Book Review … 22 Years later

Recently I was in Munich for some training with Collax. In the evening we walked through the city center and I found an old book shop. Since I am a book junkie („My name is Christian and I still don’t have an iPad“) I spend some time looking for second hand books and found the following: „Who’s afraid of BIG BLUE?“ by Regis McKenna. The author is still known as an IT marketing expert. The book was printed in 1989. It talks about IBMs role in the computer market and there are a few, no, a lot of things, I did not know and are quite interesting. For example: I didn’t know, that IBM used FUD very, I mean very heavily to keep the competition out. When I think how many times we complained about Microsofts FUD strategy against Notes, I can only come to the conclusion, they learned from the best, from IBM. But, FUD wears of. The longer you try it and it does not come true, the less people are going to believe you. IBM’s FUD strategy failed in the end and Microsoft’s will fail, too.

There were some things I asked myself, if they still stand true today.
„Entrepreneurial and independent thinking have always been discouraged among the blue-suited army of IBM managers.“
When I recall what I had to go through with most IBMers that I worked with during the Lotus Foundations era, I would say, they still hate to take decisions.
If there is not a process for it, they can’t do it.

Another interesting part was the story about the PC and PS/2. Apart from the logo there was nothing from IBM in the first IBM PC’s and many believed that the Micro Channel in the PS/2 was a marketing ploy. And I thought IBM invented the PC.

In chapter 3 McKenna talks about „Big Blues for Big Blue“* and mentions a few points, where IBM has problems.
Problem #1 – A Mind-Blogging Bureaucracy. YES, still valid today, Passport Advantage was invented by a sadistic bean counter and process manager and the lead management tool must be from another century. They certainly run it with a steam engine.
Problem #2 – Installed technology. Nope, that isn’t a problem.
Problem #3 – Incompatible Products. I don’t think that this is a problem today.
Problem #4 – The Arrogance of Success. Interesting. What do you think?
But what is certainly still true, they only fight for the Fortune 1000 accounts.

The book reads, as if it wasn’t written 22 years ago. McKenna mentions many things, I was convinced they came much later. I talked about electronic mail and a lot about networks and sharing information. Somehow I have the impression, we haven’t made a huge progress since then. Sure, the word „Internet“ wasn’t mentioned in the book, but something like that was looming on the horizon. We are still using Folders to organise data and we still use the mouse and a keyboard. I am a bit disappointed about our achievements in the last 22 years. Look at Notes. Ray Ozzy had such a wonderfull idea and everything we have today called social software has been here for two decades.

Can we have something revolutionary please!

*BTW did you know that IBM does not want you to use the term „Big Blue“? Their marketing departement found out that this is too close to „the Blues“, meaning depression.

I admit it. I don’t have a smart phone

I feel bad. Yes, I admit it. I don’t like mobile phones. I don’t send many SMS or MMS. Most of the little gadgets of the darn thing I never used. Unfortunately, I will soon have to get a new one, because after 5 years the battery is just tired. What now? Is it time to move to something smart? Do I want to read my emails on a screen not much bigger than a stamp? I think the iPhone is pretty cool, but too big. I does not fit in my hand. I wouldn’t know where to put it when I am away without my backpack. You won’t catch me with one of those belt pouches. Neither with a blue-tooth headset.

Next problem, I am greedy. I hate to buy things that are industrial waste as soon as you buy it.

I like and I can read maps. I don’t need, or rather I don’t want to use a GPS for navigation on the ground and I don’t want my car to talk to me (but you can give me a Garmin 1000 any day or an iPad with sectionals, weather and SID/STAR).

I must be mentally retarded. I just can’t get exited about mobile devices. I could get warm with an iPad, but that’s because of the books. But if I continue to buy my books at amazon I can buy a lot until the iPad makes sense. I like to have books lying around. I like to have manuals on paper (OK, here the iPad would make sense, since we don’t get any manuals on paper today) but I can not imagine to read a book on a smart phone. No way.

