reader, there is no C.U.L.T. shirt for #ls12. (If you’re not a Yellow Bubble type reader, you may as well give up now because the rest of this will rightly be meaningless to you.)

For those less into the in-jokes, C.U.L.T. stands (stood) for “Certified Unofficial Lotusphere T-shirt”. They were great fun over the last 10+ years, and Rocky Oliver, Henry Newberry and Andrew Pollack are all owed a debt of gratitude by us members of “the Lotus community” for the volume of effort they put in to make these happen year after year.

Now, it so happens that, late in 2011, after the LDC shirts for Lotusphere 2012 had been selected, I thought of another shirt idea. And, having thought of it, I simply had to have it made, because I (and I may be alone in this of course) happen to find it very amusing. In a gentle nod to the absent C.U.L.T. shirt, this one is the “Certified Unofficial LDC T-shirt”.

There’s no sponsorship – I’ve paid for these myself – which means there really is only a tiny number of them, and they will inevitably therefore be immensely valued as family heirlooms and great cultural treasures by future generations. Possibly.

Stop me at Lotusphere and demand one. Or, of course, demand one of the many other ‘official’ LDC designs that we of LDC will also be carting around with us. They’re all available in sizes up to XXXL (the shirts, not the LDCers).

Blowing the cobwebs off this blog

Yes, it’s that time of year, when my blogging mojo starts working for a little while once more. Coincidentally, it’s also Lotusphere time. Amazing.

Looking forward to boarding the plane to #ls12 in 7 days and a handful of hours. This year, in a radical departure, I’m staying in the Swan rather than the Dolphin. I know, I know, SO exciting. A greater departure from the norm is that I’ll be sharing a room with the wonderful Gregg Eldred, so if you see him around please do buy him a drink: he’ll probably need one :-)

Also looking forward to the @openntf AGM, which is just before the Wednesday party (usually a quietish time in the week, relatively speaking, so no excuse for not attending). And, of course, to kicking off the proceedings properly on Saturday afternoon with the great reunion and meeting of minds (and beer glasses) that is B.A.L.D., and then the Penumbra dinner on Saturday evening.

Until then …..

The Good, the Bad, and the Wookie

Although there weren’t many product announcements to speak of this year at #ls11, nonetheless it was a good Lotusphere. It was big, and had a buzz, not least because what we DID see this year was some key offerings (Connections, xpages) reach new levels of maturity. So …

The Good:
- Kevin Spacey: best choice of opening speaker since Neil Armstrong
- Irene Greif speaking in the Wednesday mini-keynote
- Eric Brown speaking at the closing session
- IBM grasping the nettle and downplaying the Lotus branding in favour of IBM
- The popularity of our LDC t-shirts : already planning for next year’s :-)
- xpages, xpages, xpages – the year it came of age
- Great sessions from Matt, Tim, Bruce, Kathy, David Leedy, Paul Withers, Scott and Newbs, and others
- All the Penumbra events: meeting, dinner and ice cream “Tuesdae”
- Seeing some of my favourite people who I only get to meet once or twice a year
- The Lotusphere WiFi which worked infinitely better than previous years: well done for fixing that!

The Bad:
- The Opening General Session other than Kevin Spacey: truly abysmal
- The coffee: over-stewed and bitter. (I was saved by the coffee machine in my room)
- The mandatory $10 resort fee: in the EU it would be illegal to add that without an opt-out, and the hotel wifi was very sucky, although the wired in-room was just about bearable.
- Feijoa-flavoured 42 Below vodka. Do yourself a favour and use it to clean the toilet with.
- One particular session that shall remain nameless – the worst speaking pair I’ve ever seen that didn’t both work for IBM. Unfortunately I was close to the front and too reserved and British to just walk out.
- Wearing out a pair of shoes with All That Walking

The Wookie (aka Mark Myers aka @stickfight)
Along with Mat Newman, this was Mark’s year!
- he masterminded the LDC t-shirts with Ben Poole
- he commissioned the wonderful “It’s a small Lotus world” artwork which raised $3500 for charity
- he won the Lotusphere Idol against stiff competition
- he gave an excellent Idol presentation
- he made up for Wednesday’s evil toilet-cleaner vodka by contributing a superb bottle for Thursday evening’s late-night imbibing
- he is The Wookie
- he will probably rip my arm off and hit me with the soggy end for this ;-)