But I could announce to the world, that I am doing an experiment:

„Living and working without a mobile phone“

Why not. Have to think about it.

Lotus Foundations is …whatever you call it … but I go for Collax.

I am right now installing the Collax Platform Server. Those who know me, know that I hate server and network administration with a passion you can only dream of. That‘s why I liked LF. But the Collax products are as good if not better. I am almost as fast in installing the first Collax Box as I was with the x-ième LF Box. It probably does not do as many things automatically as LF, but it has much more possibilities to integrate it and security wise.

The web administration front end has a modern look and is very nice to navigate.
Installing software is completely automatic. Less clicks then LF.
Virtualisation is done with KVM which integrates seamlessly. Not like the strange setup with „run“ like LF, which is pretty unstable on our production server.

I am really happy to have found Collax. Yesterday we talked about Domino on Collax and we are going to find out the best way to do it. I have to update the Domino discussion in the Collax forum with those new ideas.

I hope you will give it a try. If you register with them and ask for a test license, you get a 60 days license and full support during this time.

I am running the Collax Platform Server on a Lotus Foundations appliance. Collax had for a long time also a display in their hardware. The code is still there and we could use it. But that isn‘t really necessary right now.

Hey life, why are you doing that to me?

This weekend, we had the party of my daughters sports club. It was pretty big and it had, kind of tradition in Switzerland, a tombola. As it is for a good cause, everybody is buying those little paper rolls with sometimes a number, but most of the time „Danke/Merci“. Me too. I shouldn’t. Why? My wife’s family was there, too. I don’t know why this always happens, but they win all the time. My mother in law got half a pig once, wheels of cheese and vacuum cleaners and other stuff, and she only plays, because she has to (good cause…). My brother in law got a few thousand bucks holiday voucher lately and so on. Me? Never anything useful. This weekend I tried to be clever. I bought an envelope with 10 „Lösli“ (Swiss German) with one win guaranteed. My brother in law took 10. He got 3 out of 10, me 1. I couldn’t believe it, I bought another 10, which I picked one after the other, being in trance, letting fortune guide my hand … nothing … nix … nada. Not even a paper clip.
He bought another 3 and got another win.
In the end there was a bottle of wine, a game kit with cards and dices, flowers and a bread.
Now you want to know what I got. Soap! An old odd smelling handcrafted olive oil soap with some strange grey stuff on the bottom.
That’s not fair. It will take years until I recover from that.

Better late than never…

Here we are. The Informica Blog.

Who is behind this?

My Name is Christian Tillmanns and I am one of the founders of Informica of Switzerland. The other can present himself.

Another Blog, my god, was that necessary?

Duno. Is there already a blog about IBM Smart Business stuff? Nope. Don’t think so. We are the first.

Why the heck IBM Smart Business?

You will find out.

Only smart Business? How boring.

I can and will probably annoy you with other stuff. I am sure you always wanted to discuss the ball and string problem, settling with power or RSV and the 72 degrees offset on the R22/44.

… oh, BTW, IBM Smart Business and Lotus Foundations. Have I told you allready, that this blog is running on a Lotus Foundations Appliance?

Pretty easy to setup, once you know how to. Since I hate adminstration with a passion you only can dream of, it normaly takes me a very long time to figure out everything. For administrative stuff I have a very short attention span. That’s why you will see this blog changing constantly, while I find out, what I can do with it.

Now, how to setup a WordPress blog on Lotus Foundations.

1. Create a team for the blog. I choose … who would believe it … blog.

2. Create a Virtual Webserver: Webserver => Virtual Webserver Tab => Add virtual Webserver and fil in the URL, you can leave the IP address and choose the team.

3. Copy the downloaded WordPress Files in the www folder of your blog team.

4. RTFM from here

There is a slight problem with the autoinstallation of themes, but there is probably a solution for this.